Monday, 15 June 2009

New Blog Update From Ed

Here is a recent June 12th, update from ED - my money is kind of on a Mid July/August launch date:

1. The boards - We had to fix one minor fault a few weeks ago and already received and tested five new ones – and the good news is: They’re ALL working fine (no soldering problems, all our hardware tests were sucessful). So we got a 100% rate from those.We’ll do more testing, but the planned first mass production run (100 boards which will actually be used for final Pandoras) is on July 13th, though it might be a few days earlier or later. Of course we’ll try to get some pictures of the first 100 boards for you.

2. The analogue nubs - You might’ve read that there were some problems with the analogue nubs. Well, they had serious firmware problems and the company went bankrupt… so we had two problems: We need to pay TWICE (the new company we got has to be paid again) and the firmware had to be fixed. Both has happened already. The new firmware is already there (Pickle showed the new nubs in a video) and it is working without an problems. Another issue solved

3. The Keymat - It was pretty perfect already, however, the pressure and gaming controls could be enhanced. So we did that – and the new version is already at the moulding company, so the new mats shall also be finished very soon. As there were some keys misaligned, we used the time to fix that up, too. If you want to know what exactly happened: wider holes around screw pegs, made game button cups wider to make them softer, slightly more travel to 1mm, keypad buttons raised 0.5mm, a couple of other little guide holes moved.

4. CE and FCC - CE tests will happen as soon as I get a finished board and prototype case, which should happen while the case moulds are being done, so there’s no time problem. I’ve got a few CE testing companies around the corner where I can just drop-by and test everything. We shouldn’t have a problem with FCC either – as we only need FCC if we sell WITHIN the US. We don’t do that yet, we sell from UK and Germany, so FCC is not necessary. It WILL have to be done once there’s a US based reseller, but that’s nothing to worry about for the first batch.

5. The case - That’s our only issue for now, we’re still working on fixing minor issues. It really does take a long time making something near perfect – and that’s what we plan to do. Another problem is that neither CNC nor SLA cases are good enough to check if everything fits perfectly. Don’t worry, there’s already a solution for that. The only thing we had to fix is the height of the DPad (so it works better) and the hinge. The rest was already pretty good. So we most probably won’t need another CNC case, just another DPad which can be done within a few days. We hope Dave will be ready will all that fixes until next week.

Yeah, we know that’s a long time… but because of the financial crisis (once agin…) a lot of guys at Daves work lost their job and he now basically has to do twice the work at his daytime job, leaving him less time to work on the Pandora case. We’re really really grateful he does work on it making it perfect.

Now, onto the solution I mentioned above: The moulding company offered their help. Together with the final model data, they will receive basically a complete Pandora (all parts, LCD, hinge, board, keymat, etc.) and will check before moulding that everything will fit. They are very experienced with stuff like that, so that does help a lot. The downside is that this adds a few more days (moulding now takes approx. 45 days instead of 35) but it will ensure that everything fits and we don’t have to start all over again.That time frame also does allow us to do CE testing and change some stuff if need be without losing any time.

6. Software - Software and drivers are already VERY advanced. Mostly everything works fine, only WiFi is giving some issues. The hardware is fine, lowlevel tests with WiFi do work, but it doesn’t work yet within the Angström image. If we can’t fix it until the Pandora is ready, it will be fixed with an (automatic) firmware update, don’t worry.

So, I hope I could show you what did happen. Of course, there were a lot more boring things going on (organizing between all the companies, signing NDAs, talking about licenses, etc.) but I think I did post the most interesting parts here.

Basically, to put it in a nutshell:

  • Board: Finished and workingKeymat: Finished and in productionAnalogue Nubs: Issue solved, nubs tested and working fine
  • CE Testing: Pending (will be done during case moulding)
  • Case: Last fixes being applied, should go to case mass production company by next week

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