Raspberry PI Safe Breakout

I have always wanted to access the Rapsberry PI Gpio pins in a safer manner. Those are not 5V tolerant, and need a level shifter.

I came across this really nice level translator chip from TXB0108 from Texas Instruments. It is a bidrectional 3.3 to 5v logic level translator in a really tiny package.

Raspberry PI Safe BreakoutThe total pins on the RPI GPIO port that need to be converted are RX+TX, SCL+SDA, (MOSI+MISO+SCK+CS0+CS1) + 8 Pins, totalling 17 pins. With two of those chips, and one Mosfet based logic level translator, I was able to build a board in a small footprint of 22.91mmx37.24 mm.

I got my PCB manufactured from OSH Park, which cost me ~7 USD for three boards. The voltage converter chips I had asked for samples, so I got them for free.

Each set of breakout pins have 5V and GND on corners of that port.

Step 1: PCB arrived, populated and tested

The PCB arrived about 21 days after ordering, and I asked a phone repairman to solder the SMD devices for me. I left the Mosfet unpopulated, because at this moment, I dint have much need for that.

My primary use was to access the UART of the Rpi to control my 3D Printer. The pins on my Gen 7 board are also broken out on the board, and using a direct connection to a UART was the need of the hour for me, because, the MCP2200 chip on the Gen 7 Controller board used to get reset whenever there was an inductive load switched on in the house, like a bell.

Raspberry PI Safe Breakout schematicThe board performed flawlessly, and I no longer have prints stopping midway, when someone rings a bell or turns on a ceiling fan .

If you have like the project, please vote for me using the voting buttons for a contest appearing on the right top corner.


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About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer holding a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan, Pakistan University. With a background spanning various industries, particularly in home automation and engineering, I have honed my skills in crafting clear and concise content. Proficient in leveraging infographics and diagrams, I strive to simplify complex concepts for readers. My strength lies in thorough research and presenting information in a structured and logical format.

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