Who are you?

Re: Who are you?

Postby admin » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:58 pm

Thank you for your interest in our products. We are a small, new company, operating from San Jose, CA. I am an immigrant to the USA from South Africa (in 2000) and we are/were taught the King's English (or maybe it should be Queen's) so if I sound 'European' that may be the reason. The web site site spell checker is set to American English and the forum's spell checker is set to British English.

We have been active for about a year selling boards mostly to former colleagues and their places of employment. Since I'm primarily a design engineer with embedded software skills I subcontract many things such as the design of the web hosting, the advertising and pretty much anything else except some admin which is done locally.

We have a production line for surface mount designs down to very fine pitch devices (0.3mm). It consists of a manual, precision solder paste stencil printer, a reflow oven and an DDM Novastar LE40V pick and place machine. I also have an older SX1010 pick and place machine that I will sell as soon as all the designs have been ported to the LE40V.

We design schematics and PCB's using Orcad and PADS which I've been using since PADS came on floppies and OrCAD had a big red book with the license code printed on the inside cover. PCB's are made where the technology is right, mostly in mainland China.

I write the embedded software using GNU ARM tools and I have a license for CodeSourcery's tools to help with debugging although I will switch to Rowley's CrossStudio for new work. The code for EzSBC1 was partially written and debugged using an Olimex LPC2148 development board and the project started in mid-2008. When I designed the small PCB I tried to have it assembled by contract manufacturers and struck out badly. I tried locally and got quotes of $15 per board in volume. Overseas the quality varied and the decent guys want huge minimum orders. Quality is priority one. I didn't know what the size of the market is (and still don't) so I didn't want to commit to big orders. I got really frustrated and eventual took about a one year detour into learning how to manufacture designs in house. I had to establish business contacts, supply chains, learn how to program a Pick and Place machine, profile a reflow oven and design working stencils. None of these things came easily specially since my 'easy' boards have 0.5mm pitch components. Probably the hardest problem was getting working stencils and solder paste deposition. Once we sold enough boards to be sure that we will be doing this for a long time to come the decision was made to buy the LE40V and feeders. I did almost six months of research before choosing the machine. Most (all?) pick and place machines are built to order and it took three more months to order and get the machine delivered.

Uday takes care of the web site behind the scenes (PHP code, admin debugging etc), Sue does all kinds of helpful things like shipping and admin and I (Daniel) design and build. Mohan (sub-contractor) and his employees did the document formatting and look and feel of the web site as well as the layout for the first round of advertising. Our mascot was designed by Nichole in her spare time.

Hope this helps.
admin
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Re: Who are you?

Postby prosecco » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:17 am

HI,
I am a design engineer from Italy who trained in England in the '80s (close to retirement).
I also appreciate the Queen's english.

I am dealing with several microcontrollers at work and still like to do something at home, mainly with PICs for ease of use.

I find your product interesting except the price.
You should consider Arduino as your target, it comes for around 20 bucks.
Arduino has a version with a Cortex M3 now (Atmel), maybe you should look into a way to joun the band with your EzSCB2, and use their IDE and extensive libraries.

Your product has the advantage of a simpler programming language but has no typical IDE and debugging features.
Anyway I follow an Italian amateurs electronic website (http://www.grix.it) with more than 50.000 subscribers that are potential customers for you.

Ciao,
Diego
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Re: Who are you?

Postby prosecco » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:21 am

By the way, let me know if you need help with the italian language for promoting your products.

Diego
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Re: Who are you?

Postby admin » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:15 am

prosecco wrote:HI,
I am a design engineer from Italy who trained in England in the '80s (close to retirement).
I also appreciate the Queen's english.

I am dealing with several microcontrollers at work and still like to do something at home, mainly with PICs for ease of use.

I find your product interesting except the price.
You should consider Arduino as your target, it comes for around 20 bucks.
Arduino has a version with a Cortex M3 now (Atmel), maybe you should look into a way to joun the band with your EzSCB2, and use their IDE and extensive libraries.

Your product has the advantage of a simpler programming language but has no typical IDE and debugging features.
Anyway I follow an Italian amateurs electronic website (http://www.grix.it) with more than 50.000 subscribers that are potential customers for you.

Ciao,
Diego


Good to here that you find the EzSBC1 interesting.

Is 20 bucks 20 Euro or $20? My biggest problem is that the LPC2136 costs closer to $10 than $2 of the AtMega used in the Arduino and I need some volume to get the price down. It is Catch-22, low volume -> high price -> low volume. I don't think I can get to $20 but I may be able to get to $30 with enough volume. The extra IO-pins, LEDS and RTC on the EzSBC does not come for free. Maybe a stripped down version without LEDS and the RTC and the voltage switchover circuit is a way to get more users.

The IDE issue is a difficult one; most of the prospective users expect an IDE while my existing users want the terminal interface so they don't need to install an IDE everywhere where they want to work such as on customer machines. I may have to break down and make two versions, one with an IDE and one with the terminal interface.

Does grix.it accept advertising?

Thanks for the suggestions
Daniel
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Re: Who are you?

Postby prosecco » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:14 pm

Hi,
I believe GRIX takes advertising, I can see that on their website.

I have seen also another similar product that can appeal to DIYers http://www.coridium.us/prod-directory.html
Their price is in the range I told you.

I agree that it's a good idea to have a basic version (stripped down entry level) and a more advanced one.

For the conventional IDE, you should look at making your product compatible with Arduino 2 (based on ARM M3). Cordium also offer such a solution.

For GRIX, you could send me a sample of your board and I can write a presentation review for it.

Diego
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