[Gta04-owner] Development sicknesses

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Sun Jan 15 09:21:00 CET 2012

Hi David,

Am 15.01.2012 um 02:49 schrieb David Lanzendörfer:

>> Well, Free Open Source *Software* can do this. If you start developing
>> hardware you have to invest money for components and prototype
>> production in addition to your free time. As long as the amounts are
>> small you can handle the project like software: if it doesn't work
>> like expected start again (or fix it). That's what I did with the
>> first Freerunner Navigation Board. It didn't work very well and during
>> the development newer, better chips became available. So I dropped
>> everything and started from scratch.
> Well.
> What I was talking about was evolution.
> Evolution exactly does NOT restart from scratch.
> A T-Rex and a turkey share 80% of their genom.
> But we should keep modularity up.
> For example, maybe, instead of designing our board exactly
> for this certain LCD, we should just put a generic connector onto the
> board and use some small flex PCB with an adapter between the mainboard
> and the LCD in order to make them fit to each other.
> Then we wouldn't have the problem of different pin layout for new LCDs...

That works if you relax two important contstraints:
* miniaturization (for the additional space)
* cost (each additional connector costs money)

>> While the new interface connector may costs 5€/piece in small
>> quantities, the stencil mask adds at least 200€ to that. And for the
>> PCBs you need to calculate at least 500€ per piece (if you order 10).
>> That sums up to about 6k€ for every iteration.
> 500€ per PCB?! O_o
> How many layers do we have?!


> Aren't there less expensive manufactors around?!


> Or maybe there are universities with multilayer-PCB manufacturing equipment?

I have not seen anyone who can do that better (more repeatable) and cheaper than
a streamlined PCB production line...

Or would you exchange a standard Volkswagon by a handmade conecpt car
made by students? Because it appears to be cheaper?

>> Because of these high costs open hardware projects can't change as
>> fast as software projects often do :(
> Yes. I know.
> I can sing songs of it, even with something trivial like the controller circuit for my RepRap... :-/
>> And if you'd like to recover the money needed for the development, at
>> some point you will need a "stable" product which you can sell. If you
>> don't then either you're a millionaire or it was one of you last
>> projects.
> Hmm.
> We should really go over to crystal computers, those you can grow in Vulcanos.
> Who's up for Electroplaxes? ^.^

>> I hope that explains why the GTA04Ax won't have new display interface
>> soon. But you are free to design your own display interface based on
>> the GTA04 module variant! All relevant signal lines are available at
>> the b2b connectors.
> Good.

Yes, consult the user's manual for details.

> That's a word, and also sounds like an awesome plan.
> With a new case we don't have to make our electronics fit into the given case
> but we can make the case take all the electronics we need.

If you are willing to sacrifice the miniaturization goal.

> So we can drive on a two-branch-way for now.
> One one hand, we have the TPO028 connector, on the other hand we also
> have a B2B-connector on which we can connect "better" displays.
> A Flex-PCB will probably be a lot cheaper then a entirely new Mainboard anyway.

This mainly depends on number of units.

> And for a start, I'll test the electonics on grid-hole-copper boards
> whose signals I'll get over Flex2DIL adapter.


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