Prototypes ready, let’s proceed to test them.

Finally, the three prototypes are ready as you can clearly see from the pictures below.

The resulting cost of each prototype resulted in 1200 euros (without VAT) higher than what was initially planned due to the global shortages of electronic components that have skyrocketed prices of some important chips. So, more donations are needed to fund these 4392 euros more (1200 x 3 + 22% VAT).

Powerboard Tyche, bottom side.
Powerboard Tyche, top side. The visible biggest gray chip is the CPU NXP T2080 Power Architecture CPU.

Now the Hardware Tests stage has started, but prior to that we still need to solder the HDMI connector that has arrived too late to be included during the production phase.

Soon, our Open Hardware motherboard called “Powerboard Tyche” will be inserted in its notebook body chassis for starting the multiple hardware tests.
Below, you can see a picture of the old dummy PCB used for testing how to fit in the notebook.

Slimbook Eclipse Notebook
The external view of the Notebook body

The notebook specifications are the following:

  • CHASSIS: Slimbook Eclipse notebook case 15,6”
  • CPU: NXP T2080, e6500 64-bit Power Architecture with Altivec technology
    • 4 x e6500 dual-threaded cores, low-latency backside 2MB L2 cache, 16GFLOPS x core
  • RAM: 2 x DDR3L SO-DIMM slots
  • VIDEO: MXM3 Radeon HD Video Card (removable)
  • AUDIO: C-Media 8828 sound chip, audio IN and audio OUT jacks
  • USB: 3.0 and 2.0 ports
  • STORAGE:
  • NETWORK:
    • 1 x Gigabit ethernet RJ-45 connector
    • WiFi connectivity
    • Bluetooth connectivity
  • POWER: on-board battery charger and power-management

Powerboard Tyche PCB source

This work was made using Mentor Expedition and it is ready and uploaded into our repository with all reported issues fixed, including issue number 5, the last one corrected . Thanks to our collaborators we are able to export this work using Altium form so the next days we will publish it and we will try to convert it to Open Source Kicad format ( and probably loosing something in the conversion process) . In our older post we have give more details regarding the PCB sources.

  1. Slimbook Eclipse Notebook

    Pre-certification and CE certification

    €15,017.70 donated of €12,500.00 goal

Eureka! Here we have the Board layout! 15 days to donate 3660 euro left.

We are happy to share to all the donors and followers the Board Layout of our PPC64 Notebook Motherboard!!!

The design of our board layout is meant to fit inside the Slimbook Eclipse body. The PCB Design which is currently being worked on using Mentor Xpedition.

In September 2020 we have published on our gitlab repository the Orcad source file with the latest version (v0.6) of the Electrical Schematics, you can go more deep on these board layout starting from the Orcad source.

Open Hardware PowerPC Notebook Board Layout for Slimbook Eclipse Body – TOP

Open Hardware PowerPC Notebook Board Layout for Slimbook Eclipse Body – BOTTOM

The tentative deadline for Phase1B is 2th November so there are two weeks left to donate the remaining 3660 euros. If we will reach the goal, the PCB with SI bus simulation should be ready by the end of November.

In this case in December 2020 we will work on production of the Prototypes together with the Prototypes Donation Campaign.

We have to give a name to the motherboard, suggestions still remain open few days more on our forum

PCB design updates and updated components list

As we stated in a previous article, we have already contracted ACube Systems and the PCB design work has started. This post is a first report about the work in progress in relation to the PCB design.

These days, the designer is analyzing the Pericom Switch with the direct support of Pericom personnel.

The Pericom PI7C9X2G608GP is a PCIE Gen 2 Switch that provides one upstream port supporting x4 or x1, and 4 or 5 downstream ports that support x1 operation. This chip has a Power Dissipation of 1.2 W.

In our mobo the PI7C9X2G608GP is essential as it allows to connect one 4x PCIe 2.0 controller of the NXP T2080 CPU with four 1x PCIe chips/cards: M.2 3G/LTE card , M.2 WiFi card, 1x Renesas USB3 Controller and 1x C-Media Audio chipset.

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PCB for a Happy New Year!

Orcad Source Schematics Published

At the end of August of 2019 we published the first version of the schematics in pdf format. Then, in October we uploaded the second version and after that the 13th of November we released the Orcad source, accomplishing what we promised.

Schematics Source in EDIF published and ready to be converted to KiCad

Now we have exported it even to EDIF format, to make easier for new volunteers to convert it to Kicad Format. To convert from EDIF to Kicad we have found edif2kicad tools  https://github.com/svn2github/edif2kicad but we are sure you will find other tools or even you will be able to create a new one

OpenStack Debian 10 PPC64 Big Endian created

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Our Open Hardware culture around the cities – videos

Video of the Presentation at Vicenza Linux User Group  – Vicenza – Italy – 26th November 2019

Presented by Roberto Innocenti from Power Progress Community and Enrico Vidale from Acube Systems.

26th November 2019 – Picture of a part of the attenders at ViLug at our speaks

It’s the first time that Power Progress Community and Acube Systems present together the project. This presentation is very comprehensive.

We thanks very much LugVi for the perfect organization and excellent work of video editing done with Olive in Flathub and the good participation from very active and expert people in free software and competent in hardware, that come from all the area (Veneto). It was very exiting and a pleasure to answer to all the questions!

Video of our presentation held the 15th November at sfscons.it Free Software Conference in Bozen, South Tyrol – Italy – where we have talked about “The Butterfly Effect of an Open Hardware Notebook Motherboard”.

Professional photographers of Sfscon.it took pictures of us with our T2080 devkit in our table shared with Linux User Group of Bolzano. You can see running DIY wooden desktop case with the T2080rdb devkit and people  interested that talk with us.

You can see our NXP T2080 Devkit and people interested talking with us
People interested in our project with our brochure

Future Presentations:

Our project will be presented at Paris Open Source Summit ( France)  on 10-11th December thanks to the association April that is devoted to promoting and protecting Free/Libre Software.

European Presentations – Autumn 2019

25th October Valencia – Spain

Guillermo is updating about our project on 25h October 2019 at GNU/Linux Valencia Group

For the second time we were giving a talk to the GNU/Linux Valencia Group, a local Linux group located in the city of Valencia, Spain, which is doing a great job promoting Linux and open source in general. Guillermo gave a brief explanation of the project from the beginning to the present, the objectives, technical specifications, other related projects of the Power Progress Community association, FAQs about the project and so on.

In particular the group was updated about everything that has occurred in the project since the last time we visited them. One of the key points was the collaboration with Slimbook, this collaboration started just because of last year meeting with the group as this company is located at the same city and his CEO is one of the founders of this Valencian group. The company will provide the  laptop body and is supporting our team giving all specifications we need.

You can find an article covering this meeting in the GNU/Linux Valencia group page (in Spanish):

Guillermo PowerPC Notebook Project Presentation slides at Valencia 2019

Linux Day Milano – Italy 26th October 2019

This year we have as expositor our running DIY wooden desktop case with the T2080rdb devkit, with our new Power Progress Community T-shirt, with our Posters with our “Revivo with Scratch” manifest , searching notebook to recondition.

People are quite exited using our PowerPC 64 Desktop based on the same CPU NXP T0280 of our future notebook motherboard.

Many young people reach our table and talk with us.

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Donation Campaign for PCB design of the PowerPC Notebook motherboard

Open Hardware release of the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design for the motherboard of the GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h6-66RyyzU

The initial 2,703 euro of donations of this campaign arrive most from recurring donations that continue to arrive from the old campaign after reached the old campaign goal.

In short:

Our hardware group identified in early 2017 a desirable list of components and a set of features of the laptop. In June 2017 we launched a first donation campaign that was aimed at paying ACube to design the electrical schematics and a year later, in June 2018 we reached the goal of collecting €12,600 and finally started finalizing the design. Here you may download the resulting schematics of the 1st donation campaign.

As of today, the notebook specifications are the following (subject to change):

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The PCB design Donation Campaign has started!

This long awaited campaign finally begins!

Few days ago we announced that Slimbook will provide the enclosure we need for our Open Hardware PowerPC notebook. In addition to that, we have published in our repository the pdf containing the new version of the schematics. Further updates will arrive during the following days ( the Orcad source files will be available during October) 

eletrical schematic of powerpc notebook

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Slimbook to provide the notebook chassis

One of the main points when you are designing a laptop is the relationship between the motherboard and the enclosure. It is not a good idea to design the motherboard if you don’t have the chassis. At the same time, the enclosure has to take into account how the motherboard will be.

Now we are happy to announce that Slimbook will provide the enclosure we need for our Open Hardware PowerPC notebook. ACube and Slimbook are collaborating since the beginning of this year, exchanging information about components disposition and pinouts, thermal dissipation and so on. 

ACube is a well known company with experience in creating PowerPC computers including  Sam460ex and Sam460cr motherboards or the AmigaOne 500 desktop system.

Slimbook is having a great success selling their own Linux laptops (such as the ProX) and mini PCs world-wide.

Due to this collaboration we have almost everything we need to achieve our goal in terms of technology. 

Electrical Schematics final version

We want to update you that first days of October we will publish in our repository the pdf containing the final version of the schematics. After that, during October,  the Orca source will be available as well, tailored for the Slimbook chassis. This means that the design of the PCB will fit inside the Slimbook chassis.

In case you are able to convert Orca source to Kicad you are welcome to do it. If you have any issue when doing so, contact us and we will be happy to provide some help.

New ppc64 applications in our repo

Lastly, we have patched the following applications for ppc64 (Big Endian) : arcticfox, palemoon, mame, fs-uae, libx265, qemu, midori.  They run on PowerMac/ImacG5 ( Power4 processor) but also on more recent Big Endian ppc64 processors such as NXP T2xxx and T4xxx.

We are also working on many other complex applications like Blender that require the creation of dedicated groups for the distribution of the necessary effort.

We’re performing tests, reporting bugs and suggesting workarounds to complete the installation of Debian 10.0 using ISOs released by the maintainers of Debian ports for ppc64be.

If you want to join the software workgroup and help these software tasks feel free to contact us.

Open Hardware Schematic Published in Alpha version

Above all, one of the greatest problems preventing us from finalizing these schematics was the missing chassis required to take a series of very important design decisions. Finally, very recently, a chassis was selected and is now in our hands, paving the way to accomplish the goal.

Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/curtiskennington/3642074604

In April we asked your opinion on either publishing an unfinished work or wait for better quality schematics. The Core Team chose to wait and “Send the information (the work in progress pdf of the schematic design) only to the 132 donors and kindly asking them to not publish”.

At the end of June there was an important meeting between Acube and the designer to discuss the suggestions from our Hardware team, and another topic was how to adapt the schematic to the new chassis. In fact we have prepared the next steps for the PCB design.

So now we have this modified block diagram that could have further few minor changes.

PowerPC Notebook Block Diagram – June 2019

Currently, the designer is working to update the schematics. This task is expected to be completed on August.

In the meantime, the Core Team we voted again in June and this time we have decided to publish the pdf of the current version of the schematic. That does not contain the updates we are expecting in August.

In other words, the schematic that we have uploaded to our repository is the same pre-release version that we have sent to the donors at the end of March 2019, and it should be noted that it is an alpha version. The only difference from the donors’ version is that it contains the recently selected Open Hardware license that is the Cern Open Hardware License v 1.2 (Cern OHL).

We have selected Cern OHL because it is specific for open hardware and it covers aspects regarding hardware production. It has the same viral effects that other open source licenses have but taking into account that there is a licensor of the hardware and another part that is manufacturing it.

The current version of the schematic is published in our repo in gitlab.

https://gitlab.com/oshw-powerpc-notebook/powerpc-laptop-mobo