Spark Core v0.2.1 complete and published to Github

The Spark Core v0.2.1 has been completed and published to Github. This version will go into small scale production with our manufacturing partner, and if no issues are uncovered, will also be the large scale production version of the Spark Core.

Release notes:

  • Incorporated DFM feedback from our manufacturing partner. DFM, or Design for Manufacturability, is an important part of the hardware development process where we work with our manufacturer to identify design choices that might cause failures on the manufacturing line. In our case, this included a lot of little tweaks to increase spacing between parts that were particularly close together.
  • Switched to a through-hole USB connector. Micro USB connectors can be tricky, because if they’re used frequently they can get ripped off the circuit board. This has happened to me quite a few times with my Arduino Pro Micros, and at least one of our beta testers has seen this already. We switched to a through-hole part — which means that it has pins that go through holes in the board, rather than sitting flush on top — which will add mechanical stability to the part.
  • Selected final part numbers for mass-produced Core, and changed parts when necessary. Selecting components can be tricky business, because there are a number of factors to consider, including specs, quality, price, and availability. We selected parts for the Core such that it is inexpensive to manufacture in China, but parts are also available in the U.S. for folks who want to build their own boards.
1 Like

Hi Zach,
I was wondering how many is considered “small scale production” ?

Also, is there a way during manufacture that the boards are given a unique identifier so that you can check if the device is allowed on your network ?

We’ll start with just 10 or so Cores, manufactured by hand. First we’re just testing to make sure they work as expected, and that the manufacturer understands where all the components go.

If everything goes well there, we’ll move on to a larger pilot run of perhaps a couple hundred units. These will be actually assembled on the automated manufacturing line, and what we’re really looking for is process issues.

Once the pilot run has started, at any point we can basically flip the switch and start producing in quantity. Our manufacturer has told us that they should be able to produce the entire batch of more than 10,000 Cores in about a week.

As for the unique identifier, yes — we will be programming the Cores on the manufacturing line, and part of that programming will be provisioning access to our cloud service, including a unique key for the device.