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08 – my own deadline + thoughts on suppliers

A project log for micropower micrologger [mPmL]

A set-and-forget I2C/digital datalogger. Size: 25.3x 18x 10mm incl. battery. Runtime: > 1year

JanJan 08/23/2018 at 06:300 Comments

Update 01.09.2018 – Project halted for two weeks

Fortunately, the deadline has been pushed to October. This is great news, as I won't find any time working on it the next two weeks. After that I'll complete it and present my fully populated board. It's just soldering the EEPROM, RTC and a few passives anyway.

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I started working on this little thing just the moment the contest was made public. As someone mentioned already, the deadline really is a bit harsh on us. I mean, ordering parts may be possible quickly via digikey, farnell etc, but getting PCBs that fast can be quite the hassle, right? Plus you have to think about stuff and create the PCB before that...

So, as my project is mainly a shrink-it-down thing from my previous loggers, I managed to get things done quickly this time. Deadlines really help me with that sometimes!

Here's what really helped me getting stuff done:

  1. setting my own deadline at Friday 31, August 2018.
    I'll be on vacation when the real deadline hits, so I needed to get it done before that
  2. doing a few sketches and lists, what the thing really needs to do
    no feature creep this time! I even removed some from the final board
  3. keeping in mind what needs to be ordered first
    PCBs usually need longer than parts!
  4. setting a reminder on my phone to work regularly on that project.

Now on the PCB ordering part I really want to thank @oshpark for upgrading me to super swift service! I need to have the PCB assembled by 31.08.18 because after that I won't be able to do it, so I'd miss the contests goal.

The "down-side" is my boards will be 1.6mm thick. But his doesn't interfere with my goals, as overall the product is < 10mm in height.

Parts come from lcsc.com who have amazingly competitive prices. At digikey for example they charge you 18€ extra if your order is under 50€. What?! I can get all my stuff from lcsc for that money including shipping. For companies that's a no-brainer of course.

If they'd charge me the usual 5 to 8€ for shipping: fine. But 18€ handling for a small hand full of parts? No way for every small project I do.

So, will I meet the contests deadline?

I don't know but I hope so. My little project is far from complex and/or ground breaking. But shrinking the logger to fit inside a brood comb and even place a sensor inside a brood cell is something entirely new for me.

I'm looking at @Kris Winers sensor tile in awe and Pierce Nichols' CAN positioning motor controller which has to win (at least) the best documentation prize in my opinion! Two of many amazing submissions.

After all I did it (like all my projects) for the sheer fun of doing it.

Cheers, Jan

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