CaraVan 2 is a split 40% keyboard designed to be a modernized version of the original CaraVan. The board was a work-in-progress for over 3 years beginning shortly after the original CaraVan shipped.
25 "Founder's Edition" CaraVan 2 boards were produced and sold for $375 each in the
#trash-man-emporium channel in the 40% keyboards Discord server.
The final design CaraVan 2 achieves very different goals than the original. While the CaraVan was designed to be pushed together to recreate the familiar Minivan form factor, CaraVan 2 was deliberately designed to only be used as a split keyboard. The cutaway puzzle-piece stagger from the original design has been replaced with a squared-off case for both halves. The connections for the interconnect cable have been moved from the top of the board to the inside edge of each half, preventing the halves from being pushed together at all while the board is in use. All connectors on the board have been upgraded to use USB C.
Firmware for the board can be generated using the Configurator
KLE available here: http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/#/gists/764583e938b0f90f255e4aaa24e7ba12
CaraVan 2 supports a split version of all split-space Minivan layouts. The layout is divided down the middle in the same manner as the original CaraVan.
The CaraVan 2 PCB is designed to overcome many of the issues that arose with the original CaraVan PCB. The mini USB port used to connect to the host on CaraVan was replaced with a USB C 2.0 connector on CaraVan 2. Similarly, the mini HDMI ports used for the interconnect between the halves - a source of much trouble with the original design - were also replaced with USB C connectors. Like the original, the goal of the design was to use all of the 24 pins in the USB C connector to pass the key matrix directly between halves instead of relying on serial/i2c chips. This brought an interesting set of issues to the table that needed to be overcome. Most notably, a USB C cable uses a reversible connector on both ends, thus the circuitry needed to be designed to work regardless of the orientation of the interconnect cable.
Because of the requirement for all 24 pins to be present, the interconnect between CaraVan 2 halves only works with full-featured USB C 3.1 cables that contain conductors for all 24 pins. Certified Thunderbolt 3 cables have also been tested to work as the interconnect cable.
CaraVan 2 adds surface-mount RGB LEDs to the underside of the board. 10 LEDs are arranged around the underside of each half for a total of 20 LEDs. The board does not include dedicated indicator LEDs on the top side. The PCB has a green solder mask with the words "Cara" and "Van" in white script across the top side of each half. The top of each half is also outlinded with a white border. The underside of the left PCB half includes Trash Man's trash bag logo with the text "100% Garbage - Trash Man approved!".
The PCB was designed to be produced as a single piece that would need to be cut in half before it could be installed into a case.
A minor issue was discovered with the "Founder's Edition" PCBs where the USB C flip detection circuit on the left PCB half does not properly handle a flipped interconnect cable. The left PCB will only function properly if the USB C cable is plugged in with the proper orientation on that side. The right PCB does not have this issue and orientation of the plug does not matter. The problem was quickly identified and Trash Man stated that it would be fixed on later revisions.
The words "CaraVan Rev 2.0 - Designed by the illustrious trash man" are written on the underside of the right PCB half.
The case for CaraVan 2 is a top-mount design made from CNC-milled brass and acrylic. The 1.6mm thick plate and 3mm thick bottom weight are both brass while the rest of the case is solid machined acrylic. The plates are a "universal" design that include cutouts for all of the supported layouts. There are 4 recesses on the bottom of each "half" for rubber feet. Replacement feet can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083HBDVQQ
A special engraving was added to the bottom weight on the cases of Founder's Edition boards. The design of the engraving is a secret known only by the owners of the boards and no pictures of the engraving have ever been shared publicly.
Universal plate files for the left and right halves can be found on the Files page