The more I thought about my yet-to-be-built data collector and the more I talked to friends and family about what I was doing, the more I kept hearing, "Why don't you sell this thing?"
That's an interesting question. I build a lot of things, all the time. A LOT of things, ALL the time. I often get asked the same question about many of those things. The answer is usually a resounding NO. The reasons I give are usually these:
I don't want to build another one of these things
I'm only doing this for fun and if I have to make more, it becomes a job
I don't want to do marketing
I don't want to do support
I don't have time because I have another project to work on
So those are the reasons I gave for this project. But, for some reason, the question kept nagging me this time.
This is a purely electronics/software project, as opposed to many of my other projects which incorporate wood working or metal work, or other hard[er] to reproduce processes. Software is much easier to reproduce, just copy/download a file and you're done. Electronics can be relatively easily mass produced if you outsource it to a board maker. If those things are taken care of, I might be able to handle most of the other excuses on my list.
So, with that new idea growing in my mind, I started to consider what additional features my data collector should have in order to be a more viable retail product, if I later chose to go that route. I started doing research into other products in this niche market and reading lots of forum posts at various sites from users doing data collection. And I started adding features.
I'm well known to family, friends, and co-workers for adding lots of features and design details to my personal and professional projects. They call it "Iridium plating", to differentiate it from merely "Gold plating" a product. I don't know if iridium is actually any better than gold, but you get the idea.
So I've come up with the following list of features I'd like to incorporate in my newly expanded capability data collector:
Read/decode CAN bus regular/extended messages
Send regular/extended CAN bus messages at regular intervals
Will I develop this into a product to sell to the public? Maybe. It really depends on how much interest there is. I'm certainly going to build at least one for myself. I'll continue the design and build as if I will sell it someday, keeping in mind potential future customers. If anyone reading this has any ideas or interest, comment and let me know.