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Author Topic: New x10 Wi-Fi unit  (Read 146658 times)

dhouston

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #120 on: May 19, 2015, 09:16:45 AM »

Double ouch!

Ouch #1: I never realized prices had skyrocketed but PCBCart's quote for five assembled PCBs (1/2"x1-1/2") was $750 + shipping. This for a fairly simple PCB shown at... http://davehouston.org/cm15a2z.htm
I expected about one third of their quote. Bare PCBs are reasonable so I may try the assembly myself but need to think things through. The shield for the Arduino clones are easiest to assemble so I may do those first along with the PLC Interfaces as originally planned...http://davehouston.org/ultimate-X10.htm

Ouch #2: While bending down to put on my shoes this AM, something popped in my lower back. So, I now have both a severe problem with my cervical spine and a new one with my lumbar spine. Unless it eases soon I'll have to go to the ER so all's on hold for now.
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JeffVolp

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #121 on: May 19, 2015, 05:14:24 PM »

Ouch #1: I never realized prices had skyrocketed but PCBCart's quote for five assembled PCBs (1/2"x1-1/2") was $750 + shipping. This for a fairly simple PCB shown at... http://davehouston.org/cm15a2z.htm  I expected about one third of their quote.

About 8 years ago I received a quote of $90 each to assemble the XTB-IIR at 40 units.  The setup charge for robotic assembly needs a volume of 1000 units or more before that becomes a viable option.

Jeff
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dhouston

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #122 on: May 19, 2015, 06:01:56 PM »

About 8 years ago I received a quote of $90 each to assemble the XTB-IIR at 40 units.  The setup charge for robotic assembly needs a volume of 1000 units or more before that becomes a viable option.
Two years ago I had quotes for 25 units of another device that were very reasonable. I was expecting something about 1/3 what I was quoted this time.

I'm surprised by the high prices. 40 years ago, I was the National Service Manager for a French company that made rather large machines that we sold to aerospace companies and other sheetmetal fabricators (e.g. the company that made prototype IBM PC cases). I can recall being mesmerized watching a Singer machine that assembled (through-hole) PCBs at a Singer plant in Binghampton, NY (where they also made Link trainers for the airlines - also mesmerizing to watch).
I would have expected economies-of-scale to have continuously reduced assembly costs.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 07:16:45 PM by dhouston »
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JeffVolp

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #123 on: May 19, 2015, 11:33:13 PM »

I would have expected economies-of-scale to have continuously reduced assembly costs.

It is the up front programming and setup costs that are the killer.  They get pretty cheap once the crank is turning.  But it takes a lot of pieces to amortize those costs.  Our volume can't get there on the PCB assembly.  It even hits us pretty hard on the Polycases, which is why I machine the round holes myself with various jigs.

Jeff
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dhouston

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #124 on: May 20, 2015, 06:27:16 AM »

But it takes a lot of pieces to amortize those costs.
My expertise was in the machine tool industry where computer controls made short runs economical. I helped develop computer controls for our machines and went on to run the company's US operations, establishing a near monopoly among aerospace companies (e.g. Learjet, Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas) where short runs were the norm. So, I'm baffled. With 3D printers under $200, it's a mystery to me why electronic circuit boards cost so much.
http://observer.com/2015/05/kickstarted-at-3m-how-tiko-is-set-to-be-the-best-and-cheapest-3d-printer/
Also, I would expect 5 prototype boards to be manually assembled and cannot imagine that costing $125 per piece.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 06:44:35 AM by dhouston »
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dhouston

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #125 on: May 26, 2015, 03:00:42 PM »

Back to the drawing board. My PCB design used an ATmega328P-AU and an FTDI FT230X USB-Serial converter. Both have extremely closely spaced pins and I was hoping to avoid assembling (i.e. soldering) them myself. In essence, the same major components are used on the Arduino nano R3 which I can buy (assembled w/other needed components) on eBay for less than $5 each. I'm going to see whether I can piggyback the nano on a carrier board that plugs into the CM15A board. It may mean eliminating the socket to keep the height within the available space but, if it fits, will give us a very affordable brain transplant for the CM15A.

I will need to modify the nano so it connects via the CM15A USB port but I suspect that will be doable.

I will also move ahead on the Arduino UNO shield version and PLC interface and hope to have those in a few weeks.

EDIT: At first glance, it looks possible but there is one difficulty to surmount. The nano has a surface mount miniUSB socket which is far too small to modify. I think I can design a carrier board that will put the miniUSB socket where the current USB socket is. I'll have to find a way to close the gap around it - wish I had a 3D printer.

Alas, nearly all of the components and traces that I spent an enormous amount of time placing/routing will be surplus.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 04:25:48 PM by dhouston »
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dhouston

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #126 on: May 27, 2015, 07:35:31 AM »

I have a solution that keeps the USB socket as it is. The Arduino mini v3.0 does not have an onboard USB-Serial chip. I can add that (using a chip that is easy to solder manually) on the carrier board, connected to the existing socket.

I'm ordering a new CM15A to see what may have changed. Once I have that I can finalize the PCB layout and get bare PCBs on order.
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dhouston

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #127 on: May 28, 2015, 06:18:15 PM »

It is the up front programming and setup costs that are the killer.  They get pretty cheap once the crank is turning.  But it takes a lot of pieces to amortize those costs.  Our volume can't get there on the PCB assembly.  It even hits us pretty hard on the Polycases, which is why I machine the round holes myself with various jigs.
I could have had 5 prototypes assembled in Canada for about half what the Chinese company quoted. So, I'm still somewhat baffled.

Anyway, I've redesigned it so that even a gimpy geezer (like me) can assemble them - the issue is moot at this point. Hopefully, I'll have working prototypes by mid to late June.
http://davehouston.org/cm15a2z.htm
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dhouston

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #128 on: May 29, 2015, 01:35:03 PM »

I'm ordering a new CM15A to see what may have changed.
I'm glad that I ordered the new CM15A. I received one with a datecode of 13J24. If I remember how to decipher X10's  datecodes, that means it was built 2 years ago. In any event, it is a total redesign from earlier versions with nearly all the logic components converted to SMD and moved to the bottom of the PCB, leaving the power components topside. It's a much cleaner, safer design.

So, I can stop wasting my time as the board I designed will only work with the older versions.  :'

I will proceed with the Arduino shield versions.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 01:38:20 PM by dhouston »
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Brian H

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #129 on: May 29, 2015, 04:05:27 PM »

Thank you for the update on the CM15A design.
I know other modules also where redesigned with surface mounted components.
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dhouston

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #130 on: May 29, 2015, 04:39:50 PM »

The schematic is probably much the same as before. The RF transmitter and receiver are now integrated on the main board. The receiver uses the same HiMark chip. The Cypress MCU is the same - but is now the SMD version. UL probably likes this version better with line voltage components on one side of the PCB and the 5V logic on the opposite surface. It could probably fit into 1/3 the space but that would have meant new plastics.
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dhouston

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #131 on: May 31, 2015, 03:25:11 PM »

So...  No X10 RF.  No X10 Security RF.  Still no Powermid RF.  We  hope the end product will at least be able to receive PLC.

So what I'm hearing is we're getting a (hopefully sophisticated) programable timer / scene controller that turns your smart phone into a X10 remote.

Definitely not a good substitute for the CM15A.

The no RF features is a major disappointment for many.
I myself was sure this was to be a major part of this module. :(
Cost was the main reason this was not included however I feel not including RF makes this less of a must have.

I share the disappointment and frustration. I was really hopeful that I could modify the CM15A to provide open source programming and add WiFi & Bluetooth but the redesign of the CM15A put an end to that. After I finish the Arduino shields, I'll likely still modify one of my original CM15As for my own use.

It would help immensely if Authinx would publish the communications protocol for the CM15A. I'm sure there would be a few developers who would respond with open source applications. When it was first introduced, I looked into a developers license for the Cypress MCU but the cost was prohibitive.

The current CM15A hardware design is a big improvement and it has send/receive for both PLC and RF. With the redesign, the cost of adding WiFi would have been much lower than developing a totally new WiFi unit that only does PLC.

Finally, an excellent RF receiver requires one SOIC-8 chip, a ceramic resonator and 3 capacitors. A transmitter is equally simple. So, I don't buy that adding it was too costly unless they are talking about the FCC testing required for the transmitter (which is a one-time expenditure).

Hmmm. This is likely above my skillset but it might be possible to use a WiFi dongle to interface with the CM15A.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Edimax-EW-7811Un-150Mbps-Wireless-11n-Nano-Size-USB-Adapter/17419471
« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 03:34:13 PM by dhouston »
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Noam

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #132 on: June 04, 2015, 02:46:22 PM »

I could have had 5 prototypes assembled in Canada for about half what the Chinese company quoted. So, I'm still somewhat baffled.
and you could call it the CM15-eh ;-)
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dhouston

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #133 on: June 04, 2015, 06:13:21 PM »

Had I gone with the Canadian company, I would have let Tuicemen name it.  :P
Gee thanks! ::) :'
I'll just be happy to see something materialize from someone,(the name isn't important), the community has been waiting for something along this line for some time now. >!
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 06:55:27 PM by Tuicemen »
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Tuicemen

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Re: New x10 Wi-Fi unit
« Reply #134 on: June 30, 2015, 12:02:35 PM »

Progress Update:
The newest Wi-Fi module Authinx is working on is said to be running well without any issues.
There were several changes made over the last 6 months ( however no word on what these were)
Developers are currently working on the macro feature and I'm told they are looking for feed back. ???
 So it sounds like it is in some sort of in house Alfa / beta test. It also sounds like only an android app is currently being developed as I'm told a IOS version will be created once the macro feature is complete.
It isn't expected to take to long after that.  :)%
 >!
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