Introducing the SwitchPad

2013.04.08 18:35

The SwitchPad is my first PCB design, intended to make life easier for me and other LaunchPad users. The LaunchPad is great, but its male headers make it difficult to interface with a breadboard. As Larissa Swanland of TI explains here, this is a pain for many users.

One solution she suggested was to combine two female headers together to make a gender changer. I pushed together two headers, but there was a sizable gap remaining between them. Another pair refused to combine. I concluded that it would work as a temporary hack, but I wanted a more solid solution.

So I laid out some goals for the SwitchPad:

  1. Provide an interface for common jumper wire
  2. Sound electrical connectivity (no fricion fits other than pins and headers)
  3. Inexpensive to fabricate
  4. Maintain easy access to the DIP socket
  5. Robust against bending/torquing/dropping

The development and prototype are best told in pictures:

Cool things about the SwitchPad

  1. Working on multiple LaunchPad projects is easier because you only need 1 LaunchPad. With multiple SwitchPads, you can easily move your LaunchPad between breadboard projects.
  2. Jumper settings are maintained on the SwitchPad, making multiproject use even easier.
  3. The L shape helps stabilize insertion perpendicularly, reducing the likelihood of the LaunchPad pins bending.

If you have any questions, please contact me at (analog10 AT The SwitchPad will be available for sale next week. The comments system should be up too.

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