Topic: Building Senoko boards: How-to
Seems like a lot of people want Senoko boards, but they can't get them. I'd like to at least mention here that if somebody was willing to spend the time and front the money to build a batch, it really shouldn't be that hard to do. Note I do that kind of thing a fair amount, so take that with a couple kilos of salt. I've considered doing the work myself, but I really don't want to deal with international shipping, possibly defective boards, collecting money, etc. Just seems like more than I want to deal with right now.
If somebody else wanted to do it....
How you'd do that looks something like this:
1. Grab the Senoko design files from here: http://bunniefoo.com/novena/senoko-batt … d-pvt1.zip ("everything in a ZIP archive" on this page: https://www.kosagi.com/w/index.php?titl … n_Source).
2. Verify all the parts on the BOM are still available- some may have gone EOL. You can skip this step, but you'll end up coming back to it anyway when you get to the next step and your manufacturer tells you they can't buy parts. I vaguely recall making a couple substitutions when I built my board. Fortunately most things (diodes/capacitors/inductors/resistors/transistors/etc.) are easy to find substitutes for. If a major part (eg, the gas gauge) has gone EOL... well, hope it hasn't. Otherwise you'll (very probably) need to re-design the board and firmware.
3. Get a quote to have boards populated/assembled (see below)- or multiple, to price-shop
4. Place order
6. Go through the headache of collecting payments and distributing boards
Step 3 seems to be what people think is magic/impossible/requiring special knowledge- it really isn't. Basically you need 3 things, all of which are provided for you:
1. Gerber files. These are the polygons representing the shapes of copper, silkscreen, and soldermask layers of the boards. Since these have been fabbed, you should have no issues here- just send the provided ZIP file.
2. BOM. Again, provided. This is the list of parts you want to stick on your boards, with manufacturer and supplier information. This one you would probably want to double-check for parts gone EOL and update as appropriate. Pretty easy to check- just look up the part numbers in the BOM at the supplier listed and see if it says "active", "obsolete", etc. Two large suppliers are Mouser and Digi-Key- if one doesn't have it, check the other.
3. Pick-n-place files. Again, provided. This file tells the automated machines where on the board (and in what orientation) each BOM line item goes.
So you grab those files, send them off for a quote, and then place an order. Where you do that is up to you- two places I know of that provide turn-key board fabrication and population are Advanced Assembly (https://www.aapcb.com/) and Ninja Circuits (http://www.ninjacircuits.com/). There are others as well, but I've worked with both of the above at various points in time.
A (possibly-cheaper) alternative would be to get the boards made at one of the many Chinese PCB fab services (they just need the Gerber files), then find another company to do the assembly (pretty sure Ninja Circuits will do that, not sure about Advanced Assembly).
I don't know exactly what the cost of either option would be- guessing maybe $150/board if you can get 100ish of them made. I'm guessing here- could be more or less. It will decrease significantly with quantity- I know one board I did recently was something like 10% more expensive (in absolute terms) to go from 20 to 30 boards. Setup cost for these projects is high, so the more boards you can spread that over the better it is for you.
Hopefully this is helpful and somebody feels confident enough to put something together.