New board revision, almost ready for manufacturing

A project log for uCM4

Compute Module 4 carrier board for network projects that is as small as CM4 itself

Kamil LorencKamil Lorenc 09/13/2021 at 15:300 Comments

For the past weeks I got couple of questions about ability to buy a piece or two of my boards. I decided that I could try myself at manufacturing and offer such option in near future. At the moment I would like not to disclose any details as this is in quite an early stage. But today is for me quite a huge step in that direction. I ordered test batch of 5 pieces, fully manufactured, so I will not have to assemble anything myself. If this works, I will be ready to order any amount at the same factory.

These boards are by the way in new version - 0.2.0, which, as numbering suggest, has way more significant changes than introduced with 0.1.1. On the other hand there is IIRC no modification to schematics, so less likely to make mistake that will make them unusable. This means that I am quite optimistic about this design. Still I am not so sure about all the other files I had to prepare for factory, as I am not very experienced with that, but we will see if this worked :)

Getting back to new board. changelog is on Github, so those interested can read it and of course there is also full git log for real nerds :) Most visible change in this version would be replacement of buttons with smaller SMD ones and moving them near the same edge that is already occupied by Ethernet connector. The idea with this, and also moving LEDs to the same side, was to make it easier to handle in clusters, where I can imagine it is desirable to have full control of the board, while seeing only front side. This should be now possible. There are also a couple of other modifications, at least one of them as a result of chip shortage, so those willing to make board themselves should ensure they read BOM of the right version, when ordering parts. This is already updated for 0.2.0, here on Hackaday.

And, after all this good news, there is still one bad news - PMICs, that are needed for microSD are still unavailable at usual, trusty suppliers, so there is no chance to handle Lite CM4s with SD boot - sorry, but there is little I can do. Having said that, I should mention that I am somewhat affected by that, too, as I had to order assembly without microSD support. Now, if I decide to start manufacturing, I would have to decide whether I should wait, or manufacture without microSD, so if you are interested in getting uCM4 for yourself, let me know your opinion. You can write comment, or contact me directly, so I will know better people's expectations and will be able to make the right decision.

Anyway, next month will be just waiting, also for me, as there is not much to do in this topic before getting the hardware. And factory claims it would take them a month to assemble. And then a week or two have to be reserved, before getting the package at my door. So, if you can't wait to hear next update, let me know and spread the word. All this makes it more likely to get this board on your shelf!