Build Your Own UBW Board

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Currently there are three ways to build your own UBW system.
  1. Use the schematic to build the circuit on a breadboard
  2. Use the 28 DIP v1 Eagle board file and etch your own board at home
  3. Use any of the different versions’ Eagle board files, and have one or more board commercially built at a circuit board fab house.
  4. (The easy way) You could just buy one from SparkFun pre-made and tested.
Build on a breadboard:

Pros: very cheap, very quick, needs no special parts or tools, easy to integrate into a larger design, cheapest if you have the breadboard
Cons: larger and less permanent than a real board, difficult to do very many copies, hard to use non DIP packages

If you want to build a UBW on a breadboard, you can follow either schematic (the 28 pin version or the 44 pin version). You will most likely want to use the DIP versions of the PICs (28 or 40 pin). One of the tricky things will be getting the USB connector to fit into a breadboard. You may want to solder a nice chunky header on to the USB connector, and then plug that header into the board, possibly with unused pins to help mechanically hold the connector to the board during the stress of plugging and unplugging the cable. Other than that, it will be a straight forward build.

Etch a board at home:

Pros: multiple copies are easier, much smaller than breadboard, looks pretty good, very cheap if you have all the materials
Cons: takes special skills and tools, hard to do plated-through holes, no solder mask or silk screen, can only easily make 28 DIP v1 (which is single sided)

You could use the Toner Transfer method (which is what I use for some of my boards), or any of the other etch at home methods. Use the Eagle board file, and do whatever your process requires to build the board.

Get UBW boards built at a board house:

Pros: professional looking, plated through holes, double sided and silk screen, very simple to make lots of boards (just pay more $$)
Cons: expensive, have to wait a long time

For this method, get Eagle to generate real Gerbers for any of the boards, send the Gerbers in to your favorite board house and have them build you some boards. I have used Olimex ( for all of my board building so far, but I really like service offered by SparkFun ( and want to try them next. With the Spark Fun serivce, you could easily just order one board, and it would cost less than $20 probably.

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Questions? E-mail me at my e-mail address