Nothing says tech addict quite like the wearing of a binary watch — and we say that as tech addicts ourselves. However, many of the homebrew binary watches we’ve seen don’t just look nerdy because they are showing the time in binary. They are nerdy because it looks like someone strapped an Arduino to their wrist. Not so with [APTechnologies] “Ultimate Binary Watch.”
While creating a binary clock is not amazing in of itself, we were highly impressed with the look of this watch. The 3D printed case and the use of surface mount LEDs makes a great looking package. We wondered how it would look with a colored plastic cover like you’d find over an old LED clock. On the other hand, the exposed LEDs do have a certain charm to them.
Around these parts we tend to be exponents of the KiCad lifestyle; what better way to design a PCBA than with free and open source tools that run anywhere? But there are still capabilities in commercial EDA packages that haven’t found their way into KiCad yet, so it may not always be the best tool for the job. Altium Designer is a popular non-libre option, but at up to tens of thousands of USD per seat it’s not always a good fit for users and businesses without a serious need.
What do you do as a KiCad user who encounters a design in Altium you’d like to work with? Well as of April 3rd 2020, [Thomas Pointhuber] has merged the beginnings of a native Altium importer into KiCad which looks to be slated for the 6.0 release. As [Thomas] himself points out in the patch submission, this is hardly the first time a 3rd party Altium importer has been published. His new work is a translation of the Perl plugin altium2kicad by [thesourcerer8]. And back in January another user left a comment with links to four other (non-KiCad) tools to handle Altium files.
If you’d like to try out this nifty new feature for yourself, CNX has a great walkthrough starting at building KiCad from source. As for documents to test against the classic BeagleBone Black sources seen above can be found at on GitHub. Head past the break to check out the very boring, but very exciting video of the importer at work, courtesy of [Thomas] himself. We can’t wait to give this a shot!