Welcome back to another action-packed blog post where I answer your most burning questions about Arduino!
(If you haven't seen the other posts about what is Arduino, What can you do with it, and what's better Arduino vs Raspberry Pi, check them out now before reading this post).
Recently whilst (whilst is my favorite word), chatting with a buddy of mine about the applications of Arduino, he asked if Arduino could be used in real products?
He specifically wanted to know if he could buy an off the shelf Arduino board like an Uno(1) or Nano(2) and sell it as part of his own electronic widget.
Photo Credit (Arduino.cc)
Let’s say that you came up with an idea for a stellar electronic gadget, lets call it the Gizmo3000!
The Gizmo3000 needed electronic control so you turned your trusty arsenal of Arduino boards.
My personal favorite the Arduino Nano because its small, and is one of the most popular boards in Arduino line up with lots of code snippets available.
After feverishly working on the Gizmo3000 and getting it to work just right, you have a eureka moment where you realize, “Hey… wait… I think others would really love this. Maybe I can sell it”.
Now this is where the questions come in.
- Can I sell a product with an Arduino board inside?
- Is an off the shelf Arduino board robust enough to ship with?
Well, lets dig into each one of these questions one by one.
First… Can I sell a product with an Arduino board inside?
The answer? YES!
You can absolutely sell your own widget which is run by an Arduino board inside.
In fact lots of companies start off this way.
While one could argue that it’s cheaper to make your own board and sell it with that inside instead, I say, skip that part in the beginning.
For a few reasons.
- Cost | Unless you order thousands of your own custom PCB’s with your own design, I can guarantee it will not be cheaper.
- Design time |This is a big one, depending on the complexity of your custom board, moving from your Arduino prototyped version of the Gizmo3000 to a full blown custom PCB can take weeks to months to develop. If you want to hit the market with a new electronic product, do it the fastest way possible which is with an off the shelf board.
Is an off the shelf Arduino board robust enough to ship with?
The answer? YES!
There is some miss leading information out there that an off the shelf Arduino board wont handle the rigors of being deployed to the field. This is false (with some caveats).
Chances are your Gizmo3000 doesn’t have the need to meet the rigors of military or space requirements.
If that’s the case an off the shelf board will work perfectly. In fact, do you remember a little known company called Makerbot?
You know, the juggernaut that opened the worlds eyes to 3D printing in the early 2000’s?
Well… they used Arduino compatible board inside and shipped with it!
They shipped thousands of units with it too!
If it’s good enough for a company like Makerbot, its likely good enough for the Gizmo3000.
Pretty neat right?
Well, that’s it. I hope that answers the question of Can I use an Arduino board in my own electronic gadget!
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Think Escape room meets, electronics and coding.
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