Are there plans for a modular/castellated pads embeddable imp006 unit?

  1. There are a ton of people similar to myself who have the skill to make/order simple PCBs using a hardly-professional tool like EasyEDA and manual hand soldering, who do not have the advanced inaccessible skills, component ordering resources, and decisively industrial soldering abilities to follow the instructions of:
    https://developer.electricimp.com/hardware/imp/imp006_hardware_guide

Many people to whom ElectricImp can sell their great product have an understanding that soldering tiny BGA microchips onto PCBs is something done at a professional factory and not in one’s basement, some adventurous YouTube videos aside.

  1. Particle, from whom I am tempted to entirely switch over because of impCellular’s cheaper data rates, has a product called “E402” which is a professional version of their FeatherWing Boron. It has crenellated pads for easy integration into your own custom PCB.

  2. I have built my own custom PCB that mirrors onto the backside of the imp006 breakout board, but this really is not an ideal way of doing things. It’s bulky and awkward, and I can’t access the backside which makes soldering components difficult.

  3. Are there plans for ElectricImp to make a product virtually equivalent in functionality to the imp006 Breakout Board, but compacted into half the size or less, and with perimetric crenellated pads for easy, simple integration into a PCB?

This would be a fantastic product. I currently am stuck with the imp006 Breakout Board. For someone looking to do 50-100 devices but not 5,000+, I think there needs to be an interstitial offering between the raw imp006 “do it yourself as a sophisticate microchip PCB manufacturing company” and the current imp006 Breakout Board “simple enough for middle school science project” offerings.

Thank you.

No plans for this, no - us making hardware just makes the devices more expensive in mass production. We make devkits/breakouts, but that’s to enable evaluation, not final product usage. If you’re making any sort of volume whatsoever, it’s cheaper to build the end devices yourself - you could even just take our breakout design and build it more cheaply than we sell it for if you wanted to (and no-stuff the components you’re not using for even more cost savings).

That said, we have built a reference design of the imp006+BG96 in the impC001 M2 form factor. This is intended to be slightly pin compatible to the impC001 (eg the I2C and UARTs map fairly well to the impC001-breakout). The design is being validated right now, but when that’s done we’ll publish this so you can just send it to (eg) CircuitHub to get it built. It’s got the imp006, crystals, flash, SIM and BG96 on-board, so you just give it power and I/O.

It’s possible a third party might take this design and make it generally available (it’s open source) - there are several customers who are intending to use it.

Thanks @hugo; just having the M2 card form factor imp006 I think would be enormously useful as long as I can find a simple way to interface/solder M2 slots on my custom PCBs which I assume can’t be too difficult.

Even if I had the capability to solder these impressively precise impossible-seeming high-pin-density BGA package chips like the STM32F413ZHJ6 which I certainly don’t, even at that point I cannot seem to find the Quectel BG96 modem in stock at any of the regular suppliers (e.g. Digikey). I would love to eventually have the skill and resources to produce and assemble a raw imp006 implementation in the likes of your breakout board, but that is beyond my pre-commercial current prospects.

I look forward to the M2 imp006 version. Thanks!

The best place to buy BG96s is actually direct from Quectel. Much cheaper than way too, and they take paypal for low volume orders.

As I said, the m2 card is not something we’ll be selling ourselves, but the design will be available. Someone else may make it and sell it, or you could just throw it at circuithub and have them build for you but as with any device, cost is very strongly related to volume.