WHOA, WAIT! theres no onboard usb connector??!!
you GOTTA make it, i don't have the money or time to order the additional usb interface...
before i make myself look dumb though, would there be problems with makin onboard usb connectors?
This board doesn't need a USB connector, we have an application the boards will "slot into" so the IC's will be programmed once only using a mini-usb. There'll be spares available, but we haven't decided what we'll do with those - they may end up gathering dust.
Adding USB adds cost, so it doesn't matter if we add the USB or if people are buying mini's - it's an added expense nonetheless. For those already with mini USB's or FTDI TTL 232R USB-to-TTL serial cables, this option is particularly cheap. But it all depends on what you want to do with a board with 2 IC's - we wanted inline i2c connecting both IC's and pins for additional i2c devices, plus, we wanted an extra serial port all on the one board, so we have a need for them and they exist for that purpose.
We're designing a revision after we've put this board through it's paces and created a few example applications. We'll determine how much better this board is compared to whats already on offer, or if it is better, and what advantages it presents, and then decide if we're going to pay the extra $ to have the USB included.
That change will be made along with shield compatible pin spacing on one of the IC's, plus a couple of other tweaks that were an after-thought.
So if the revision does have USB, then that's the one that'll be interesting to those who do not have mini usb's or USB-to-TTL serial cables, and then it depends if people even want dual IC's, or if the guys here come up with a cheap ATEMGA128 in the meantime.
For us, the boards also proved a theory we had that a controller with these capabilities didn't need to cost 10k in design and production. And that it could still be Arduino compatible, so we could eat our cake too. The sharing of components is a measure of efficiency that we thought others would be quick to point out anyway, and so far, the configuration hasn't presented any unforeseen issues.
Another application we have, needs a slim version of the board, RBBB size, but with 2 IC's. So we'll be making that too, and it also will not have USB. Therefore, it might be more practical if we create a plug-in mini-USB for all of these boards that can be supplied as an optional extra - which for us, means a move into retail, and we haven't decided if we have the time for that or if it's worth the bother of selling online for what we anticipate would be a very slim margin.
Maybe we need an entire range to make it worthwhile, and that's something we're discussing with one of our partners at the moment who is in the process of setting up branches in the US, Europe, and Asia/Pacific, for a range of products that have synergy with Arduino/compatible products.
If we do create a "mega-store" with cheap 24 hour shipping, I'll be sure to make lots of noise about it