Dangerous Prototypes

Other projects => Past projects => Web platform => Topic started by: boroko on May 12, 2010, 10:27:03 pm

Title: How did I miss the boat?
Post by: boroko on May 12, 2010, 10:27:03 pm
Funny how things work... I have been trying to research embedded web servers for months...
which processor?
packaged or learn everything from scratch?
what functionality do I need?
easy of programming
COST?
availability and active support  forum..
etc...etc...etc...
I am more heavily biased toward hardware and my limited experience has been PIC oriented.   I was very excited to find this design this morning.... only to find that I was 2 days too late to get the last one.   They are not available unless I wanted to start from scratch... UGGGG!   Go out for a board order for a couple hundred bucks...  parts order with minimums... hand soldering for hours.... upgrade to a programmer that can handle dsPICs..  just to see if I can handle it. 
Someone please tell me that this is only because a new one is coming.  Or at least that a new run is planned.  Finding a useful mini webserver has been a challenge.  There seems to be so much need for one that is easily usable and reasonable capable at a decent price.  Why has this one been discontinued after what seems to be such a short run?

I would love to be told that the reason is because XXX device just came out and that is the direction everyone is heading.
A little comfort would be greatly appreciated about now.
Thanks
Bo
Title: Re: How did I miss the boat?
Post by: dpropicweb on May 13, 2010, 06:23:11 am
There are a few alternatives. For example, Olimex (Bulgaria & worldwide distributors) makes equivalent development boards that will run the Microchip TCP/IP stack and provide the same web server experience at a small price premium (but then they are a commercial product).
Title: Re: How did I miss the boat?
Post by: boroko on May 13, 2010, 10:22:30 am
Hi Trev, and thanks for the reply,

I'm not trying to be religious about PICs, its just what I'm most familiar with (mostly 16F and 18F, and in PicBasic Pro).  I'm looking for a solution.  I have looked at probably 20 different products and the Olimex PIC-WEB was the most likely candidate until I ran into this.  The move from a 18F to a dsPIC seemed very worthwhile, especially considering that the cost was very reasonable.

I guess I was just stunned that what seems to be a powerful product that is made a a reasonable price, and is directed at an emerging market that seems to have a lot of attention has died so soon.   What am I missing here?

Thanks
Bo
Title: Re: How did I miss the boat?
Post by: ian on May 13, 2010, 11:15:16 am
I'm just a guy making a little bit of hardware. Stuff sells fast at first, and then sales slow way down. I can't afford to have my money tied up in stocks of old projects, or I won't be able to do new ones.

The web platform may get a reprieve though, I've gotten a ton of requests since I made the announcement.
Title: Re: How did I miss the boat?
Post by: boroko on May 13, 2010, 08:18:42 pm
Ian,
I appreciate the reply. 

I can understand your situation exactly.   I respect the fact that you are willing to take the risk at all.  My problem is that I'm forced to farm the whole thing out at great expense, or learn from others and see how much I can glean and build upon. 
I also appreciate that you are so generous with your experience.  That encourages and enables people like me to stretch way beyond what I would normally be able to accomplish with out someone blazing a trail. 

I see the challenge of investing a bunch into a project that has limited application,  the chance of payback or a significant audience over its lifetime is sketchy. 

The difference with this class of device is that from where I sit,  internet, or at least networked appliances are becoming ubiquitous.  There is just no other realistic way to offer your device to the general public and expect acceptance in the future.  The field seems to be still sorting itself out.  There is no clear path that I have seen to "net"ing your device.  It reminds me of an adage that was in racing circles: "Fast, Cheap, or Reliable... Pick any two".   There some that are inexpensive, there are some that are very powerful, and there are some that are quite simple to implement.  The one that comes closest to converging these things will become very valuable. 

I'm sorry for the blathering,  I would just like to encourage you a bit.   I am impressed with you work and would like to learn more by working with it. 

Thanks for listening.
Bo
Title: Re: How did I miss the boat?
Post by: rsdio on May 13, 2010, 10:47:11 pm
Bo,

There are places like Sunstone Circuits in Oregon that will make 2-sided boards for as little as $28. Their web site will make a quote from the Eagle files. If you want to take this route, talk to me and I can get you a discount for referring you to them. There are cheaper places, too, with longer wait times and different pricing models, some of which are outside the U.S.

Then for assembly you might be lucky and find someone in your area. Printed Circuits Assembly Corporation is literally within walking distance of me, and I've had boards stuffed for as little as $120.

Of course, Mouser is the go-to place for small quantity parts orders.

Sure, that's a lot more than Ian's price, but only maybe about 4 times as much for a one-off. If you really think this web platform is popular, then perhaps you could organize a group buy of all the above. You could also wait and see whether Ian takes the risk again. I just want to encourage you to get quotes on everything, because I was very happy that I finally made my PIC-based DMX512 light controller after thinking about it for a year. It cost me less than $300 to make 9 boards, which isn't bad.