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Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] Re: A Humble Request.... - "Open-Hardware"

From: Marcus D. Leech
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] Re: A Humble Request.... - "Open-Hardware"
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2011 16:34:04 -0500
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On 01/09/2011 04:19 PM, Moeller wrote:

There are still radio amateurs, hobbyists and other people who like to share
knowledge about creating hardware. See the SSRP (http://oscar.dcarr.org/ssrp/) 
You don't have to be a millionaire to finance your electronics hobby.
Wasn't it just $30 for the USRP FPGA, and some other low-cost chips on the 
Why not creating USRP hardware as a community project like GNU?
Of course the development and revision cycles are much slower than for
software, but people could share EDA files on a GIT server.
With open source hardware it would be easier to create variants,
e.g. a low-cost version with one RX-only channel, attach some extra 

Sounds like you're volunteering to create such a project. Let us know when you have everything set-up, including initial high-level designs, and preliminary parts selections. :-)

But as an occasional small-scale hardware manufacturer myself (both in RF electronics and aerospace), I can tell you that simply looking at the raw BOM costs doesn't give you a good feel for how much it actually costs to produce/test/support real-world hardware. The conventional wisdom in most industries is that for small-scale stuff, the MSRP should be roughly 10 times (yes, TEN) the raw BOM costs, in order for you to not go broke in the first couple of years. For mass-produced items, margins can be allowed to slip into the "razor thin" zone, once the market provides sufficient demand, and manufacturing processes have been streamlined and optimized for cost. But *in no way* is developmental SDR hardware in the "mass produced"
  category, and it never will be.

Eschewing commercially-produced hardware purely for reasons of delivered price, is likely, I conjecture, to
  lead to disappointment.

Marcus Leech
Principal Investigator
Shirleys Bay Radio Astronomy Consortium

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