Arudino Nano based small scale product - how to move to larger production

Hello,

I have a small product for the performance automotive space I've been selling, and sales are starting to pick up faster than I can hand build them.

Nano clones can be had for as little as $2, and I'm wondering if it's feasible to continue to use them when I move to mass production. They serve as the skeleton for the product, as well as the brains.

Here's a picture of my current finished product:

|500x281

It consists of a nano board, 1 capacitor, 2 resistors, and the rest of the wires are through hole (most of them).

I've been using JST connectors for the external connections. The whole thing is then shrunk in clear heat shrink for protection, and zip tied for strain relief.

My questions are:

Is there someplace that will do the assembly for me? Or part of it and I can finish it off?

Are there any legal implications to using an Arudino based board in a product (not sure if there's any licensing issues?)?

Can anyone suggest a company that will preform this type of service?

Thanks in advance! Who would've thought a hobby could pay off (literally!).

How much of the Nano are you using? Maybe go with a custom design, stripped down to the minimum parts ('328, resonator, 0.1uF caps, 10K resistor, regulator? (unless 3.3V/5V is supplied exernally) with your parts and ICSP header for burning fuses and installing your program (no bootloader). I work with a company in CA that can assemble them with wires & all. There are many places that will do the same.

CrossRoads: How much of the Nano are you using? Maybe go with a custom design, stripped down to the minimum parts ('328, resonator, 0.1uF caps, 10K resistor, regulator? (unless 3.3V/5V is supplied exernally) with your parts and ICSP header for burning fuses and installing your program (no bootloader). I work with a company in CA that can assemble them with wires & all. There are many places that will do the same.

Voltage is provided at a regulated 5v from an external source, directly to the 5v pin.

So I'm not using the on board regulator at all.

I could go down to the bare minimum parts, but would it really be that much cheaper after you figure in a custom PCB? $2 per unit is pretty cheap in my eyes. I also like the USB interface, because I've written debugging firmware for a user on occasion (firmware is sent as a .hex so it's unreadable to naked eyes).

I wouldn't be opposed to it, but if you ditch the bootloader, does the code change?

Would you mind providing the name of the company in CA you work with?

You're in a strange gap where it's not worth designing a custom PCB and having thousands of them made in China. It's probably not worth taking on an extra employee and teaching them how to solder. However there should be many electronics assembly places, even in your local area.

for this moment, you should go on what it is now. But try to design your own product. It will be much less then 2$. But you should put your efford to it. Here is an idea. Print arduino nano scheme to A3 paper. And mark what you use there. And delete the rest. Now design your customized board without unnecessary parts. This would decrease the parts that you use and efford.

Why not use 32U4 based design instead? Then you can have just a 1-chip solution instead of needing the USB/serial chip. Or make the USB/Serial an offboard module if the user only has occasional need to have it connected.

nurimo: for this moment, you should go on what it is now. But try to design your own product. It will be much less then 2$. But you should put your efford to it. Here is an idea. Print arduino nano scheme to A3 paper. And mark what you use there. And delete the rest. Now design your customized board without unnecessary parts. This would decrease the parts that you use and efford.

I'm using the following pins off the nano:

D6, D8, D11, D12, A1, TX, 5v and Gnd

I've been teaching myself Eaglecad and Fritzing to try and design a custom board.

I just don't know if the ROI for a custom PCB and SMD assembly would be totally worth it.

The nano (or micro, never really looked at them because they're 40-60% more expensive per unit) has served me well so far.

It's compact enough, and I could probably find some type of casing solution eventually to make it a little more polished.