OSHW GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook

Open Source Hardware GNU/Linux PowerPC Notebook project

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The Open Hardware GNU/Linux PowerPC notebook project want to group passionate people like you. These people with their involvement will make the difference to design a new open source PowerPC notebook motherboard

We are in the process of building an ethical purchasing group aimed at commissioning a notebook based on the PowerPC platform. The design will be Open Hardware compliant as much as possible, and the notebook will support Linux natively.

The choice of a small and local producer for making this notebook is both an ethical and forced choice, as on the Italian territory it was the only PowerPC experienced company matching our criteria based on the paradigms of an economy based on the human beings and not on a pure financial gain. We strongly feels that where you can find passion and cooperation making money is not the reference value, and for the selected company it is enough to gain just a little margin, solely aimed at maintaining the company running.

The community that is shaping around this project is much more than a classical ethical purchasing group as, in addition to collecting the necessary fundings for producing the notebook, is actively contributing to making possible that GNU/Linux and other operating systems will be fully supported.

The choice of the PowerPC platform is justified by an interesting technological situation: PowerPC CPUs that are produced today have good computational power with regards to the power consumption, they are well supported by the Linux kernel, and many Linux distribution supports the PowerPC architecture. The biggest challenge is a total lack of visibility, as the biggest information technology firms do not use PowerPC in their mainstream products, resulting in the general public completely ignoring their existence. Just count the number of companies, association and groups dealing with the -now mainstream- ARM platform: there is way too much competition in this field, and surely there is no need for new supporters.

Our community is aimed at advertising the notebook project in order to build a group enough big to be able to actually realize the project.

Forum: Questionnaire: Wiki

Social media: 

We are building a vast group spread over the 5 continents, a group of creative people having a very heterogeneous background and knowledge and that is willing to collaborate for a common goal: designing and building a notebook  following the Open Hardware philosophy. This is a courageous project, some say a little bit crazy, a project that little or nothing has to share with strict market principles followed by mainstream firms.

Having people spread in the world collaborating on a voluntary basis was made possible by a shared vision: everyone can contribute its own knowledge and competence, share views and experience with others to reach the goal of building a notebook perfectly suiting IT enthusiasts that see in the Open Hardware a viable path for innovating. Altogether we learn the pleasure of discovering al technological aspects that are precluded to the general public when buying a ready-made off-the-shelf notebook, and discovering at the same time the pleasure of sharing such experience and pushing for a virtuous behaviour that has generosity at its core.

In the community there are people taking...

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Orcad Schematics Source of PowerPC Notebook - version August 2020 - used for PCB design

dsn - 6.81 MB - 09/30/2020 at 10:33



Eletrical Schematics of Open Hardware PowerPC Notebook motherboard - version August 2020 - used for PCB design

Adobe Portable Document Format - 3.56 MB - 09/30/2020 at 10:32



Eletrical Schematics of Open Hardware PowerPC Notebook motherboard - version June 2020

Adobe Portable Document Format - 13.03 MB - 07/19/2020 at 11:50



Eletrical Schematics of Open Hardware PowerPC Notebook motherboard - version May 2020

Adobe Portable Document Format - 12.98 MB - 05/25/2020 at 20:46



block Diagram April 2020

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 1.36 MB - 04/08/2020 at 22:13


View all 11 files

  • 1 × CPU NXP T2080 QorIQ® T2080 Multicore Communications Processors - Power Architecture
  • 1 × Marvell SATA3 88se9235 Controller
  • 1 × Renesas μPD720201 USB3 Controller
  • 1 × Pericom PCIe Packet Switch PI7C9X2G612GP 6-port, 8-lane, PCIe2 Packet Switch with GreenPacket Technology
  • 1 × MicroChip USB2514 USB 2.0 hub controllers

View all 6 components

  • fine tuning firmware for u-boot and develop Radeon driver for latest u-boot version

    Roberto Innocenti11/18/2023 at 18:12 0 comments

    it’s a quite some time has passed since the beginning of July when we posted about the start-up ramp that carefully calibrated, programming a complex integrated circuit with some logic (i.e. ramps, voltage thresholds, internal ways of making the PWM regulator work, and so on) and when the Complex Programmable Logic Device (CPLD) (Lattice LCMXO640C-3TN100C FPGA) was programmed for the very first time in order to manage all external peripherals connected to it.

    In July we figured out  that a Jtag Debugger was very needed to debug our Powerboard Tyche, the only way to solve the causes of not seeing any U-Boot output. We were able to buy such a debugger thanks to the donations we are collecting with the  current campaign, we thank all donors for their support.

    The debugger is  the NXP CWH-CTP-BASE-HE Jtag Debugger + NXP CWH-CTP-COP-YE “Probe Tip, Removable, For Power Architecture Processors, JTAG to CodeWarrior TAP Base Unit” and, together with one of the three prototypes, we shipped it in August to Max Tretene that kindly accepted to be directly involved in the debug process of the motherboard. Soon, the task proved to be quite challenging, so after an internal discussion, we decided to  offer Max a reimbursement for all the time he was spending on the job, a reimbursement that was made possible to the donations we are receiving with the current campaign.

    Dealing with hardware debugging is quite a hard and tedious job, and it was not easy to see something useful on the Jtag Debugger connected to the prototype motherboard. An additional adapter was required to attach the debugger because of the difference in the pin dimensions (2 vs 2.5). Max found it quite useful using the jtag debugger with our NXP T2080-RDB Devkit that was also shipped to him, because it allowed to test the procedure on a working platform and helped understanding the right configurations of the switches to boot up the board.

    As our PowerBoard Tyche have not the third switch like the NXP T2080-RDB Devkit a few additional resistors were required to setup correctly the board to be able to switch on the Code Warrior debug connected to our Powerboard Tyche. Not just that, an additional update to the CPLD chip was required to setup the debugging system correctly. Finally, on the 16 of October, Max was able to see some sign of life from the NXP T2080 CPU on SRAM and on NAND Memory, as you can see in the screenshots below. These days we are working on NOR programming, waiting in the meantime for a CPLD update from the hardware designer. The NOR programming is needed to have access to the DDR and then start U-Boot.

    SRAM programming – CodeWarrior® Development Suites for Networked Applications attached to Powerboard Tyche
    SRAM programming – CodeWarrior® Development Suites for Networked Applications attached to Powerboard Tyche
    NAND Programming – CodeWarrior® Development Suites for Networked Applications attached to Powerboard Tyche
    NAND Programming – CodeWarrior® Development Suites for Networked Applications attached to Powerboard Tyche

    Some possible changes to the hardware design

    All these hardware tests were useful for planning some changes to the hardware design: few missing resistors for enabling the u-boot switches must be added and we need to move one chip because it does not fit quite right in the eclipse chassis.

    The recent worldwide electronic components shortages we faced when making  the prototype Powerboard Tyche boards caused an unexpected -and incredible-  increase of the prices. More recently chip prices seem to be coming back to more reasonable prices, with the exception of the Marvell Sata3 controller.

    As a consequence, we are evaluating the removal of the Marvell Sata3 controller to both free very-much needed space space and save some costs because at the moment such a chip costs around 90 euros per piece, quite a lot.

    In fact, nowadays most SSD are available at a very good price with the M.2 form factor, so a Sata3 connection is not that essential anymore. People in a desperate need for a Sata connection could use the two Sata2 controllers inside the T2080 CPU.

    Below we list the availability and prices...

    Read more »

  • Working on u-boot even with jtag debbuger and redesign of heat pipes

    Roberto Innocenti07/02/2023 at 12:36 0 comments

    Once again we want to thank you all for the great support and great enthusiasm you demonstrated during the CE mark donation campaign. We ended the campaign with a total amount of 12500€ (, this is a huge milestone for us all and we are so very grateful.

    By financing the CE mark certification you have shown us that you believe in the project and our vision of creating a fully open hardware notebook motherboard based on the alternative PowerPC CPU architecture.

    We closed the campaign with around € 4000 more than expected, and this extra money will cover some of the extra and unplanned costs we faced for the increased price of electronic components and the extra costs of the three MXM video cards (360 USD each).

    The CE mark certification is a mandatory requirement for selling electronic products in the European Union. It ensures that our notebook motherboard meets the safety, health and environmental standards of the EU. Without it, ACube Systems would not be able to launch and sell our Notebook on the EU market. Getting the CE mark certification is not an easy nor a cheap process as it involves rigorous testing, documentation and quality controls.

    However, the CE certification process can be performed only when the product can be considered completely finished, and that means once the board works, the cooling metal pipes are in place and all is assembled into the selected slimbook eclipse chassis.

    Current activities

    The Tyche Motherboard has surpassed all the electrical checks, and now the the key activities being performed concentrate on the hardware initialization procedures.

    The start-up ramp was carefully calibrated, programming a complex integrated circuit with some logic (i.e. ramps, voltage thresholds, internal ways of making the PWM regulator work, and so on).

    The Complex Programmable Logic Device (CPLD) is a Lattice LCMXO640C-3TN100C FPGA is programmed to manage all external peripherals connected to it (see the block diagram and wiring diagram on page 15), manage the interrupts, data, boot reads, set resources according to the CPU and is able to reset all peripherals.

    Working on U-Boot

    Currently, a small team of volunteers are working on U-Boot . We are decided to buy a JTAG debugger, a quite useful tool indeed that will make the hardware debugging much easier.

    We learnt how to configure and build U-Boot, and we set up a cross-development PowerPC toolchain and the related Device Tree Blob that is used to describe the physical configuration of each hardware component available on the motherboard. You may keep an eye on our attempts by looking at our GitLab pages. We started by re-compiling our old U-Boot binary dating back to 2019, the one that we are currently using on our NXP T2080RDB devkit and also trying to compile a newer U-Boot version from a the DENX mainline vanilla branch without our patches. We are now kindly assisted by Max Tretene, the same guy working at ACube Systems that compiles U-Boot for their motherboards such as the Sam440 or the Sam460ex. Max is currently available to introduce hardware support to AMD/ATI Radeon graphics cards in U-Boot, (ndr.: he recently told us that his spare times is not enough so we are proposing him to work under payment) stay tuned for more in-depth posts about it. In the hope of speeding up the development, we provided Max Tretene with our NXP T2080RDB devkit in early June.

    We want to thank the dedicated small group of volunteers and especially Max Tretene for their precious spare time spent in trying to configure and compile U-Boot, we very much appreciate their availability and effort, even if a successful result is yet to comes. In addition, we greatly appreciated the offer made by a professional engineer – not to be disclosed yet- that is ready to work for us on U-Boot for a very reasonable amount of money.

    Launch of a new fundraising campaign

    After quite some internal discussion, we finally...

    Read more »

  • Prototypes testing results

    Roberto Innocenti02/28/2023 at 09:52 0 comments

    The laptop prototypes testing is progressing great. We tested the primary power supply stage of the CPU, one the most power hungry components in the board, and it is being fine-tuned thanks to a programming apparatus. The chip in charge to power up the CPU NXP T2080 is the Texas Instruments TPS544B20RVFT (Switching Voltage Regulators 4.5-18V 20A SWIFT) as explained at page 37 in our electrical schematics.

    The start-up ramp needs to be carefully calibrated, a complex integrated circuit with a some logic that needs to be programmed to make it work properly (i.e. ramps, voltage thresholds, internal ways of making the PWM regulator work, and so on).

    The other power supplies are a half a dozen voltage regulators and are meant to power elements such as the PCIe, the RAM, the internal peripheral buses, the connected devices, the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) and the clock generators the are essential to make the board work properly. The Eclipse Legacy Battery was tested and is recharging properly.

    The Complex Programmable Logic Device (CPLD) is a Lattice LCMXO640C-3TN100C FPGA and has to be programmed to manage all those external peripherals connected to it (see the block diagram and wiring diagram on page 15 ), manage interrupts, data, boot reads, set resources according to the CPU and reset all peripherals.

    So far so good, the electronic design seems to work correctly, at the moment we are only fine-tuning each electronic component. If all checks continues like this, we might end all electronic debugging in the next few weeks and we can consider this very delicate phase successfully completed. After that, we plan to place the first code in the CPLD, and right after that we should be ready to load U-Boot, the first-stage and second-stage bootloader. We are trying to re-patch a recent version of U-Boot, quite some time has passed since we patched it to make it recognizing the graphic board we mounted on the PCIe port on the NXP T2080RDB board. Not just that, we must carefully customize the device tree to correctly map all peripherals available on the motherboard.

    If for it concern the electronical components we can safely rely on the (paid) support of an expert engineer, for setting up U-Boot it’s up to us to make it work properly, and more importantly, to make it correctly recognize all peripherals, especially the SD card, the FLASH and, even more importantly, the two DDR3L RAM slots.

    Powerboard Tyche, top side. The visible biggest gray chip is the CPU NXP T2080 Power Architecture CPU.

    We would like to thank everyone for the continuous flow of donations, and please, continue to do so. At the moment we still need funding to cover the extra costs we faced for the simply crazy prices we paid for the electronical components mounted on the prototypes motherboards and especially for getting our hands on two MXM graphic boards based on AMD chips. For two MXM AMD E9174 video cards with 4GB RAM we have spent 780 dollars ( 360 each) and 185 euro of import Tax around 965 euro .Considering all chips, the cost of each prototype resulted 1200 euros higher than what was initially planned 4392 euros more (1200 x 3 + 22% VAT). So we need to collect around 5357 euro more than the goal of the last donation campaign.

    Donations and professional for u-boot

    In addition, after an initial round of experiments, we are still struggling to successfully customize U-Boot and to properly setup the device tree. Most of us already spent quite some time on the task during our spare time (remember, we are all volunteers with a proper day job and a personal life ;), so we are seriously evaluating to assign the job to a professional to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time, and to do that we need your financial support!

    More Info

  • Ready for Prototypes production with reworked PCB design with all available components

    Roberto Innocenti08/29/2022 at 22:41 0 comments

    Published Powerboard Tyche PCB reworked source

    Finally, the reworked PCB design source of Powerboard Tyche with the updated available components is ready ( in older posts you can go more deep about “our” electronic components shortage issues). This work was made using Mentor Expedition and it is ready and uploaded into our repository with all reported issues fixed, including issue number 5, the last one corrected . Thanks to our collaborators we are able to export this work using Altium form so the next days we will publish it and we will try to convert it to Open Source Kicad format ( and probably loosing something in the conversion process) . In our older post we have give more details regarding the PCB sources.

    Inside Output folder you can find many interesting files easy simple viewable like the “the plot separate sheet” CAM350/DFMSTREAM and the Motherboard Assembly TOP and BUTTOM.

    As a conclusion now we have everything to produce and make the hardware tests in September.

    In July we have published more details about the rework design due to the global shortage of electronic components

    Rework of a part of the mobo and situation of the components

    As you know, we were having troubles to find a few components in the marked (listed below) not only because of their availability but also due to the increased price. After an extensive research, the designer was able to identify the replacement components.

    Below, a detailed list of unavailable or extremly expensive parts that the designer is replacing with other readily-available components:

    • 1 per pcb Transistor: NPN; BSR17A bipolar; 40V; 0.2A; 0.35W; SOT23 – ON SEMICONDUCTOR > 3100>#/strong### cost increase from 0,5 euro to 16,50 euro per piece
    • 4 per pcb Field Effect Transistor –NDC7002N MOSFET 2N-CH 50V 0.51A SSOT6 – ON SEMICONDUCTOR : >1100>#/strong### cost increase from 0,50 euro to 6,5 euro per piece
    • 2 per pcb MOSFET N-CH 100V 60A PPAK SO-8 SiR870DP – Vishay Siliconix > 3250>#/strong### cost increase from 1,53 euro to 50 Euro per piece
    • 1 per pcb Parallel NOR Flash Automotive Memory MT28EW01GABA1HJS-0AAT – MICRON > 3250% cost increase from 13 euro to 423 euro!!!
    • 1 per pcb IC EEPROM 256KBIT I2C 1MHZ 8SOIC AT24C256C-SSHL-B – Microchip Technology > 1000>#/strong### cost increase from 0,29 euro to 2,5 euro
    • 1 per pcb 24-bit translating 1.65- to 5.5-V I2C/SMBus I/O expander TCA6424ARGJR – Texas Instruments Not Available
    • 1 per pcb 24 MHz XO (Standard) LVCMOS Oscillator ASFLMB-24.000MHZ-LC-T – Abracon LLC – Not Available
    • 1 per pcb I/O Controller Interface IC HI-PERFORM LW PWR SM FOOT USB 2.0 HUB USB2514-AEZCNot Available
    • 1 per pcb Two-Lane PCIe 2.0 to Four-Port 6 Gbps SATA I/O Controller 88SE9235 – MARVELL – 980 euro!!!!!!!
    • 1 per pcb 6-port, 12-lane, PCIe 2.0 Packet Switch PI7C9X2G612GP – Diodes – 700 euro!!!!
    • 1 per pcb Power Switch ICs FDC6331L – onsemi / Fairchild – >3300>#/strong### cost increase from 1,25 to 41,6 euro
    • 1 per pcb Switching Voltage Regulators 4.5-18V 20A SWIFT TPS544B20RVFT – Texas Instruments – 90 Euro!!!
    • 6 per pcb Switching Voltage Regulators 4.5-V to 28-V, 6-A TPS56637RPAR – Texas Instruments – > 10000>#/strong### cost increase from 3 euro to 344 euro per piece ( 6 piece = 2.064 euro!!!)

    Previously missing in February, but now available again

    • 3 per pcb IRLML6346TRPBF – N-Channel 30 V 3.4A (Ta) 1.3W (Ta) – Infineon Technologies
    • 2 per pcb 403C11A24M00000 24 MHz ±10ppm Crystal 10pF 60 Ohms 4-SMD
    • 7 per pcb MOSFET – DMN3730U-7 N 750mA 30V POWER MOS – Diodes
    • 9 per pcb Trans MOSFET – SI4925DY P-CH 30V 5.3A 8-Pin SOIC – ON SEMICONDUCTOR

    The designer have replaced these components with new ones available currently and having an affordable cost in the market. Consequently, there was an extensive rework of the electrical schematics and of the Printed Circuit Board design.

  • Prototypes Updates - October 2021

    Roberto Innocenti11/01/2021 at 12:02 0 comments

    Prototype delays due to electronic components shortages

    As already stated a few times, we are still victims of the electronics industry supply-chain difficulties. Back in July, we informed you that “98% of more than 2000 components are now secured and will be delivered on time. The hunt is still ongoing for the remaining forty components left, and finding them is crucial not to miss the October deadline.”Some of the power management components are currently unavailable, so the electronic designer had to search for their replacements. Soon we will publish the resulting updated PCB design reporting all new components. The production factory has not yet received all the required components that we already ordered, and there are still that so far cannot be found anywhere on the market. In particular, we are facing problems getting the HDMI connector (part number 2041481-1) that could fit inside the Eclipse notebook chassis. If you are able to help us find such a connector, please contact us. We are urgently looking for 3 pieces of this connector for the 3 prototypes. Additionally, we are also looking for a solution for the larger batch production.

    Unexpected increase of 1000 euros for the prototypes

    We are very happy about the generous participation of all donors that allowed the prototype campaign to exceed 90% of the final goal. Thank you very much!

    During our surveys on the electronic markets last September, we observed a skyrocketing increase of the prices. We are a group of hobbyists that have zero power to sit down and bargain with electronic companies. Even the well established Raspberry Pi foundation was forced into increasing their prices (see

    As a result, every prototype increased its final cost by around 300-320 euro including 22% local VAT, for a total amount of 1000 euros including PayPal fees for the three prototypes. Long story short, we have to increase the campaign goal from 12500 to 13500 euros.

    We currently cannot tell if the market prices will go back to lower prices, and, moreover, when the current electronic components shortages will be finally over. We all hope that the situation will get better by the time the full batch production starts.

    Now, the bright side of the overall situation is that being forced to wait for electronic components is quite compatible with the slow pace of our donation campaign, so please, continue donating!!

    MXM Video Cards

    You may get an idea of the current electronic shortages by the fact that we ordered an AMD Radeon E9172 MXM GPU (approximately 295 EUR with VAT) and an AMD Radeon E9174 MXM GPU (approximately 380 EUR with VAT) back in May 2021. Well, the expected delivery date is 27th of November 2021!

    At the moment, the cost of the three MXM cards needed for the prototypes are not covered by the donation campaign, but we ask your financial support for those cards also.

    In the meantime, we had the chance to buy an ATI Radeon HD4650 1GB DRR3 MXM 3.0 card and, thanks to the kind donation by Stefano, a new collaborator from Italy, we have now two AMD FirePro M4000 GDDR5 1GB MXM 3.0A cards.

    ACube Systems, our partner taking care of building the prototypes, has also purchased a PCI to MXM adapter. The adapter will allow us to test MXM cards before we have the prototype ready, as it will be used in conjunction with the motherboard “Sam460ex” made by ACube Systems. Tests will be performed under AmigaOS 4.1, a native PowerPC operating system.

    Switch to the Cern 2.0 License under evaluation

    We are currently evaluating the possibility to upgrade our Open Hardware license from Cern 1.2 to 2.0.

    The first thing we noticed was that the second version is split into three variants called Strongly Reciprocal (S), Weakly Reciprocal (W) and Permissive (P). Basically, all three documents are structured in the same manner and, indeed, some sections are identical. The main...

    Read more »

  • Prototypes available in October 2021

    Roberto Innocenti07/23/2021 at 13:05 0 comments

    Thanks to 72 donors we just reached 64% of the current donation campaign for the prototypes that corresponds to about 8000 euros, and we still have to collect 4500 euros to reach the final goal of 12500 euros.

    ACube Systems have selected the assembly line for the production of the prototypes.

    We have more than 2000 electronic components in our motherboard, and due to the current global shortages of electronic components it was quite a difficult task to order all of them so that they could be delivered in time for production of the prototypes that is fixed for October 2021. After  tireless work of the guys at ACube the 98% of the components is now secured and will be delivered on time. The hunting is still ongoing for the remaining forty components left, and finding them is crucial not to miss the October deadline.

    Design new Heatsink pipes

    We have started to address the design and production of the new modified heatsink pipes which are different from the original pipes provided with the Slimbook Eclipse. A proper passive heat exchanger is vital as our PowerPC Motherboard is mounting an MXM video card that is quite different in shape from the original x86 motherboard that had the video chips mounted directly on the board.

    Three AMD MXM-A video card needed for prototypes

    We are still investigating how we could collect the additional funding required to pay for three MXM-A 3.0 type A (82 mm x 70 mm) that have a maximum power consumption of 55W. These video cards are fundamentals and we must get them by October as we must carry out the mechanical tests to check to find out that they properly fit inside the prototypes.

    More info

  • Wait green lights for PCB Assembly line

    Roberto Innocenti06/24/2021 at 09:25 0 comments

    Thanks to the generous support of our community, we’ve passed the 50% ( now 60%)  threshold required to start the required actions to produce our 3 prototype PCBs. 

    During this phase, most of the costs are related to purchasing electronic components, printing the PCBs and starting up the machinery for the assembly line.

    ACube is currently selecting the right assembly line for the production of the prototypes, currently quite a difficult task due to the current global shortages of electronic components that makes it difficult to find the right time to order all components. Once all components will be collected, we will be able to work on a tentative timeline for the production of the prototypes. We plan to publish the estimated times as soon as we can. We are very grateful to all our donors, particularly Jeff Moe, who donated 2048 EUR for the prototypes.

    Thanks to the already produced Dummy Board, the hardware designer has fixed a few mechanical aspects of the PCB design to better accommodate the motherboard. The updated design sources of the PCB will be published soon in our repository.

    Public Vote for the Motherboard name

    In October 2020, we started asking the community to suggest a name for the notebook motherboard. People could suggest names via the powerprogress forum and from Twitter. We collected all names and we had an internal round of vote among the core group in order to identify the best possible candidates for launching a public vote. So now you can vote on your favourite name!


    Our desire is to collect around 1000 votes before decide the final name on the PCB.

  • Dummy board being finalized

    Roberto Innocenti04/30/2021 at 08:48 0 comments

    It is with great joy that we present you the first tangible result after years of spending time on planning, ideas, projects and schematics. Below you see pictures of the dummy board, a non-working prototype that was printed with a two-layers PCB that was paid thanks to the ongoing donation campaign.

    Top side of the dummy board.
    Bottom side of the dummy board.

    The primary use of this dummy board is to perform mechanical checks in conjunction with the Slimbook notebook chassis. The board is not finished yet, the PCB designer still has to mount additional mechanical components such as connectors to ensure the final working prototypes will fit perfectly in the Slimbook Eclipse chassis.

    The PCB designer in charge of the job is carefully working to fine tune the gerber design files and already adjusted some minor details, proving that a preliminary dummy board was very much needed.

    We would like to thank Gerard Schneider that kindly offered us a ATI Radeon 7970 MXM card, it will surely help us testing the working prototypes that will be produced later on. We welcome anybody else willing to send us other Radeon MXM cards that may lay unused in a corner, we would like to start as soon as possible to test various GPUs in the upcoming working hardware.

    [UPDATE 2021-04-22] Unfortunately our notebook board is set to work exclusively with MXM-A 3.0 (type A) with a size of 82mm x 70 mm and with a maximum power consumption of 55W, whereas the MXM card provided by that Gerard Schneider is an MXM-B (type B) with a size of 82mm x 105mm and a maximum power of 200W. Thank you anyway Gerard, your card will be useful to check and eventually fix the video drivers but it will not be used inside the prototypes.

    Even if it is “just” a dummy board, this is a great milestone, and we are really happy about it because we can finally touch something with our hands. We would like to thank all the people that made it possible to reach this point, and we really hope that the donation campaign financing the final prototypes will speed up because now we all want to see more!!

    Are you willing to help?

    Being part of a project like this could be an amazing experience, you meet new people, volunteers of other projects, companies devoted to open source and everyone is willing to help. We are continuously giving examples of this in our blog posts but, in the last weeks, we are especially grateful about the support received from KiCad developers and Slimbook.

    Collaboration Survey 

    Two additional enclosures for our prototypes.

    Slimbook is a company making a huge effort in promoting an Open Source environment. They produce notebooks, mini-PCs and desktop computers targeting mainly Linux users. As an example of their commitment to the open source community, they have a very have a good relationship with the KDE project and together they collaborate on the creation of laptops meant to use primarily KDE. Despite being a small company, they are having success selling their products worldwide and these are very appreciated by the Linux community. As you may know, we started our collaboration with Slimbook more than two years ago and they have been always quite helpful promptly responding to our requests and providing information about the enclosure design or the related components that will be also used in our notebook (screen, keyboard, dissipation devices, etc.). All their support and time was kindly offered for free. Besides that support, we have received two Slimbook Eclipse enclosures to continue our tests. This will make possible to assemble three prototypes of our PPC Notebook. Again, they did it for free. We have no words.

    Export our PCB to KiCad, a difficult journey

    At the very beginning of this adventure, we were trying to find hardware experts to design the motherboard but the level of expertise required for such type of hardware made this challenge unachievable for us. Of course, we have experts on that field but the complexity of this design...

    Read more »

  • PCB Complete sources published! Mentor Expedition, Altium and Kicad formats

    Roberto Innocenti04/10/2021 at 13:33 0 comments

    At the beginning of March the consultant engineer paid using the donation campaign provided us with the Mentor Xpedition source files of our PCB. Providing source files created with a proprietary software is not ideal, therefore we have worked to convert the sources to the Open Source KiCad format.

    To achieve the porting of the sources, we first tried loading the Mentor Xpedition sources using the PCB Design Software Altium, and from there, export the sources to KiCad.

    We were pleasantly surprised by members of the KiCad team that promptly answered our call for volunteers able to help us in the source translation process, thank you guys, it was really much appreciated!

    In our task, we found a very useful post on the KiCad blog that explains how to import an Altium PCB design file in Kicad.

    Apparently the Altium Importer is not available if you start PCB window from the KiCad project manager window, you have  to start it from the command line as pcbnew-nightly to get the KiCad import feature for loading alien formats.

    KiCad eeschema-nightly currently does not support importing Altium schematics. There is an ongoing discussion, so perhaps there are some alpha/beta-testers of it.

    For BOM – we are finding information in the Altium database as well as KiCad. The KiCad export info we obtained in our first attempt is simplistic, and it does miss instance identifiers (c43, u17, r9 sorts of designators, which are present in Altium info). We do not see anything yet about enabling/disabling details types from the KiCad BOM export, so we are unsure whether more detailed columns can be obtained.

    You may find the original Mentor Expedition sources in our GitLab repository. We were unable to run the visECAD Viewer as even the provided free license version doesn’t seem to work. In fact, visECAD Viewer appears to be withdrawn from the market and it not anymore available to download, and we did not not receive any answer to our requests of support from the Siemens team.

    We were able to view the Altium import with the Altium online viewer thanks to the support of the Altium team.

    After all our attempts, we are now pleased to announce that it is now possible to load the source files of the notebook motherboard PCB in KiCad using its kicad-nightly version.

    Another recent news about the PowerPC notebook project, is that Slimbook will kindly provide us with two additional Slimbook Eclipse empty chassis. These will be used to test that our prototypes will correctly fit. At the same time, the guys at ACube Systems are investigating  suitable MXM video cards mounting AMD chips that could be used in the prototypes. We are investigating how we could collect  the additional funding required to pay for the various MXM video cards that will be used for testing and for the two additional Slimbook Eclipse chassis.Thanks to the kind contribution of the donors, the preparation of all components for the prototypes is progressing well.

    We would like to reach the 50% of the final goal of the current campaign as soon as possible to avoid slowdowns in the current prototypes production phase. We currently need your financial support more than ever!

  • PCB gerber files published, Updates on the Prototypes

    Roberto Innocenti02/14/2021 at 11:59 0 comments

    We have published the first version of the gerber files of the notebook motherboard PCB on our GitLab repository!

    The engineers in charge of the design used the software Mentor Xpedition to carry out the design, and in a couple of weeks we will publish their original sources of the PCB from which the gerber files were exported. The cause of the delay in the publication of the sources is because the PCB simulations still are being performed, and until then the sources -and consequently the gerber files- might change. The simulation of the PCB that was successfully financed with the previous donation campaign is currently being finalized. As nobody in our association has the required tools, ACube Systems is taking care of supervising the entire review process for us.

    We are perfectly aware that providing source files created with proprietary software is not ideal, therefore we are investigating how we could provide the PCB sources for the Open Source KiCad software. A first attempt we are testing is to load the Mentor Xpedition sources using the PCB Design Software Altium, and from there, convert the source to Kicad. We are looking for volunteers that could help us in the source translation process.

    While interacting with ACube on the simulation process, we were faced with the fact that the verbal agreement we made on the prototyping costs dated back to mid-2017 and the world went through great changes. Back then, they estimated a total cost of €10.500, consisting of a first € 3000 for the initial equipment, and € 1500 for each prototype motherboard, multiplied by 5 motherboards. However, after detailing and updating all involved costs using today’s market quotations, it appears clear that most of the components costs have increased since then, maybe because of the pandemic, who knows. Take for example the NXP T2080 CPU, since 2017 its price has simply dubled, and most of the other components have increased their price too. We discussed extensively with ACube Systems, the initial equipment is still € 3000, but the final cost of each prototype motherboard has increased to € 3000, doubling the initially estimated price of 4 years ago.

    Because of this dramatic increase in the production cost we decided to make 3 working prototypes only, that makes € 9000. On top of these we add another € 500 to make a dummy board (not working board), printed with a two layers PCB and all mechanical components correctly mounted. The scope of such a dummy board is to ensure that the working prototypes that will be produced later will mechanically fit in the Slimbook Eclipse. As a result, the ongoing campaign goal will be increased to € 12.500

    Slimbook Eclipse Notebook

    Donation Campaign for Production of three working Prototypes

    We are currently investigating the impact of the increased production costs to the final product, but we do not have an answer so far. We will keep you informed as soon as we have a reliable estimation.

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6baindurashvili_3 wrote 08/12/2021 at 12:05 point

What a great pleasure to read this impressive project details I am also working on a similar type of project you can see here.

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kwapiszon wrote 10/21/2020 at 09:13 point

how long this device work? for example I can decrease cpu to 40Mhz and working time increase to week on one charging battery?

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Roberto Innocenti wrote 12/19/2020 at 19:40 point

the T2080 processor itself have Advanced Power and Energy Management as you can see here we will see the prototypes and Linux how results in terms of battery life

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kwapiszon wrote 02/12/2021 at 13:46 point

one week will be great. my psion 5 work 4-7 day on 2 AA

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