TERES-I Do It Yourself Open Source Laptop update


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?


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.


62 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pio Taras
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 14:31:22

    Congratulations team and keep going !


  2. Piet
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 14:36:11

    How do I order it?


  3. Zoltan Hoppar
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 14:44:43

    I think this is amazing. If there is only a single chance, I would suggest to produce either standing box atx design where the motherboard goes in – that gives another iteration for developers. The third form that I suggest from the same component is the pitopceed like form. Congrats. Now I need to gather my money for this.


  4. maxirodriguez1974
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 14:53:58

    RAM should be an external module or at least user-upgradeable. Only 2GB RAM kills it. I will stick to a Motorola Lapdock and Odroid XU4,sorry.


  5. Andrea Giammarchi (@WebReflection)
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 15:04:41


    If I might suggest a couple of improvements around this project:

    1. the description on the shop-site states 4GB eMMC Flash and Battery 7000mAh. I believe these should be updated together with other eventual changes

    2. I could not find anywhere anything about the CPU and/or the GPU. Since Open Source here is crucial, and since I believe the GPU would be Mali, I wonder what kind of guarantees we have that drivers are Open Source too and not just blobs

    Can anyone please provide some specs enlightening about the main SBC?
    Thank you!


  6. Ucino
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 15:05:02

    Congratulations, thanks a lot for this released.

    Is it possible to command non Qwerty keyboard ? (ie : Azerty for french speaking people)

    Is it possible to add in the laptop more memory storage ? If yes, which memory is possible to add ? (ie SSD, other eMMc…)


  7. Deyan Dobromirov (dvd_video)
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 15:19:00

    This is indeed very good 😉 Keep up the good work guys!


  8. SK
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 15:20:55

    Congrats! Let’s hope you will have many more production runs (with incremental improvements).

    P.s. You should update the RAM amount and battery capacity in the shop page description of the kits.


  9. yaneti
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 16:13:07

    Its a terrible SOC choice.. but anyway, ordered.
    In the future I would love to see you seriously consider your SOC options away from MALI. In a board that fits in the TERES… 😉


  10. jamesmdinsmore
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 16:22:08

    You should hyperlink “TERES-I is now for sale.” to your Web store so people can pursue it.


  11. Martin
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 16:29:14

    Congratulations on the conclusion of this long-going endeavor ! Time for me to order a Teres-1, I guess : )


  12. zikzak
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 21:59:26

    @SK I guess you used the old page presenting the project, the product page is up to date:


  13. surrealpie
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 22:05:17

    The 2 GB RAM not upgradable is really a bummer. But i will definitely buy one if i can get be sure that a future version of the motherboard remains compatible with the laptop


  14. Trackback: TERES-I Do It Yourself Open Source Laptop update | olimex | En o-cool gubbe
  15. Trackback: TERES-I Do It Yourself Open Source Laptop update | olimex | The Frogs blog
  16. Jean-Albert ALVES
    Oct 12, 2017 @ 23:48:24

    Congrats! Its amazing project! Please, if possible, can add Lua (5.1, 5.2 or 5.3) with librarys like embeded in openwrt (Lua_RS232, Lua_I2C, Lua_socket, etc…)


  17. asdfas
    Oct 13, 2017 @ 10:58:05

    Allwinner and OpenSource? Are you kidding me?


    • tkaiser
      Oct 13, 2017 @ 14:12:50

      Good morning, mate! Obviously you missed it but the world changed somehow the last years while you slept. There’s no need to run closed software on Allwinner SoCs any more (except when talking about dealing with batteries or when you’re keen on 3D acceleration or hardware accelerated video decoding).

      Educate yourself please: http://linux-sunxi.org/Mainlining_Effort#Status_Matrix


  18. zikzak
    Oct 13, 2017 @ 11:50:40

    How does it compare to the pinebook?
    If Olimex can promise an evolutive hardware (considering we have to build it then it is feasible) then I’m tempted by their product as we coold later on get more power by just swapping the mainboard and reusing the old one for other projects.
    That would be great and a game changer in the laptop-scene.


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Oct 13, 2017 @ 13:01:48

      We try to explain what makes this laptop different from the others in 3rd chapter here https://www.olimex.com/Products/DIY-Laptop/resources/TERES-I.pdf it’s not finished work in progress manual, so please excuse typos and mistakes


      • zikzak
        Oct 13, 2017 @ 14:26:27

        Yeah that’s what I expected too, parts easily replacable and hacked.
        But do you plan evolutions of these parts? With a beefier CPU or more RAM, etc…

        Do not take me wrong, I love your product. I’m just affraid that some customers might expect the laptop to run youtube or some application easily and I do not think the A64 is good enough for that especially with a GPU without opensource accelerated video drivers.

      • OLIMEX Ltd
        Oct 13, 2017 @ 14:31:10

        absolutely! there will be more Main board with different configurations and backward connector compatible so you can just replace with newer, faster, etc note that performance has it’s battery price though, so not everyone will want to have faster board which drain battery also faster

    • tkaiser
      Oct 13, 2017 @ 14:21:34

      From a software point of view currently most important difference between Pinebook and TERES-I is different DRAM type: LPDDR3 vs. DDR3 (DDR3L?) which requires currently a different bootloader due to different DRAM initialization code so you can’t directly use all the OS images available for Pinebook without overwriting a few sectors first.

      Wrt hardware the advantages of OSHW should be obvious and I hope the higher price of Olimex’ design correlates with higher quality (I’m not really satisfied with Pinebook’s keyboard and display but able to understand the ‘you get what you pay for’ principle and generally I’m way too biased since doing all my work on laptop style devices for over 15 years now).


      • zikzak
        Oct 13, 2017 @ 14:38:04

        I do know that more performance will require more (electrical) power.
        As you confirm that you already plan to let evolve the inner part of your device is excellent. That’s exactly what I want, to keep the shell over several years and update instead of throwing it away. Plus if I break the screen I know I’l leb able to order a spare part from your site.

        Geez… Now you fill up my jauge of impulse-buy.

    • tkaiser
      Oct 13, 2017 @ 14:37:33

      @zikzak: A64 plays videos hardware accelerated in Linux since March 2016 with open source drivers. Check the codecs matrix: http://linux-sunxi.org/Cedrus#Supported_codec_matrix (all you need is a distro that configures your player of choice to use libvdpau-sunxi)

      This is totally unrelated to ‘GPU’ since GPU on ARM (in this case Mali400) is something different than the video engine. And you will need standalone players like mpv/smplayer/smtube since browsers on ARM are currently not ‘compatible’ to any of the various SoC vendor’s video engines.


      • zikzak
        Oct 13, 2017 @ 14:43:54

        Ah thanks for this info, I had so many SBC like that but used headless so I never followed much where we were with this dreadful mali.
        Is Cedrus for both decoding and encoding? I see that VP8 is listed, very good if I can benefit of accelerated encoding with that.

  19. NP32
    Oct 13, 2017 @ 14:00:49

    Glad to see this done. I ordered one.

    Something that has to be asked (and answered): how do I install a linux of my choice (say, arch or gentoo)? It will probably involve custom kernel and bootloader?

    Also, is the headphones debugging cable included with the laptop?


    • tkaiser
      Oct 13, 2017 @ 14:31:45

      Hope you’re aware of Gentoo’s state on aarch64 platforms like A64?

      Wrt Arch IMO you should follow progress by doing a web search for ‘anarsoul pinebook arch’, same guy is also currently pretty active to fill the last remaining gaps wrt running fully BLOB free on A64 (but I would believe safe battery handling might become more of an issue as expected when dropping Allwinner’s BSP code and moving to mainline). Also great news: Some *BSD folks hack on A64/PineBook so rather sooner than later also NetBSD/OpenBSD seem to be possible on TERES-I.


  20. NP32
    Oct 13, 2017 @ 15:07:45

    Thanks for the reference to anarsoul.

    Do you mean there are some specific problems with gentoo on arm64? I have very positive experience with gentoo on arm (32-bit), though on a headless server, so no display or sound 🙂

    Arch and gentoo are rather low level distributions, and usually if something is done for another linux (e.g. ubuntu), it is not very hard to reproduce.

    In comparison to ubuntu, gentoo and arch are much more hacker friendly (e.g. in patching packages, using specific versions/build options for packages, using custom kernels), so they must be the options for this laptop 🙂


  21. usenka
    Oct 13, 2017 @ 18:21:13

    How are you going to expose the connectors/wires of the future modules?


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  23. SK
    Oct 15, 2017 @ 18:00:40

    BTW, I never received an email notification and I am pretty sure I subscribed to be notified when TERES is in stock.


  24. Jean-Albert ALVES
    Oct 15, 2017 @ 18:44:11

    Hello, a RJ45 connector for network is well planned? I don’t see in docs…


    • SK
      Oct 16, 2017 @ 13:33:53

      For A64 chip it is only Wifi (and Bluetooth). The Ethernet there is multiplexed with LCD, so only one of these can be used at a time (and the LCD is used in the laptop).
      Also no whole in the laptop body, so I assume future motherboards for this case will not have Ethernet exposed, too.
      Maybe you can use some USB to Ethernet adapter, but this laptop really is more about mobility so not much point in having RJ45. Maybe Olimex will think of some docking station?


  25. zZzz
    Oct 16, 2017 @ 21:49:52

    very nice! I had to order one xD
    Does someone know if its possible to play video using the open source libvdpau-sunxi video acceleration driver without using a GUI? I’d like avoid using a blob driver (mainly because I dont want to be stuck with an old kernel). So I’m thinking about using a very minal openbox/i3 WM with CPU rendering only. But that might still be excessive and slow without GPU hmh…
    Is it possible to just play video without a GUI? like just rendering the video in full screen mode? Any hints?

    Anyway awesome project! The FPGA sounds sweet and I’d be definitely interested in a motherboard upgrade in a few yeas using a SOC with foss drivers?! xD

    oh! almost forgot. I still have an pixel Qi display. The Teres-I is using LVDS for connecting its display right? : )


    • SK
      Oct 17, 2017 @ 21:29:16

      The interface to the LCD is eDP, Olimex said that all laptops seem to use that because of constraints on the thickness of the cable between the MB and display (passing through the hinges, needs to be slim – less wires).


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  29. James
    Oct 18, 2017 @ 15:00:02

    How does the Teres-I compare to Bunnie Huang’s Novena? And did the Novena (especially with the planned FPGA) influence the Teres-I at all?


  30. Ed
    Oct 18, 2017 @ 17:35:27

    What wifi chip is used? Does it require a binary driver? Does it require binary firmware? If it requires binary firmware but not a binary driver, what kind of access (if any) does the chip have to the main memory?


    • tkaiser
      Oct 18, 2017 @ 22:19:28

      RTL8723BS/SDIO so it’s not BroadPwn we’re talking here about but something with RealTek in its name we learn about later.


  31. Anton Zinoviev
    Oct 25, 2017 @ 10:36:37

    On the picture above I see a chip labeled “Power management”. Where can I read what chip this is and how it can be programmed? If the computer is not used and in maximum power-saving mode (no screen, sleeping cpu, etc.), then how long the battery will last?


  32. tkaiser
    Oct 25, 2017 @ 14:51:34

    Just check my link to linux-sunxi wiki above, scroll to PMIC there and enjoy reading documentation about AXP803. With Allwinner’s BSP (blobs, blobs, blobs) it’s possible to suspend A64 and then such a device can sleep ages (weeks) when running on battery since only the AR100 OpenRISC core inside A64 is active and waits for resume events (eg. press of the power button).

    AFAIK nothing of this is currently implemented with mainline u-boot/Linux.


  33. binutzu
    Oct 26, 2017 @ 19:50:07

    It would be nice to see here some hands-on customer feedback with Teres-I. Olimex must have shipped some kits by now since the order open announcement.


  34. Olov Lindholm
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 17:45:06

    I did build mine yesterday it took less than 4 hours. It booted ok. Worst was to turn the display cable the correct way but it was not long enough the other way. Remaining things, DC/DC is kind of loud except on full backlight then it is totally silent. I have the old problems connecting a BT mouse as I had previously and I thought it was gone now…. Anybody dared to upgrade it?


  35. gpsqueeek
    Nov 03, 2017 @ 12:44:43

    I got mine thuesday evening and mounted it within around 2 hours (I guess I could be faster now that I know how things go).
    Note : the magnet is supposed to be inserted next to the screen, this is not mentioned in the documentation (rev. 1). Also, the cables in the screen may need some extra pictures (and text) to show hot to do it properly (currently there are images and once you know what to do they are fine but you may need to get it wrong once first, at least I did), particularly how it should get through the hinge.
    I also have the noisy high pitch chirp when the backlight is not at its maximum (or minimum but then I cannot see what is displayed properly of course), this is kind of annoying (louder than my main laptop’s fan when at idle, but the frequency is very different).
    I hope I will not need to open it too often though as everything is clipped, some might break when trying to open (I actually already broke one clip on the screen bezel when I opened it again for the magnet, but it still holds properly)
    For now I am quite happy with it, I’ll see how it goes on a bit of a longer term use.


    • Balint Szente
      Nov 03, 2017 @ 13:05:54

      @gpsqueeek: yes, I also observed the missing magnet after assembling the LCD frame 😀 So I had to disassemble it partially and insert the magnet. I reported this to Olimex, hopefully they will update the guide.
      I don’t have the high pitch noise. It is completely silent even on 30%-50% backlight.

      I think the laptop is of good quality. The keyboard is excellent.


  36. vit
    Nov 10, 2017 @ 10:09:54

    Can TERES-I boot via SPI flash like OLinuXino?


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  39. a komrade
    Jun 19, 2020 @ 20:41:55

    Is the project still alive?


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