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Re: gEDA-user: Free Dog meetings at MIT starting this September!

On Monday 23 August 2004 08:41 am, Dave McGuire wrote:
> > Hmm...does a 208-pin FPGA count as wide-pitch?  How about a 128-pin
> > PQFP
> > (which is what the MIPS CPU comes in)?  How about a BGA?
>    No, I'm talking about something like SOIC.  Man, those pins are
> just *not that small*.  Let's be realistic here.

I am being realistic.  My kit was a home-brew computer, something on the 
order of complexity of a Commodore 64.  But to implement the custom 
video logic, I was looking for an FPGA-based solution.  The smallest 
FPGA I could find that still fit my needs has 208 pins.

>    So you're advocating using crap tools to assemble circuitry?  If

No.  I'm advocating this: when you're trying to get into the kit-building 
business, you must design your circuit around who your customers are 
going to be.  I already have a full-time job; I don't need to spend the 
remaining waking hours of my already copious time answering technical 
support calls on how they need to, after spending $150 to $200 on a kit, 
invest another $150 to $200 in a good soldering iron.

Like I said, the overwhelming majority of the customers who are 
interested in the Kestrel NEVER built an electronic circuit before.  
Never!  They don't even have breadboards.

> you're really talking to people who have never picked up a soldering
> iron before, then I fear for our profession.  Most of these people
> will give up in frustration with fried components and lifted pads.

David, with a comment like that, I must question where you've been all 
these years.  The homebrew kit industry all but died along with the 
introduction of SMT -- it's not a coincidence as to why.

>    You know, the philosophy of using the right tool for the job is not
> obsolete.

You seem to have this idea in my head that I'm ass-backwards.  Please 
stop.  I've explained no less than three times now that these decisions 
are based purely on a BUSINESS-level decision-making process.  Maybe not 
as bluntly as that, but I was hoping that you might put 2 and 2 together 
by now.  I apologize if I seem frustrated, but I am.  I hate repeating 

If I don't design my kits around the needs of my customers, nobody will 
buy them.  Ergo, I'm essentially out of business.  It doesn't take a 
rocket scientist to figure this out.

>    Don't fear SMT.  SMT is good. :-)

Again, I don't fear SMT.  Those $22 superscalar MIPS processors are 
awfully appealing to me, and as long as I build for myself exclusively, 
the idea of using $100 FPGA chips isn't that bad to me (seeing as how 
it'll probably replace at least that much cost in combined board space 
and discrete components anyhow).

Samuel A. Falvo II