I just began working on a new project that involves reading RFID tags, especiall UHF RFID tags. After doing some research on the available solutions, I came across the Cottonwood reader board. (here's the wiki: http://linksprite.com/wiki/index.php5?title=Cottonwood:_UHF_Long_distance_RFID_reader_module)
I found the schematic for the board and was shocked to see that:
- The AS3992 costs $65 on digikey and seems to be older, and less available.
- The coupler, RCP890A05, is so old that I can only find it on aliexpress. And it costs $8 or so.
I have done a few PCB design projects in eagle in the past few years, so I think I can lay out a design, but I'm looking for pointers that would help me reduce my cost to $50 for the components on this board and strip it down to the bare minimum.
It looks like there is another chip on here that acts as a generic microcontroller. At this point I plan to use a different chip so I can use wifi/bluetooth with this device, so that part is basically eliminated.
So I guess this all boils down to, what I can switch out to reduce costs and make parts more available?