[Gta04-owner] GTA04A5 - status + FAQ

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Fri Feb 13 17:24:37 CET 2015

Am 13.02.2015 um 07:54 schrieb Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller <hns at goldelico.com>:

> Hi,
> a short status update for this project:
> 1. we have reached 42 preorders [1] - please continue to think about ordering one as well…
> 2. we plan to integrate a new barometer sensor BME280 with integrated humidity sensor
>    so the GTA04A5 can be used as weather station - or for checking your room climate (critical for your health and e.g. a piano)
> 3. as announced this week, Replicant is working really well and Lukas told me yesterday that he already installed WhatsApp
> So we only need to upgrade hardware to catch up a little to Nexus 6 in functionality…
> But the Nexus still has to catch up in openness and hardware documentation :)
> BR,
> Nikolaus
> [1]: http://shop.goldelico.com/wiki.php?page=GTA04A5

I have reveived some questions off-list where I would like to share the answers:

> Are you seriously considering to upgrade hardware? Very cool.

Yes, we constantly monitor what new interesting chips are coming that can be
integrated at low risk. Replacing the BMP085 (which by the way is no longer in
production) is just wiring up 8 pins to a different package.

And, we have to do that anyways since a handful of chips is no longer available
and *must* be replaced. I did give a presentation on OHSW about this topic.

But we have to be careful, since “big” changes (e.g. bigger display, quad-core CPU,
LTE) are not possible. They introduce too much risk that the whole board does not
work and some do not fit into the existing Openmoko plastic cases.
And they need too much work time to be integrated.

It is like mature software with an architecture designed some years ago that you
touch only if it is easy to touch and does not introduce regressions in unexpected
areas. I.e. changing the color or text of a button is ok, changing the menu structure
isn't :)

> Is there a recording of your OHSW talk?

OHSW: http://www.ohsw.de
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktugrICZMKI&list=PL-s0IumBit8Mofxj0Fn2kH6RB9VtnKS4KVideo
Slides: http://download.goldelico.com/default/Presentations/20141129%20OHSW/3%20GTA04A5%20Project%20Status.pdf

> What about this 5000€ or 10000€ target?

This target is not really comparable to a kickstarter limit. It is more thought as
an indicator to give a more imaginable (at least I hope) view on the project funding

The real target we have is to get 100 preorders (vouchers) at 100 € each. This
is equivalent to a 10000€ sum of preorders.

Only if we have reached that, we can seriously go to the production facility and
ask them to give us a quotation (it is some heavy unpaid work for them and I don’t
want to go to them just for fun). Only then, we know the real price of building
100 units.

We will then announce the price and ask to pay the difference between the voucher
and the final price. If nobody cancels his voucher, we can then start the production.

There is one aspect which could make us the 10000€ a real goal.

I fear that we do not have much time left over to buy the OPTION GTM601W
3G modules. They are in production for quite a while, but there is no successor.

And as soon as OPTION is no longer able to buy some component inside the
module, they will stop production (maybe they already have stopped and we
don’t know yet). Then we only can buy what is still in some stock. Maybe at rising
price. Or we come too late and they say: sorry, we are sold out.

And the OPTION module is one of the deal-breaker components. If we can’t buy
it any more there is no chance to redesign the GTA04A5 board for a replacement
component. Other modules are thicker or bigger - and need a careful design-in

So w/o GTM601 (or DM3730 or memory chip) there can be no GTA04A5. 

In that case, we simply refund the preorder vouchers.

So an option would be to use these vouchers to buy OPTION (pun unintended :)
GTM601W modules.

Then, in case of the project never succeeds, we would not refund the money,
but could send you the module in case the project fails to reach 100 units for

This would transform the voucher for a GTA04A5 into a voucher for a GTM601W
module and a separate one for a GTA04A5 production run later.

But it is too early to really do that step since we just have 42. If we had 75, I would
say that we do this risk purchase.

> The campaign is already running for a while and running very slowly.
> Will it ever succeed? When will it considered to be failed?

Well, I don’t know since my crystal ball doesn’t tell that.

And yes, this funding campaign runs very slowly. Since it is a very special product
for a very special target group. Only GTA02 (and GTA01) owners have benefit
from it. And since we all are here on these lists, it does not make sense to start
a Kickstarter/IndieGoGo for the broad public to get more interested people. And,
there is no benefit of making it a competition against the calendar (4-8 weeks).

Either you are convinced or not. Or change your mind within the next months/years :)

So the question can’t be seriously answered. It depends on all GTA01/02 owners
if and when they decide to jump on this slowly moving train.

The third question can be answered: it will be considered failed if it becomes
technically impossible or very unreasonable to have GTA04A5 boards produced.
Otherwise it can run until infinity since the GTA04A4 design is ready and tested
and already has been produced a while ago. It is not about designing something
new, it is just sending it to the production line again (with minor adjustments).

One factor was already mentioned: availability of the GTM601W module. There
are approx. 3 other critical components, but they are less critical and there are
ideas how to replace them. But replacing them might cost some engineering
money which also has to be covered by the 100 units we target at.
Only if replacement would mean to modify the plastics case - which is also
beyond the project’s capabilities - we have a problem.

I hope this gives some more background information. Please ask more FAQs…


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