CAT5 Breakout Board
One of our group of ‘silver experimenters’ is building an Arduino based celestial camera tracker. This will be deployed in the garden and he needed all control to be routed back inside the house. The garden installation consists of a USB webcam mounted on a servo controlled platform all powered by 12V DC.
We pondered long on how we might remotely connect to the garden. The crucial thought was that the Arduino servo board was a two wire interface using the I2C format data exchange. Given that the USB needed four wires and the DC supply two wires we had a need for an eight core cable connection. It seemed like a length of CAT5 cable would do the job and we could elegantly use standard CAT5 sockets.
The PCB was designed in Design Spark and milled on the Tormach PCNC440 using FlatCAM.
There is a problem with running USB over more than 5m but I did some tests at 10m and all seemed fine which should be adequate for the application.
The breakout boards had a male and female USB connector fitted and the connections had to ‘cross over’ on one of the breakout boards to maintain continuity. We also paired the Data + and Data – connections with the +5 and Ground twisted pairs in the CAT5 so the Data + and Data – were not twinned together.
Nothing technically magic but a simple solution to a project need.
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