Sourcing components from the same supplier?

No one supplier offers both a board and a display that meets our requirements. Is it an issue to source these components from two different suppliers? How difficult is the integration process? Will it be harder if I’m working with more than one supplier? Can I run up a quick demonstration of an idea without going through the whole integration process? These are questions that we hear a lot, so let’s explore this issue.

The answer is that you don’t have to source both components from one supplier – but integration tends to be easier and quicker if you do. Let me explain why.
The integration process isn’t something to be feared. There is normally a solution to be found. Equally, it shouldn’t be underestimated. It usually takes at least two weeks to get a board up and running with a display unless someone has prepared the ground. 

If you specify two components that we supply, sometimes we have already integrated these for another customer. If not, we may well have worked on a similar project. We’re aware of some of the potential issues and challenges, and can provide a fast path through.  If there are bugs or anomalies, we can recreate the pairing in our lab and work on a solution. If we’ve never seen the board, or the display before, we’re starting from a blank sheet of paper. Often, we’re dependent on the co-operation of another supplier to resolve any issues that may arise. 

Benefits-Buying-display-and-embedded-togetherI would add that customers sometimes start integration unnecessarily early in the development cycle. If you need to build a proof-of-concept, look for a pre-integrated display and board pair like the DX family, which comes out of the box ready to go with a processor, operating system and display close to the components that you envisage for the finished design. Platforms like the DX family come with the most popular operating systems in images for displays from 4.3” to 15.6”. 

Having gained acceptance for the project from stakeholders like management, marketing, customers and/or investors, you can, if necessary, take the time needed to get a specific board working with a specific display for the production product. Often, though, we find customers are able to adapt the prototype platform to create the finished production design to get to market with the minimum of time and cost. 

Do you need to source both the display and the embedded board or SOM from us? The answer is that if you have your heart set on a particular board, we will work with you to integrate that board with our display – and vice versa. To keep development time and cost to a minimum though it is better to specify a pair of components that we know we can easily get to work together – or better still, a pair that we have already integrated and supply working out of the box. 

A specific form in which the question above gets asked a lot is “Can’t I just use a Raspberry Pi / Arduino / Beaglebone.” We’re going to look at this in next week’s post. 

Get in touch with our experts for more info about this article.

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