83 Replies Latest reply on Jun 11, 2016 5:04 AM by Jan Cumps

    PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi

    clem57

           I was checking Kickstarter today and found this: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/land-boards/pisoc?ref=home_recs.

      The project incorporates PSOC 5LP from Cypress on a custom hat. What do you think?

       

        • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
          balearicdynamics

          Hi Clem,

           

          should I be really sincere? It's in perfect Kickstarter style. As probably you already know (I wrote articles here and there on E14 about this) I am a PSoC lover and I have adopted them for their versatility in projects associated to the Raspberry, the TI launchpad MSP432 and also standalone. As they are small and powerful well adapt to high level SBC.

          Without creating a campaign, just creating a thing

           

          Enrico

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
            shabaz

            Hi Clem!

             

            Kind of odd why they would wire the entire 40-pin connector (all 29 I/0 according to the text on that page) to the PSoC chip.. maybe I'm missing something, but I can't see what.. it doesn't make sense to me : (

             

            psoc.png

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
              balearicdynamics

              IMHO this is a gigantic bullshit.

               

              1. PSoC5 by Cypress (now cost only $7) has two USB ina just for programming. What differs FSLN the PSoC4 is just that it includes the psiuc programmer (the part that can bw broken from the chip) whike the model 4 only can be programmed with the bootloader or buying separately the programmer.

               

              2. The psoc can be connected easily through extra pins  via seria or usb or another couple of ways.

               

              3. Any make is abkw to connect the two devices via usb and access from the raspberry pi the other device.

               

              Sound very strange to me if they have ported the psoc creator on the PI (I think it impossoble)

               

              So where is the innovatiom? And the sense of this project???

               

              And many other objections can be added...

               

              Enrico

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                  mcb1

                  I'm embarrassed to admit I have a number of PSOC boards and no time to start coming to grips with the software.

                  I'm sure once I start using them I'll wish I had earlier, but in the meantime ....

                    • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                      Roger Wolff

                      When PSOC4 was coming to the market I got myself one. I was interested in the analog configurabiltiy.

                       

                      Turns out I got a 4000 model and the analog stuff requires a 4100 or 4200. The "complete analog configurability" has to be taken with a grain of salt too... For example, you can choose which pin the ADC operates on... Ehhh... Isn't that called an "ADMUX"? The smallest AVR or PIC has that!

                       

                      Oh and then they say: "Supports bootloading over serial"... Turns out that what they mean is that you could write a bootloader and use the expensive debugger to put the bootloader you wrote into the chip and that from then on the chip can self program using any protocol you might want.... Ehhh. Doesn't every microcontroller have that ability? "Supports serial bootloading" to me means that I don't need an expensive debugger.


                      Anyway, I have a Cypress-branded paperweight. It's not good at being a paperweight either. It's too small.

                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                  • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                    clem57

                    Here is a good question to ponder. Should the Intel Quark been used instead of a PSOC 5LP? Would the processing power be useful for say advanced tools like video recognition software or AI products?

                    Clem

                    • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                      ravi butani

                      During forget me not design challenge Christian have sent rpisoc boards that uses i2c of RPI for communication.. And powerful APIs are available for access multiple blocks of psoc5lp...

                      2 of 2 people found this helpful
                      • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                        John Beetem

                        The board could be useful, but US$55 plus ship is way expensive -- more than the RasPi base board.  As others have pointed out upstream, you can get a $10 Cypress board that performs the same functions, though it doesn't directly plug onto RasPi and block air flow.

                         

                        As I have said many times over the years, I really like PSoC4/5 technology but I won't use Windows-based software unless someone pays me to do it.  Cypress provides the technical references needed to program everything in PSoC4/5 except the routing.  Until the routing information is published, you're stuck using PSoC Creator on a Windows machine.  There are no open-source tools available like IceStorm for the Lattice iCE40 FPGAs.

                        • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                          land-boards

                          I am the original designer so I have a biased opinion. Hoping maybe I can answer some of the questions/objections above.

                           

                          Is it worth the money?

                           

                          It is a bit pricey at $50 (for early backers). The PSoC chip goes (as noted) for around $7. The PCB costs a few dollars (in the under 100 volume), the connectors and hat EEPROM cost another few dollars. It costs around $10 additional to assemble and test the card. So the selling price of $50 is around 2-3x the costs. That's high if it was made in volume and purchased from China. It's not. We build them in my living room. I am going to build around 50 or so of these cards (maybe 100 of them if the Kickstarter goes well) so there's not all that much economy of scale involved. In the end I might end up with $1000 or so profit which will go into my next project.

                           

                          Why hook up all of the Raspberry Pi GPIO lines?

                           

                          Think about this one a bit. If you want an input pin connected just connect it inside the PSoC to one of the I/O pins. Same goes for output pins. Just route them through the PSoC. What about Bi-directional pins? Someone mentioned One Wire. The Pi really stinks at interfaces which have specialized timing. You get a packet in on the Ethernet and all of a sudden you are preempted - ouch. That's where the beauty of the PSOC comes in handy. The ARM processor inside the part does a great job in those situations. Try handling the timing of a chain of NeoPixels with the Pi. It's not a great bit-banger. The ARM CPU in the PSOC is great at bit-banging.

                           

                          Is this just a Marketing Ploy?

                           

                          Hardly, I'm horrible at Marketing. I just put up projects that I do for myself. If someone else made the card for $30 or $35, I'd buy it and not build it. I think an entire University class could be built around this card. Can you imagine the possibilities of breadboarding a fairly complex design with minimal breadboarding?

                           

                          But I can just buy the $10 Dev Kit from Cypress!

                           

                          Of course you can. We did too. That's what got us interested in the part to begin with. Is it a Raspberry Pi Hat or is it a breadboarding tool? If you want to do breadboards, it is just fine. If you want to build something beyond a breadboard that's another story.

                           

                          Where's the innovation in this project?

                           

                          That was a real challenge. Took me a couple of weeks of solid Engineering time to figure out just how to program a PSOC from a Raspberry Pi. You see the limitations of the Pi are the unpredictable timing. The Pi doesn't make a great bit-banging programmer. If someone else had already figured out how to program the part, I would have just used their code. Nobody did, though. Took pouring through the Application notes and the answer was there. But not easy to figure out. And what did we do with the answer? We put it up on our github site for all to see. Some clever stuff there? Surely someone else will come along and say that they would have done it better/differently. But they didn't do it. We did.

                           

                          Doug at Land Boards, LLC (just a guy and his sons who do stuff together).

                            • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                              balearicdynamics

                              Hello Doug,

                               

                              despite the fact that it is my opinion that this post was the worth you wrote it just for first after the presentation article of your project, I consider one of your point of special interest:

                              It is a bit pricey at $50 (for early backers). The PSoC chip goes (as noted) for around $7. The PCB costs a few dollars (in the under 100 volume), the connectors and hat EEPROM cost another few dollars. It costs around $10 additional to assemble and test the card. So the selling price of $50 is around 2-3x the costs. That's high if it was made in volume and purchased from China. It's not. We build them in my living room. I am going to build around 50 or so of these cards (maybe 100 of them if the Kickstarter goes well) so there's not all that much economy of scale involved. In the end I might end up with $1000 or so profit which will go into my next project.

                              IMHO this changes the perspective as (at least by my point of view) the kickstarter phenomenon - and all related backing sites like indiegogo etc. - has none or very low trustability to my eyes. The product - as the facts are - remain almost expensive but probably the most important aspect is that there is no mention of the building details nor the possibility to hack the original version, opening at least a part of the project (or, better, the entire design idea). I think anyway that, maybe with the help of this community a way to make it cheaper with the same reliability can be found.

                              To be honest I saw the video presentation in your kickstarter page and this was almost evident the discordance with the Kickstarter presentation standard of the other electronic projects / gadgest: all the other are so nice and perfectly done that the first question I ask to myself is always the same: if these guys invested so much creating a presentation of something that does not exists, why don't they save their money and make the project the same? Just the opposite of your case.

                               

                              About the second point of special interest, where you explain your reasons routing all the 40 PI pins, this sounds reasonable to me but frankly I'd like to have some more details. But I am almost sure that your post got a boost to this discussion and these things maybe clarified soon. If you like this, obviously.

                               

                              Enrico

                              2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                  land-boards

                                  Enrico,

                                   

                                  We could probably have as much as 2-3 times the backers if we sold the card at $34.00 (less than the Pi which is purely a psychological point). But would that make any actual economical sense? We've done more than a dozen successful Kickstarters and a few unsuccessful one as well. One of the successful ones, the I2C bridge card, costs us about $2 in parts but we Kickstarted it at around $25. Did pretty well economically. Didn't sell nearly as many cards as if we had a lower price but that's OK. We didn't have to build/ship as many cards either.

                                   

                                  Other cards we've done with very little margin. Some folks just back because that is what they do (back hundreds of projects) and others back because the card does something that they've needed but have not found another card to do. Some of the projects have been similar to something that someone else did in a more breadboard form and we turned it into a field-able product. We've played with price points and product margins all over the place. It is easy enough to see the history of what we did here. We do cards because the folks at places like Adafruit and Sparkfun haven't seen the market for them. When our cards do well, we see Adafruit and Sparkfun do similar cards not long afterwards.

                                   

                                  If someone has actual some marketing sense I would love their input. We have no marketing skills. I've been tempted to ask at the local college in the Marketing Dept if we could hire a cheap intern. Our video production quality (as you aptly noted) shows that we need help..My sons and I are two Electrical Engineers, one Computer Scientist and a High School kid with aspirations of Computer science. Oh, and a teenage daughter who does some shipping if she wants some extra money to go to the corner store and buy a Monster drink.

                                   

                                  Why all 40 pins?

                                   

                                  Well that one is pretty simple. We have male pins which end up getting wired to female cable pins which are typically routed to external hardware. There's not enough room above for us to mount a card above it so why not use all of the pins? We are not going to have a pass through female connector for mounting yet another card above ours. We did that in some particular examples like our Console Card for the Pi. It made some sense there. Problem is people order it that probably don't really need it and it is a pain to accommodate it. If we have a stackable card then we can't ship in a padded envelope, we have to use a box. That mattered more before the USPS messed up our entire system. So, if there's a card stack we are at the top. The vertical pins make it so.

                                   

                                  What's your gripe with the USPS?

                                   

                                  Used to cost is around $7 to ship anywhere in the world. They charge by weight so the difference between a 3 oz padded envelope and a 6 oz box mattered. Not anymore. We can all buy something from China for $1 shipped postpaid and yet we can't ship 1 oz anywhere in the world for less than $13.50. Used to cost half. Cut out most of half of our narrow market. I hate charging $15 to ship worldwide. I don't care that I now get 1-8 ozs for the same price. Who wants a $20 card for $15 in shipping? Someone that has the power needs to get a clue.

                                   

                                  US shipping is not so bad. Was $2.30 for a few oz. Now it's $2.60.  Why are we letting foreign shippers get such cheap prices in our own country? Sounds like suicide to me (enough political message, but this is real stuff).

                                   

                                  Doug at Land Boards, LLC0

                                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                  shabaz

                                  I don't know. I think I'd feel guilty charging 2-3 times cost for something that I knew was very similar to a dev-board that was one-fifth of the cost unless there was significant value-add.

                                  Especially if you're targetting university classes - in that case isn't it better for them to save money and use the dev-board for a fifth of the cost?

                                   

                                  I understand that you went to effort to port a programmer to the 'Pi, but Cypress Semi created the code that it was based on. Many of us here have ported code and share it

                                  for free too.

                                   

                                  I still don't get why you'd connect all the Pi's I/O to your project. The reasons mentioned would all still apply even if you just connected two or three I/O between the two boards.

                                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                    • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                      balearicdynamics

                                      Trying to understand - but not agreeing - I think that the question is to route (if I am not wrong he means managing pass-through) the PI on the PSoC. The point is that this is an apparent benefit, as the most powerful machine (that in all my project drives the PSoC) is just the Raspnerry, not the PSoC itself.

                                       

                                      About the cost, I should say that what I have explained about the cost in my previous post is valid except the multiply factor; btw I suppose that this depends on the fact that the creator is anyway in a commercial perspective where his job (done at home if I am not wrong) is valuable and part of the product cost.

                                       

                                      Enrico

                                        • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                          shabaz

                                          Hi Enrico!

                                          Everyone may implement it differently I suppose, but personally I'd route it all using a few pins, e.g. SPI or UART. For example, there might be 5 million phones in London, but there are not 5 million fiber-optic cables connecting London to NY.

                                          I also get the time is valuable issue, but (personally, I don't expect others to feel the same way) I don't like projects that have a risk that others could be unaware that near-similar functionality products are available at far lower cost. It is the same reason I dislike supermarkets that offer a 500gm bar of soap at a higher cost than two 250gm bars of soap, i.e. relying on people not noticing, and the people that are affected the most are those who are poor at sums. I'm not saying that is occurring here intentionally, it is just an example. Supermarkets do it intentionally as far as I am concerned.

                                            • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                              land-boards

                                              What other hat is there for the Raspberry Pi that has a PSOC?

                                                • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                  shabaz

                                                  I don't know what to say I feel that's like asking what possible other cars are there with F, e, r, r, a, r, and i in the name.

                                                  The dev-board has near-identical functionality, at $10. (In fact a higher-end PSoC) and fits the Pi with 5 jumper cables.

                                                  • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                    Frederick Vandenbosch
                                                    What other hat is there for the Raspberry Pi that has a PSOC?

                                                     

                                                    The PiSoC for example? https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/embeditelectronics/pisoc-learn-to-create?ref=users

                                                    Not exactly a HAT, but does connect to the Pi via GPIO header and is Arduino shield compatible.

                                                     

                                                    Backed for $49, including MiniProg3.

                                                    IMG_1525.JPG

                                                    3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                                      • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                        land-boards

                                                        Yes, I saw the PiSOC as I was getting ready to launch. Nice idea and I really like the classroom aspect. Any card like these cards would be great in a University electronics program.

                                                         

                                                        Still, not a hat. Externally cabled. Same general price range. To me it validates my approach of making a hat instead of an external card. This one really suffers the criticism that it could be replaced with the dev board for $10. After all, this is for a bench.

                                                         

                                                        I spent a great deal of effort to eliminate the extra programmer. Fact is if I trusted the supply of dev kits I probably would not have chosen to get the programming from the Pi working. My concern was that if I got a few hundred backers I would have trouble getting the dev kits to use the programmer part. Plus, they are not without problems including cable length limits. And you've got a messy programmer with exposed pins, etc.

                                                         

                                                        What  I really don't understand with a board like this is the poor provision for mounting. Fine for top of the table playing around but not all that great for deployment in a real device. Again, targeted at a school situation but not even great there since I don't want my dev card sitting on a bench.

                                                         

                                                        Also, their campaign raised an impressive $16K but their fulfillment was significantly flawed. They listed Oct 2015 as the estimated delivery date. Look at their updates. They shipped in May 2016. They were a victim of their own numbers. Not enough to quit their day job but too much to fulfill their commitment.

                                                         

                                                        I've got mine set up significantly different with a history to back me up. We will ship the first 50 boards in July and the next batch in August. Probably early in August but it depends on how many backers come in on the last two weeks.

                                                         

                                                        Thanks for backing Kickstarter projects. Even if they are not mine.

                                                         

                                                        Doug at Land Boards, LLC

                                                          • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                            Frederick Vandenbosch

                                                            This one really suffers the criticism that it could be replaced with the dev board for $10. After all, this is for a bench.

                                                            I disagree, and would rather call it flexible:

                                                            • you can easily connect it to a Raspberry using a ribbon cable
                                                            • you can connect it to Arduino shields straight on the compatible headers
                                                            • you can use it as a standalone board
                                                            • you could possibly use it to combine Arduino and Raspberry Pi

                                                             

                                                            I don't understand the "I don't want my dev card sitting on a bench" argument. It's not hard to design an enclosure which can be good looking and functional. And, even though you may not want it, it could sit on a desk. The only difference is that there will be a Pi attached to it.

                                                             

                                                             

                                                            Also, their campaign raised an impressive $16K but their fulfillment was significantly flawed. They listed Oct 2015 as the estimated delivery date. Look at their updates. They shipped in May 2016. They were a victim of their own numbers. Not enough to quit their day job but too much to fulfill their commitment.

                                                             

                                                             

                                                            As for the delays: they happen, on plenty of hardware projects, and I don't mind. I backed the idea, wanting to help these guys achieve their goal. They may not have your experience, seen that you have created 20 campaigns, but I'm sure they have learned quite a lot. Perhaps they realised this is not what they want to keep doing, or maybe they will be using that experience for a new project and campaign where things will go better. It's Kickstarter, and I have seen projects do far worse than this. How were your first campaigns? You have to start somewhere in order to be able to learn and gain experience.

                                                             

                                                            Good luck with your campaign, it seems to be going well.

                                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                            • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                              mcb1

                                                              What  I really don't understand with a board like this is the poor provision for mounting

                                                              Sadly this isn't the only board that falls into that problem.

                                                               

                                                              I've had to resort to those mounts that hold the edges of the board in some cases ... and that was a commercial board as well.

                                                            • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                              clem57

                                                              Interesting project. Did you get the plus version? Would love to hear more on this when you get it.

                                                              Clem

                                                        • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                          land-boards

                                                          Powerful is relative. The Raspberry Pi certainly is faster at 1 GHz or so than a 65 MHz processor if you are counting raw clock speed. But there's something to be said for a coprocessor which is not running a multitasking OS with interrupts from Ethernet, etc. Otherwise the BeagleBone Black with it's two PRUs would have not carved a nitch and the Pi would have swallowed the entire market.

                                                           

                                                          Is the Pi really powerful if an Arduino does a better job of driving a NeoPixel chain with it's tight timing requirements? There's a certain power to be had in doing things with a single mindedness and the ARM in the RPPSOC does that nicely.

                                                           

                                                          There are certain pieces of this market that this card meets. For example, we have sold hundreds of Pi cards which do nothing more than 3.3V to 5V conversion. We've set up this card do to that well. For uni-directional buses this card will hit that target. There's a whole world of legacy 5V cards out there which can't be accessed with most modern processors. The test market for legacy equipment alone is huge. The Pi can't talk to them without voltage translators and this card does that effortlessly.

                                                           

                                                          Not a solution for everyone...

                                                           

                                                          Doug at Land Boards, LLC

                                                        • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                          land-boards

                                                          University classes often use National Instruments hardware. They are way more expensive than this solution. This is not what we are marketing to. If it was we would have tried to reach that market. I give it as an example since I have a son at University in Electronic Engineering and the hardware they use is far more primitive and expensive and much less state of the art than this.

                                                           

                                                          I am not hoping that others don't see the breadboard/dev kit that Cypress offers. I am hoping that they do and want something that is married to their Raspberry Pi in a way that doesn't require a bunch of messy wiring and helps move them a step closer to a product and away from a breadboard. Our motto is "taking people beyond breadboards". Yes you could solder the pins on a Cypress Dev module and use a breadboard and for some who just wanted to breadboard something get close enough for someone who is playing around with a breadboard. And, it's still a breadboard.

                                                           

                                                          Now try the next step. Take the Bill of Materials for the Cypress Dev module and calculate the cost it would take YOU to produce that card. What do the two chips cost? What does the PCB, the connectors, etc go for? Cypress has a great price on the dev kit hoping that people will use it to develop an embedded product. You can't reproduce the Cypress Dev kit at 3-4 times the price. Great deal for the developer who likes breadboards. Not good for a real deployable product.

                                                           

                                                          So where, other than the breadboard, is there a comparable product that is near the cost? The Sparkfun PSOC card is $50 and it's claim to fame is that it has Arduino headers.

                                                           

                                                          Doug at Land Boards

                                                        • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                          mcb1

                                                          Doug

                                                          Well done for fronting up and answering the questions posed.

                                                          We've seen many others simply hide and hope the questions go away and the other backers don't see them.

                                                           

                                                          I understand the need to ensure you dont loose money, but I do question any add-on which costs a lot more than the board it's going on without adding significant extra hardware.

                                                          I have the same issues with Freedom Boards and they are a large corporate who could produce a simple prototype board for a few $.

                                                           

                                                          Your breadboard v Hat comment is right, but this site is about Engineers and makers so that argument will always appear unless the cost makes it go away.

                                                           

                                                          Good luck

                                                          I won't be backing it ... because I don't have a use for it.

                                                           

                                                          Mark

                                                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                            • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                              land-boards

                                                              I would lay out the same challenge to anyone. Take the BOM for the $10 dev kit and run the numbers. Do it at qty 1000 if it makes you feel better. You can't build their card (materials only) for even 2-3X their selling price. And it's not something that they "make up in volume". It is their loss leader. There's a reason they don't build it onto a useful, deploy-able form factor. They want you to buy the dev kit and develop something that is high volume with it. Give away the razors, sell the blades.

                                                               

                                                              Doug at Land Boards

                                                                • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                  land-boards

                                                                  The Cypress design files for the dev card are here:

                                                                   

                                                                  CY8CKIT-059 PSoC® 5LP Prototyping Kit With Onboard Programmer and Debugger | Cypress

                                                                   

                                                                  Here's Mouser 1000 pc prices:

                                                                   

                                                                  CY8C5868LTI-LP039 = $9.71

                                                                  CY8C5888LTI-LP097 = $9.50

                                                                   

                                                                  Nearly $20 in qty 20 for just the two CPUs at qty 1000 pricing. Add the Mosfet, the PCB, the USB connector, other popcorn parts, assembly costs, etc. You can't build the board for for less than $30 in quantity $1000. At least here in the US, that is. Maybe somewhere in SE Asia...

                                                                   

                                                                  The only conclusion I could reach is that there's no way to make a Raspberry Pi hat that has a PSOC on the card. Yet I wanted one. That's why I made it. And I am betting that some other people will want it too. I am betting that the messiness of a breadboard compared to the cleanness of this solution works for some people. Not all, but some.

                                                                   

                                                                  Doug at Land Boards, LLC

                                                                    • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                      shabaz

                                                                      Hi Doug,

                                                                       

                                                                      The only conclusion I can reach is that some (perhaps many?) of the current 54 backers did not realize the $10 alternative option they have..

                                                                      It is clear what you're saying in that a dev-board is not a mass-market product available in vast quantities, but I'm sure Cypress can accommodate 54 purchases by hobbyists.

                                                                      The messiness suggestion holds little water (to me - just an opinion,others may differ), because you'd still need jumper cables or a breadboard to connect from your PSoC board to

                                                                      external hardware. I cannot see why one would feel that the additional five or so jumper cables needed with the $10 dev-board would tip the scales excessively.

                                                                      Anyway, just an opinion.

                                                                • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                  Jan Cumps

                                                                  (commenting on the pricing alone)

                                                                   

                                                                  I think it's fair for Dough to ask a price that makes the operation viable. We shouldn't have to work for virtually nothing per hour.

                                                                  The ones that can make kits, shield, hats, boosterpacks, capes, wings for $10 typically have marketing budget poured into the mix to make the prices that low.

                                                                  Cypress DevKit , Gecko board, LaunchPad, ST Nucleo: can you build them for that price? Why then ask someone else without a marketing machine to do that?

                                                                  A person that uses his brains and hands deserves a return.

                                                                  For what it's worth. ..

                                                                    • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                      shabaz

                                                                      I agree it is good to ask a fair price, but I still feel this is relying on backers not realizing they can get near-equivalent functionality (actually a higher performance part) for 1/5th of the cost.

                                                                       

                                                                      The value-add appears to be HAT form-factor, is that worth the additional $45 is what feels uncomfortable.

                                                                      Hobbyists benefit from the ultra-low cost dev-boards that Cypress have made available. I'm sure Cypress have no issue losing a bit of money on 54 backers purchasing their dev-boards.

                                                                       

                                                                      I feel uncomfortable ripping off fellow hobbyists.

                                                                       

                                                                      I get that everyone has different perception of value so of course this is just a personal opinion.

                                                                        • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                          Jan Cumps

                                                                          In good spirit:

                                                                           

                                                                          >  I'm sure Cypress have no issue losing a bit of money on 54 backers purchasing their dev-boards.

                                                                          They'd be happy. I think their goal is to sell PSoCs, not to sell devboards (those, I believe, are marketing material, not a commercial product).

                                                                           

                                                                          > I feel uncomfortable ripping off fellow hobbyists.

                                                                          There I beg to differ. I think the asking price is in line with what the components + pcb + mail charge cost, and a little for the time spent designing and building the boards at home.

                                                                          I guess if we would calculate what's left in Dough's hand per hour worked - if we divide his gain by the time spent designing, softwareing, ordering parts, soldering, testing, packing and mailing,

                                                                          it's close to $0.0 / hour.

                                                                           

                                                                          Whether this is a hat worth purchasing, that's a different discussion. I'd say no on that. That doesn't make it a rip-off though.

                                                                            • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                              shabaz

                                                                              The subtle difference doesn't seem any more different than the artificially created jobs in some countries, such as the button-push guy in lifts.

                                                                              They work hard, but is the end result actually needed?

                                                                              If people knew there was a lower priced alternative, would they still buy this board?

                                                                              While the actual cost charged might be in line with the work effort, it is the unfair advantage through people not having done their research to know they can get near-equivalent functionality for far less, that makes it a rip-off - just my opinion.

                                                                              Doug himself has stated he could reduce the price and attract 2-3 times as many backers. But it looks like he may prefer to sit on the price curve where he will still pick up enough backers (fellow hobbyists) but not have to try too hard to reduce COG and manufacturing costs. I don't see why that should be rewarded.

                                                                              Again, just a personal opinion.

                                                                                • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                  land-boards

                                                                                  I could reduce costs by doing the manufacturing overseas. That would drop the shipping costs dramatically as well. Not my thing.

                                                                                      • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                        land-boards

                                                                                        There are a bunch of factors.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        1 - Chicken and egg. You need volume to get offshore assembly and you need offshore assembly to get the prices that get volume.

                                                                                        2 - We don't trust anyone to assemble quality boards. We don't have any returns so far with more than 1000 boards shipped. We like that. Compare that to stuff we get from China with high failure rates.

                                                                                        3 - We like to do a Kickstarter every six weeks or so. But we also like to take off around finals so the kids can do well in school. We do have day jobs/school.

                                                                                        4 - We like to fulfill quickly. Seems like everybody that did high volumes took 6 months to fulfill. We've funded in the middle of the month and shipped all the first month's rewards that month. Realize it takes 2 weeks to get your funds so you have to buy boards and material a month earlier. That's why we have a "smallish" early bird reward the first month.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        That's just a handful of the reasons.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        Frankly if the RPPSOC was $20 (which is less than the parts and labor) we'd still have people complaining that we are ripping them off since the dev kit is $10. And we'd get nowhere near the volume to get China interested. This is just too narrow a market.

                                                                                          • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                            balearicdynamics

                                                                                            In my opinion - at least this is the approach I follow - when you startup (not to consider in the common meaning) a project you should consider the work cost, including the prototype creation, design time, experiments and so on, just only as cost of investment. If you produce only 50 pieces or less (I usually start with 10) also by a marketing point of view you can't charge on these first small bunch of units your personal work costs. It is your risk, not a cost. Ignore this then make the right price and add a small percentage of your job/ investment cost.

                                                                                            How to calculate the percentage? This can be done before and it is very useful for the future of your product. You evaluate the real effort needed, establish a correct market price and then based on the competitor market price of similar products evaluate the max amount you can charge. For example:

                                                                                            • Hardware components: 10$
                                                                                            • PCB (real price for 10 pieces, this cost will decrease in future with larger productions) : 5$
                                                                                            • Wires and accessory cables : 1$
                                                                                            • Case or support or just the screw parts; 3$

                                                                                            The total cost will be 16$

                                                                                             

                                                                                            You can sell it at 25$ covering also the hidden costs (you will discover them going ahead in the project) and cover part of the job costs.

                                                                                            Calculate the hardware costs based on a single unit buying only a set of components (also buying 10 you will pay with a small discount)

                                                                                            Make reviews, presentations, how-to and distribute them on sites like Element14, Hackaday.io, instructables.com etc.

                                                                                            Write articles and tutorials, create interest on the product that will be attractive as it is cheaper for any potential customer / user than creating one by himself.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            See what happens.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            If you sell 1 or 2, you have a small quantity  of products in your storage for the future. If you sell all 10 you have a base to start a bit larger production.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Take in account two important factors after this considerations:

                                                                                             

                                                                                            1. create a shop online (also Kickstarter if you are so aficionado and maybe also on indiegogo.com) before you start the promotion of the project and everywhere - in a very discrete way, don't worry that interested users/customers search for the link - the shop link. I suggest drobott.com and tindie.com but these are just two options.
                                                                                            2. with the costs in mind, you can reasonably calculate the break even point as follow:

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Suppose that your job cost will be 500$ (but the real cost is up to you). So:

                                                                                             

                                                                                            • Cost of the product: 16$
                                                                                            • Acceptable (respect competitors, possibly excluding China) job cost: 4$

                                                                                            Total production cost: 20$

                                                                                             

                                                                                            At this point (this is just a suggestion) stay as low as possible with earning margin: it is better earning 1$ from 1000 customers than 10$ from one. The information and product visibility  (or self-marketing) moves faster with many users... Multiply the cost for 1.5 (max, better if less).

                                                                                             

                                                                                            selling cost: 30$

                                                                                            500$ / 4$ = 125 units you should sell at this price.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            So, IMHO 125 pieces is not an impossible target worldwide. At least to start. Or to kickstart.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            (It is the worth to lower the price to 25$ and try to sell 200 units).

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Just an example, I say, that I hope can explain what I mean.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Enrico

                                                                                            2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                                                        • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                          clem57

                                                                                          Do you actually put the SMT PSOC in yourself or do that with the PCB?

                                                                                          Clem

                                                                                            • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                              land-boards

                                                                                              Yes, we bought a nice optical microscope to assemble fine pitch parts and we hand solder them. Two of my sons assemble cards. They are both J-STD-01 certified for soldering. We test all of our cards as well. Having that sort of equipment is part of the cost of being in this business even in a small way.

                                                                                • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                  dougw

                                                                                  It is good to see someone connecting a PSOC to a Pi.

                                                                                  It looks like it could plug into a Pi Zero - providing a low cost graphics display capability for a PSOC5.

                                                                                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                                                  • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                    clem57

                                                                                    This question has been a great learning experience from many perspectives. Here are a few points:

                                                                                    1. When it comes to "fair value", the chart is all over the place especially depending on which side of the coin you are on. Customers tend to be price conscious unless the product is unique and useful. Sellers have to make a profit without appearing to gorge someone in the process.
                                                                                    2. The article from jancumps shows there is a reasonable way to price things if you may "expect to use a distributor in the future" to justify a 2.5 times markup. But even then he dismisses that as not really a true option. He did say he had found a way to minimize the shipping cost/expenses. I wonder how many go this far?
                                                                                    3. The debate between made in USA and made in China goes on. I see no light here. I have been to China and see how too many people leads to competitive pricing on everything made or sold beyond electronics. The mentality comes from a poorer China where everyone below the leaders had subsistence living and high taxes being more than 50%. You can go to centers where computers and mobile phones are sold and bargain on anything.

                                                                                    Truly I never expected this simple question to generate so much dialogue. But that is great for all concerned.

                                                                                    Cheers,

                                                                                    Clem

                                                                                      • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                        shabaz

                                                                                        I've seen both methods get used. Typically the more traditional companies used to just apply a multiplier (e.g. just times it by 3) to COG for the more mundane products or ancillary ones or ones with little manufacturing effort (e.g. spares). However that method makes no sense generally, where normal marketing suggests that you should always charge what the market can bear, hence the reason for dealer agreements, artificial difficulties imposed to restrict grey imports occurring, etc. There are some exceptions to this, e.g. as I understand Starbucks tend to charge the same regardless of country. There are also some legal exceptions in limited conditions, because unfettered enterprise isn't always good for society. I'd hope there are also moral exceptions, not everything needs to be prescribed.

                                                                                        For example, (in some countries) legally you must not mislead people and falsely state an item is on sale to persuade them of some value that actually doesn't exist, nor can you charge anything you like to renew someone's land/property lease (under certain conditions) nor can you charge anything you like if a customer is genuinely dying of thirst and you happen to run a store selling water. Sad of course that such things actually need legislation, i.e. we cannot always trust people doing the right thing.

                                                                                        I like that the article mentions reasonable limits and that huge mark-ups are not possible if your customers are clued up (morals would dictate limits too, but we know that not everyone has these).

                                                                                        What the article hints at but perhaps is better to be made clear, is that even if you follow such guidelines and price at (say) 2.5 times COG, doesn't mean it is fairly priced. You can't make that decision without seeing what the competitive products are doing and how they are priced. You could seek differentiators like 'ethically produced' or 'organic' or 'hand-made' where the market is willing to pay extra for this. Is it fair for workers to earn next to nothing so that businesses can make more revenue? No, but equally is it fair to sell to a inexperienced customer base at a high mark-up to benefit yourself and your family?

                                                                                        Is it fair that Kickstarter only shows the actual profile of backed projects and actual backed sums of money that is hidden a few clicks away that an inexperienced customer base may miss?

                                                                                         

                                                                                        Fact is, some products are just not viable if you want to sell with responsibility to your customers. As an example, I've worked along with a couple of friends and designed a product. It costs very little to manufacture. However, it makes no sense to sell it with a sufficient mark-up to be profitable yet be overpriced, nor would we want to price it at some amount that would be gouging customers anyway. So we have to look at different ideas, such as take a hit and just release it as an open source project so at least people can benefit from it. Or think of clever bundles or alternative ways to add value to it so that the customer benefits and it becomes a viable product. Unless we do that, the product cannot be considered a good product. It can be technically wonderful, the best in the world, but it is still a bad product if it cannot be manufactured and sold at a reasonable price and to that I'd personally add that morally it ought to actually provide a reasonable amount of value to a market that is larger than just inexperienced customers. As an aside I feel extremely uncomfortable that some deliberately information-hide, e.g. sanding off chip markings. There was a time manufacturers were proud to supply schematics or at least service manuals. Some manufacturers still do. Anyway, that's a digression.

                                                                                          • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                            land-boards

                                                                                            Shabaz,

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Can you point me to some products that you are selling? I'd like to see an illustration from your own work of the things you are saying.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Doug

                                                                                              • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                                shabaz

                                                                                                Hi Doug,

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                I've provided some high-level marketing information in my last post, and provided some examples. However if you need further detail then I'm sure there are plenty of marketing case studies online for those interested in studying further.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                I'd love to help, but I'm all about giving priority and my time to helping fellow engineers or those with an interest and passion for engineering or those who might think to support hobbyist/enthusiast projects on Kickstarter and need it examined (Kickstarter by its nature relies on the community as the feedback loop), I'm not into providing business or sales advice, and am very critical of Kickstarter projects (and I suppose their creators) for example if I feel they are misleading or are not in the best interests of the community or general public.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                I will not suggest you have been misleading. However with regards to my time and priority I think the road has been travelled for long enough especially when I look at the 12 projects visible on the link highlighted in red below, and everything I read so far in this thread.

                                                                                                backed.jpg

                                                                                                  • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                                    land-boards

                                                                                                    I hear where you are coming from. I was an expert on children until I had some myself.

                                                                                                      • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                                        shabaz

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Doug Gilliland wrote:

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        I hear where you are coming from. I was an expert on children until I had some myself.

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Sticking to the point at hand and ignoring any innuendo (because it is not a great way for a Kickstarter project creator to correspond to members of a potential market), first-time backers, young adults (perhaps children if their parents allow them to use Kickstarter) might be inexperienced enough to not examine the creator profile.

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        The creator profile is typically all that potential backers have to go on; it is also a sign of whether a project creator has supported the Kickstarter community in backing projects too. When all twelve are unsuccessful, I hope potential backers do examine them to make up their own individual minds.

                                                                                                        example-backed-projects.jpg

                                                                                                        Just for disclosure, I have backed projects with actual funds several times; twice for Kickstarter (both were successfully funded) and once with Indiegogo (a higher risk, but it did deliver). Just one of the ones that I backed was unsuccessful in attracting the full funding.

                                                                                                          • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                                            land-boards

                                                                                                            I just did a quick survey for myself to check the substance of your comment. 3 of the top 4 Tech kickstarters running now have backed 0 projects. The other has backed 1 project. Apparently, it's not a big factor in success at all.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Backers.PNG

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Sure, I backed some losers. I thought the Rocket Powered Bike was funny and I respected his sense of humor. The metal detector video series would have been interesting. I watch the similar show on TV. Lettuce reminded me of a pet rock. Blows my minds when I have had to retool certain projects to fit the criteria of the screeners and that one got through. I thought they deserved credit for that.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Arachnio as a fantastic serious project. I hope that the guy retools and re-runs the project. 3D Printing vintage bicycle parts would have been a good concept. Unfortunately most Kickstarter projects fail. I don't just back winners. I back anything that strikes my fancy at the moment.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            I would hope my backers who look at my track record for completing projects on time. I am sure you did look at that but had nothing to say since there wasn't anything negative you could find there. I am sure with some effort you could tell me what I did wrong on all my projects so far.

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            I guess I'd rather be someone who tries and fails than someone who sits on the sidelines and criticizes those who are trying.

                                                                                                • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                                  mcb1

                                                                                                  clem57

                                                                                                  Well done you've successfully managed to create something has had 586 views, a few likes and a lot of discussion.

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                  We've also created some advertising for Doug, which may help or hinder his project ...

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                  With regards to the Kickstarter and how good/bad it is, there is a good link here to express how yo felt about your experience.

                                                                                                  Kickstarter Electronics

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                  Mark

                                                                                                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                                                                  • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                                    Jan Cumps

                                                                                                    By coincidence, EEVBlog launched this related video today:

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    no

                                                                                                    4 of 4 people found this helpful
                                                                                                    • Re: PSOC 5LP Hat for a Raspberry Pi
                                                                                                      fuffkin

                                                                                                      Well done Doug, for creating a PSOC 5 based Hat.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      Yes, you can buy riduculously priced PSoC dev boards from Cypress, but you've got to remember these are loss-leaders for Cypress to sell their chips. It wasn't always this way, and I still have many of the high priced tools for Psocs. Cypress are aggressively trying to break into the market dominated by PICs and Atmels.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      I've been a long time PSoC user and I have clients who use them. They're not just microcontrollers, they are configurable hardware. You can construct zero jitter triggering and timing blocks that require no code to work. They're not the tool for every job, but they are the perfect tool for some jobs.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      Mounting a PSoC on a Pi gives a much neater solution than trying to link to a dev board.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      I can can see that programming the Psoc from the Pi must have been a nightmare to sort out & have you found a way to host the dev environment on the Pi? I can see you've already put a tome of work into this and I applaud you.