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I've been developing a project with a BeagleBone Black and some other accessories connected to it as a proof of concept. Now, I wish to create a Prototype on my own leaving the BeagleBone behind, with the intention of eventually transforming the project to a commercial final product manufactured in industrial quantities.

I've been searching the web for a couple days now and have found tons of information on going from Prototype to Final Product, but I have found very little information for the previous step; from proof of concept to prototype. Being more specific, what I would like to do now is replicate what I already have with the BeagleBone on pieces I obtain separately and try it out on a breadboard. After this, I would design a final PCB for mass production.

My question, in short, is how do I know which pieces I will need, and how should I connect them (including resistors, transistors, etc)? If the question is too broad, is there any guidance you can give me for me to learn what I need? This is my first project of this kind, and even though I am a Computer Engineer my knowledge is really limited in electronic matters.

I thank your answers in advance. Please if this is off topic, repeated or anything similar direct me to where I can find the answers. I've been looking a lot and can't find the precise answers.

Best regards, Diego

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    \$\begingroup\$ The Beaglebone schematics are public. How much do you understand what every component on there is doing? \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Jan 13 '16 at 23:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThePhoton Hello and thanks for answering! Maybe I know a little, but for this purpose I'd prefer to say I know nothing. This said, even if I read the schematics I would not be able to identify which parts I need and which I don't. Another question arises from this: are the Beaglebone parts commercially available and/or the cheapest or cheap? Thanks again \$\endgroup\$ – DSte Jan 13 '16 at 23:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Then the first step is study the schematic until you understand it. Then you'll know which parts you need and which you don't. For example, does your application need video output? If not, you can get rid of the video controller chip and its support circuits. But you have to understand the schematic well enough to know which those are. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Jan 13 '16 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Or you can just reproduce the whole schematic in your prototype, and then remove parts when you convince yourself you understand what they do and why you don't need them. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Jan 13 '16 at 23:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ At this level you have to skip the breadboard and go straight to PCB. The sort of CPU on the BeagleBone won't even plug into a breadboard, and even if it did, it clocks too fast to have a hope of working on a breadboard. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Drummond Jan 13 '16 at 23:57
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I might understood it wrong, but if you already have a project (OS + Code + any external components) running on a BBB and wish to create your own neat board to run the same project you need to get started with the BBB documentation. Have a look on the schematics and BOM first: https://github.com/beagleboard/BeagleBone-Black.

BBB is an open-source project and you should be able to find all details how to build a clone and add/remove pieces of it to build a customised project.

Some observations

  1. It will be close to impossible to have all Beagle Bone Black components running on a breadboard. You'll need to go directly to a proper multilayer PCB. You can make it a big PCB and add lots of testing points and additional pads to help you debugging it.
  2. If that's your first PCB design project you might struggle as those little boards are very dense, using tiny components, including BGAs which will require professional assembly.
  3. The cost for producing a similar board in small quantities (let's say under 10K) might end up being much over the cost of using the BBB itself. Building a "cape/shield" only and a nice enclosure to fit both boards together could be a better/cheaper solution.

If you really need to have your own board for any other reason, have a look on the RPI Customisation service from Element14: http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-76955/l/raspberry-pi-customization-service.

Have fun! Cheers

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Since you are proposing to make a hardware product, and by your own admission you know virtually nothing about hardware, your first order of business is to find a partner who does know hardware. I cannot give you any tips as to how to do this, but it is clearly an absolute necessity.

Once you have such a partner, ask him to create your breadboard/prototype.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Google search for "turnkey contract manufacturing service" to find companies that do this kind of engineering design and manufacturing. \$\endgroup\$ – MarkU Jan 14 '16 at 2:57

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