Earth-friendly EOMA68 Computing Devices

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Aug

19

The Opposite of the EOMA-68 Modular Laptop

I asked David if he would write a guest update about his experiences of dealing with an older laptop. The complexity of the design contrasts greatly with that of the EOMA68 15.6” Laptop Housing. He kindly agreed to summarise his insightful experience, below:

Inspired by the EOMA68 Crowd Supply campaign’s ideas to reduce e-waste and shake up laptop design, I dug out my old laptop to see if I could put it to work doing something useful. Purchased in 2002, I retired it from everyday use about five years ago, long after many people would have replaced it with a faster shinier model. For the curious, it’s a Samsung V20 that originally ran Windows XP and apparently needed a 2 GHz Pentium 4 to do so. Although that sounds great for power users of the time, it’s a choice that had consequences for the rest of the laptop’s design.

Pulling the motherboard out of the case and flipping it over, after the usual ordeal of prising apart snappy, sharp plastic pieces with screwdrivers and fingernails, the most obvious feature is the cooling system. All that metal is complemented by two fans to keep the air flowing over the radiator! Possibly the single heaviest component inside is the battery (not shown) which weighs 466 g (just over 1 lb on the kitchen scales). Since I’m keeping the unit connected to a mains supply, I won’t need this and I certainly won’t miss it.

Modern laptops obviously have more efficient batteries with improved energy densities, but there’s only so much improvement you can expect when the other components are so power hungry. One of the compelling things about the EOMA-68 powered laptop design is the thought that has gone into the power budget of the device. The processors available in 2016 are so much more efficient than the legacy ones from 2002 that we don’t have to consider including a small brick-sized battery to keep the laptop running. Why trade weight for computing power when we don’t have to?

In the photos of the laptop that David exposed and is keeping functional, the complexity of the design is clearly apparent. Huge heat sinks and heat pipes, a densely populated and really quite large PCB on both sides (which is costly to manufacture). Chances of repair and ongoing maintenance: absolutely zero. The only reason that David is even considering keeping this machine going is down to years of experience with computers - something that most people simply do not have time to do.

By contrast, the EOMA68 Laptop Housing is kept to a bare minimum out of pure necessity: it’s a simpler design that’s been made using tools that the average electronics engineer could conceivably imagine owning… so that they can make or repair these devices, for themselves, or for other people.

The main PCB (PCB1) is only 6” square with a small extension for the USB ports, and is approximately only 30% populated with components, only on one side. PCB2 (for the keyboard and mouse) is very small and has around 30 components on it, and PCB3 likewise. Here are some pictures taken last year: the first shows the 3 PCBs wired together and assembled in the 3D-printed case, whilst the second is a partially-populated PCB (USB2 connectors in the top left corner to give an idea of scale).

It’s a totally different concept to actively design a laptop so that it can be maintained and kept in active service because it’s upgradeable.

$182,040 raised

of $150,000 goal

Funded! Order Now

Aug 26

funded on

121%

funded

2,423

pledges

Product Choices

$5

Support EOMA68


$15

EOMA68 "R/E-volution of Computing" bumper sticker

Parody the parody with an EOMA68 "R/E-volution" bumper sticker: have fun explaining all the jokes to both friends and strangers alike.


$65

Libre Tea Computer Card

An EOMA68-compatible computer card with an Allwinner A20 dual core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of NAND flash pre-installed with the Parabola GNU/Linux-libre operating system. We expect the Libre Tea Computer Card to receive the Free Software Foundation's Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification before the first units ship.


$65

Practically Perfect Computer Card

An EOMA68-compatible computer card with an Allwinner A20 dual core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of NAND flash pre-installed with the Debian GNU/Linux operating system.


$65

Numero Uno Computer Card

An EOMA68-compatible computer card with an Allwinner A20 dual core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of NAND flash pre-installed with the Devuan GNU/Linux operating system.


$65

Getting Ahead Computer Card

An EOMA68-compatible computer card with an Allwinner A20 dual core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of NAND flash pre-installed with the Fedora 24 GNU/Linux operating system.


$55

Micro Desktop Housing for Computer Card

This is a Micro Desktop base unit and power supply unit with a beautiful laser-cut stack of 3mm plywood panels that creates an aesthetically attractive tiny base unit for your Computer Cards. Excludes Computer Card, keyboard, mouse and VGA monitor.


$450

PIY Laptop Housing Kit for Computer Card

This Print-It-Yourself (PIY) kit includes all the parts, cabling and boards (main, power, and controller, assembled and tested), and battery, charger, keyboard, LCD, and CTP-LCD for trackpad that are needed to build a complete Libre Laptop once you 3D print the enclosure from the freely available GPLv3+ licensed plans. Excludes Computer Card.


$500

PFY Laptop Housing Kit for Computer Card

This Printed-For-You (PFY) kit has everything needed to create a full EOMA68 Laptop, including a 3D printed set of casework parts, bamboo plywood panels, tested and assembled PCBs, cables, battery, charger, keyboard, LCD, and CTP-LCD for trackpad. Available in a variety of colors and materials. Excludes Computer Card.


$1,200

Completely Assembled Laptop + Computer Card

A meticulously hand-assembled and fully-tested laptop. Includes your choice of EOMA68-A20 Computer Card and 3D-printed casework.


$10,000

On-site Consultation, Presentation, and Workshop + Laptop + Computer Card

For those people who would like the opportunity to meet the designers and have them personally go over the project's development, history, future direction and much more, a week's time can be made available to meet with you personally, to do a hands-on workshop to help you (and any number of additional attendees) through the process of putting together your own fully-functioning laptop and even take you through the process of building and installing the software. Also included will be one Laptop with a Computer Card which will be assembled on-site. You must provide travel, accommodation, tools and a suitable workshop and presentation space. Contact us directly for details.


$20

PCMCIA/EOMA68 Breakout Board

One PCMCIA/EOMA68 Breakout Board with one surface mount PCMCIA header, and tracks to some convenient 2.54-mm-spaced through-holes. Added by popular demand, for access, tinkering, development work, testing, etc.


$35

Pass-through Card

A simple card that takes in HDMI and USB and passes them on. Turns a Laptop Housing into a portable, battery-powered dock for your smartphone, USB-HDMI dongle computer, and tablet, or a second screen, keyboard, and mouse for your existing laptop or desktop PC.


$15

USB + HDMI Cable Set for Standalone Operation

Includes a Micro HDMI Type D cable and 3-way USB-OTG Host-Charger cable tested and known to work with EOMA68 Computer Cards. These are the cables you need to run a Computer Card as a standalone device without the need for a housing. Also useful with the Micro Desktop or Laptop Housing to add a second screen and extra USB port.

Credits

EOMA68


Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton

Developer

Christopher Waid

Sponsor

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