bvillersjr
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Customized Raspberry Pi?

Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:10 pm

I'm working on a Pi 3 based project with the goal being an actual commercial product based on the Pi.

For my idea to fly, I need several different add-on boards. For prototyping, the way these boards are packaged is great. For production, it would make much more sense in theory, to have a "custom Pi" made with the features we need integrated.

We're in a fairly niche market. Production quantity would be in the hundreds annually, not thousands. I have a few questions:

-Are there any US based companies who will charge a fair price for this work and have proven experience doing so?

-Does it make sense to customize a Pi in my volumes? I assume the Pi was produced in quantities of 10's of thousands in order to keep the price down. Would my customizing the product raise the price significantly beyond the sum of the off the shelf parts when produced in batches of say 500 pieces?

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:20 pm

bvillersjr wrote:I'm working on a Pi 3 based project with the goal being an actual commercial product based on the Pi.

For my idea to fly, I need several different add-on boards. For prototyping, the way these boards are packaged is great. For production, it would make much more sense in theory, to have a "custom Pi" made with the features we need integrated.

We're in a fairly niche market. Production quantity would be in the hundreds annually, not thousands. I have a few questions:

-Are there any US based companies who will charge a fair price for this work and have proven experience doing so?

-Does it make sense to customize a Pi in my volumes? I assume the Pi was produced in quantities of 10's of thousands in order to keep the price down. Would my customizing the product raise the price significantly beyond the sum of the off the shelf parts when produced in batches of say 500 pieces?
Element 14 (Premier Farnell) offer a customisation service:

https://www.element14.com/community/doc ... on-service


Though you may find the Compute Module is a better fit as it is aimed at product creation, and this year the RPT have stated they will release a new Compute Module using the same SoC as the RPi 3 model B:

https://www.element14.com/community/com ... ute-module
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liudr
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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:48 am

I second the recommendation of the compute module. You can't get a 500-pcs production using what RPT uses for a reasonable cost. They produced several million boards. Just flip the board upside down and inspect all the 0201 resistors, amazing, right? What you can't see is the ball grid array under the main processor. Also I've failed to find raspberry pi design files to even modify it. For something hundreds per year, I would use a compute module and only have to deal with the motherboard design, which will be a lot less complex and higher yield in production. More people will be able and willing to design for you for reasonable compensation.
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karrika
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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:44 am

"Several different add-on boards" sounds more like HAT's. On the other hand there may be some flat DIMM sockets available that could host the Compute module. Then you could create a set of different motherboards instead for volume production. The Compute module is affordable. I was even thinking about taking this approach with my DMX sound and light control but then on the other hand shipping only add-on DiscoHAT's is much easier.

I wonder if the next Compute module has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. It would simplify my designs a lot.

GordonTGopher
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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:18 pm

karrika wrote:"I wonder if the next Compute module has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. It would simplify my designs a lot.
Gordon H made a comment on the Slice forum (for those who don't know Slice is a compute module based media player) produced by 5Ninjas, who include RPF people amongst their number). That CM3 wouldn't include WiFi or Bluetooth.

Regards,

Gordon

bvillersjr
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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:36 pm

From what I can see, the compute module is $100 vs the Pi 3 at roughly $35?

I did indeed mean HAT rather than add-on boards. I apologize for the confusion, I'm still learning my way through the "land of Pi".

In my dev scenario, I have:

-7" Touch screen
-Pi 3

and I'm expecting 3 additional HATs

The problem is, I don't think my customers would want a modern touchscreen with a 4"-6" deep enclosure hanging off the back like the old tube style televisions.Are there solutions available for orienting the HAT stack along the width of the display rather than building outward from it to an unreasonable depth in my case?

There is also the mystery of power. For example, the Pi and touchscreen display have individual power inputs, which, for a consumer facing gadget, would be hokey at best. How are other folks solving this? I'm assuming a higher amp power supply a splitter or something inside the enclosure?

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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:19 pm

The CM price of 100 or so includes a prototyping motherboard. Individually they are much much cheaper, and those are what you would get because you would be producing your own motherboard with your custom additions.
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darkbibble
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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:51 pm

in the uk the compute modules are available for £17.97 +vat each, that's from RS Components
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liudr
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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:56 pm

The computer module is 40USD:

http://www.newark.com/raspberry-pi/rpi- ... dp/62X6561

I guess the high price compared with rpi zero even rpi3 is the low volume of production. They were testing the water. Judging from the frequency compute module is mentioned on the forum, it is not very popular. Only people with a need to design a product will likely want one. I would still forge ahead with a prototype using regular rpi and wait for news on the module's future. I think that they should continue it and upgrade it to rpi2/3 but RPT definitely doesn't want to sit on a pallet of compute modules at the end of the day.
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texy
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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:42 pm

What are the three HAT's giving you?
Maybe it would be worth considering a bespoke single board design for all of these features.....

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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:54 pm

Another vote for Compute Module 3.
If you have various configurations of add-ons you might consider designing one motherboard with all functions on it and have that board made with some sections unpopulated, so you have one PCB that can serve the three roles. There may be some economies of scale in doing that.

The other option is to design a HAT in a similar way and use it with Pi3B.

Note that HATs are not designed to stack anyway.

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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:21 pm

Another point about CM pricing....while the individual price is $40, if you buy lots of 100+ (and the OP mentioned "several hundred units per year"), the price is $30, which is *less* than a Pi3B.

As for power, the RPF display controller has a couple of ways to pass power through to a Pi, so the whole system can, actually, be run from a single PSU.

Probably also worth noting that most HATs don't stack, so--once again--a CM with a custom carrier board would probably save a lot of space and, quite likely be cheaper in the long run, at least in part because it wouldn't repeat redundant parts that HATs require.

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Re: Customized Raspberry Pi?

Fri Apr 01, 2016 4:41 pm

Even the price of the devkit has been dropped to something
like 70 $ and you only need to buy the devkit once.


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