Programmable USB Hub

by Capable Robot Components

A USB hub with per-port power and data disconnects + dev board + I²C, GPIO, and SPI bridges

View all updates Jan 07, 2020

Production Update: Part II

First the bad news; due to a slight delay in PCB fabrication and assembly, it is now looking like shipping will be slightly delayed from the campaign goal of 1/19. We currently expect to ship around the end of January.

Other than that, this update is full of progress and fun production images. As I said previously, we’ll be keeping you all informed as we progress through the steps below.

  • Production of Custom Front & Rear Panels / Enclosure:
    1. Deposit with supplier (done)
    2. Fabrication of tooling & first article inspection (done)
    3. Production & Shipping (done)
  • Production of PCBA:
    1. Short-run of final design (done)
    2. Final verification & compliance testing
    3. Sourcing & Fabrication (done)
    4. Assembly & Shipping (in-progress)
  • Fabrication of production test & flashing fixture (done)
  • Building of cables (in-progress)
  • Flashing, testing, and kitting of Hub & Kits (in-progress)
  • Finish documentation (in-progress)

Case Production : Done

The production run of enclosures is complete and units arrived here at Capable Robot back in December.

120 enclosures and covers prior to assembly

This photo shows about 1/2 of the production order of enclosures. Each case has 8 M4x15 torx screws (T10 head) which attach the front and rear covers to the main body of the enclosure. When you multiply 15mm of 0.8mm pitch threads, by 8 screws per case, by 200 cases — you end up with a lot of revolutions of a torx driver.

So, an adjustable torque screwdriver was purchased to reduce assembly time & hand strain.

This screwdriver is a used Mountz K350, and the reaction torque is absorbed by an adjustable microphone stand. Not quite the intended purpose of the stand, but we find it works quite well and is far cheaper than reaction arms designed for industrial screwdrivers like this.

Cable Production & Kitting : In Progress

Folks who ordered the USB Hub in Kit form may be happy to learn that the auxiliary IO cable — which includes the serial port, 2 GPIO, 3.3v power, and ground — will arrive with labels on the 0.1" header end.

Photos of lots of the same thing are fun, so here are some!

Labelled IO cables and other parts for kitting

Kitted cables, ready for final packaging

A comically-large box of bubble bags to wrap USB Hubs in

Speaking of final packaging, this how the USB Hub, power supply, USB cable, power cable, and kitted cable pack will be shipping to backers:

Programmable USB Hub Kit in shipping box

PCBA Test Fixture : Done

The "bed of nails" programming and test fixture from Merifix is fully assembled, wired, and ready for the upcoming PCBA shipment. This fixture allows for:

  • SWD flashing of the UF2 bootloader
  • Installation of the CircuitPython runtime
  • Installation of the Capable Robot USB Hub Firmware
  • Measurement of various internal power rails
  • Testing of externally exposed UART, GPIO, and I2C

All production boards will go through this fixture for software programming and functional testing.


Thanks to each and every one of you who has helped us get here! Without your support, the Programmable USB Hub would not have become a reality, and we are so grateful!

$29,756 raised

of $10,000 goal

297% Funded! Order Below

Product Choices


Programmable USB Hub

Fully assembled Programmable USB Hub PCBA in a custom metal enclosure with light pipes and rubber feet.


Programmable USB Hub Kit

Fully assembled Programmable USB Hub PCBA in a custom metal enclosure with light pipes and rubber feet. Also includes a power supply, Aux cable, I²C cable, and USB cable.


Rubber Bumpers


Mounting Flanges


Capable Robot Components

Capable Robot Components enables rapid development of autonomous robots by providing technological building blocks to system integrators. Right now, integrators have to develop things they would rather purchase because the right robot-first products don't currently exist. CRC provides proven products which are domain-agnostic, but configurable and adaptable to the integrator's market needs. This allows autonomous system developers to spend more time and effort on domain-specific engineering and testing.

Chris Osterwood

See Also

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