@duane. that is a big swing. The proto boards I found range from $5 to $15, so if yours is much more than about $20 I would think it wouldn't have much of a market. Even with the fancy connectors. And if it becomes cheaper to buy a new Arduino rather than a proto board, then folks will do what Max described.
Sorry - I got a phone call. Rich - I don't have all of the prices for the components yet, so I don't have a price point yet. The connectors can range from less than a dollar a piece to around five each, so that's a big uncertainty at the moment.
@Javi: If you need only a bunch of them, why would you want to manufacture your own PCBs?
In fact Duane spotted something (a selling point) that I'd missed -- I thought that our proto-shields might be useful in an educational role because they woudl allow multiple students to share one Arduino.
Duane noted that he often has multiple projects on the go, and that it's a pain swapping things in and out, to the extent that in the past he's bought additional Arduinos (as have I), and that it would be easier to build different projects on different proto-shields and then just swap them in and out on the Arduino...
@Javi: I'm programming with Python in this moment, but I can switch to C-like mode if requested ;-)
I was poised to send you an email yesterday evening -- but I thought I'd sleep on it -- and by this morning I'd solved the problem -- watch out for my blog and see if you can spot where I went wrong...
@Crusty: As I generally use Bascom to programme AVR I can run soft I2C or SPI on nearly any pin.
The thing is that a lot of Arduino users are absolute beginners -- they just want to plug the shields in and have them work -- it comes as a big shock to some of them when they upgrade to a Mega and find that 1/2 of their shields no longer work.
Crusty - I've been selling small quantities of my robot boards on ebay off and on for probably ten years now. It's always been more a case of just trying to roucoup some of my costs than of making a profit. The nice thing about a Kickstarter is that you don't have to guess ahead of time and risk the money needed to buy in quantity.
You never know what trade-offs are involved -- with the Leonardo, which is almost identical to the Uno, they basically added 2 extra pins -- in the case of the Mega and Due, then had a lot of difital pins ~50 and fewer analog pins ~16 -- so them moved the I2C from the analog pins across the board to some of the new digital pins.
The idea of offering the gerbers allows low-level supporters to give something and get something that doesnt cost you anything. Just a thought. Might give you more dollars than asking for donations that more than cover the cost of the board and parts and shipping.
Well, that depends on how much profit we end up making -- if we end up selling them for $1000 a shot (and it costs us only $10 to make them) -- then I'd be happy to go to the post office multiple times a day LOL
One big point about these boards is that a lot of Uno shields are I2C based -- but these won't easily run on Leonardos or Dues or Megas because their I2C pins are in different places -- our proto-boards solve thsi issue -- in my latest blog I showed my I2C-based Uno LCD shield working with my Mega
Rich - I've been thinking about a Kcikstarter project for quite a while, but scalability has always been my big concern. 50 units is one business model. 500 is a totally different model and 5,000 is again, a radically different business model. I've watched companies get into trouble by planning for one business model and ending up with volumes that put them in a differnt one.
@Rich: what volume are you willing to handle? Seems to me that more than 1000 would be a bit much
The great thing about thsi project is that it's low risk -- we have already build the prototypes of these boards -- I have one sitting on my desk in front of me as we speak.
We will be offering them as bare boards, or as kits with boards and connectors etc. that you solder in yourself -- so there's no manufacturing/assembly/test stuff that coudl become overwhelming -- just sticking things in boxes and taking them to the post office.
I've found the whole Kickstarter process very interesting. I've worked with start ups and their financial models since back in the 80's and it's not that different, but a few things have to come in from a completely different angle.
Max, look at the problem a different way, where are the price breakpoints? It's not a linear relationship, it's quantized. Figure out which breakpoint volume makes the most sense, and cross your fingers.
@Rich: ...how much money will you be asking for...
We're not sure yet -- this is one of the thinks we're discovering about a Kickstarter project -- estimating how many people will be interested is key.
If we estimate too low -- like say 100 people, then the boards and parts will be too expensive. If we estimate too high -- like say 100,000 people -- then the cost falls dramatically, but we won't get enough people on Kickstarter, so the project will fail.
Caleb, if you have the bandwidth, it would be cool if your meter would keep lit the LED corresponding to peak volume so we could have an accurate measure. A peak value detector, in other words. Perhaps even with a different led color.
I have the alarm detection circuit already sorted out for my caravan but I want to use a graphic output from the alarms tri-axial detector to show when the pitch and roll of the caravan is to great while towing, and also use it's output to show when the caravan is level when parking up.
Don't forget to show off your projects (hobby or otherwise) in a few minutes at our live chat, starring Max Maxfield and Caleb Kraft. Click on this message to get to the chat portal. (you need to sign in to the site to comment.) See you there.
Our next live online chat will commence on Friday 21 February 2014 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time (1:00 p.m. Eastern Time; 6:00 p.m. GMT/UTC). You'll have to work out your local time from these clues (you can always use this handy-dandy Time Zone Converter).
The main topic of this chat will be the projects we are all currently working on. These may be work-related projects or hobby projects -- whatever we all want to chat about that's cool and interesting.
Having said this, as always we will be following our usual practice of leaping from topic to topic with the agility of young, fearless mountain goats, so make sure you're wearing appropriate clothing!
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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