Author Topic: Nanohub - penny-sized USB 2.0 and 3.0 hubs  (Read 2573 times)

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Offline mux

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Nanohub - penny-sized USB 2.0 and 3.0 hubs
« on: March 31, 2017, 08:09:32 PM »
TL;DR: I threw some miniature USB hub designs I made for myself on Tindie, they sell like hotcakes and now I'd like to give back to the community.

About half a year ago I posted this video where I modded my Windows tablet with an internal, penny-sized USB hub of my own design



As happens when you order PCBs from China, you don't get just one, you get 10. Or in my case, I pre-panelized them (because 6 an fit on a 50x50mm square - with room to spare) and got... 120. What to do with the surplus? Well, try to sell them off via Tindie of course. I thought "well, maybe I sell a dozen and get the value of my time back". Fast-forward half a year, and I've sold more than 400 already. I'm blown away by the popularity, and it's actually netting me a little bit of a profit (well... I'll go into that at a later point).

So it's time to give back now. First of all, I've been speaking to a few Tindie (and prospective Tindie) sellers, and there is a lot of confusion about DFM, how to approach outsourcing design, what kind of prices to expect, etc. etc. I'll update this thread with videos about that. I can also talk a bit about fulfillment, but that will really be from the perspective of somebody who is also learning. In general, I just want to spread the experience I've had selling my project in a way I've never done before. FYI - 'normally' I just do consulting and throw designs 'over the silo wall' to a separate marketing/sales team. I've been in the business for almost 10 years, but this is all relatively new to me and I'm surprised to find relatively little detailed information on the process!

Also, I know there must be people with NanoHubs on the EEVBlog Forums. I'd love some pictures of your applications! I realize I should have probably asked for those earlier, but I haven't really been trying to market these little devices. If you have your product on Hackaday.io, it would be awesome if you'd link it to my Nanohub project: https://hackaday.io/project/20790-nanohub-tiny-usb-20-and-30-hubs

Edit: Of course, I forget to link to my actual store...

USB 2.0 2-port: https://www.tindie.com/products/mux/nanohub-tiny-usb-hub-for-hacking-projects/
USB 2.0 4-port: https://www.tindie.com/products/mux/4-port-nanohub-tiny-usb-hub-for-hacking-projects/
USB 3.0 5Gbps 2-port: https://www.tindie.com/products/mux/usb-30-nanohub/
« Last Edit: March 31, 2017, 08:11:07 PM by mux »
 
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Offline cleaningOut

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Re: Nanohub - penny-sized USB 2.0 and 3.0 hubs
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2017, 05:28:22 PM »
Are you really able to get 5 Gbps through those things? Hella impressive. What sorts of revenue have you pulled in from this?
I'm an idiot. (10 to 20)x400.

Edit: I've never been able to find out what a realistic fee structure for a product of this sort on Tindie would be. Mind sharing the deets?
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 05:34:49 PM by cleaningOut »
 

Offline mux

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Re: Nanohub - penny-sized USB 2.0 and 3.0 hubs
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 07:31:53 AM »
Okay, it's been waaaay too long since my last post, but I am finally making true on my commitment to make some videos on designing stuff for sale, and here is the first installment:



Are you really able to get 5 Gbps through those things? Hella impressive. What sorts of revenue have you pulled in from this?
I'm an idiot. (10 to 20)x400.

Edit: I've never been able to find out what a realistic fee structure for a product of this sort on Tindie would be. Mind sharing the deets?

Sorry for responding so late, but the previous video should be a decent start at answering your question. It's not comprehensive at all yet, there is still a lot to discuss in future videos. I will be sharing the exact cost structure of the Nanohubs as well, but to be really honest with you I'm trying to lay low for another week or so because embarassingly I ran out and didn't order a new batch in time. So if I make a video now, I'll be missing out on a lot of lost sales.

As for the HF design question: yes, my devices function just fine at 5GHz. It's a matter of designing for controlled impedance, which at these frequencies is 90% trace length matching and 10% not fucking up your substrate/power plane. But really, these standards are so incredibly robust that you can get away with pretty lax board thickness/material specs, so even these proto PCBs function very well. My USB-C design is a bit better, though, mostly due to a much better trace layout with the 4-layer board.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 08:03:19 AM by mux »
 
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