A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 now with PCB revision G

a20-olinuxino-lime2

A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 now is assembling on same PCB Revision G as A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-eMMC.

What are the improvement:

  • Ethernet PHY is changed to RTL8211E replacing the obsolete RTL8211CL no need for kernel patches;
  • we drop the odd shape which was necessary to fit LIME2 in the plastic box as we now have range of metal boxes;
  • the four mount holes now have grounding for better contact with chassis;

Meantime we silently work on further improvement for next revision (to be released March 2017):

  • adding SPI boot Flash;
  • replacing RTL8211E to industrial grade PHY, so the board can be produced completely in -40+85C operating temperature;

 

Microsoft licensing corruption scandal in Romania has ended on October 3rd

sandu-cocos-dumitru-stefan

This scandal covers buying Microsoft licensees for Romanian administration from 2004 to 2012 for total 228 millions USD.

During the investigation was found that more than 100 people, former ministers, mayor of Bucuresti and businessman are involved in this corruption scandal and more than 20 millions euro are paid as bribes.
The Romanian court ruled in March 2016 with sentences for 8 years of prison and 9 millions euro of asset forfeiture for the 4 persons on the picture.
These sentences were appealed and October 3rd the High Court of Cassation and Justice (HCCJ) confirmed the guilt and increased the sentences to 14 years in prison and 17 millions of euro of asset forfeiture for these same persons.

I have nothing to add but my admiration for the working Romanian Judiciary.

Bulgaria and Romania joined EU back in 2007 together and while Romanian people has will to change their future, the things in Bulgaria has very little improvements. In Romania there are near hundred of corrupted politics and public administrators in prison, in Bulgaria there are none. Supreme court in Bulgaria is overwhelmed with files, as everyone appeal his case for every small disputes up to the highest level. They have files which they have no capacity to review for next few years. So effectively there is no working Judiciary in Bulgaria. Тo judge someone here is just waste of money and time.

Bulgarian government spent almost 60 million of euro for Microsoft licensees from 2007 to 2011 and the “tender” winner is always one and same company.  I already posted about my wondering why such amount is spent for something with free alternative. Another question is why administration spends money for platform with 99% of all viruses existing and which is tool for US agencies to spy all around the world?

The information about Romanian corruption scandal was taken from here . I used Google translator so some numbers may be inaccurate 🙂

Qualcomm is buying NXP

A Qualcomm company bus used to transport employees among its many buildings is shown in San Diego, California  November 3, 2015.    REUTERS/Mike Blake

via Reuters

Just one year after NXP bough Freescale, now they try to sell  to Qualcomm!

What is going on with this Semiconductor industry?

It’s long time not driven by engineering, innovations and products anymore, just shareholders and calculations what if we buy or sell this or that player in the field.

Qualcomm is well known name together with Mediatek they dominate mid-low end of the smart phone market, where Apple and Samsung share the high end.

Obviously their business is booming last years, they took also the Lion’s share of the tablet market where Chinese companies like Allwinner and Rockchip had some share, but the absence of RF in their SOC doomed them in the connectivity dominated world we live now.

What NXP can give to Qualcomm which they do not have yet is mystery for me. What will happen with Freescale and NXP products if Qualcomm buy them is also unpredictable.

Qualcomm do not publish any info for their products and they share just with few partners under strict NDAs. They are the opposite of how NXP and Freescale did their business so far with small users friendly approach.

What’s next? To promise to Qualcomm that will buy 100 000 pcs of future LPCxxx product to get the datasheet under NDA?

One is for sure imx.X is not going to be developed further as Qualcomm has plenty of competing products.

 

A64-OLinuXino-eMMC rev.B OSHW 64 bit ARM development board prototypes are testing

A64-OLinuXino-1

A64-OLinuXino-2

What you see is our improved REV.B of A64-OLinuXino. What’s new:

  • Gigabit PHY is now KSZ9031 from MICROCHIP/MICREL which allow board to be produced in both commercial and industrial grade!
  • DDR3 is now DDR3L for lower power
  • we add SPI flash footprint U12
  • Audio input now is jumper selectable between LINE-IN and MIC-IN
  • eMMC now can work on software selectable voltage 3.3V or 1.8V which would allow faster speeds
  • status LED is attached to port PE17
  • size 90×60 mm

Now we do final software tests and if everything is OK we will run production.

 

Beautiful Boxes made in Olimex

box

Few weeks ago I blogged about boxes our customers did for OLinuXino.

On Embedded world I saw nice box made from metal which assembly simple with one screw.

box0

I liked it a lot and when got back asked few friends who I know deal with metal processing if this box can be done here.

We do lot of laser cut details and our laser cutter said no problem, we can cut this box and there is place with CNC bending where we can bend and paint the boxes.

Here is the very first result:

box1

on the bottom has option for rubber feets or for stand-offs which can attach to other surface:

box2

you have access to all connectors:

box3

box5

and buttons:

box6

The new version have also openings for the cables from inside.

The boxes can be in any RAL color, we will offer them initially matte black and “computer” ivory.

We are waiting sample painting to proceed with the production.

Box Model-A will be as on the pictures above,  but without the ventilation openings. Box Model-B will be 3.5 mm higher to may fit inside SATA drive and LiPo battery 1400mAh and will have ventilation openings.

Price target is EUR 10 for Model-A and EUR 15 for Model-B (bigger size and cutting the openings increase the time for manufacture and affect the price). For minimal order of 100 pcs the box can be painted in any RAL color and be same price.

Having access to such technology make me feel like baby in candy shop! Same box type for LIME and LIME2 is now drawing and we will have samples next week.

Another metal box / panel LCD 7″ display + LIME/LIME2 inside is on the drawing desk, I will keep you updated. Panels for 4.3″ and 10″ LCDs are to follow.

Building complete Metal industrial LCD panel with -40+85C operating temperature with LAN, USB, CAN, RS232, RS485 is now also possible.

 

EDIT: While I was blogging new versions of the boxes arrived:

box-n1

this is Model-B which have increased height and space to assembly SATA drive inside:

box-n2

in the new version we also add small window or flat cable to go out

box-n3

and box to still close nicely:

box-n4

powder painting make the boxes look very professional:

box-n5

the problem when you have millions of colors to choose from is that you don’t know what to choose 🙂 we will start with simple black cover and grey, dark red and dark blue base as white matte (right side) makes each of your fingerprints to appear on the box when you touch it 🙂

box-n6.jpg

We will have the boxes Model A and Model B on the web for sale next week! The painting is the slowest operation and takes a week.

Embedded World 2016

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Today is last day of Embedded World, really spectacular exhibition.

Lot of peoples from 9.00 to 18.00 on our booth and leg pain at the end of the day.

We are exhibiting our IoT platform and The DIY Laptop.

20160223_160050

ST has interesting display on their booth showing how many STM32 devices they have sold and this display is interractive as the numbers go up every second, if this is real or just show it not so interesting, the number of 1.5 billion devices sold is impressive! And this is just one ARM vendor, I wonder what is the total number of all ARM devices sales.

NXP had interesting truck on their booth:

20160223_160201

Lot of companies were exhibiting metal formed boxes, we already stolen few ideas to experiment with when we come back 😉 Time to learn LibreCAD for 2D drawing!

Olimex wins EU funding for production expansion with two new assembly lines

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Bulgaria is part of EU and this gives to companies here chance to apply for EU funding.

There are many programs for innovations, expanding the capacity, energy efficiency etc.

This gives amazing opportunities to Bulgarian companies to become globally competitive.

Unfortunately the most interesting area the innovation is burden with most paperwork and some things which are totally unacceptable with our Open Source way of thinking. For instance one of the requirement is to fill file patents for the innovation, which to protect the EU investment in your company.  Looks logically, but this effectively cut off all companies which work with Open Source Technologies.

So for us the program for expanding production capacity option was interesting, as there the requirement is just to show good past records for company financial state and to prove that you will increase your production after you got this funding. Anyone can apply in this, but there are very strict requirements and open and transparent ranking rules, so if you run your business in the shadows you got no chance to apply and win such funding.

In the past we have read terrible stories in the newspapers about corruption practices with these EU funding, so we never considered to participate in such project.

The things changed with the time though and EU commission and Bulgarian government developed capacity and competence to find a way to make this in order and to tightly control the process so such practices to be stopped.

In the middle of 2015 year we got contacted by consulting company, which offered us free evaluations of our chances to win funding, they took our info from the public company register. It was free offer, so we had nothing to lose, and agreed. We got free pre-evaluation and they estimated our chances (number of points we could get in the process) to win funding as very good, so we decided to apply for funding. Even if nothing happen we do not lose anything except small fee for the consulting services, so it was worth to try.

I know many people who apply and prepare the documents by themself, but we decided to use the consultant as otherwise someone had to read all paperwork associated, and this would probably cost same as if we pay to professional to do it properly.

To our nice surprise in December we got letter from the Ministry of Economics, that we are approved and when we check the number of points we got in the rank list was exactly same as our consultant pre-estimated. Good work! This means there are really clear and transparent rules to evaluate your company chances to win. Also the complete communication with the government and paperwork submissions etc was held via well done and easy to use Internet portal.

In January we were invited at 10.00 o’clock in Sofia in the Ministry of Economics on brief meeting to hand us the contract to sign in personally and there was another nice surprise: exactly in 10.00 we made the meeting and finished everything for 10 minutes – quick and professional. I have no had touch with the Bulgarian administration for very long time and obviously the things got improved a lot at least in the Ministry of Economics!

So we are now lucky winner of EU funding for two new high speed, high precision assembly lines with screen printers and reflow ovens!

This will increase the number of assembly lines in our company to total six! Last year many customers have asked us for assembling custom PCBs and we had to decline their requests as we got our own over 600 different products and our assembly lines are loaded at 100%, when we got these two new lines we will have ability to take such external orders.

The whole procedure is not very quick as there are lot of control and requirements to be met when government and EU spent their money, but in about one year from now we expect to have finished the complete procedure and to have our two new assembly lines up and running!

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