NZ$ 2,032
pledged of NZ$ 7,550pledged of NZ$ 7,550 goal
11
backers
8days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, September 30 2019 4:00 AM UTC +00:00.

Project-X: The production ready development board

A limitless development board for those looking to make smaller scale products.

Project-X: The production ready development board

A limitless development board for those looking to make smaller scale products.

NZ$ 2,032
pledged of NZ$ 7,550pledged of NZ$ 7,550 goal
11
backers
8days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, September 30 2019 4:00 AM UTC +00:00.

About

Finding the right hardware for your project can be challenging enough, but what if you want to make a small pilot run to test the waters? Development boards are often very costly and generally not suitable for field deployment. On top of that, development boards are rarely designed to be deployed in a product. These are some of the reasons why we developed Project-X, a new type of development board that can take you from prototyping to pilot runs to full scale production.

When we were planning Project-X, we looked at the wide range of development boards in the market, as well as considered what our customers were asking for and put some thought into the overall product design. As such, we created a very flexible Pico-ITX board that offers a range of features that you won’t find on our competitors’ products. At the same time, it’s a product that’s compatible with industry standard housings, something that can be a major hurdle when it comes to productising your projects.

We’re ready to go into production with Project-X, as all the product development and testing has been done. As we don’t have our own SMT factory, we need to meet a certain minimum order quantity for the production to start and this is why we’re here asking for your support. We already have some customers lined up, but it’s not quite enough to meet the production target, so we wanted to try a different way to find more customers for Project-X. 

The Hardware

Our goal is to offer a range of products over time, but the first family of Project-X boards, the A1-series, comes with three different SoC choices from AllWinner, the H2+, the H3 and the H5. This allows for different features depending on the processing and graphics/video capabilities you need for your project. 

Below is a product comparison between the three models. However, we’d like to point out some features here as well. For example, the expansion header supports USB connectivity and 12V power. The boards also features a dedicated EEPROM for things like MAC addresses and SPI flash for U-Boot etc. which makes them much harder to brick than other development boards. Another feature to further help software development is the inclusion of USB OTG via a micro USB port. This gives you drag and drop access to the eMMC memory (requires software implementation), which makes it easy to transfer new files across during software development.  

Power

Another feature you won’t find on most development boards is support for a PoE module. On the boards offered here, we’ve added a header into which the PoE module can be easily attached, but for custom orders, the PoE modules would be soldered to the boards. The Project-X family of boards can also be powered by either a standard 12V power brick with a barrel plug, or an internal 12V power supply. 

Expandability

All three models also works with a range of mezzanine boards that we’re developing. A free Raspberry Pi mechanical adapter will be included with the boards. This allows for Raspberry Pi hats to be used for initial testing and development, although some work will be required on the software side, as the GPIO configuration is different to the Raspberry Pi. 

Pin-out diagrams

Below you'll find the pin-out diagrams of the main 40-pin header, as well as the secondary 20-pin header. Some of the pins are muxed and as such is one of two different functions. Note that the SCR pins on the secondary 20-pin header are for a smart card reader interface. Pin 01, 03, 05 and 07 on the primary 40-pin header corresponds to a standard PC USB pin-header.

Software support

Although we’re big fans of open source software, we don’t want to call this an open source project, simply because we can’t provide open source drivers for all of the components. That said, Project-X is compatible with many different Linux distributions, as well as Android. We’ll provide basic OS images, as well as standard drivers and any tools needed. The rest is up to you. Obviously we’ve made sure that everything is functional so you can start using your Project-X board straight away.

Bundles

To make it easier to get started with developing with Project-X, in addition to the Raspberry Pi mechanical adapter, which is included with all rewards, we’re also bundling a few things to help you get started. The standard bundle includes an international 12V2A power adapter, a thermal pad and a heatsink/stand. Note that the heatsink isn’t required for normal operation, but we suggest it if your application is very CPU intensive and it also makes a great stand for the board to protect the bottom from accidental damage.

We’ll also offer bundles with a PoE module for those that wants to power their boards this way. This bundle also includes a USB to serial TTL adapter for console access and a micro USB cable. This bundle is otherwise be identical to the regular bundle.

We understand that not everyone needs the accessories, but we felt that the additional cost would be worth it for most of our backers, compared to buying just a bare board.

What’s next

As soon as this campaign has ended, assuming we reach our goal, we’ll start the manufacturing of the boards. We’ve added enough time to the pledges so we can make sure ship all the products in a timely manner, as there’s nothing more frustrating than a delayed crowdfunding project. 

Project-X was designed to be a family of products as mentioned above and we’re already developing addition products with different SoC’s and different feature sets to meet various requirements. We’re also going to offer additional mezzanine boards in the future, such as the ones shown here.

For those of you that consider moving forward with mass production of a product developed around Project-X, we’re also here to help. We can obviously help develop custom mezzanine boards specifically to your requirements, but we can also develop custom boards if that’s preferred. 

Thanks for taking a look at Project-X and hopefully you’ll back us and tell your friends about our products.

Manufacturing Plan

We’ve already produced a few small batches of boards and we will be starting the production of the boards as soon as the campaign ends. The board production normally takes about two weeks time, although this is based on production line availability, since we don’t own an SMT factory. That said, we expect to have the boards ready within 4-6 weeks after the campaign ends.

Support & Documentation

We’ve set up a customer facing website for Project-X at https://project-x.com.tw/ where you will be able to find additional documentation, a support forum and links to all the software you need to get started. 

About 

Project-X was developed by ActPower Taiwan Ltd., which was established in 2009 by a group of engineers and product managers with a long history in the embedded computing market. We specialise in custom product design and development, as well as production and assembly services to offer the best custom made solutions for you. 

Risks and challenges

Production and shipping: As already mentioned, we’re confident we’ll be shipping on time, as the mass production will kick off as soon as this campaign has ended. As such, we don’t foresee any issues here.

Unexpected technical issues: We’ve already produced small pilot run batches of the boards and are about to send some of these out to select media. As with any electronics, there can be issues, but we’re confident in our board design and don’t anticipate any hardware related issues. However, there might be software related issues that we haven’t been able to predict, but our goals is to try and help and resolve these if and when they may occur.

VAT, import duties and other taxes: While we are shipping globally, you will be responsible for any VAT, import duties and other taxes that you might have to pay to receive your board. The boards will be shipped from Taiwan by registered and insured post.

All products come with a one year limited warranty. Any return shipping costs would have to be covered by the backer, although ActPower will cover the cost of sending a replacement product if the faulty products is deemed to be within the terms of the warranty.

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    Pledge NZ$ 69 or more About US$ 44

    Super Early Bird - H2+, 512MB, 8GB eMMC

    One Project-X board with AllWinner H2+ SoC, 512MB of RAM, 8GB eMMC, Power adapter, heatsink/stand (w/ thermal pad) and RPi adapter.

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    Early Bird - H2+, 512MB, 8GB eMMC

    One Project-X board with AllWinner H2+ SoC, 512MB of RAM, 8GB eMMC, Power adapter, heatsink/stand (w/ thermal pad) and RPi adapter.

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    Super Early Bird - H3, 1GB, 8GB eMMC

    One Project-X board with AllWinner H3 SoC, 1GB of RAM, 8GB eMMC, Power adapter, heatsink/stand (w/ thermal pad) and RPi adapter.

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    Regular price - H2+, 512MB, 8GB eMMC

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    Early Bird - H3, 1GB, 8GB eMMC

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    Pledge NZ$ 84 or more About US$ 53

    Regular Price - H3, 1GB, 8GB eMMC

    One Project-X board with AllWinner H3 SoC, 1GB of RAM, 8GB eMMC, Power adapter, heatsink/stand (w/ thermal pad) and RPi adapter.

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    PoE bundle - H2+, 512MB, 8GB eMMC

    One Project-X board with AllWinner H2+ SoC, 512MB of RAM, 8GB eMMC, Power adapter, heatsink/stand (w/ thermal pad) and RPi adapter. Also includes 14W PoE module, USB to serial debug adapter and micro USB cable.

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    Pledge NZ$ 95 or more About US$ 60

    PoE bundle - H3, 1GB, 8GB eMMC

    One Project-X board with AllWinner H3 SoC, 1GB of RAM, 8GB eMMC, Power adapter, heatsink/stand (w/ thermal pad) and RPi adapter. Also includes 14W PoE module, USB to serial debug adapter and micro USB cable.

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    Super Early Bird - H5, 2GB, 8GB eMMC

    One Project-X board with AllWinner H5 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 8GB eMMC, Power adapter, heatsink/stand (w/ thermal pad) and RPi adapter.

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    Pledge NZ$ 103 or more About US$ 65

    Early Bird - H5, 2GB, 8GB eMMC

    One Project-X board with AllWinner H5 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 8GB eMMC, Power adapter, heatsink/stand (w/ thermal pad) and RPi adapter.

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    Regular Price - H5, 2GB, 8GB eMMC

    One Project-X board with AllWinner H5 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 8GB eMMC, Power adapter, heatsink/stand (w/ thermal pad) and RPi adapter.

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    PoE bundle - H5, 2GB, 8GB eMMC

    One Project-X board with AllWinner H5 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 8GB eMMC, Power adapter, heatsink/stand (w/ thermal pad) and RPi adapter. Also includes 14W PoE module, USB to serial debug adapter and micro USB cable.

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