The trouble with one-size-fits-all designs (including the Autonomo) is that your definition of ‘everything’ is different from mine. Solar is just dead weight if I am doing an indoor presence sensor. Pluggable comms is a good idea, but really, all those open pins combined with all those breakout boards ARE pluggable comms. I am a big fan of power/battery management, but again because the requirements differ from one application to another, it should be pluggable - and since there are Vcc and Gnd pins, your power solution is already pluggable.
So, maybe what is needed are a few more power/battery companion boards, but really, every one-size-fits-all board I have seen recently is carrying some option I don’t want that just eats pins and/or current. Baking a dozen board designs in different combinations isn’t economically feasible, so grab some cables and breakouts and mash up your perfect fit-to-task board.
…and when you are ready and need it small, grab CircuitMaker and ring up GHI’s TKA or DFRobot and bake 'em up as neat little single boards.
@ ianlee74 - “Long Winded” is actually my middle name. I have issues with that, for sure.
In general, I would be interested in the community’s feelings about where to leave off gadgeteer and bake custom solutions. Where is the break-even point? I am not an hardware guy in any commercial sense, so this is an interesting question for me.
I believe the break-even point is going to be different for every project depending on its complexity. Its a fairly simple financial calculation to determine, though. I’ll tell you a little story about a project I’m currently working on to demonstrate how I tend to think about it. Keep in mind that professionally I’m a software guy but due to my hobbies I end up always having a project or two on the side that involves something like this…
A local company has developed a web-based IoT data visualization tool. They commissioned me to build and document a project using their tool + RPi. I said sure with the stipulation that I could use RPi + Win10 since that’s where I want to play at this time. I already had a project started that needed several temperature sensors. So, I decided to enhance it with their product but add a lot more sensors so I could really show off their tool.
As I thought more about the project, I also came to the realization that what I had in mind would make a nice commercial tool as well. So, then I had long thoughts in regards to your question of when to use Gadgeteer/modules vs building a completely custom board. I decided for time sake that I would stick to modules for their demo project and if that proved that there actually was interest then I would convert the project to a custom PCB solution.
After a bit of searching, I found that there really didn’t exist an RTD temperature module that I was satisfied with and that would work with Gadgeteer. So, the past couple weeks I’ve been pecking away at a new module for that (and learning CircuitMaker…).
I personally prefer this path since it not only means minimal work to get the demo out but it also expands our module toolbox and helps make the next project easier. However, if I’d known from the beginning that I was going to get an initial order of 1000 boards then I’m not sure this is where I would have started. But, when the future is uncertain I think this makes the most sense as a starting point. Once its packaged into an enclosure, the client really has no idea if its a single custom board or a Gadgeteer/RPi + 20 modules