I took the plunge and bought some ICs for the purpose of making a switch. They’re super expensive though (for the kind of budget I’m working with) and I really hope I don’t have to buy any more. Total, I bought 3 KSZ8863RLL and 3x KSZ8895MQXIA plus some 10 rj45 jacks which turned out to be a little over a dollar each! Yeesh! I spent a bit over $55 on so little… It’ll be interesting to really dig into the datasheets on these chips once they come in and I find the time. Based on my cursory glance it looked like it’ll be really easy to set these up and get them running as switches. Pretty much input in, output out and power. I mean, if it’s really that easy, then I’ll have to do something to make it somewhat more complicated. I’m thinking like a backup battery so that your switch stays powered during a blackout. They’re using less than an amp and things like the external indicator lights indicating read/write/activity/whatever could probably be shut off during power failure. IDK, just something that I’ve been thinking about. Of course it’d require some work to build a power supply that’d be smart enough to charge its self and to switch supplies based on power state so who knows if I can even figure out how to do that. Well anyway, this is where I ramble, if you’ve stumbled upon this for some reason, I’m sorry. Just keeping a log of my thoughts as I go on this journey.
So the other day I was making my uncle a thing I knew I could make from one of his favorite tv shows the IT Crowd. Basically, it is a project box with a led inside of it that blinks. The guys present it to their manager as “the internet” because she got picked for employee of the month and she didn’t know anything about IT stuff. Anyway, I knew it could be done with a pretty simple 555 timer and so I built it out and super over-engineered it.
After doing this, my desire to minimize the circuit footprint was wet. I began looking for some PCB design software. I originally found Circuits.io which is a tool by autodesk but when I went to export it they added to the silk screen “123D Circuits”. I was a bit upset. So I started asking around in the comments sections of youtubers that do electronic videos what tool they use to design their PCBs for printing. It was there that I was pointed towards Easy EDA. About 20 minutes later I ad designed the blueprint and thrown it into a pcb. I was pleased, and when I went to export to a gerber file, not only did they offer to manufacture my pcb’s for me, they allowed me to download the gerber files without any watermarking. Since I’ve never done this before I went ahead and then ordered some PCB’s from them – they were having a sale of $2 for 10 boards (how could anyone pass that up!?) but I also downloaded the gerber file so that I could try out another manufacturer.
Well a few weeks later, I got back one of the sets of PCB’s I had manufactured, being super psyched out that something that I drew was in reality I’ve decided I’m going to make another. While I’m still figuring these things out, I think I’ve all but decided that my next project is going to be an open source, unmanaged switch. I am by no means an expert on anything in this area, but I hope that I can figure it out. Should be an interesting journey.