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Homebrewing PCBs Part 1: Raspberry Pi


Sometime in 2017 I gained an interest in basic Printed Circuit Board design. I had been using a Raspberry Pi to control my homebrewery for some time with various software, and was growing tired of trying to arrange components and solder wires on prototyping boards every time I wanted to make a system change. Messy and not that fun. PCB design on the other hand could be perfected on a computer, and ordered/printed for cheap. They are also easy to share with others.

PCB Goals

The first board I made would do a couple things:

  1. It would use a transistor array (ULN2803) to increase the effective voltage and current I could output from a Raspberry Pi. The purpose of this is to reduce current draw on Raspberry Pi GPIO, and increase reliability when using Solid State Relays and Relay Modules to control elements, pumps, etc in my brewery.
  2. It would have circuitry to enable the reading of many 1wire temperature sensors – that is, a pull up resistor on GPIO 4 (Data or DQ pin typically used for interfacing DS18B20 temperature sensors with Raspberry Pi), and 5V and GND break outs.
  3. A decoupling capacitor, and a big ol ground plane, intended to improve the quality of the 5V power supplied to the Raspberry Pi and reduce electrical interference respectively.
  4. Screw terminals for everything to simplify installation.

Design software

My initial PCB designs were done using Fritzing software, which is very user friendly, and opensource, but development on it has dropped off – the last release was in 2016. As I gained more experience I’ve switched to using KiCad software which offers more advanced features.


I’ve gone through a couple revisions of this to minimize the footprint and implement small improvements. I’ve been using this board for over a year now quite happily. The full design (and history of the design), as well as bill of materials can be found on github here. The design can also be downloaded and ordered from PCBWay here.

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Published in IoT


  1. Ryan

    Hi Justin
    Thanks for your reply on facebook regarding my craftbeerpi3 build. I have ordered your Board and am waiting for it.
    Your PCB will tidy things up a lot !

    • Justin

      No problem! Good luck with it!

  2. Micah

    Awesome! I’d love to have the parts list and gerber files so I can order my own PCB and make a clone if possible. Contact me if that’s possible

    Looks just like what I have been dreaming up

  3. kjetil Knutsen

    thx for a great tool for the Pi

    Is it correct to connect the DS18B20 to VCC + GND and DQ ?
    Is the 2 DQ the same ? just made to meke it easyer to connect 2 temp probes ?

    • Justin

      Exactly – the DQ are the same, just for convenience of attaching 2 probes directly to board.

  4. kjetil Knutsen

    Just a quick one..
    Does the pcb get its power from the Pi ore is it from “POWER” ?

    Du you have the schematics for it, and can send it to me ?

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