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2015
What do you do when you want to make your first PCB?   This is what I did:   Ask around to see who else has made one and how they did it. See what free / inexpensive PCB design software is available - I may hate it and only ever make one. Download some software and have a play.   I have found that the "having a play" is great - up to a point. It is something like an adventure game "There are three options - which do you chose?" (Chose the wrong one and you'll only find it was ...
    Thingatrons (blog post here) - the open collector driver boards that I (Lucy Rogers) made to control outputs from the GPIO pins on a Raspberry Pi - were great, but I realised I also needed to use various inputs to trigger the outputs.   And because I want my *things* to work out in the real world, and not just on my workbench, I use inputs that trigger on 12V, such as a motion detector or PIR.   If there's any kind of fault on the wiring or in the input, I could easily ...