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Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Return of the Boards (part 2)

A quick post tonight to let you know that the PCB boards for the second prototype series are back. It looks like the PCB house did a nice job on them and delivered them with a nice gold finish.

Having a real board in hand makes me realize how small this design actually is. Your perception gets a kind of distorted when you design on a computer screen for too long and are zoomed-in all the time.

Everything is very tightly spaced as you can imagine. The 0.5mm pitch dock connector footprint in the photo is a clear example of this. This board will require some special tools for soldering as a regular soldering iron is unsuitable for some of the parts that go on the board. I had already ordered that equipment earlier this week and it has just arrived as well, waiting to be unpacked...


Anonymous said...

Great Work!

I am getting really excited for this!

I know its early but , do you have any word on a ETA and price?

Thanks for your hard work!

J D said...

I second the request for an ETA and just want to tell you -- you rock, sir. Hard. :D

So, are there both male and female Dock connectors on this device, male for connecting to the iPhone/iPt and female for charging? Would it be feasible to have passthrough such that the device can be connected via USB to a PC at the same time as it's connected via TTL to the GPS chip?

GPS said...

j d et al:

Nice to see my fans comments. That's encouraging and means I am doing something useful for people.

Regarding the estimated time of arrival (ETA), I can't give you a final date. I am working as hard as I can, but in product development things sometimes don't go smooth all the time causing delays. And then there are delivery times of parts. E.g. for a quantity of 1000pcs, it will take the manufacturer about 4 weeks to deliver the GPS chips. I am trying to plan everything well ahead.

Lastly, there is the housing that has highest priority, but this can't start till after the PCB design is frozen. Let's hope there will be no hick-ups in performance with the prototype II board, otherwise I have to design another board for the patch antenna which will delay things by about two weeks.

But to give you a reasonable estimate, I plan to have the PCB board frozen by end of May, the housing by mid/late June. Then everything needs to be setup for manufacturing which could easily be 4-6 weeks. Add all of that up and we are already around the end of July.

Regarding the price, I estimate it to be around $70. Note that I don't have any final prices for manufacturing and the housings yet and how much it will cost me to set up all those things, so it is an estimate. From the poll results, this price should be acceptable for pretty much all voters.

J D said...

$70 is QUITE acceptable for me, yes. Especially since the software is freely available :)

I can't wait until someone ports gpsd!

Chris Chan said...

j d ,

Morten has already ported the gpsd, the download link and usage example can find here

Simba also have a tutorial on how to compile it by yourself, you can find here