I want to create a massive electrical switchboard PCB (24x 230V relays) with individual current and voltage monitoring using a RPi Compute Module as controller and the GPIO banks for controlling.

The compute module

Do any EAGLE (or other layouting program) example board schematics exist which I can use to create such a board? I'm fine with any OSS license.

Also, which chipset can I use for the current/voltage monitoring?

Here's a ROUGH block diagram:


  • 1
    You have to ask these kind of questions, and you're thinking of playing with 240V?!
    – Majenko
    Jun 28, 2014 at 18:29
  • I have experience with building 240V circuits "by hand" using DIN-rail relais and switches, I just never crossed the barrier to controlling that stuff with a computer... (and drawing my own PCBs)
    – Skynet
    Jun 28, 2014 at 18:30
  • Oh, ok. And FYI, it's spelled "relays", and it's a "Raspberry Pi Embedded Computer"
    – Majenko
    Jun 28, 2014 at 18:31
  • 1
    This sort of thing is normally done with a hardened industrial PLC rather than a consumer toy.
    – Spehro Pefhany
    Jun 28, 2014 at 18:36
  • 1
    Might it be better to migrate this question to the dedicated RPi stack and have them take a stab at sorting this out?
    – Nick Alexeev
    Jun 28, 2014 at 18:55

4 Answers 4


Eagle PCB is a great PCB CAD design software. There are no pre existing designs in CAD as this is usually intellectual property, and cost allot of time and money, if you carry on reading you will understand better. You may consider trying it your self and once you have a prototype you can get a consultant to fix er up for cheaper.

It takes some getting used to working between PCB layout and Schematics mode. These modes are used to validate basic circuits. There are allot of design aspects you need to know and usually gain as a professional. For a basic PCB like you need it doesn't really matter for prototyping but any commercial releases need professionals to implement design rules for mass production and FCC regulations.

First of you need to find out who is going to make the boards for you. I found Seeedstudio is really great and cheap! THey even do 4 Layers now, but that is used mostly for RF, 2 Layers will be more than enough. They can do various sizes, check the sizes you think you need, you can even split massive PCB and they will cut it to size for you.

Once you know the dimensions you start your CAD up and define the PCB borders. You find "SODIMM DDR2 sized (6.5cm by 3cm)" in the parts list and plop it down. From there, the compute module schematics becomes your new bible (If you only have 1 screen, print it out a few times). In CAD start drawing lines from the pins you need and slowly add new parts, like PINS, USB, etc, etc

Do not worry too much about how the PCB traces run, you will eventually get to a point where you need to lay everything out nicely, or in an ordered fashion. Concentrate more on the schematics part so it makes sense.

There are priority traces and less important but various rules apply.

  • RF traces are highest priority, like USB communication, I2C channels, HDMI etc. These typically need to run uniform, side by side and far away from voltage or things that can generate noise. It would be good to use a ground plane too.
    • Power always needs decoupling as close to the module or IC as possible. Even if the module has decoupling, putting another near the SO-DIMM and filter caps are pretty much essential at the input or near power regulators.
    • Also it is good to make a main power trace that is thick, but runs far away from any sensitive components (RF Comms mostly, but on relays it doesn't matter) So if you planning to have 12V 2A input make sure it can handle up to 4A. (There is no precise way to calculate how much the trace can handle during prototyping, you just have to assume on the lower borders) You never know during prototyping what you need. Then run thinner traces to things that need power. A reverse polarity diode is a good idea and a fuse too but most power regulators have this built in.
    • During prototyping breakout ALL the pins, even if they connect the VIA's and you don't expect to use them, you never know! You can always solder paths, add pins, or add stuff for testing and update the CAD design accordingly.
    • Silkscreen as much as possible. Separate High voltage 220V/100V (mark it with a thick silk screen and text WARNING or something) and leave a good 2-4CM space between low voltage <12v circuits. This reduces the chance of noise and chance of voltage sparks or if something burns out it wont affect its neighbours. The minimum required is 1CM but that is highly frowned upon within professional designs, even simple power adapters.

The list goes on and on. Essentially you can use other designs to fuel project but always try and shop for parts before buying them, then place them on the PCB, as sometimes a part that can have an alternative may be very expensive and only needs a small design change to save allot of money.

Now after all that, have a CLOSE look at the IO board that is going to be released soon for the module. You will realise now, that things are placed deliberty in certain places and not just at random.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Thinking of using the compute module for a project of my own - this looks like it will be rather useful - good level of detail (not too much not too little). Thanks! Aug 20, 2014 at 18:19

For a free Electronics CAD system why not use the GNU Public Licensed GEDA suite! That is as much OSS as anyone wish for - though that does not answer your original question about a pre-designed schematic. One feature that relates to the worthwhile advice of @ppumkin is that when laying up the schematic you can work in "blocks" which you interconnect and then you can drill down into each block (component) and fill in the circuitry that needs to be wired into each connection to that block - which helps to make the thing modular and so you can work on a bit at a time {like when writing software code in functions/subroutines/blocks!}.

Obviously you will want a DDR2 SODIMM connector in the design as that is where everything for the Compute module will be wired into your circuitry!

EDIT {2017-02-11} There is now the Compute Module Farnell On-Line catalog link which ought to be compatible with any existing PWB you have designed but offers three more cores running a bit faster - and the option (which will need a revision to the PWB) to use external Flash memory in the "Lite" rather than the 4Gbyte onboard of the original CM or "Full" CM3.


No, no such pre-designed schematics that you can just plug in are likely to exist.

First take a proper look at the Pi and determine exactly what it is capable of. Is it really suitable for your purposes? Would there be a better option, or are you just thinking of using a Pi purely because it's the latest craze? (By the way, the Pi is actually a very poorly designed and executed device.)

Then, take a step back from your project and think about just what you want it to do. Draw it all out in a block diagram, and work out what the Pi can do and what you need to have as external modules.

Then look at what modules there are available to fit your needs.

When you get stuck doing that come back to us with a proper question about the part you don't understand or are struggling with.

  • What I basically need is a way to control the 24 relays with a web interface with Wifi and with a Bluetooth link from an Android app. The RPi CM supplies me with the necessary amount of GPIOs as well as the networking and controlling - the first version of the PCB actually would just be the 24 relays, the U/I monitoring is just a goodie planned for the final version.
    – Skynet
    Jun 28, 2014 at 18:37
  • The Pi cannot do any analog IO at all, so you would need to interface to external devices for the voltage / current monitoring. Have you taken that into account with your pin count?
    – Majenko
    Jun 28, 2014 at 18:39
  • I had thought of using the U/I monitoring using peripherals connected via I2C.
    – Skynet
    Jun 28, 2014 at 18:40
  • Good. That's a reasonable option. Now go and design it and ask us about the bits you get stuck on.
    – Majenko
    Jun 28, 2014 at 18:43
  • Well, I don't even know on how to get started - I need a software package for designing the PCB as well as maybe some schematic of a board already using the CM as a starting point.
    – Skynet
    Jun 28, 2014 at 18:48

Use Design Spark from RS.

Draw the schematic and then ask for that to be checked by someone who knows what they are doing - you'll have to pay for that


pay a professional to do the design work for you - should cost about a thousand pounds

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