The EOMA68 Upgradeable ARM Board Faces Another Setback: HDMI Connectors Don't Fit

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 31 August 2019 at 07:09 AM EDT. 23 Comments
The EOMA68 computer card design was novel when first talked about for interchangeable Arm-based computer cards that could also be installed within laptops and other devices. But even after being worked on for years and raising more than $234k USD, it's still not ready yet to see the light of day.

We hadn't heard much at all about EOMA68 this year since their ultimately failed plans of shipping the EOMA68 back in 2018. More recently the lead engineer Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton has been investing time in his plans for a libre RISC-V SoC design unrelated to EOMA68 but for potentially yielding a libre Vulkan accelerator for open-source graphics.

Earlier this month though it turns out there was an EOMA68 update but unfortunately it wasn't good news. There was another setback in the EOMA68 production causing delays and it's still not know when the boards will be ready to ship to customers. This latest struggle comes down to HDMI connectors not fitting over poor manufacturing. The CNC machining on the edge of the PCB wasn't accurate enough. But with 1,000 PCBs already processed, for those existing boards they are manually using an xacto-knife to work to correct the defect by hand-trimming each board.

As for when this issue might be rectified and manufacturing complete, they do not know especially with not knowing about any other issues that may be looming. From their newest update, "Again, to reiterate: we do not know what will need to be solved next. Therefore, a production date simply cannot be provided, and that really is the end of the matter. Or, the answer is: the production date is “the production time plus the unknown time to solve unknown and unknowable future issues.”"

These EOMA68 computer cards have an Allwinner A20 SoC with dual-core Cortex-A7 processor and Mali 400 graphics, 2GB of RAM, and 8GB of NAND flash memory. Pricing on each computer card has been $65 USD. Dual-core A7 performance is quite sluggish by 2019 or 2020 standards but at least if this first run of cards gets completed at least in theory new versions of the EOMA68 computer card could come out with a more modern SoC.
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