Less new projects?

Non-technical related questions should go here.
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Folknology
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Re: Less new projects?

Postby Folknology » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:05 pm

Also worth noting that if your looking for a DIP module to build yourself Xmos have published a design (1.0 & 1.1) on their repository https://github.com/xcore/hw_l1_48_module you could easily run a few of these off with a pcb supplier of course. For me that format is not as useful personally although I'm sure one day it will prove just the right design for something and could be useful to have in the draw ;-)

regards
Al
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Bianco
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Postby Bianco » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:21 pm

Folknology wrote:Well I did design Amino for my own use based around the L1-64. The idea was to also build suitable plug in cards for it. However even this proved overkill in many cases and difficult to integrate with my other projects. I am now working on a second version that plays much better with some of the other components and peripherals that I am working with (including other platforms).

Do you have a design we can look at Bianco?

PS I don't really use breadboard stuff myself as it often causes to many problems at these higher clock speeds.

regards
Al
I don't have a design yet, so everything can be discussed.
Just saying that if XMOS does not start to sell small modules there is no reason that the community can't handle this herself. I'm willing to invest in this and pay upfront for PCB fab etc.

On a sidenode i ask myself whether this would be worth it.
If we for example create a set of fabrication files, people should be able to get their own boards fabbed at cheap fabs like itead and seeed. It would save the distribution and payment headaches. for around 13$ you can get 10 5x5cm boards including shipping.

I have seen the L1-48 module, but it missed a few user friendlyness things like a standard programming header and maybe a big hole for the ground pad. Maybe even an onboard FTDI chip for JTAG.
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Folknology
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Postby Folknology » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:37 pm

On a sidenode i ask myself whether this would be worth it.
If we for example create a set of fabrication files, people should be able to get their own boards fabbed at cheap fabs like itead and seeed. It would save the distribution and payment headaches. for around 13$ you can get 10 5x5cm boards including shipping.
Yup Seeedstudio fusion is certainly cheap and a good idea but don't bother with anything upwards of an L1-48pin as it's near impossible to design a board that meets their DRC on L1-64 and upward. You also have to leave a little head room as the accuracy can be less than expected in my experience. Also the ship time is months via china post unless you upgrade to DHL/UPS or whatever which adds at least $43. They also do bigger boards not just 5x5 its up to 20x20cm from memory., and if you want a stencil you have to source that separately which is costly.

regards
Al
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Folknology
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Postby Folknology » Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:40 pm

I have seen the L1-48 module, but it missed a few user friendlyness things like a standard programming header and maybe a big hole for the ground pad. Maybe even an onboard FTDI chip for JTAG.
I think they are assuming you have a heat pencil or hotplate - Xmos ninja ;-)

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Al
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Interactive_Matter
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Postby Interactive_Matter » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:05 am

Bianco wrote:
I don't have a design yet, so everything can be discussed.
Just saying that if XMOS does not start to sell small modules there is no reason that the community can't handle this herself. I'm willing to invest in this and pay upfront for PCB fab etc.

On a sidenode i ask myself whether this would be worth it.
If we for example create a set of fabrication files, people should be able to get their own boards fabbed at cheap fabs like itead and seeed. It would save the distribution and payment headaches. for around 13$ you can get 10 5x5cm boards including shipping.

I have seen the L1-48 module, but it missed a few user friendlyness things like a standard programming header and maybe a big hole for the ground pad. Maybe even an onboard FTDI chip for JTAG.
I think it makes only sense if the board comes more or less completely assembled. I think this kind of production is the cheapest for everybody.

Another real interesting question, which should be solved first is why nobody did it yet. My fear is that it would be nice to have this kind of 'plugin' board, but the market is too small for some successful business model.

Is kickstarter a way to verify this?

Marcus
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Folknology
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Postby Folknology » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:50 am

Another real interesting question, which should be solved first is why nobody did it yet. My fear is that it would be nice to have this kind of 'plugin' board, but the market is too small for some successful business model.
That's my belief i.e. it's to small market to consider as a commercial endeavour, although for Xmos it would be more strategic of course rather than just a bottom line thing. It may however be possible to achieve via some sort of crowd sourcing or group effort perhaps that's the best idea (I can't form a Kickstarter project unfortunately being outside the U.S. although I can contribute).

regards
Al
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Interactive_Matter
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Postby Interactive_Matter » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:59 am

dan wrote:
Interactive_Matter wrote:In my opinion some additional information (wiki page/blog post - somewhere prominent) could help:

- what is avail on github
http://github.xcore.com/community_doc/repo-index.html
- why is it there
What do you mean with this? The stuff is there because someone wanted to put it there - there isn't a grand plan, this being a community repository. For individual components the reason for its existence ought to be in the README
Is the list you are mentioning created from https://github.com/xcore/xcore.github.c ... -index.rst ? Since both seem a bit different.

I think the short description in the list and the READMEs are completely sufficient to describe the projects.

I was aiming a bit more at the comparison to the Arduino web site.There you have two easy to reach pages: An official list of available libraries and an wiki created by the community where all libraries are advertised. I do not question that the information is there. But from time to time you must know where it is. But let's wait what phalt is coming up with. It sounds promising.

I think most of the problems we are discussing here is just a problem that the existing information is not easy enough to find. And you are right instead of whining around I should add my 5 cents to the Tutorial section ;)

And don't get me wrong I always was a big supporter of the open source strategy of XMOS and I really like what is there right now and I think it is really a big achievement!
dan wrote:


We are keen to make xcore.com and github as accessible as reasonably possible, but as a community site my feeling is that this should be driven by you guys. For specific, and key, things like the build system that we have contributed I think the onus is definitely on us to document it properly but if there are holes in the community documentation more generally then the community should act to fix that , starting by pointing out specific shortcomings that are actionable by busy xmos engineers or busy community members (whomever gets there first).

This should permit improvements to the community to be made while we at xmos are mainly focussing on creating new or improved tools, chips and IP that makes code run faster while being easier to write.
Absolutely. Nevertheless this discussion was very insightful for me since I learned several points from it:
  • There is much more documentation than I know so we should collect the various links somewhere (thinking about this on the weekend)
  • With phalt we have an advocate and somebody willing to improve any shortcomings of the current web site structure, thanks for that.
  • There are a lot of boards showing how a minimal XMOS breakout could look like, interestingly enough none was ever produced as product (this does not have to come from XMOS I think, some of us can do this - if it is commercially viable). This kind of board could help to lower the entry barrier to use XMOS hardware in hobby projects.
  • Even if the XMOS engineers do not reply often to this kind of topics, your reaction shows that they are listening carefully - and we are not just a community to keep hobby people occupied ;)
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Interactive_Matter
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Postby Interactive_Matter » Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:02 pm

Folknology wrote:It may however be possible to achieve via some sort of crowd sourcing or group effort perhaps that's the best idea (I can't form a Kickstarter project unfortunately being outside the U.S. although I can contribute).
oopsala, this would hinder me too to create an kistarter project.

We should open up another thread for this (= I would do it but have a super busy afternoon, so that I can only do it friday - perhaps somebody else will do it, else I will do it on Friday ;) )
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Postby TonyD » Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:38 pm

Interactive_Matter wrote:
Folknology wrote:It may however be possible to achieve via some sort of crowd sourcing or group effort perhaps that's the best idea (I can't form a Kickstarter project unfortunately being outside the U.S. although I can contribute).
oopsala, this would hinder me too to create an kistarter project.
Yes, its a shame that Kickstarter is limited to US residents (i.e. have a US bank a/c and address). Crowdsourcing something like L1_48 Module would be a good way to start the ball rolling.

indiegogo.com is a another crowd sourcing site which open to all (not just US residents), but its not as well known as kickstarter
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Postby williamk » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:18 pm

Folknology wrote:2) Hardware - Ok its time to build my 1st Xmos board lets look at the obstacles thrown in my newbie path: Packages, damm it nothing through hole only surface mount bugger OK smd it will have to be. What are the packages ? G4 BGA ouch not a cats chance of me doing that, L2 WTF double row QFN and minimum 4 layer board lets forget that option what are we left with? L1-128 pin OK looking better, hold on 0.4mm pin spacing dammit can't use my low cost prototyping services then & how did they choose the pins using a dartboard? Lets try the next package L1-64 Ok that looks more reasonable ah oh see a bit of a problem it has a ground paddle that limits me to stencil and hot plate or perhaps more specialised kit like heat pencil grr. Ok lets assume I can somehow overcome the paddle thing (I'll convert my toaster oven) and lay it out. Dammit needing all of these decoupling caps around the L1-64 makes it near impossible to escape the signals without moving to tiny vias and track spacings, thats blown out my cheapo prototyping PCB suppliers again. OK one last go L1 48pin OK its got a paddle same issue as the 64 pin but I may be able to get around that using some hacking techniques and a hole in it. wow there still a lot of decoupling caps but I may just be able to get the signals out, better than the 64pin that's for sure. Right what else do I need? Flash Oh really doesn't it have any built in I thought it was an MCU? so lets add a flash chip and another decoupling cap, bugger I just lost pins, oh only 16 single bit pins? but can't I use them all as single bits? so now down to just 12 single bit pins then.. anything else I should know about? Dual power supply, Oh 1V for the core and 3v3 for the IO, so I need 2 regulators, what they should be switch mode? I'm a newbie I tend to use linear LDOs if pushed, anyone provide me with a decent circuit for the power supply side? Wow Xmos sure use a lot of different PSU chips, looks like every board and kit is different, I'll just randomly pick one and copy it.. Ok I'm done then?Oh of course I nearly forgot the clock I'll just add a cheap resonator, Oh no examples, how about a crystal hmm have to built my own external pierce oscillator WTF why can't I just add a crystal like other MCUs and what is one of them anyhow. OK so I have to add one of those teeny tiny 2 gate inverter chip that's near impossible to solder by hand with the crystal, surely I'm done now.. ? Power supply monitoring and power up sequencing what the hell is all of that? so two more teeny tiny chips that I haven't a clue about. Right I also need a boot loader nothing clever like JTAG programming, Xmos supports USB so I will use that. Oh I have to add a USB chip I thought Xmos was fast enough IO for basic USB, Oh its a tiny qfn chip Oh what joy as if my boards isn't difficult enough, well I will just have to convert that toaster oven then. Right now I'm ready to rock, what no virtual com port over USB but what about my printf debug? no programmable bootloader support your joking. That's not the worse bit OK let me have the bad news, Really my pins have been used up because of the spi flash and USB AARGHHHHH OK I give up I'm going back to my Arduino

Yup, I'm on the same boat. I have a XC1A kit for ages now, but couldn't make anything with it yet, and I'm always going back to my Arduino projects. I even managed to release Beat707.com, which is an Arduino project, and now I want to make it Xmos based, but I'm having all sorts of problems. But, again, I'm no expert, I'm just a crazy noob who wants to finish a project...

One thing that is really missing is a barebones PCB with just a dual-core chip, not the single ones, but the ultra power dual-core ones. Single core would be nice too, but there's already some ARM processors out there that are nice, cheap and easy to setup. NXP is another one that comes to mind. I can get a board on eBay for $ 28 USD that runs at 100 Mhz and is all ready to upload code via USB.

I'm thinking on a project that boots the XMOS chip from an Arduino, but I think its not possible, and wouldn't work, but I still think it would be great to get some Arduino users into the XMOS world, that would help the community a lot. But, what do I know?

Best Regards, WilliamK
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