FCDEV3B V2 progress update

Mychaela Falconia mychaela.falconia at gmail.com
Tue Jul 10 07:01:40 UTC 2018

Hello FreeCalypso community,

I have some progress on the FCDEV3B V2 front:

1) My Altium PCB contractor (John in Colorado) has delivered a set of
gerber files which will hopefully be final for FCDEV3B V2, i.e., will
be used for the upcoming PCB fabrication order.  The files are on the
FTP site.

2) I have placed the orders with Digi-Key (the source for "regular"
parts) and Jotrin (my Chinese grey market supplier for the "difficult"
ones) for all of the parts that will be needed to assemble these

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I plan on starting the process
of ordering new PCBs in another week or two.  The cost for the PCB run
is expected to be somewhere just under 3 kUSD - as my finances stand
currently, I should be able to cover it on my own - and the process of
getting the PCB order placed correctly will involve extensive human
interaction between me and my contacts at the same PCB fab that did
our FCDEV3B V1 boards.  Finally, the assembly will be done once we
have the PCBs and all of the parts.

My already-placed parts orders with Digi-Key and Jotrin are both
quantitied for 20 boards, and I plan on ordering 5 4-up PCB panels,
also for 20 boards.  However, there is no guarantee that 20 good
working boards will come out at the end: we may have yield issues,
or there may be some human error in the assembly process that would
cause one or two panels to be lost.  In other words, 20 boards total,
counting both good and bad ones.

However many good boards we are going to get, they will be available
in two ways:

1) For commercial customers, any member of the general public will be
able to buy one or more boards for $500 apiece, just like before -
they will be tested, known-working boards off the stock shelf, i.e.,
zero risk to the customer.

2) For community members who support the mission of FreeCalypso and
uphold the philosophical principles behind the project, but cannot
afford the $500 price, I will make a limited number of subsidized
boards available at no cost.  My current tentative plan is to give out
up to 4 subsidized boards per year; the exact terms of this subsidy
program have not been worked out yet - I will work out the details
when I actually have some boards to give out - but the basic gist will
be as follows:

* Subsidized boards only for individual hobbyist tinkerers, not for
commercial entities.

* Absolutely no subsidized boards for OsmocomBB - if someone wishes to
run OsmocomBB on our boards, they are more than welcome to do so, but
they would need to pay the full commercial price.  The subsidy program
is for those who are interested in our boards for their Mother-intended
purpose of running our TI-based FreeCalypso firmware.

* FreeCalypso hardware exists for the purpose of running FreeCalypso
sw and fw, not the other way around.  In order to be eligible for a
subsidized board, a candidate recipient would need to express strong
vocal support for the core ideals and values behind FreeCalypso.  My
primary envisioned target audience for this subsidy program is those
people who would love to play with our FreeCalypso modem firmware and
see everything it can do, but can't afford the price of the needed

For commercial users: while you won't be eligible for the subsidy
program, fully tested and known-working boards will be available for
purchase off the stock shelf.  For larger quantities, there will also
be the option of doing custom production runs to order.  All of these
commercial options will become available *after* I build the first
batch of FCDEV3B V2 boards and prove the new design as good.

Hasta la Victoria, Siempre,
Mychaela aka The Mother

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