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Subject: Re: RAM limit

Re: RAM limit

From: Matthias Wächter <>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 15:19:39 +0200 (CEST)

On Wed, 14 Aug 2002, Mats Lidell wrote:

> While we are at it why not make our own hardware now that we have the
> software? Would it be feasible?

In general, you are right, good idea. Let's see.

a. Everyone can download his beloved MP3 songs.

b. Everyone could download his beloved firmware.

c. Some are able to program/tune/recompile their beloved firmware.

d. A few are willing to open the case to change the hard drive.

e. A few are willing to open the case to tune the board (bass boost,
serial line).

f. Even less are able to (un)solder SO-ICs (surface mount ICs).

g. How many of us are able to make their own hardware design? Who designs
the board, who manufactures it, who buys and mounts the ICs? Do we keep it
as an 'update' to the Archie or do we hassle with a complete design
including LCD and case, too?

h. -> That's what you found a company for. :-) And it doesn't make
(monetary) sense as long as you don't intend to produce in the 100.000 pcs
volume segment.

Despite, let's give it a try and build one on our own.

1. To develop the PCB which is at least 4 layers, you need a layout-CAD
tool besides the design practice. OK, this could be worked out by one of
us and shared via a web page or CVS.

2. Manufacturing a 4-layer-PCB is done in professional companies - at
least I don't know of an easy way of self-making a 4-layer PCB. These
companies have _setup_costs_ (something a software program usually does
not have) of f.e. 1.000 to 2.000 USD/EUR per 1000 Pieces. Per-piece-costs
are relatively small then - say 10 USD/EUR. Of course one can order 1
piece there, too. But it'll cost about 150-300 USD/EUR then.

3. Buying the parts. F.e. a 4Mx16 as needed for my current
RAM-expansion-project is about 6-7 USD/EUR at 1-5 pcs but only 2.5 USD/EUR
at 1000 pcs (prices of a re-seller, directly from the chip manufacturer it
will be 50-60% less for about 250 pcs min.). Imagine the price at a volume
of 100.000 pcs.

4. Mounting the parts. Again, this is the job for a professional. He
usually puts the tin fluid with a mask on the PCB, glues the parts with a
roboter to the correct place, puts all into an oven for a few seconds, and
that's it. All automatically. Setup costs: Like above, as well as the
per-device-costs (depends on the device amount, density and accuracy).

5. Device setup. FLASH memory has to be programmed, possibly some
amplifiers have to be tuned. Do you have the necessary equipment handy?

Summary: 1. and possibly 3. and 5. can be done by individuals whereby 4.
and especially 2. are very costy if ordered piece-by-piece - it's only
worth the effort if done for at least 1000 pcs at a time. And, don't
forget, we not even have our 'own' housing with our own design!

-> That's why more-or-less simple hardware modifications are favoured by
those not able to do 1.-5. by themselves.

Sehr Wus,
- Matthias

                    "To get control over people, make them trust you.
                                            To make people trust you
                      don't try to tell them the truth about history
                 but make happen what you told them about the future."
Received on 2002-08-14

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