OpenRPN Prototyping In Progress



#21

I will post pictures as the process goes forward, but hardware development is in full swing. Lead time is a couple of weeks for some of the parts, like deep drawn aluminum enclosures. I am working with several electronic design companies, but I really wish someone from this community would help with this instead.

The plan is to make a motherboard that can be used in any model. it will be built using SODIMM form factor. The planned CPU is ARM Cortex M3 (low power and a good enough display driver we could run a touchscreen!) running 16MB to 128MB PSRAM and as much flash as reasonable, a micro MMC slot will allow for expansion.

I'm waiting to hear back from e-ink regarding a custom display.

Since people who volunteered rapid prototyping seem to have vanished, there is a decision to make. If anyone has CNC, injection molding equipment (or mold design experience) can mill metal/other materials, rapid prototyping, etc. Please contact me. Otherwise, I can have many of the parts fabricated through emachineshop, but it will require larger runs to be feasible.

Building a hardware platform is priority number 1, if anyone is interested in partnering with me to help with financing it would be greatly appreciated. This will be a profitable venture.

I feel like I'm almost going at this alone and wish more of you would stop by openrpn.org to interact. This is not vaporware. I'm proud of the fact that I'm not afraid to try something and strike out. Last time we got a lot of useful code. I was also a less than wealthy Mechanical Engineering student when this project first started. Now I'm in a much better position to make this happen, but I would still appreciate some help (I'm sure Pauli wouldn't mind not being the lone programmer!)

As a side note: Can we please put the past behind us? For the most part OpenRPN is not the same project it once was. Effectively, this project might as well be two weeks old. So the comments of "vaporware" are uncalled for. OpenRPN is for the people in this community and other like minded individuals. Once the hardware is ready I plan to put it up for sale so people can start tinkering. The *fix core will make programming and creating new commands/menus simple. We have a lot to look forward to. I consider what we are doing to be the first calculator to advance to the 21st century. Give us a chance-- you won't be disappointed and you can help define the calculators of your dreams.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope to see you on the forums at OpenRPN soon. I live near Columbus, OH... If anyone in the project is halfway near, perhaps we can meet up.

-Hugh

Edited: 18 Oct 2011, 9:40 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#22

16MB of SRAM? Isn't that pretty expensive?


#23

Yes, that would be... Typo, PSRAM will make much more sense. We could go up to 128MB for well under $10 a chip at low volume. Sorry for the confusion.

#24

Bizarre.

MicroTrend had this to say about your URL:

URL: http://www.openrpn.org/
Risk Level: Dangerous
Details: Verified fraud page or threat source


#25

I haven't figured out MicroTrend's problem, but I know what you're taking about. My computer at work does the same thing. We just need an official website. If anyone wants to build a page for this project, I have quite a bit of artwork to help get you started. We really need to do something more than point to phpBB. However, at the time I wanted to just get back online.

The only workaround I have at the moment is to go to sourceforge, search for OpenRPN and follow the link. It will load and sourceforge will apparently stop phishing for your credit card info ;)


#26

Quote:
We really need to do something more than point to phpBB. However, at the time I wanted to just get back online.

Hugh, you're welcome to use wiki4hp.com for hosting your site, if you wish. It's a wiki, which actually is probably a very good fit for your needs. I can also put up forums underneath that if you need such.

Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss further.

Thanks,
Bruce

#27

It would be great if there was a page explaining exactly what "OpenRPN" is for new members here. :)


#28

Brandon,

I'll get on that, as I've stated before the URL is just a pointer at the moment.

OpenRPN is a collaborative effort in both software and hardware to make ultra high end calculators. Since overhead is minimal, while the end products will be no more than $200 they will likely be the finest handheld calculators the world has ever seen. In a nutshell, we want to advance as HP should have. Look at the fanciest handheld calculator you can find... The technology in it is cheap, slow, and at least 15 years old rather than modern and capable of holding more in memory, interfacing with computers in a meaningful and easy manner, etc. OpenRPN is an effort from the ground up.

It uses a proprietary although open, programming language called *fix which allows all major types of input logic and programming: prefix, postfix, and infix. All command/files/menus will be visible on your computer when connected via USB. Once the *fix core has been written, all other commands will be written natively in it.

Quality of build will be second to none. The first prototypes should start to appear within the next month or so. I am anxiously awaiting samples of deep drawn shells, I have a machinist lined up to make the faceplates. To add mass and protect the electronics, the inside will be filled with two part urethane (the electronics will not be bound however.) I hope to cover the entire flaceplace with alumino silica (gorilla glass.) the entire enclosure will be surrounded with a black rubber boot, either nitrile or flurosilicone.

The processor will most likely be a ARM Cortex M3, at least 16MB of PSRAM possibly up to 128, and a big chunk of flash that can be supplemented with a micro MMC card.

Again, I will put this into writing and make it easy to find on our formal webpage. That make take a little time, because getting hardware built is my top priority. Hell, I've been off work since 5 and all I've been thinking about are calculators!

If you have any more questions, please feel free to send me a PM.

Thanks for your interest!

-Hugh


#29

Quote:
Quality of build will be second to none. The first prototypes should start to appear within the next month or so. I am anxiously awaiting samples of deep drawn shells, I have a machinist lined up to make the faceplates.

I must be missing some document describing definition of device
abstract functionality, device use case(s) and corresponding
user facing GUI(s), supported firmware architecture(s),
hardware topology and features, physical/mechanical requirements.

Could you provide a pointer?

Quote:
I hope to cover the entire flaceplace with alumino silica (gorilla glass.

Is this an effort rather to produce a specialized PDA or touchpad?
From the above it appears a physical keypad has been eliminated.

Quote:
The processor will most likely be a ARM Cortex M3, at least 16MB of PSRAM possibly up to 128, and a big chunk of flash that can be supplemented with a micro MMC card.

Could you share the details of your power consumption analysis
and resulting design budget? I'm assuming since you're onto
mechanical enclosure production the details of power source,
footprint, and envelope have been finalized. Actually the same
should be true for the display. Could you share the details of
graphic resolution, footprint, and envelope here as well?

Quote:
If you have any more questions, please feel free to send me a PM.

Any objection to keeping the discussion in an open forum?
I believe doing so would be far more beneficial for a
transparent, open development effort.


#30

A public forum exists here.

You're describing this effort as if enough people have expressed interest to approach this as a full design team. While this would be nice, we simply don't have enough people to use this approach.

There is still a physical keyboard.

This is not a finalized design, and I do not understand why you continually treat me as if I am incompetent simply because I have limited resources to work with. I've said before that you sound like you have a lot to offer to this project, and rather than criticize it why not help? I don't claim to be an expert in all aspects of this project, but I'm giving everything my best shot to make it happen.


#31

Quote:
You're describing this effort as if enough people have expressed interest to approach this as a full design team. While this would be nice, we simply don't have enough people to use this approach.

I can understand and appreciate the challenges such a prospective
project faces. But given you indicated being at the stage of
mechanical development, I would have assumed such issues were
addressed to a fair degree of certainty. My questions were for
my benefit as I believed I was missing something obvious.

FWIW I would hardly expect a full blown formal engineering
approach here. But I also wanted to make sure the opposite
wasn't true. For example, building an interesting form factor
enclosure and trying to shoehorn components in later is a
perilous approach.

Quote:
There is still a physical keyboard.

The above is one good example of information I was seeking.
Can you share details of the
design, functional layout, and mechanical construction of
this keyboard? You very well may have all of this worked
out in your head. But until it is documented in some form
where others can read and understand the concepts and details,
the substantial benefit of peer (and moreover prospective consumer)
review is lost.

Quote:
This is not a finalized design, and I do not understand why you continually treat me as if I am incompetent..

I'm not sure from where that comment is originating as I
believe I'd only asked similar questions of you once before.
And for the same reason, namely I'm trying to assess what
is being designed, where the effort is at, the execution plan,
and my personal prediction of its success. I'd imagine other
potential contributors have similar thoughts and concerns.

If not for asking such questions, how else can we ascertain
this information?

Quote:
..simply because I have limited resources to work with.

That is in part, the definition of engineering. No shame here
that I can see.

Quote:
A public forum exists here.

I realise you are trying to seed that forum. However I think
in the interim there is far greater benefit of keeping the
discussion here. Even if you should endure the occasional
lump or two, at least you'll gain invaluable feedback from
prospective consumers of the effort.


#32

Quote:
there is far greater benefit of keeping the discussion here

Maybe for the few who may be interested in this project, but certainly not for me and other members I know.

Please remember, this is a museum after all. The focus here should be on vintage HP calculators, not new development effort. New development discussions belong in SourceForge. This forum is turning into a detailed design forum for new DIY calculators, and I for one think that is inappropriate.

When I visit the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, I want to see the old Apollo and Mercury capsules, not the latest offerings from Boeing. The way this forum is going recently, it's like they took all of the vintage aircraft out of the Air and Space Museum and put them in storage to make room for the Boeing 777.


#33

Don, don't be too harsh! It's the forum of the museum, not the museum itself. Take, as an example, the work carried out by a museum of natural history: The associated scientific society is typically not only engaged in paleontology but in natural/environmental science in general.

#34

Don,

I fully agree, and this is precisely the reason I make every effort to direct people towards the forum on sourceforge. Generally, I've found that the forum here is receptive to very occasional updates. But when it comes to OpenRPN, unless I have hardware to show off it's the equivalent of asking for a beating.

This is a group I have an incredible amount of respect for and enjoy taking part in. I can bag about finding a mint 42s with case and manual for $20 on craigslist. But when it comes to my own projects, they need their own space.

If you're interested in OpenRPN, come over to sourceforge.

#35

Let me add my vote that such discussions not be banned from this forum. A lot of the attendees of HHC 2011 were excited by the talks on the WP-34S and the SR-60 and the 41-CL. That runs the gamut from new to old to new/old. How do you put the latter into an excluded or included category?

Clearly there are varied interests represented here. As an enthusiast, I could care less about the HP-12C, HP45, HP80, HP18C, HP22S and many others. I hereby demand that those machines be excluded from discussion, because a real museum wouldn't show things I didn't like!

This is a community based on broadly shared interests. The community can decide what's appropriate, but nobody is going to be 100% satisfied. If I had to go elsewhere to get my calculator nerd/enthusiast fix, I would. As it stands I'm glad that the collector and enthusiast portions of my calculator obsession have a single home.

#36

Quote:
Please remember, this is a museum after all.
It has been my impression that the reason for calling it a museum is not to commiserate about how bad we all had it 30 years ago when we didn't know better, or to give the youngsters a respect for a tragedy that they need to learn from so they don't repeat it, but rather to acknowledge the value of what HP did back then. What greater honor could we give it than to emulate it, and to do it the best we can with the greater memory and computing power resources available today. Part of the value is of course the durability, which means it will not be made like today's disposable consumer electronics that don't last; so in that, we are still keeping with the old.
#37

Quote:
When I visit the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, I want to see the old Apollo and Mercury capsules, not the latest offerings from Boeing. The way this forum is going recently, it's like they took all of the vintage aircraft out of the Air and Space Museum and put them in storage to make room for the Boeing 777.

I recently went to the Computer History Museum (awesome) to see vintage and historically relevant machines, however I had some great conversations about machines old and new with some of the other visitors there. Discussions about the new and how it came from the old are just as interesting.

I consider this forum the museum lobby or cafe--a place to chat about any topic with people that share a common interest.

#38

I notice that only the HP 12 C model was posted. Other plans to include other models I find myself uninterested in the 12c but I would be interested in an hp48 reboot


#39

I'll be posting renderings of another calculator soon. I like to think of it of as what the 42s would have been had it been designed in the modern day (by HP engineers in their heyday.) Since all of the designs use a SODIMM motherboard it will be very possible to make a 48 style machine in the future.

Due to the 15C LE, Quixote (codename for the portrait layout calculator) will likely be the first to be released. Then again, if we continue to receive generous donations, it may be easy to launch both models at the same time. A graphing model is not a top priority at the moment.

#40

Hugh,

I applaud the effort and that you're going for it.

Quote:
…hardware development is in full swing.
Nice!

Quote:
…running 16MB to 128MB PSRAM and as much flash as reasonable…
Very nice!

Quote:
…wish more of you would stop by openrpn.org to interact.
I created an account and posted something. I may have something to contribute.

I agree that active discussion should happen in the dedicated forum.

From the early stage of the discussion in the dedicated forum, I gleam that it hasn't been quite decided yet what the overarching goal of the project should be: Will it be an attempt at creating a 42C "successor", a 50g "successor", or both, or something else?
On that question, input from and discussion in this forum may be appropriate and beneficial (to both the project and the community here).

Prior talk suggested a 42C "RPN" style machine. Newer discussion, and stated RAM available, seem to not exclude an "RPL"-style machine. These are two very different beats.
If you aim for latter, you need to keep the app world in mind, too.

If the 50g had a half-baked CAS, you don't want to repeat that mistake. If apps can communicate via WiFi, your calculator won't be very "high-end", if it doesn't do that too. Etc., etc.

Quote:
Since overhead is minimal, while the end products will be no more than $200 they will likely be the finest handheld calculators the world has ever seen.

Nothing wrong with a little youthful exuberance… ;-)

Quote:
...off work since 5 and all I've been thinking about are calculators!

Aren't we all...

--O

Edited: 20 Oct 2011, 2:03 p.m.


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