Pictures for the weekend


EvilDragon

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Besides some news, you'll get more nice pictures in this Blog entry!

I hope you'll enjoy both.

1. The PCBs

As mentioned, Nikolaus populated the PCBs.

The main PCB and the display PCB are exactly as they'll be in the final unit (except for the currently missing volume wheel) - unless we find some design errors that need to be fixed.

So yes, except for the CPU PCB, these are actual prototype PCBs!

For the moment, we have a dummy CPU PCB where we can attach the devboard - which means: Everything except the CPU PCB can already be fully tested!

Here are all the PCBs:

DSC02190.JPG

The dummy-CPU PCB attached to the main PCB:

DSC02191.JPG

The display PCB attached to the LCD, LCD cable connected to the main PCB:

DSC02193.JPG

And everything connected together and booted up:

DSC02199.JPG

2. Change to the USB/SATA-Combo-Port

Sadly, the USB/SATA-Combo port is discontinued and not available anymore.

Therefore, we decided to change it a bit:

DSC02197.JPG

As you can see, the port will be replaced with a USB3 port.

Now hold your horses, the OMAP5 only has ONE USB3 port, which is the MicroUSB port.

However, with a CPU upgrade, we'll have a USB3 port available.

With the OMAP5, it'll act as a normal USB2 Port AND we'll offer an adapter to connect SATA as well to it.

So instead of one combo port, you need to use an adaptor if you plan to use SATA, but at the same time we already have a USB3 connector on the PCB for future upgrades.

Sounds like a good idea to me :)

That's it for now, hopefully back soon with more news.
 

Binky

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Shame about the eSATA/USB combo connectors being unobtainable (presumably they are, but only if you want to buy them by the million?) Still, adding features that offer a degree of future-proofing is always good - as long as it is made very clear in marketing/etc that the first gen Pyras do not offer USB3.0 over that port.
 

Grench

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2. Change to the USB/SATA-Combo-Port

Sadly, the USB/SATA-Combo port is discontinued and not available anymore.

Therefore, we decided to change it a bit:

attachicon.gif
DSC02197.JPG

As you can see, the port will be replaced with a USB3 port.

Now hold your horses, the OMAP5 only has ONE USB3 port, which is the MicroUSB port.

However, with a CPU upgrade, we'll have a USB3 port available.

With the OMAP5, it'll act as a normal USB2 Port AND we'll offer an adapter to connect SATA as well to it.

So instead of one combo port, you need to use an adaptor if you plan to use SATA, but at the same time we already have a USB3 connector on the PCB for future upgrades.

Sounds like a good idea to me :)

That's it for now, hopefully back soon with more news.
Aww...  I was looking forward to the eSATA.

Curious - if you're still changing the ports around a bit...  Have you given any thought to potentially swapping the esata/USB combo and/or the wide microUSB 3.0 port with one or more USB type-C ports?  Or are those rare from suppliers still?  I can see where the Type-C may quickly obsolete the wide microUSB 3.0 style connectors.
 
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WizardStan

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With the OMAP5, it'll act as a normal USB2 Port AND we'll offer an adapter to connect SATA as well to it.
By this do you mean some a regular USB2->eSATA adapter, or are you planning on connecting the extra USB3.0 specific lines to the OMAPs SATA pins and having a custom adapter spill them out? Because that would be just about as awesome as having an actual eSATA port, but I would wonder about what happens if a real USB3.0 device were plugged in.That is the reason I was looking forward to the eSATA combo port, because it meant being able to get SATA speed transfers: a USB->eSATA adapter means regular old USB2.0 speeds so you may as well just use a USB2 external hard drive.
 

Antartica

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Curious - if you're still changing the ports around a bit...  Have you given any thought to potentially swapping the esata/USB combo and/or the wide microUSB 3.0 port with one or more USB type-C ports?  Or are those rare from suppliers still?  I can see where the Type-C may quickly obsolete the wide microUSB 3.0 style connectors.
Also interested in this.

I would prefer a USB Type-C (the reversible new connector for USB) in place of the "blue type-a USB" port. Is that still possible? Have you looked into it?
 

sensi277

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It would probably take a while to put in a USB Type-C in place of those USB ports, but even so, it would be neat to have at least one USB Type-C connector. Also, while we're on the subject of ports, it would be kind of neat to have HDMI or DisplayPort output to connect a Pyra to a desktop monitor.
 

fusion_power

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Sadly, the USB/SATA-Combo port is discontinued and not available anymore.
Is there always only be one manufacturer that makes such stuff? No alternatives, no competition to choose from?  :huh:   The world of electronic components doesn't seems to follw any sane business rules.

Well, the PCB's look nice and compact and the CPU board also seems to be flat enough not to stick out compared to the surrounding elements.   But I wonder if the simple LCD board has to be THAT huge?  Any chance to save some cents with reducing it's size?  It makes the lid thicker than it must, depending on how thick the LCD board is.
 

sensi277

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So now that you've pretty much figured out most of the internal design, do you guys have any estimate as to the price of the Pyra, or at least a ballpark estimate?
 

EvilDragon

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Sadly, the USB/SATA-Combo port is discontinued and not available anymore.
 Is there always only be one manufacturer that makes such stuff? No alternatives, no competition to choose from?  :huh:   The world of electronic components doesn't seems to follw any sane business rules.
No, but there's probably no demand for a USB2 / eSATA port anymore, therefore no one wants to produce it.

Sounds pretty sane to me, why produce something you can't sell?

Well, the PCB's look nice and compact and the CPU board also seems to be flat enough not to stick out compared to the surrounding elements.   But I wonder if the simple LCD board has to be THAT huge?  Any chance to save some cents with reducing it's size?  It makes the lid thicker than it must, depending on how thick the LCD board is.
Are you talking about the size or the thickness?

The size is exactly the same as the display, as then you can easily put it into a frame of the lid and they're fixed without any glue, etc. needed.

Thickness can be changed a bit, but would make things more expensive.

So you would gain 0,5mm for a higher cost.

With the OMAP5, it'll act as a normal USB2 Port AND we'll offer an adapter to connect SATA as well to it.
By this do you mean some a regular USB2->eSATA adapter, or are you planning on connecting the extra USB3.0 specific lines to the OMAPs SATA pins and having a custom adapter spill them out? Because that would be just about as awesome as having an actual eSATA port, but I would wonder about what happens if a real USB3.0 device were plugged in.That is the reason I was looking forward to the eSATA combo port, because it meant being able to get SATA speed transfers: a USB->eSATA adapter means regular old USB2.0 speeds so you may as well just use a USB2 external hard drive.
Our own custom adaptor.

We use the two additional lines of the USB 3.0 for the eSATA, so you get the full eSATA speeds.

If you connect an USB3 device, it will only find an USB2.0 host and work like that.

So now that you've pretty much figured out most of the internal design, do you guys have any estimate as to the price of the Pyra, or at least a ballpark estimate?
Nope, we have to wait for the quotation of all parts.

Especially with the EUR falling down currently, this can be quite a change.

What about the mini-SD (not micro) connector ?
Mini-SD...?
 
A

Andrei

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When I had to decide, whether I want eSATA or USB3, I read that all USB[23] ports (of any one kind) share one communication bus on the board, so any given Laptop is like one large USB hub (and there are tiers of USB hubbing). While eSATA gets it's own SATA line. The thing is, as a layman, it is hard to understand how things are wired inside, and how dedicated a data-line really is. On a handheld, i think, it does not matter that much. But because eSATA appeared like a dedicated port, that doesn't share its transfer rate with the usb devices, I decided to buy an eSATA hdd enclosure. But a shared USB/eSATA port sounds like it wouldn't have this property anyway. So, what are your thoughts? Am I completely wrong about the eSATA/USB stuff? I would buy the Pyra either way.


tl;dr; summary: eSATA > USB3 because dedicated, but eSATA/USB combo < USB3 because !dedicated. And: does not matter for my decision to buy Pyra.
 

Urben

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Ive never seen a device or cable with a micro-USB3 connector, why dont we use a more common connector?
 

EvilDragon

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Ive never seen a device or cable with a micro-USB3 connector, why dont we use a more common connector?
Most USB3 harddisks have that.

Micro-USB3 is the standard Micro-USB connector when using MicroUSB... what would be more common?
 
S

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Sadly, the USB/SATA-Combo port is discontinued and not available anymore.


(...)


As you can see, the port will be replaced with a USB3 port.


Now hold your horses, the OMAP5 only has ONE USB3 port, which is the MicroUSB port.


However, with a CPU upgrade, we'll have a USB3 port available.


With the OMAP5, it'll act as a normal USB2 Port AND we'll offer an adapter to connect SATA as well to it.
YESSS!!!


I've been wondering why the hell this weren't so from the start, and had already lost hope this oversight could be rectified! This is the best Pyra news of this year! :D


Now the only thing missing that would send me to connector nirvana is a type-C OTG port...

Shame about the eSATA/USB combo connectors being unobtainable (presumably they are, but only if you want to buy them by the million?) Still, adding features that offer a degree of future-proofing is always good - as long as it is made very clear in marketing/etc that the first gen Pyras do not offer USB3.0 over that port.
That's why I'd suggest asking manufacturers for USB3 ports in a different color than standard USB3-blue. That should get rid of possible confusion.

It would probably take a while to put in a USB Type-C in place of those USB ports, but even so, it would be neat to have at least one USB Type-C connector. Also, while we're on the subject of ports, it would be kind of neat to have HDMI or DisplayPort output to connect a Pyra to a desktop monitor.
I thought a micro-HDMI port was planned from the start? Or are you asking for a full-size port?

Is there always only be one manufacturer that makes such stuff? No alternatives, no competition to choose from?  :huh:   The world of electronic components doesn't seems to follw any sane business rules.
The eSATAp port became an unofficial standard, so I doubt it'll be out of production anytime soon. What *can* happen though is that all other manufacturers have ridiculously high MOQs, on the order of hundreds of thousands of units.
 
S

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What about the mini-SD (not micro) connector ?
Mini-SD...?
I'll wager a guess that that was a brain fart on SWAT's side and he meant Mini-USB for charging.

When I had to decide, whether I want eSATA or USB3, I read that all USB[23] ports (of any one kind) share one communication bus on the board, so any given Laptop is like one large USB hub (and there are tiers of USB hubbing). While eSATA gets it's own SATA line. The thing is, as a layman, it is hard to understand how things are wired inside, and how dedicated a data-line really is. On a handheld, i think, it does not matter that much. But because eSATA appeared like a dedicated port, that doesn't share its transfer rate with the usb devices, I decided to buy an eSATA hdd enclosure. But a shared USB/eSATA port sounds like it wouldn't have this property anyway. So, what are your thoughts? Am I completely wrong about the eSATA/USB stuff? I would buy the Pyra either way.


tl;dr; summary: eSATA > USB3 because dedicated, but eSATA/USB combo < USB3 because !dedicated. And: does not matter for my decision to buy Pyra.
The eSATAp combo port is effectively two separate connectors in one, and only one of them is active at once. When you connect an eSATA device, only the SATA lines are active and connected directly to the SATA controller.


Personally, I'd prefer an internal mSATA socket for a proper SSD, even at a cost of extra thickness - but can't have it all I guess :)

Ive never seen a device or cable with a micro-USB3 connector, why dont we use a more common connector?
Most USB3 harddisks have that.


Micro-USB3 is the standard Micro-USB connector when using MicroUSB... what would be more common?
By the time Pyra hits the market, I guess type-C connectors will be.
 

DAP

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To use a type-C connector will require a little bit more than just the connector. The type-C cable has 4 differential pairs for super speed instead of the old cables 2 pairs. The device connects to two of them, but since the connector is reversible, the host must determine which pairs are in use and switch to those pairs. Since this capability is not yet built into existing ICs, an additional IC must be added to do the switching. If you are lucky, this function is included in the IC that does charger detection/ battery charging etc.

One of the other "features" of the type C connector is that it can be used to connect headsets. Unfortunately they screwed this up. Current headsets do LRGM, or LRMG depending on if you got your headset in the US, or in Europe. (L=left, R=Right, M= microphone, and G= GROUND).

A bit of background: Using a three wire connection for earphones was a bad idea. Sharing the ground return wire causes cross talk because of the resistance of the wire. This can be mitigated my running 4 wires in the headset cable, and tying the return wires from the left & right speakers together in the connector. The drive circuit must also use kelvin sensing directly on the GND pin of the headphone jack and feed that back to the amplifiers to minimize the cross talk.

When they add the additional mic connection, you are ok as long as you only use one of the two types of headsets.

If you want to design your system to detect the type of the headset, and automatically swap GND and mic signals, you compromise your crosstalk numbers because you must now run the GND line through a switch, and switches have higher resistance than wires. Worse, the switch is usually a FET which has a resistance that varies with the voltage between its gate and the signal. This adds harmonic distortion.

The type C connector can be plugged in either way. The way the audio is wired, it swapps the GND & mic signals when you swap the way you plug in the cable. Therefore, on top of the switch you need to switch between audio & USB3 signals, you also need a switch to be able to swap GND and mic.

This is really annoying because with 28 pins, they could easily have run differential signals to each speaker, and the mic, giving a jack that would have performed better than the existing 3 pin headphone jack. Running the signals differentially eliminates most of the problems caused by the switches.
 
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