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Notice: Open Circuits Recent History[edit]

Open Circuits has hit some bumps in the road in the last year. We have had trouble with:

  • Upgrading our software
  • Maintaining our tcpip address.
  • Dealing with spam.
  • Taking updates offline.

We should now (Feb 2021) be back at the same old address ( though a new address may show up as well ), the software is upgraded, updates to content are enabled.

One lingering problem is spam, so for now to become a new users drop an email to ( no_spam_please_666 at comcast dot net (REFORMAT FOR A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS). This address is just for first contact, I will respond with a better address after first contact ).

We think the site will be up, stable, and generally in good shape for years to come.

Open Circuits[edit]

Open Circuits is a wiki for sharing open source electronics knowledge, schematics, board layouts, ports and parts libraries. Please help us to build this resource by submitting your descriptions, projects, instructions, techniques, board layouts, PCB footprints, and other documentation for electronics. This includes

Many of the section titles are active links, click on them.

Meta Open Source[edit]

Meta Open Source: Not projects or information on projects, but stuff about Open Hardware Initiatives and the open source movement ( mostly hardware ) itself.

The Open Source Movement, typically covers Open Hardware, Open Firmware, and Open Software.

Open Hardware is similar to Free and Open Source Software.

The Open Firmware movement provides firmware (i.e.: micro-code specifically related to the subcoding of hardware devices) which you may also know as soft-IP or FPGA coding see Open Cores for more details.

Excellent examples of specific Open Hardware projects are listed on our Projects page. Discussions of more general open-hardware ideas are on a few pages here, such as open source electronics, Ideas, Meta Open Source, etc.

Just as many important pieces of open-source software are, in turn, used to develop software (including more open-source software), many important open-hardware devices are, in turn, used to develop hardware devices (including more open-hardware devices) -- such as Oscilloscope#Open Source Oscilloscopes. There's also a bit of crossover, in that software tools (many of them open-source software) are often used to develop open-source hardware.


consider moving this section to: hardware license

The most common "open hardware" licenses are the Creative Commons Licenses and the GNU General Public License. The GNU people wrote the the GPL FAQ to deal with common questions and misunderstandings of the GPL. The GNU people go on to say

"We encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If this seems surprising to you, please read on." -- GNU: "Selling Free Software"

For example, Linksys makes money selling (among other things) their Linksys WRT54G series routers, which use Linux under the GPL license.

To understand what your entitlements and responsibilities are under the applicable license(s); each hardware, firmware and/or software piece you have either copied, modified, developed using tools provided or if you intend distributing your development, you MUST read each and every license, and be specifically aware that you may not mix such license(s) together unless they can co-exist under one umbrella license. For example you may modify, copy, enhance and distribute parts your project which are all under the same license e.g.: or .

Some people are working on licenses that are specifically designed for "open hardware". "Open Source Hardware (OSHW) Draft Definition 1.0"[1]. Wikipedia: "Open Hardware License"[2] mentions "CERN Open Hardware License"[3][4] and the "TAPR Open Hardware License"[5]. David L. Jones has a short video that discusses open-source hardware[6] and mentions several licenses, including the CERN Open Hardware Licence[7].

Jim E. Bullock. "Passing it on: The technology license" defines many legal terms common in technology licenses.

Help Us Make Open Circuits Better[edit]

What are we:

Looks like we are defining this by way of who contributes and what. I ( russ_hensel ) am a new member so may or may not have it right. This is what I think:

  • An introduction to Electronic theory, suitable for the hobbyist.
  • Guide to locating and using components and tools.
  • Details on how to build various projects.
  • Building some sense of community among builders.

There are two means of carrying this out:

  • Write material for the site or
  • Link to material you may have written or have located on the web. There is so much stuff on the web that lets not write it here unless it is at least somewhat unique.

What do you think, discuss it here if very general, else on the discussion page ( link at top of page ).

See also: