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

Werner Almesberger werner at openmoko.org
Sat Aug 29 01:37:45 CEST 2009

?lvaro Lopes wrote:
> Unless we find some more sponsors. Can we ?

If you have suitable contacts, please try. I know of some sponsors
for this sort of projects, but they tend to move very little money.

At the end of the day, I have to ask myself if, say, a few hundred
USD would really make all that much of a difference, and if it would
be worth spending several days on negotiations, writing "thank you"
letters, and such, instead of working on technical issues.

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

Hmm, with an 332FBGA ? These critters are messy even with proper

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

That price is just an estimate based on what I've been told this kind
of board costs in general. There are many PCB houses that can do this.
So once the SMT site is selected, I'll look for one that's logistically
and fiscally "close".

Soldermask isn't really optional for such a complex board. ENIG finish
may be more of a cost factor than the soldermask, but then I'd dread
the handling of the alternatives.

There are plenty of optimizations that make perfect sense if you're
going to produce millions of boards and can afford to burn a few
hundred boards on working the kinks out of the process. But that's not
a luxury we have with just a handful of prototypes.

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

For PCBs, that may be an option, depending on where we SMT. For SMT, I
don't expect to find the necessary flexibility and fluidity of
communication there. And it's also relatively far away from everybody
involved in the project, so travel would be a pain.

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

Heh, what can I say, being ex-Openmoko and spending all my time on
gta02-core ... :)

> 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 funds.

I would order based on the pre-orders. They're not *that* expensive,
maybe USD 80 apiece. So if I should end up with a few spares, that's
okay. The cost of not having enough is higher than the cost of having
too many.

Regarding payment, what I have to spend on the GSM modules would of
course be part of the final cost of the device.

I think I'll also GSM optional, in case someone wants just the board.
That doesn't add overhead and the price of the modules probably
doesn't change either.

>> - try to make them it do something, such as draw power and not smoke.
> (current limiter maybe ?) :P

Yup, a lab power supply will be handy. Beats the fire extinguisher ;-)

> 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.

Sure. I also hope that some more folks may be interested to travel
to the SMT site. Testing the boards fresh from a new run is a fun
experience, one you can brag to your grandchildren about ;-)

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

Yeah, just kidding :)

I'll get to the SMT site related questions in a bit.

- Werner

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