The Smallest Tux Badge That Runs Linux

Photo of chromico

Made by chromico / Art

About the project

Linux is used almost everywhere. This tux badge is not only the size of a pin but can also run Linux.

Project info

Difficulty: Difficult

Platforms: LinuxLinux ArmKiCad

Estimated time: 1 month

License: MIT license (MIT)

Items used in this project

Software apps and online services

KiCad KiCad

Hand tools and fabrication machines

Soldering Station Soldering Station x 1
Hot Air Station Hot Air Station x 1
Digital Microscope Digital Microscope x 1
Fine Tip Tweezers Fine Tip Tweezers x 1
Multimeter Multimeter x 1


What's the point of this project?

I saw this blog post about a PCB business card that runs Linux. After seeing the components that were used I was curious whether it could fit on my previous tux badge PCB which was just art. Sure enough, they were able to fit. I placed just enough components to try to get the board running Linux. 

Sadly due to the chip shortage, some parts like the buck regulators that he used were a bit rare to find. I managed to find alternatives to them which you can refer to in the schematic.

The original F1C100 was not available and instead, I used the F1C200 ( basically the same chip ).

Getting the PCBs made

Thankfully the PCBs and stencil were given by Eurocircuits. After receiving them I was impressed with the quality. The boards and stencil were really clean. 

Assembling the PCB

Step 1 - Make the stencil frame

Step 2 - Apply the solder paste

Step 3 - Place and solder components

Step 4 - Fixing some issues on the copper tracks

Tragedy strikes

Sadly I wasn't able to get the board to run Linux. Long story short one of my multimeter probes slipped while troubleshooting a previous issue and damaged the F1C200s chip. I only had one at the time and getting them from would take a while. I made a video giving a brief explanation of the issue.

What's next?

Even if the contest is over, this little tux badge will run Linux someday and also be open source. You can currently have a look at the design files if you're curious about assembling them yourself but do it at your own risk.

Schematics, diagrams and documents

KiCad Schematic

Work in progress due to the newly discovered bugs.


Work in progress due to the newly discovered bugs.


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