Easy-to-use BOBs (breakout boards) shorten your time to market.
If you are intending to create a mass-produced product, then surface-mount technology (SMT) components -- anything from discrete devices (resistors, capacitors, etc.) to motor drivers to microcontrollers -- are the way to go. As compared to lead through hole (LTH) components, systems using surface mount devices (SMDs) are much smaller and lighter, thereby resulting in smaller, lighter circuit boards, which is a key factor when creating volume-limited products like cameras.
The big downside to SMDs is when it comes to prototyping. It is possible to hand-solder some SMDs with larger pitches, but finer-pitch devices would bring most of us to our knees.
This is one reason I really appreciate the folks at Microchip Technology because, in addition to various SMT package options for their microcontrollers, they continue to offer dual in-line (DIL) lead through hole equivalents.
Quite apart from the fact that I grew up with 0.1" pitch LTH chips and I'm comfortable with them, they are ideal for prototyping using 0.1" pitch stripboard or solderless breadboards.
Now, some manufacturers only offer SMT versions of their components, but they accommodate folks creating prototypes by providing pre-populated breakout boards. Take the guys and gals at Silego (now Dialog Semiconductor), for example. I love their GreenPAK (GPAK) chips, which I always think of as being teeny-tiny mixed-signal FPGAs, but these little scamps are way too small for me to work with by hand. However, I can work with their GreenPAK DIP Development Board.
I must admit, I have wondered why more chip vendors don’t offer breakout board versions of their products. Thus, I was delighted to hear that the folks at Trinamic have just announced that they are rolling out open source BOBs (breakout boards) for their chips.
Trinamic develops sophisticated technology for motion and motor control applications. The folks at Trinamic say that they will be rolling out BOBs for all of their motor and motion control ICs, with the following immediately available through distribution:
These BOBs are for anyone who needs a physical prototype fast. They can be used on breadboards or with flying wires, and each BOB has everything you need to use that component, such as sense resistors, buffer capacitors and, in some cases, power MOSFETs or Ethernet connectors.
Trinamic's Technology Access Package (TTAP) provides users with sample code and an application programming interface (API) for each of the chips found on the BOBs. In addition to simplifying physical design-in and bring-up, this also speeds up firmware development.
All Trinamic BOBs are open source hardware accompanied by a permissive license. If the design works for you, just take the design and paste it into your board design, or simply copy the schematics, whatever best works for you.
The end result is that, if you're an enthusiast tinkering away, a startup realizing its first Minimum Viable Product (MVP), or an international company creating the next groundbreaking application, then building, testing, and reiterating your MVP will be greatly facilitated using Trinamic's BOBs.