The Open Hardware Repository is a place on the web for electronics
designers to collaborate on open hardware designs, much in the
philosophy of the free software movement. There are numerous advantages
to working in a completely open environment:
Peer review. If you are a designer in a somewhat small team, or even
alone, you can get very useful feedback from others by exposing your
ideas in an open space. Chances are somebody has similar interests
to yours and more experience.
Design reuse. The OHR has its origins (and initial scope) in the
community of electronics designers working in experimental physics
laboratories. One of its goals is to reduce the number of different
teams working independently to solve the same problems, in order to
make better systems with less time and effort.
Better collaboration with industry. The current business model for
most commercial design companies is to keep the details of design
secret. While this might maximize the margins of some companies it
has no advantage for the customers. We believe that a business model
based on companies designing in the OHR and getting paid for it is
perfectly feasible, and would result in better products and the
possibility for the customer to improve them and debug them more
Last but not least, designing in an open environment is definitely
more fun than doing it in isolation, and we firmly believe that
having fun results in better hardware.
There are two different areas in the OHR:
Project pages are under the responsibility of a given project
leader. There are two requirements for any project to qualify for
Everything needed to review the design and to produce the final
hardware must be published. This includes schematics and PCB
layout in some human-readable open format, bill of materials,
mechanical drawings, manufacturing files, etc. Submitting the
electronics CAD files in case someone uses the same design
software and wants to modify the design is encouraged but not
requested. A project leader is free to use any licensing scheme
for a given design, provided it is compatible with the OHR goals
stated in this document. One good candidate for open design is
the Open Hardware License
The project must present an interest to the community of
electronics designers for experimental physics facilities. This
community being very wide and diverse, we don’t think this is a
very troublesome constraint.
OHR pages are used to provide design information on different
topics, with the objective of fostering good design practice and
productive discussions on electronics.
We hope that the OHR will be a worthy contribution to a change in design
paradigms and practices towards more openness and quality.