GnuBee Personal Cloud 2

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Oct 17, 2017

Beta Boards, 4-byte Mode, and Ethernet Bonding

In this update, we show off some pics of the beta versions of the GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 PCB assembly, give an update on 4-byte mode, and discuss Ethernet bonding.

Latest Prototype

After a few misfires with our manufacturer, we finally got a working version of the latest GB-PC2 prototype.

GB-PC2 beta board (top)

GB-PC2 beta board (bottom)

Test results and benchmarks will be forthcoming.

4-byte Mode: What and Why?

The GnuBee Personal Clouds (both 1 and 2) use the Das U-Boot bootloader stored on a Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) NOR flash memory chip. The chip used on the GnuBee Personal Cloud 1 is a 32 MB Winbond W25Q256FV, which does not support the full 4-byte address command set and requires a SPI reset patch to reboot cleanly.

This is annoying, so we’ve sourced another 32 MB SPI NOR flash memory chip that does support the full 4-byte address command set. This new chip will be used on all GB-PC2 boards and all subsequent manufacturing runs of the GB-PC1 boards.

If that wasn’t esoteric enough for you, a more detailed description of the problem can be found in a thread about a LEDE project pull request.

Ethernet Bonding

As described on the main campaign page, two of the three Gigabit Ethernet ports on the GB-PC2 support Ethernet bonding. Broadly speaking, Ethernet bonding is the ability to join two or more network connections so they work together and appear as a single network connection, providing protection against cable or port failures, and optionally increased speed, depending on the desired configuration.

There are several possible configurations, which are well explained in this Debian Admin article. The bonding itself is implemented in kernel space. Each bonding configuration requires a separate kernel module to operate. We will compile and include modules for all bonding configurations in the default firmware, so the end user will have their pick of Ethernet bonding configuration options.

Thanks for all your support and stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime, be sure to check out the main campaign page as well.

Cheers,
Larry and GnuBee Team

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$249

GnuBee PC2 Starter Kit

One fully populated and assembled GB-PC2 mainboard, two anodized aluminum side plates, six threaded brackets and bracket screws, and 24 drive mount screws. Power supply, microSD card, and drives not included. Requires screwdriver for assembly.


$285

GnuBee PC2 Deluxe Kit

All the bells and whistles: one fully populated and assembled GB-PC2 mainboard, two anodized aluminum side plates, six threaded brackets and bracket screws, 24 drive mount screws, power supply, imaged SD card, and USB-to-UART adapter cable. Drives and screwdriver not included.


$29

GnuBee Power Adapter

An energy efficient (level V) global input power supply that puts out up to 8 A at 12 VDC through a 5.5 mm x 2.1 mm center-positive barrel jack. Perfect for powering your GnuBee Personal Cloud 2.


$10

GnuBee SD Card

A 2 GB (or greater) full-sized SD card imaged with Debian. Run your GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 directly from the SD card. Copying Debian to an SSD or HDD is recommended, but this SD card will get you started.


$8

GnuBee USB-to-UART Adapter

Debugging made easy! The GnuBee USB-to-UART adapter comes equipped with a 3.5 mm plug to connect to the GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 (or 1). This debugging method is ubiquitous in the world of embedded systems.


$55

GnuBee PC2 Bare PCB

The GnuBee Personal Cloud 2 bare, unpopulated, printed circuit board for the true DIY'er. Components not included.


$259

GnuBee PC2 Deluxe Kit - Early Bird

All the bells and whistles, at a limited quantity and special price: one fully populated and assembled GB-PC2 mainboard, two anodized aluminum side plates, six threaded brackets and bracket screws, 24 drive mount screws, power supply, imaged SD card, and USB-to-UART adapter cable. Drives and screwdriver not included.

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Credits

GnuBee

FLOSS devices at reasonable prices.


L. D. Pinney

Founder and CTO

Xiaoping Pinney

Chairman Ping

Douglas Gazineu

Software Developer

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