For free open source software, hardware recommendations,
instructions, plans and user manuals see HiveTool.org
Communication. Email is convenient but the “insider information” hinders progress and causes duplication of effort. How can we publish our communications? Forum, wiki, blog, list server? There is a forum and blog on hivetool.net. Hivetool.org is a wiki. What will you use? Suggestions? Software?
Donations. Most organizations have a fairly low rate of donations. I don't know if it is beekeepers in general or your wanting a hive monitoring system, but everyone has contributed, either money or time. On 28 orders (42 dev kits), donations total $549.40. The goal is to get systems in as many hands as possible for evaluation to speed development. We've used the money to build and ship about 25 interface boards for “free”. Is it OK to use the donations this way? Any other ideas?
Interface board. Ask if you need the interim interface board. They are cheap ($10 total, bare boards are less than $3 each and cheap to ship) and I can get plenty. If you already have a working system, you probably don't want one. If it is going to be more than 6 months before you build, you probably don't want one as we hope to have a better board by then, a multichannel Analog to Digital Converter board with real time clock and power supply. It will use the same RJ connectors but needs a power supply connector. Any improvements to the interim board, or suggestions for ADC chips, connectors, features?
Manufacturing/Distribution. The load cells, HX711 board, power supply, connectors, bolts are manufactured in China. The Pi is probably manufactured in Europe but is available locally. When we have the final design, I think it makes sense to have the boards manufactured and assembled in China. But this stage of development calls for small lot purchasing and short run manufacturing. We are trying to have a packer in China procure the parts and ship the dev kits. Are there better ways to develop and manufacture, either short term or long term? Know any board and fab houses in China?
There is a lot of good work going on. It is important to share the information to speed development. What is your choice? Forum, wiki, blog, list server?