Commercial Viability

Hi,

I'm complete new to Arduino but can see it's massive potential for rapid development. However just how robust is this this little wonder in real life if it were to be put into a commercial product?

I have some ideas I could sell as a base unit with expandable modules so the controller needs to be bullet proof in a real world, commercial setting. I know the controller and sensors can be swapped easily if they fail but I need to understand the reliability. Are the different versions more reliable than others?

Any thoughts are welcomed.

thanks in advance.

Usually the path to product is to design a custom PCB for your product which includes the same microcontroller and parts that you prototyped with Arduino.

All of the microcontrollers used by Arduino boards are real chips meant for use in real applications - they are not toys. And in fact, they are widely used in industrial, commercial, and consumer applications. The reliability of the device is not really dependent on the microcontroller, it's dependent on all the other parts on the board, and the design and layout of the board itself.

The Arduino boards are not particularly well suited to including in a product that isn't a learn-arduino kit. They're bulky, expensive, and make numerous design decisions which are unlikely to be appropriate.

arduino is a cheap development system designed to flexible.

The amtel processor is a robust and reliable product suitable for industry.

If you want a reliable board you need to make it for that purpose.

If you really want commercial viability, you should develop your own board and control the parts that are used.
With an Arduino, you have no idea what is used except for the Atmel parts and maybe the voltage regulators.
You can use the IDE to program any 328, 1284, 2560, etc chip.
If you want broader temperature range components, all surface mount, easily connectorized, etc. then you need to control your own design.
Here are a couple of designs I have done and sell as an example. There have been many more that are unique to a customer that I have not posted.
www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17/
Battery powered standalone programmer, program an Uno from file on SD card,
and Mega ScrewShield, for connecting discrete wires to a Mega securely.


However just how robust is this this little wonder in real life if it were to be put into a commercial product?

It's just as robust as any other board... It depends on what you mean, and what kind of electrical & physical environment you're talking about. I could kill an arduino in an instant by applying excess voltage, and I wouldn't expect it to last too long if exposed to sea water.

About 20 years ago I built a car alarm with a different microcontroller. It's still running, and the program "runs" 24/7, armed or not. It never "crashes" and the only time it gets rebooted is when the car battery dies. I'd expect the same reliability from the Arduino. Or even better reliability, since the Arduino is built on a PC board and my old alarm is built on a "breadboard".

I wouldn't send the Arduino into space or use it in a life-support application, but I'm not an expert in those high-reliability fields and I wouldn't use anything I built in an application like that.

If inputs/outputs are exposed to the "outside world", you can add [u]protection diodes[/u] to the inputs, and series resistors to the outputs, etc. There is the [u]Ruggeduino[/u] which has some electrical protection, and there is something called the [u]Industruino[/u] (which I don't know anything about).

Indutruino.

Took a look at that but i could not find any approvals for it which i would have expected.

thanks to everyone