Next step to the market... lol

Hey guys!

I’m working in a cool project www.growot.com with an Arduino Mega and Aruino Ethernet and some other boards; I was wondering what would be the next step: design an ATmega customized PCB with all the components, or maybe jump into a new more powerful platform (I don’t know if I can achieve the best prices/reliability with Arduino)

I’ve read tons on line, but actually I don’t have a clear opinion… do you have any expertise moving from Arduino to a market ready boards? Have you try openPicus?

Thank you!!!!

jmdiscovery: design an ATmega customised PCB with all the components, or maybe jump into a new more powerful platform (I don’t know if I can achieve the best prices/reliability with Arduino)

Prices may be one consideration, but I cannot fathom to what you might refer in terms of reliability.

Changing to a different platform would involve a lot of extra work, but would be a great excuse for NOT getting your product to the market.

I think you need to consider the market question from 2 angles...

(1) do you want to sell a few dozen or a few hundred copies and just cover your costs (2) do you hope to sell hundreds of thousands and make serious money

If you aspire to Number (2) you need to team up with someone who can answer the questions you would otherwise ask on this forum and a lot more - and a someone who won't rip you off. Not easy.

Selling hardware is not at all as easy as selling software because you have to incur significant manufacturing costs up front.

...R

Robin's message is a good one. If you can get a product out quickly, you will learn a lot about what makes it a good product and what needs to be improved. Validate the design and let people pay for and use an early beta version. Learn as much as you can early on. A big reveal at the end of a long design process can end up being a big expensive fail.

The first few chapters of the Lean Startup has some good practical ideas about validation and wasting time (focusing) on features no one wants or cares about.

design an ATmega customized PCB with all the components

I would do this, using existing Arduinos is OK for a proof of concept but way too expensive for a product.

Here's an example

This used to be a commercial product based on a Mega and God knows how many separate boards, I converted the design to a single board (well 2 linked by a cable due to enclosure restrains) and the end result is way cheaper and more robust than their previous kludge.

Note that this is for a low run (a few 100 probably) industrial application so not a lot of thought was put into making it as cheap as possible.


Rob

I can imagine that any kind of growing environment makes demands on the hardware regarding moisture protection, temperature tolerance etc. The cost for accomplishing this in a way that are reliable is on par and even exceeding other hardware. One way to reduce this cost is to minimize board size, because board size affects encapsulation size, unless you have the cabinet custom made with the appropriate IP classification (at least IP54, preferable IP67).

Customized arduino based is the way to go if you have a collection of hardware & software working already. I do custom designs for folks, turning their collection of parts into one board that company like www.cbas-usa.com can assemble for you. Example: http://www.crossroadsfencing.com/BobuinoRev17/

Wow! Guys this is an amazing community of MAKERS! 8) Every single idea is so valuable for me! THANK YOU!!!

So it seems that the best option for now is to implement all the boards and components I’m using now into a customized PCB, something like the pictures you have posted would be great. Yeah it’s necessary to keep the PCB small; the idea would be to use an IP54/67 box where I’d install all the electronics…

The question is, I was planning to use the Arduino Eagle files to design my custom PCB, BUT as Arduino is CC, can I sell my product based in these designs???

And yes! I’m following “The lean startup” method, so now we are planning to run a pilot program to learn from our customers… BTW any feedback from you will be much appreciated!

Thank you for helping www.growot.com !!!!! :D

use the Arduino Eagle files to design my custom PCB

You'll only be using the schematics I assume as the PCB will not be applicable to your job.

I've just looked at 4-5 Arduino schematics and can't see any licensing details. IIRC they use CCSA which means if you use their material you also have to release your material under the same license.

If this is to be a commercial product that might be an issue. OTOH the "Arduino" part of any project is so simple and well known who cares of everyone knows about that bit. Whether or not you would also have to release the part that's specific to your product I don't know, but someone here will I'm sure.


Rob