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Old 09-22-2018, 10:59 AM   #1
RoshKruv
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Regarding to using a certain SoM for R&D and later using another for the product


Hi

I was wondering if i will design my product's PCB (carrier board) on a certain System on a Module (SoM) such as this one for example
if i could later (on on the real product) find a cheaper SoM to use, rather than specifically this expansive on by HummingBoard.

Thanks !
 
Old 09-22-2018, 03:19 PM   #2
business_kid
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It depends on your market, but the short answer is no. Better go to the final device first, & here's why:
Any testing will also be testing of THAT modules, with one set of strengths & weaknesses, vulnerabilities & possible exploits. If you swap it for another module later, you can & will find all sorts of differences: wifi connectivity, susceptibility to interference, power consumption, program versions, cpu specs, etc.

You should specify your needs, info required, etc. How do they handle exploits & firmware updates? If they don't support their proprietary software, how can you? Then name a target price for a given volume, and let the buying department do the donkey work. Otherwise, you'll get nothing done.

When buying comes back, check it against the spec. If you're in a small or Mickey Mouse outfit, be careful; buying can be a full time job. Hire a techie, even, and let him at it. You'll be hard enough put to get the product out.
 
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:03 AM   #3
RoshKruv
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thanks! so the best way for me is-

Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
It depends on your market, but the short answer is no. Better go to the final device first, & here's why:
Any testing will also be testing of THAT modules, with one set of strengths & weaknesses, vulnerabilities & possible exploits. If you swap it for another module later, you can & will find all sorts of differences: wifi connectivity, susceptibility to interference, power consumption, program versions, cpu specs, etc.

You should specify your needs, info required, etc. How do they handle exploits & firmware updates? If they don't support their proprietary software, how can you? Then name a target price for a given volume, and let the buying department do the donkey work. Otherwise, you'll get nothing done.

When buying comes back, check it against the spec. If you're in a small or Mickey Mouse outfit, be careful; buying can be a full time job. Hire a techie, even, and let him at it. You'll be hard enough put to get the product out.

Thanks business_kid!

I appreciate your answer.

I do this for my own personal project, and after i will build the prototype i would like to recruit money
and build the real product (mainly to design to PCB that will hold the SoM)

So i need to do it all by myself, by your advice it looks like it's better to find the final SoM that
fits my needs, and only then to design the PCB around it. correct?

Thanks again
 
Old 09-23-2018, 12:31 PM   #4
business_kid
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Yes, Final product first. If you're doing a solo run, remember you're the bottleneck. My son is in a project team of 3: One is tuned into the Social Media area (which they need because his project uses 'influencers,' folks whose blogs have huge followings); One is their fund raiser, making the pitches, etc; One (my guy) is the technical whiz. It's a balanced team, and it works. If you can't get one guy/girl to believe in your idea, that tells you something.

I've done a few of these. Doing it all yourself, you're likely to be too long getting to market. That SoM strikes me as a lousy way to go.If you have to stick a pcb on it, it's fine as a prototype, but a manufacturing disaster. How can you flow solder that?

I would recommend starting with a big FPGA, buying IP cores, and filling it with them, along with your own dirty thoughts (I should be selling you this advice :-)). Arm only sell IP cores - you can't buy arm chips from Arm. All the support stuff is there, networking, bluetooth, wifi, etc.

Kicad is good at the pcb design stage, & most FPGA manufacturers have linux software now. I was able to install Altera & Xilinx packages on slackware64, and there's rpms and .deb packages for others. Avoid the trap of doing what you like doing first. Plan the project, doubling time estimates for sourcing, and software. Before you begin, check have you been overtaken, & adjust your project as necessary. Take a holiday - you won't get one later!

An example helps: I got a commercial project for university - a fibreoptic transceiver to receive over a maximum distance of Plastic Optical Fibre (POF). I got the maximum distance (over 500 metres) but the bandwidth was lousy. But the market had moved from distance to speed as the major factor. It was a technical first, but a commercial flop.

I heard a very interesting thing recently on how the President of a Thai Electronics company thinks 10 years ahead, envisioning all future products in time to develop them. Sobering stuff.
 
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Old 09-23-2018, 01:01 PM   #5
RoshKruv
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Thanks again for a lot of quality information

Let's assume that in my case there are investors with $$ believing in the idea this project brings,
I even didn't started to build the prototype around that SoM and it looks like investors are into funding it (this is the SoM with the SBC i've ordered)

So i will need to introduce a general plan for the development, and since the final product needs to run several
software's on Linux, i thought building the final product PCB around a SoM could be a good idea.

But you'r suggesting that it will be better for the final product to work on FPGA, i'm not familiar with that concept so i will start to do some reading now...

I have to emphasize that i will not be building the final product, i will be hiring a team of engineers to do it all, the reason i'm asking this
is because i want to do a good costs estimation for the project.

If you have some good reading materials in the subject i'll be happy to read whatever you think can help me understand the whole FPGA Linux thing.

Thanks again!
 
Old 09-23-2018, 01:38 PM   #6
business_kid
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You told me it's just you!
If the funding is there, you want to put a confidentiality agreement together fast and make guys you talk to sign it.
You put your concept together. You probably need management first, but nobody knows until they see the concept.
The trick is to have all the bits coming through as needed. For example, you can write software, but not test it until you have hardware, etc. Send me a PM if you want me to. I can advise, but I'm limited in what I can do. You can't discuss it here in such an open forum.
 
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Old 09-23-2018, 02:16 PM   #7
RoshKruv
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Sorry I confused you, it is just me at the moment trying to plan how to build the prototype,

But - if the investors will decide to invest it won't be only me, i will have a team of engineers designing
not only the prototype, but the final product as well.

Currently it is still just me, so i want to keep on planning the prototype to be close enough to the real product.

I'll send you a private message, thanks a lot!
 
Old 09-25-2018, 07:28 AM   #8
business_kid
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Here, to contribute much, I'll really have to await your PM or email. I think I sent you my email address. I would stay away from SoM on PCB if possible for most things, but it depends on things you want to keep tight to your chest. There's also speed, which varies with your approach.
 
Old 09-25-2018, 09:39 AM   #9
rtmistler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoshKruv View Post
I'll send you a private message, thanks a lot!
So there's this great, highly confidential idea, and you're going to PM details about it to a person who happened to respond to your questions?

You're building a proof of concept system.

Build it. Prove the concept. Also determine what aspects of this prototype are important to highlight: functionality, or what it looks like.

Hire people who actually know about electronics design to do the next phases. Do not worry about finding the absolute perfect SOM or SBC for your proof of concept system.

There's really two things here:
  1. Processing and memory requirements
  2. Features
For (A) you either can, or cannot specify the sum total of CPU processing and memory requirements you have. Most people cannot unless they are designing the equivalent of a real processing engine's internals. For memory, if the problem is bounded, you can determine your worst case scenario and exceed that using RAM, if possible.

For (B) determine the MINIMUM REQUIRED feature list and then do the best job you can determining the Optional features. Most people go crazy with this and their optional list becomes their mandatory list, and they can never satisfy this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoshKruv View Post
Currently it is still just me, so i want to keep on planning the prototype to be close enough to the real product.
I truly do wish you the best on your endeavor. Your statement here would concern me if you were contacting our company to aid you with this project. It seems too non-realistic.

I think you should understand fully what you really need to secure funding and not just assume you need to have a refined prototype.
 
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