Ethernet with LEDs Breakout

As I work on various projects I’ve often found I need a breakout for a standard part – a serial port, some SMD IC, etc. – and while such a breakout may exist the price of the part + shipping is either comparable or greater than the price that I can produce and assemble a board. This board is an example of such a case – Sparkfun sells a MagJack ethernet breakout board @ $0.95/piece which is really reasonable; however, that doesn’t include shipping or the jack. I can produce a very similar board for basically the same price¬†shipped,¬†purchase comparable parts from DigiKey and layout/add features to my board for no cost.

I also took this as an opportunity to continue working on standardizing my PCB design project layout and source control. You can find the project on GitHub with the latest files in the release/1.0 folder.

I recently returned to school and was able to assemble and photograph the boards:

Populated and unpopulated version of RJ45 Breakout.

Populated and unpopulated version of RJ45 breakout

The board includes two 1k resistors for the yellow and green LEDs included in the ethernet jack. There are also two solder jumpers so you can optionally connect the ethernet shield to ground. I designed the board to straddler a breadboard for easy prototyping.

RJ45 breakout on a breadboard.

RJ45 breakout on a breadboard

In addition to working on my PCB layout skills, I was able to add a few parts to my custom Eagle library that you can also find on GitHub. I’ve been working on standardizing the parts I use in my designs – text size, outline thickness, footprints, etc.

After testing the board works as expected, the LEDs light up and after connecting two together I confirmed all 8 pins functioned.

If you’re interested in getting this board or your own boards produced, I suggest OSH Park.

Kit photo of the RJ45 breakout

Kit photo of the RJ45 breakout