Share this project


Share this project

Transmit or receive any radio signal from 30 MHz to 6000 MHz on USB power with HackRF.
1,991 backers pledged $602,960 to help bring this project to life.

Preliminary Design Work

Posted by Michael Ossmann (Creator)
1 like

I'm in the process of ordering the major components for HackRF production, which means I've had to figure out what those components are!  Over the last few weeks I've been going through the Jawbreaker design looking for things that I might like to change.  I've also been investigating pricing and availability of the major components.

Overall, not much is going to change.  The PCB layout will change, and there will be an enclosure, but the schematic won't be very different from Jawbreaker.  All of the RF ICs will be the same, but I'm switching the microcontroller from the LPC4330 to the LPC4320 (in the same 144 pin package).  The only reason I selected the LPC4330 for Jawbreaker in the first place was that it was the first LPC43xx part to become available in quantity.  We aren't using the extra features that the LPC4330 has over the LPC4320, so it will be an easy transition.

I've decided on a custom injection molded plastic enclosure for HackRF One (which, by the way, is what I'm calling the new model).  It will be lighter weight and probably smaller than an aluminum enclosure would be, making the device more portable and reducing shipping costs.  I'm going to adjust the PCB layout so that a small shield can be soldered over the RF section of the board.  This should reduce interference from the digital section of the board itself in addition to reducing external interference as an aluminum enclosure would.

The device will have external SMA connectors for antenna, clock input, and clock output.  The opposite end (probably) will have a micro USB connector, LED indicators, and buttons.  Once the layout is complete, I'll post an image.  For now I'm still working on finalizing the schematic.

Mark Grennan likes this update.


Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Michael Ossmann 3-time creator on

      Elliott: HackRF One will be a different size and shape than Jawbreaker.

    2. Missing avatar

      QHENT on

      EMI is a huge problem which could increase the cost of the HackRF outside of the bounds Michael Ossmann was shooting for. A great deal of of the work could be left to the hackers backing the project. I can cite when dealing with the RTLSDR. Clever use of copper foil tape could eliminate a lot of noise AND reduce the case weight by sticking with the injection molded case. Just my thought....

    3. Missing avatar

      Mark Mc Nicholas on

      I have t agree with Péquignot Marc I think proper RF isolation is a far more important then a small weight difference, If this is to be used for RF experimentation even at home the isolation is so important I would hate to see this happen as I would feel this would compromise the board. I respectfully ask you to please re-consider this decision.

    4. Missing avatar

      Péquignot Marc on

      I may be wrong, but don't you think that a custom molded plastic enclosure will provide less RF isolation and may have some bad side effects ?
      Just a remark from a Ham radio.



    5. Missing avatar

      Michael Brinks on

      Having the Ethernet lines brought out would be a huge benefit. This would allow the board to be placed at the optimal location RF wise, while the pc is placed at a more convenient location in the house (or anywhere on the internet, bandwidth permitting).
      Not being able to hand solder the BGA part is not an issue for me, but it would make it more difficult for Ossmann to verify the new PCB. The extra part/manufacturing cost is of cause also an issue.

      USB connector: My vote goes to the micro connector.
      Extra traces for a standard connector could be a problem for signal integrity (unused traces would become a stub). A compromise could be extra pads on the usb traces. This would allow for soldering a cable directly to the PCB.

    6. Missing avatar


      Will the HackRF One board size be identical to the Jawbreaker? I am wondering if I might be able to purchase one of those injection-molded cases for my Jawbreaker?

      Thank you! Great work sir!

    7. Mark

      I agree with @Robert Wood.

    8. Missing avatar

      Robert Wood on

      Would you please reconsider using micro-usb at all? They don't seem to last very long even when just being used to charge a phone, much less able to take the number of insertions and rough handling that portable equipment gets. I'd prefer a full-B any day, even if it made the device thicker. Even a mini-B would be better. Its probably not practical, but would it be possible to route pads and holes so that less-than-gentle users like me could remove the micro connector and solder on a full-size connector?

    9. Missing avatar

      Kevin Reid on

      I think it would be slightly more useful to place the LEDs and buttons on a long side (assuming you meant the antenna and clock connectors are on one short side and the USB is on the opposite). That way they are accessible even if one decides to treat the USB end as the "back" end.

    10. Mark

      I agree using BGAs for this project would be determent. They are too hard to debug if lines are not brought to connectors, especially during board bring up and debugging. In a finally product they are fine. For someone at home trying to mount a BGA, well, if they could do that I am sure they could resolve the crisis in washington at this moment.

      For those of us who are less informed, pointing finger at myself, how would you connect the HackRF to another board (i.e., BeagleBone as you pointed out)?

    11. Michael Ossmann 3-time creator on

      Actually there is one way around the Ethernet/SGPIO pin conflict: We could switch from the 144 pin LQFP package to the 256 pin BGA package. However, BGAs would increase the cost of manufacturing (much more so at the small volumes I'm doing than they would if I were making hundreds of thousands of units) and would also make the design less friendly for home assembly. I don't feel that the advantage of Ethernet justifies going to a BGA when you could connect the HackRF to something like a BeagleBone Black anyway.

    12. Michael Ossmann 3-time creator on

      Mark: Ethernet was the reason we almost decided to stick with the LPC4330. It would have been cool to add an Ethernet port on the PortaPack. However, Jared and I figured out that the LPC4330 pins required for Ethernet are already in use for the SGPIO interface to the ADC/DAC, and there is no way around the conflict. We're only using a small fraction (less than 20 kB) of the RAM at this point, so we don't expect the reduction to be a problem even for custom applications.

    13. Brandon Zehm on

      Nice, looking forward to it!

    14. Michael Ossmann 3-time creator on

      Edouard: Yes, I only use micro USB connectors with through hole legs.

    15. Edouard Lafargue on

      Quick tip from personal experience: make sure you select a micro USB connector with through-hole solder tabs for strength & durability - if you sending 2000 units in the field, some people will rip off their USB connectors if they are 100% surface-soldered models and assume this was because of bad connector soldering...

    16. Mark

      From what I could tell some of the key differences between the two packages is the LPC4320 will not have the Ethernet peripheral and only have 200 K instead of 264 K of RAM. I know there original design did not show Ethernet as a connectivity option and I am not sure if those lines would had been brought out to a connector or not. Still, I would feel keeping the LPC4330 just for the added RAM would be beneficial since this project will be open source. If the LPC4330 was used instead, could the Ethernet lines be brought out to a connector in some fashion so the device could be networked??