About this project
EXPAND YOUR Pi WITH USB TYPE C
With the advent of USB Type C this development kit allows you to learn the control of USB Type C port and power your Pi and peripherals.
This board aslo includes a versatile PSOC 4 or Atmel ATTiny85V microcontroller allowing the Pi to interface to Analog and Digital sensors and devices to explore the external world.
Switch on the Fly USB Type C power 15W @ 5V
Digital and Analog to the Microcontroller
1 Upstream, 3 Downstream and 1 Dual Role Type C Port
I2C Communication from Pi to Microcontroller and Type C Port Controller
Plugs directly into Rasp Pi A/B/B+/3/Zero with USB jumper cable
3.3V and 5V output connectors for external supply to devices
USB power or device through one Dual Role Port (DRP)
High Speed USB 480Mbits/s
PSOC 4 ARM Cortex M0 16K Flash 16MHz
Or ATTiny85V 8Bit 8K Flash
3.3" Wide x 2.2" High
Included Stackable Header 26/40 pin
Plug in USB Type C devices to Communicate
Developing power hungry electronic devices requiring the ability to run from USB port, conventional methods were not feasible. Much research and testing led me to using the new USB Type C port which gives the ability to supply power in and have the ability to also be a host to connect with and supply power to peripherals. Many new mobile phones and laptops will be integrating USB Type C in their upcoming products. USB Type C also has superspeed data lines which were not implemented here due to the Raspberry Pi limitations.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The PiCHUB plugs into a Raspberry Pi 26/40 pin header. If you are powering your Pi from a standard USB micro adapter the PiCHUB will power up when the Type A USB jumper cable is plugged in from the Pi USB port to PiCHUB upstream Type A USB port. This will provide power to the development board but is limited by the Pi's USB fuse. Devices can be plugged into all 3 Type A ports and the Type C port using the type C adapter provided. The 15W USB Type C charger can be plugged directly into the Type C port while the Pi is already powered up and will switch the devleopment board over to Type C power providing up to 3A of power. Port control of the Type C USB port is accomplished via a python script which must be run at the time of Pi bootup. This can be added into the rc.local file to run at bootup. Python-smbus library must be installed on your Pi in order for the I2C script to work. Communication is done through I2C. The PSOC 4 or ATTiny85V microcontroller was added to provide additional interfaces for the Pi and can be programmed with a PSOC MiniProg3 or Atmel USB programmer which is not included in the perks. Header P7 will allow you to isolate the power to the microcontroller when programming. PSOC chips are versatile programmable SOC's with anlog and digital blocks providing solutions for many applications with integrated components. Backers can also choose the option of an Atmel ATTiny85V microcontroller instead of the PSOC 4 which has a large community development support.
The USB Type C Port Control software is open source and will be available for download on our GitHub page. You will be able to modify and add additional python script for your applications. The USB port control software should be run upon bootup or prior to using the PiCHUB as detection and negotiation of the USB Type C port is required for use as a Device port or Charging port interchangeably.
REWARDS AND DELIVERY
A design and prototype has already been made which you can view in our Kickstarter video. We need 100 backers to get this project moving forward as the cost of connectors and parts are expensive in small quantities. We have communicated with our manufacturers and suppliers and looking at December 2016 to fulfill our initial Kickstarter rewards. Additional limited perks will be added with dates for more backer orders.
The option of a Rasp Pi extended header either 2x13 OR 2x20 will be selected during your backer survey and soldered onto the PiCHUB. In the image below we show both for viewing but the kit will only come with one header. The Rasp Pi Zero USB jumper will be a straight Micro-A cable to avoid interference with the Pi Zero Micro power jack.
Below is a description of parts used to create the PiCHUB development board. The PiCHUB is designed for USB 2.0 specifications with speeds up to 480MB/s depending on the devices attached to the hub. The PCB is a 4 layer impedance controlled for USB signal integrity. The PiCHUB shown in the demo video has a PSOC 4000 microcontroller onboard to integrate analog and digital sensors to the Raspberry Pi. We wanted to keep this board to a single top layer for components only to keep costs low and thus could only populate a smaller microcontroller IC such as the PSOC 4000 and ATTiny85V. There is a 3-pin header by the programming headers to isolate the power to the microcontroller when programming with the programmer (not included). All headers will not be soldered onto the PCB but will be included in the kit as you can solder what you need for your application.
WHO WE ARE?
Enutil Energy started in 2011 focusing on energy management systems and single board computers integrated to IoT providing information and control for devices and sensors. We developed a full turnkey system using the Raspberry Pi as direct link to our web servers. We have recently expanded our technology offering to Wireless, BLE and RFID systems in 900MHz region for IoT, consumer and retail applications. We have several other projects in the planning and design stages including kits and products for the maker community and the Raspberry Pi.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
PiCHUB is a functioning prototype and will be ready for production with our final board design. In order to offer the PiCHUB and accessories at an affordable price, We need your help to reach our goal and order parts in volume quantities. These production costs also include tooling for multilayer impedance controlled PCB's and automated assembly of the board. Your pledges and support will help us in getting this awesome tool to the market and integrated with your Pi's.
Risks and challenges
I have taken the time and money invested to build and test the PiCHUB for several revisions, source suppliers, manufacturers and components so that most of the risks associated with producing an electronic product has been minimised. The PiCHUB has been designed for ESD and High Speed USB signal integrity. Our suppliers and manufacturers have been proven with previous orders and builds and quality has not been an issue. We have worked to secure the best price for components and contacted multiple suppliers for various quotes. Having worked in the industry for over 20 years engineering automotive, consumer and industrial electronic products has given us valuable experience to meet our goals. There are uncontrolled risks as supplier shortages can occur at any time or delays in shipping due to unforeseen circumstances but these are standard risks that any manufacturer or innovator has seen or experienced.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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