The design phase is crucial to the entire process. Before you even begin thinking about manufacturing a board, you need to put a lot of thought into the circuit design and the features. You will need to leverage design collaboration and design tools to create your BoosterPack and send it out for manufacturing.
Coming up with a solid design on your own is tough, but luckily there are many online communities that can help you. It is highly recommended that before you begin manufacturing your BoosterPack that you get some feedback from other experienced designers. They can catch small mistakes you may have missed or give you tips on how to improve your design.
An online community of TI MCU enthusiasts and hobbyists
element14’s online community for engineers and hobbyists
TI’s online forum is good for asking specific questions about TI parts and products but may not be helpful for BoosterPack design advice. All LaunchPad related information can be found on ti.com/launchpad.
You can download a free trial of EAGLE, a very popular hardware design tool. Most PCB manufactures accept EAGLE designs. You can find an EAGLE BoosterPack template file here.
Fritzing is a free and easy to use design tool to create your own schematics and designs, and they will manufacture your design using their Fritzing Fab service. Find the Fritzing BoosterPack template file here or drag in LaunchPad and BoosterPacks directly to your design.
An open source, functional design tool that is very popular with professionals and amateurs. Find the KiCad BoosterPack template here.
An online and free to use open hardware design tool that allows you to easily collaborate with other hardware designers. You can fork the 40 pin BoosterPack template from here
Popular industry design tool offering unified design software to build next generation electronic products. Good support and design content. Requires a license. You can find the Altium BoosterPack template here.
The Bill of Materials
The BOM is your list of components you need to build a BoosterPack. Examples of components are resistors, op amps, LEDs, sensors, and specialized ICs (integrated circuits or “chips”). You will need a BOM so that you can order components from your PCB manufacturer or from a components supplier like element14, Digikey, Mouser, and many others. A sample BOM template is provided here
in the BYOB Getting Started Packet. You can find an example of a real BOM here
PCB (Printed Circuit Board)
There are many affordable PCB manufacturers that you can hire to create your BoosterPack. There are many factors to consider when making PCBs such as lead time, the location of the factory, price, layering options, color options, and other details. Research which fabs will cater to your needs the best.
If you plan on selling your board to the market, make sure you factor in your BOM cost, the cost of manufacturing, shipping, and any other costs (selling fees, etc) that will affect your cost of build and then set your sale price accordingly. The best-selling BoosterPacks typically sell for $10-$50, anything more starts getting too expensive for LaunchPad users. You can reduce costs by optimizing your BOM costs, reducing your board size, or making larger quantities. Making larger quantities will require more upfront capital, so preselling your hardware may be a good way to raise the money you need. Check out the Element14 BYOB page or Energia BYOB page to find ways to do that!
PCB Assembly Express
Build a BoosterPack for a flat rate + cost of components. Check out the element14 BYOB page for more details.
Popular in the hobbyist community and maker space. Very affordable boards with good turnaround. Made in China.
Affordable boards and the ability to sell through the Seeedstudio channel. Made in China.
Community printed circuit boards. High quality. Pricing based on size, so smaller boards will be much cheaper than larger boards. Made in the USA.
Feature Your BoosterPack
Once you have built your BoosterPack and you have a way to sell or distribute it, you can apply to be an Official BoosterPack and qualify to be featured in Texas Instruments marketing. Apply for Official BoosterPack status below. Receive a badge to put on your website and get featured on the BoosterPack page of the LaunchPad portal. Your BoosterPack will also qualify to get pull through on forums, blog posts, and even featured at TI events.