This is an invitation to help define something potentially useful.
I've learned that the good people at Seeedstudio plan on offering for sale an Edison HDK ("hardware developer's kit") and they want our feedback on what should go in it. This kit would be roughly parallel to the OPL ("open parts library") kit they currently sell. It's envisioned as a collection of components most wanted by IoT enthusiasts designing Edison blocks/shields/daughtercards. It would contain not just both genders of the infamous Hirose 70-pin connectors (obviously), but also other building blocks -- resistors, power IC's, capacitors, connectors, etc. -- commonly used in interface boards. There would be multiple units of each component in the kit, each with its own footprint in Seeed's Eagle library, with Kicad possible in the future too. Something like:
As I see it, the availability of such a kit opens up two possible workflows. Those comfortable with soldering the Hirose connectors and tiny SMDs could obviously buy the kits, acquire PCBs through usual channels like OSHPark or Seeed's own "Fusion" service, then assemble their own prototypes locally.
The rest of us have another intriguing new option. The components that end up in the HDK will become part of Seeed's mainline inventory, and as such they'll be available to Seeed's so-called "Fusion PCBA" board assembly service. You'll be able to upload your Eagle designs and in a fairly short time get fully assembled prototype boards in small quantities (2-10) at reasonable prices.
Gee, this posting sounds like an advertisement. It's really not. I'm just excited that I'll be able to actually get built my GPS Block and several other Edison designs that have been floating around in my brain.
The question for us is: what components should be in these kits? Seeed invites us to weigh in. There are certain obvious choices:
- The "male" Hirose connectors that mate with the "female" one on the Edison, both 2.0mm and 3.0mm varieties.
- The "female" one, so that you can stack, like SparkFun blocks.
- Various sensors... 3-axis, ultrasonic, temperature, etc. (detail?)
- Power management ICs, for example those used in the SparkFun blocks to shift back and forth between 1.8 and other voltages:
- Maybe antenna or antenna connector for Edison radios?
- FTDI USB-to-Serial convertor
- A nice collection of SMD resistors, capacitors, crystal, LEDs, diodes, inductors?
- Maybe some peripheral lower-level microcontrollers?
- Connectors, like USB, SD card holder, headers.
- I would enjoy it if the PA6H GPS controller ended up in the HDK.
This is just a preliminary list. What do you think? Please reply with suggestions.