Spartixed - Update 4/22/2016

April 22nd, 2016

The First batch of 50 Spartixed board arrived from manufacturing house last week and we are able to test at least the following

1. 7 Segment Display
2. LEDs
3. Push Button Switches
4. Slide Switches
5. SPI Flash

The Assembly house made a mistake in swapping two resistors, which resulted in dim glowing of one of the 7 segements of the 7 Segment LED Display. We now have to do swap it back on all 50 boards.

R9_R14

I will let you guess the correct position of R14 and R9 in the picture above.

This is the section of the affected circuit.

R9_R14_schem

The good news is that these boards are built with LX9 ( 144 Pins) and not the LX4 as initially suggested on Kickstarter.

Yesterday ( on 4/21/2016) we shipped 7 Spartixed to the US backers who wanted only the Spartixed ( and not the programmer). These should work well with Xilinx Platform Cable ( including the ability to program the in built Flash).

We then moved on to test the Board and the ability to program the board using the low cost Reference Designer's USB programmer - XIFT1. It worked wonderfully and we were able to program the Xilinx board using XC3SPROG.EXE. The

Everything worked fine till we started trying to program the Flash using XC3SPROG.EXE. It turned out that XC3SPROG.EXE will not recognize Winbond W25Q16DVSSIG that was populated on our board. We then replaced the Flash with Macronix Part No MX25L6445EM2I-10G and it worked like charm.

With this we have the Spartixed and the low cost USB programmer both verified. We are now all set to start shipping the boards early next week when the USB programmer arrives. We will have test these before we can say anything with certainty.

We will be publishing more details about the project and more details need to be placed as the boards ship.

Update 4/23/2016

While the Macronix Part No MX25L6445EM2I-10G will work with XC3SPROG, Xilinx iMPACT is not happy with it. The MX25L6445 is not listed as one of the SPI Flashes supported in its list. Fortunately there seem to be a work around mentioned here . Basically you need to create and set environment variable XIL_IMPACT_SKIPCODECHECK to 1 in your computer and choose N25Q64 as the device fixes it.

A better option could be to use a Flash device that is supported in iMPACT as well as XC3SPROG. The iMPACT tool lists following 64 MBit flashes that needs to be tried.

Atmel - AT45DB642D
Micron - M25P64
Micron N25Q64

More update later.

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Hubpixed - Raspberry Pi Zero Hub without Cable or Connector

April 17th, 2016

Raspberry Pi Zero is a great $5 Single Board Computer with HDMI. It unfortunately has only one Micro USB port which make it difficult to use. Hubpixed is a great USB Hub for Pi Zero that will extend 4 USB Type A ports and does not require any cable or connector.

Hubpixed was one of the great projects at Kickstarter backed by 125 persons. It is now being made available to others at reference designer, at a price of $8. Click on Add to Cart to proceed

Hubpixed - USB Hub for Pi Zero
Hub for Raspberry Pi Zero, Shipping is $5 in US
$8.00

Shipping and handling charge is $5 and we are shipping only in US now through reference designer. For International shipping, please email us at info@referencedesigner.com. For UK, you may purchase it at ebay.co.uk and search for hubpixed.

hubpixed_complete

This is how it looks like when paired with Raspberry Pi Zero.

Raspberry_Pi_Zero_Hub


Customer Feedback on ebay

Here is a snapshot of what customers at ebay say

hubpixed-ebay-customer-feedbacks

You can also buy this product at amazon. Search for Hubpixed at amazon.

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Spartixed Successfully funded on Kickstarter - Update

April 6th, 2016

On March 30, 2016, the Spartan 6 Evaluation board, nicknamed Spartixed Successfully raised $2,991 USD with 40 backers. We thank all backers who supported this board. Our sincere apology for not posting update on this project.

We were busy with fulfilling the earlier hubpixed project ( also on kickstarter) that kept us busy for a while. It is almost complete and gives us some time to work on the Spartixed.

50 Spartixed Boards Arrived

The good news is that we have 50 manufactured Spartixed boards in hands that arrived couple of days ago. We tested it and it looks nice. In the coming days all the boards will be tested and packaged for shipping.

We will also start shipping it soon. It will be shipped first to the backers who have backed only the Spartixed and not the USB programmer. We assume that you already have a programmer - something like Xilinx USB Parallel Cable. If you are a kickstarter backer and did not back for the USB programmer, and you wish to have one, please send a message through kickstarter.

USB Programmer Ordered for manufacturing

The USB programmer was ordered for manufacturing on Monday, 4/4/2016 and they take 10 to 12 days to manufacturer. Add three days of shipping to it and we are looking for a dock date of around April 20 2016. Once the USB programmer arrives, it will be tested and the shipping should start right after that. Expect to receive the Spartixed and the USB programmer before the end of this month.

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International Shipping of Hubpixed

April 6th, 2016

The hubpixed has been shipped to all the US Backers. By now all the US backers should have received it. We have generally good feeback from those who have used it. Mark uploaded the following picture on flicker .

Mark-hubpixed

This is Mark's comment

Added a "hubpixed" four port USB hub to the piZero I use as a status projector... makes it easier to keep the wifi antenna vertical, when it's not hooked up through an adapter cable. (Assembly is no-fuss: four screws, pogo pins on the underside of the hub connect to test-pads on the underside of the piZero.) A solid approach, especially for a system I wasn't going to bother putting into a case anyway...

I hope others will also share their experience as well.

The international shipping is unfortunately delayed. We managed to find someone in UK who is going to deliver it locally in UK. We also found a source that can ship locally in Canada. For other countries, including EU, we do not have a distribution in place.

To complicate the matter a little more, we are close to out of stock and replenishment stock that was supposed to arrive by now has been delayed and is now expected to be in stock by April 13, and this is when the International shipping will resume.

We again apologize to everyone outside US for the delay. But it allowed us to learn about the supply chain and we hope to be better prepared for our next project on kickstarter.

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Raspberry Pi Zero Hub Shipped

March 29th, 2016

The Raspberry Pi Zero Hub has been shipped to all US kickstarter backers. On Saturday March 19, 2016, we shipped to all who had backed machine assembled hubpixed. On Monday March 28th, 2016, we shipped to "almost all" the US backers. "Almost" because we shipped 3 of them today on March 29th 2016. We also did not get the Address of couple of backers in the survey response. We are sending separate messages to them.

The hubpixed has been shipped from Foxboro MA, so the East coast residents will be the first to get these. The West Coast and Southern State residents may have to wait until the early next week to receive their packet. If you do not receive your packet by early next week, please send us a message on kickstarter or email us. We will be glad to help you.

Please do not forget to share your experiences in other forums, for example, the Raspberry Pi Zero forum, facebook and other hardware hacking forum.

International shipping will commence on Thursday. I wished I had not to deal with International shipping. I am still in the process of figuring out how best to handle International shipment. Few distributors have been contacted and we still have to hear from them.

We will shortly publish the country wise data on the number of kickstarter buyers. Stay tuned and enjoy your cable free Raspberry Pi Hub.

Update 3/30/2016

Following two persons have either not taken survey or have not submitted their addresses. We are awaiting their response to ship hubpixed.

Anthony Van Dine
Michael Bolens

Update 3/30/2016

Received Michael Bolens address and it will ship tomorrow.

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Hubpixed - First Lot of 200 arrives

March 23rd, 2016

On March 13, 2016 the funding process for Hubpixed successfully completed raising $3,194 from 125 backers at kickstart. We had ordered the manufacturing of 200 Hubpixed and these were supposed to arrive on March 16 by DHL ( see tracking number http://www.dhl-usa.com/en/express/tracking.html?AWB=2202902111&brand=DHL). In light of this schedule, we had indicated shipping of hubpixed before schedule. However, the DHL driver delivered the packet at a wrong address and the customer support service from DHL were of little. Finally I received some clue from the local DHL manager and based upon that we literally started combing operation in neighborhood of the intended shipping address. We finally located it ( on March 22, 2016) and it was a big relief.

We have tested the manufactured Hubpixed, and it worked like charm. The Keyboards, mouse, the pogo pins all work as expected.

Shipping Schedule

The shipping will commence on March 24th and US recipients will be the first to get hubpixed. We expect to ship to all US customers no later than Monday, March 28th 2016. We expect to ship it to all international customers as well by Wednesday, March 30th 2016.

There is some work involved even after the boards arriving from the manufacturing house. The Pogo Pins are being populated manually. The design is such that one of the USB connectors ( J3) need to be populated after the Pogo Pins are populated. Finally, we add the posts on the board, that will allow easy attachment to the Raspberry Pi Zero. We will post some pictures soon.

Pogo Pin Design Change

Our initial prototype had surface mount Pogo Pins. During the careless handling some of these pogo pins were knocked off. We therefore decided to use the through hole Pogo Pins. We were a little bit nervous, if the things could go wrong in last minute as the through hole pins may turn out to be different. Fortunately, everything worked as expected.

Initial Backers for manual assembly boards

We had indicated that the initial backers will get the boards earlier and these will be manually assembled. Since we found that the machine assembled boards had surface mount pogo pins that gets knocked off, we decided not to ship these to the initial backers. They will now also get the machine assembled one. The first lot of will be shipped to the initial backers.

Finally

Hubpixed is all set to finally make it to the customers. We thank everyone who supported this project. If you need any customization to this board, or you need any help with the design please contact at info @referencedesigner.com

This is also the email to contact, if you do not receive your board by April 15, 2016. We will be glad to assist you.

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