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#338476 The day the Pandora goes even more open

Posted by EvilDragon on 31 May 2014 - 11:12 PM

As promised, it's the Day of the Pandora today!

 

Why? Well, some guessed it - because the Pandora becomes more open today.

 

Thanks to the designers Michael Weston (PCB) and Dave Cancilier (Case), the case and full hardware design files and documentation (schematics, gerber, BoM, etc.) have been opened up for non-commercial use.

 

Whether you want to use it to repair your unit, modify it, create your own 3D printed case or are just interested to find out what's needed to create such a device, that's totally up to you.

Be sure to read the licenses and contact me or the designers directly if you want to use it for commercial purpose.

 

You can find all files here.

(feel free to direct-link them on the Wiki or other sites, but please include the licenses there as well)

 

And to celebrate the only OpenSource handheld with opened hardware (until the Pyra is out), I've made some limited Mega packages as well!

 

You can either get a Rebirth or 1GHz Pandora package with the following contents for a really awesome price:

  • Pandora 1GHz or Rebirth handheld, incl. AC Adaptor (incl. EU, AU, UK and US plug) and battery
  • Official Carry Case
  • TV Out Cable
  • Replacement battery (2009)
  • 2x XStylus
  • Fully populated (except for the nubs), but broken PCB, signed by EvilDragon (collectors item)
  • Fast 32GB SDHC Class 10 card (EMTEC)

Available at the DragonBox shop, only in June.

Don't worry about the stock - more units are coming this week.

Additionally, we've added cheap batteries from the first batch to the shop. They might have a bit less capacity, but are fully tested and working.

 

This is a nice preparation for the Pyra, which will also have an opened up case design and schematics available from the very beginning.

 

Spread the word, let everyone know the difference between your normal commercial device and a community-powered, opened handheld :)




#300770 Christmas, the past and the future (2013-12-24)

Posted by EvilDragon on 24 December 2013 - 05:11 AM

Well, it's christmas time and most of you here will probably spending some quiet days with their family.

I wish you all a very merry christmas - and as the end of the year is approaching, I'd like to look back into the past year and also a bit into the future.

 

1. Pandora - it was still a rollercoaster ride - with a happy ending

 

The first few months were awesome. Production was swiftly moving, everyone could get a Pandora from stock, I finally delivered the units to all my remaining preorder customers and even all 1GHz customers from Craig got their unit.

 

You think it's weird that Pandora production works flawlessly?

Sure, that's probably why we had issues with the LCDs for the next batch that was delivered in June.

440 LCDs, where half of them had dust below the touchscreen and a lot of those had calibration issues.

So 400 of those had to go back to be fixed... and that sure took a while, as the manufacturer needed to find out what went wrong.

 

So in August, we were running out of Pandoras because of that. We had a few older screens left, but you really couldn't call that "mass production" at all.

In September, we got 60 LCDs for testing - they were working fine on a quick test and all assembled into Pandoras and shipped...

Only to find out shortly after that those touchscreens autodestruct when you move the stylus at the edge of the screen.

Well, another two months until that issue is fixed...

 

And finally, in December, production has resumed and I've got 400 fully working screens!

 

So Pandoras are now back in stock, production is back to normal. Finally :)

 

 

2. Craig and his customers

 

That really was the saddest part of the whole Pandora story so far.

I can fully understand that Craig had a huge load of stress on his back, and it's sad to see where everything has gone.

But he really caused a mess, with the 1GHz preorders 2012 and also with the amount of remaining customers in 2013.

 

After I finally got the results of the survey Craig created for all remaining customers, it turned out that there are A LOT more customers left than there should. I still have no idea where that huge number comes from, but i don't even want to think about it.

It's more important to moved forward and help everyone here.

 

Wow, and it's really really awesome how helpful you all are!

 

While I can only offer Pandoras at production costs, you, the community, help out with donations as well.

 

So here is a little statistic:

 

  • Customers who used the upgrade possibility so far: 92
  • Number of Pandoras funded with the help of donations: 50 (36 have not used that voucher yet, they were probably waiting for the Pandoras to get back in stock)
  • Total numbers of remaining customers from Craig (according to the survey): 445

 

So we're getting somewhere - let's continue to help everyone. Thanks for all your donations :)

 

 

3. Awesome software releases

 

2013 was a REALLY good year softwarewise.

Not only have huge quantities of new software been released for the Pandora, there also were some high quality releases - from all points of views.

 

Little but useful programs like MasterControl or the recent SixPair-Controller daemon, unique and useful applications like Streak's WIP PIM Manager, awesome emulator releases and updates (who would've thought we could get a fullspeed AGA Amiga, most-of-the time fullspeed Nintendo DS, and a very playable PSP emulator?) and also a lot of games, from ports for classic games like the Jedi Knight saga, to ports of Indie games and also completely new releases.

 

There's so much to do on the Pandora it won't get boring... I can barely keep up with playing everything I'd like to!

 

 

 

4. A peek into the Future

 

The Pandora sure still has a lot of potential. I'm pretty sure we'll still see a lot of new releases and updates.

 

But still, most of you already know I am working on a successor. More details will be revealed overtime.

I cannot tell when it will be finished - based on the whole Pandora story, you know how long that could take...

But let's hope it will be smoother run :)

 

In case you're wondering how this will be financed:

Well, you know I got money from investors for the remaining Pandora orders, right? That money will be back when all remaining Pandoras have been sold - and will then be used for the development of the successor.

 

I can fully fund the full design and production for both the unit and the case up to the final prototyping.

Only the mass production itself will need a lot more money than I have - but there are various possibilities to get that as well.

Maybe Kickstarter, maybe Preorders with part-payment, maybe something completely different.

 

Well, we'll see, but I'm sure we'll find a way to produce it once the prototype is running... but this could still be far, far away in the future.

 

 

 

5. Some special thanks

 

Well, finally, I'd like to give some special thanks.

Of course, a huge thanks to all the community and developers, as you keep everything going!

 

Special thanks goes to notaz - he helps both with low-level stuff and the OS. And he'll also be helping with the Pyra :) Also to skeezix and DJWillis - they might not have much time recently, but they're available when I really need them. And c4a is simply awesome :D

 

More special thanks go to Fatih. Many might've forgotten about him already, some have never heard of him. He's also one of the guys behind the Pandora - and he's still helping out a lot (e.g., he's the one sourcing stuff like the AC Adaptors or LCDs, and he's also the one who dealt with the chinese manufacturer to fix our LCDs). Yep, he's still helping out, even though most of you don't know this.

 

Of course, MWeston is not to be forgotten. He's the one who designed the Pandora PCB, and he still helps out each time I have some technical or manufacturing questions. Thanks - and I hope you really have a real awesome christmas time with your family!

 

Not to forget: Linux-SWAT, fantomid and p'tiSeb for taking care of the Tolouse Game Show and of course Link and ekianjo for distributing Pandoras in US and Japan as well.

 

There are many many more which I didn't mention by name here... my investors, the moderators, all the devs.

 

Well - we sure don't have to space here to mention them all. But I'm really happy to have such an awesome community backing me, helping as good as they can.

With guys like you, I KNOW the Pyra will be awesome, and even though it might be a hard way once again, I'm totally sure it'll be worth it!

 

Thanks - and all of you, have a very merry christmas, and a happy new year!




#353236 No time for a break after GamesCom

Posted by EvilDragon on 26 August 2014 - 03:40 PM

Finally, a new newspost!

I have to admit, it took a while since I posted some news - which was simply because GamesCom preparation, the GamesCom itself and catching up with my shop AFTER the GamesCom took quite some time.

Still, Pyra development has not halted, so here are some news.

But first of all, since I just mentioned GamesCom, I wish to send a big welcome to everyone who joined our boards or newsletter after visiting us there.
I hope you will have a lot of fun and excitement together with us.

Okay, on to the news...

1. GamesCom

The GamesCom was a huge success.
There were TONS of interested people and they were all amazed by the power the Pyra showed on our FullHD screen (well, we had multiple PSX and MegaDrive emulators running and still a responsive desktop at 1920x1080... - all fullspeed).

What most of the visitors found especially great is the replaceable CPU PCB. I was happy that most people love the idea having an upgradeable system instead of producing more and more electronical waste. These days companies tell you that you need at least one new smartphone each year... great that's not the common opinion :)

We had a few special guests there - LinuxSWAT was helping out again, but we also had ptitseb visiting during the weekend and notaz was even there the full time and was working there on the devboard.
They managed to get some games as well as Reicast and Mupen running, but those still need more optimization.

All in all, GamesCom was great - and the retro area was fun.


2. The LCD

We made various tests with the LCD from BOE, and we were really satisfied so far.
We tried Sonic 2 - famous on most mobile screens for flickering palmtrees and black ghosting of the rings in the sky.
Well, we couldn't see any ghosting and even the flickering was only visible if you knew what to look for.

We didn't have the rotator chip working with it yet and Nikolaus was on holidays (as you might remember), but he's now looking into it.
There are multiple devices out there using the rotator chip with exactly this one panel, so we know it'll work ;)

Additionally, we found the 720p resolution with 5" perfect for a Linux standard desktop.
While the default settings have small fonts and icons, they're still perfectly readable (I like it small), with the 1080p LCD, it was just unusably small.

We still have the Success panel to test, but the BOE one is already pretty good, and a LOT better than the Pandora LCD.
As soon as we have the rotator chip working, I'll make some nice videos for you.

I've already ordered a few samples together with touchscreens.


3. The software

notaz got the 3D driver to work together with fbturbo (which is a real fast, NEON-accelerated (read below) framebuffer driver for X).
The official TI driver uses DRM - which is okay for normal desktop usage, but with that, we can't use the framebuffer directly (which is where Pandoras SDL version gets the speed increase from).
So we definitely want to get an X driver working that offers framebuffer usage - and that's why we chose to use fbturbo.

As mentioned, the 3D driver is working already, but is still hardcoded to ask for DRM. This is something we'll try to fix, otherwise, all 3D games would need a patch.
Another (small) downside is that the 3D driver only works in fulsscreen mode.

No big thing, as even apps like Blender can also run in fullscreen mode and games are usually played in fullscreen mode anyways.
Still, we'll try to fix that as well.
If you really desperately need 3D with windows, you could theoretically switch to TIs DRM driver, as it works there.

We'll now concentrate on setting up standard Debian distribution with our own patches for the Pyra.



4. Batteries

I've received two different 6000mAh batteries from two different manufacturers.
One is thicker, one is wider. Both have been sent to the case design team. They'll check which one can be easier implemented into our current case design.


5. The Case

Not much has happened here, as the company in Greece is closed for summer holidays.
I took the time to write down a list with current issues and a to-do-list which they'll work on when they're back in September.
It's not that much left to do, to be honest.

I'll continue tweaking the shoulder buttons and I'll also try Fusion_Powers design.


6. The hardware

It's time for testing the main PCB thoroughly, we also still need to add a Wifi chip.
Then it's time for the CPU PCB.
I'll keep you updated with more news here.


That's it for todays post.
Now that I catched up with everything, I hope to have more regular newsposts again.

Feel free to ask any questions here :)
 
UPDATE:

Just some quick correction, as we just discussed about that in IRC:

fbturbo is NOT using NEON as accelleration.
I misread that.

From the description (which can be found here: https://github.com/s...6-video-fbturbo
 

any ARM based system should see better
performance thanks to some additional optimizations (the elimination of
ShadowFB layer, ARM NEON/VFP code for dealing with uncached framebuffer
reads, automatic backing store management for faster window moves).


I misinterpreted that for: The ShadowFB layer had been eliminated and replaced with ARM NEON/VFP code.
But that's not the case, both are eliminated to speed up everything.

Sorry for the confusion.


#344819 Main PCB V3 is finished!

Posted by EvilDragon on 13 July 2014 - 09:08 PM

After spending hours and hours and hours of time, Nikolaus finished V3 of the main PCB.

That PCB will be produced during this week and it will be ready for the Gamescom :)

 

It's almost the final main PCB revision and will be used to test all functions and find any remaining bugs.

If all goes well, V4 will be the one that is going to be used for the main production!

 

If you want to see the amount of traces needed to create that PCB... go ahead :)

(of course, when you are working on it, you don't need to see all traces at once ;))

 

Attached File  MainPCBV3.jpg   339.21KB   155 downloads

 

And if you want to see what's taking so long to design such a PCB... how to puzzle a PCB together, so that no traces get in the way of others.

Here is a small video. It's running at 10x speed - so you can imagine how much exhausting work this is!

 

 

Next for Nikolaus is to continue to work on the LCD drivers, so we can finally choose the LCD as well.

 

And what have I been doing?

After I got back from Montpellier, I started to work on multiple things at once.

T-Shirts and other merchandisings, soon to be available from my shop (probably sometimes August).

Preparing Gamescom, upgrading the server (yep, we moved to a completely new server - with only 30 minutes downtime).

And next up is setting up some GIT / Bugtracker-combined system so we can actively work on the OS and Kernel.

 

I need more time :D

 

Well, I hope I'll see as many of you on the GamesCom as possible!

And as usual: As soon as I've got more to post, I'll do that :)




#364023 Finished! (Well... the schematics, that is)

Posted by EvilDragon on 16 November 2014 - 10:18 AM

Still no time to slow down - so here's a summary of what happened lately :)
 
The PCBs
 
Finally, the full schematics for the Pyra have been finished by Nikolaus early last week!
Which means, that the hardware is basically done - the only thing left to do is to translate the schematics into the layout of the PCB.
 
It's very time consuming work, but Nikolaus will try to finish that in December, so that we can produce the first prototypes before the end of the year!
December 23rd would be a cool date for the prototype production run - as December 23rd, 2011 was the day we made the test production run of the Pandora at Global Components in Germany.
 
The OMAPs have already been ordered, we plan to produce 15 prototpe PCBs.
Will we be able to keep that schedule? It's a short timeframe for the remaining work to be done (we know that), but we'll try our best.
 
These prototypes need to be thoroughly tested then. Quite a few won't work at all (as such a test run is used to setup the machine properly). Some of the working ones will go to devs like notaz and maybe one or two will be auctioned off.
 
And after that? Well, all bugs we still find need to be eliminated, a new test run needs to be done.
And once the hardware fully works, it's time to setup the mass production and the preordering.
Hopefully, we won't need to many revisions before we have all bugs fixed.
 
 
The cases
 
Of course, a fully working PCB is nothing without a finished case!
Now that all specifications are fixed, the designer has resumed work on the case to do the final tweaks (and offer me two different solutions for the shoulder buttons).
I hope the final case will be ready for a 3D print in December as well.
 
 
The nubs
 
We took the chance to meet the designer and engineer of our current nubs at the Electronica exhibition in Munich. Basically, the part is end of life (EOL), because there weren't enough orders to keep the production alive.
All other nubs we tried won't fit, sadly (the 3DS one is twice as thick, so that won't work).
The only EOL part of the nub is the mechanical one which is basically a disc with springs that move a magnet.
The electrical part (which is simply a hall sensor) is available without any issues.
 
Our current solution is this one:
The deadline for placing the order is the current nub is end of December. We'll order 10,000 of those, which will be enough for 5,000 Pyras.
If these Pyras sell really fast, we can probably resume the production with a high enough order.
If these Pyras sell slow, we have enough time (and money) to find a solution, i.e. a company that can create a compatible mechanical frame.
 
I sure hope though we can get enough orders to make them resume the production though! The first order of 10,000 will be a first step to that!
 
 
3G / 4G
 
More good news from the Electronica:
We found a Tetra-Band Antenna that fits onto the reserved space of our PCB, which means that the Pyra will be able to do 3G/4G.
 
 
AMD
 
I've also paid AMD a visit to ask them about their upcoming ARM SoC for tablets.
Nothing to get excited yet, but I've got some contacts now to discuss with.
We know they'll release a 64bit ARM SoC which uses the Radeon GPU (which has working open source drivers), so that surely would be an interesting chip for a first Pyra upgrade.
 
IF (in capitals) we will be able to use it, it will still be a long time away. And if not enough people buy the Pyra or we we can't get it from AMD, it won't even be made.
 
The first release will be the OMAP5 Pyra - and the more people buy it, the more likely a future CPU Board upgrade will be :)
 
 
 
Videos
 
You probably know about the 'What would you like to see?'-thread (http://boards.openpa...ou-like-to-see/)
Well, I got the devboard prepared at work and will hopefully be able to produce regular videos of those requests from this week on - this just depends on the amount of spare time I have.
 
These will only be very short videos, just showing one thing at a time.
And we won't be able to show all of those requests yet, as our current OS still has some things like the 3D driver missing. But those videos will follow once we have it working as well.
 
 
Keyboard
 
Well.... as the design is basically finished, it's time to soon start for me to work on the keyboard layout. I know we've got hundreds of posts about that already, which I all need to browse and check and find the best suitable keyboard layout.
I'll probably make a few different layouts and put them up to discussions, so we can tweak them.
I plan to do this end of November / early December.
 
 
Phew, that was quite a lenghty post - but we certainly had (and have) a lot going on :)
See you at the boards!



#351496 Aluminium cases are being made!

Posted by EvilDragon on 15 August 2014 - 09:23 PM

I just wanted to let you know that I gave the green light for the aluminium case production.

 

I've got about 60 orders now and i wanted to order 20 myself to use them for brand new Pandoras.

Well, and I'm sure that the remaining 20 will easily be sold once the cases are available.

 

So work has already started on them :)




#321168 Starcraft

Posted by notaz on 04 March 2014 - 08:31 PM

Awaken my child, and embrace the glory that is your birthright. Know that I am the Overmind; the eternal will of the Swarm, and that you have been created to serve me.

 
It's on the repo.
 
You'll need full installation of Brood War from PC with latest 1.16.1 patch applied. It also needs to have required files copied from CD (1.16.1 removed CD checks, but doesn't automatically install all required files):
- copy "INSTALL.EXE" from the StarCraft CD to your StarCraft folder and rename it to "StarCraft.mpq
- copy "INSTALL.EXE" from the StarCraft: Brood War CD to your StarCraft folder and rename it to "BroodWar.mpq"

You should try the game on PC without CD first, if that works, you're ready to copy the game's folder to pandora/appdata , the folder should be named "starcraft".


So a Starcraft port? Sort of..

The "no source, no port" rule is not completely true, you can get something similar (but not the same) as a port through static recompilation. Similar stuff was done several times by M-HT for some DOS games. The game was also converted for Android with somewhat similar approach.

So how does it work? The game was fully disassembled with IDA, then converted from x86 disassembly to C with my custom tools that I wrote as the project progressed, then compiled as a normal program and linked against ARM winelib (so the Win32 API is provided by ARM port of wine). Sounds easy? The hell not! I've started it sometime in autumn and was hoping to have something after a month or so, but it was far from working at the time of New Year. Then tried to target the Alive compo, but that slipped too. There were way too many problems and things that I did not expect.. Maybe I'll write about it someday. Would I do it with another game? Maybe not, let's just say "no source, no port" rule is always true and Windows games should be handled through emulation, static recompilation is possible but way too problematic in practice.

However in the end I think it works quite well, give it a try. It should be close to how "real" port would work, there is no emulation anywhere. There is a bit of overhead in 8bpp -> 16bpp conversion, but it's not too bad. The game likes to eat CPU even when it doesn't really need it, so it might make sense to underclock sometimes.

Known bugs in b6:

none

 

old bugs:
- custom scenarios are broken
- when playing as terran, attempting to land a building will crash the game
- first protoss mission (from expansion) crashes

Edit: wine is hacked a bit, I've pushed out the changes to github:
http://github.com/no...e/pandora_hacks




#290765 Some more of my ideas

Posted by EvilDragon on 19 November 2013 - 02:53 AM

Well, since you know I'm actively working on the successor yet, I think I can share some of my ideas.

 

Basically, it's to keep what's good and fix what can be fixed :)

 

What's good:

 

Size: Similar. If we have to increase it, it will not be much (maybe 1 - 2 mm to one side)

Clamshell design: Of course!

Full sized SD Card slots: I would like to keep these as well.

USB Ports: Sure thing!

Gaming Controls: Ummm... :)

Replaceable battery: Yep. I want to keep the exact same battery for various reasons.:

  • It will ensure that batteries for the Pandora will be available for a longer period of time.
  • We know it works properly (less risk)
  • Whoever owns the successor AND the Pandora can the batteries for both devices.
  • The battery compartment will be changed though, so that the battery will fit much better

 

What needs to be fixed:

 

Nubs: Completely new ones. We already have some samples that are working so much better (best nubs I've ever seen).

LCD-Cable: While the current ones are good, they still fail too often in my opinion. With MIPI displays, we don't need LCD Cables anymore.

Case: The case will be completely designed and produced by one company in Europe. This will ensure a higher quality.

 

 

What could be improved:

 

LCD: Better refresh rate, higher resolution (ideally 720p, but that's hard to get), size increased to 5"

Keyboard: Slightly improved layout, better feel, probably backlight

Wireless: Improved Wifi, but maybe also optional 3G/4G would be neat.

Speakers: We already have samples of much better speakers. :)

SoC: A more recent one, of course. And yes... we have the confirmation for one now, but I won't tell you :)

 

 

So, that's my basic idea - what do you think about that? :)




#355166 The long road to a final unit

Posted by EvilDragon on 07 September 2014 - 10:43 AM

The road from a first PCB version to a fully working prototype is a long one.

Moving to Kernel 3.17

Nikolaus is working at two things at the same time: Getting kernel 3.17 to work with all hardware AND testing the hardware itself.

There are two reasons to switch to 3.17:
1. It's the latest one (which we also want to use on the final unit)
2. He's also working with 3.17 on the GTA04, and quite a bit of hardware is similar, so it saves some work.

Mostly, Kernel 3.17 is now working fine without major issues.
What's nice is that the CPU temperature is even lower than with the 3.8 kernel (about 10 degrees less on idle state).
 

 

The mainboard tests

 

Now, onto testing the features of the mainboard.

 

First, let's start with what has already been tested and is working fine:

 

  • Keyboard-Backlight LEDs
  • Shoulder Buttons
  • Nub buttons
  • Nubs (Position etc.)
  • Keyboard
  • Sensor: BMP180 (digital barometric pressure sensor)
  • DC/DC-Converter for the USB-Hosts ports

Not yet tested:

 

  • RGB-LEDs
  • Stresstest VBUS
  • Mikrofon-Detect-Switch
  • CPU-Reset-Logic (LSH-BOTTOM + Poweron)
  • Charger-Bypass
  • FTDI232 (Linux console)
  • Charger
  • Vibration motor, Microfone, Speakers
  • Modem-USB, Modem-Ignite, GPS
  • INA231 (for checking modem status)
  • Fuel Gauge(s)
  • Other sensors

 

Can't be tested yet (as we need the CPU-Board or the next revision of the motherboard:

  • HDMI
  • eSATA
  • USB-OTG 2/3
  • Audio
  • WLAN/BT
  • Display connected to the mainboard

Quite a lot of things to test, but we're moving forward.

 

 

Case design

 

FormAction (the case design company) is back from summer holidays, so we resumed the work there as well.

I'm working on giving detailed explanations how the shoulder buttons should work internally and externally, and we also want to try out Fusion_Powers design as well as optimized the one I suggested.

 

 

The OS

 

Things are moving along, slow, but sure.

We've setup various gits (http://dev.pyra-handheld.com/) and will soon populate them.

The basic creation of a rootfs using debootstrap is already working, now we need work out how to do automatic package creation from sourcecodes and scripts and maybe move to multistrap (so we can create the image directly on the server, not using the EVM).

 

 

Other stuff

 

Two batteries from two different companies have been sent to FormAction. One is thicker, one is wider than Pandoras one, both have 6000mAh.

They will let me know which one would fit better into our case.

 

We'll most probably use the BOE display, as the quality is great and we already got it to work.

We still want to test the success and maybe a Sharp one.

 

Oh, and as someone requested it:

The Blog now has an RSS feed as well.




#347505 A bunch of pictures

Posted by EvilDragon on 27 July 2014 - 04:54 PM

Well, not that much to report this week.

Nikolaus has populated some PCBs (so I've got something to show at the GamesCom) and got the BOE display to work (without the Solomon Chip yet).

 

As you might be interested to see some pictures of the populated PCB, here you are:

 

Attached File  DSC01983.jpeg   129.54KB   117 downloadsAttached File  DSC01984.jpeg   138.78KB   112 downloadsAttached File  DSC01985.jpeg   106.62KB   115 downloads

Attached File  DSC01986.jpeg   87.09KB   112 downloadsAttached File  DSC01987.jpeg   123.69KB   117 downloadsAttached File  DSC01989.jpeg   130.12KB   113 downloads

 

I mostly took care of the T-Shirt and merchandising stuff that will be ready to order for GamesCom (or shortly after).

 

aTc, lunixbochs and TrashyMG are fiddling around with devboards right now (well, lunixbochs uses Trashys via SSH) and they got the SGX to work (with quite a few issues still, but it does work).

Maybe I'll be able to show some 3D stuff at the GamesCom as well - but we'll see that.

 

Right now it seems Ubuntu ARM is better supporting the OMAP5 than Debian - so maybe we'll steal some packages from Ubuntu for our OS or maybe even use a minimized version of Ubuntu (without all the bloat).

It's too early to tell something right now, it's mostly playing around to see that things are working. Ubuntu and Debian are very close together, so some exchange between both might be a good idea.

 

Oh, before I forgot:

It seems subscribing to the newsletter had some certification issues - so in case you didn't receive your confirmation mail when trying to subscribe, you should now be able to do that.




#324835 Silent progress

Posted by EvilDragon on 19 March 2014 - 11:49 PM

It's been quite a while since the last blog post, but of course that doesn't mean nothing has happened here.

 

A lot of what has happened for me was organizing (looking for companies that are able to produce the keymat, etc.) while Nikolaus was working on the base PCB most of the time.

Here's a quick summary of stuff that happened :)

 

1. Base PCB design

 

Nikolaus is now about 95% finished with the design of the base PCB.

All of the parts have already been placed and will be wired up.

If everything works out, then the base PCB does not need another revision - but you never know.

We'll know when it's finished and tested :)

 

As for the ports on the backside, it seems we can include the following ones:

 

  • 1x Micro USB 3.0 OTG
  • 1x USB-A 2.0 Host Port
  • 1x USB-A 2.0 Host + eSATA Comboport
  • 1x MicroHDMI Port
  • 1x Headset (an internal switch ensures you can both use Apple and normal headsets)
  • 1x Micro USB Debug and charging port

Plenty of ports. We cannot tell 100% that these will all be included though.

They fit on the PCB, but we need to wait for feedback from the case designers if that works out well.

 

In case you wonder what the Micro USB Debug port is:

It's basically the serial out port. You can connect it to a PC and it will register as USBtty device.

No more hardware needed - so if you want to do some low-level kernel development, it will certainly be useful.

 

The port can also be used to charge the unit. This makes it possible to use a USB3.0 device (i.e. harddisk) while the Pyra is connected to the charger.

 

 

2. The case

 

The case designers were mostly working on the keymat, where I should get a first design this week.

This is important, as the keymat is the only part of the case that cannot be produced by FormAction, so I need to get quotations from other companies, and find a suitable one.

And as you can imagine, the keymat needs a lot of testing, as it has the buttons and the DPad included - and those need to be perfect :)

Therefore, the faster we get it, the faster I can test and confirm it.

 

After they finished the keymat, they will work on the keyboard part of the case and make sure, the PCB fits without any issues. This is also the time to work on the hinge and finalize the keymat design and PCB design.

 

When that is done, the lid will be designed, and finally, the lower part wit the battery compartment.

 

 

3. The touchscreen

 

The technical design of the touchscreen has been finished and is approved by me, now the production will begin.

We should get samples soon (I don't have a date yet, probably in about 4 - 5 weeks).

 

I've ordered the highest resolution and sensivity, anti-glare. So we should hopefully get the best resistive touchscreen as possible.

 

 

 

4. New (or old?) help

 

Some more helpers joined our internal development mailing list.

Two TI employees who are helping us in their spare time (they know a lot more about the OMAP5 than we do, so this will certainly be helpful) and Michael Weston (yep, the one who designed the Pandora) :)

It's always good to have various experienced designers.

There are often multiple solutions for one problem, and different ideas often help to find the best solution.

 

And proof-reading a schematics before the PCB goes into production is really helpful as well.

 

I'm really happy and thankful for all the help :)

It helps us to improve the final product and move forward a bit faster.

 

 

That's all there is for today. See you soon :)




#318507 News from the embedded world

Posted by EvilDragon on 25 February 2014 - 07:52 PM

As mentioned a few days ago, Nikolaus and me have been visiting the embedded world exhibition in Nuremburg today.

 

We mainly focussed on different storage solutions (eMMC, nanoSSD, MicroSD Cards), but also discussed various other things and learned quite a few new things.

Here is a small blog post about the results :)

 

 

1. What storage is best?

 

We followed all your discussions, concerns and wished here at the boards and spoke to various manufacturers about pros and cons.

 

A nice solution would've been nanoSSD together with an internal MicroSD slot, both bootable.

nanoSSD is pretty fast - however, it's also very powerhungry.

While MicroSD Cards / eMMC usually use about 0,3W, the nanoSSD can use up to 0,9W

Therefore, it's not really an option.

 

Next was to compare the MicroSD with an eMMC.

Power consumption is similar, speed mostly depends on the eMMC/SD Card used, but the latency of a MicroSD Card will always a bit worse than for the eMMC.

The eMMC is directly connected to the MMC line of the SoC, whereas a MicroSD Card always needs to have a converter inbetween.

That converter adds a bit of latency - probably not much, but a bit.

 

However, I can understand that a MicroSD card is appealing, since you can change it and still use the unit easily in case the eMMC breaks sometime in the future.

 

Therefore, we thought of a solution here - and I think we found the perfect one.

 

As mentioned, we're planning to put the CPU together with the memory and storage on a pluggable daughterboard.

This saves money in production (since the mainboard will be two-layer and only the small CPU board needs to be more complex), and it adds the possibility to upgrade the Pyra in the future with whatever SoC / memory / storage will become available in the future.

 

Additionally, we will try to add the MicroSD/SIM-Card Combo-slot below the battery - and include a small chip that will be able to either connect the eMMC or the MicroSD Slot to the SoC.

 

If we use the OMAP5, you can then either use the eMMC together with both full sized SD Card slots or the MicroSD Slot with both full sized SD Card slots.

If a future SoC supports more MMC devices, you will be able to use all the devices at the same time.

 

This should be a solution perfect for everyone. You can either boot from eMMC, the internal MicroSD Card or the Full Sized SD Card slot (like on the Pandora).

 

And in case your eMMC breaks (never seen that on the Pandora, but you never know), then simply put a MicroSD Card in and switch to that slot.

 

I hope you're happy with that solution :)

 

 

2. UMTS and a hardware switch

 

Some of you here at the boards had a bit of a concern with the (optional) UMTS module:

A modified firmware or software could be created to misuse the UMTS module and send data somewhere without the user knowing it - so they asked for a hardware switch to completely turn off the module physically.

 

Well, we thought about that - but adding a switch would increase the costs quite a bit (mold would be more complicated, switch would be needed, etc).

However, we found another, pretty cheap but effective solution:

We plan to include a small power measurement chip into the hardware, that is hardwired to a small LED.

Whenever the UMTS module needs power (which it does when it will be activated), the LED will light up.

This hardwiring cannot be changed in software, so you will KNOW when your UMTS module will be active!

 

 

3. Intel and everything else

 

While you all know that we won't start with an x86 right away, it could be that we'll release a CPU module with one sometime in the future.

And as Intel had a booth there, we thought it doesn't hurt talking to them and get some more information.

 

Right now, the latest BayTrail does NOT have a development board available, as we already thought.

While it's possible to buy the latest BayTrail without any NDAs and in low numbers, Intel suggests to not buy it directly but get it on a module from one of their partners.

Getting the SoC directly to work is a bit more complicated than an ARM SoC, since it will also need a BIOS...

 

We checked some of their partners, but their modules usually are way too big for us (and not yet available with the most recent SoC anyways).

 

So right now, the x86 is too risky for us, but that doesn't mean we won't do an x86 module sometime in the future (though please don't bet on it!)

 

I also visited Qualcomm and got another contact for getting the Snapdragon. The 805 will be too power hungry for mobile devices though (it's mostly aimed at tablets), so it won't be usable for us.

But I'll keep you informed about any further updates.

 

 

That's it from the show - keep on discussing about things.

As you could see with the storage, we'll follow your ideas and try to find the best solution for everyone :)

 




#361517 Schematics and packages

Posted by EvilDragon on 27 October 2014 - 01:59 AM

Just in case you wondered why you haven't heard many updates from Nikolaus lately:

He was busy. Busy creating the schematics... that's a LOT of work.

 

But now he's almost finished with it! About 98% are done.

The only thing left is the power circuit for the OMAP5 (about 50 condensators) and some other small things.

 

So in theory, the Pyra is almost finished... the next step is layouting the full schematics.

This will be quite a bit of work - but after that, we're ready for a real Pyra prototype PCB!

 

While working on the schematics, he was also working on the latest kernel (3.18 RC1) and almost the full hardware of the OMAP5 EVM works now as well.

 

Quite a bit of progress, I'd say :)

 

In the meantime, aTc, Vagrant and me have been working setting up the package build system for the OS on my server.

We now got a neat script that grabs our own packages from the GIT, builds Debian packages from it and sorts it into the repo.

 

The next step will be building our own rootfs with a preinstalled package list on our server.

aTc has already done that - but I need to do that on my own server as well. Shouldn't be too hard now, though, as he already figured everything out.

 

That will be quite a bit of progress as well - as then we can start to shape the default PyraOS setup.

 

Now, I wish to say hello to all our newcomers who arrived here after my talk at the Hackover2014 in Hannover on Saturday.

It was fun, and I was happy to see so many interested people there.

 

I hope you enjoy your stay here, join our community and have fun as well :)




#340681 Some PCBs, holidays, a new case revision and a theme

Posted by EvilDragon on 17 June 2014 - 07:52 PM

Some PCBs

 

Nikolaus grabbed some partly-populated PCBs last week (we had an automatic assembly for the parts that couldn't have been hand-soldererd easily):

 

Attached File  DSC01929.jpeg   96.29KB   107 downloads

 

This is a PCB which can be connected to the OMAP5 EVM. It has a connector for a touchscreen and two different displays (the two 720p ones I have here for testing). It also has the Rotator chip from Solomon Technologies installed.

 

Attached File  DSC01932.jpeg   69.1KB   105 downloads

 

This is a display PCB which connects the LG FullHD LCD to the OMAP5 EVM. This is basically just for testing that the PCB works (as we got the driver for the FullHD one already).

 

Attached File  DSC01931.jpeg   66.51KB   105 downloads

 

This is how it looks like when everything is connected to the Display testing PCB :)

 

Attached File  DSC01928.jpeg   70.05KB   105 downloads

 

This is a very very very first version of the CPU PCB. You can see the two connectors for the main PCB already and also pads where the parts will be later. Additionally, there's a third connector (on the right side) where we can connect the OMAP5 EVM to.

So with that board, we can already test that we got enough space and that the connectors basically work and are reliable, even though it's not yet populated but used the OMAP5 EVM as CPU :)

 

Once that PCB is fully finished... well, then the hardware part of the Pyra will be mostly done :)

 

Nikolaus already finished populating the PCBs and made some quick hardware checks.

The hardware seems to be fine, now he needs to code the drivers.

As he is on a (well-deserved) holiday until next Saturday, nothing will happen this week, but hopefully we've got the LCDs working next week.

 

 

A new case revision

 

The designers finished a new case revision.

They added the transparent Pyra logo to the back of the lid and also a first version of four shoulder buttons (which I'd probably like to tweak a bit).

 

I've already ordered new 3D prints which I should receive within the next 10 days.

 

 

A new theme

 

Not sure if anyone already found out - but if you'd like the boards with a nice Pyra-themed look, you can use "Change Theme" on the bottom of the page and change it to "Pyra".

 

If you find any errors or have ideas for improved colors on the boards, let me know here :)

 

 

What's next?

 

Well, Nikolaus will work on the displays so I can test them and finally choose the best one.

After that, Nikolaus needs to finish the main PCB and work on the CPU and LCD PCB.

 

The display we choose needs to get a touchscreen as well, so I'll have to take care of that.

Testing the shoulder buttons and improving them will be another thing I have to do, as well as discuss the keymat with the two companies I narrowed down.

And I need to figure out where to best fit the LCD Cable.

Of course, the new battery is something we need to evaluate as well...

 

A lot of things happening at the same time, but slowly coming together.

Exciting times :)




#324969 Silent progress

Posted by EvilDragon on 20 March 2014 - 03:01 PM

 

this is amazing! progress seems to fly now. the only thing that worries me is the keyboard layout.

Don't worry I'm sure after 100 polls we will find a scheme that at least a small majority would like.

 

 

We'll use latin letters as action buttons, weird symbols on the DPad and greek letters on the keyboard.

 

Or we just leave it blank and include a waterproof pen for your own layout.




#302322 2014 - a Sneak Peek! (2014-01-02)

Posted by EvilDragon on 02 January 2014 - 11:35 AM

The new year has started - and I hope it did start well for you.

 

A fresh new year, new plans, new possibilities.

What will happen in Pandora and Pyra-Land?

 

I can at least give you some information.

 

 

1. FOSDEM 2014

 

Yes, we'll be at the FOSDEM again this year (taking place 1st and 2nd February in Brussels)

We'll have a table and I'll have a small talk in the gaming dev room - Saturday evening, 6 - 7pm.

Of course, we'll have some Pandoras there and I'll also talk about the Pandora in the devroom.

However, we might also have some information or even previews of the Pyra there.

Askarus will be there Saturday and Sunday the full days, while I will be there Saturday 2pm to 7pm and the full Sunday.

 

You're very welcome to visit us and get more information about the Pandora / Pyra.

I'm also open for any interviews, in case some of you are bloggers or even writing for magazines.

 

 

 

2. Alive and Kicking Coding Competition

 

Looking at the current list of entries, we'll see some awesome releases for the Pandora!

Thanks a lot to all devs participiating - it shows how lively the Pandora scene is.

A bright future :)

 

 

 

3. Pandoras and Craigs remaining customers

 

Hopefully, we'll be able to fulfill many more of Craigs remaining orders, but we have no idea how many that'll be.

We're trying to do our best, but Pandora stock is limited now due to some parts needed for Pandora production that have seen the end of life quite a while ago.

However, any customer who still remains after the last Pandora has been sold will be able to get the Pyra for production costs - whenever it might be ready.

I don't want to forget anyone, so I'm trying to offer whatever I can.

 

 

 

4. More partly defective Classic Pandoras

 

We still got over 100 defective boards from CC and will now focus on finding out if they are still usable in some way.

They will all be at the Pandora-Section at the DragonBox Shop, so be sure to check it out every once in a while to see if there's one that is of interest to you.

They're all units with brand new cases (most of them had some small scratches from the very beginning though) and PCBs which have one or more issues.

 

 

5. The DragonBox Pyra

With the Pandora reaching the end of production, when will the Pyra be available?

We have no idea. And looking back at the Pandora developments, I will NOT give any estimations.

But we'll work on it. And you will be able to follow us with videos and pictures I'll post.

We'll probably start with that after the FOSDEM.

 

Thanks to all of you - quite a few good ideas from the community will find their ways into the Pyra.

And with a capable production company from the very beginning as well as a case company in Europe, things are looking a lot better.

 

It'll most probably still be a while until it's finished. So in case you're thinking about getting a Pandora or wait for the successor, I'd get a Pandora now - as stock is limited.

 

 

So much for a peek into 2014. If you have any further questions, let me know :)




#334359 iCP2: They're throwing in the towel.

Posted by Link on 07 May 2014 - 01:00 PM

I am here and really disgusted with being looked at as a scammer.  I will make a Kickstarter update within the next few days, and I'm sure this post will wind up on there sooner than later.  I will detail where money was transferred/when and to where we can expect the funds for refunding backers. 

 

I've had no word from Craig in March or April, so I've given up on him.  I can't see it being economically feasible to start a suit against him, but am not ruling it out at this point.  I just don't see how you can get blood from a stone.  And at what cost?

 

For those of you thinking I made a ton of money on this project, my compensation for the project was $1 per unit sold via Kickstarter.  $1 measly dollar.  Kickstarter and Amazon made more money on this project than I did, and nobody is going after them for that money back, but I will try to see if they will refund what they took when the project was funded.

 

Do we go after MWeston for the money he received for the project, do we go after DaveC who Craig supposedly transferred money to for a case that doesn't exist? 

 

Personally I want this all to be over with and yes, there was no update lately because it would have been the same old story, and yes, we'd have people out for blood against me for trying to help someone out.  Trying to help a guy who was down, or maybe just setting me up for failure, or ?  I think it would be interesting to bring to light the post where I almost hit the cancel button on the project before it was funded/completed (even while the goal was met for funding).  Does anyone remember that, anyone?  I know that isn't in a public area of this forum but it is out there, and I vocally addressed the situation then in September or October of 2012. 

 

My gut instinct was that Craig couldn't be trusted at the time the project was live for actions he took against ED involving 1GHz Open Pandoras at the time.  And lets not forget the fact that Craig instructed ED to keep me away from 1GHz Open Pandora sales when he went ahead and announced them to the world for being for sale through Open Pandora LTD (Craig's company). 

 

My goal is to have refunds sent out by the end of summer.  Hopefully ED can sell off the parts he can, and we can consolidate remaining funds to refund backers.  I apologize for getting involved with the project and any bad light it is bringing on this community that has supported me over the years.  My goal with the project was to help Craig get the device into the world, so that he could be rewarded for his invention(s) and resolve his financial matters with ED and others in the community that he owed products to. 

 

I made a bad choice, but I'm not going to just walk away from everyone.  I'm not that kind of person.  I've been quiet to bring more to light and give Craig the benefit of the doubt when he said he'd sell his home and put that money back into the project for refunds.  Craig also said he had ICPs that he has somewhere that he was going to give to me too, to sell and get more money in into refunds.  Well, no words from Craig, nothing in months, no ICPs being shipped to me.  It's time to move on.  I don't think backers want to risk losing any remaining funds to pursue Craig legally, and receive less of a refund. 

 

My sincerest apologies.

 

 




#317533 How to calculate a price for the Pyra

Posted by EvilDragon on 22 February 2014 - 10:24 AM

And here, as promised, is a blog post about how to calculate the sales price - probably also explaining why we can't give any fixed price yet :)
Be warned - it is quite a lenghty post!

 

I hope you enjoy reading it though, it's full of information you probably didn't think about :)

 

Basically, the price of a device being sold is being calculated using many different factors:

  • Development Costs (one-time costs)
  • Production Costs (costs per unit)
  • After-Sales Costs (Support, Repairs, etc.) (monthly varying costs)
  • Monthly company costs (fixed costs per month)
  • Marketing Costs (monthly varying costs)
  • Some money put aside for bad things that can happen (i.e. the touchscreen issue we had with the Pandora)
  • Profit and Distribution (varying costs)

Let's take a look at all of these, shall we?
 
1. Development Costs
 
The development costs are one-time costs.
It means: Once development is over, they won't change anymore, so they will be a fixed value in the final unit price.
 
Development costs include everything you need to do to create the unit up until the part the mass production is going to start:

  • Wages for the designers
  • Costs for prototype parts and production
  • Costs for samples, evaluation parts, etc.
  • Costs for doing different tests (CE certification, reliability testing of various parts)
  • Costs for parts needed for mass production (case molds, stencils for PCBs, machine programs, etc.)

 

Wages for the designers should be clear - someone needs to create the device and he / she needs something to live from as well ;)
Of course, using a company for the design (i.e. for the case design) will increase the costs, as the company needs to cover their costs and wants to make profit as well, but in exchange you have additional safety. In our case: The case design company is also the company producing the actual molds. The designer knows their machine quite well, and if something doesn't work, it's THEIR job to fix it.
 
This was different with the Pandora - the case had issues (as you know), and the company blamed the designer for that whereas the designer blamed the company. I am in no position to tell who was right (I'm no expert here), but this is something that needs to be prevented - as in the end, it cost more time and money.
 
Next are the costs for prototype parts and production.
You don't just create and design a product and then mass produce it.

There are many many tiny little steps until the final product is ready.

With such complex technology, it's nigh impossible to have a design fully working on bug free on first try.

The Pandora had 5 revisions before it went into mass production.

 

We already had 3 revisions for our dummy PCBs as well.

It is possible to save costs here, as we did it with the Pyra: 2-layer PCBs only partly populated are less expensive than creating a full working 8-layer PCB with the SoC, etc. each time.

 

Then we have the costs for samples, evaluation parts, etc.

As you probably know from all the discussions on these boards and due to my previous blog costs, there are multiple solutions for everything. Be it SoC, Storage, etc.

To find out the best possible solution, you can't just read the datasheets (though it's a good start). It's better to make your own testings.

If we want to find out which SoC is best, we'd need to buy devboards for all of those. These cost money.

Doing all the tests also needs time - and cost wages for the designer as well.

 

This was just an example for the SoC. There's a lot more - touchscreen, LCD Cable, etc.

These all need to be produced and extensively tested - and if they don't work as planned, you might need to find another company or solution and start from zero again.

 

These costs all add up - and need to be covered with the sales later.

 

For the Pyra, I expect development costs of about 50,000 EUR - but it's impossible to tell until everything is finished and working.

It might be less, it might be more. But I think we won't hit more than 50,000 EUR, I'm always pretty careful with that.

 

 

Next are the costs for doing different tests (CE certification, reliability testing of various parts)

 

To be able to even sell the units to the public, we need to be sure they follow all the given guidelines.

Which means: The prototype will need to pass tests like CE, FCC, etc.

These tests cost money as well - and if they fail, you need to change the prototype until it passes.

These are one-time-costs like the development costs.

 

 

Additionally, we need to expect to sacrifice things as well.

The OMAP5 devboard has a heatsink, and we also need to create one for the Pyra as well.

However, what happens if the OMAP5 doesn't have a heatsink? Does the SoC die when it gets to hot, or does it simply get very very hot and crash?

The only way to be sure is to try that - so it might be we have to sacrifice a devboard for that.

 

I expect about 10,000 EUR for the Pyra here - so certainly less than the development costs.

 

There is something else before the Pyra will finally be ready for mass production:

Costs for parts needed for mass production (case molds, stencils for PCBs, machine programs, etc.)

 

Once everything has been confirmed to be working, mass production needs to be prepared.

Molds will be created (or finalized), the mass production machine needs to be programmed, stencil layers need to be produced, etc.

 

My expected costs for the Pyra here would be 100,000 EUR.

 

These are all the fixed one-time costs you have before you can start mass production.

 

Now, the expected sales are VERY important for that.

Whether we sell 10, 1000, 10,000 or 100,000 units - these costs won't change.

 

If we sell 10, it would break down to 15,000 EUR per unit. With 1000, it would be 150 EUR per unit. 10,000 would go down to 15 EUR per unit, 100,000 would be 1.50 EUR per unit. And so on.

 

This is one of the reasons why low-quantity devices are always more expensive than devices that sell in millions.

 

It's also the reason why we can't try as many different approaches and solutions as a huge smartphone company.

With low production quantities like about 10,000, it makes a huge difference whether the production costs are 150,000 EUR or 500,000 EUR (from 15 EUR to 50 EUR per unit)

With quantities like you have for smartphones, it doesn't really change the price at all (from 0.15 EUR to 0.50 EUR per unit).

 

 

2. Production Costs (costs per unit)

 

Next up are the production costs.

Unlike the development costs, this is no fixed value, of course. Producing 100,000 units costs more than 10,000 units ;)

 

The production costs itself consists of different factors.

 

  • Parts
  • Production time
  • Assembly, testing and packaging
  • Failure Rate

Parts costs probably are pretty clear: All the parts that are needed to produce a unit are in there.

That's the case, the PCB, the SoC, the keymat, the LCD Cables, the Battery, the packaging, all those tiny little components that are on the PCB, etc.

For the Pandora, these costs are about 200 EUR each.

I expect slightly higher costs, as the SoC, memory and LCD will cost more. However, nubs are a lot cheaper (since we won't need two ATMELs for the firmware) and we also try to create a 2-layer base PCB and a small 8-layer CPU module PCB (which should also lower the costs).

So we should expect something like 250 EUR for the Pyra.

 

Production Time Costs is the time the machine (and the people doing the manual soldering for some comonents) needs to populate each PCB.

The machine at Global Components can populate 400 parts per minute - so the fewer parts we've got, the cheaper it will get.

With the Pyra, by making use of two PCBs (module and simple main PCB), where we place the complex parts (BGAs) on the way smaller CPU module, the overall production time costs should be a bit cheaper than for the Pandora.

 

The Pandora was 40 EUR per unit, so I expect the Pyra to be around 25 - 30 EUR.

 

Assembly, testing and packaging

Each unit needs to be fully assembled, tested and packaged up, so it's ready to be shipped to the customer.

With the Pandora, this is pretty complex. We're trying to improve that for the Pyra as well (mainly case design changes).

Also, as the Pyra has a faster SoC, the self-tests should run faster.

 

The Pandora cost for this was 10 EUR per unit, I expect 7 - 9 EUR for the Pyra. 

 

Failure Rate

 

If you calculated everything up to now, you should have about 300 EUR production costs per unit.

So 1000 Pyras would cost 300,000 EUR. However, there's always a failure rate.

Global Components guarantees a failure rate of less than 5%. Anything higher is covered by them.

The real failure rate usually is lower though (with the Pandora, about 2 - 3%).

 

These are PCBs that could not be made to work, so they can be thrown away.

So 50 out of 1000 Pyra PCBs could be broken from the very beginning.

The parts can't be reused (well, except for LCD, Case, etc. of course), and they also cost production time.

That's would be about 180 EUR per unit. With 50 units, it would add up to 9000 EUR.

 

So in reality, when calculating costs to produce 1000 Pyras, you need to calculate with 309,000 EUR (or 309 EUR per unit).

 

 

3. After-Sales Costs (Support, Repairs, etc.) (monthly varying costs)

 

So, unit shipped, customer happy, no more costs?

That would be great - but unfortunately, things can always break.

Warranty repairs cost time and money (wages, shipping and part costs).

Thanks to our experience with the Pandora (and to the fact that my shop is making additional money with other things), these won't be a huge issue for us.

But you need to expect them - so I'll calculate with 4 - 5 EUR per unit.

Of course - later in the production, the after-sales cost will go down, as the production process will constantly be improved.

 

 

4. Monthly company costs (fixed costs per month)

 

A company has monthly costs as well.

Wages, room rent, tax counsellor, etc.

 

For my shop, this is about 4000 EUR per month.

Luckily though, these costs are mostly covered by all the sales in my shop already, so it's not a huge concern for us.

 

But what if sales go down and I mostly only sell the Pyra anymore?

Now, as these are costs are monthly costs, they heavily depend on sales.

 

If I sell 100 units per month, I would need to add 40 EUR per unit just to keep the shop going.

If I sell 1000 units per month, it would only be 4 EUR.

 

The reality is probably somewhere inbetween.

 

There's another concern though:

The more units I sell, the more people and space I need to hire to be able to ship them and have enough space for the stock.

That's why I want to grow slowly - what would happen if I have 10,000 sales per month, and after 6 months it suddenly goes down a lot...?

I still had to pay the rent and wages - and then would probably run out of money at some time.

 

Right now, I'm calculating with about 10 EUR per unit.

 

 

5. Marketing Costs (monthly varying costs)

 

If sales go down, more marketing is needed.

Thankfully, this is not really an issue for us - most of the marketing happens due to retro-gaming magazines, reviews and the community itself.

So it's only about 300 EUR per month at a maximum - something we can easily cover :)

 

 

6. Some money put aside for bad things that can happen (i.e. the touchscreen issue we had with the Pandora)

 

Even though the production is running, something bad can always happen.

Like the recent issue with the touchscreen in a full LCD batch, which did cost us thousands of EUR just for shipping.

 

That's why you always need to put a bit aside - to be able to cover that.

For the Pandora, that was 10 EUR.

 

I don't expect that much for the Pyra though. I've taken care that all our companies are sitting in Europe, mostly in Germany.

So if the touchscreen issue would happen, I'd simply return it to our German distributor and let him deal with the rest.

 

So I'm planning with 4 EUR per Pyra.

 

 

7. Profit and distribution (varying costs)

 

Last is profit and distribution.

If you calculated everything together, we should have a rough price of 350 EUR per unit (expecting a total sale of 10,000 units)

 

Usually, to be able to work on future projects (successors, improvements, docking station, etc.) you need to make some profit as well.

Often this is up to 50% for some huge smartphone companies, but I'm calculating with about 15%.

Or, if it's a company that also sells games and apps, they often don't make profit on the hardware, as they plan to make profit with the games.

This is not the case for the Pyra though.

 

So that would increase the price to 402,50 EUR

 

Then there are also distributors (like ThinkGeek, Ithic.com, GetDigital.de, etc.)

They also want at least 15 - 20% profit (they've got huge shipping costs from Germany to US as well) - which leads to a price of about 500 EUR.

Of course, they won't be happy if I sell it for a lower price as they do - so I would need to calculate with that price as well.

 

In our scenario, we'd have a final price of about 499 EUR.

 

However, as we don't know the final development costs, production costs, etc. right now, this is just an estimation.

But thanks to my experience with the Pandora, we should roughly get that. It shouldn't be a lot higher though.

 

Wow... this was a long post.

I hope you enjoyed reading it and learned something new :)

 

Calculating costs certainly is no easy task.

There are a lot of different ways optimizing the production itself, to save costs. You just need to find the best way (which sounds simpler than it is).

Also, estimating sales is not easy. Having more sales will lower the production costs a bit, but if your price is low and the sales aren't too good, you make a loss as well.

 

But having done that for the Pandora (and my shop in general as well) surely will help us a lot.




#362960 An image, an exhibition and 40 pages of awesomeness

Posted by EvilDragon on 07 November 2014 - 01:54 AM

What have you been doing lately?

 

1. Schematics: 40 Pages

 

Well - Nikolaus surely won't forget... he created page after page of Pyra schematics.

A long and exhausting work, as it needs very high concentration.

 

But now it's almost finished! He already sent me a preview version which consists of 40 (!) pages just for the schematics!

 

Next step will be to move those schematics into the PCB layout. This is partly assisted, but still some work to do.

Well, most of that work will be the CPU PCB, as the main PCB was pretty much finished for quite a while already.

 

Some OMAP5 CPUs (and other parts) have already been ordered, so we should be able to create (hopefully :)) working prototypes soon (whatever soon means :))

 

What's neat: The Pyra will be compatible with the devboard. That means: We can use the SD Card from our devboard and put it into the Pyra SD-Card slot - it should boot up and work. Really helpful with development :)

 

However, it also means that in theory you should be able to use TIs Android Demo images and run them on the Pyra. Or run the polished PyraOS on a devboard at home.

 

Speaking of the OS...:

 

2. First Debian rootfs created on our build server!

 

With a lot of help from aTc, I finished setting up the build server for the OS.

We can now automatically build images with preconfigured configs and packages - a quick test today was successful.

 

The image already includes our own repository and our own packages.

So far, fbturbo (for a blazing fast X.Org) has been included as well as meta-packages (which we can use to decide what stuff we want to have preinstalled on the Pyra).

 

As Debian has almost anything we need in their repository, we can now easily create a fully fledged desktop OS.

We still need to create our own packages and include them, for example: our kernel, glshim, First Boot Wizard, SGX driver, Config files, etc.

We already created a package for fbturbo, so we know how to do it, it's just a bit of work :)

 

 

3. Electronica2014

 

Next week we're visiting the Electronica2014 in Munich, which is a huge electronics exhibition.

We'll visit our partners there and will discuss problems we still need to solve (i.e. getting the LCD with the rotator chip to work), visit the nubs manufacturer and talk about solutions, etc.

 

While they all help us via eMails as well, it's always different meeting them, being able to show what we already have and speaking with some of their experts.

 

 

We're getting there :)




#344003 Aluminium Case being made!

Posted by IDV on 08 July 2014 - 10:00 AM

As the  manufacturer of the Aluminum case, I want to end some speculations:

 

1. Yes, the housing will be redesigned for maxiumum durability and easy manufacturing but still keeping the outer design. With this, all the clips will get replaced by screws.

2. Yes, we will have a very close look at the hinges - a basic redesign of this part is very likely.

3. We will use Aluminum AW7075 which is even stronger (up to 540 N/mm²) than standard steel (such as S235JR aka St37 - 350 N/mm²)

4. The antennas will get plastic windows in the housing, so the WIFI and Bluetooth performance will (hopefully) not suffer. However, some kind of directivity may occur.

5. Before delivery we will check all components to fit in perfectly.

6. The housings will get manufactured in Germany on a brand new 5-Axis CNC machining center.

 

And, after all, I want to mention that I am an Electronic Engineer (TU Karlsruhe), so I believe that I should have some Idea of what I am doing.