ScoutMakes Bluetooth Fun

Open source, CircuitPython-compatible, Bluetooth-enabled STEM electronics kits

Jan 08, 2021

Manufacturing Arrangements, Bluetooth Modules, Batteries, and Donations

by Lali Jayatilleke

Happy holidays everyone! We hope everyone is keeping safe during these COVID times. Thank you again to all our backers for making this project possible and helping us reach our funding goal. We raised $3844! After fees (CrowdSupply platform fees, credit card transaction fees, fulfillment fees) the net amount disbursed to us was $3282.30.

Production Status

We are well on our way to hit our production goals and ship by February 11th 2021. We have requested our contract manufacturer in Shenzhen China to have the kits shipped to us by January 15th with an ETA of the 22nd. This will give us a couple of weeks for kitting and sending to CrowdSupply for final shipping to our backers.

Here’s a break-down of all the various suppliers and logistics involved in sourcing all the components.

Contract Manufacturer

We found our contract manufacturer (CM) in an interesting way. I’m a big fan of a YouTube channel called Strange Parts. The host, Scottie, toured a factory in one of his videos, so we decided to contact this CM to find out if they could help us with the Crowd Supply project.

They are Vast Elecsource Co. Ltd. Based in Shenzhen China, the owner of the factory is Mike who has been helping us. The fantastic thing is he speaks English and is an excellent communicator. So, this made things tremendously easy for us in sourcing parts, etc. We have had Skype sessions to also discuss the various issues with the project. We highly recommend them for any of your projects [mike@vastelecsource.com](mailto: mike@vastelecsource.com).

By the way, I have been to Shenzhen a couple of times and highly recommend a visit. Especially the electronics markets in Huaqiangbei. This should be a pilgrimage for any electronics enthusiast!

Raytac Bluetooth modules

The Bluetooth module on the ScoutMakes Azul is the MDBT50Q-1MV2, which uses the Nordic nrf52840. For the manufacturing run, we are sourcing the modules directly from Raytac, based in Taiwan. We have arranged for the modules to be shipped directly to our CM for assembly. Thankfully, it has been a smooth process so far despite some grumblings of delays in shipping the modules.

This has been a risk, since all the factories in China shut down in February for the Chinese New Year. So, we are hoping all goes according to plan with the suppliers. As of now, we are on schedule, but there will be an update posted if there are any delays in shipping the orders.

Lithium Polymer batteries

The kits come with a 105 mAH, 3.7 V lithium polymer battery. We did not want to take any chances sourcing any sub-standard batteries from an unknown source. So, we decided to use the same battery manufacturer as Adafruit. The company is PKCELL, a.k.a., PKNERGY. They were also able to provide the appropriate documentation for compliance, etc., such as UN38.3 test report. We are getting the batch of batteries directly delivered to us for kitting with the manufacturer promising a ship date of January 11th.

Black Girls Code Donation

At the end of the campaign, after various fees had been deducted, $3,282.30 was disbursed to TinkeringTech in order to get the order fulfillment process started. One of the first things we did was to donate 10% of the funds after fees to Black Girls Code which is a non-profit organization that introduces girls of color between the ages of 7 and 17 to computer science and technology. Here is a screenshot of the receipt for $335.96. Your support of this campaign supported a great cause! Thank YOU!

Those are the major updates for now. We will keep you posted as more details are available. There will certainly be a flurry of activity once we receive our shipment.

Wishing all of you a happy and safe New Year!


Sign up to receive future updates for ScoutMakes Bluetooth Fun.

Subscribe to the Crowd Supply newsletter, highlighting the latest creators and projects