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Controller1-2
Our sincerest apologies to all of you who have already pre-ordered the MAKE Controller Kit and are being affected by its delayed release. The issue lies with an announcement from the manufacturer that one of the crucial capabilities of the chip was possibly no longer available. At one point they said it might work, but we finally decided that we couldn’t live with any uncertainty. We had to redesign both boards to accommodate this change. Everything is now back on track with the new board and we’re told that the new design will be well worth the wait – So, we’ll be shipping in August. If you have any questions about your order please email makestore@makezine.comMAKE Controller Kit.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. krylon says:

    so does anyone have a list of introductory projects yet?

  2. philliptorrone says:

    krylon did you see make 06?

  3. cheesy says:

    I’m curious what that feature is?

  4. philliptorrone says:

    liam and david put together a nice little state of the controller, with some tech info and such….

    “The MAKE Controller Kit is built around the Atmel SAM7X256 microcontroller, a brand new part, and the hardest task is deciding how to use the the large number of peripherals on the chip. For the Ethernet interface, we were presented with two different options. One was to use MII (Media Independent Interface) and the other was to use RMII (Reduced Media Independent Interface). MII is a standard interface and requires about 16 signal lines
    from the SAM7X, while RMII implements the same interface using only 6 or 7
    lines. Naturally we wanted to consume the smallest number of signal lines
    possible, leaving as many as possible for our users so, we decided to
    implement RMII.

    However, as Atmel was moving into more full-scale production of the SAM7X chips, we were dismayed to find, buried in the errata section of the chip’s 700-page datasheet, that Atmel had quietly announced that the RMII “might not work”. This was very frustrating because we had a handful of boards with RMII working just fine. However, we ultimately decided that we could not run the risk of the Ethernet port “maybe not working” with each successive batch of boards that we make. This was a difficult decision as it meant that we needed to significantly rework the Controller Board, commit the extra signal lines to the MII interface, and make another round of prototype boards taking time and money. This more or less brings us up to date as we have just recently gotten the boards back and are in the process of testing and configuring the new MII Ethernet port. We’re working hard to get this back up to speed and look forward to shipping boards as soon as possible.”

  5. uoficowboy says:

    “The issue lies with an announcement from the manufacturer that one of the crucial capabilities of the chip was possibly no longer available.”

    HAHAHAHA. Way to read the datasheet guys. That bug was discovered a very long time ago, and is very well known. I love how you try to pass this off as Atmel’s fault – when it was YOU ALL that didn’t read the documentation for the SAM7X. Good thinking buddies.

    By the way, I don’t really see what makes this board worthwhile. It seems to be just like most of the other SAM7X dev boards out there, except with alot less features and a high current motor driver. Olimex is coming out in July with a very very nice SAM7X dev board. see here: http://olimex.com/dev/sam7-ex256.html and it only costs $116.

  6. philliptorrone says:

    uoficowboy – i’ll talk with the developers of the kit.

  7. davidthings says:

    Hi,

    I’m one of the engineers working on this project. We never wished to shift blame for this delay onto Atmel. Sorry if it came across that way. The problem wasn’t so much that we didn’t know about the non-functioning RMII, the problem was that we got conflicting messages about whether it would be OK to use it anyway from Atmel and from Davicom. Not only that but we had the evidence of success in our hands! Resolving this took a while.

    We took the opportunity to make other changes to the board at the same time so I hope in the end we’ll all think the delay was worthwhile.

    As far as the comments about whether the board is worthwhile or not, of course that’s a personal opinion. The existence of other boards representing other design choices gives people more options.

    We have tried to make something that will be a useful addition to the microcontroller world, based on our many years of providing these kinds of products to consumers. We’re very proud of the two board architecture which will mean that people can use this awesome chip easily in a number of different ways. It will serve people who just want to make a motor turn in response to a light sensor all the way to people who want to make their own interface boards with their own electronics.

    We’ll be posting much information over the coming weeks. Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.