New Life in Openmoko Phones

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New Life in Openmoko Phones

Wolfgang Spraul
Hi everybody,
(sorry for the cross-posting, I thought spreading the word about
gta02-core and new stuff from Openmoko was worth it...)

Today Openmoko released additional pieces of documentation about
Freerunner hardware: board outline, footprints and netlist.
Same as all other releases before - under Creative Commons Share-Alike
license.
Available at:
http://downloads.openmoko.org/developer/schematics/GTA02/gta02_outline_footprints_netlist.tar.bz2

What is this and who is it for?
Well, definitely not for end users, not for software developers, not
even the typical kernel hacker.
The release contains cryptic text files containing data points about our
hardware - basically additional information complementing our
PDF-formatted schematics release last year.

The reason we released this is to support an exiting new project that
has emerged over the last few weeks - gta02-core.
http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Gta02-core
"gta02-core is a community project to create a new hardware revision of
the gta02 hardware"
They chose a 100% GPL layout tool, KiCAD
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kicad), which uses only text-based files
hence they can be checked into typical revision control systems. Since
they are text, they are also 'scriptable', i.e. scripts can extract and
process data from the layout files.
Werner and Dave Ball got it rolling, and are currently working on the
re-layout of gta02 (http://docs.openmoko.org/trac/browser/trunk/gta02-core).

The way I see gta02-core is that it opens up a path to new, fully open
phone hardware.
For the future of the software we are all working on right now - whether
it's the kernel, FSO, Paroli/Ophonekit, etc., we either need to design
new fully open hardware specifically for it, or we need to find ways to
hack into phones that are 'closed' by default (either accidentally or on
purpose).
gta02-core focuses on the first option, and I hope will receive more
attention from the community, and definitely from Openmoko the company.
The path is long, even KiCAD itself may need improvements, but if a few
more people get interested and join, we may have new fully open phone
hardware in 6-12 months. No worries, in all this time of course the
Freerunners will remain available (we have enough in stock and are ready
for new production runs if necessary), and hopefully they continue to be
an interesting development platform for mobile free software projects.

Right now, if you want to join the revolution in open hardware
development, read the gta02-core wiki page carefully
(http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Gta02-core), and join the mailing list
(slightly confusingly named gta03 :-)) at
http://lists.openmoko.org/mailman/listinfo/gta03
Then see where you can contribute - it's a wide open field with many
possible tasks, no matter which background you are coming from.
I'll see what I can do.
Best Regards,
Wolfgang


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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

Werner Almesberger
Wolfgang Spraul wrote:
> Today Openmoko released additional pieces of documentation about
> Freerunner hardware: board outline, footprints and netlist.

This is great. Thanks a lot to you and everyone in Openmoko who has
helped to make this happen !

With these files, we'll be able to make a mechanically accurate
board prototype and we can also do more extensive sanity-checking
of the gta02-core design and layout before making any hardware.

So again thanks a lot ! This will help our crazy little project a
good deal.

- Werner

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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

Dave Ball
Werner Almesberger wrote:
> Wolfgang Spraul wrote:
>  
>> Today Openmoko released additional pieces of documentation about
>> Freerunner hardware: board outline, footprints and netlist.
>>    
>
> This is great. Thanks a lot to you and everyone in Openmoko who has
> helped to make this happen !

Ack - Thanks all!

Dave

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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

joakim
In reply to this post by Wolfgang Spraul
Nils Faerber <[hidden email]> writes:

> Wolfgang Spraul schrieb:
>> Today Openmoko released additional pieces of documentation about
>> Freerunner hardware: board outline, footprints and netlist.
>> Same as all other releases before - under Creative Commons Share-Alike
>> license.
>> Available at:
>> http://downloads.openmoko.org/developer/schematics/GTA02/gta02_outline_footprints_netlist.tar.bz2
>
> This is in general great!
>
> But sorry to be a little sceptical here - but hardware != software. What
> I mean is that collaboratively developing software is pretty easy since
> we have the internet to share and most of us have a PC to develop upon.
>
> But with hardware development the situation is a little bit different.
> Even if the collaborate development effort succeeds, i.e. KiCAD is
> sufficient and a hardware design becomes ready, it still needs to be
> produced - and here troubles start, from buying the parts, making PCBs
> etc. running up the whole stack to asembling the whole device and
> testing it. This cannot be done as open source effort with volunteers.
> Here real money is involved - a lot of real money. And this needs to be
> done several times, for prototypes, small A-series, probably a B-series
> and then final devices.
> But you should know better than me about this process (at least by now).
>
> What are the plans or ideas to enable later on production?
> Pleas eget me right, I would love to see such a project succeed and
> maybe even contribute to it but I really cannot imagine any possibility
> how such a hardware production should work in the end without a big
> sponsor in the background.

It was many years since I did any serious electronics work, but from my
uninformed viewpoint this seems to be workable because:
- The case is not changed and can be reused
- no parts are changed so existing inventory at OM can be used for
prototyping

I dont know what making a PCB and populating it costs these days, but if
it costs a couple of hundred euros per populated board, I would sponsor
at least one out of my personal curiosity. I used to be good at
electronics assembly, maybe I could even put it together myself if I
find a SMD oven etc.

> Cheers
>   nils faerber
--
Joakim Verona


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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

Werner Almesberger
Nils Faerber wrote:
> This would be one of the details I am interested in, i.e. would OpenMoko
> Inc. help in making (read as "producing") this new design? With its part
> stock, manufacturing capabilities, etc.?

Access to components is currently under discussion, yes. There are
at least some logistical issues, i.e., the GTA02 components seem to
be at a place where it's difficult to move them. But we're working
on it ...

The idea is indeed that we can get most of the components from
Openmoko. It's not only about the cost of the material but also the
difficulty of sourcing certain parts and the errors that could be
introduced in the process.

> Many of the parts in the GTA02 cannot be reasonably placed by hand.
> There are almost a dozen (or more?) BGA chips which are extremely hard
> to handle (you do not see if the balls match the pads).

Hehe, this reminds me of the usual "SMT sucks, where can I get this
chip in DIP ?" discussion. This question is usually followed by
someone suggesting some more or less crazy scheme that actually does
yield a DIP component, and a number of people explaining their
techniques for soldering SOIC and even SSOP. Then usually someone
chimes in describing how to solder QFN and the like with often
grossly inadequate equipment. And often enough, this ends with hints
for how BGAs can be done with kitchen utensils :)

I'm not sure where exactly the line between "unusual skills and
know-how" and "(not very hard) science fiction" lies. There's scary
stuff out there, though, e.g.,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdqVt0jCBHk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__dEMKzkLYc

Anyway, back to reality. I agree that this needs a real SMT production
line. There are some parts that can be difficult to SMT (buttons,
connectors) that are better hand-soldered, but for most of the items,
you want a properly quality-controlled and automated process.

Please bear in mind that the objective of gta02-core is not to make a
design that's immediately ready for mass-production but to set up the
process and make a small number of prototypes.

If some company should find the result appealing enough to turn this
into a real product and make the corresponding inventments, that would
of course be very welcome. But we can't count on this happening so
far.

If you have contacts with companies that make prototype SMT runs, it
would be interesting if you could get rough cost estimates from them.
Let's assume the following parameters:

- 150-200 different components, all of them in reasonably common
  packages, on tape.
- most difficult component is a 332-FBGA with 0.5 mm pitch (the
  S3C2442B MCP)
- 500-600 components in total.
- 10-20 units produced.

> Then there are
> almost microscopic parts like resistors and capacitors - which pitch?
> 0402 at least if not even 0201 or smaller.

0402 is the smallest. For manual soldering (e.g., rework), size is
less of a problem than density.

- Werner

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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

joakim
In reply to this post by joakim
Nils Faerber <[hidden email]> writes:

>
> He ;)
> Many of the parts in the GTA02 cannot be reasonably placed by hand.
> There are almost a dozen (or more?) BGA chips which are extremely hard
> to handle (you do not see if the balls match the pads). Then there are
> almost microscopic parts like resistors and capacitors - which pitch?
> 0402 at least if not even 0201 or smaller. So populating the board is
> almost impossible by hand without highly qualified tools (and no, a
> tweezer and a stereo-microscope will not suffice).
> But the problem you will encounter beforehand is printing the solder
> paste. Stencil printing such high density with even and correct paste
> distribution is not exactly easy even if you have proper stencil
> printers. Adjusting them, having the right paste to print etc. is high
> art of SMT manufacturing. And finally you need a really proper nitrogen
> flooded full convection reflow oven for good quality soldering of such
> delicate parts (different heat absorption of parts, proper heat
> profiles, good energy distribution, etc.).

Well this just goes to show that the last time I did serious electronics
we prototyped with wire wrap guns and stuff :) At least we made vlsi:s
with vhdl.


>
> So what you really need is a modern manufacturing line, with auto-placer
> for almost all parts. I do not know how many different parts there are
> on the GTA02, probably 100, or even more? This means very high initial
> effort for setting up the machine to pupulate a board. If you then run 1
> or 10 or 100 does not make much difference for the machine cost anymore
> (you just need more parts). The setup effort is the thing that makes
> prototypes or small series such expensive. I just visited another
> electronics maker here in Germany and they have a placement machine
> which can set up to 85000 parts per hour. Compared to something like a
> day for setting up the machine, the time placing the parts is almost
> irrelevant.
>
> The smaller the parts have got in the past the more difficult it has
> become for hobbyists to catch up with technology. It will not take very
> long until home-grown PCBs will be almost impossible to do because all
> the interesting chips come as bare-die only (just the silicon, no case
> or pins).
>
> So what is needed is the real commitment by some professional hardware
> manufacturer to put the new design on one of his lines and care for the
> prototyping and small initial a-series. After the design has proven to
> work a small first production run should be easier to setup since you
> can then give proove that it will work and persuade potential customers
> to pay up-front for the device - or at least a part up-front. That would
> enable buying the parts and paying for setting up the production. I
> think the Open Pandora people did it quite similarly, i.e. they sold
> devices and had them made after sales. If your customers trust you
> enough this can work.
>
> So in the end hardware making is more a matter of money than motivation
> or man power, pitily...
>
> Cheers
>   nils faerber
--
Joakim Verona


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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

Ron K. Jeffries
As an interested observer, a few possibly DUMB Qs:

Q1) So, OpenMoko has not committed to building the 10-20 protos?

Q2) What is design goal? a simple clean up & re-do of GTA02 (less Glamo...)
     in an open source hardware context?

Q3) What is role of OpenMoko organization now? Sell remaining GTA02s?

---
Ron K. Jeffries
http://identi.ca/ronkjeffries/all








On Tue, May 19, 2009 at 11:13,  <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Nils Faerber <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>>
>> He ;)
>> Many of the parts in the GTA02 cannot be reasonably placed by hand.
>> There are almost a dozen (or more?) BGA chips which are extremely hard
>> to handle (you do not see if the balls match the pads). Then there are
>> almost microscopic parts like resistors and capacitors - which pitch?
>> 0402 at least if not even 0201 or smaller. So populating the board is
>> almost impossible by hand without highly qualified tools (and no, a
>> tweezer and a stereo-microscope will not suffice).
>> But the problem you will encounter beforehand is printing the solder
>> paste. Stencil printing such high density with even and correct paste
>> distribution is not exactly easy even if you have proper stencil
>> printers. Adjusting them, having the right paste to print etc. is high
>> art of SMT manufacturing. And finally you need a really proper nitrogen
>> flooded full convection reflow oven for good quality soldering of such
>> delicate parts (different heat absorption of parts, proper heat
>> profiles, good energy distribution, etc.).
>
> Well this just goes to show that the last time I did serious electronics
> we prototyped with wire wrap guns and stuff :) At least we made vlsi:s
> with vhdl.
>
>
>>
>> So what you really need is a modern manufacturing line, with auto-placer
>> for almost all parts. I do not know how many different parts there are
>> on the GTA02, probably 100, or even more? This means very high initial
>> effort for setting up the machine to pupulate a board. If you then run 1
>> or 10 or 100 does not make much difference for the machine cost anymore
>> (you just need more parts). The setup effort is the thing that makes
>> prototypes or small series such expensive. I just visited another
>> electronics maker here in Germany and they have a placement machine
>> which can set up to 85000 parts per hour. Compared to something like a
>> day for setting up the machine, the time placing the parts is almost
>> irrelevant.
>>
>> The smaller the parts have got in the past the more difficult it has
>> become for hobbyists to catch up with technology. It will not take very
>> long until home-grown PCBs will be almost impossible to do because all
>> the interesting chips come as bare-die only (just the silicon, no case
>> or pins).
>>
>> So what is needed is the real commitment by some professional hardware
>> manufacturer to put the new design on one of his lines and care for the
>> prototyping and small initial a-series. After the design has proven to
>> work a small first production run should be easier to setup since you
>> can then give proove that it will work and persuade potential customers
>> to pay up-front for the device - or at least a part up-front. That would
>> enable buying the parts and paying for setting up the production. I
>> think the Open Pandora people did it quite similarly, i.e. they sold
>> devices and had them made after sales. If your customers trust you
>> enough this can work.
>>
>> So in the end hardware making is more a matter of money than motivation
>> or man power, pitily...
>>
>> Cheers
>>   nils faerber
> --
> Joakim Verona
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> hardware mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.openmoko.org/mailman/listinfo/hardware
>

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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

Werner Almesberger
Ron K. Jeffries wrote:
> Q1) So, OpenMoko has not committed to building the 10-20 protos?

No, and Openmoko wasn't actually asked for such a commitment, as
it would not fit with the current focus of Openmoko. If Openmoko
or some other company might be interested at some point in time
to produce devices based on gta02-core, I can't predict.

I expect that PCB and SMT are within the reach of many a hobbyist's
budget. If we can find sponsors who can contribute money or
services, that would of course make things even easier.

> Q2) What is design goal? a simple clean up & re-do of GTA02 (less Glamo...)
>      in an open source hardware context?

Yes, that's basically the idea. I wouldn't even consider the
cleanup per se as such important, but since we're redoing things
anyway, we wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to right a few
wrongs.

> Q3) What is role of OpenMoko organization now? Sell remaining GTA02s?

As far as I know, Openmoko is selling GTA02s and, besides that,
concentrating on the "project B". Openmoko is friendly towards the
gta02-core project, and several people at Openmoko are trying to
help us within their means.

- Werner

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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

Werner Almesberger
In reply to this post by Werner Almesberger
Nils Faerber wrote:
> I also know from experience that some parts are really nasty to get -
> either you do not get them at all or you have to buy large quantaties of
> them.

Oh yes. You wouldn't believe just how often we had that sort of thing
happen to Openmoko. I've learned to treat sourcing with a healthy dose
of paranoia.

> I know at least three such companies, one beeing in my home town. For
> such a large number of different components 10-20 units will be
> *extremely* expensive.

Seems to be about EUR 200-300 for 10 units. With the PCBs costing
around EUR 200 apiece, that would be around EUR 500 for the production.
Okay, that's about what I would have guessed. Limited editions are
always a bit pricy :-)

> Those are of course just very rough numbers. It also depends on type of
> parts, how many of which type, etc. But as a first rough figure it could do.

Sure. Thanks a lot for the estimate !

> 0402 is OK - we can do this in our work-shop, but that's smallest we can
> do ;) Density is indeed another critical issue. And pitily we cannot do
> any BGA at all. What we have is the "Expert" from Essemtec:

Very nice equipment :-)

- Werner

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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

Sean Moss-Pultz
In reply to this post by Werner Almesberger
On Wed, May 20, 2009 at 3:35 AM, Werner Almesberger <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Q3) What is role of OpenMoko organization now? Sell remaining GTA02s?
>
> As far as I know, Openmoko is selling GTA02s and, besides that,
> concentrating on the "project B". Openmoko is friendly towards the
> gta02-core project, and several people at Openmoko are trying to
> help us within their means.

For sure. When you guys get ready for the first build, I'll find a way
to help. I'm open to donating some parts and time. This is a great
project!

  -Sean

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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

Werner Almesberger
In reply to this post by Werner Almesberger
Nils Faerber wrote:
> Wouldn't it be more fruitful to create a project that is only concerned
> about providing the best possible tools, hardware and software, for
> braking into and reverse engineering existing devices?

There are already a number of projects that do exactly this, such
as OpenEZX and gnufiish. There are a number of limitations to this
approach, though:

- there's always the risk that you can't "forcibly open" some
  important chips

  E.g. see the still large number of "0%" items on
  http://gnufiish.org/trac/wiki/Project_Status

- it's difficuly to get power management right without knowing
  exactly what goes on in the device

- even if you succeed, there's no guarantee that the vendor won't
  make some changes for the worse (from the Open Source point of
  view) in new revisions of the product.

  E.g., OpenWRT got bitten by a radical change of the core system
  architecture of the WRT54G. Luckily, LinkSys/Cisco could be
  convinced to make a variant specifically targetted for Linux.

- worse yet, considering the amount of time such reverse engineering
  takes and the short life cycles of these products, the product may
  already have been replaced by the time you catch up. This means
  that it will be very difficult to spread such opened devices
  outside a groups of very determined enthusiasts.

  E.g., consider the age of the hardware OpenEZX, being in fairly
  good shape as far as the software is concerned, uses.

Of course, none of this means that this approach is guaranteed to
fail, there is the success story of the WRT54G, but that's also
a much simpler and extremely long-lived device.

So the bottom line is that I don't think this approach can only
scale if you can convince the company whose phone you "opened" to
cooperate with you. And it's unlikely that they would be able to
open their design, even if you could convince them they should.

On the other hand, the approach where you own the design can be
brought to mass-production with anyone's support. Even a small
carrier or a consortium of interested parties could do it.

Furthermore, an open design lowers the barrier of entry for people
who want to make variants. Not only do they not have to license
the design, but they also don't depend on a single company to
support them.

> Hardware is needed in the form of good debug adapters. Those would be
> much easier to have made than a complete phone device. Good software is
> needed for the hardware debuggers and also for disassembly analysis,
> protocol analysis etc.

I think in terms of tools, both approaches can share a lot. A
protocol analyzer will help you debug your own implementation
just as well as it will help you to discover a vendor's mystery
protocol.

- Werner

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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

Werner Almesberger
In reply to this post by Sean Moss-Pultz
Sean Moss-Pultz wrote:
> For sure. When you guys get ready for the first build, I'll find a way
> to help. I'm open to donating some parts and time. This is a great
> project!

Wonderful, thanks a lot ! Access to parts is probably the single
most important condition for the success of this project.

The task is getting easier every day. Time to roll up our sleeves ! :)

I just added a list of areas where help is welcome to the Wiki:
http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Gta02-core#How_can_I_help.3F

- Werner

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Re: New Life in Openmoko Phones

Rafael Campos
In reply to this post by Werner Almesberger
On Fri, May 22, 2009 at 12:31 PM, Nils Faerber
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Werner Almesberger schrieb:
>> Nils Faerber wrote:
>>> Wouldn't it be more fruitful to create a project that is only concerned
>>> about providing the best possible tools, hardware and software, for
>>> braking into and reverse engineering existing devices?
>>
>> There are already a number of projects that do exactly this, such
>> as OpenEZX and gnufiish. There are a number of limitations to this
>> approach, though:
> [...]
>
> Fully aggree about all the limitations - we have all been there, tried
> that and failed to various degrees.
>
> What I am wondering is if it would be possible by providing a single
> project putting together all the bits and pieces and developing the glue
> could solve the problems that reverse engineering usually suffers from.
>
> For example it is currently still a major pain to setup and configure
> OpenOCD correctly for your target. Would it probably be possible to
> develop a large part library and create proper auto detection? That will
> automagically detect the JTAG chain, parts on it and offer programming
> and debugging options?
> Collect and integrate tools for signal analysis, decoding, disassembling
> etc. in a manner like KiCAD - collect and integrate well along with
> simple hardware designs to attach to target devices.
>
> I also think that reverse engineering projects have become easier
> recently since many of the design houses and manufacturers do not
> reinvent the wheel everytime they make a new device. They rather base on
> reference designs and do only slight modifications. Not all of them of
> course, but enough to satisfy the open source community with a variety
> of devices.
> I think of devices like the HTC ones that have become easier and easier
> to hack over the years.
> There are of course beasts that are unlikely to be hacked anytime soon,
> like some of the Motorola ones or almost all Nokia phone devices (I
> don't know of any hack trying to break into a Series60 device though
> they should be able to run Linux).

I've a phone not working properly that could be used for this
purpousses. The problems are that i didn't know a lot about the Nokia
architecture, and i'm not able to read some "JTAG like" interface.
They have MDBUs ,but i didn't know f this is enough.
In the other hand most of the hardware (at least CPU) are ASICS that
make harder to develop anything over them.
If you have any "documentation" or tip to start some hacking on these
devices, i would be really happy to start it.

>
>> Of course, none of this means that this approach is guaranteed to
>> fail, there is the success story of the WRT54G, but that's also
>> a much simpler and extremely long-lived device.
>>
>> So the bottom line is that I don't think this approach can only
>> scale if you can convince the company whose phone you "opened" to
>> cooperate with you. And it's unlikely that they would be able to
>> open their design, even if you could convince them they should.
>
> This is indeed unlikely, for many "good" reasons.
>
>> On the other hand, the approach where you own the design can be
>> brought to mass-production with anyone's support. Even a small
>> carrier or a consortium of interested parties could do it.
>>
>> Furthermore, an open design lowers the barrier of entry for people
>> who want to make variants. Not only do they not have to license
>> the design, but they also don't depend on a single company to
>> support them.
>
> The setup cost is still very unattractive even if you want to build a
> project with a respectable number of devices.
> I would be extremely glad if a manufacturer would jump on such a train!
> But I am sceptical about it.
>
>>> Hardware is needed in the form of good debug adapters. Those would be
>>> much easier to have made than a complete phone device. Good software is
>>> needed for the hardware debuggers and also for disassembly analysis,
>>> protocol analysis etc.
>>
>> I think in terms of tools, both approaches can share a lot. A
>> protocol analyzer will help you debug your own implementation
>> just as well as it will help you to discover a vendor's mystery
>> protocol.
>
> He :)
>
> The world could be so much better if mobile devices would be as open as
> PCs - then we could save so much effort and do what we all really like
> to do, develop software and not tools to develop software.
>
>> - Werner
> Cheers
>  nils faerber
>
> --
> kernel concepts GbR        Tel: +49-271-771091-12
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> http://www.kernelconcepts.de
>
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>

Best Regards

--
___________
Rafael Campos
o0 Methril 0o
http://openblog.methril.net/

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