Elementi taggati con: pyra
Passed the certification!
Go to the original news-post
Well, this post is bit late, since #CE / #FCC -Testing and certification happened early August, but as we were attending the #GamesCom again this year, I had my hands full with preparation and - of course - working at the show myself.
I'm happy to report that the #Pyra passed both CE and FCC with flying colors :)
If you're interested in the results, you can see the document attached to this thread.
So yep, no more shielding needed, one more important step towards mass production.
Speaking of mass production: Even though I was at the Gamescom, testing of the new PCBs has progressed (albeit slowly).
Thanks to the help of Nikolaus and aTc, I was able to boot a first version of our OS on the new units (the old version wasn't compatible with it).
While I didn't find the time to do a longer test-run on them yet, the PCBs seem to be working fine now (so not as many failures as last time), which means the production has really improved - good enough for mass production!
I'm working on a burn-in test now (they need to be able to run without any crashes for 5 hours at least)... well, and that should be it.
It would mean we could place the order... and wait for everything to arrive so that the mass production can finally happen.
BTW: I had a lot of different devices with me at the Gamescom (Gemini, #GPD Win 2, GPD Pocket, Pyra).
While most visitors were impressed that the GPD Win 2 can run Gamecube games, the keyboard most of them preferred was Pyras'.
So yes, it has certainly turned out very well.
The keymats have been ordered, the lead time is 12 weeks though (but hopefully they will arrive a bit faster).
The burn-in-test will be the final thing... after that, everything has been ordered and then it's just a matter of time until mass production starts.
#pyra-handheld #umpc #hardware #gaming #pc #dragonbox #handheld #debian
Back from Greece
Go to the original news post
Good news, everyone!
I'm on my way back from Greece to Munich right now and it's time for another new update!
And it's not just about the cases...
So, what happened in Greece?
Three things actually...
1. Discussing the production run with FormAction
As you know, FormAction will produce 500 sets of the transparent cases.
As the seem to be finished and okay now, they will start as soon as possible.
However, they also have other customers and will close down August 1st for a full month.
So we made the deal with them that they will produce as many as they can and afterwards, we'll move the molds over to UniquePlast, the new company.
Some of you might have noticed that I said "seem to be finished" - are they or aren't they?
Well, I didn't find the time to fully assemble a Pyra yet with the latest set of cases I received.
However, as the only fix were the shoulder buttons and the stlylus, I tested these and they were fine.
Everything else WAS already okay and hasn't changed, so that should be fine.
Still, I will assemble a full Pyra during the weekend to make 100% sure it's okay.
You should be able to buy transparent Pyra cases in August - with immediate delivery, if you like :)
2. Discussing the logo plate
If you read my last news, you already know that the logo wasn't made of anodized aluminium but instead was painted black.
This looks awful and is certainly not what we want.
So what was the problem here?
Well, apparently, it's nigh impossible getting anodized aluminium in Greece.
There's just no real demand for it there and therefore, it's a material that can't be bought there.
They will still try to find a source, but if they can't find any, we'll use brushed stainless steel.
This looks nice and I can also imagine that it looks neat as well on a black shell.
The logo itself will be milky white until you switch on the LEDs, so it fits well inside the metal plate.
We won't let a metal plate cause us any delays, that's for sure!
3. Upcoming production with UniquePlast
The last thing I had to do in Greece was discussing the upcoming production run of the Pyra case with UniquePlast.
Especially with different plastic materials, etc.
They're very experienced with different colors (and have many of them in stock). I think you will be very pleased with the final case the Pyra will have!
We could now also mix different colors together, for example, have the keyboard part a different color than the lid, etc.
Time to resurrect the old thread with the different color themes to see what we can do to make it look good, eh?
Anyways, they're also on holidays from August 1st until August 21st, so nothing will happen during that time.
So we're planning to move the molds there end of August / early September so that the cases can be produced in September.
BTW: It's not the first time I'm working with them.
They are also producing all my MegaDrive, SNES and NES shells, incl. the variations for the Retrode Plugins. So they made at least 5000 shells in various colors for me already.
Now we're only mising the...
And yes, some good news here as well:
Global Components has populated the mainboards. Now it's time for Nikolaus to pick them up and do a quick test run.
As you already know, the 4GB RAM CPU boards have been finished a while ago and are working fine.
So a bug-free mainboard is the last piece of the puzzle now!
Well, these mainboards and CPU boards will be used to assemble Pyras with the transparent cases (I already have a set of ten) and these will go to the Prototype Preorders and some developers.
This will hopefully help to improve the software a lot as well.
I will also have a final (transparent case) unit with me at the GamesCom, in case you're planning to visit there.
Once we confirm the mainboards to be working fine as well... it's time to place the order for the mass production... and then it's only a bit more of waiting until we start assembling and shipping the units!
I hope you enjoyed that little news post.
Remember the live video Q&A I mentioned? Well, I'll start a poll with different timeframes soon, so we can find the best time for everone.
Hopefully, you'll have some interesting questions for me ready by then!
#pyra #pyra-handheld #umpc #computer #hardware #crowdfunding #console #gaming-console #gaming #linux #debian #clamshell-device #dragonbox #dragonbox-pyra #pc
Something has gone wrong.
Go to the original news post
I mean, yes. Seriously. I can't explain it.
I've received a few cases from Greece and from what I can tell so far, they are fine now.
The last two issues (rattling stylus and non-optimized shoulder buttons) seem to be fixed now.
As unlikely as this sounds... it has happened.
That can't be right, can it?
Okay, at least something is not correct yet: The logo plates are painted, not anodized (which looks ugly), but they fit - so getting the correct material is the only thing left (and I could get these made in Germany as well).
Well, what does that mean?
It means it's time to go to Greece once again - to start the production run of the 500 transparent cases and organize the move of the molds over to Uniqueplast, the company that will produce the normal production run of the non-transparent cases.
The good thing is: Unlike FormAction, that company does NOT close in August and they got 12 injection mold machines (FormAction only has two), which means they can produce cases a LOT faster.
Okay, so here's the plan:
I'm leaving for Greece Wednesday evening (yes, that Wednesday already).
On Thursday I'll meet up with FormAction to get the transparent cases produced. Later that day, I'll visit the company who produced the logo plate (so I can discuss the material).
Friday I'll be visiting UniquePlast. They have multiple plastic samples to choose from and we'll plan the normal production run already as well.
And then, Friday evening, I'm on my way back home again!
Tight schedule, but doable.
No more news on the mainboard front yet (I haven't checked the status with Global Components yet, they probably have the prototype run planned already), but some news from Nikolaus:
He has been working on another mainboard already, based on our upgradable CPU-Board solution:
This is basically a stationary mainboard where you can plug the Pyra CPU board on top. So you've got a nice development system at home, with Ethernet, SATA, USB, SD-CardSlots, etc.
This can be used as a software development board for the Pyra (as it's fully compatible), but it can also be used as small Linux PC. Once we have our first CPU Board upgrade, you can give your old CPU Board a new home with this one.
For more information and discussion about it, check his hidden post in that thread here:
Okay... CPU-Boards done, keymats done, cases done, mainboards just waiting for prototype production run... we're getting closer!
Oh, here is something I also want to make happen in July:
Ask the Dragon!
Well, basically, I can imagine quite a few of you have various questions. Not only about the Pyra, but maybe about my opinion on the GPD Win 2, Gemini, etc. especially in comparison to the Pyra.
Or you could ask what I'm happy with the Pyra, what I'm not so happy with, etc. Or about the shop, what my hobbies are, what kind of games I play, etc. Whatever. Everything is welcome and will be answered to honestly :)
I plan doing this as a live youtube-event. I'm in front of the camera and everyone can ask questions over IRC, etc.
I'll stay there and answer them as long as there are interesting questions or until my coffee runs dry (and this could take a while...)
I've never gone live on Youtube, so I need to test that setup first, but I want to make that even happen in July - now that everything seems to be finally coming to a close!
I'll let you know!
#pyra #pyra-handheld #gaming #console #computer #linux #debian #handheld #dragonbox #umpc
Is there really a light at the end of the journey...?
Go to the original news post
Well, well, well.
Are we really getting there?
Yes, it could be the case.
4GB RAM CPU Boards are working!
Finally, after a long, long search for the reason, Tony Lindgren found the real issue for 4GB RAM crashes.
It was a hardware and software fix. Even the previously produced boards work better now - and maybe a lot better with some changed timings :)e.
That does mean... well, the CPU boards should now be 100% finished.
And we might even be able to use the 500 bare PCBs we already have - if they can still be populated (as they have been sitting around for quite a while now).
A memory stress test still crashes after 10 minutes, but that is due to overheating, as it doesn't do this if a heatsink is added to the CPU board.
10 minutes without a heatsink is quite good though, as a memory stress test both fully stresses the CPU and memory, and doesn't happen in real life.
Nikolaus ran a 4GB Board without heatsink and 1,5GHz and did an apt-get upgrade which installed 400 new packages... without any issues.
After a few hours, he shut it down again. Without any crash or overheating!
Once the mainboards are finished and the new case has arrived, I'll assemble a full unit including our cooling solution, and then we'll no for sure.
This issue together with the rotation issue we had are most probably due to TI mostly having abandoned the OMAP5.
There are not many devices out there using the OMAP5 and therefore, no one has run into that issue before.
So yes, we might have some more low-level software work ahead of us compared to the Pandora, but it surely will be fun seeing the system evolve :)
Well, with the CPU boards and the DIsplay boards final now, the last thing missing are the mainboards.
What's up with those, you might ask?
Well, the have arrived at Global Components - but there was an issue. Some of the silk layer (that's the white print on the PCBs) are too close to some of the BGA pads. And as we don't populate single PCBs but multiple ones at once, the tolerance is an issue - and some BGAs might not be populated properly.
Unfortunately, the chinese manufacturer hasn't checked that thoroughly (last time, they fixed that issue themselves without telling us upfront). It would be possible to populate them by doing some VERY accurate measurements - but that would cost over 3000 EUR.
That was pretty annoying - but luckily, producing another set of bare PCBs WITHOUT this layer is a lot faster now, as all the tools have already been created and the software for the machines has been written.
The new PCBs will arrive June 18th (so in around a week) and will be populated shortly afterwards.
Well, according to my contact, a (hopefully) final case is already on the way to me.
It has been shipped a while ago via DHL but has not arrived yet.
He'll try to get a tracking number for me, and hopefully, it'll arrive this week.
This case should have the logo and everything glued in. But I won't assure that until we have it here.
... and then?
When the case is fine, 500 transparent cases will be produced, which will be used for the prototype preorders.
After that, the moulds will immediately be moved to the new company so we can produce the remaining cases in proper color. As most companies close down in August in Greece, we have to be fast here. Hopefully, that'll work out - then we could have a small release party at the GamesCom this year and who knows, maybe some users can already pick up their units there.
But yeah, that would be a miracle, as we also need to get the pre-cut material for the heat dissipation and I don't know yet how long the production will take. That said, it's existing material that just needs to be cut - so it shouldn't take long.
So who knows - one can dream, right? :)
With all the boards and the case finished, it's also time for CE / FCC testing, which we're planning for early July.
So yay.. we got another few steps closer to release :)
Final round... Fight!
#pyra #pyra-handheld #umpc #pc #hardware #debian #linux #console #dragonbox #handheld #computer #dragonbox-pyra
In a failed attempt to improve users personal privacy, DuckDuckGo jumps from the frying pan straight into the fire. With the motto
Google Search -> DuckDuckGo (free)I understand, that they advertise their own service here. And while I do believe, that DuckDuckGo does not cheat and keeps your searches private, as a user, one cannot prove it. In any case, one just replaces one centralised search machine with another one. Better use a decentralised service, such as meta search engine Searx.
Let's start off with the easiest one! Switching to DuckDuckGo not only keeps your searches private but also gives you extra advantages such as our bang shortcuts, handy Instant Answers, and knowing you're not trapped in a filter bubble.
Android -> iOS (paid)This is certainly the worst recommendation in their list. I had to check the date of the article, when I read this. Aprils Fool's Day? I'm certainly not a fan of Android and I'm not an Android user anymore, but going for a much more restrictive jail is just stupid. Android has at least relatively free versions, e.g. Replicant. iOS, in contrast, is a carcel with beautifully painted walls. Very high walls with perfectly styled barbed wire on top. Even the most proprietary variants of Android let you at least install free software from F-Droid.org.
The most popular alternative to Android is of course iOS, which offers easy device encryption and encrypted messaging via iMessage by default. We also have tips to increase privacy protection on your iPhone or iPad.
If you don't want to use Android anymore, like myself, better go for a free alternative, e.g. support the Librem 5 crowdfunding, or the Pyra handheld or the ZeroPhone, all three running the free Debian operating system.
Google Allo -> Signal (free)Again, they recommend to leave one centralised service for another one. And one, that even wants your phone number, otherwise you can't use it. And one, that does not yet have a decent client for Linux. There are messengers around that are federated or completely decentralised, that do not force you give them your phone number, and that have native clients for all major operating systems. My recommendation is XMPP. If you are on Linux, use e.g. Gajim, on Android the best app is probably Conversations, for iOS there is ChatSecure and so on. Alternatives to XMPP are Ring, Matrix and more recently Wire.
There are several services offering private messaging but, as we've mentioned before, Signal gets our recommendation. It offers free, end-to-end encryption for both messages and private calls. It's also recommended by Edward Snowden and renowned security expert Bruce Schneier, among others.
Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1755:
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.One should also not give up libre software, which is essential in many ways, to purchase a little perceived safety or privacy through non-free or centralised services.
#duckduckgo #google #searx #replicant #fdroid #librem5 #pyra #zerophone #debian #xmpp #gajim #conversations #chatsecure #ring #matrix #wire
With full steam into the new year!
The original news post and discussion can be found here.
Whew, a LOT has happened during the last 10 days!
Mostly good news... so let's start right away!
1. CPU Board Redesign
As you know, Nikolaus worked on improving the vias and decoupling of the CPU Board to finally fix the 1,5GHz issue.
Well, and thanks to a community member, we were able to simulate the outcome so we wouldn't need to produce a new batch just for testing that (which would cost 9000 EUR and take 6 weeks of time).
The community member offered us to do the simulations... and in case you're asking why we couldn't do that ourselves:
The software used does cost about 90k USD... so... yeah :)
So we're really lucky. Where would we be without the community?
He simulated and compared the old revision and the new one with Nikolaus changes and checked that it fulfills everything that's needed according to the datasheets.
Here are some nice pictures that demonstrate the improvement:
Before someone cries in panic: RED does not mean BAD here.
The target voltage is 1,05V and the color shows how much voltage would be where.
So RED is great, green is okay and the more blue we have, the higher the voltage drop is (which is bad).
Here's a nice summary:
As you can see, while we're not reaching TIs ideal specifications 100%, the boards have been improved A LOT!
Here you can see the changed impedance of the old and new revision:
Quite a bit of improvement here!
The software can also simulate what happens when you add more capacitors.
We know it's not possible to achieve ideal conditions with that little space we have on our PCB, but that's not needed.
Ideal conditions are just the conditions under which the manufacturer guarantees that the SoC will work for sure.
This is rarely being achieved with such tight PCB designs, but they still work.
Heck, our current CPU Boards work with up to 1,2GHz, and they're MUCH worse than our improved layout.
This improved layout should easily enough to reach the 1,5GHz, but we can probably still squeeze one more capacitor to improve it even further.
So yes, our redesign worked, the possibility to simulate the behaviour was the best that could've happened to us!
Time to produce a few more CPU boards with that new layout - which should definitely be the final one!
2. The keymat
This monday I also received 30 samples of the tweaked keymat.
So, are we there yet?
YES - and no! But that no is not really an issue.
YES: The action buttons and keyboard feels GREAT! They are really nice to press, have a good pressure point.
So yes, the keymat is fine. No need to change it anymore, I really like it.
So what's the no?
You might remember that I decided that the plastic part of the DPad should also be produced by the keymat manufacturer and be glued on top by them.
Well, that plastic part is the first version and is feels great, it has just one minor issue:
The pivot goes down a bit too much. Which means: When you place the keymat onto the table, the pivot already touches the table without you even touching the DPad.
This, of course, makes it feel awkward.
Just using a bit of sandpaper fixed that issue, and for the mass production, it's a minor fix as well.
The most important thing is that the keymat is FINALLY finished! That was a pretty complex part, with all the layers, transparency, etc.
And now it's done - I'm really relieved. One thing less to worry about.
The DPad is a VERY simple part that can easily be changed and even printed with a 3D printer.
3. The mainboards
GC has populated the new prototype mainboards and display boards this Tuesday.
The last thing needed to assemble them to final units are some more cases (I've only got five here) - everything else is here.
So we can assemble multiple units now - and once I receive the next batch of cases, we can assemble 28 prototype units!
Now, some parts are lying around at Nikolaus' place, some at GC, some here... so we need to meet up to assemble everything, I hope we'll find the time for that next week!
4. The displays
800 displays have arrived at Global Components - 230 have been killed by the delivery service (by crushing a box against a wall...)
These will be replaced, of course - and I've asked them whether I could order 500 more... so maybe it's good that this happens ;)
The will be here in time, no worries. We'll need quite a bit of time to assemble the units (a new mass production will always take some time to speed up), and until then, the displays will be here.
5. Quick summary
Pheeww. So, CPU Board should be fixed now. Motherboard and Display board are done as well.
Keymat is finished, just the DPad needs a tiny fix.
Cases are finished except for the wiggling stylus and the too-hard-to-open battery cover.
Displays are finished, touchscreens are perfect.
All electronic parts needed for the mass production are already lying around at Global Components.
We've gotten a LOT closer to the finished Pyra now.
Now I'm hoping for the next case revision and the prototypes... yay!
#pyra #pyra-handheld #handheld #computer #gaming #hardware #linux
Please help DebianMobile!
If you care about open hardware and free software, if you care about a trustworthy operating system in your pocket, please consider to help getting Debian run on mobile devices. Join the effort and let's see, what can be achieved. Currently, this is a hackers/developers party, there is not much for end users, yet, so please be warned and don't hold your breath. #debian #debianmobile #openhardware #freesoftware #mobile #handheld #pyra #neo900 #zerophone
Back from the Dead!
Go to the original news post
Well, I'm back! Not from the dead, but as I didn't really visit the boards or IRC a lot lately. I might've felt to some like I was dead.
I'm doing fine, no worries. But the shop was swamped with orders until two days ago (I was packing and shipping 40 - 100 orders per day!) that I didn't find the time for much else.
Thankfully, things are back to normal again, so here I am! And I brought some news with me, as things have not stopped in Pyra development.
1. The SATA-Adaptor
Not everyone is interested in one, I guess, but the SATA-Adaptor has mostly been finished. It plugs into the USB-Port of the Pyra and splits the signal to both USB 2.0 and SATA. Keep in mind that it's only for the Pyra.
I'll create a small case for it which you can either print yourself or maybe I'll do an injection mould plastic of it as well (depends on the demand and costs).
There's no direct JTAG connection on the Pyra PCBs (we didn't have enough space), but the SD-Card slot can be used for it! All you need to do is boot a special kernel and use this simple SD-to-JTAG-Adaptor.
This is helpful for everyone who wants to do some low-level hardware debugging.
3. The CPU-Board fixes
Nikolaus has used the last few days to vastly improve the VIA- and capacitor-setups on the CPU-Board. He's rechecking it currently to make sure it's the best we can achieve with the current layout. After that, as mentioned in the last post, it will be sent to a community member who can run a simulation on it which will show us the improvements and make sure it's good enough for the full 1,5GHz speed.
4. And the rest...?
Well, all companies involved in the Pyra production had holidays, and like most companies here, they'll resume work on Monday.
Then I'll bugger them all to move ahead with full speed, and of course I'll keep you informed.
Oh, and by the way: A happy New Year 2017 :) May our journey finally bring us to the finish line :)
#pyra #pyra-handheld #handheld #hardware
For the friends of the decimal system and the believers of the importance of many trailing zeros: Pyra handheld sold already 1000 times - that is 3e8 in hex, an impressive number!
Now let's wait, until they get the thing ready...
#pyra #debian #freesoftware #almostopenhardware #handheld #dragonbox #openpandora
go to the original news post
My normal daytime job is still giving me a lot of work... I had to edit 3 commercials and one cooking show last week, so combined with the daily shippings in my shop, I didn't have much time for anything else.
Of course, that doesn't mean nothing has happened, as there are other people working on the #Pyra :)
1. The mainboards
The bare prototype mainboards (which most likely won't be different from the production run mainboards) will arrive at Global Components December 12th and will be populated shortly after (like the CPU boards, 30 in number).
As soon as we have the cases and the keymats for those, we can assemble them for devs, Pyra preorderers and the remaining ones will be auctioned so anyone can get them (yes, the vouchers for the Pyra can be used to get one of those if you like). These will clearly be marked being prototypes, so they might be of some value to you :)
Speaking of keymats and cases...
2. The keymats
I received some inbetween sample of the keymat, but it was a bit rushed (as they wanted to finish it as fast as possible) and in my opinion, it was way too stiff. I told them to hurry but not rush. It's more important to get perfectly working samples one or two weeks later instead of imperfect ones as fast as possible.
The good thing is, once they're working perfectly, mass production of them won't take long and can be done within a few weeks.
I'll keep you posted. This won't prevent me from building a new prototype though, as the look of the keymat won't change, only the stiffness and feel of it.
3. The cases
According to UPS tracking, a sample of the new case including the sealing for the speakers has been shipped November 28th and will arrive tomorrow until the evening.
Let's hope everything will be fine now - but we won't find that out until tomorrow or Tuesday (depending whether UPS will keep their time :)) Of course you can expect some highres pictures of those - but don't expect them to LOOK perfect, as the moulds won't be hardened before everything is 100% okay physically (and therefore you will probably see a few discolorations in there).
Once the new mainboards are finished, I can finally built a prototype that works perfectly fine using a battery, as these will have the battery connectors in the proper position (running it with battery was a bit of hit and miss before).
UPDATE (did I mention I had too much work? I almost forgot this:)
4. The CPU boards
Nikolaus has been done countless tests (also huge thanks to notaz for a NEON-Stresstest-tool) to rule out different possibilities why the CPU boards could fail running higher than 1,2GHz. It could've been the RAM, the clock itself, power source, software settings, etc.
With these tests we could slowly rule out various issues. The RAM is fine, the power source is fine, so what we're most likely missing are some more decoupling capacitors. So there's a very good change the next CPU boards will work fine. I'll let you know once I get more details.
Exciting times :)
#pyra-handheld #hardware #linux #hardware #handheld #debian #news
An interesting and rather sad retrospect by free software hero Harald Welte:
It was about building a #smartphone before #Android or the #iPhone existed or even were announced. It was about doing things "right" from a Free Software point of view, with FOSS requirements going all the way down to component selection of each part of the electrical design. ... What does this mean in practise? We're stuck with a smartphone world in which we can hardly escape any vendor lock-in. It's virtually impossible in the non-free-software iPhone world, and it's difficult in the Android world. In 2016, we have more Linux based smartphones than ever - yet we have less freedom on them than ever before. ... So yes, the smartphone world is much more restricted, locked-down and proprietary than it was back in the #Openmoko days. If we had been more successful then, that world might be quite different today. It was a lost opportunity to make the world embrace more freedom in terms of software and hardware. Without single-vendor lock-in and proprietary obstacles everywhere.
(This is one of the reasons, why I refuse to use a "smart" phone.)
#openhardware #freesoftware #neo900 #pyra #fairphone
Power, Memory and Schematics
Go to the original post
Pheww, that was quite a while ago that I posted news! I had ENOUGH new stuff to post, but I'm stuffed with different work right now - not only Pyra-related but also in my normal daytime job (yep, the job is not my main job). This resulted in having about 4 hours of sleep each night last week, so I really didn't find the time to summarize everything that happened.
But now it's Sunday, and while I had to work yesterday and last Sunday, I didn't have to work today and therefore can finally give you some up-to-date information!
It was a pretty crazy time since the last update, and I've got some good and also bad news for you. I had hoped to only have good news... but well, bad things can happen as well and I won't hide them from you.
So, let's start, shall we?
1. The case
The final changes have now all been implemented. FormAction plans to produce a bunch of cases tomorrow (at least thirty, so enough for all prototypes). They also already created the molds for the silicon that's needed to seal the speakers, and hopefully we'll get those preapplied to the cases as well.
Can't wait for them :) Once we got them and the keymats, I can finally build the prototype units for devs and the ones who ordererd one. We might sell a few more of them as well, but not before they're ready to be shipped.
Well, we got some good news, some bad news and something inbetween :)
First, here are the good news:
29 out of the 30 produced CPU-Boards work fine! That's a perfectly fine failure rate and a definitive improvement over the first production run (where only 10 out of 18 produced CPU-Boards worked, and even some of those needed rework). So Global Components is now ready for mass production, there shouldn't be any issues with that.
Now for the bad news: The 1,5GHz freeze has not yet been fixed. We had hoped that the one trace we cut was the issue, but it wasn't Therefore, the last 1,5 weeks we spent quite a bit of time figuring out what's going wrong here - and I guess we're pretty close!
The OMAP5 (and probably all new SoCs) are A LOT more picky when it comes to power supply and voltage stability than the OMAP3 or other SoCs. We've spent nights figuring out whether it's purely hardware based or whether it can be fixed with software. And we really got some improvement: My unit now runs stable at 1,2GHz, but that's the maximum we were able to achieve with our current setup.
Getting the power supply is actually a pretty complicated thing. It depends on a number of capacitors with different values, different traces and trace lenghts, the amount of layer in the PCB, the number of vias, and and and. So this is not something generic you can build - if the power management chip is a bit further away from the OMAP5 than on a different board or you got more or less layers, you need different capacitors. And as there's also other stuff on the CPU board (like the DRAM) that has special requirements as well, you can't simply design a perfect power supply circuit.
It's a puzzle with compromises, and with the correct set of changes and capacitors at the right places, you can improve things until they're good enough that everything works.
Nikolaus already included numerous improvements last week (he had to read A LOT of OMAP5 design documents for that...) and he will also try changing the capacitors on our CPU boards as well to see if that improves things or makes them even worse. We're still doing more tests with both the CPU Boards and the EVMs to find out more improvements and I'm sure the next bunch of CPU boards will work perfectly fine, but it means we need to produce another small batch to test our fixes as well.
BTW: I had to smile a bit when I read today that the GPU driver crashes of the GPD Win have a similar issue: Power supply instability. It only affects a couple of SoCs and can be fixed by replacing some resistors, but it's actually very very similar. Yes, these modern CPUs sure are evil beasts!
We're not that far off though - 1,5GHz single core runs without any issues as well as 1,2GHz dualcore. So it's probably just a small improvement we need - and that's certainly a good thing.
So, what about the "inbetween"? Well, memory prizes are currently going haywire! Memory is getting more and more expensive, so I had to order the memory for the mass production right away, otherwise, it could be that it would be twice as expensive!
The problem is: While we have CPU-Boards with the 4GB RAM chips assembled already, we haven't had the time to update the kernel and bootloader yet. We know that 2GB work perfectly fine (even with the 4GB RAM chips installed), but we don't know whether the additional 2GB will work properly as well. They should, though, as it's a software change that enables the usage of the additional 2GB RAM, but it's untested.
Well, testing that is one of the next things on our to-do list. And in case they REALLY don't work, we can probably sell the 4GB chips for a higher price than we bought them for ;)
3. The schematics
As promised, the Pyra will be more open than the Pandora and Nikolaus had some time to clean up the schematics! Attached to this post are the schematics for the current revision (5.1.3) of the Pyra. Unless a bug is found, these won't change anymore. Go to the original post to download the attachement
Feel free to look through them, learn from them - or report any potential issues you find to us, so we can check them!
License is CC-BY-NC-SA which means you can use and distribute them - except asking for money for a copy of this document or parts of it.
This does not exclude that you study the ideas and make your own (commercial) designs, because that is not covered by a document licence. But please let us know if you do that... We might be interested in learning your ideas as well :)
So much for today, I'll post news as soon as something happens AND I find the time :D Feel free to ask any questions here at this thread!
#pyra #pyra-handheld #gaming #console