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.

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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.

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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.

New Tools to arrive in stock soon

ATN-GA1102CAL Oscilloscope 2 Ch 100Mhz 1Gsps:

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ATTEN is Chinese manufacturer of low cost oscilloscopes, Spectrum analizers, Power suplies and Soldering tools. ATN-GA1102CAL is Dual channel, Digital Storage Oscilloscope with 100Mhz bandwidth and 1Gsps with 40K point memory depth, 7″ Color TFT LCD and various trigger functions. USB host supports Flash disks and Printers, so you can capture and save or print your screen. We expect ATN-GA1102CAL to be in stock at the end of March.

Hand tools from Piergiacomi:

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Piergiacomi Sud is well known Italian company – producer of hand tools for the electronics with 30 years history. All their products are designed and manufactured in Italy at their plant of Ascoli Piceno.

We are going to stock  4 of their professional grade popular products:

PGC-TR25 and PGC-TR30 flush cutters:

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Lightweight and easy to use with cut force of 3.5 kg for PGC-TR25 and 5.0 kg for PGC-TR30 these cutters are perfect for electronic components.

flat, short nose pliers PGC-PN5004:

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and precise strong tweezers PGC-00SA:

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We are using Piergiacomi tools in our own production for more than 20 years after passing through many different manufacturers, we found that their price/performance ratio match our needs. Of course these are professional grade tools and you pay the cost to have such tool in your toolbox.

For beginners on budged who cut few component leads per month we are going to stock low cost amateur grade tools from China, their price is much lower than Piergiacomi equivalent.

Piergiacomi tools will be in stock first week of April.

DUINOMITE-eMEGA is coming!

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DuinoMite enhancemets continue, we run prototypes of the new DuinoMite-eMega board which adds few significant advantages:

1. 100MB Ethernet interface, so DM further firmware will allow TCP-IP connections and sending e-mails, updating your Facebook wall, Twit messages on your Twitter account, so you will be able to connect embedded hardware to your social networks, not speaking for telnet, ftp, http etc services which are self understandable

2. eMega will have new connector for the PMP signals this is *very* fast port which allow to captre events with up to 80Mhz and to toggle ports with up to 80Mhz stream, this makes possible interfacing to TFT displays, to add fast ADC and convert Duinomite to Digital Storage Oscilloscope (DSO) or to make it as 80Mhz Logic Analizer, combining that DuinoMite have keyboard and VGA monitor support you can implement graphics and make one nice colorful general purpose tool in your lab

3.DuiniMite-eMega keeps all Duinomite-Mega hardware features but also add two new on board memories beside the SD-card-> 2MB Data Flash could be used as internal DRIVE for file storage, and 64KB of EEPROM can be used for saving configuration parameters, logging info etc without wearing your Flash drive

The prototypes will be ready next week and we will mail to our developing team, so they can start working on the new firmware which to support these new features.

The DuinoMite-eMega revision A schematic is uploaded for review on our web site.

Note: DuinoMite-eMega do not replace any of the previous boards: DuinoMite, DuinoMite-Mini, DuinoMite-Mega, PIC32-T795 will continue to be produced, this is just NEW member to DuinoMite boards family, it will be a little bit more expensive than DuinoMite-Mega, so who do not need Ethernet, on board Flash etc new features can continue using our current DuinoMite range of boards.