And were in a golden age of DIY electronics! There are companies that will make as few as a single board, for around $20, for any small schematic you may have. Mind you, I'd love recommendations on PCB fabricators to try-- this is a new area for me.
The specs: these solar cell panels are about 1 inch x 4 inches. The satellite needs 8 of them, which means I need 10 (2 spares in case I screw up). Oh, actually, I want 20-- enough for a flight spare.
The boards get cheaper the more you order. Doing a rough pricing at apcircuits.com, it starts at about $100 for a single set of 10, and drops to $84 per 10 if I order 20. Doing 40 just drops the price to $72 per 20, not a big improvement over the former. But add another 20, and the price drops to $66 per 10, which is a reasonable savings.
So I tried getting a group order among the half-dozen teams flying, since they also need the boards. So far, I have 2 on board, but really need another so we can order 80; two more volunteers and we can get 100 and probably get a nicer price break.
All I want is 20 inexpensive boards and minimal hassle. The equation for this is:
Savings = (Cost per set of 10) - (extra shipping involved in a group order) - (hassle of organizing this) + (benefit of not everyone having to create their own fabrication)
So if you, by chance, want 10 or 20 solar cell PCBs, sans solar cells, drop me a line...
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