Fork vs 3USD

Write this post prompted the comment of one engineer, who asked a reasonable question "why would I buy a Fork for 59 dollars, if you can buy a microcontroller for 3?".
Most likely, the person did not understand what a Fork is and why It is needed. So, we analyze why you should choose a Fork, and not 20 microcontrollers.
Let's go through the entire process of creating a test stand from the beginning to the end. We give ourselves a head start, and think that we live in an ideal world where everything is done the first time, and also remove the preparation of TK(we are in an ideal world).

It all starts with coming up with a scheme of the stand - how we will test this or that feature. At the minimum time cost, it will take us a week. Of course, the time may be reduced if you sleep and see your test stand, but it is always better to get the opinion of another person, so that the ready-made stand really does what you need.

The scheme was invented, drawn/created, and now we need to separate the board. This takes from 2 to 5 days. And even though we agreed that we consider everything to be the standards of an ideal world, there may still be joints in the wiring that, in a good way, we need to check. And fix it. And this is still time, plus or minus 7-10 days.
In total, we have already gathered for 3 weeks in an ideal world, and this is not only we have not tested anything, but we have not even completed our stand.

The board is made, the microcontroller is purchased (we take into account the time for delivery of parts, or for a personal shopping trip - 4-5 days). We begin the establishment of the board, i.e., with a soldering iron and an oscilloscope, we check all the nodes of the scheme. This will take 1-2 days. Then the most interesting thing begins - somehow you need to "communicate" with the stand and get measurements from it in an adequate form. To do this, you write code that takes another week.
Thus, if you calculate the total time spent, you get a month with a tail of only preparatory work. And as you know, time is money, and in production, the person who does all this receives a salary(from $$$ to $$$$ - enter the figure yourself).
Now let's see how the Fork can help us in this situation.

Let's Start with the tail, with the Python. PyTest is a framework that helps thousands of engineers create tests. And it is possible that when you start writing code, you will find similar solutions created by someone before you. If your stand has to measure something very special, then it will not be difficult to write a script on Python(by the way, using Pytest develops a culture of production of these tests). And it turns out not a crutch on a crutch, but a neat functional code.

Yes, when analyzing the way to create a stand, we did not stop at the important point - how we will give commands to the board and get results on the PC. Our Fork has Ethernet and WiFi ports, which automatically allows you to control the stand from anywhere in the world. You do not need to worry about reliable communication becoude the Fork API is based on TCP/IP sockets.

The tasks that a Fork can perform are limited only by imagination. At the same time, you do not need to think about how to protect your test stand(which has spent a lot of time and a lot of money) from power surges. We have already taken care of this by protecting the I/O ports from overvoltage and short-circuiting to earth.

Another important detail of working with the Fork is that you don't need a pairing board, or you can make it very simple. All the necessary functionality is already embedded in the device.

What can we do? Come up with a scheme, write (pick up) code on Python, connect all in one chain and... test the device. In terms of time, it will take a maximum of 1.5 weeks, and the price(we pay the engineer) will cost (we calculate by the formula: $$$ or $$$$÷10 days) dollars. Feel the difference? And after all this, how does a one-time $59 Fork cost look?

Yes, our Fork is not a silver bullet, but it allows you to save time/money and spend it on more pleasant things, and inventing test stands using the Fork develops imagination. But about this in another time.
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