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By fakeperson
#84263 Hi, I'm new to the ESP8266 and ESP32 but so far it's going great. Thanks for taking the time to read through and hopefully comment on this question.

What I would like to build is a product that's based off of a smart power switch. I know this is a very common thing with many existing solutions. For my own idea I've done a patent search and I think if I can make it I can sell it. I've been working on it for three months now. It started on a raspberry pi but some convincing I decided to go with the ESP8266 (which I have been describing to people as the king of IoT).

But it's been quite a back and fourth process because I keep coming back to old ideas or re-solving already solved problems to fit constraints that weren't there the first time. One such problem is the board itself.

I got a guy off of Fiverr to design the board for me. The board requirements are:
  • esp8266
  • four gpios
  • 110 to 3v voltage regulator
  • ethernet

so it's not even a complicated board. But my thought process was if this turns into something that I can sell I want to have it as a board to make the manufacturing process easier. But I found out a few things. One, it has to be split into two or three boards to fit into the case and not have the case look unsightly (too wide or too tall). Two, it's a slow, scary, and expensive process because I can't look at the board and call it good because I don't know how to design boards. So I just have to hope it's designed right the first time and then wait a month while PCBWay makes it (at a cost of $$$). Finally, when someone else designs the board making changes is difficult.

I believe I have three choices:

  1. Pay someone else to design the board (which I already have but I need changes)
  2. Learn how to design the board myself
  3. Don't even use a board. Just wire together off the shelf components

Choice 2 is ideal. Since I want such a simple board is it realistic for me to do it myself? I can spend a week learning eagle (but probably not more than a week or two).

Choice 3 seems fine too though. I mean I could get all the parts off of Amazon for fairly cheap and just solder them together. But this seems unprofessional. Even though If I go this route I'll have 4 different components to shove into the case I'll still have to stuff two or three boards in the case so it's not that much different. It might even be cheaper because I won't have to pay to have the board assembled?

Choice 2&3 (Hybrid) Would be to design the board but do it at a super high level. Like still buy the components off of amazon but have them be higher level components so I'm not stuck trying to figure out where to put things like resisters and capacitors.

Do you have any thoughts on what the right way to go might be?