TERES I assembly workshop this Saturday!

workshop

This Saturday 21st of October we will have TERES I assembly workshop!

Customers from Bulgaria who placed orders for TERES I DIY Open Source laptop will have their laptop kits ready and are invited to come and we assembly them together!

The assembly workshop will be in OLIMEX Training Building and will start at 14.00 o’clock.

No need to have Laptop kit to participate, everyone is welcome to join us.

TERES-I Do It Yourself Open Source Laptop update

TERES

We are glad to tell you that we finally have TERES-I released!

It was long way but finally we have laptop which works satisfactory to be released.

What we changed since revision B?

A64

Main board now is with 2GB DDR3 ram and 16GB eMMC Flash memory. We add two new connectors CON3 and CON4 to interface the further FPGA module which will turn TERES-I in oscilloscope and Logic Analyzer.

The debug UART multiplexes now with Headphones, so you can plug serial cable to headphone jack and re-direct Debug console UART to Headphone jack. After you finish debugging you can restore Headphones functionality to this jack. We work on USB-Serial cable with headphone jack for the laptop.

We got new 9500mAh battery which now is in TERES kit.

Another improvement is 5V 3A adapter which allow battery to be charged to full in 3 hours. The adapter has charge indicator and comes with convenient 3 meter cable, so you can lay on your bed while your laptop is connected to power supply.

Please give us some days to update all latest Hardware files on Github.

Work-in-progress User manual and Assembly instructions are here.

The software is let’s say about 90% ready state, but works satisfactory even now.

The laptop comes with pre-installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Mate, Firefox browser, Video player, Open Office, Arduino IDE and IceStorm for FPGA development. We will try to include KiCAD later.

Python libraries to access I2C, SPI, UART, GPIOs will be add when ready.

FPGA module with ADC/DACs/IOs will be ready in the next months, it will be easy to insert inside with the other existing boards.

TERES-I is now for sale.

This project took lot of time and we have long list of registered interest for ordering, bigger than the number of laptops we could build in the first run. We guess many of these registered users are duplicated for black and white version and will take just one, but be prepared that after you order your laptop will not be shipped immediately but in 2-3 weeks (or less) depend on workload and number of orders to be processed. Once/if the first run is sold we will make the laptop out of stock and will work on second run which may take few months to complete, but we will produce this laptop until there is interest for it, so if you do not succeed to order during the first run, do not give up 🙂

 

EDIT: very important notice to add: TERES-I is not designed to scratch everyone’s itch. If you want high performance laptop. If your work involve 8-16-24 core processor power and 4-8-16-32GB RAM memory to do video editing or to compile Linux kernels and Android distributions etc. this is not your laptop! TERES-I software is far for complete and not using 100% performance and features of A64 chip yet, it will work much better and faster in future, now it’s work satisfactory for daily work in motion.

When TERES-I was designed we wanted to make laptop which allow you to travel and do internet browsing, emails check, embedded code development, programming arduino, making PCBs etc. With the further modules it will become more like traveling laboratory to sniff protocols on hardware level, to generate signal patterns etc.

 

New Universal System On Module in SO-DIMM 204 pin form factor

SOM204-EVB

We have now several SOMs for A13, A20, AM3352, RK3188.

Each of them with different layout and pinouts as our initial intention was to expose all possible features of every processor.

The experience we got from selling the SOMs for the past 5 years is that 99% of customers do not need all specific interfaces, but few common interfaces.
For instance very few customer need 12 UARTs and 6 I2C in their design, but almost all need Ethernet, HDMI, SATA etc.

Another important point is that soon or later the project they working on scale up and they need more memory or more processor power and with the current SOMs they have no option but redesign.

Every big customer need longevity assurance. They do not want to change their design every couple of years when the SOC manufacturer obsolete their processors, they do not want to re-design every 6 month when new processor with 4-6-8-10-12-24 cores appear to the market with preliminary buggy software support.

So with the years one another idea evolved – we should try to make one universal SOM layout with known interfaces on known pinout, so if customer need more memory he just switch to SOM with same pinout but more memory, if need more power he switch to SOM with same pinout but more powerful SOC.

We have experience with Allwinner, Rockchip and TI, so we considered these processors as potential new SOM SOCs:

A20, A64, RK3399, AM335X

After long discussions we decided that the universal SOM should have these signals:

  • USB-OTG
  • USB-HOST1
  • USB-HOST2
  • HSIC
  • USB3
  • PCIe
  • Ethernet1 Megabit/Gigabit
  • Ethernet2 Megabit/Gigabit
  • WiFi+BLE
  • SATA
  • SD-CARD
  • CAN
  • IR
  • CSI
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • Audio In
  • Audio Out
  • SPDIF
  • UEXT1 -> SPI1, I2C1, UART1
  • UEXT2 -> SPI2, I2C2, UART2

     

The first SOM204 we made is obviously for A20.

Here are the schematics of A20-SOM204 and SOM204-EVB.

Here is our A20-SOM204 prototype:

A20-SOM204

Features are: 1GB RAM, 4/8/16/32/64GB eMMC Flash, Gigabit Ethernet interface, 2K EEPROM,
Optional features not assembled by default: SPI Flash with hardware WP, Second Megabit Ethernet.

With this SOM we tested A20 with two Ethernet interfaces: one Gigabit and one Megabit working together. The practice prove A20 can have two separate working Ethernets, but there is one issue both share same clock, so if the both Ethernet works together they can be only Megabit.

The second SOM204 module we work on is with A64.
The features are 2GB RAM, 4/8/16/32/64GB eMMC, Gigabit Ethernet interface, 2K EEPROM
Optional features not assembled by default: SPI Flash with hardware WP, Second Gigabit Ethernet (USB-Gigabit), SATA (USB-SATA), CAN.

The third SOM204 module we work on is with RK3399.
The features are 4GB RAM, 4/8/16/32/64GB eMMC, Gigabit Ethernet, PCIe, USB3, 2K EEPROM
Optional features not assembled by default: SPI Flash with hardware WP, Second Gigabit Ehternet (USB-Gigabit), SATA (USB-SATA), CAN.

A20-SOM204 and SOM204-EVB will be for sale in November. Prices will be comparable to existing A20-SOM A20-SOM-EVB.

A20-SOM204 is separate product and not meant to replacement A20-SOM neigher we have intentions to discontinue A20-SOM. Both products will be active and in production.

Software support for all SOM204 modules will include Android and Linux.

TuxCon-Kitty the OSHW TuxCon 2017 conference badge soldering kit is in the web shop

TuxCon-Kitty

TuxCon 2017 conference was 3-4 of June in Plovdiv. Specially for the conference we made soldering kit badge, designed with KiCad and programmable with Arduino IDE.

TUXCON-KITTY-1

Here is how it looks assembled:

1a

2a

The project is hosted at GitHub. It’s good way to learn how to assembly SMT components and how to install, setup and program with Arduino IDE.

Do not hesitate to make pull request for your Arduino sketch if you manage to compose your own music with this board 🙂

 

New soldering products in stock: Solder paste and soldering wire

SLD-SAC305C4

We have new product category: Soldering components which include solder paste and soldering wires.

SAC305 solder paste is with the industry standard Sn96.5Ag3Cu0.5 composition. It’s ROHS compliant and has melting temperature 217C. The paste is Class 4 with 20-38um solder particles and is good for printing down to 0.4mm pich components. The packing is 0.5KG, we recommend to use fast shipment when order this paste as it must be kept at low temperature of 5-10C to prevent solder flux separation. The paste is good for 6 months from the date of manufacture.

Some applications are ROHS exempt and still use SnPb solder paste. This paste is with Sn63Pb37 composition and melting temperature 183C. The paste is Class 4 with 25-38um solder particles and is good for printing down to 0.4mm pich components. The packing is 0.5KG, we recommend to use fast shipment when order this paste as it must be kept at low temperature of 5-10C to prevent solder flux separation. You should not use this paste in ROHS compliant products as it contains Lead. The paste is good for 6 months from the date of manufacture.

For manual soldering we offer no clean SAC0307 ROHS compliant soldering wire with 2.2% Flux core and 0.6mm, 0.8mm and 1.0mm diameter. This alloy has melting temperature between 213 and 228C. Soldering iron temperature should be set between 245 and 375C depend on the components size.

For non ROHS compliant manual soldering Sn60Pb40 solder wire with 0.7mm diameter and 2% core Flux is available. This alloy has melting temperature 190C. Soldering iron temperature should be set between 240 and 350C depend on the components size.

 

NAND Flash upgrade from 4GB to 8GB

flash

We used to use H27UBG8T2BTR in all our OLinuXino and SOM boards with  NAND flash. Hynix stopped 4GB NAND manufacturing back in 2014, fortunately there were huge stock supplies in Asia and we kept buying this part until recently, now this stock is gone and these ICs are either not in stock either some refurbished pulls from old boards with unknown quality, so once we couldn’t find these at official Hynix distributors we decided to move to another ICs.

Our first attempt was to use the bigger version H27UCG8T2ETR-BC but after losing months trying to make uboot working with these we gave up. The problem? There is ZERO information about this flash and zillion of combinations of block sizes and parameters, which we have no time to test all.

Fortunately Micron’s MT29F64G08CBABAWP is supported by Allwinner uboot and Livesuit and relatively easy to find.

I write relatively as memory prices are CRAZY last months, both RAM and Flash, here is the price trend from Hong Kong IC memory stock exchange:

memory

With these rising prices all official distributors and manufacturers slow down their sales waiting for bigger prices, if you ask officially Micron for quote they can’t give you price and say – allocation, minimum delivery time 20 weeks, good luck 🙂

What we found is that all Android images work well with Micron 8GB part, the Linux images we had to work with 4GB will not work with the 8GB parts as the Allwinner Android uboot (which is used if you want to boot from NAND) has bugs and 1 out of 10 times will fail to boot if the memory is bigger than 4GB (32 bit arithmetic bug? nobody knows as this is binary blob) and mainline uboot has no NAND flash support, so if you want to boot Linux from NAND Flash the solution is to make small 16MB FAT16 partition for the Allwinner uboot to boot then you can use second partition with EXT4 format and there will be no problems.

To make things more complex we use eMMC Flash for some of our boards (A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 and A64-OLinuXino) which are in industrial temperature grade.

To separate eMMC from NAND Flash we add letter ‘e’ or ‘n’ in the board names.

A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-e4GB means LIME2 with 4GB eMMC Flash memory

A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-n8GB means LIME2 with 8GB NAND Flash memory

eMMC memory works like SD card, it’s faster than NAND and has wider operating temperature range.

We upload end of this week new Linux images which will work on both old 4GB and new 8GB boards.

New product in stock: 7000 mAh LiPo battery with JST connector

LIPO7000

BATTERY-LiPo7000mAh is re-chargable Lithium Polymer battery with over voltage and under voltage protection circuit and JST connector for all our OLinuXino, OLIMEXINO, PINGUINO, Duinomite boards.

This battery when attached to OLinuXino OSHW computers will allow them to run without external power supply for all day long. Normally OLinuXino consumption is between 0.2 and 0.5A depend on workload this means with this battery fully charged they will work between 14-35 hours stand alone.

Note that these LiPo batteries are considered dangerous for transportation and we can ship them only with ground service like DPD, UPS Standard, TNT Economy, which limits the shipping options to just EU.

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