Comprehensive Status update!


EvilDragon

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 4, 2003
Messages
29,753
Age
43
Location
Ingolstadt
Everyone was asking for the current status of things - so here's a newspost that hopefully covers everything (unless I've forgotten something - in this case, just ask me!)

1. The status of the PCBs

The bare CPU boards for the next 30 prototypes are already in production and should arrive any day now at Global Components.

The parts for those are already there.

They have all fixes included we manually applied to the first prototype series as well as two that couldn't be changed on the old board:
The fix that should enable the 1,5GHz mode for the SoC (current ones crash when running higher than 1GHz) and a small physical change as the current ones collide with the Wifi module.

About half of the CPU PCBs will be populated with the 4GB memory RAM so we can send those to developers so they can enable them in the kernel and they'll hopefully work without any issues.
There's not any reason why the memory shouldn't work, so I'm positive about that.

Once the CPU boards have been thoroughly tested, we can order the needed CPU boards for the mass production run!
We can even do that while developers are working on the 4GB RAM, as the layout is exactly the same.

As the current CPU boards work well already, this could happen pretty fast - but of course, we won't rush it (we don't need 2000 non-working CPU boards :))
The bare CPU boards are the ones that take the longest time to produce, so these are the main priority to order.

Let's move on to the display boards:
The layout for those has been finished a while ago, and as the rotator chip isn't used anymore, they are very simple two-layer-boards. Not many tests are needed, and the production of the bare boards could easily be done in 2 - 3 weeks.

And finally, the Mainboards:
As posted in the news yesterday, we needed to move the battery connector.
A new special testing PCB, which has only the battery connector at the new position and some measurement points, which allow to check that the battery has proper contact and no shortcircuits anymore is already in production.
It'll take 7 - 10 days.
Once that has been confirmed, we can order the PCBs for the next prototype run. These should take approximately 2 - 3 weeks, so they'll arrive later than the prototype CPU boards.

That's not a big problem though, as we can already fully test the CPU boards with the mainboards we already have, so no time is lost there.

Once the mainboards have been tested, we can order them for the mass production as well. They're not as complicated as the CPU boards, so the production only takes half of the time - but we still would need to be very very lucky to get them produced in time for christmas (we'll try our best, but time flies, damn!)
And especially as production ALWAYS takes longer before christmas (as ALL companies want to produce their stuff for christmas), it doesn't make things easier.

So all in all, except for production and testing, there's nothing that needs to be done to the boards anymore!


2. The status of the case

That brings us to the next important part of the Pyra: The case.

According to FormAction, all changes I discussed with them last time have been applied, so the case should be finished.
They received a final physical dummy PCB from us last week which they use to test and confirm everything is now working as it should.
Once they've done that, they will produce the next series of cases for the prototypes and ship them to me.

If I'm content with everything, then mass production can be planned as well for those.
Mass production can basically be done immediately after the molds are finished, so we could in theory still tweak them until middle November and still get the mass produced cases in December.

What might still need some tweaks is the DPad - as I'm very, VERY picky with that :)


3. The status of the keymat

The keymat is currently receiving the changes I discussed with the company end of September. There was a chinese holiday early October, so that slowed things down a bit.

I don't have a date yet for the next set of keymats, but I'll let you know as soon as I get it.

I'm almost 100% sure these will be the last samples we need. Once I receive and confirm them to be fine, production will take about 4 weeks as well.

So that would also be in time for December.


4. The status of the LCD Cable

As posted yesterday, the LCD Cable needs a small change (the ears are positioned wrong), but that change can be done within a day.
Producing new samples will take 3 weeks, mass production as well.

The current samples can be manually fixed, so we can use them to build the prototypes.


5. The status of the LCDs and touchscreens

The LCDs are already produced and waiting for us in the factory, and as we finally found touchscreens that are very accurate, sensitive enough to also work with a bare finger and don't degrade the picture quality, we can order those as well.

The delivery date for them will be middle of November, the LCDs with the touchscreens applied can be delivered early December.

We will receive 30 samples upfront which can be used for the prototypes :)


6. What else is there on the todo list?

There are still a couple of things that we need to do, but they shouldn't take too long.

a) Source and order heat dissipating material:
I've already found a few companies who are offering such material, just didn't have the time to contact them yet.
The production shouldn't take long though, as we simply need pre-cut rectangles from a self-adhesive heat-dissipating material which will be put into the case.
The thickness can be up to 0,5mm, most of the materials are 0,3 - 0,4mm thick.
What I also want to find out is what kind of material would be best for our use case - but hopefully, an experienced company can help us out here.

b) Produce the sealing for the speakers
That's a bit more work, but nothing that should take too long as well.
The sealing will be produced with a very simple mold and rubber material. I didn't find the time yet to take exact measurements and deliver that detail to FormAction, but they already have the material for the mold.
The mold can be CNC'ed within a day (as it's just 0,5mm thick without any specials), so we should have that ready mid-November as well.

c) Calibrate the Wifi antenna
The Wifi antenna needs to be calibrated using a proper resistor value. So basically, what needs to be done is to have a standard setup (Wifi router at a certain distance) and change the resistor value until you have the best possible reception.
It's nothing too complicated, just takes a bit of time - and Nikolaus can do that once he finished the mainboard layout and while we're waiting for the prototype PCBs to arrive.

d) CE-Testing
Can't be done before we have the prototypes finished. Usually takes one day.

e) Produce the box and packaging and manual
We already decided for the box (remember the samples I showed to you months ago), so we only need some box design and then produce it.
Production takes 3 weeks, so I plan to have that finished early November.
the boxart should be VERY simple, nothing fancy. Nice, clean and beautiful :)

f) Work on the software
That's where a LOT of work still needs to be done. But similar to the Pandora, the device will mature best after is has been delivered to everyone!
I still remember how simple the first version of Pandoras OS was and how much it has been improved overtime... it was fun. I hope we'll have as much fun with the Pyra as well! :)


7. Quick summary and overview

So, here is a quick summary:

CPU-Boards and display boards:
Done, waiting for the bare PCBs (30 for a test, then enough for mass production when these have been approved)

Mainboards:
Waiting for a dummy PCB to test the position of the battery connection, then 30 prototype PCBs will be ordered and after approval, enough for mass production will be produced.

Cases:
Finished, currently being checked by the manufacturer with the latest mainboard dummy we sent them. More sets will be produced for the prototypes, and after approval, enough for mass production will be produced.

Keymats:
Awaiting a delivery date for new samples with the final design changes. Will be mass produced after they have been approved.

LCDs:
Final touchscreens have been ordered, will arrive middle November and then be applied to the LCDs (already finished).

Packaging / Manual:
Needs to be designed and produced. Samples for the packaging already exist and are fine.

Speaker sealing / Wifi calibration / Heat dissipating material:
Will be worked on during the next few weeks



8. Some personal words

Wow, what trip!

Honestly, when work had started on the Pyra, I never, ever thought it would take so long and we'd run into so many issues again! Seriously!

While I was part of the Pandora team, I wasn't involved very deeply into the whole design / production process (until I moved the production to Germany).

I was mainly the one speaking to the community (with as many details as I was allowed to), but this time, I didn't only do that but was responsible for all the decisions and handling all the various companies and involved persons... as well as the funding.

This surely wasn't easy, it was a lot more complex than I feared.
It was exhausting, and partly discouraging (especially when the first prototypes we produced didn't really work at all!)

I am more than happy now that things FINALLY seem to come together, and I want to give out my respect to EVERYONE who was involved with the design process of the Pyra - and with the Pandora!

It was an achievement, a HUGE achievement! Probably much bigger than most would ever think. But having experienced the design and production of such a complex device with all the issues myself, I can only show respect.

A huge thanks to Nikolaus, Fatih, my contacts in Greece and Austria, Global Components, everyone involved with the software development for the Pyra (OS, Kernel, anything), all investors, the prototype-preorders and of course: You.
Even though it took much longer than planned, I only had a couple of refund requests - and most of them were people who had some misfortune in life and urgently needed the money.

I am REALLY grateful for your support and your patience, I am happy you've been with me here during the development, kept us going and the spirit alive.

I hope I'll be able to give that all back to you by delivering the Pyra as soon as possible.
And as it looks like: We're almost there.

Well, that's it for todays post. I hope you enjoyed it, I hope I haven't forgotten anything - and of course: if you have any questions, feel free to ask :)
 

Luke-Jr

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
153
Why not move the connector on the battery side? Is it supposed to be compatible with other batteries?
 

Agricola

Silently watching, silently judging
Joined
Oct 25, 2015
Messages
190
Location
Germany
Amazing newspost, as usual. I have one quick question, though:
b) Produce the sealing for the speakers
If the sealing is put in place, will the speakers still be replaceable by the user without affecting the sound quality? Do you know if the speakers fall out of the sockets on their own with the sealing inserted? (by flipping the case)

I very much respect you for keeping us informed about the development, both the good and the bad. Never have I seen a company being this honest with their customers. This can not be overstated and I will never take it for granted. Thank you.
 

EvilDragon

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 4, 2003
Messages
29,753
Age
43
Location
Ingolstadt
Why not move the connector on the battery side? Is it supposed to be compatible with other batteries?

We have 3000 batteries lying around at Global Components... you can't easily change those ;))

And yes, it is basically compatible with Pandora batteries if you pad them (or 3D-Print a frame)

Amazing newspost, as usual. I have one quick question, though:
If the sealing is put in place, will the speakers still be replaceable by the user without affecting the sound quality? Do you know if the speakers fall out of the sockets on their own with the sealing inserted? (by flipping the case)

Yes, the sealing is some rubber put on the speaker surroundings of the case.
It will seal the acoustic room for the speaker when the PCB is put in. If you remove the PCB, you can still change the speaker with ease.
 

Kev2442

Still French
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
646
Location
42 (Loire) is the answer.
Man, do I need to go to bed.
Still, had a great time reading this post, as always since I started lurking - in summer 2014, time flies, you said it !
Looks like either I'll think of the Pyra way past bedtime or I'll get nice geek dreams :p

Here's hoping for a Pyra on New Year's Eve ! We'll support you no matter what you go through !
 

AVahne

Handheld-obsessed
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
253
Location
Texas
If you still haven't decided on a design for the box and want something simple, why not just have a dark red or wine red colored box, similar to the color of the old Pyra renders, with a nice render of the Pyra logo on the top (similar to how we would see it on the top of the Pyra's lid). Then on the front side panel you could have the word "Pyra" in big letters with the words "The most feature-rich ultra portable Mini Computer" underneath it in smaller print.
Finally on the bottom would be the barcode, technical information, picture of device, etc. or whatever you feel is needed on a box.
Reason why I think the box should be wine red is not only because of the first images of what the Pyra could look like, but also because....just as wine is something that gets better with age, so does the Pyra.
 

second exodous

Advanced Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
2,974
Location
Utah, USA
Wow, really good news! I haven't been here the whole time, I was there almost day one with the Pandora and didn't think I could do that again. I have to say though, in general the community has matured, don't know if the 'pain in the neck' people left or the project has just been going smoothly but it has been a lot more pleasant on the forums. I'm happy to see this almost to an end or almost beginning, depending on how you look at it.
 

rygD

Nihilistic Mystic
Joined
Feb 28, 2014
Messages
7,496
Location
Everywhere
Lots of good info here, and some choices I fully agree with (make sure the dpad is perfect, simple box art).

I am still wondering what case colors we will get, as that will be a tough choice for me if we get two or more of the popular ones.

Thanks to everyone that has helped in any way with helping make the Pyra happen, and especially to ED. We all really appreciate the open and honest updates.
 

Shlee

Still Fresh
Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Messages
56
We're in this til the end ED :)

Are you going to announce on crowd supply soon? once the prototypes are ready?
 

benoitb

Very Active Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
637
Age
36
Location
Finland
L2, R2, L3, R3, 5GHz wifi: my PC and router are ready for game streaming :D
Except the Nvidia Shield, this will be the only suitable console for comfortable streaming I think. Vita has none of this, GPD Win had no R3/L3.

Ed, thank you for doing this. This is a device we really want and no entity wanted to design and build.
 
Top