AgonLight Open Source Hardware Retro Computer Running BBC Basic was captured in KiCad and updated by Olimex

AgonLight is a well-documented small computer based on the Z80 family and running BBC BASIC.

With a VGA output and a PS2 Keyboard this is a stand alone retro style computer.

The project is open source hardware and software.

AgonLight may be also seen as an embedded BASIC computer as it has plenty of GPIOs available to interact with other components and modules.

The AgonLight was designed by Bernardo Kastrup and the Quark firmware is developed by Dean Belfield.

The project has an active Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/agoncomputer/

We got a few inquiries from customers asking if Olimex is interested in making this project and we hesitated at first due to having the bad experience in the past with Maximite pseudo open source project.

After exchanging a few words with Bernardo via Twitter, we became confident that this is a true open source hardware project.

We checked the schematic and decided to do some small changes.

  • We decided to re-capture the design in KiCad instead of EasyEDA
  • The power of the original AgonLight is delivered by a USB-A connector which is quite odd and USB-A to USB-A cables are less popular. We decided to replace it with USB-C connector which is used in all new phones, tablets and devices due to the new EU directive. Usually everyone has such a cable at home to charge and transfer files to their cell phone.
  • We replaced the Linear voltage regulator with DCDC which delivers up to 2A current.
  • We added a battery LiPo charger and step-up converter which allows operations even if external power supply is interrupted.
  • The original design had a PS2 connector for a keyboard and required a USB to PS2 adapter to operate with the more available USB keyboards. We replaced the PS2 connector with a USB-A connector so a normal USB keyboard (which supports PS2) can be directly plugged-in to AgonLight
  • We routed the AS7C34096A-10TCTR SRAM with 40 ohm impedance lines as per the datasheet
  • Fixed a wrong signal naming in the ESP32-PICO-D4, which now is updated in the original AgonLight documentation.
  • Replaced the bare header 32-pin connector with a plastic boxed 34-pin connector following the same layout and adding two additional signals Vbat and Vin which allow AgonLight to be powered by this connector too.
  • Added a UEXT connector (https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/) which allows AgonLight to be connected to: temperature sensors, environmental air quality sensors, pressure, humidity, gyroscope, light, RS485, LCDs, LED matrix, relays, Bluettooth, Zigbee, Lora, GSM, RFID reader, GPS, Pulse, EKG, RTC etc.

We changed most of the components to our component base, which we source and stock in large quantities and allow us to bring the cost down.

The design was completed 1 week ago:

Today the first blank PCBs arrived:

Next week we will assemble 5 pcs to test by ourselves and then send to the original AgonLight developers.


AgonLight will be put on our web and available for pre-order next week with a special Christmas price of EUR 50 for a completely assembled, programmed and tested computer.


If the prottotypes are good mass production will follow and all pre-orders taken to 23.12.2022 will be shipped by the end of January.

We plan to make metal case and other accessories in the near future.

Installing and running /e/ pro-privacy open source Android on Open Source Hardware Laptop TERES-I

e-teres1

Few days ago customer asked if we can ship our Open Source hardware DIY Hacker friendly laptop TERES-I with /e/ pre-installed.

For these who has not clue what /e/ is: The /e/ ROM is a fork of Android with focus on privacy. It’s open source  pro privacy compatible with most existing Android applications. The /e/ is alternative to the Apple/Google duopoly on the smartphone.

I have seen Mr. Gael Duval tweet about the /e/ support for TERES-I from March this year, but shame on me I wasn’t try it yet, so I though it’s good time to give it a try.

The install instructions here and are very clear. Unfortunately when I followed them there was no result other than displaying this spash screen for Pine64.

e-splash

After waiting some minutes I decided that something is wrong and decided to write the image instead with dd command with balenaEtcher.

The image written with balena had same splash for a while then show /e/ install screen:

eboot

Be prepared to wait few minutes then the setup screen is shown, it’s same as first Android installation even you can choose Bulgarian language:

e-lang

After setting up the date/time, your WiFi connection etc you got the home screen:

e-teres1

Settings show that TERES-I now run Android 7 (Nougat):

e-settings

If you setup account you can go to app store:

EKYmZK3XYAEMgH-

Overall /e/ is running fine on A64 TERES-I and people who are used to Android environment, but do not want to be spy by Google service.