Electronic Assistance required

Discussion in 'UDOO X86' started by Ryan In Africa, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. Ryan In Africa

    Ryan In Africa New Member

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    Good Day Udoo forum members,

    I've been thrown in a situation where a well-vetted & recommended Electronic Engineer in my region created a PCB for our project, using an UDOO/

    our current PCB is a bit basic in comparison & works with a Raspberry Pi 3B+

    his design never catered for the 1.8v Pins & he is not making any changes until we pay him a ridiculous amount of money

    I'm looking for the service of an electronic engineer, who understands the workings of an UDOO X86, who can help us tweak both the Gerber & schematics of this PCB design, to cater to working with the UDOO X86

    Warmest Regards
    Ryan Moore
     
  2. Snakebyte

    Snakebyte Member

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    Well, this is original, or at least, different. Please pardon our reticence in responding. We're used to solicitations from Africa being a tad nefarious.

    What software are you using to generate the Gerber files?
     
  3. Laura

    Laura UDOOer

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    Welcome to the community @Ryan In Africa,
    To clarify, you have a working PCB that you connect to the Raspberry Pi 3B+ and now you are in the process of adapting the design to work with a UDOO X86?

    We have provided various resources to help with this, including schematics, which are available on the following page https://www.udoo.org/docs-x86/Hardware_Reference/Resources.html

    At the moment, UDOO does not have a way of directly helping your search for an electrical engineer with experience on the UDOO X86.
     
  4. Ryan In Africa

    Ryan In Africa New Member

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    Hi Laura,

    You're almost correct... Our current PCB uses an arduino to switch relays & allow the Pi to send signals to it to activate certain facets of our product... Think digital photo booth using a pi

    We have found immense benefits in the switch to an UDOO & as our product is scaling, we're looking for electronic engineering assistance or consulting help, in the forum
     
  5. Ryan In Africa

    Ryan In Africa New Member

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    Hey Snakebyte

    Fair enough Nefarious is an apt description of most inquiries fr this continent - HaHa, I'm of Irish descent & South Africa is vastly different to any other country on our continent... only lacking in 1st World infrastructure & safety, but outside of that, we're a pretty tech savvy country, at least in comparison to the other 49+ countries on our continent

    Back to point, our software was designed on Ubuntu & our Gerber was created in Eagle, by an electronic engineer, not us... He has not been able to adequately deliver on his promises & before resorting to someone who isn't in the know RE an UDOO
     
  6. Snakebyte

    Snakebyte Member

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    I think there was some reluctance to respond on the chance that this wasn't a legitimate post. Obviously it is, so I hope you get more responses (my efforts are more of interfacing unsupported operating systems and custom toolchains to the Udoo SBC, for computational analysis). There are some knowledgable people on here.
     
  7. waltervl

    waltervl UDOOer

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    I am not applying for work, just want to help you because your message is somewhat unclear.
    You currently use a Pi and an Arduino. If the Arduino handles all the electronic communication you do not need the 1.8V pins. Those are only on the Braswell (=Pi) side. It is very well possible that you can connect all the current Arduino connections directly on the Arduino side of the Udoo X86.

    What special electronic connections does your Pi have (besides normal USB, HDMI, network etc)?
     
  8. jas-mx

    jas-mx Active Member

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    You should be able to hookup a bidrectional logic level converter between your custom board and X86 something like a TXB0108. The only issue would be what speed the i/o needs to run at and whether the converter is capable of that switching speed.
     
  9. Ryan In Africa

    Ryan In Africa New Member

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    I've uploaded images of my Prototype PCB (which was designed to use an Arduino to check hardware & watch battery voltages, to manage when the Pi needs to shutdown & supposedly some other aspects

    I've also uploaded images of my new PCB (which isn't working) & frustratingly we only have the production gerber's & schematics, as the guy who designed this ran into financial trouble & is trying to squeeze us to pay him the last 20% of the project value & an additional 30% for increased values to which we'd not agreed upon, whilst I'd be willing to forego what is due, without a working product, nor editable Gerber files - I can't be held ransom without commitment & thus am in a pickle

    Sorry, coming from South Africa ( a paradise of a country I might add) I'm aware brings corruption & scammy concerns... but it certainly isn't the case here, nor is our country known (in comparison to Nigeria & other African states) for online scams

    Back to point though:
    the SMD PCB was meant for commercial use (albeit micro volumes, for now)
    It actually looks pretty decent & I'm fairly impressed at a post prototype run... However there are some fundamental issues & with my limited electronics experience, I'm hoping to find several parties who could assist in figuring out solutions to the following problems:

    Side Note - we no longer intended to use an arduino, but use an MCU with PWM for our LED control & other relevant hardware control, such as switching on the 'board' & thus the UDOO & Router & Touch Screen, etc.

    1) often plugging USB into the MCU USB Micro port causes the port to smoke on the PCB
    2) we can't figure out how to connect our UDOO X86 Advanced or Ultra - is a logic level shift convertor the right way to get 5V GPIO to talk to the UDOO GPIO's @ 1.8V
    3) the setup & connection is confusing to us, we do have several emails from the engineer, but they don't seem to get us to a working PCB

    More FIles for context of our product & it's features in our Product Pitch Pack
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yjr3v2gf1j2n627/AADabbVL_LZrFhw1aLyhlljWa?dl=0
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Ryan In Africa

    Ryan In Africa New Member

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    Thanks Snakebyte, your response is greatly appreciated & I hope it inspires additional confidence in other members to respond to my most recent (& hopefully informative post)
     
  11. Ryan In Africa

    Ryan In Africa New Member

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    Hi Waltervl,
    apologies for the lack of clarity & my hope is that my above post, coupled with visuals, aids in the context & understanding

    we have a prototype board, which was to work out the components & links we needed a CPU to have & execute in order to eventually commercialize our PCB & scale our product (which is a digital photo booth that links to your own social media profiles or pages & allows you, the event host to guide people to the event images, captured by our device, almost instantly on the event hosts chosen online location (often guided by a hashtag) - sorry for going off the beaten track there

    So the prototype board (& I wish I knew why) used an arduino to check hardware & battery voltage (our board was designed as a 12V PCB) & if all checks out, it then allows the Pi to turn on, when the device is switched on... in the interim, it turns on the touch screen & the router & gives them a minute to boot up, before switching on the Pi into our custom Ubuntu program/application (this was due to issues of the Pi not recognizing the screen or touch input intermittently, if switched on before the screen was & the same goes for connection to the router) so there were some benefits in placing an arduino to manage the hardware, but likely avoidable, as it became an unnecessary control for switching on our Flash for our Selfie Mirror (digital photo booth) & the same for activating the shutdown script on the Pi

    The Pi limited our features, image quality, processing speed, capacity & other features we started creating in our software... with some trials, the UDOO seemed to far outperform the Pi on allowing USB3.0 cameras & thus notably better image capturing capability & faster everything, alongside several other benefits

    with such a change, a new PCB (from our Prototype version) was required & the interest around our product started to grow quickly - so we prototyped a solution & approved it for a sample run of 10PCB's.... none of which worked like the prototype did, (which replaces the arduino with an MCU or 2)... thus, the situation we're in
     
  12. Ryan In Africa

    Ryan In Africa New Member

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    ... is that our new boards don't work, the engineer who designed them won't fix them & we're in a pickle
     
  13. Snakebyte

    Snakebyte Member

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    If I might offer a bit of advice: repackage your position. You're looking at it as being held for ransom, while he's looking to raise desperately needed capital. That's double negative, and nothing positive comes out of that. Instead, acknowledge to him that he's in a bad spot, and perhaps he will acknowledge you're in one, too. Then work on achieving the value-added he needs to be paid, which to me sounds a lot like documentation that you can use down the road. Put the money in escrow with a legitimate mediator (check with your local solicitors). You will almost certainly find it easier to finish what has begun than to get someone to come in and pick up a jigsaw puzzle with no picture. He might have it all in his head and can finish up quickly. You don't have to work with him again, but finding a positive solution for both you and your engineer might be your best option.

    Hopefully you will also get some tips and pointers from the community here that you can gently slip into conversation to your engineer that encourages him to come to the table...
     
    Ryan In Africa likes this.
  14. Ryan In Africa

    Ryan In Africa New Member

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    Hi Snakebyte,

    I don't disagree with you at all... & find your escrow suggestion of HUGE value, thank you, I will ask our solicitors/attorneys to attempt to coordinate this

    The challenge isn't that his work isn't good, as you noted he's in a financial rut - unfortunately the other channels are ones, against my partners request, that I pursued - not only because I had his work audited & advised he under-quoted, but because I really believe in open communication & positive net solutions...

    The first 2 attempts at this ($1500 later) he spent hardly a dime on the parts & supplies he claimed it was needed for, & I offered to take over this process & responsibility of suppliers ourselves moving forward (on top of the foregone $1500) & all he would owe us was his time until project completion, or progress stages, which would be remunerated for at a later stage & we would settle suppliers directly, when I caught him out claiming the suppliers had stock issues & found out he'd never got to paying them for the orders at all, but lied about it.... the trust was removed from the table & he would take accountability at all on polite confrontation

    I've offered him various solutions & commitments with my attorneys writing up very fair & mutually binding contracts... all to which he disregarded until payment was made in full & additional figures were settled

    his ultimatum is to settle him not only in full but an additional $1400 for his incorrect quoting - but based on his recent history & obvious personal financial trouble that is driving his business into business rescue - I don't see many options out of this scenario, nor the ability to trust him to execute accordingly

    with that in mind though, I'm always willing to try & work towards a net positive outcome for all... I'm not here to save dollars & dimes - in the bigger picture the $2000 - $3000 would be negligible in comparison to the turnover his delays have lost me & the costs they've racked up for me... but I can't risk giving him that as a start-up without guarantee he will execute, as he's failed to deliver on 2 major commitments (which he's shifted blame for)

    again though, excuses aren't my modus operandi & I will make several attempts to work around it in this new calendar year

    but I'd rather additionally hedge my risk with someone who knows more about X86 devices, particularly UDOO & could act as a project advisor in this space

    again though, thank you for challenging my perspective - I need more external parties like you in this journey

    www.selfiemirror.co.za
    Many Thanks
    Ryan Moore
     
  15. Snakebyte

    Snakebyte Member

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    It does sound like a difficult situation to resolve. It might be useful to review the clauses of the contract that covered failure of either party to deliver. A typical suit would add damages suffered by a delay in launching, but the time to carry out this litigation would be significant, so your goal isn't really to obtain a judgement. If your engineer is in dire straits, the potential for costly litigation might motivate him to surrender the files you need to move the project forward.
     
  16. waltervl

    waltervl UDOOer

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  17. Snakebyte

    Snakebyte Member

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    I'm going to ask a dumb question - exactly why do you need a PCB for your product? The Udoo SBC has USB 3.0, ethernet and SATA (i.e., it's basically a fully functional, low power multicore PC). If you can eliminate the hardware dependency, you open up a lot of options by doing the work in software. But if you do have to have a PCB, that would be interesting, and maybe I missed the reason why in your posts.
     
  18. waltervl

    waltervl UDOOer

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    It looks like just a Udoo X86 can do the trick. Only will it fit into your housing? And if stressed, it will need cooling.....
     
  19. Ryan In Africa

    Ryan In Africa New Member

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    Hi SnakeByte,

    Not a dumb question at all, being challenged on such points, helps me reflect on my bias & reasons

    Originally, we needed 3 x things:
    1) Other Hardware
    2) Battery Powering everything
    3) Shutdown Protection

    So the PCB allowed us to run various voltage devices from a central source, in a controlled & standardised manner (5v - 12v mostly) & by incorporating am arduino nano to run the hardware on this PCB (call it an MCU) we were able to switch relays & turn on + 'protect" the Pi (by protect, I mean activating a shutdown script when a button was pressed, rather than pulling power out or when the ADC checks saw voltage dropping to a certain point activating that shutdown script, it also made it easier for us to put control measures in place, such as turn the Pi on 2 minutes after the router & screen have been turned on, so that issues like not finding an output or not finding internet, wouldn't influence our "app"

    The continued reason for not sourcing store-bought USB-to-whatever outputs & other off-the-shelf solutions is similar & extended, we had 2 products for a long time & when I took it full time, the demand has exploded, we now have 6, need another 6 since this setback in November & when we can supply the market with a stable (branded) product that we're confident could be sent from Tokyo to Texas (if it got to that point) we'd not have a problem with stability issues, with replicating our product (as the software is ours) & allowing us to scale this venture

    The branded PCB also has a marketing metric to it... I know this reason seems weak, but from a business perspective, we're starting to reach out to companies that organize event series & are in the wedding & entertainment industry to propose franchises & when they want to know what they're getting if we're trying to convince them to buy 5 or more units at a time, they'd like to know they're getting something stable (which we'd like to provide them) but also something that is uniquely ours & thus uniquely theirs & lastly, adding on features like PWM for our LED flash, which is managed by a light sensor input & our own coding to manage that is but one example of the awesome features we can add from using an UDOO X86 Ultra, clipped into a well thought through & well-executed custom PCB, allowing us to scale through modular additions, or merely software updates

    I hope this was an apt response & is an accurate perspective of why our own PCB would be a good idea... but if I have indeed over-complicated the situation, or could approach this thought/perspective better, please do advise me, as I'm always seeking unbias & external insight into such things
     
  20. Ryan In Africa

    Ryan In Africa New Member

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    Our housing has an internal cavity of 1180mm x 650mm x 52mm - so we could fit such a device in, in many places - the X86 Ultra is our ideal unit, but an X86 Advanced would do the trick as well & I have 1 unit of each for R&D/Testing

    the challenge with this project is that our dev/prototype board, that my old partner helped me create & our current board that we were screwed a bit on.... neither cater for 1.8v GPIO's & with the UDOO pins operating at that voltage... that has been the challenge

    However, I have added in a 1.8v bi-directional logic level shifter into the gerber of our older PCB design & I will know if it's a successful integration during the course of this week
     

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