VST104 board series - is 500 Eur / Unit reasonable?

Dear all,

A while back we started this post, showing off our Open Source VST104 development board:

Since then, we continued to develop on top of it.
Right now, we have our PUS-C standard implemented in Rust, running on top of FreeRTOS, all running on the VST104 board.
We are still developing and will keep extending it, but we can print and share some boards with other users.

Since we couldn’t keep soldering the boards ourselves, we decided to get some quotations from some providers.

To reduce the costs, we planned a board exclusively for development. I.e., all the components are by default not the military rated version.

But even taking into account that, the boards will likely cost around 500 Euros each.

This is a rough preliminary value, our quotation was lower than that. But there will be risks associated, and I rather give here what I believe is a realistic value.

So, my question to all of you is: Is 500 Euro per Unit a reasonable price to pay for an Open Source OBC development board? Will you buy one if we make a small Kickstarter-like event?

Depending on your feedback, we will decide the next steps.
You can find more in here:


  • 2x CAN bus
  • 2x I2C
  • 2x SPI
  • 4x UART
  • System check & signals:
    • WatchDogs/Kill Switches /CPU mode / Synchronisation./ Fault collector
  • STM32L496 32.768 kHz (LSE), 26 MHz (HSE), 78 MHz (external oscillators)
  • SWI and UART for programming and debug
  • multiple temperature sensors, power management, independent peripherals isolators, payload sector
  • Triple redundant flash memory
  • (TBC) Triple redundant F-RAM (possibly empty, or single chip, depending on availability and cost)

Feel free to share your thoughts.

Kind regards,


I would love to see some behind-the-scenes on those decisions. e.g. who did you contact? For what volumes? And perhaps most importantly: If your components are not automotive or MIL grade ones, how did you end up with ~500USD on it? At best with qualified components I can see it is around 100 EUR.

Is it the assembly quotes that ramp up the price?

I am looking for some constructive conversation on those fronts since we are in the same cross-roads with SatNOGS COMMS board :slight_smile:


Hi there,

I’m not sure we can help you too much. But I started here:

Overall, we got around 200 Euros quotation per assembled PCB for a quantity of 10 boards, from a trusted European manufacturer.
This doesn’t take into account other things such as Packing, cabling, programmer, shipping, defective or lost units/etc…

So, overall I’m guessing our multiplier will be below 2x, even before taking into account the man-power.

We did get lower prices for more boards with ~170 Euros for 20 boards, and 140 for 50 boards. Which would be amazing if we get to sell 50 of these boards, but we are not counting on it. But yes, if there is a wave of interest, we can add stretch goals like with any kick-starter.

Since we noticed that there is no established Open-Source PC104 main boards, we thought to provide one. Ofcourse that if there is a cheaper available option we’ll consider to purchase it. Also, all of our PCB designs and bom files are on GitHub, if someone takes it and offers a better price, we’d be happy to buy some. :slight_smile:

I hope that helps.


My two cents:

  • For low volumes, assembly cost being 200€ per board sounds quite normal in Europe (if so a bit high but I assume it’s the connector). Take into account that they usually charge you a fixed fee to set up the tools. There’s another approach which is the one I like, go for cheaper manufacturers and do more/better tests (both in-house and in the production line).
  • For a development board I would (and this is a personal decision) not multiply the cost by 2. In the end it’s not the board you intend to make benefit with.
  • IMHO a development board is as good as its firmware (and hardware) is (are). The better the firmware and the examples are, the higher the price I would pay for it.

I might be able to reactivate some contacts - in my early work-life I’ve been employed at a manufacturer for about 8 years in the 2000’s. It’s in the same city as I live and I still have some RL contacts…