Decided to build my own PDA - from "scratch"

Discussion in 'General Smartphone/Handheld/Wearable Discussion' started by Konrad Pierce, Sep 14, 2007.

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  1. Genjinaro

    Genjinaro ~3rdPrty 4ehvur!~

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    Yeah the EM-ONE has been under my eye for the longest, I find alot of impressive things on/in that monster, except for the language I can't seem to read. :p
    Sharp has yet to give us an English ROM for any of their models, all of which were nice.:(
     
  2. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    The Colibri and Triton processor boards come with ROMs; they're licensed WinCE 5.0/6.0 or linux (depending on what you order), certainly available in English. That will probably solve the language problem, but might not.
     
  3. NamelessPlayer

    NamelessPlayer Mobile Deity

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  4. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    Heeheeheee, that's the very same YouTube video I posted a link to (post #26) and described to Gen (post #27) above. There are a few others, as well, mostly the same sort of stuff, obviously intended for the "industrial buyer" audience. ;)

    Yes, I've been intently reading all about those Toradex boards; they're effectively entire UMPCs, sans screen/battery/case. And they mount much of the "auxilliary logic" I also mention above (post #34). Boards such as these are (I think) not essential, though of course having more intelligently distributed task-dedicated hardware logic is always going to improve things. That is, in fact, why I believe that interfacing a GPU is not impossible. This evaluation board is much too large (20x20cm) for my project, and packs every conceivable connector on board - that's really cool, but I'm willing to do away with things I don't want to use (like the twinned RS232 or PS/2 ports, for example) or that I can organize more space-efficiently (ie: off the squared PCB edges, snugly carved into the case). I like the 10/100 Ethernet, USB Host/Device, etc.

    Small setback: Apparently I ordered a typo. My Sharp 14.20" XGA Touchscreen is not what I was trying to buy. (I kinda wondered why it cost so much for a 4" screen, but shrugged it off as being what you need to pay for such a dense XGA.) Anyhow, I'm not planning to build a laptop, so I'll send it back on Monday <grumble>. From what I've learned since then, a Philips screen might be a better choice anyhow, simply because the Colibri documentation is all about Philips screens.

    Still no luck finding a dead Zaurus (for less than $50, preferably less than $20).
     
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  5. NamelessPlayer

    NamelessPlayer Mobile Deity

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    Well, which dead Zauruses/Zaurii/whatever have you found that may be 50 US$ or more? I might be interested in snagging one.
     
  6. Wail

    Wail Member

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    Konrad,

    I have, if you want, 2 iPaqs 3650s, with what used (I say "used to be" since I have not used them in a long while and am presuming that their batteries may be dead) to be good working screens; and the one 4700 aswell. If you are interested in any of these machines, I will be more than happy to send them over. The 4700 is in perfect working order.

    I also have one iPaq 2200, but this one has a heavily damaged frame, I don't think this would be of any good but it was a great unit with CF and SD slots and a lovely form-factor; there is alos the one other iPaq 3850 with also a slightly damaged frame.

    Any of these are at your disposal should you need them, or any of their componants.
     
  7. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    Wow. Thanx for the generous offers, but I'll decline. I have plenty of "extra" cases (beat up and shiny new) from a variety of dead iPAQs as well ... I just figured that - after purchasing the board, screen, batteries, and miscellaneous bits - it's worth spending a few dollars to get the kind of case I want, instead of the cases I have. The Zaurus casing looks very promising - but apparently nobody has any for sale where I've looked. I'll focus on just stringing it all together, then finding a case for it all. The screen and keyboard interfaces might turn out to be a minor problem after all, so the case is a secondary consideration for now.
     
  8. Wail

    Wail Member

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    Konrad,

    Sorry about this post, but I have to say that the suspense is killing me here! I know you have a life other than just this site and this new PDA you&#8217;re in the works on; but I am very keen to see the results you can churn-up.
     
  9. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    The suspense is killing me, too ;)

    Anyhow, a "package" from Toradex (ie: Colibri board, or I'll be very unhappy) has just arrived at a not-too-faraway DHL outlet, and I'll pick it up after work.

    I've already collected an astonishing array of "little" parts (flash card slots, USB ports, connectors, interfaces, buttons and switches, wires and cables, bits of plastic and metal - tons of LEDs - I like LEDs) and I will start a very serious examination of the board once I get it home.

    At this time I have no case, no keyboard, no LCM, and no batteries for the unit; though I'm thinking of "temporarily" wiring it up to one of the several LCMs and many batteries I have on hand. I expect the batteries I ordered to arrive fairly soon; I haven't decided exactly which LCM I'm planning to use (it might even be best to order one with the case). And I've downloaded every piece of apparently relevant software or sourcecode I could get my hands on.

    I'll certainly keep BH posted. I hate waiting.
     
  10. Konrad Pierce

    Konrad Pierce Village Idiot 2.0

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    Okay.

    I've temporarily cannibalized the LCM from my X51v. It's not what I really want to go with in the end, but it should serve well for just getting things together and trying to focus on other hardware issues.

    Unfortunately, I have a really big issue. With just the Colibri powered by a 3.7V Lithium (wired up through a power switch), the X51v LCM, and an unassuming little peizo speaker ... nothing happens. I've tried a few variations, part replacement (where possible), extensive testing to confirm that my wiring is working as intended, is plugged in where it should be, and that my (manufacturer supplied) pinouts are properly configured. I can't even tell if the CPU is doing anything ... it gets a little warm, I can probe a few logic states - it seems to be doing something. No audio. No video. No LEDs. Nothing.

    I expected this at first (one thing learned through circuit building/troubleshooting: nothing ever works the first time you turn it on). But I've gone through each step exhaustively, with the same (lack of) results.

    I'm left with only a few unpleasant possibilities:
    1. The Colibri may not be intended to function as a standalone board. Additional chipsets might be required to make it actually do anything.
    2. I've somehow misread my documentation, or I don't have all the needed data, or the data itself is incorrect/incomplete.
    3. Worst of all ... and not very likely, but always a possibility when dealing with something "new" that hasn't been known as "working" before ... my particular board could be a lemon. :(
    I've posted my woeful tale to several people who have worked successfully with these (or similar) Colibri boards and now -eagerly - await their replies.
     
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