EvilDragon of the OpenPandora-Team keeps us updated!


Wow, what a lot of work! But so far no bigger problems, but lots of positive reports, really assuring us 🙂
I’ve been helping out here for the 2,5 days already, and we’re managing it quite good.
Speed is improving, we don’t make too many mistakes we need to fix and based on the feedback from the first users, we optimize the building process.

At least 60 units should have reached the customers so far and there were only a few problems.
A dead battery, a dead PSU (which can happen, unfortunately), one broken WiFi and a broken backlight.
For the very first units, that’s a good quote – basically only one two broken ones.

As some guys were asking about quality checking – here’s what we did for the first units:

1. The boards including all the hardware are being tested in Texas after population.
2. After we assemble them, we have a special bootloader where we can test all controls and the LCD.
3. Then we install the firmware – ready to ship.

Based on the feedback we got and the one broken WiFi one, we changed that a bit.
Before we install the firmware, we do a WiFi test (it connects and downloads a small file).
As another user had the problem that his unit shutdown during first boot (flat battery) and then he couldn’t login, we’re also doing that first boot (which configures the system and takes a while) right here.
And we do that completely from the battery – so most faulty batteries should also be recognized.

So right now, that’s what we do:

1. The boards including all the hardware are being tested in Texas after population.
2. During assembly, we test the controls and the LCD.
3. After screwing them together, we do the WiFi test and a different person tests the controls as well.
4. We install the firmware and do the complete first boot from battery.
5. After that, the unit is ready to ship.

This helps to make sure that no faulty unit should reach you. And if one slips through our hands (well, we can’t possible charge all batteries for 6 hours to see if they work well), then we will replace it, that’s for sure.

Some other questions have occured regarding the firmware, so I’m going to give newcomers some tips here:

1. Right now, WiFi is always enabled on Bootup. This eats some battery power – especially, if it keeps looking for networks and can’t find any. So unless you want the unit to be always-on, you should probably disable it. That can easily be done: Go to Settings / Startup and disable WiFi on bootup. After you did that, you need to Toggle WiFi (that’s in the system menu) before you use it.

2. It seems the Network Manager has a problem: When it disconnects, it can’t reconnect. It seems that’s also the case on standard Linux desktops. We’ll look into this, however, if you lose connection at the moment, you need to reboot. You should only lose connection though if the WiFi signal is flaky – we ran some units for 48 hours as a test without a single reconnection.

3. When you use the nubs, they need to some time to calibrate. Usually, it automatically happens while using them, however, to make sure they work fine, slowly move them into each direction (Up, Down, Left, Right) and stay there for 1 or 2 seconds. Let them go back to the center each time before you move it into the next direction.

4. Just switched on your unit and right while booting the screen switches off? No worries, your unit is NOT broken. It’s a feature that also turned into a bug: When you shutdown the unit, it saves the brightness value and applies that on startup, which is a good thing. However, if you shutdown the unit and close the lid, then the brightness value goes to 0 – and that’s what the unit saves. So on next startup, it will switch off during booting process. That’s not a big problem – just wait until it booted and use the brightness control on the keyboard to make it bright again. Another fix for a firmware update 🙂

5. Not firmware-related: But be sure to first CHARGE the unit before using it 🙂

That’s it. So far, we got a lot of positive reports, which is pretty cool.
Funny thing is that some users bashed the Pandora – without even having one (well, we know where we ship the units to).
I have no idea why they do this, but we’re sure: The more Pandoras are out there, the more positive posts will appear.

So, it’s back to work for me, so that more units can find their way home 🙂