FLiP breadboard suggestion

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  • WBA ConsultingWBA Consulting Posts: 2,667
    edited November 14 Vote Up0Vote Down
    JonM wrote: »
    Top mounted Female headers would be a nice option though.

    Keep in mind that top mounted female headers affects the build process for the FLiP module which affects cost. In its current design, the headers on the FLiP can be soldered by machine soldering. Going to top mounted female headers means the pins must be soldered by hand. This change is about a 7x difference in labor time for the header installation, plus introduces the human variable, whereas you can see by the pics on the FLiP page, the joints are very uniform when done by machine. (Parallax happens to have the same brand selective soldering machine that I have 3 of at work)

    DrPop: I love your Photoshop work. Makes it really easy to see the concepts we are discussing and shows how feasible it is. To a degree, actual board design is not much harder for designers that use software routinely. I have a friend that knows Altium very well and I have seen him make a PCB from an idea in a few hours that is about the same complexity as PAB WX. I took a quick look at the board in DipTrace and the design files are very clean so it wouldn't take much to perform mods to make a board as in your picture. The hardest part would be defining a part in the library as a "FLiP Socket" with appropriate net assignments, but that might only take 30 minutes. I deleted the items from the schematic to somewhat match your photoshop (also removed the 3.3V circuit), renewed the layout from the new schematic, and came up with this...[img][/img]

    1242 x 953 - 283K
  • @WBA Consulting - that's awesome! Just curious, how much does software like that run? Might be a little much for a newbie to the hobby like myself, but man, that is cool what you did with the PAB WX there. Looking at it from that angle, there's plenty of room on that footprint to build a carrier board for the FLiP. I guess the questions would be:
    1. Is there a market for such an item?
    2. How much functionality could be built in it for X cost? Arduino built their MKR 2 UNO adapter to mate their "FLiP" up with shields, so there's no extra functionality built in, just an AC barrel connector (and the low price reflects that). Since Parallax doesn't have Prop shields, we'd have to figure out if any combo of features would make a compelling feature set for a new FLiP owner's second purchase. :cool:
    The problem as I see it, is once you get so many features on there, it becomes an exercise where the person is thinking, "Why didn't I just purchase a PAB WX instead?" :confused: hmmm...

  • Keep in mind that top mounted female headers affects the build process for the FLiP module which affects cost. In its current design, the headers on the FLiP can be soldered by machine soldering. Going to top mounted female headers means the pins must be soldered by hand. This change is about a 7x difference in labor time for the header installation, plus introduces the human variable, whereas you can see by the pics on the FLiP page, the joints are very uniform when done by machine. (Parallax happens to have the same brand selective soldering machine that I have 3 of at work)

    Easy solution, offer an option to not have the headers pre soldered on the board and just toss them in the package. Other vendors do this so the board can be utilized as the user wishes.

    DrPop wrote: »
    Looking at it from that angle, there's plenty of room on that footprint to build a carrier board for the FLiP. I guess the questions would be:
    1. Is there a market for such an item?
    2. How much functionality could be built in it for X cost? Arduino built their MKR 2 UNO adapter to mate their "FLiP" up with shields, so there's no extra functionality built in, just an AC barrel connector (and the low price reflects that).

    The reason I brought this up in the first place was that I was looking for a way to take the FLiP and place it on top of a BOE-Bot Chassis. With the carrier board there is also an opportunity to add expandability with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, XBee and the like by just plugging in the FLiP and not being fixed so it could be used as is as well. However, another direction is to add pluggable expansion boards to the FLiP form factor where they could be stacked under the FLiP. Again, this could be BLE, Wi-Fi, XBee or even a LCD or OLED (I guess the FLiP would have to be FLiPped in this case) in a nice small package.
    At least that is how I see it.

  • WBA ConsultingWBA Consulting Posts: 2,667
    edited November 15 Vote Up0Vote Down
    DipTrace has several versions and the highest priced one is $995. The PAB WX design has 2 layers and 579 pins, so the $395 Standard version would open the files for editing. I used the free non-profit version for years, then switched to the full version so I could work on larger DipTrace designs.

    I think there is a market for it, but as you mention, there is a proper balance that needs to be found so that it doesn't conflict with other products nor surpass the growth of the support for learning and training. A FLiP carrier needs to blend right in to Blockly efforts so that newbies have more options to utilize the efforts that Parallax is pushing with the Propeller. Parallax has a heavy focus on Blockly, so if the FLiP carrier is designed to leverage that, it will have a market. It also wouldn't hurt to give more thought on the idea of supporting Arduino platform shields.

    With the PAB WX at $79.99 and the FLiP at $34.99, in my opinion, that leaves a $40 ceiling for a carrier board. The carrier board should enable the FLiP to work with Blockly as a full blown PAB WX. (this resolves the concern of "why didn't I just buy the PAB WX")

    Since the FLiP itself also provides a breadboard based avenue for other projects, then it will have value apart from the PAB Blockly environment as well. So, if a FLiP and Carrier combo can be under the price of a PAB WX, then there are immediate options for people. I would suggest a carrier target price of less than $34.99, the FLiP cost. Obviously, the PAB WX would still have a few features above the combo, so the price difference is understood. Power supply differences, for example.
  • I started typing my last post before JonM posted his so I didn't see his until I refreshed. Anyhow, I agree with JonM's comments about BOE-Bot chassis solutions as well as the pluggable concepts.
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