Introducing the SteamVan 40% PCB

Interesting :wink:
I have little experience in that sort of thing, although my own PCBs came out well soldered by JLCPCB.
Now I don’t think JLCPCB is suitable for a proper public GB as they have a lot of limitations.
But for a private projet they could be used if some hand assembly of a few components (like the USB C connector) is acceptable.

Also having a few PCB prototypes in hands before launching something more official is a good idea IMO. It allows to find potential problems (like fitting in your case design) and ways of improvements.
I can try to find a little bit of my time for that if you need.

For medium to high volumes, probably other manufacturers would be better like Elecrow(used by @jmdaly in several projects), PCBWay, etc…
This part is unknown to me, and raises many questions other than strict PCB electronics design.
One for example is having official QMK and VIA support (@jmdaly looks to have a working firmware in QMK repo, but in the handwired directory and no VIA support as it looks).

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Thank you for this detailed response, the case is made to support all existing Minivan PCBs So if I can’t figure out how to produce some I’m inclined to launch my IC as a BYOP Kit, but if there isn’t enough interest for that I guess I’ll be doing a lot more studying on PCBs

Hey, that’s great to hear about your custom Minivan case! I’m glad you’re interested in this PCB too :slight_smile: I unfortunately don’t have enough bandwidth to run a GB myself for the PCB, but I’d be glad to try to answer any questions about the process and help that way. The Gerbers for the SteamVan are here.

@Rico is right - this board has QMK support, but not VIA support. I haven’t looked into what it would take to add VIA support, but that is something I’d be interested in looking into at some point. The SteamVan is in the handwired directory just because, so far, it’s only been a personal project. If a GB were run, I think we could move the SteamVan QMK code to the main keyboards area in their repo.

I’ll have to check when I’m home, but I may have an extra blank (unpopulated) PCB from the most recent rev of the SteamVan. If so, and if you’re interested, maybe I could get the blank PCB to you for test fitting with your case.

I’ve never done a full assembly run of this board, but I have with my 60% PCB, the CO60. If you want to have a look at what sort of documentation Elecrow needs for a PCBA order, have a look at my CO60 fabrication files here.


Doing a QMK port for an ARM chip is significantly more involved than for an ATMega.
As you already did the QMK port, VIA is not very complex to do;)

I have a question on how the reset work on your board (I’m not proficient on STM32 MCUs).
The push button is linked to BOOT0 pin that select the boot mode:

  • Not pressed means restart from flash (the QMK firmware).
  • Pressed means restart in DFU mode.

So you short NRST and GND pins while having the switch pressed to enter DFU mode ?
Or maybe you used SWD to flash the firmware ?


I’m glad to hear VIA isn’t too complex :slight_smile: I’ve been meaning to get back into the QMK code and see what’s changed since I last had a look. The QMK ARM code was evolving heavily as I was developing these PCBs, so I’m curious to see where it’s at now!

You’re right about the resetting and going into DFU. On my board, if you hold the reset button down while plugging it into the USB port, the chip will start in DFU mode and you can flash firmware. In practice, this is how I flash QMK the first time, but once it’s flashed, you can do a software reset to get back into DFU for re-flashing. No SWD is needed for the flashing.

The hardware reset isn’t as elegant as the way resets work on the ATMega chips. I have seen some guys implement additional circuitry on their STM32 boards so that a press of the reset button, while the board is plugged in, puts the chip into DFU mode (similar to the ATMega boards).

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Yes, the reset circuitry on STM32 looks quite complex.
The man who did a great job to address that is Gondolindrim.
He wrote a very interesting article on STM32 reset on its Acheron Docs website, a must read.

Ty @jmdaly for the information !

The article I was making reference in my previous post is:

Hey, thanks for sharing that article! I hadn’t seen it before. In the article, Gondolindrim reference’s ishtob for the original reset circuitry. I had some chats with ishtob when I was designing these boards. He was super helpful and knowledgeable.

I didn’t know about Gondolindrim’s website either, so I’m going to browse through some of the posts there!


Good news, it looks like JLCPCB is now able to assemble USB connectors as well!
Still need to wait for these STM32 MCUs to be back in stock …


long live the Van!


Hey, that’s awesome, thanks for sharing! Having the boards assembled minus the USB-C connector could be kind of troublesome. It’s interesting that the STM32 chips have been out of stock for so long, hopefully they come back soon!

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Yes, JLCPCB constantly improves its PCBA offering :wink:

ST Microelectronics is not the only one to have trouble producing chips, this looks to be a global trend in the electronics industry; we can expect to have shortages of many components in the future due to the Covid19 situation unfortunately (production lead time of STM32 chips looks to be around 12 weeks).
For example I also had a hard time sourcing ESD protection chips made by Texas Instruments.


Thank you so much for sharing your project. I’m slowly learning about PCB design and electronics and your files are of great value.

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You’re welcome, I’m glad you’re finding it useful!