Open Source Hardware List


Phillip Torrone has put together a fairly impressive list of projects that offer schematics, layouts, and firmware open to the world.

Make Pt1361
If you’re looking to buy a kit or project for someone this winter, this is a great place to checkout. Open source hardware is also a good place to get a PCB layout to learn from and good tricks of the trade for your next design.


Comments 7 comments

  • It’s extremely arduino biased. I honestly can’t figure out why people have been making such a big deal about the arduino… you’re paying $40 for a $4 microcontroller with a power supply and a built in programming cable.
    Dev boards make sense for something like an FPGA or an ARM, where the only packages available are surface mount or BGA… It’s really annoying to have to lay out a board or deal with complicated / expensive soldering techniques if all you want to do is play with the chip.
    But AVRs are so stupidly easy to use… AND they’re available in DIP packages. You can just stick one in a breadboard and have it talking to the computer in less than two minutes!

    • I agree completely. The Arduino is a neat toy, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s nice to have the programmer built in, but for $15 you can get a nice programming board with the 6-pin ISP header built in: http://evilmadscience.com/tinykitlist/74-atmegaxx8
      Another $20 gets you a USB programmer. Now you’ve got a programming setup that’s easier to use, cheaper (especially after a few microcontrollers!), and lets you use the full feature set of the micro, completely unfettered.

    • oren, I like what you are saying, but do you have any suggestions on tutorials for breadboard AVR usage? thanks.

  • does this list seem arduino biased to anyone else?

  • All,
    I may be an Aero geek, but I know very little about electronics. My husband, on the other hand, is an open-source follower and loves electronics/tinkering with everything related to circuit boards, etc. (he builds space-qualified hardware at CU).
    A friend recommended your site for ideas for Xmas gifts, and I found your blog on the Arduino. It sucks…because I was actually considering buying him the Arduino, given that he has expressed a desire to write more code for useful open source applications, and I thought this would be good–at the same time, I was afraid that it would be too basic for him.
    Can you recommend any other cool setup that he can actually enjoy tinkering with? Any tool, kit, or gift idea for a challenge-thirsty geek?
    Thank you!!!

  • oren: It’s extremely arduino biased. I honestly can’t figure out why people have been making such a big deal about the arduino…
    But AVRs are so stupidly easy to use… AND they’re available in DIP packages. You can just stick one in a breadboard and have it talking to the computer in less than two minutes!

    Not if you don’t already have a serial port. And, for that matter, a breadboard.
    I think the appeal of the Arduino is strong for people who are just starting with electronics because they like others' Arduino projects. It’s the microcontroller and the programmer and the 5V power supply and the connection to the computer you actually have, without having to wire anything at first.
    Plus, once you have the Arduino and are comfortable with the environment, you can just take the chip out and wire it into things and buy a new burned chip from someone, or get the hardware to put a bootloader on it.
    The Arduino is for people who don’t know what a BGA is and are launching a new world of possibilities for themselves just by uploading “Blink” and playing with the delay().


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