New from our forum – experimental NixOS image for TERES DIY OSHW Laptop

nixos.png

Recent post from our forum explains how to build experimental NixOS image for TERES-I  – Do It Yourself, Environmental friendly, modular Open Source Hardware ARM Laptop.

TERES-I Open Source Hardware Laptop has new experimental Armbian Mainline Linux image for download

TERES

We uploaded few days ago Armbian experimental mainline linux image for TERES-I on our ftp.

There are still few known issues which we work on, but we wanted to upload this experimental image so other people can start playing with.

What is new?

  • eMMC now run x3 times faster which improves the overall user experience.
  • OpenGL with LIMA

Known issues:

  • Automatically turns on upon applying power via the PWR_JACK, we need time to patch mainline uboot
  • No sleep or suspend, WIP.
  • Bluetooth not working out-of-the-box – fixed in Olimex release if you install the package
    ftp://staging.olimex.com/Allwinner_Images/A64-Teres/linux/armbian_experimental/teres-bluetooth_0.2-1_arm64_armbian.deb
    with command:

    dpkg -i teres-bluetooth_0.2-1_arm64_armbian.deb

  • Keyboard LEDs not working – fixed in Olimex release – install the package

    ftp://staging.olimex.com/Allwinner_Images/A64-Teres/linux/armbian_experimental/teres1-ledctrl_0.1-1_armbian_arm64.deb

    with command:

    dpkg -i teres1-ledctrl_0.1-1_armbian_arm64.deb

  • The LCD brightness is low by default (20%) – fixed in Olimex release – to increase it type in the console

    echo 9 > /sys/class/backlight/backlight/brightness

  • no video player acceleration, to be fixed in the next release planned for 22.02.2019

 

TERES-I Laptop 3D plastic models are on GitHub

GutHub

Yesterday we got great news.

One of our customer has been working to 3D capture the TERES-I plastics for a while and he uploaded on GitHub and released the files GPLv3+ and the CC by SA 4.0 License.

Now you can print your own plastics and modify them for your own needs.

TERES-I USB debug cable

TERES-USB-DEBUG

TERES-USB-DEBUG cable is now in stock. TERES has unique features to multiplex audio port between audio headphone output and serial console debug.

There are two ways to enable the serial debug via audio jack. First one is with teres1-debug on|off script and it will work until reboot:

sudo teres1-debug on

when you want to stop use

sudo teres1-debug off

this is good for try something while your laptop is working, but if you want to catch the early uboot messages you have to use another script:

sudo debug-switch.sh on

this will switch debug serial port permanently to audio jack until you execute the scriupt

sudo debug-switch.sh off

These scripts are included in the official image, but if you build your own you can install them from the GitHub sources

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.

TERES-I update. First feedback from our customers

magnet

Today we shipped all pending orders for TERES-I and we start to get valuable feedback from our customers!

First thing – we missed the magnet assembly in the instruction manual (blush). This leaded to laptops not go in suspend mode when lit is closed.

We updated this in the assembly manual 1.1 which is now on the web and included in the GitHub too in sources so people who notice typos and want to help improveing the Bulgarian-English language in which the manual is written.

Another issue reported immediately which we missed during our testing is that on small percentage of the laptops the LCD backlight step-up inductor cause annoying sound when LCD backlight is with 50% brightness.

BUZ

It’s a interesting phenomenia as the backlight PWM is 300Hz which is not possible to hear, but when LCD backlight is switch ON and OFF high current surges are happening and some harmonics cause mechanical resonance with this inductor.

The solutions may be few:

  • play with PWM frequency to get away from this frequency which cause the mechanical resonance – pure software approach which need lot of experimenting
  • adding small double adhesive matt on top of the inductor which make contact with the back plastic and this way absorb all vibrations – we start to add this mat as soon as we discover this issue to all laptops no matter if they buzz or not. Not very aestetish but quick and dirty solution:

ABS.jpg

  • Add more capacitors to the PWM power supply which to handle this current surge, adding 100 uF seems to remove the problem, but the first lot was already assembled and many laptops are already shipped – so this we will implement in the second assembly.

 

We have two reports about problems caused by the touch pad after “apt-get update / upgrade” we have to look more closely into this issue. For the moment we do not recommend you to update and upgrade your Ubuntu packages or if you do this and something stop working to revert to the original image – this is pretty easy just download the image write it to SD card, boot and run the eMMC copy script.

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.

 

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