The creators of the Raspberry Pi ARM-based computer have published a shot of the Gerber for the sub-£25 computer’s near final design – and, at around the same size as a credit card, it’s even smaller than the prototypes.
Posted by Liz Upton to the official Raspberry Pi blog, the Gerber visualisation reveals a final circuit board measuring 85.60mm x 53.98mm – exactly the same size as a standard credit card. The layout, designed by Pete Lomas, represents the finished product, modulo any tweaks required to compensate for low yields in the test production ahead of the initial run.
Sadly, the team isn’t quite ready to start taking pre-orders for the cut-price computer. “We’re in the process of making a very small initial test run of what you see above,” Upton writes, “and will move to larger production when we’re happy that there are no early-life bugs. Because we can’t predict whether or not there will be any, we can’t give you a firm release date, but Pete has engineered what you see here nigh unto death, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for an easy ride.”
The Raspberry Pi system has taken the hacking community by storm since its announcement by project founders Eben Upton and David Braben. Powered by a Broadcom BCM2835 system-on-chip module, the credit-card sized computer will cost under £25 and run a fully-featured version of GNU/Linux.
It is hoped that the system will help drive computing education by providing less well-off families with an affordable platform for hacking, without running the risk that a child will ‘wreck’ the family PC with their ‘incessant fiddling.’
Printed circuit board manufacturing specialist PCBCircuitBoards.co has announced the installation of a new circuit assembly system which doubles the speed at which boards can be produced and delivered to customers.
Developed in Germany, the new system encompasses a faster ‘shut and cut’ speed on the belt lines compared to a standard production system, allowing boards to be produced at up to twice the rate previously possible.
“We here at PCBcircuitboards.co have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to delivering high quality and value to our customers, but we wanted to go one extra step and provide them a faster turnaround time than they are presently getting,” explains the company’s head of assembly Jeff Bridgeland.
“With this new printed circuit assembly technology that we have adopted, we are at last in position to deliver inside a time scale that many of our competitors in the industry will find difficult to match.”
Eben Upton, co-founder of Raspberry Pi and creator of the eponymous $25 ARM-based microcomputer, has released schematics for the creation of an early prototype from 2006.
While the ‘Raspberry Pi – 2006 Edition’ lacks some of the power of its more modern counterpart – thanks largely to the use of an Atmel ATmega644 microcontroller running at 22.1MHz and a mere 512KB of SRAM, compared to the 700MHz ARM process used in the modern edition – it’s a lot easier to build at home.
“These boards use an Atmel ATMega644 microcontroller clocked at 22.1MHz, and a 512K SRAM for data and framebuffer storage,” Upton explains. “19 of the Atmel’s 32 GPIO lines are used to drive the SRAM address bus. To generate a 320×240 component video signal, the Atmel rapidly increments the address, and the data lines are fed via 74HC-series buffers to a trio of simple summing-point DACs; during horizontal and vertical blanking, it is free to perform other operations.”
The upshot: a microcomputer you can build from off-the-shelf components on Veroboard, capable of producing simple 3D graphics at a 320×240 resolution.
The below video, released by Upton, shows off the device’s capabilities, while the schematics and a PCB layout can be downloaded directly from Raspberry Pi.