Prepare for Manufacturing

Before you start manufacturing your Alexa Connect Kit (ACK)-based devices, complete the following tasks:

You should also be familiar with the following ACK topics:

Create Design Validation Test (DVT) samples

Before you start mass manufacturing your device, you should produce Design Validation Test (DVT) samples.

Producing DVT samples using your manufacturing line is a helpful way to test your manufacturing process and the quality of your samples. Testing your manufacturing process early in the product development cycle can help you discover and solve friction points before you start mass production.

You should produce enough DVT units to complete all testing and certification requirements, such as beta testing and ACK certification.

Finalize production firmware

The first step to prepare your devices for manufacturing is to finalize the production firmware of your host microcontroller unit (HMCU). The following list provides the high level tasks you should complete.

  • Test your HMCU and verify it works properly with your ACK module firmware version.
  • Test your devices and make sure they can receive over-the-air updates, so you can roll out bug fixes and feature updates to devices in the field.
  • Remove any debugging code, such as dumping debug information to a physical interface. For example, you can disable the debug information output from the ACK Device SDK by setting the macro ACK_DEBUG_PRINT_LEVEL to ACK_DEBUG_PRINT_LEVEL_NONE.
  • Work with your HMCU vendor to add extra security features, such as secure boot, application code encryption, locking your flash and so on.

Verify device setup mode

Verify that your device setup mode works as intended and you can successfully onboard your device into the Alexa app. Testing this process early can help prevent producing devices that can't connect to Alexa.

For more details about designing this experience, see Setup mode.

Complete device certification

Before you start manufacturing, complete the Works With Alexa (WWA) and Frustration-Free Setup certification process. For more details about certifying your ACK-based devices with Alexa, see Certification Testing Overview.

Set up manufacturing tools

To complete the manufacturing process, you can use a combination of the following tools:

Tools supplied by Amazon

You can use the following Amazon-supplied tools to help automate your manufacturing process:

  • ACK Module Utility – A Java-based command-line interface that provides you with APIs to program the ACK module. It requires a wired connection to the ACK module debug port. For more details about using this tool, see Module utility.
  • ACK module manufacturing script – A python script that provides you with a reference implementation of the steps to complete to provision your module with the ACK Module Utility. Your ACK representative provides you with this script in your manufacturing kit. Test this script in your manufacturing environment before using it in production.
  • Alexa app – Use when running end-to-end tests on your devices, such as Out-Of-Box Audits (OBA) or Pre-shipment inspections (PSI).

Other tools

You should also have access to the following tools to finish your manufacturing process:

  • Printed circuit board (PCB) programming fixtures – Factories typically use customized PCB programming fixtures to access the PCB microcontroller (MCU) programming terminals. Use PCB programming fixtures to program and provision your ACK module firmware and run manufacturing line tests on your devices.
  • Barcode printer – Factories typically use barcode printers to print the barcodes generated by the ACK Module Utility. These barcodes must be unique for every PCB you produce. Use barcode printers to print your barcodes according to the required specifications outlined in the Wi-Fi Simple Setup (WWS) guide. You can develop a process that automates barcode printing for each PCB you manufacture.
  • Barcode scanner – Factories typically use barcode scanners to determine if the Frustration-Free Setup (FFS) barcodes they generate are valid. This process includes checking if they scan properly and ensuring that the result of the scan matches the device it's associated with. For example, verifying if the barcode placed on the packaging matches the details of the device actually in the box.
  • Tooling for record keeping – Factories typically build specific tooling to record information about the devices they manufacture in their facility. Use record keeping tools to track the following information for each device:
    • Unique Device Serial Number (DSN) of each ACK module
    • Unique serial number of each YubiKey used to program the ACK module.
    • Time and date of each PCB you create.
    • Unique barcode information for each barcode you generate.
    • Any other relevant information for your product.

    You can customize the ACK module manufacturing script to help automate this record generation process.

Assign UPC/EAN codes to your products

All variants of your product SKUs require a uniquely identifiable 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC) or 13-digit European Article Number (EAN). The process of assigning UPC/EAN codes is beyond the scope of this documentation. Contact the appropriate stakeholder in your organization to assign these codes to your products.