We’re in the process of launching our Smart-Fx product.  Learn more about it here.  This is a good example of how building a working prototype can save design and development time and cut down on PCB layout errors.

The Smart-Fx has a processor, Micro SD card reader, MP3 player, and amplifier along with power supply, circuit protection and external connectors.  After considering the design, we built a prototype:

Prototype Smart-Fx board

You may recognise this as being based on a Arduino.  The prototype allowed us to develop the firmware, and prove all of the operation of Smart-Fx before committing the design to PCB.  Once that was done, we end up with:

The Smart-Fx controller

This is the first ever Smart-Fx.  Built by hand.  No changes had to be made to the firmware between the prototype and this production version.  After 2 hours work, the unit was fully functional with only one patch wire needed.

Rapid prototyping utilising off-the-shelf components where possible, followed by a robust PCB layout process and our excellent low-volume build service meant that this project was completed in record time.