Curious about USB

Just for curiosity, how big a pain in the patoot is it to build a custom device of some kind with a USB interface on it (curious about both 2.0 and older USB standards).

How about a commercial device? Are there fantasticly expensive licenseing and/or certification processes to go through?

(I hasten to add I have no plans at all, I'm just curious about the process

- don't contact me if you are a USB developer looking for a job :-).


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Thomas A. Horsley
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You can purchase components and system-on-chip type solutions that make the hardware design for USB extremely simple for anyone that knows how to design and build electronics circuits. Using these parts also eliminates any need for licensing or certification for compatibility with computers. The more difficult part is writing the firmware and PC drivers that meet the specific needs of your device. For simple interfaces, the drivers built in to Microsoft Windows will usually suffice, and the firmware could be written and tested in a day or two by a qualified engineer or developer, for a total system cost of less than $2,000 total for engineering/development time, plus about $5-$10 per board you build in parts for the USB chips (assuming you're talking low quantities, like between 1 and 100). More complex interfaces and devices might require complex firmware or custom PC drivers, and then you're talking about some pretty high development costs. If it is a really simple system, you could probably do it yourself, using a pre-made USB conversion kit board, and a few days learning how to do the customizations to the firmware required.

Tim Kirk Electronics Design Engineer

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Thomas A. Horsley wrote:


2.0 and



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