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Kickstarter Changes Zero/CM3
#1
First off, congratulations on the Kickstarter, love the project and wish you the best of luck.

And I was curious about what the difference between the new kickstarter version FP Zero is gonna be and the 2.1?

Also, CM3 looks really cool, and sounds like an awesome product. But won't that massively affect battery life?
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#2
Thanks, Yvo!
For anyone else that hasn't seen it, the Kickstarter is at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/122...eplaytech/

Freeplay Zero

The Freeplay Zero will be very similar to the v2.1. Of course, the main difference is that we won't be soldering them by hand anymore. To accomodate the outsourcing, we need to tweak some components. Most of those tweaks are something I think a user would notice or care about. I'll list tweaks that a user may notice.

The 40pin header we used on the GPA v2.1 is hard to source. We are moving to a special connector that will accommodate common square-pin male pins. The female version (that will be on the Freeplay Zero circuit board) is the important part here, because the Pi needs to rest at a certain height away from the Freeplay Zero PCB.

We are using different LEDs and resistors that will result in a different brightness.

We moved the shoulder button switches a bit and need to source different buttons. We hope that this means people won't need to mod the shoulders at all.

The largest changes come in the battery area.

We no longer have terminals for 14500 cells. I know that people used these in the past, but there are issues that make sticking to the "flat pack" style cells easier and better.

Where the negative spring terminals went before, we will now place JST connectors. This means that you can plug/unplug your battery pack(s) without opening up the shell.

There is some new reverse-polarity protection in the battery circuitry, just in case someone connects their battery backward.

There is some new low-voltage detection in the battery circuitry. This is actually wired to the Pi, so the Pi can detect the low-voltage. The user will see the red light (as was on the GPA v2.1) and after the battery gets even lower there will be a signal sent to the Pi. In our test setup, we have modified the power-button shutdown script to also shut down if this signal is detected.

Freeplay CM3

When we first tested the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, I thought the same thing. I figured that it would be a lot more of a drain on the battery and result in low run time.

That's not the case.

I need to point out here that we are still engineering the Freeplay CM3, and the design is still changing. However, in our early testing the difference in battery life between Freeplay Zero and Freeplay CM3 is very small. Running a game (with graphics and sound) on attract/intro mode lasted nearly the same on the two.
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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#3
(06-09-2017, 02:18 AM)Flavor Wrote: Thanks, Yvo!
For anyone else that hasn't seen it, the Kickstarter is at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/122...eplaytech/

Freeplay Zero

The Freeplay Zero will be very similar to the v2.1. Of course, the main difference is that we won't be soldering them by hand anymore. To accomodate the outsourcing, we need to tweak some components. Most of those tweaks are something I think a user would notice or care about. I'll list tweaks that a user may notice.

The 40pin header we used on the GPA v2.1 is hard to source. We are moving to a special connector that will accommodate common square-pin male pins. The female version (that will be on the Freeplay Zero circuit board) is the important part here, because the Pi needs to rest at a certain height away from the Freeplay Zero PCB.

We are using different LEDs and resistors that will result in a different brightness.

We moved the shoulder button switches a bit and need to source different buttons. We hope that this means people won't need to mod the shoulders at all.

The largest changes come in the battery area.

We no longer have terminals for 14500 cells. I know that people used these in the past, but there are issues that make sticking to the "flat pack" style cells easier and better.

Where the negative spring terminals went before, we will now place JST connectors. This means that you can plug/unplug your battery pack(s) without opening up the shell.

There is some new reverse-polarity protection in the battery circuitry, just in case someone connects their battery backward.

There is some new low-voltage detection in the battery circuitry. This is actually wired to the Pi, so the Pi can detect the low-voltage. The user will see the red light (as was on the GPA v2.1) and after the battery gets even lower there will be a signal sent to the Pi. In our test setup, we have modified the power-button shutdown script to also shut down if this signal is detected.

Freeplay CM3

When we first tested the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, I thought the same thing. I figured that it would be a lot more of a drain on the battery and result in low run time.

That's not the case.

I need to point out here that we are still engineering the Freeplay CM3, and the design is still changing. However, in our early testing the difference in battery life between Freeplay Zero and Freeplay CM3 is very small. Running a game (with graphics and sound) on attract/intro mode lasted nearly the same on the two.


Kinda makes me happy I won't have to update my v2.1 board already hahaha. But they do sound like nice changes.

I'm very interested in the CM3 ones, can't afford one now(+ they are still prototypes :p), but I'll definitely keep an eye on them to see how they pan out. Heat is another thing I'm curious about because my Pi3 even on base clock gets quite hot in closed spaces.

Anyways congratulations with the success on the kick-starter, nearly your goal in 24 hours, fuck me that is well done. And good luck with the project!
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#4
Right. Of course we don't the Freeplay Zero to be a whole new product, but we do want to make it mass-producible and simplify some small bits of the build process.

I think the Freeplay CM3 will work out very nicely, but it definitely needs to go through some engineering/testing to be ready.

I am also concerned about heat. On our current build, we have added a heatsink to the CPU. It definitely helps.

I am pleased with how our Kickstarter has gone. I'm confident that we will reach our goal, but keep in mind that our KS goal in the minimum we need to raise to move this project forward. To keep our business going in this direction, more funding is very important, so we really want to exceed our minimum goal as much as possible.
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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#5
Besides the cost and delivery date, are there any major downsides to the CM3?

For example, is software compatibility any worse? Will it be the same relatively plug and play experience?
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#6
I guess the difference between the Zero and CM3 are a bit more of a personal preference.

The Zero is cheaper, but you have to bring your own Raspberry Pi Zero (or Zero W) to build it.
The CM3 is more expensive, but it's a faster CPU and it our kit comes with the Raspberry Pi CM3 already connected.

The software compatibility should be the same. In fact, since the CM3 is the same CPU as the Raspberry Pi 3, it should support more systems (just based on increased processing power). The user experience should be the same as far as ease of use.

The Freeplay CM3 will also maybe offer a bit more future expansion options. We are building some things onto the main board that could allow people (maybe us) to make some expansion boards. We will just have to see what the future brings for that.

If you're okay with soldering, and you want something a bit cheaper, then go with the Freeplay Zero. (We're also working on a solderless option for the Freeplay Zero.)
If you don't want to worry about soldering or buying your own Raspberry Pi and you want a bit faster processor, then go with the Freeplay CM3.
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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#7
Thanks for the rundown. I think the CM3 is probably the one I want. Where is the best place to watch for development updates?
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#8
No problem!
The newsletter is at: http://www.freeplaytech.com/about/
The shop is at: http://www.freeplaytech.com/shop/
The Kickstarter updates are at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/122...ch/updates
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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#9
(09-22-2017, 07:47 AM)Flavor Wrote: No problem!
The newsletter is at: http://www.freeplaytech.com/about/
The shop is at: http://www.freeplaytech.com/shop/
The Kickstarter updates are at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/122...ch/updates

Is there any difference between ordering through http://www.freeplaytech.com/shop/ and ordering through https://www.retromodding.com/collections...y-zero-cm3 ?
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#10
Not really. Retro Modding is located in Canada. We are in the US. RM has some didifferent accessories that you may want with your kit.
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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