52 Replies Latest reply on Jul 10, 2019 7:19 AM by mrseb

    In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?

    rscasny

      The 10th birthday of element14 is just around the corner. It's quite an accomplishment. I'm sure most online communities come and go, and only a few survive that long. My colleagues have been talking about doing something for this special event. I thought I would throw my hat into the ring, so to speak, and offer up a question for everyone in the RoadTest group to answer. Here it is:

       

      If you had a chance to pick the products to bundle together for a single roadtest, what would they be? We have roadtested a lot of amazing products over the years. From Raspberry Pis to oscilloscopes to connector kits to cool hand tools, and more. What more is there???!!!

       

      Be creative and have some fun with this. I don't want to limit you. Think of this in a small way as your "Dream RoadTest." To help you think about your Favorite RoadTest Bundle, I went back and looked at the types of products we have roadtested over the years. They seem to be in the following categories:

       

      • Test Equipment
      • Soldering and Product Equipment (remember the Fume Extractor)
      • Hand Tools
      • Single Board Computers
      • Development Boards (Wireless, IoT, Sensing, Analog, etc.)
      • Antennas
      • Enclosures
      • Connectors
      • Debuggers
      • 3D Printer (back in Christian DeFeo's days)
      • Robot kits

       

      To participate, leave a comment below and list the parts of the bundle and a brief explanation of why you chose the parts you included.

       

      Sincerely,

       

      Randall Scasny

      RoadTest Program Manager

        • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
          ralphjy

          Since I've been retired for a while and lost access to the lab equipment where I used to work, I'd really like to roadtest and thereby acquire some high performance test and measurement equipment.  The Catch-22, of course, is that to test high performance equipment against their specs usually requires using other high performance equipment.  Since this is a "dream" bundle it would be nice to test a high performance oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, and arbitrary waveform generator.  Maybe limit the frequency to 2GHz to keep the costs reasonable.  The other bundle that I'd like to see would be a fabrication bundle - a laser cutter, NC mill, and large format 3D printer.

           

          Development boards and software are great, but it's nice to roadtest stuff that will get a lot of reuse to justify the time and effort invested.  The downside of doing high cost roadtests, of course, is that it would limit the number of units available so there is less opportunity to participate.

           

          Just some thoughts....

           

          Ralph

          4 of 4 people found this helpful
          • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
            luislabmo

            I would happily review a Maker's bundle including any of the following in any pair, trio, etc. combination:

            • Laser engraver (laser cutter)
            • 3D printer
            • CNC ready Mill
            • CNC ready Lathe
            • Stepper kit with Trinamic stepper drivers
            • Servo kit (motor + drivers)

            Projects that can come out of such list are infinite and are not limited to enhancing the devices or the list, some of them have not been Road Tested yet and I'm pretty sure -as I have seen in some projects- many members are adopting such technologies to enrich their creations.

             

            Luis

            5 of 5 people found this helpful
            • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
              gam3t3ch

              Dream roadtest....hmmm

               

              I would have to say a maker bundle would be awesome.

               

              mini cnc mill  (can use it to make custom boards and still be able to add a laser on it)

              raspberry pi  with touch screen (could run software with touch screen to control the cnc and act as a file sever)

              pitop to be able to design and code

              3d printer to be able to print parts

              soldering iron kit to be able to solder custom boards.

              multimeter and or scope

              arduino for fun

              small screwdriver multi bit kit

               

              I think this would be the ultimate bundle and have seen those in roadtests in the past if I recall correctly would be maker madness everything anyone would need to get started

              because really all that you could make a bigger cnc or laser engraver or whatever

               

              Stepper motors are always good fun tho too.

              4 of 4 people found this helpful
              • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                packetgeek

                It's more or less a repeat of past projects but I'd be interested in a kit of the newer I2C or Modbus sensors, along with a Raspberry Pi.  It's always interesting to interface them (thru the RPi) to MQTT or similar protocols.  Of course, most of my "stuff" at the house is managed/reports via MQTT.

                2 of 2 people found this helpful
                • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                  gecoz

                  For a change, I would love to test a SMD soldering bundle including:

                   

                  • iron/hot-air rework station
                  • microscope (mid-specs)
                  • reflow oven (mid specs)
                  • SMD tools and soldering practice kits
                  • fume extractor

                   

                   

                  Fabio

                  9 of 9 people found this helpful
                  • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                    dougw

                    Test equipment is very nice to have to track down issues or measure performance, but I am far more interested in inventing, designing, creating and building than test and measurement.

                    My goal is to design things that work just as planned as soon as they are assembled, so that testing is not as important as designing.

                    It is not a good day when I have to fire up all the test gear to sort out a problem with a new design.

                     

                    My dream road test would be a Voltera V-One PCB printer. This is the missing link in being able to build a complete project in-house with rapid turn time.

                    The world has switched to mostly SMT electronics, but these really require a PCB.

                    Custom PCB fab houses can be used, but if you want to be able to build a complete system in-house with modern components, you need to fabricate a PCB in-house.

                    It also saves on delivery time, which is important in projects with deadlines, and external delivery time is also inversely proportional to cost.

                    Currently, the best practical solution for printing PCBs in-house is to use a Voltera V-One.

                     

                    Printing PCBs of course requires an application. My current favourite platforms to use are PSoC4 and Arduino MKRs. They are simple enough to include in a road test and powerful enough to handle interesting applications.

                     

                    Other ideas:

                    • A 3D scanner and 3D printer combo would be an awesome road test as well, but is not as directly aligned with electronics.
                    • The computer and software are an important, often overlooked tool in electronics design. A nice Intel NUC with CAD software would be a great road test.
                    • The blogging side of electronics is also undervalued. A nice camera, decent microphone, studio lights, video editing software would also make a great road test.
                    10 of 10 people found this helpful
                    • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                      14rhb

                      Hi Randall,

                       

                      Firstly, I really love the diversity of products offered through your roadtest scheme, there is always something there to stretch the learning or build on personal electronics capability. From your identified categories I prefer a mix of:

                      • Single Board Computers & Development Boards (Wireless, IoT, Sensing, Analog, etc.).....something new and cool to learn.
                      • Test Equipment & Soldering and Product Equipment (remember the Fume Extractor) & Hand Tools...always nice to increase my capability to make/explore electronics further

                       

                      Your Molex antenna roadtest was particularly interesting as, like most other roadtesters, I lacked the tools-of-the-trade and had to find others ways of testing.

                       

                      A roadtest bundle can be as simple as providing a few additional parts, cables, adpaters to allow a novice to explore that device. Therefore future roadtests I would like to see are:

                      • Spectrum Analyser - something that could measure up to 3GHz, bundled with a few SMA-RP, SMA, N, BNC adapters and cables
                      • Software Defined Radio - bundled with a few wideband antennas
                      • Any new dev boards - perhaps bundle with expansion boards like Grove or PMod and a PSU if necessary
                      • Any new concepts/items - like FPGA boards, SDR again, Artificial Intelligence
                      • PCB prototyping - a UV 'etching' eg XY plotter, UV light box, engraver mill or etch tank ?
                      • Mechanical engineering - a mill bundled with a few bits, a cordless drill (would need a real project like builder to test it out properly)
                      • A micro-lathe for metalworking - bundled with cutters
                      • Oscilloscopes are always a great roadtest to see/apply for - the lower priced ones being interesting for many hobbyists and the roadtest reports on the expensive ones are great when looking for a new scope at work. Bundling with scope probes or a function generator? This is the first thing that can accelerate any electronics engineer's progress. Most other things we can make.
                      • I agree with gecoz about SMT: any of the bundles he suggests would be popular...bundled with fine SMT tweezers

                       

                      What is great about the Element 14 roadtests is that I actually believe the comments are impartial as we cab read the other comments and activity of that poster. When I read reviews on other online sites I'm skeptical if they are written by actual purchasers.

                       

                      I always enjoy having a look to see what is being offered for testing vs. my planned timescales in the next 2-3 months....lots of great items on there at the moment as well

                       

                      Rod

                      6 of 6 people found this helpful
                      • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                        beacon_dave

                        Some form of educational bundle e.g. the physical equipment along with an associated tutorial lab manual/workbook/on-line course to give you a wide overview of what the equipment can do and help build foundations/understanding prior to unleashing it with your creativity.

                         

                        Sometimes it can be good just to try something new, working your way through a tutorial guide taking notes along the way, prior to coming up with a more specific project to reinforce what you have just discovered.

                        5 of 5 people found this helpful
                        • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                          stevesmythe

                          rscasny  wrote:

                           

                          If you had a chance to pick the products to bundle together for a single roadtest, what would they be?

                          I like development board roadtests, particularly where the boards have a special feature set like the NXP FRDM-KW41ZFRDM-KW41Z for wireless protocols or the FRDM-KV31FFRDM-KV31F for motor control, as opposed to more generic boards like the Raspberry Pi.

                           

                          However you specifically asked about bundles, so in the development board category, I would suggest a BBC micro:bit and a whole pile of add-on boards/edge connectors etc. or a Raspberry Pi and a load of different HATs.

                           

                          I think that test equipment reviews are good but I never feel that I can do justice to an oscilloscope costing £2,000 (or $). My angle would be a nice collection of test gear that an engineer might buy for himself/herself to use at home, rather than top-end stuff. So the bundle might include a £400 oscilloscope, £100 logic analyser, £100 multimeter, or call it a "home lab bundle" and include a £100 programmable power supply as well.

                           

                          I also like the "maker bundle" idea, so that would include moderately-priced 3D printer, laser cutter  as well as solder station, magnifier and a selection of small tools like solder sucker, craft knives, wire strippers etc.

                          5 of 5 people found this helpful
                          • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                            genebren

                            Hi Randall,

                             

                            With the recent run of robotics projects, I was thinking of a 'Robot Builder's Dream Kit'.  A collection of electronic/mechanical parts/kits that could be used to construct a series of robots and/or robot platforms.

                             

                            Such a kit would need:

                            • SBC(s) for a controller(s)
                            • Servos and/or motors and controllers
                            • Wheels and gears
                            • Sensors (camera/distance measurement/light/temperature(IR)/accelerometers/magnetic compass/etc.)
                            • Miscellaneous mechanical pieces
                            • Wireless controls (WiFi/Bluetooth/RC)

                             

                            Additional beneficial parts/tools:

                            • 3D printer for fabrication
                            • multi-color filament package for cool looking parts
                            • Laser cutter (combined with 3d printer?)

                             

                            It would be very interesting to see what the right combination of resources and the fertile minds of the elment14 community could produce.  Given the large number of variables, this would need to be a super roadtest, possibly requiring a longer time period.

                             

                            Sure sounds like fun to me.

                             

                            Gene

                            6 of 6 people found this helpful
                            • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                              dougw

                              Some great answers above spurred more ideas for popular road tests:

                              • a laser cutter with a load of stock materials and maybe an OEM power supply to dress up.
                              • a CNC engraver capable of making PCBs, some copper-clad FR4, and some 555 chips and SMT LEDs.
                              • A small CNC milling machine with a Beaglebone Blue.
                              • an android tablet with a Chromecast dongle for telestrating onto a big screen for blogging
                              • an MS Surface for telestration-blogging
                              • ultimate solder tool package: stereo microscope/camera, hot air & solder station, fume extractor, PCB holder, tweezers, flux, SMT component organizer, hot plate
                              6 of 6 people found this helpful
                              • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                BigG

                                Wow, interesting question and impressed with the imaginative responses so far.

                                 

                                I went to the Roadtest page and clicked on "oldest first" and came across this one from December 2010:

                                Microchip Multimedia Expansion Board

                                 

                                (Says only one left in stock till exhausted - wow it's still around)

                                 

                                It triggered an idea. I thought about it and actually I haven't seen too many HMI type roadtests recently, so I thought how about the ultimate on-street or outdoor smart kiosk or vending or ticket machine as would make for a nice application type bundle.

                                 

                                Something like:

                                 

                                1 x touch screen type display - something like this for RPI

                                1 x screen enclosure - something like this

                                1 x SBC - something like a RPI

                                 

                                Then options open for Power Management stuff, from solar panels, pmics and other type of battery power source (for example, the proven way for on- street stuff was a big chunky 12V or 24V lead acid, so any alternatives to this option for road-testing would be good)

                                 

                                Then there is the Wireless connectivity such as cellular kits - not sure what's available here, so maybe LoRaWAN as alternative as free (e.g. MKR1300)

                                 

                                Then if some sort of vend/ticketing then a thermal printer for ticketing or some motor driver for vending.

                                 

                                And finally a suitable enclosure or option to 3d-print something

                                4 of 4 people found this helpful
                                • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                  Instructorman

                                  So many great ideas from a lot of members.  We all kind of think alike.  Maybe that is why we are drawn to this community.

                                   

                                  In my dream I see additive and subtractive prototyping equipment (3D printer, CNC mill) to allow fabrication of custom enclosures, brackets, and printed circuit boards - all the physical bits that allow an electronic design to reside comfortably in the real world.

                                   

                                  Test equipment is great too:  any modern digital oscilloscope should do, plus a programmable power supply, a spectrum analyzer with awesome modulation decode capabilities, an ARB, and a good meter.  Oh, and a thermal camera.  I have one and it has come in handy on several occasions.

                                  Since we have PCB fabrication tools in this dream, we also need good hot air soldering and desoldering tools.

                                   

                                  My dream also has cool new tech like Lidar scanners, 5G IoT devices, Python development environment, PCB design and simulation tools, and a big new ESD safe workstation to store all of this stuff.

                                   

                                  This is dream road test that I would not want to wake up from.

                                  5 of 5 people found this helpful
                                  • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                    Fred27

                                    I was lucky enough to road test the Rohde & Schwarz RTM3004, so I feel I've already had my shot at a dream road test. Thanks again E14 for that awesome opportunity.

                                     

                                    I'm surprised to see so many people mention CNC stuff, as I've never really associated E14 with that - other than a bit of 3D printing. I must admit I'm a bit of a CNC fan too, having converted a mill to CNC and upgraded an eBay-special 40W CO2 laser. They are great tools and I can thoroughly recommend getting into CNC if you can afford the time for yet another hobby!

                                     

                                    SMD challengeI like the idea of a soldering equipment. I've always got by with my cheap Yihua station, but it would be nice to see what a proper tool can do.

                                     

                                    How about including an SMD challenge board as part of the road test? Does a shiny new station make you a solder ninja or not?! Will 01005 drive you insane?

                                    5 of 5 people found this helpful
                                    • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                      three-phase

                                      Some great ideas have already been mentioned, my absolute favourite of these is the blogging equipment mentioned by dougw.

                                       

                                      I also like the soldering equipment suggestion by gecoz, I would add in a desoldering gun as well into this, with all the capacitors I have been replacing lately, it would have been very useful.

                                       

                                      More from an electrical side of things, an electrician's tool kit would be interesting, screwdriver set, socket set, voltage probe and proving unit and multifunction tester.

                                       

                                      For the more industrial electrician, the Fluke connect series instruments, thermal imager, power analyser and vibration meter bundled together.

                                       

                                      Specific from my field, although not really in Farnell's scope, injection test set, high voltage insulation testers and micro-ohmeters from the likes of Megger.

                                       

                                      I guess the ultimate readtest kit for me would be a calibration lab setup, 8.5 digit meter, multifunction calibrator and calibration software.

                                       

                                      Kind regards.

                                      3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                      • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                        lui_gough

                                        As a significant beneficiary of the RoadTest program, completing my first RoadTest back in 2014, I’d have to say that this is not a question I’ve contemplated before. I’ve never really put much thought into what I would want in a dream RoadTest, but instead, I often look at the line of items up for RoadTest and discover they were dream items I never knew I needed in my life. One by one, my dreams are being fulfilled … and being extended.

                                         

                                        If anything, I’d have to say that the RoadTest program has been a dream for me – it has helped me immensely in exploring various aspects of electronics but also given me a reason to spend more time doing the things I love doing, which (aside from electronics) includes reviewing, testing, teardowns, repairs, etc.

                                         

                                        But seeing that you’ve asked … I suppose the dream RoadTest would be an electric car. For a RoadTest it would seem the perfect … yeah. No. Just kidding .

                                         

                                        Instead of a bundle (after all, the items I select have no real overarching theme), the products which do spring to mind as being interesting and perhaps review worthy are:

                                        • An affordable 3D Printer of sorts – this is something perhaps that would be of interest to increasing number of makers as a convenient prototyping solution. The more affordable, the better (assuming decent specs) … maybe even in the $300-range. Perhaps also good to have a CNC as well.
                                        • A desoldering gun – this is something that is perhaps very useful, but seldom owned. Perhaps this is due to price, but for desoldering DIP chips, the braid and solder sucker rarely cut the mustard.
                                        • A decent soldering station – something with hot air as well, perhaps. I’ve got a Tenma and it’s been serving me well – I can’t imagine life without it. Even though it’s not a “premium” quality unit, it seems well suited for hobbyist use … maybe more people need to know? Could probably go together with the desoldering gun. Make and break!
                                        • Ratcheting crimp tools set – another thing that people should have if they use crimps (of any sort) but rarely do. Perhaps a selection of tools covering regular terminals, RJ45, JST, header-pins and ferrules for a one-stop-crimp-shop. Drool.
                                        • A proper set of insulated screwdrivers, needle-nose pliers, tweezers, side-cutters – lots to be said about good tools, but we don’t see them too often.
                                        • Texas Instruments SimpleLink CC1352P development boards – the ones with multiple-radios seem to be quite versatile, but instead of RoadTesting just one board, make it a number which really counts (5+) so that a real network can be developed. Perhaps mix this with boards that run just single-protocol as well. It’s fascinating to me how they manage to cram so much capability into one tiny chip.
                                        • ESD-workbench stuff – mats, sprays, wrist-straps … although I don’t think there is any easy way to test this stuff.
                                        • RF Accessories – perhaps an SDR or spectrum analyser could come with an array of cables, power splitters/combiners, attenuators, adapters, antennas, baluns, etc. The equipment is one thing, but the accessories can be a big part in whether you could realise a test or not.
                                        • Batteries – it might seem strange, but I do love testing these … and I have the equipment …

                                         

                                        In all, I don’t think I have any particular “just one dream” kind of RoadTest bundle. As usual, test equipment is probably the favourite amongst a lot of people for its utility – I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity for a 6.5d DMM or an SMU for example. But seeing as they’ve been run perhaps a number of times before, I didn’t feel the need to add it to the list.

                                        5 of 5 people found this helpful
                                        • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                          shabaz

                                          Wow, 10 years. It feels like just a few years that I joined, yet apparently it was 8 years.

                                          Also, element14 has always felt welcoming, modern features, and interesting projects, activities and RoadTests, time goes quickly.

                                           

                                          There was a multi-dev-board RoadTest that helped my career quite a bit, because it encouraged me to try out multiple cloud platforms early on.

                                           

                                          My dream RoadTest would be RF related perhaps. But I'd enjoy any engineering area where I'm partially building on what I know, but learning new stuff too.

                                          That's really broad.. but if it helps, it would include areas where I get to try out experiments too, e.g. assemble a test board, write some code,

                                          build with a new sensor/technology, etc.

                                           

                                          However, bundling too much may make it harder to explore in depth. We become mini-experts in a particular technology

                                          if we have a couple of months to explore, maybe understanding that tech, in the area we investigate, better than the manufacturers.

                                          But at the same time exceptions are needed, some things are harder to try out without additional stuff.

                                          3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                          • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                            rusgray

                                            I'd like to see an SMD soldering/rework bundle or bundles, focusing on lower-cost items useful for home/hobby SMD work like:

                                             

                                            -Relow Oven with paste

                                            -Microscope

                                            -Hot-air rework station (with vacuum part placement accessory)

                                            -Board pre-heater (IR or direct heat)

                                            -Hot plate

                                            -Portable/hand-held hot-air rework tool(s)

                                            4 of 4 people found this helpful
                                            • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                              ipv1

                                              Wow! 10 years. Kudos.

                                               

                                              For the bundles, test-equipment bundled with dev kits seem like a good proposition since it allows the tester something to start with. Then its 3D starter kits with tool kits for putting things together. How easy or tough was it kind of RT. Lastly, sensor kits with software tutorials for getting off the ground quickly. These seem like good ideas to me.

                                               

                                              I am also inclined to look at tool kits and then bundling them together with a suitable use case such as an enclosure to mini design challenge to see how the tools under test are a better option than the ones the tester uses on a daily basis. E.g. I was using a DIY soldering station but the heatup times are too long as opposed to the Tenma and Weller stations.

                                              4 of 4 people found this helpful
                                              • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                Fred27

                                                I would really like to know what a "dream road test" looks like from the supplier's perspective. I'm sure it's not just "this product is great, buy it". Is it feedback to R&D? Is it an assurance to potential purchasers that the product is ready to use and well supported?

                                                 

                                                Whilst it's great testing cool stuff (and getting to keep it afterwards), I personally find it important to feel I've adequately fulfilled my side of the bargain.

                                                7 of 7 people found this helpful
                                                  • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                    three-phase

                                                    That is a really great question. For the one road test I did, I was quite surprised at the lack of involvement / feedback from the manufacturer, so I never really knew wether or not it met their expectations.

                                                     

                                                    Kind regards,

                                                      • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                        lui_gough

                                                        Fred27 & three-phase - I wouldn't worry too much about that, personally. Nice to know, but we do what we can, and I consider giving them an opportunity to respond or get involved as a "luxury" - a redeeming chance they can either take with both hands or leave.

                                                         

                                                        I suspect some manufacturers are really passionate and interested in feedback for R&D user-story/use-case development especially early on in the product cycle, whereas many others are perhaps more interested in the marketing/user-content/SEO content generation when it's already launched and perhaps they're looking to gain some market share. In the latter case, not getting involved is perhaps sensible on behalf of the company. They don't want to be seen to be influencing the review (especially, if it's supposed to be impartial), and avoid a perceived conflict of interest. But in other cases, perhaps they don't want to be on-the-record publicly as saying one thing or another, especially as employees of the company may not be aware of the "overarching" goal or strategy. I've had the same "issue" prescribed to different desires from staff of the same company working at different levels. One said it was due to "marketing", another said it was due to "intellectual property", another claimed it was for "regulatory compliance", whereas another was not aware that the issue even existed, so to go on the record would perhaps be dangerous at best.

                                                         

                                                        I suppose that's why I don't like to converse with the manufacturers' representatives in the comment threads of a RoadTest too much - I think it's a lot of pressure to put on the company to have their responses in the public, on the record, timestamped, etc. I try to contact them directly through private means - granted this doesn't always work (we don't always reach the right people, if we do, they still might not be permitted to say certain things), but at least I can expect them to be a little more open and transparent (especially in a case of 'we don't know yet' or 'we're not sure there is a problem') because it's not out in the open and I'm not going to be that 'annoying guy' who just screenshots the e-mail and slaps it everywhere. I suppose it takes a little trust-building between yourself and the representative for them to understand that we're not exactly out to unfairly poke holes in their product - it's that now we are an "owner" of their product as well, we have an interest in making sure it is improved for the use cases we have tried so that we can tell the world that it works well. I'm not sure that all the reps understand this - they might see it from the other perspective of being defensive and trying to avoid confirming that there are any weaknesses in any given product.

                                                         

                                                        You are right, sometimes there are some companies which don't care so much about their products at all. This may be the case especially for older products which have been on the market and sell well enough. I've even gone to lengths of staying up odd hours to meet their time-zones, filming videos, phoning them up long-distance at my cost only to not have a resolution in the end. Worse, the representative in charge of the product line got "promoted" away, and the new rep really wasn't any better. This ends up consuming my time and their time ... for nothing. In the end, the review didn't turn out well for them and ultimately, I think they are the ones who stand to lose the most. From my perspective, I can put out an impartial review (be it a positive review or a negative one) - it costs me the same amount of time and a similar amount of effort ... and neither would change my reputation in any great way.

                                                         

                                                        Because of this, I normally sleep soundly in the knowledge that if they picked my proposal, it's because that's what they wanted (or are prepared) to see go online. If I meet the proposal as best as I can, that should make them happy. I guess I'm just trying not to overthink it.

                                                         

                                                        - Gough

                                                        2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                      • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                        dougw

                                                        Sometimes the manufacturer does comment on road tests, it has happened a couple of times with road tests I was doing. In both cases it was great - they provided background information about why they designed the product the way they did and provided a little help as well and even some hints about future products. In one case, the commenter was the actual designer of the product. The comments were right in the road test blog, above board and were made after the road test was published so everyone could see the complete involvement and I'm sure anyone reading the road test thought it was a useful interaction.

                                                      • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                        gpolder

                                                        A lot of interesting items are already mentioned, so my suggestions are not really original.

                                                        For fabrication the list should contain:

                                                        • 3D printer, normal one or resin type (Product LinkProduct Link)
                                                        • CNC router
                                                        • soldering tools
                                                          • SMD rework station
                                                          • antistatic mat
                                                          • fume extractor
                                                          • third hand

                                                         

                                                        For testing:

                                                        • Lab bench power supply
                                                        • LF signal generator
                                                        • Digital oscilloscope with digital and analog inputs

                                                         

                                                        For RF experiments:

                                                        • RF signal generator
                                                        • ADALM-PLUTOADALM-PLUTO -  Software Defined Radio Active Learning Module, RF Coverage from 325 MHz to 3.8 GHz, Portable
                                                        • Spectrumanalyser/VNA (with tracking generator/rf bridge)
                                                        5 of 5 people found this helpful
                                                        • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                          DAB

                                                          Right now I am dreaming of a good 6 GHz spectrum analyzer.

                                                          I have a number of experiments I need to run to test out my theory on photon flow and the experiment requires a very wide band detector so that I can see if there are specific frequencies of photons emitted by a cathode ray tube when exposed to solar energy. I have postulated that the phosphor on the inside the CRT should emit photons, aka as electric charge, when stimulated by UV, visible and IR photons. If my theory is correct, we should see a wide range of signals off the phosphor, some of which should be down in the 1 to 6 Giga Hertz range.

                                                           

                                                          DAB

                                                          5 of 5 people found this helpful
                                                          • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                            ntewinkel

                                                            My Dream RoadTest is anything along the lines of being a maker/hobbyist.

                                                            It would be something I can use for an immediate project for the RoadTest, and then be useful (or enjoyable) for the long term for many projects following.

                                                             

                                                            There are many great examples already stated above, but I'll risk some repeats with my own list...

                                                             

                                                            PCB making is moving forward into the world of SMC, so for that purpose it would be great to have a RT that includes SMD practice:

                                                            1. PCB design software

                                                            2. PCB manufacturing (maybe a machine like Doug Wong mentioned above, but more likely a 3rd party company providing the service)

                                                            3. Components to populate the board(s)

                                                            4. Tools to do the assembly (solder station, hot air, reflow oven)

                                                            5. A case (this might be split into design software, and manufacturing services, or CNC and/or 3D printer)

                                                             

                                                            A simpler version could just involve a pre-supplied kit covering the PCB, parts, and case, with a set of tools to go with it.

                                                            For my ideal kit, that would be some sort of robot

                                                             

                                                            And, of course... a week or two off work!  (you might have noticed my near-absence for the last few months. hoping that changes soon!)

                                                             

                                                            I think I see a theme in many of the suggestions made by others too: have the RoadTest include everything that is needed.

                                                             

                                                            Cheers,

                                                            -Nico

                                                            5 of 5 people found this helpful
                                                            • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                              andrewj

                                                              How about a different spin on it?  Instead of things to Roadtest, describe a project and it’s goals and what you need to complete it: tools, components, equipment.  Finally, what it will give back to the Element 14 community.  Could be an individual or group project - a mix of experience to help those new to the hobby.

                                                               

                                                              I’m a recent joiner of this community and think it’s amazing.  Really helpful and encouraging, so here’s to another 10 years.

                                                              7 of 7 people found this helpful
                                                              • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                                meera_hussien

                                                                Hi Randall,

                                                                 

                                                                In the previous roadtest, iwas able to put myon the robot kits, development boards and passive tools. It was a great experience though. And I do believe it has given many members the opportunity to get the hands-on experience using the tool, which will not be possible without this roadtest. I hope that this online community will stay longer as it is a very useful platform to share their ideas and to clarify any doubts which they have.

                                                                 

                                                                Thanks to ROADTEST

                                                                 

                                                                By having all this equipment, it will be useful for the maker out there to make a simple complete product. Because the restriction or obstacle faced by many makers out there is, to get their hands on the tools or equipment needed to make a complete product. At least that is what faced by my colleagues and me.

                                                                 

                                                                It would be great to have a roadtest bundle for the following

                                                                 

                                                                Test Equipment

                                                                1)  Oscilloscope                      -          Rigol DS1054Z                 

                                                                2)  Bench Power Supply       -         Eventek KPS305D DC Power Supply.

                                                                3) Bench Multimeter             -         B&K Precision 5491B Bench Digital Multimeter

                                                                4) Signal Generator              -           RIgol DG1022

                                                                 

                                                                CNC Machine

                                                                1)     PCB Milling Machine        -           Bantam Desktop PCB Milling Machine

                                                                2)    Laser cutter                         -           TEN – High CO2

                                                                 

                                                                3D Printer

                                                                1)     Ultimaker 2+ 3D Printer

                                                                 

                                                                Soldering and Product Equipment

                                                                1)     Soldering Station              -           WELLER WX 2021 WELLER soldering station set with iron + tweezers

                                                                2)     Fume extractor                  -           Hakko FA400-04

                                                                 

                                                                 

                                                                I do believe by all these equipment and tools, the testing and fabrication process of a prototype would much more efficient.

                                                                 

                                                                What i have listed above are just the example of devices and equipments. It does not need to be exactly the same brand or model. It can be changed to whichever that is available.

                                                                 

                                                                Thank you.

                                                                3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                                                • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                                  Jan Cumps

                                                                  A box of power FETs, switch mode controllers, heatsinks and inductors (hey Würth ) to play with buck, boost, buck-boost converters.

                                                                  And a small budget to order a few custom PCBs from an AVNET partner. 

                                                                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                                  • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                                    aabhas

                                                                    rscasny

                                                                    I would like to roadtest an Arduino Engineering kit ,Arduino LoRa Gateway  or even Nvidia Jetson Nano  these are all my preferences which should be added to Roadtest .

                                                                     

                                                                    The Arduino Engineering kit has a lot of amazing concepts of physics applied in real which as great learning.

                                                                     

                                                                    The Arduino LoRa gateway is also a very product which is helpful in projects involving remote monitoring and long range communication.

                                                                     

                                                                    The Nvidia Jetson Nano it's a incredible board for projects involving Camera Vision , AI , Machine Learning for real time practical day to day projects.

                                                                     

                                                                    These are some of the dream roadtest products I would especially like to Roadtest an Nvidia Jetson Nano I am really excited to if get a chance to work on it and even review it .

                                                                     

                                                                    Thanks

                                                                    Aabhas Senapati

                                                                    2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                                    • Re: In Honor of element14's 10th Birthday: What is Your Favorite RoadTest Bundle?
                                                                      mrseb

                                                                      As for an hobbyist like myself, with limited access towards more powerful and precise equipment I'd love to see a "Make(r)-your-dream-come==true"-kit. This means that I'd love to upgrade my DIY-benchpowersupply with a new 'semi-professional' one. a standalone oscilloscope (I currently use my computer, soundcard and software if I can), semi-professional multimeter, soldering-station (with added fume-extractor for that sweet safety?), 3D-printer (with different filaments), Laser-engraver/cutter. CNC-machine. A selection of different arduino-boards & shields. Add a hot air-station and/or some sort of FliR.

                                                                      Some of my projects has died because my equipment is simple not good/precise enough to make it just the way I want it. This may sound pretentious as it isn't the tools that make the project but not having the tools makes the project alot harder aswell. I can for example build smaller oscillators for small sound-projects but if I wanna use it more musically it gets alot more tricky to get it just right as the tools I got is more suitable for an "max max-oscillator".