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
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 effectively.
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 OHR
Everything needed to review and modify 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 also
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. Two good candidates for open design are
the TAPR Open Hardware License
and the CERN Open Hardware
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 Support is a
specific project devoted to the OHR itself. It contains useful
information for users and any issue on OHR usage can be reported
We hope that the OHR will be a worthy contribution to a change in design
paradigms and practices towards more openness and quality.