A reconfigurable Linux computer that connects to the real world: ARM + FPGA + Wi-Fi + 180 I/O

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Mar 30, 2016

Project update 14 of 60

snickerdoodle Developments

Aloha snickerdoodlers,

Time for a quick rundown on last week’s developments… (our apologies for not getting this update out sooner - it’s been a madhouse over here)

After wrapping up the final Linux bringup, DDR tests, STM32 (supervisory uC) firmware, and SD card checks, the ONLY thing left was the wireless…and sure enough - about half a step from the finish line - we ran into an issue.

While we were able to fully port the Wi-Fi stack and get the radio firmware loading properly, due to an issue with the interrupt request line (IRQ), we were forced to perform a quick rework to route the IRQ to a different Zynq I/O pin…which required our contract manufacturer to precision-drill out a single via.

We are expecting to get the freshly reworked boards back within the next day or two at the latest. Once that happens, we’ll be working day and night on continuing to bring the radios 100% up.

The issue with this is twofold:

  1. This delay sets us back yet another week - which is a bummer.

More importantly, in our experience developing these types of products - and with all the modifications made to this first batch of snickerdoodles - it is not going to be wise to build the next full lot of boards to test ALL the changes at once. As much as we want these bad boys “in the mail,” it’s just too risky (given the chance that we end up blowing through all the parts we have on PCBs that aren’t fully tested) to assume everything will be all hunky dory - and you know what they say about what happens when you “assume” anything…

  1. So the new plan is: as soon as we verify these freshly reworked boards are 100% functional, we will make the necessary changes to the schematics and board files and get a new set of fabs running. Then once we receive the assembled (Rev. 3) boards back and run through the final tests, barring any setbacks it’ll be a GO on the balance of the Alpha build.

All in all, we’re still probably a few weeks out from shipping Alphas. :( On that note, we know there are at least a few of you on tight project schedules and we want to be as accommodating as possible. For those folks, we’ll reach out directly in the next couple days to see if we can make some alternative arrangements (which will likely involve sending out a handful of the reworked Rev 2 boards we have…).

Not great, but as Thomas Edison once said: “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”


the krtkl team

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