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on eliminating the ethernet port bulge

andrewed

New member
how hard and expensive would it be for you to make a unit with the ethernet port replaced with another usb port and simply include a usb-rj45 adaptor? this would eliminate the bulge of the ethernet port. i love ethernet, but i don't like that bulge. i'd like to buy this thing, make a case for it and start using it!
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CF Tech

Administrator
The ethernet jack could be a "no load" option to make it as thin as possible. I am sure we could do that for you if thickness is the major concern.

There is a 802.11 wireless adapter we have working in the recessed USB A slot. So there is really no need for wired network at all.
 

andrewed

New member
thanks for your quick reply, on a sunday no less.

however, i guess i was not clear in my request. when i said i love ethernet, i really meant it. i do not want to lose out-of-the-box ethernet capability (including the software side of it), just the bulge of the ethernet port. i simply would like the device to become uniformly thin.

likewise, i do not want to lose any other capabilities of the device. in other words, i would not want to lose access to the existing usb port to regain ethernet access with a usb-rj45 adaptor. the slight bulge of the usb port is acceptable. replacing the ethernet port with a second usb port for receiving a usb-rj45 adaptor cable would thus present no problem.

now that i've clarified my request, would you take a second crack at it?
 

CF Tech

Administrator
I suppose it is just weighing the conflicting design demands. Standard connectors versus thinness.

We found the thinnest mid-plane ethernet connector to minimize the bulge as much as possible. We considered going to a thinner connector other than an RJ45, but we are not aware of any industry accepted lower profile ehternet connectors.

What you are asking is indeed possible, but it is just not not the path we took.

At some point the thickness of the RJ45 has to show up . . . your dongle's maximum thickness cannot be less than the RJ45 that it contains.

If you are talking about a bunch of modules, we could perhaps customize the layout to whatever you wanted. But for the near term production this is the only form factor we will offer.
 

andrewed

New member
ok, cool.

two last questions and a comment:

what exactly did you mean by "'no load' option"?

why is the usb port so recessed?

comment: i don't mind the thickness in the dongle. but maybe the solution is to build a non-bulged case that is simply thick enough to hold the ethernet jack, then fill the cavity with a battery and charge controller and anything else one can think of. anyway, some shock protection for the screen would be good, and you did not design this as a consumer product. thank you for your time.

andrew
 
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CF Tech

Administrator
The no-load would just mean that the RJ-45 is not installed (for larger orders), or perhaps removed (for smaller or prototype orders).

There is an LTC3576 on the CFA-910 board, and connection points for the battery on the back of the board. The LTC-3576 will charge a Li-Ion battery. We are experimenting with some batteries that fit within the envelope created by the ethernet adapter, and perhaps a protection board and coulomb counter.

The USB A connector is recessed to accept an MVIX Nubbin, an IEEE802.11b/g/n mini-size USB adapter without impacting the overall envelope:



We have that mostly supported in the current in-house build.
 

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andrewed

New member
that's all clear and it makes sense, too! "no load" means an absent ethernet jack. a tiny usb device fits in the usb slot and gets wifi. and the device has a charge controller and connection points; it just needs a battery, which you are experimenting with already.

flipping brilliant. gonna think about all that. thanks much, cf tech.

just curious: why leave wifi off the mainboard?

btw, i'm yodrewyt on youtube. great video! super thorough. and after waiting for years to see a usb keyboard work with e-ink, i could hardly believe my eyes when you did it.
 

CF Tech

Administrator
Leaving the radio as a separate module allows it to be an easy option to add later, where a solder on module has to be decided on early, like the RJ-45 we have discussed. Plus, having it as a separate module lets MVIX mess with the fussy bits of RF.
 

andrewed

New member
another rad video! battery & case questions

boy, it has been awhile since i've visited here, so i just saw your link (and the instant email notification option for the thread). another rad video on the cfa910! focused and thorough. again, you've really thought of everything.

the battery looks great. it nicely fills up the space i was so worried about. when do you think you will begin offering it as an option? about how much would it add to the price? how much does it weigh?

also, do you have plans to produce a case for the cfa910? if so, would it include shock-mounting? (i've heard e-ink is delicate stuff). or would making a case be up to me?

i'm starting to save up for this baby. thanks for your great work.
 

CF Tech

Administrator
We just got the prototype charge counter / protection boards to properly interface between the battery and the CFA-910. We need to see how well those prototypes work, then measure to see what our battery life is looking like.

As far as the case, that is a bit unknown. We might try some kind of rapid prototype, or maybe draw up something that could be done on a CNC mill. Plastics have the high tooling cost, metal has the high unit cost. And either has the problem of our design not being quite exactly what the customer wanted.
 

andrewed

New member
That's great news about the charge counter. Please post results of your battery life tests when you have them. I checked out 3.7V 3A lithium cells. They run $2-10, so I guess one from you would add $10-20 to the CFA910 price?

About a case: I don't know who is buying the CFA910, but speaking for myself, I'm quite sure you would supply a far better case than I would make, and to the benefit of far more people. Obviously, I like things to become better and better, but I also respect what is good enough. While I don't know much about cases (actually, I made one for a violin once), here is an idea for a bare minimum case:

the front would be a tray that holds the unit without the debug board. Then there would be two back panels available: a flat one and one with a box section for the CFA910 with the debug board. Simple shockmounting (for 10-15 cm device drops) standard.

Probably you already know them, but here is an interesting result of my google search for an electronics case maker:
http://www.protocase.com
They can even design the case.
 
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CF Tech

Administrator
We have a guy that is pretty good with SolidWorks. It id tempting to just have him knock out a design that could be built out of this:

http://www.shapeways.com/materials/stainless_steel

Shapeways current price for stainless steel designs is $10 per CC.

The front half of the case is largely an opening for the screen, so that should not use um much material. Maybe the back half could be some stock sheet material (aluminum or lexan) then the back half of the case would also be just a frame, keeping the CC count down.

You gotta admit, a stainless steel case would look awesome :)
 

andrewed

New member
Stainless with a touch of bronze sounds great! Yeah, let that give the case it's strength, and a piece of polycarbonate across the back to fill in the gap more cheaply (and with more modularity, maybe, too). I'm sure you guys will give it your usual thorough attention to detail. I would pay another $50-$100 for a case I didn't have to make myself. Maybe more. It's cool to flesh this out with you. Best wishes.
 
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