Any news on the original Popcorn computer?

Hi,
I see in the shop that delivery will start in July. Is this still the case? Haven’t heard anything about it in a while, so any news would be nice.
Thanks,
Nimrod

3 Likes

Hi @nimrod,

We had a production run in late May/early June.

We did extensive testing after production and decided that the quality was not on par with what we would like to deliver to our customers.

Unfortunately, we had an issue with the production lot. We leaned on our USB-C IC supplier to provide us a fix in the firmware of the IC but they could not solve the issue in firmware. The issue we had is called dead battery problem. It would have be solved by adding another component, a voltage regulator, to power the USB-IC separately. While we were able to do a workaround fix in hardware, this fix did not allow for powering USB devices while the Original Popcorn is powered off of battery or through the headers.

Shipping a unit to to our customers with an errata that our customers paid full price for is unacceptable to us.

We had sent the schematics and design to the manufacturer for review before manufacturing but they did not look at them carefully and overlooked this issue. I have lost confidence in their company and products and removed it from Popcorn Computer and Pocket P.C.

In it’s place we have selected a Texas Instruments IC, TPS65988, which brings along the benefits of not requiring firmware and has extensive datasheets on the operation of the IC.

We also made the following changes to the design:

  • We added two dedicated port protector ICs with ESD protection and three surge protection ICs also from Texas Instruments. This will make the design more robust to faulty power conditions.
    The ICs are TPD6S300 and TVS2200.

  • We swapped out the 5V boost regulator from a 1.5A version to one capable of supplying up to 3A. This means it will be able to supply power to power-hungry USB devices off of a properly specified battery without any issues. The new IC is SY7088.

The schematic and layout are complete and we are performing final review which should be done by Monday afternoon when we will place the order for new PCBs.

The design went from a 6-layer board to an 8-layer board due to the complexity the above changes added to the design.

It takes 12-14 days for the PCBs to be manufactured and 4-5 days for assembly and testing.

I expect the new version to be ready to ship by July 14th. (Update: See below)

I apologize for the lack of information, please know that we have been working hard behind the scenes to deliver the best product.

I will try to do better in the future in updating our customers about any delays.

5 Likes

@sourceparts keep up the good work, these updates make me feel confidant that anything will be dealt with!

1 Like

Thank you for the very detailed update. That’s great news to hear. I just ordered one to replace the one in my PocketCHIP.

1 Like

Production Update:

We ordered the PCBs today.

We had to make some changes to the PCB layout that took additional time. We also had the RF portion reviewed by an RF expert. We learned a few things from creating Pocket P.C. that we applied to make the Original Popcorn better. This will affect the previously estimated ship date.

We will make a detailed blog post listing all of the changes made since our previous production run and lessons learned as soon as we complete the new test fixtures for Original Popcorn in about a week or so.

We are happy to announce that we released the design files today for Original Popcorn on GitHub:

Please take a look and let us know if you have any questions or concerns about the latest design.

1 Like

The PCBs arrived sooner than expected.
We will do a trial run early next week of 10 units and if everything tests well then we will enter mass production later in the week.
We are waiting on our custom test fixture to be built. We will share photos of that when it is completed. It will arrive on Friday.

2 Likes