report from the Hong Kong warehouse

Jon Phillips jon at
Wed Jun 23 02:23:51 EDT 2010

Wolfgang, you should blog this on the website!


On Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 10:46 PM, Wolfgang Spraul <wolfgang at> wrote:
> Hi,
> after Mirko released the OpenWrt 2010-06-15 image [1], we thought it's a
> good idea to make a trip to our Hong Kong warehouse for a little reflashing
> job. This opportunity would also allow us to take some nice pictures and
> stuff about our wonderful logistics partner there, e-commerce Logistics [2].
> Check it out here
> ecL is definitely the right fit for our copyleft hardware business in the
> next few years, the warehouse is air-conditioned, the size of the warehouse
> as well as their other customers is similar to Sharism, and it's located in
> a good spot close to Shenzhen and with access to the enormous cargo hub
> power of Hong Kong. We are in nice company of beauty care products, other
> electronics as well as fine wines :-)
> And most importantly: Their people are fabulous!
> I reflashed all 219 Ben NanoNotes with the following procedure:
> - boot into 20100113 image, see whether device still boots after sitting
>  in the warehouse for 5 months
> - reflash 20100615 u-boot and kernel via usbboot (press 'u')
> - boot from microSD (press 'm')
> - run a little script to ubiformat /dev/mtd2 -f rootfs.ubi and
>  ubiformat /dev/mtd3
> - reboot to check that the device boots into 2010-06-15
> - power off
> My notes:
> *) one device would not turn on, or rather it booted but the screen stayed
>   black. Took it out.
> *) one device wouldn't turn on (tried repeatedly), but after some time and
>   accidentally leaving it plugged into USB the power-on button suddenly
>   worked. After that I was unable to reproduce the power-on problem.
> *) on all the hundreds of boots, 2 times it hung at
>   "2.65 g_ether_gadget: high speed config #1: CDC Ethernet (ECM)"
> *) booting from larger microSD cards (>4 GB) didn't work (u-boot bug)
> *) occasionally I saw USB issues on the port of my notebook that is behind
>   a USB hub. Unplugging and re-plugging, or switching to another USB port,
>   solved those problems.
> IMPORTANT: On at least 20-30% of devices, I saw heavy flickering right after
> booting into 2010-06-15, that would make any normal consumer electronics
> customer return the device. I hope our customers won't :-) In no single case
> this is a hardware problem, our production testing software and criteria are
> very strict and demand a rock stable LCM. The flickering is caused by
> software bugs that we haven't been able to fully eliminate yet. In the
> 2010-06-15 image it seems to go away after switching into and out of
> applications for a while (either dgClock or GMU).
> So if you buy a Ben NanoNote and it flickers like crazy: DON'T PANIC.
> There may be a software fix already by the time you receive your Nano, or
> the flickering will go away after launching another GUI app. Please
> report any flickering you see, we also need to work a bit to raise awareness
> of this...
> The good news is that we worked hard to bring many GUI toolkits to the Ben:
> GTK+, SDL, Qt4. So making this all stable takes some time, but if we are
> patient we will have a nice platform in the end.
> It was a great pleasure to see 219 Nanos alive in one place and reflash them
> all. Well, 218 now after one was found to be dead (and 3 were sold while I
> was reflashing, which is nice encouragement that we are on the right track...)
> Happy sharing,
> Wolfgang
> P.S.: We also put NanoNote, Sharism and Milkymist stickers into each box,
> two of each so you can share with a friend.
> [1]
> [2]
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Jon Phillips + skype: kidproto
+1.415.830.3884 (sf/global)
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