TERES I DIY Open Source Hardware Modular Hacker’s Laptop update


teres

TERES-I DIY laptop first shipments started in September last year and we quickly sold the first initial production run. Immediately we start to get valuable feed back. Meantime the spare parts now are online and can be ordered.

FEEDBACK

Some of the feed back was quite pleasant like this one sent from Martin Krastev:

Здравейте,

Този път ви пиша не с въпроси по подръжката, а като потребител на Терес с
няколкоседмичен опит и впечатления ; )

Знам, че по идея Терес-А64 е бил замислен като хакерски ноутбук, но вече
седмици го ползвам като машина за разработка:
1. Освен проектите, по които работя, Терес сам си компилира и
компилаторите, които ползвам — 2-та ГБ памет наистина правят паралелното
компилиране възможно, та дори да е само -j2 или 3 (нещата, които компилирам са сравнително тежки, и по-голяма паралелност вече опира до суоп файла).
Така че голямо благодаря за ъпгрейда на паметта!
2. Въпреки нищожното охлаждане на чипа, Терес успва да държи по-голяма част от времето 1152МХц, което беше много приятна изненада за мен.
3. Клавиатурата се оказа доста ергономична, въпреки че в началото имах
опасения, че ще е малка.
4. Избора на чип от програмна гледна точка също се оказа удачен – някои
прозиводители на А53-базирани чипове орязват архитектурни фийчъри (демек – инструкции), но allwinner не са от тях (за изненада! ; ) Това ми позволява да не се тервожа, че код писан за по-глеми армове може да не тръгне на Терес.
5. Батерията носи добре на натоварване – дълги компилации не угасват по
средата! : ) А и шината за sd карти държи прилична скорост – напъно
сравнима с вътрешния флаш (при прилична карта, разбира се), така че и
проблемът с допълнително дисково пространство за големи проекти е решен.

Ами това е засега! Исках само да ви кажа, че с Терес сте в правилната
посока, тъй както сте създали напълно ползваем работен ноутбук за арм
програмисти, което си е постижение!

Поздрави,
Мартин

Google translate does satisfactory translation so I would not challenge my English translation skills 🙂

ISSUES

There were two issues we couldn’t catch during our tests and went with the first lot to our very impatient customers:

1. LCD backlight, some LCDs cause the backlight circuit inductor L11 to resonance at annoying audible high pitch harmonic frequency caused by the 300Hz PWM.

zoomIMG_20171219_083219

According to best Murphy’s law practices this problem didn’t show at the first few laptops we build and tested, but when we shipped the first lot some people complained back about it, so we had to find quick solution.
1.1. adding bigger capacitor 100 uF in parallel to C204 was solving completely the issue, but the boards were already produced and shipped to customers;
1.2. adding double adhesive tape which to press the L11 to the plastic cover solved the issue in most of the cases, if this was not enough sealing the L11 with superglue also stopped the noise, which was caused by L11 vibrations, needless to say this was quick dirty and messy fix

Инфорамция как да ъпгрейднем фърмуер на touchpad и бутони:

This issue was completely fixed with adding 100uF to second production lot

2. Touch panel buttons issue. We run out of GPIOs on the keyboard board so ADC was used to scan these two buttons. Again everything was OK when we tested the few laptops we assembled in house, but soon after the shipment people start complaining that sometimes they press left button but laptop register right button and etc, quite annoying!
2.1. the problem was partially fixed with changing the firmware, we posted new keyboard PCB firmware and instructions on GitHub but this not always solved the problem
2.2. the good fix solution was to decrease the resistor values on the PCB and use 1% precision resistors instead of 5% used initially

We do apologize to all customers who had experienced such problem, we guess they are not many, but if someone has still such issue after the firmware upgrade we will send free PCB3 replacement, just please send us your requests to support@olimex.com.

In the current KITS this issue is solved.

SOFTWARE

The initial version of the Linux software was not in best shape, the community helped us a lot and we are now on the third release. Special thanks to Alexey Korepanov for reporting lot of issues and fixes! He also made his own Gentoo distribution for TERES-I at GitHub!

PLASTICS

As you all know we suck at mechanical engineering and we had to find all plastic parts from Chinese laptop supplier. Some people asked about possible 3D designs of the laptop case but we are not capable to do this. So one of our customers Jeff Moe who obviously has mechanical engineering skills decided to re-design the plastics and make them as models in 3D printed format – he sends me pictures of his progress from time to time which I post here. So 3D makers be patient – there will be soon 3D printed designs and replacement parts for TERES!

EDIT: Jeff just noted me that the design is made by Brent MacKenzie from the Colorado Printing Project.

IMG_20180117_222635

IMG_20180118_101726IMG_20180118_182121

IMG_20180118_182208 (1)IMG_20180118_183356

It looks the LCD back plastic he designed is even easier to assembly than the original one.

IMG_20180118_190156

 

WHAT’s NEXT

I will post more in my next post about our progress in turning TERES-I DIY Laptop in portable lab with additonal FPGA board which makes from TERES component tester, Logic Analyzer and Digital Storage Oscilloscope with Sigrok.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. SK
    Jan 20, 2018 @ 00:47:21

    I guess you haven’t updated the specs of the main PCB board (TERES-PCB1-A64) in the spare parts, it still lists 1GB RAM + 4GB flash. Also, last time I checked (few weeks ago) the manual contained obsolete photos of this old revision of the PCB.

    Reply

    • SK
      Jan 21, 2018 @ 23:00:54

      About the spare parts:
      – Great job keeping individual prices close to what they would cost as a total sum in the kit form.
      – The TERES-031-FPC-Kbd-Btn is show out of stock, maybe a mistake?
      – No product picture or information about TERES-015-LCD11.6, just a price.

      Reply

  2. Jeff Moe
    Jan 21, 2018 @ 20:39:24

    Brent MacKenzie from the Colorado Printing Project was the mechanical engineer that was contracted to do the (great) design. Just minutes ago I finished a part in polycarbonate that turned out awesome. We hope to have more parts of the shell to print in the next couple weeks.

    Reply

  3. NP32
    Jan 22, 2018 @ 18:54:18

    Thanks for the update! I would be super great to have Sigrok. Very interesting to know how many channels, what probe connectors and other details.

    What (exactly) capacitors did you use for C204? Are the pads on the motherboard the same as in Rev.C?

    There is no color choice for the plastic parts. Can I order, say, white LCD cover?

    Reply

  4. binutzu
    Jan 27, 2018 @ 01:36:30

    Thanks for the update. I”m quite happy with the laptop overall.
    Is is possible to pass by and buy the latest touch panel buttons module (and maybe other items) in Plovdiv? Or are the parts only available for ordering online?

    Reply

  5. Trackback: Do It Yourself Open Source Hardware and Software Hacker friendly Modular Laptop | Blackpool Makerspace + LUG
  6. name
    Feb 09, 2018 @ 12:42:58

    Never, NEVER buy “1.0 version” of anything, no matter of how much professional are th builder/coder of the stuff. If you do, it means that you are looking for troubles.

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Feb 09, 2018 @ 12:46:37

      Do you have TERES or these are just words of wisdom?

      Reply

      • name
        Feb 09, 2018 @ 13:37:29

        is a general rule i detected from the several time i was “burned” by products 1.0.
        No direct refer to olimex, just a general warning. i was burned by software (mostly videogames) that in version 1.0 was a nest of bugs and a nightmare for users. Also harware was “almost” good but not bugs and only version 1.1 or 1.3 is the right one (hit: NanoPi NEO from friendlyarm version 1.0, and 1.1 was hot like hell) and so on. and so on. So as general rule i follow: “Learn the Art of Patience. Wait. Read forums and reports of early buyers about the product you will like to buy. Thing twice before to buy. Than wait one week and think again twice. Mmmm better to wait six months more. Wait version 2.0 if you can. Than, if still you fell compelled to buy, buy”.

      • NP32
        Feb 09, 2018 @ 14:07:26

        I think that the advice not to buy early versions fully applies to Teres 🙂 Take for example the issues mentioned in this post. I still cannot find a replacement capacitor to fix the LCD backlight noise (except where the shipping charges are huge). And there is still no modern kernel support, which is a huge drawback.

        At the same time, Teres is not sold as a laptop – it is a kit to play, with problems expected. And, given time and desire to accept or work around problems, it is pretty usable. It serves me as a travel computer, and I love it.

        P.P.P.P.S.: Another problem: I found that some screws are probably slightly too long. I disassembled the laptop a number of times, and at some point the plastic near the keyboard bulged where the screws are pushing it from the inside.

  7. name
    Feb 09, 2018 @ 13:40:22

    in sentence “…“almost” good but not bugs and only ….” is missed the word “free” between “bugs” and “and”, sorry for mistake.

    Reply

  8. zikzak
    Jun 26, 2018 @ 07:59:34

    Can we expect something in Teres from the latest AllWinner binary blob?

    https://bootlin.com/blog/more-opengl-binaries-for-the-mali-support-on-allwinner-platforms-with-mainline-linux/

    Reply

  9. Jeff Moe
    Jun 27, 2018 @ 04:52:39

    FYI, here’s the files to make your own case:

    https://github.com/forksand/olimex-teres-case

    Reply

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