From Prototype to Product

Hi,

I have a working prototype and want to make it as small as possible.
Please, see the image in attachment.
The device is attached to a beach racket and is used for game play measurements.

This is the list of components:

  • Arduino Nano
  • KY-038 microphone (to sense the ball hit)
  • SW-420 vibration sensor (to sense the ball hit)
  • NRF24L01 wireless transceiver (for communication with a base station)
  • Switch (to set as player A or B)
  • A LED (to indicate a hit)

I’m not intending to sell it, and, if I ever do, it will be in very small quantities.
The price is not an important factor but the size and weight are.

What are the recommended steps to make it smaller and smaller?
I accept any kind of recommendations, from changing components, to assembling boards, to sending to a manufacturer, etc…
I’m a computer scientist with little knowledge about electronics.

Thank you,
Marcos

The obvious starting point to lose lots of bulk is to get rid of the Arduino, and replace it by just the ATmega and only the components you really need on board (so no USB interface, maybe even no regulator, etc). Do the same with all your other externals.

Start drawing schematics with all the separate components present.

When you have all the separate components, build a prototype on protoboard (use DIP versions of the various ICs, you can later replace them by much much smaller SOP packages if you go for a real PCB).

With the schematics finished and prototype working you can go ahead and design yourself a PCB and have it manufactured.

marcoss:
I’m a computer scientist with little knowledge about electronics.

That’s going to be a problem… You’ll have lots of learning to do!

Hi,

Thank you for the feedback.

wvmarle:
The obvious starting point to lose lots of bulk is to get rid of the Arduino, and replace it by just the ATmega and only the components you really need on board (so no USB interface, maybe even no regulator, etc).

Something like this?
http://start.shrimping.it/kit/shrimp.html

wvmarle:
Do the same with all your other externals.

What do you mean? Buying each subpart and rebuilding it in the new board?

wvmarle:
Start drawing schematics with all the separate components present.

When you have all the separate components, build a prototype on protoboard (use DIP versions of the various ICs, you can later replace them by much much smaller SOP packages if you go for a real PCB).

With the schematics finished and prototype working you can go ahead and design yourself a PCB and have it manufactured.
That's going to be a problem... You'll have lots of learning to do!

What do you recommend for the schematics? Is there a Linux alternative?
About the components, can I start treating them as if they were a "single chip"?

Thanks!

marcoss:
Something like this?
Shrimp Parts kits 

Pretty much. And the same for all the other parts.
Many components need extra parts: resistors and capacitors. Read the respective data sheets on how to connect them.

What do you recommend for the schematics? Is there a Linux alternative?

KiCAD works great. FOSS, available in most Linux distributions. Just check your package manager. Can use it to make your schematics, and when done also your PCB layouts.