[Tinkerphones] Gumstix Geppetto

H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Mon Sep 10 19:02:38 CEST 2018

Hi David,

> Am 10.09.2018 um 18:07 schrieb David Boddie <david at boddie.org.uk>:
> I was recently thinking about whether I should buy a new base board for my
> old Gumstix Overo single board computer so that I can use it with a monitor.
> Anyway, I found the board I was looking for, but then I was distracted by
> this:
> https://www.gumstix.com/geppetto/overview/
> It looks intriguing - in theory, you "design" your board by placing blocks
> for each of the components. Then, after validation it is routed, populated
> and tested. You apparently get software based on either Yocto or Rasbian
> depending on the SOC in use - though I can't find where I read this.
> I guess it makes sense for people with a certain amount of money to spend on
> development who don't have the time or resources to do all the design and
> sourcing themselves. The prices can be found here:
> https://www.gumstix.com/ordering/geppetto-orders/
> So, maybe not that useful for many of the readers here, but I hope it was
> at least interesting. :-)

Yes, it is interesting.

Seems to be an "Innovation", since I have heard about another startup aiming
at the same thing.

What I wonder, since I heard of this approach or the first time, is what the
use-case is.

The use-case seems to be for people without engineering experience, who explicitly
need a custom designed PCB and can't live with any existing standard device,
like a BeagleBone or Udoo neo plus a standard or custom designed "Cape"...

This seems to be quite rare. Is there anyone who asks for a custom designed PC
mainboard? The problem of custom board arises either if it must be miniaturized
(tinkerphone :) or needs special interfaces (are these available in their system?).

The claim is "no engineering needed." Well, they just automate the PCB layout step.

That is just a very small portion of engineers work :) If I look at my projects
it is <5%. Even if it is difficult as for GTA04 or Pyra.

Most of the time is spent by discussing requirements, choosing components that
really exist, fitting things with mechanics, testing and finding bugs...

And if I look at the pricing it is equivalent to a lot of hours that could
be paid to a professional PCB layouter, who also takes care of EMI and EMC,
power efficiency, mechanical design etc.

So I am not sure if this service is worth its money or too limited. At least
it is not for what we are doing or aiming at...

We will see if it stays or goes away. Or becomes the basis of something different
which will be useful for us.

Thanks for sharing,

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