Hi beagleboard community,
for several couple of months I’ve been doing some small extension boards to beagleboad for my robot project http://veter-project.blogspot.com/ , starting from ready boards from Sparkfun, then breadboard and then slowing moving to prototype boards. The schematic is pretty simple with some level converters, eventually atmega and couple of passive elements. Now I would like to make a next big step and move to making circuit boards exactly to my requirements. I know, that, there are already multiple expansion boards, and Trainer is almost what I need, but this is not part of the exercise I would like to learn doing this from scratch.
I imagine following workflow: I draw the schematic in some tool and perform tracing mostly automatic. Ready files are uploaded to some service, which produces (hopefully quite fast) 1 prototype. I get the prototype, check if everything works as expected (probably not ) and repeat prototype phase several times. After I’m satisfied with final layout, I order something like 5-10 final boards. Obviously, it would be great, if the boards already soldered with required elements, but I’m not hoping, that such service is available for private purposes.
The problem, that I don’t have any idea, where to start. I found multiple programs and thousand tutorials to them, but I still couldn’t get a big picture and I didn’t really found any such service in Europe.
I would really appreciate if some of you guys write your experience and send couple of links on where to start.
Should I start with producing boards myself (I’ve read some techniques with laser printer) or just skip this step ? I wanted to use SMD elements, so I’m not sure it’s possible to produce it in home process.
Should I put some effort to learn manual tracing, or these days it is already very good automated ?
Are there some simulator tools, which could help me avoid beginner mistakes ?
Is there some ready to use libraries, not only for elements, but for ready to use schematic blocks ?
Probably this is not the most relevant forum to ask, but I hope, that I’m not the only one having these questions here and you guys could point me to right community.
Thanks in advance,