New Phi-panel backpack PCB design and temporary price drop
November 23, 2012 8 Comments
Since its introduction, the phi-panel backpack has sold over 100 units. The sales has gone up especially recently. To meet the demands, I recently purchased/printed in large quantity ATMEGA328 chips and PCBs so I was able to adjust down the prices of various kits a few dollars each. I am hoping the price stays at this level from now on although I am saying “temporary”. The biggest challenges for this product are:
1) Finding LCDs that are low cost and good enough quality. I still can’t just order 100 LCDs at a time. That will last for a year 🙂
2) Competing against dummy “serial LCDs” with I2C port extenders. Those circuit components only cost dimes and the circuits are as dumb as a rock.
It is hard to show phi-panel’s quality with just the look or even a video. But I’m glad that almost everyone that purchased these backpacks are happy with their purchase and some said some very positive things about it. So to those happy customers, please tell your friends about this product. The more the demands, the lower the unit price may go, and the more features I will add to this line of product.
This new batch of PCBs feature a how row of ground connections. This will come in handy if you are using the 8-key firmware and laying out your own control panel. Each button will connect a button pin and one of the grounds. So I added a row of 8 grounds to cope with this. You don’t need to jam or twist 8 wires in one ground connection.
The various keypad layouts and face plates are arriving in a few days. It will be exciting!