You definitely make some good points, however…
I don’t really feel I missed the mark completely.
So when you say ‘developer’, do you mean hobbyist or product developer.
If you mean hobbyist, I understand your comments completely.
If not, that’s a totally different situation entirely. If you are developing a product for sale,
then I have little sympathy / empathy / whatever for not wanting to deal with the
technology required to build a product. It’s not cheap, easy, simple, _________ fill in
any of a long list of adjectives to describe the difficultly of designing a product much less
building a business around it to market and sell it.
One is not entirely constrained by the BBB design
in doing your own - see what comes below…
(When I say ‘you’ in my comments - it’s not pointed at you John but a general you from
the community standpoint)
I personally don’t see these as problems as I’ve been doing this my whole professional career.
So, yes I’m probably trivializing some of this as I don’t see any of these items as potential
By the BBB statements of use - this is not for commercial use. Although I know from speaking
with Gerald, that many are using this for commercial apps. That’s also one of the reasons that
the supply is being gobbled up. So for those of you out there that are complaining about not being
up the supply for their commercial needs versus developing their own board.
Here’s a thought for you Gerald, require your distributors/resellers to have a reverse discount
model. So as the volume goes up, so does the price - this should discourage volume buys
without the organization’s consent, which you are suppose to have if using this product
commercially, and would make the distributors happy by increasing their margins.
Or would require a custom ‘factory’ price to get a volume purchase at a discount to get
around this. This is done the other way around - via product/design registrations all the
time in the electronics distribution model. Just a thought.
So really it’s suppose to be either for small non-commercial projects or using as a shortcut
to figuring out what you need and don’t to roll your own. It’s not a one size fits all or trying
to be everything to everybody - like a lot seem to think it is or should be. So really the capes
and position of connectors, to me, are really a moot point as one is not suppose to be relying
on this as a product platform. If it’s not where you want or need for your product - roll your own.
Embedded system design is not for the faint of heart. You need tools and a lot of patience to get
it done - education, experience, and skill doesn’t hurt either. If you don’t have the tools or skills
needed to leverage what Gerald and Co have done here, maybe as part of your business model,
you should have some budget for tools and an engineer or hire a design house, um maybe like
CircuitCo or another, to help fill the void. Just a thought. If you’re just a hobbyist, then most of
this discussion is moot, because you should just try to make what’s available work or develop
a much simpler cape to do what else you need. And if that doesn’t work - you’re back to roll your
own - or find a different development platform that will support your needs. I even did a cape to
vet out what I wanted to do before starting my design. So, use the resources available to you.
Either using a SOM or not with this is probably not a project for a beginner. But this is also very far
from the most complicated or demanding designs I’ve ever done. Even doing an I/O board is not trivial
and that’s the point I’m making. You still have a controlled impedance and probably controlled dielectric
PCB to design and have fab’d. The I/O board will need to be a min of 4 layers to be able to control the
impedances adequately and reliably. The diff pairs for the USB and Ethernet as well as the MII interface do
require some work to get right - then there’s the memory if you’re not using the SOM. As far as the 3 mil
min trace/space - the only part on their that needs this is the stupid eMMC. What a poor package
design for this - following the JEDEC standard for the complete module was a poor choice - but I digress.
I found a different package for my design so I didn’t have to push the limits of reasonable board fabrication.
My design is 5 mill trace / 4 mill space - could be 5 space if I wanted to spend a bunch more time working
around the processor’s BGA. But 5/4+ is good enough for me - some of that is legacy from leveraging the
layout design / info from the BBB. My previous design was based on the BeagleBoard. That was a lot more
complicated design the the BBB. But I rolled my own and went away from the POP and did a design that
was 5/5 in 4 layers - so it is possible - just requires some effort.
Thanks Gerald for at least making my life easier.
So, to reiterate, the SOM has it’s place - they exist and some do buy them. I just don’t think it’s the really
the market segment the BeagleBoard/Bone/Black is trying to play in and support - so I’m not at all surprised
that Gerald and the developers don’t want to pursue that path. Again leverage what Gerald has provided - he’s
done a good portion of the heavy lifting - you have even been given gerbers to be able to get it right or even just
use what he’s done in many cases. If you think the SOM is really a good idea, build one yourself and sell it -
again, Gerald has provided you with what you need to even do that. Hell, if you want to throw some money at
me, I’d probably do the design for you - but I don’t have much time for such endeavors - so the money would
have to be larger for me to even consider it - I’m rather busy designing and building and marketing my own
products to industry.
As a community, do your homework/research - do your own due diligence - then go down the path that will work
for your needs. There are a lot of people around here who are willing to help solve problems - show what they’ve
done and help you get down the your path - whatever that might be. Just don’t be surprised when Gerald gets
tired / fed-up / or worse when he’s kept on being asked to fit square pegs into round holes so this organization can
become everything to everyone.
I wish everyone in the community the best of luck in their endeavors.