A tiny Linux computer with a keyboard, a daylight-readable screen, and a long-range transceiver

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Dec 07, 2022

Project update 6 of 9

Summary of Sharpikeebo Production Status

by Philippe C

Hi there,

Yes, we are late, and we apologize. We also apologize for not communicating much. Now, for our backers, here is the long-awaited report with an update on the status of the Sharpikeebo project.

You know, we are only 2 people at @morpheans. So we preferred to focus on development rather than taking too much time on writing and communication so as not to delay the project too much. Here is the reason why we did not publish. We had planned to secure the project financially and to move forward during the summer, in order to start the pre-production of the samples by the end of October 2023. The arrival of the collected funds took longer than expected, and we received them Sept 28th, which delayed our scheduling a bit.

We had, like many companies, faced a series of consequences of Covid-19 and the shortage of components. We had to be very careful about the design of the Sharpikeebo, so as not to end up with components being out of stock until the summer of 2023 and components whose price could have been multiplied by 4, or even more. This required a strategic redesign of the design, in order to have several exit options in the event of a surprise in a market which is quickly changing (in terms of shortages). Raspberry PI Zeros have also become a rare and expensive commodity. We took the time to analyze and worked to avoid these pitfalls. We also took the time to see the shortage improve rather than work in a rush. The shortages finally are calming down.

There are therefore several designs to be able to launch production. We are doing the final tests on them.
1 - The Sharpikeebo with an ATMEGA keyboard driver (out of stock until a few weeks ago. Things have improved since then).
2 - The Sharpikeebo with the RP2040 keyboard driver (components more readily available)
We redesigned the board to use the Long Range RAKWireless chip in order to have certification. This modification improves the quality and allows our fellow European citizens to benefit from this project. This delayed the design. We are currently making final communication tests and finalizing the python code. We will upload it to our GitHub. It is important for us, in order to avoid disappointments, to have all the source code accessible at the time of delivery.

We received a very interesting suggestion from Twitter on the position of the RaspberryPi Zero consisting of flipping it 180° to benefit from direct USB connectivity on the board (using PogoPins connectors). This is to facilitate the assembly work for the most novices. This redesign required 2 additional prototypes for testing, i.e. 1 month of additional time.
We are coming to the end of the validation process (V3 and V4 of the prototypes) and therefore have eliminated most of the design errors. We secured the project against the shortage of certain components. The next steps are therefore:
In the next week: sending the final board for pre-production and setting up production with the PCB factory.
15 days later, verification of the quality of the 10 pieces requested in pre-production.
If quality control is ok, then launch production. Estimated time for production 15 days to 3 weeks. Time for arrival at our premises: 1 month
If quality control is ok, large quantity order of SHARP screens. Estimated delivery 15 days.
Quality control includes checking that the enclosure is suitable for the PCB. As soon as the enclosure is validated, we’ll launch the 3D production of the 100 hulls. Estimated production time: 15 days
We have high hopes of having the assembled PCBs delivered to our premises by the end of December 2022 / first half of January 2023. We have high hopes of having the enclosures delivered by the end of December. We are hopeful to have the screens delivered at the end of January 2023

We hope to send products to Mouser, Crowd Supply’s warehouse distributor, by mid or end of January 2023. It will take a few weeks after that for shipping time, receiving, and processing.

Now you all are caught up with what’s going on. Schematics:

The Morpheans’ Team.

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