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The world's first JavaScript microcontroller. Develop intelligent devices quickly and easily.
The world's first JavaScript microcontroller. Develop intelligent devices quickly and easily.
1,692 backers pledged £100,710 to help bring this project to life.

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Espruino Production

Posted by Gordon Williams (Creator)
10 likes

Just a quick update to let you know how everything is going:

Production has been underway at Seeed (using their pick and place machines), and the Espruino boards are almost all manufactured now...

What you see above is by no means all the boards either - we're getting 4000 of them produced! Seeed are now working hard to program every board with the Espruino Firmware, and then to test them. While this is all going smoothly, it is taking longer than they expected, so I don't think that the boards will be finished as quickly as I'd hoped and it will probably mean that most of you will get your rewards in January.

When the first half of boards are fully produced they'll be sent over to England where I'll start packing them into each kit. All the major parts have either arrived, or will arrive in the next few days. I have 10,000 LED lights behind me!

There's some good news there too. The LED lights were made with a connector on each end so that they can be daisy-chained, and I'll be including matching plugs and sockets so that you can easily connect them to your Espruino board.

I also managed to get the kit parts more cheaply than I'd expected, so for the starter and ultimate kits I've included some extras!

Postage

Thanks to everyone who has got back to me with their shipping address and phone number. I'm sorry to have had to ask you for your phone numbers as well - however if my experience of importing into the UK is anything to go by, it will make delivery of your reward go much more smoothly.

However there are still THIRTY PEOPLE who have not given me their address - despite 4 separate reminder e-mails over the course of about 3 weeks. If you're one of these people, please e-mail me your address and phone number right now. I've already had to send off shipment information to Seeed, and while I'll be sending off some last-minute additions at the end of the week, if you're not on that list I'll only be posting your rewards out in the new year.

and finally...

If you haven't already seen it (I know some of you have), there's another KickStarter project from England that you might be interested in - it's now in its final few hours...

It's another microcontroller board, but this one runs the Python programming language (instead of JavaScript). If you like Python, check it out... It's called Micro Python: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/214379695/micro-python-python-for-microcontrollers

Production Update...

Posted by Gordon Williams (Creator)
15 likes

In the past few days Seeed have been hard at work getting ready for production, and everything looks good. They estimate that they're still on track to get the boards made by mid December. Hopefully I'll have some pictures of the manufacturing process for you in a week or two!

If you supported us at a reward tier where you'd get a board, you should have got a survey e-mail asking for your address - please fill it in as soon as possible so I can get the shipping arranged.

When backing, you may have forgotten to add extra for shipping if you weren't in the UK - I've already heard from a few of you where this has happened. Please don't worry though - I'll check the addresses and amounts when I get the results back, and I'll send out e-mails and payment instructions in any case where there is a problem.

I've also been hard at work trying to source all the parts for the various Espruino kits, which will be put together here. Everything is looking good, and parts should be starting to arrive very soon.

Software Update

Now the hardware is in Seeed's capable hands, we've been making huge strides with the software - especially with people like Juergen contributing heavily to the Web IDE (thanks!).

Just a few of the things we've added are:

  • Ability to update the firmware of your Espruino Board from within the Web IDE
  • When you write code on the right-hand side of the Web IDE, syntax errors are marked just like spelling mistakes.
  • CC3000 support - you can now connect to WiFi and easily become an http client or server, with the same API as node.js
  • Module support - Now, when you write code in the Web IDE that uses modules, minified versions of those modules will automatically be downloaded from the internet - even if your Espruino board doesn't have an SD card or CC3000 module.
  • More modules, example projects and documentation for things like the Nokia LCDs, 20x4 LCDs and Wii Nunchucks

I know some of you are trying Espruino out on other boards - while all this code is on GitHub, not all of it is 'released' yet - for example the Web App on the Chrome Web Store doesn't yet contain all these features, nor do the binaries on the Espruino website. If you want to try these things out ahead of time you'll have to get them direct from GitHub.

Test fixture and final designs now ready for production

Posted by Gordon Williams (Creator)
9 likes

Just to let you know what's been going on in the last two weeks... There's one bit of bad news which I'll get out of the way first, and then I'll get onto the good stuff:

Just after the last update, Seeed ordered the processor that they'll need to make the boards. In the last update I said that we'd be able to supply the slightly better RDT6 processor instead of the RCT6, however when we went to order the processor the supplier was out of stock and there was a 10 week lead time (which would obviously delay production of the boards). We made the decision to go back to the RCT6 processor (as advertised in the KickStarter) in order to make sure that the boards could be produced on time. I'm sorry about that, and I know some of you will be disappointed - however I think it's worth it so we can get you your rewards on time.

That's the only bad news. Everything else is going great. I tested the latest 1v3 prototype and it works perfectly, and the test fixture is finally complete and is on its way to Seeed in China as we speak. It'll mean that Seeed can test the Espruino boards they produce more quickly and reliably. The test fixture automatically writes the correct Espruino software onto the board, verifies it, and then tests every pin on the board for shorts and correct operation.

Seeed now have the final schematics and BOM for the board, and should get the test fixture on the 15th November. They'll be able to start production in the new few days now - and this should take between 3 and 4 weeks, which will mean that the boards will be ready by the 15th December. Single boards, low power wireless kits, multicolour light kits and pre-orders from our site will be sent out from China, so you may get the boards in December, however given how slow the post is at that time of year I'm afraid this is unlikely.

The other kits will be sent out from England after I get the shipment from China so they will arrive little bit later, however you should still get your boards in early January.

Finally, on 8th October the Great British Node Conf let me give a talk on Espruino. They recorded it and put it online, so if you'd like to see me trying to make a self-opening bin, it's below...

Progress so far

Posted by Gordon Williams (Creator)
34 likes

It's been around 2 weeks since the last update, so I thought I'd let you all know how we're getting on. Marianne and I moved to a new house last week, so things haven't been as quick as I'd have liked in the last few days, but they'll be speeding up again now. I'm now in Santa Clara until the 30th for mbed Connect, the ARM TechCon and some other meetings.

On the software side, work's been progressing well. We've been responding to feedback and a lot more work has been done on bugfixes and JavaScript compatibility and it's looking pretty good now. We've also tested the software on some of the other boards, and have now updated the pre-built software images on the website (it used to be a build that was left over from before KickStarter).

We've also changed the website, so it uses documentation that is auto-generated from GitHub (so feel free to contribute changes and additions!). There's now a cool search capability too so you'll be able to quickly find the information you need.

On the hardware side things are happening as well. We'd hoped that we could send rev 1.2 (sent out to the impatient developers) straight to production, but after some feedback and more testing we've decided to make a few more changes:

  • Moving some vias to avoid potential shorts
  • Allowing the reset button to be used to a second general-purpose button
  • Improving the silk screen markings
  • Changing the connections for the 3 LEDs (the old connections didn't supply enough current to drive the LEDs brightly)
  • Adding pads for a 32kHz crystal (for those that might want to use Espruino as a clock)
  • Change to the STM32F103RDT6 processor

This last one is a big one - having looked around at the prices of processors in these quantities, we can actually afford to use a better processor. This means that Espruino will now have 384kB of Flash instead of 256, and 64kB of RAM instead of 48!

Sadly the changes have meant that we haven't been able to get the boards into production as quickly as we'd have liked (we're making one more prototype just to be absolutely sure of our changes). The prototype will be finished and tested this coming week and we should be able to get the boards in production by mid-November - so we're still well on track to get your boards out by January, if not before.

- Gordon

Since last time...

Posted by Gordon Williams (Creator)
20 likes

It's been a while since the last update, but we're still hard at work...

There have been a huge amount of questions since the source code has been released, and already there have been some great contributions (special thanks to Eyal!). It's not just code that's helpful though - if you've tried Espruino on a different dev board then tutorials or write-ups of any projects would be a huge help to all our backers. We've been updating a repository (https://github.com/espruino/EspruinoDocs) which we'll be using to create new documentation on our website in the next week or two.

Espruino now has its own USB bootloader, which means that when you get your board you'll be able to easily update it and add new features. Not only that but it's been designed so you'll be able to update your board with a few clicks in the Chrome Web App, without any special software. We managed to get that done in time for the Impatient Developer rewards, so they're now sent out and will be able to work with the latest versions of Espruino (without having to plug anything else in).

We've also just received the parts we need to make the testing jig. This is one of the last bits we need before we can start mass producing the boards, and we're making sure that it can test as much of the board as possible.

Finally - Yesterday, I gave a talk at the first ever Great British Node Conference - live-coding an Espruino-powered, self-opening bin (using the latest Espruino boards and software). A big thanks to everyone involved for being so helpful and enthusiastic - especially the ones that had already backed Espruino on KickStarter (hello!). Follow @espruino (or GBNC - @britishnodeconf) on twitter and we'll let you know when the videos make it online!