New Life in Openmoko Phones

Ron K. Jeffries rjeffries at
Tue May 19 21:02:53 CEST 2009

As an interested observer, a few possibly DUMB Qs:

Q1) So, OpenMoko has not committed to building the 10-20 protos?

Q2) What is design goal? a simple clean up & re-do of GTA02 (less Glamo...)
     in an open source hardware context?

Q3) What is role of OpenMoko organization now? Sell remaining GTA02s?

Ron K. Jeffries

On Tue, May 19, 2009 at 11:13,  <joakim at> wrote:
> Nils Faerber <nils.faerber at> writes:
>> He ;)
>> Many of the parts in the GTA02 cannot be reasonably placed by hand.
>> There are almost a dozen (or more?) BGA chips which are extremely hard
>> to handle (you do not see if the balls match the pads). Then there are
>> almost microscopic parts like resistors and capacitors - which pitch?
>> 0402 at least if not even 0201 or smaller. So populating the board is
>> almost impossible by hand without highly qualified tools (and no, a
>> tweezer and a stereo-microscope will not suffice).
>> But the problem you will encounter beforehand is printing the solder
>> paste. Stencil printing such high density with even and correct paste
>> distribution is not exactly easy even if you have proper stencil
>> printers. Adjusting them, having the right paste to print etc. is high
>> art of SMT manufacturing. And finally you need a really proper nitrogen
>> flooded full convection reflow oven for good quality soldering of such
>> delicate parts (different heat absorption of parts, proper heat
>> profiles, good energy distribution, etc.).
> Well this just goes to show that the last time I did serious electronics
> we prototyped with wire wrap guns and stuff :) At least we made vlsi:s
> with vhdl.
>> So what you really need is a modern manufacturing line, with auto-placer
>> for almost all parts. I do not know how many different parts there are
>> on the GTA02, probably 100, or even more? This means very high initial
>> effort for setting up the machine to pupulate a board. If you then run 1
>> or 10 or 100 does not make much difference for the machine cost anymore
>> (you just need more parts). The setup effort is the thing that makes
>> prototypes or small series such expensive. I just visited another
>> electronics maker here in Germany and they have a placement machine
>> which can set up to 85000 parts per hour. Compared to something like a
>> day for setting up the machine, the time placing the parts is almost
>> irrelevant.
>> The smaller the parts have got in the past the more difficult it has
>> become for hobbyists to catch up with technology. It will not take very
>> long until home-grown PCBs will be almost impossible to do because all
>> the interesting chips come as bare-die only (just the silicon, no case
>> or pins).
>> So what is needed is the real commitment by some professional hardware
>> manufacturer to put the new design on one of his lines and care for the
>> prototyping and small initial a-series. After the design has proven to
>> work a small first production run should be easier to setup since you
>> can then give proove that it will work and persuade potential customers
>> to pay up-front for the device - or at least a part up-front. That would
>> enable buying the parts and paying for setting up the production. I
>> think the Open Pandora people did it quite similarly, i.e. they sold
>> devices and had them made after sales. If your customers trust you
>> enough this can work.
>> So in the end hardware making is more a matter of money than motivation
>> or man power, pitily...
>> Cheers
>>   nils faerber
> --
> Joakim Verona
> _______________________________________________
> hardware mailing list
> hardware at

More information about the Gta03 mailing list