Bundled for Tindie

A project log for GPOD

A project to drive NeoPixels (or similar serial RGB LEDs) with an Arduino Nano as a "grow light" for the dark winter months.

RossGK TangiblesRossGK Tangibles 09/02/2021 at 15:060 Comments

The Product Version of the Project

At its heart, this is still very much a bench-top project, but bundling it together for hobbyists I tried to find a compromise between meeting everyone's interests and just one guy or gal in Wyoming.

At one end of the spectrum is the board-only approach.  Many of us have the parts laying around to build this, and so getting just the PCB is fine for that situation. Indeed that's how the project came about.  It's nice to just have a clean way to avoid all the flying wires.   So that seemed like the most basic offering.

My first cut was a spreadsheet of all the parts involved and their costs and I started trying to bundle up a few versions, progressing through subsets of the parts all the way to a fully-built product you could plug-and-play.

I set up Tindie that way initially, but it was clear that the listing would be too complex and likely lead to someone ordering what they thought they wanted but receiving something else.

Shipping is Complexsh

Also, there's the shipping challenge.  With just a PCB, one could put that into a bubble envelope and ship it for a few dollars.  With parts, I need to use a little box, and immediately our (Canada Post) postal service bumps it up into the $15 dollar range.  As well, we are all more happy with a tracking number to reassure us that the package is on the way.  That bumps us into the over-twenty dollar range in Canada. 

I started again going too complex and offering all those options. On Tindie you create "flavours" of shipping then attach them to your product.  This creates a problem though, as You cannot associate a shipping flavour with a product configuration.  Thus someone could order a bundle of parts, and select the thin, cheap envelope shipping, which wouldn't make sense.

Simpler is Better

In the end I stripped all that complexity out and worked the shipping costs into the product cost.   The only selectable shipping options then become tracking or no tracking.  I also wanted to include non-NorthAmerican shoppers, so added something for them (so far tracking isn't an option as the price gets crazy).

Productized GPOD with two SPLED rings

Also with the configurations of the product.  I offered both extremes – board only, and fully assembled – then one option in the middle.

The middle option would solve the tedious bits for an experienced hobbyist.  You get the PCB and the 3D-printed case, and a little 3D-printed frame that centres the OLED display. You supply your own LED strips or arrays, and use your own Nano(5V) and do your own firmware loading, and scrounge up a 5V power supply.

Because the serially-programmable LED options are plentiful, I initially left those out. However the selection and wiring can be a bit of a challenge, so I later added a few in to the listing, so some can get a few of those if necessary.  Many of us have a few laying around our workshop I suspect.

Anyway, we'll see if anyone wants a GPOD of their own, and what configuration appeals the most.