Many of us are aware of the STM32C103 boards referred to as the "Blue Pill". Searching eBay, AliExpress or others will return 1000's of results. The majority of these come from China, and the quality for many of them are mediocre. On my first purchase getting 5 BP's, all 5 were duds, fakes, and would not work. They were completely useless. The other thing is that the boards were supposed to be 64k flash, and they ended up being 32k instead.
I bought them from China for about $2.20USD each. I've heard of others who have purchased from China and got great boards. The problem is like playing roulette. Never know what you're going to get.
So I designed the board based off of stm32duino.com wiki for the BP. During this process, I realized that the BP that I had was missing 3 capacitors and 2 resistors from the recommended design. These caps are for stabilizing the power to the board. The BP I got uses 1 capacitor for this job.
The reason I want to make this board is to make better quality boards at comparative price. Doing the BOM through LCSC I found that I could build these boards in the US for almost the same price as the others found all over the place. Not only that, the boards will have the proper cache/ram available without having dud ICs installed.
The PCB was designed on EasyEDA and the parts will come from LCSC. This will help save on shipping costs from wholesaler to my door. Then I can proceed to do the soldering and testing the boards to make sure they are fully functional.
Project status is ready for funding to purchase the first round of parts. I would like to buy enough parts to build 100 boards to start with. This cost will be around $200 for the parts alone.
The first batch will be produced by hand. A stencil will be included in the purchase to make smd pasting a lot easier. I have a small oven that will be used for reflowing.
After assembly all boards will be flashed with the Maple Mini bootloader and then tested for proper functionality. A stress test will be conducted with different programs to verify board integrity before sending out.
Risks and challenges
Challenges are that I would need a few more pieces of equipment to build these boards. A hot air station for smd soldering is a must in this type of work. Part of the funds raised will be for the purchase of this equipment.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)