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May 04, 2018

Project update 5 of 9

Manufacturing Continues

by Luke V

Greetings TinyFPGA BX supporters! It’s hard to believe it’s only been two weeks since the campaign was successfully funded. Time flies and I’ve been busy ever since. I have three updates I would like to share with you, let’s start with a manufacturing progress update.

Schedule Update

PCBWay has been working hard to fabricate the TinyFPGA BX boards. They had nearly finished fabricating the PCBs when their automated optical inspection of the boards discovered defects in the entire lot. Automated optical inspection can find issues in the PCBs that even full electrical testing cannot find. These are issues that would have been catastrophic if they were not caught before the boards were assembled.

Thanks to PCBWay’s quality control processes they were able to resolve the issue and fabricate a new batch of TinyFPGA BX PCB panels.

The new batch was completed on May 2nd and they look excellent.

A major missing piece in the production schedule has been resolved. I now have an estimated ship date for the iCE40LP8K FPGAs. They will ship on May 28th. This is a bit later than expected and pushes out the estimated ship date for all backer orders to July 16th.

In the production timeline above you can see the bulk of the work is yet to be done. I’ll be working closely with PCBWay to take care of any customs and assembly issues that may arise.

Quick Reference Card

All TinyFPGA BX orders will now be getting a quick reference card with information about each of the pins available on the board. The reference cards are being printed as of the writing of this update. They will be on a heavy duty glossy card stock durable enough to keep at your workbench.

The card contains the FPGA package pin names, Verilog template pin names, differential pairs, global buffers, power information, and special function information.

The cards should arrive in the next week or two. In addition to the cards, a lot of other shipping and fulfilling supplies have been stocked in preperation for the massive job of shipping all the backer orders in July.

Breakout Board

Daniel Gilbert of tall-dog.com has developed a breakout board kit for the TinyFPGA BX. The kit provides a tidy way to access all of the bottom pins and testpoints on the BX. It then adds mounting holes and additional rails along the edges. The additional rails can be used to easily add servo and peripheral connectors or they can be broken-off for a smaller footprint.

Thanks, Daniel for developing this excellent breakout kit! Look out for this kit to be available at his Tindie store in the future.

Upcoming Conferences

I’ll be attending the Crowd Supply Teardown conference next weekend in Portland. I’ll be wearing a TinyFPGA t-shirt or a TinyFPGA conference badge throughout the weekend so feel free to say hello if you see me.

The weekend after Teardown, I’ll be exhibiting at Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo. This is my first time as an exhibitor and I am stoked! I will have some cool demos and give-aways, so stop by my table and checkout the TinyFPGA BX prototypes running some fun demos.

I will be busy preparing for, attending, and recovering from these events so I won’t have much in the next update two weeks from now. That said, I have a few tasks scheduled for this and next month: Push support for TinyFPGA BX to Icestudio, update and review template projects, prepare packaging, update bootloader metadata to production versions, final checkout of bootloader firmware, and anything else that comes up.

That’s it for this update. If you’re coming to Teardown or Maker Faire I hope to see you there, if not, you’ll get to see some pictures and hear about it two weeks from now!

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