Long story but bare with me…
So far, we had 2 customers attempted to make their own low cost version of FEZ. We thought we would help and make the design for them so they can produce it. We called it FEZ Panda.
We hard many users complaining about soldering SMT parts so we thought, lets even produce this VERY VERY cheap FEZ Panda for them! We can put all SMT parts and keep it way too cheap and then soldering headers. But, some users do not know how to solder the headers!! Now, do we ship with headers or without? This makes about $10 price difference. We are no in China, placing TH headers manually is very expensive!
That is not all! We also wanted to expose all IOs, like users want (not sure why you need 60+ IOs but you asked for it). So now the second decision is, do we make the board the size of FEZ Domino or make it larger? We tried to do the layout and surely enough, we were able to expose every single IO on a board that is the size of FEZ Domino. The problem is that the board is too busy with IOs. So we thought, lets make it as big as the Ardunio Mega http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoBoardMega but this will double the raw PCB cost. Double PCB size = double cost!! But we want this very cheap, right?
- Is the main goal is to make it easy or cheap? We have many Freakin’ Easy boards so can we concentrate on making this cheap even if ti is slightly less easy…it is still Freakin’ Easy
- Header are placed or left out to users to place? I mean no headers for cheap or with headers for $10 more? Note that users who do no want to solder can use FEZ Domino or any other FEZ.
- Small and cheap or large with nicer layout but costs more?
The image below shows the layout (samples come next week). Even if we were to place headers. We would only place the ones on the sides like FEZ Domino and Arduino.
We will should have a meeting about this to discuss further (maybe use our new chat) but I want to see what you think.