Looks like this flight controller uses the same components, and it's just $34
MPU6050 6 axis gyro
HMC5883L 3-axis digital magnetometer
MS5611-01BA01 Barometric pressure sensor
Can someone explain to me the price difference? Even the software was ported so you can have same version on both boards. Why should I pay $180 for APM 2.5?
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@loan Ghip: A simple question. When the time comes, who do you think is going to pay hardware engineers to design APM 3.0 boards and give free prototype versions to open source developers during the development cycle. HobbyKing?
I guess if you want to do that, good for you.
I just spent... I dunno how many hours, cutting and welding an aluminum box for an antenna tracker enclosure. I could have bought one for about $150, but I figured I could make it cheaper. Cost me about $30 in materials, but it must have been at least 5 hours now. I should have just bought it.
Sometimes DIY makes sense. Sometimes not. It's for everybody to decide for themselves I guess.
You calculated only parts needed to create that board. You forgot to add time needed to develop it.
Switch hardware to software for a while:
"Why Photoshop is so expensive?" Come on! I could use notepad to paste the code (assuming I'll have the code). I could use free GCC to compile the code. I can write result to a CD. Summing up, CD costs <$1 so why Photoshop does not costs $1?
HK just makes a copy of such CD and sell it by CD costs. They do not need to add a time of development and QA to that price.
Welcome to the open hardware world.
"I wonder how open hardware companies can..."
Here, fixed it for you.
Bill. The clones still allow software development (unless they are using proprietary ASM language and not allowing access to the source, after all the hardware is just sticking chips on a board (prefer someone else to do it and validate that it works before loading code), the magic happens when the software brings it all together.
The OpenSource phenomenon means that dedicated enthusiasts get stuff working. With or without corporate support. A PseudoSocialist Closed system won't allow the development, and people will be back to etching their own boards and spending long nights soldering components. (Also if the Numbers aren't there, HK et al won't continue selling internationally.)
It will only take a few disasters with clones for the community to see if there is any value in the lower-cost alternatives. If the clones are closed, then developers won't even touch them (unless it is to hack the code and open them up.)
"after all the hardware is just sticking chips on a board"..
Ohh man did you really mean that? That's wrong and problematic on so many levels that I don't know what to say. I suggest you try and just stick some chips on a board to see how that goes.. Sorry for the sharp tone, but if you knew the work and know-how involved in designing a nice commercial level board at the complexity level of APM, you just would not say that. Manufacturing a finished design on the other hand, can be as you said. But even just getting some Chinese factory to stick some chips on a board, usually requires a couple of test runs to get right.
It's not that hard to make a APM 2.5 by hand. It would cost you $5 per square inch to get a PCB here that is made at professional quality and then using hot surface or toaster oven you could get all SMD parts on it in one step. I calculated the parts cost is about $50-$60 if you buy one piece, if you get bigger quantities, the price goes down, of course. Dorkbotpdx even has a SMT class every now and then.