[gta02-core] gta02-core prototypes: distribution and finances

Álvaro Lopes alvieboy at alvie.com
Fri Aug 28 21:14:02 CEST 2009

Werner Almesberger wrote:
> First of all, here's roughly what all this will cost:
> - the only sponsorship we have is Openmoko donating the components.
>   PCBs and SMT cost, any components we add, import fees, etc., will
>   have to come out of our own pockets.

Unless we find some more sponsors. Can we ?

> - my rough estimate is that, if we make 20 boards, each board will
>   cost about EUR 200 for the PCB, EUR 200 for SMT, and EUR 100 for
>   miscelleaneous costs (components, etc.). If we make fewer than
>   20 boards, the total cost will decrease but the per-board cost
>   will increase.

That's roughly what I was thinking. The problem with making more boards is in case they're flawed, we are just wasting money.

I remember seeing a website they did SMT assembly for a single board (by hand). Don't remember which...

Those 200*20 for PCB, how much is soldermask ?

> - so the final cost per device should be something between EUR 500
>   and EUR 1000. To this, add shipping plus any taxes your customs
>   will claim.

Well this depends where PCB/SMT is. Thinking China/Taiwan ?

> - I'll start with a show of hands of who wants to buy a prototype.
>   That's just indicative so that I can plan ahead, not a firm
>   commitment.

I am, but raising that amount of money is not easy. We are not very well paid around here :P

> - active contributors to the gta02-core project get priority and
>   can "pre-order" up to two devices each.

(relief) :)

> - I'll use this information to order the GE865 modules (which have
>   a bit of a lead time), and to obtain a more precise cost estimate.

Since we are to stick with GE865, maybe we can order more units in advance. Of course we don't want you to pay for all that stuff, so we need a means to raise

> When the first board comes out of SMT, we'll proceed as follows:
> - try to make them it do something, such as draw power and not smoke.

(current limiter maybe ?) :P

>   Maybe even talk to JTAG. In general, test as much as possible to
>   verify that there are no SMT errors, such a badly soldered parts,
>   misplaced or misoriented parts, or wrong parts. The emphasis here
>   is on "possible", not on "much". The SMT line can't wait forever
>   while we're performing a meticulous autopsy.

We'll have to properly schedule this. When it comes out of fabric, you or someone should give it a try and be on IRC at same time, so we can quickly communicate
with each others.

> - if the first board looks really bad, it goes to the scrap pile. If
>   it looks so-so, it goes to the "problem" pile. If it miraculously
>   works great, we put it on the "we've defeated Murphy" pile. Then
>   we'll make any necessary adjustments and try the next one.

No scrap pile. We might be able to extract some stuff from it.

> - repeat until things look good or we run out of boards. Then SMT the
>   rest - if any - quickly and do the triage as above. (Even when the
>   SMT process looks good, there may still be flaws. So once in a
>   while, there will be a bad board.)

Now, for bad boards... if we get faults in subsystems like WLAN, BT, GPS we can still use them to some extent.

> The allocation would then go as follows:
> - each order of two or more boards gets a board from the best pile
>   ("good" if there are any, "problem" of none were good, let's not
>   dwell on the third possibility.)
> - if there are more candidates for a board from the best pile than
>   boards, a lottery deemed fair by yours truly will decide.
> - if there are boards left in the best pile, one goes to each of
>   the remaining orders. Again, with lottery if necessary.

Lottery sounds fair enough.

> Does this sound reasonable ?

Not sure. Prototype cost is a bit high, we ought to find a "sponsor" for this. Just not quite sure where to apply my boot-licking efforts :P

Any news from USP you can share with the list ?


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