PCBs sent for fabrication!

A project log for Teensy Bicycle Computer

Similar to a bicycle computer but hackable, including different sensors and potentially connecting to and Android device via bluetooth

Matias N.Matias N. 09/18/2016 at 20:390 Comments

After going over and over my PCB designs, fixing little things and making sure things would fit I finally decided to send them for fabrication.

Initially I considered using OSHpark, however I saw that international free shipping is without tracking. On the other hand, the cheapest trackable option was 50u$s!

I started looking at chinese fab houses and found PCBway. I saw that others were happy with the results (even though it seems PCBway gives credit for reviews, these seemed mostly honest). The important part: is is cheap! For the two PCBs (and with 5 copies of each) I was charged 10u$s for each design. Shipping was around 9u$s via HK post and with a 2u$s PayPal surcharge. The nice thing is you get a 5 u$s discount right after you register so the total was 28u$s.

Now I need to patiently wait for fabrication progress and shipping. This is also an experiment in bureaucracy since only recently importing has become a bit more relaxed to my country. I have yet to attest this.

Android App

In the meantime, while I could continue programming, I rather wait for the PCBs for that. Thus, I started looking at the possibilities for developing a companion app (I could name it "BicycleCompanionCompanion"). What I'm interested in is to see how likely is to receive turn-by-turn navigation directions from Android. It seems other products are capable of this but the Android world seems a bit closed, so I can't look at how they do it (for example, for the Pebble).

After doing some research it seems one possibility is to capture notifications, which contain driving directions. While Google Maps seems to do this, they recently change the notification system and it doesn't seem to be so easy. Although I have yet to look further into that. On the other hand, it seems that OsmAnd (which I used a lot) was extended for Pebble notifications. Since this App is open-source I was able to look at the code. Since there's already an Android app for the Pebble (which performs communication with the watch), OsmAnd seems to fire a specific intent for this. On the other hand, there seems to be a generic notification-based system.

I conclusion, I will probably start off attempting to capture OsmAnd instructions. In the worst case, I could try to add improved support for this and try to get it officially supported.

Finally, I wanted to say that I was a bit amazed at how the view count for this project spiked (from ~300 to ~2k in just a few days) after I uploaded Kicad renders of the board. It seems that everyone likes pretty pictures instead of my boring texts. Anyway, any comments are welcome!