the long awaited OpenVizsla update!
We'd like to update you on the current progress of OpenVizsla.
When we started on this project, we realized that it would be an expensive and time-consuming process, though we didn't anticipate it would take almost a year (or more).
We have had a few problems along the way which have set things back over the months, but now there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel!
As we've mentioned before, commercial High-Speed USB protocol analyzers (that exist on the market today) are really expensive for what they are. This is partially due to the R&D effort that these companies have had to put into developing and perfecting their products, and this cost is spread out over a relatively small amount of devices sold. They also require highly trained technical support for their customers, who are often desperately in need of a working solution to troubleshoot a product that is on its way out the door. There is little market competition, and most of the customers have deep pockets and just need something they can rely on and use immediately.
With OpenVizsla we want to disrupt that so that we can put high-speed analysis (and not only analysis of USB) into the hands of people that need it the most. We see an unmet need -- for a lower-priced device that is also more flexible, for a wide range of uses (and users!).
We've had to work on OpenVizsla in our spare time as our day jobs (that are also in tech) want the most out of us, but we've found the time to work on OpenVizsla as much as we can.
Creating a product like this is quite a large task, we have to arrange PCBs to be made, order components, deliver components to the manufacturing partner and then deal with transport logistics. This may sound simple (and it usually is for an average home project), but OpenVizsla isn’t one of those simple boards, it is a multi-layer, high-speed board and it has around 150 components that need to be handled correctly.
When we set out to make OpenVizsla we wanted all of the prototype boards to be machine manufactured so that the manufacturing bugs can be ironed out way in advance.
We had a run of prototypes made, and we started the process of getting those R&D boards into the hands of the Core development team. In the process of doing so, we discovered some inconsistencies in manufacturing; rather than send out known-broken boards, we’ve been working with our manufacturing partners and parts vendors to achieve the most consistent and dependable boards possible. To do otherwise will make development of the firmware a nightmare! It’s been a very good lesson in Design For Manufacturability (which has come with some costs, in both time and money!).
We were able to work around some of the problems with manual rework of the boards (reworking dual-row QFN parts and rerouting some signals), but other issues have required making entirely new PCBs (and assembling them, etc).
We are now in the process of manufacturing the final development & prototype board, when those boards are back from manufacturing we'll know very quickly if we've solved the problems that we had previously and we’ll be back on track.
We also have a concurrent task that is running right now, this being the final production board layout..
Currently the OpenVizsla unit is a large board specifically designed and manufactured for easy access to test-points and component pins (along with populated debug connectors etc), this is being reduced in size so that the OpenVizsla will be a nice size and will look perfect on your desk.
We'll take care of debug/JTAG connectors in the production device in a nice way (so that you'll still be able to hack and modify it any way you see fit).
The transition over to the new board isn’t as daunting as it sounds, as we’ve proven the other parts of the board work, so it is a case of reducing the size and rerouting accordingly. We don’t anticipate as many problems with this part of the process (famous last words!) :)
If all goes well, we will have these boards in 2-3 weeks, and then can move on to the final board design. We are also (right now) waiting on t-shirts, muckspreader boards/badges and other bits and pieces!
Thanks to you all for being so patient, it is appreciated and we think that when you see the final result you’ll agree it was worth the wait, this pain and delay right now will help the next engineers and hackers code, reverse-engineer and implement the products of tomorrow. And you have made that happen!
We've included some images (although they are very similar to what we've shown before) but hardware shots are always nice!
Here are some of the boards that we are working on right now -
These are the latest ENIG (gold-plated) PCBs that are being used for the dev prototypes -
Here are some of the last casualties of war -
These are the the older prototypes on the left (HASL which are not Gold), alongside the last prototypes (which are actually very similar to the new run that is happening now) -
pledged of $17,500 goal
seconds to go
Nov 22, 2010 - Dec 22, 2010 (30 days)
Pledge $10 or more
Backers who pledge $10 will be first in line to buy an OpenVizsla when we do our first production run, we'll also send you a badge to say a big 'thank you'.
Pledge $25 or more
Backers who pledge $25 will receive a bare PCB, and a download link with design documents to build their own OpenVizsla analyzer, we also have a cool OpenVizsla badge that we are designing to promote OpenVizsla, these will be limited edition and will only be available to project members and investors.
Pledge $50 or more
Backers who pledge $50 will receive a bare PCB and a printed set of design documents (schematics, PCB prints, BOM) to build their own analyzer. You will also receive a coupon for $50 off an assembled OpenVizsla and a you will be sent a whizzy limited edition OpenVizsla badge.
Pledge $100 or more
Intrepid souls who pledge at least $100 will receive a final OpenVizsla PCB and kit of surface-mount parts to build their own analyzer; advanced SMT soldering skills will be required, you'll also receive the OpenVizsla USB badge.
Pledge $150 or more
Backers who pledge >= $150 will receive plans, a badge, and a bare-bones OpenVizsla board from our initial production run -- add your own cables, power supply and software, and you'll be good to go!
Pledge $250 or more
Backers who pledge $250 or more will receive an individually numbered, finished and tested OpenVizsla board with PSU, case and cables from our initial production run.
Pledge $500 or more
16 backers Limited (4 of 20 left)
Backers who pledge $500 or more will receive 3 individually numbered, finished and tested OpenVizsla boards with PSU, case and cables from our initial production run.
Pledge $1,000 or more
Backers who pledge $1000 or more will receive a PCB or development board at each design stage and they will also have the option to place a logo (or name) on an area of the OpenVizsla PCB and on the 'sponsored by' section of the OpenVizsla project website. When the project is completed the backer will also receive a finished and tested OpenVizsla board with PSU, case and cables, you'll also have access to the private core IRC channel and email list.