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Cost of the product is directly related to the cost of the connectors (and their quality/reliability…)

When we talk about the price of a single board computer, we’re always pointed to discuss its piece part price first of all. I consider this way of doing business wrong, as a wrong simplification of a very complex aspect.
Let’s try to focus on this aspect and discover how it is wrong two times.

Not only for the main reasons, more time spent discussing the complete solution cost where a lot of hidden cost may appear when it’s too late, but also because the cost we speak about seems to be related only to CPU-RAM-Flash memory (this last one nearly always useless, considering how a Linux system mounts it in series with the microSD much less expensive).

It is not the whole story.

One of the major secondary cost components of an industrial computer board, is the cost of connectors that nobody talks about. Almost never, because it is complex to understand I can agree. It is much simpler to talk about what we know well and understand. We can point out that a good quality connector, from the always present RJ45 for the Ethernet, going to any kind of FPC or thru hole mounting or smd, makes a big difference, and can cost three times inexpensive one.

The difference? Quality/reliability in how they “ bite “ the wire, how long they can support this connection from a mechanical point of view during the life of the product, how they can withstand vibration and insertion cycles, and still connect from an electrical point of view.

Thousands of insertions against dozens? This is the reality.

And because we know, one of the initial considerations when we are developing a product is to work with good quality connectors having an MTBF reasonable for a 10Y always on mission profile of the devices. Try to do it with a microUSB charger you probably use for your phone...and see what happens. Those costs are probably not so easy to understand when you see the price of the products, but will be very clear when you are responsible for the product for a long time.

This is our idea of quality/reliability. The rest it’s your choice….and understanding.

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