LimeSDR Kicad

Are there any plans to release schematics and PCB designs for LimeSDR on Kicad ? if so, what sort of date are we looking at for availability ?

I’ve looked at the Altium pricing structure and I can buy a educational package for £100 or a professional package for £3500 a year but The educational package forbids any sales of the item produced at all and I can’t justify spending £3000 on software at the moment .

It’s on the to-do list, but I couldn’t say when this will happen. AFAIK it means manually re-entering the design in KiCad, then having boards made from Gerbers generated by this and testing them. So it’s not a small undertaking, but also not the sort of thing where you want to take shortcuts and risk people making boards that don’t work.

IIRC the board is 12 layers and that kind of complexity makes them harder to produce and some PCB houses don’t have the equipment required. Maybe there have been advancements recently that make that a false statement. It wasn’t so long ago that I looked at a 6 layer design and found that to be expensive and/or impossible for some of the PCB houses.

Complexity can be good for creating barriers. It can offer some protection from competition. It gives some room to get a foothold in a market space. Wait, was I not supposed to say that… :slight_smile:

But perhaps PCB manufacturing advancements make all the above moot.

I also recall mention or suggestion here that someone was working on a limesdr knockoff. But maybe I misremember.

We’d be delighted if people starting making their own boards, but note that PCB fab and assembly is only part of the story and you then have to perform comprehensive testing.

Not sure I’d perhaps use that turn of phrase, but someone was looking at getting bare LimeSDR-PCIe boards from a Chinese vendor and having a go at assembling these themselves.

[quote=“andrewback, post:4, topic:1350, full:true”]
We’d be delighted if people starting making their own boards, but note that PCB fab and assembly is only part of the story and you then have to perform comprehensive testing.[/quote]

Good point, with a device of this complexity the testing cannot be relegated to some minor step at the end. It is just as important as all the other steps, if not more so.

Alright, yes, that’s a far cry from a complete working facsimile ( that a better word choice? :slight_smile: )

But at least my recollection was partly correct! :smiley:

Is the LimeSDR really a 12 layer board? For some reason I thought it was six. .

Okay I did store that into the gray matter so I hope if it’s wrong someone corrects me so I can try to update the NogginDB.

p.s. I put a magnifying glass to the edge of my LimeSDR just now, in a well lighted room, and it looks very dense.

If you download the gerber files and open with any gerber viewer - G1 to G10 are the 10 inner layers and GTL the top and GBL is the bottom layer. So there are 12 layers of copper in the PCB.

All the info about which file is where is in the description of the gerber files in LimeSDR-USB/hardware/socket/1v4/Project Outputs for LimeSDR-USB_1v4s_LMS031pad/LimeSDR-USB_1v4s_readme_r1.txt at master · myriadrf/LimeSDR-USB · GitHub

The bottom line is that 12 layers it is not going to be a cheap board to make in lots of 1-10. And then there is the large BGA IC’s … Maybe in 5 years the cost of making a one off 12 layer board will have dropped.

1 Like

Not sure what the OP’s intentions are but some thoughts:

Since I know very little about the process of electronics design I have to guess that some reading this thread know, right away, why final designs use Altium.

More guessing… Altium has more features to ensure a correct design for trace lengths/timings, routing, and other things like that. Or is there more? Is the output from Altium so ubiquitous and trusted that a PCB maker won’t take anything else?

Or is it a matter of confidence in Altium output versus Kicad output? I know Kicad’s come a long way but I also know Altium’s been around a while and is in wide use.

@elemeno yes the lime team pointed me towards the myriad boards which are simpler and in Kicad, but also explained that Kicad won’t do copper pours without a lot of fuss and these ground planes are essential for rf designs.

I’m an incredibly lazy person so need to take the shortest possible route to success so I might need to see if I can borrow or piggy back on someone else’s license for a week or so. Any offers from the Altium users out there? :roll_eyes:

I already know you’re lazy* so I guess you must be wanting to make a limesdr but with something additional or a different form factor. It must be top secret.

[details=*]To see how lazy TegwynTwmfatt really is look at


@hTo137 I wouldn’t say it was ‘top’ secret, but one of the Lime crew advised me that if I wanted to win the BT Facebook hackathon I’d need to put ‘more meat on the bones’. I would not want the other competitors to catch wind of my ideas for the repeater project embellishments :pig::pig::pig::pig:

1 Like

Trust no one! Buena suerte!

LimeSDR stackup for the reference.