[Tinkerphones] Problems seem to repeat...

H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Sat Dec 7 16:18:38 CET 2019

> Am 07.12.2019 um 14:05 schrieb H. Nikolaus Schaller <hns at goldelico.com>:
>> Am 07.12.2019 um 13:35 schrieb Paul Boddie <paul at boddie.org.uk>:
>> On Saturday 7. December 2019 08.37.23 H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
>>> I just came across:
>>> https://www.crowdsupply.com/eoma68/micro-desktop/updates/measurements-and-a-> hypothesis
>>> So they also ran into unexpected solder bridges which must be X-Rayed. This
>>> sounds very very familiar to me...
>>> With our experiences collected in the GTA04 project many years ago, I think
>>> it is easy to fix - if you have enough money or can borrow money to make
>>> some costly experiments with the production line setup.
>> I mentioned on the arm-netbook mailing list that similar problems were 
>> experienced before, albeit with the RAM chips:
>> http://rhombus-tech.net/ingenic/jz4775/news/EOMA68-jz4775_XRay_Photos/
>> So, I thought that the manufacturer might have built up some experience since 
>> then. From the latest update, it sounds like this is a production process 
>> problem, with the prototypes having been made without issues, so I guess that 
>> the matter of soldering the chips is not a fundamental problem but just 
>> something that needs to be done correctly in the production environment.
> Yes, exactly the same issue we had with the GTA04. We knew that Nokia had
> built millions of phones incl. the N900 using the OMAP3 + PoP memory but
> failed.

I think this sentence could be misunderstood. Nokia had successfully built
millons of phones using the OMAP3 + PoP memory. And we failed with the same.

> Then we got a manufacturer who adapted and learned how to properly produce
> them on their line.
> Then, OpenPandora switched from omap3530 to dm3730 (like we aready had) and
> had only failures. Finally their production line learned how to produce them.
> And then we did go to the same production line as the 1GHz OpenPandora
> with the GTA04A5 - and they failed. Almost. Well approx. 30% yield which
> was too low. We tried to optimize, but the GTA04A5 project did run out of
> money.
>> (I wouldn't know what the difference between the pre-production and production 
>> environments are in this case. There were also some other production-related 
>> issues around board-edge component assembly, if I remember correctly.)
>>> But borrowing money requires a business model which promises future
>>> revenues.
>>> Without money it needs a lot of creativity and time to replace the missing
>>> money.
>> I think that these experiments rely on a helpful and rather generous factory 
>> owner who is looking to gain experience in the processes involved.
> Indeed. Or a big enough budget to pay for his experiments.
> I think I now quite precisely know what did go wrong with the GTA04A5 but it
> would have cost several 1000€ to run another experiment. And it could have
> failed again.
>>> Which leads to delay and delay and finally the product is working but
>>> obsolete and only the brave initial sponsors remain. So there is nobody
>>> following up the initial funding round.
>> Certainly, things have become a lot quieter around the EOMA68 initiative, and 
>> there are people who have probably lost interest and do not expect to see 
>> anything come out of it.
>> I have probably made a point about technological projects many times to anyone 
>> who might listen, reflecting on my own observations and experiences as well as 
>> what is already common knowledge, that the longer an uncompleted project 
>> takes, the less likely it will be realised.
>> Factors include the finances (as you mention above) plus technological 
>> progress (making a product less attractive over time) and obsolescence 
>> (components becoming unavailable and technologies becoming unsupportable). 
>> Keeping a project short reduces the exposure to such risks.
> Exactly. And that's the big challenge to keep the project duration short and
> to do something very complex. All the projects we're talking about here are
> at the level of the highest industry league, but are run by enthusiasts with
> far too little budget. So we can only admire everyone who takes the challenge
> and still tries to win (contrary to me - everyone is getting older).
> BR,
> Nikolaus
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