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

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Oct 21, 2016

Project update 27 of 60

Fabs & onshore builds

Hello snickerdoodlers,

Time for another update…

Regarding the snickerdoodle production schedule: we’re still working with our CM and the PCB manufacturer on the last of the design modification requests. Some of these required a substantial amount of work – namely adjusting all the hole-to-hole distances to mitigate CAF (Conductive Anodic Filament) issues, which was a first… – but we are on the eve of hopefully approving the final outputs and getting the train moving again.

None of these were expected (see: “barring unforeseen issues” comment from previous update), as a DFM was run on the PCB prior to the Rev. 3 build, but due to a combination of factors including differing offshore manufacturing techniques and internal QC/product liability requirements from the PCB manufacturer, these mods had to be made before moving forward.

Anyway…as a result, we’re still a few weeks away from receiving the offshore fabs. However, we do have a backup plan. The PCB manufacturer does have an on-shore facility, and while these small-run, onshore fabs are ~4x the cost of offshore, we want to do everything we can to start shipping snickerdoodles out the door and into your hands.

We need to finalize the quantities, build/configuration breakdowns, etc., but the plan is the get a small batch of PCBs (approx. 500pcs) made onshore on a one-week turn, followed by assembling as many units as we can on a two-week turn. We have enough inventory to build 1500 snickerdoodles – more than enough to fulfill everyone’s order/s – save for the two big ticket items: Zynqs and radios…these we have to buy as we go/as the budget allows.

It’s worth noting that one of the major limiting factors here is Xilinx’s “stepped” pricing scheme (as in: no matter how many units we order/buy up front, we have to pay the 1pc price for the first 1,000 units before graduating to the next “step”). Needless to say, your efforts getting a product off the ground are severely crippled when one of your key silicon vendors is charging a 40%+ premium for their parts – even when the product is specifically showcase their silicon. If this weren’t the case, this money would be going towards buying more parts and assembling more units (i.e. shipping everything sooner), but there is simply no way around this. Believe us, we’ve tried…

Those are the most notable updates. In the meantime, we’re working on the new giggleBits design (which is almost complete), as well as piSmasher (which has a little ways to go) and we’ll be updating everyone on the status of those in the coming weeks.

As always, if you have an questions or comments, please feel free to reach out at


the krtkl crew

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