FC project update and hardware plan

Spacefalcon the Outlaw falcon at ivan.Harhan.ORG
Sun Aug 2 21:09:13 CEST 2015

Das Signal <das.signal at freecalypso.org> wrote:

> After a couple week away I'm back. SF, it's great to hear your progress
> on the hardware side of things! It's also great to have Ineiev on board
> (pun intended), welcome and many thanks for your help :)

Another update on my side: in mid-late July I was contacted by someone
off-list who has an interest in our project - he seems to be looking
into the possibility of using a Calypso modem for some non-standard
application.  I told him that I need to get the FreeCalypso development
board built before I can get back to the firmware bring-up track.  We
discussed several different approaches in terms of time and money etc,
and he offered to do the board design for us.

The off-list person in question doesn't use PADS and he is not familiar
with the available FLOSS ECAD tools either, but he does use Altium
(another big-bucks "professional" proprietary software package) which
can import PCB designs from PADS.  According to my most recent
communication with him, he has already imported the GTA02-MB-A6 PCB
design into him Altium environment successfully, and started tinkering
with it.

I am going to produce a ueda netlist (using my structural Verilog hack
as the design entry language) in which the Calypso core section
corresponds exactly to Openmoko's triband implementation, surrounded
by the interface connectors etc I want, and see if our potential
contributor can produce a PCB design that grafts these peripheral
interfaces we need onto an almost-verbatim copy of Om's modem block.

Of course we shouldn't count on anything for sure until we have a
finished PCB design file in our hands, but if the off-list person in
question comes through with this design, it will help us a lot.  As I
wrote earlier, I am not optimized for doing major PCB layout work
myself (my brain isn't wired for that kind of intensely graphical/visual
work), and I sure as hell don't have the money to hire professionals
at standard commercial rates - hence our hardware subproject is
absolutely dependent on the generosity of volunteers who believe in
the ideals behind our project significantly enough to do PCB design
work for us either gratis or for a far-below-commercial rate.

If we get a FreeCalypso development board design based on Om's triband
modem, we'll able to use this board for all of the development tasks I
have in mind.  For this kind of usage the triband vs. quadband
distinction doesn't really matter, as a dev board of this kind will be
used while stationed comfortably at a lab bench, not while traveling
into exotic parts of the world where the 850 MHz band may be required
for usability.

Whether or not we really need quadband capability in a product for end
users is a question we won't have to face for quite a while, as it
makes no sense to even think about building a phone for end users (as
opposed to a development board) until we get the firmware side of
things much further along than it is now.  However, if we get a triband
development board with the help of our potential contributor and get
it working well, it would then make sense to try building a quadband
version as a more focused exercise: an experiment whose sole purpose
would be to see if a quadband design following Leonardo+ with Epcos
M034F as the RFFE will actually work.

Happy hacking,

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