Saturday, June 22, 2013

HackRF Beta Distribution

I've been working day and night to test, rework (You don't mind a few scorch marks, do you?), and ship HackRF beta units over the last four weeks. It has been a bigger job than I planned on, but the end is near. I expect to ship the last of the beta units before the end of June. I will have shipped a total of 500 units with more than 200 of those going to people who signed up for the waiting list.

The main reason that it has taken so long is that there has been more testing and rework required than I expected. The test procedure I gave to the contract manufacturer wasn't good enough, mostly because it performed RF tests over the air instead of over a cable with fixed characteristics. Since changing the procedure to operate over an RF cable with an attenuator, I am getting very consistent results. Unfortunately those results aren't always positive, so I've had to do a lot of rework. Plus, I've had to spend a great deal of time running the tests at my kitchen table.

Allergy warning: cats have climbed into boxes full of HackRF Jawbreakers!

I've fallen a bit behind on email while doing all this work, but many of those messages contain frequently asked questions about beta distribution that I will list here:

Q: How many people registered for the beta and how many beta units will ship?

A: I received a total of 2288 registrations. Over 400 units have shipped already. A total of approximately 500 units will ship. About 225 of those will go to people on the waiting list (those who registered without a valid beta invitation code). I wish I could give a board to all 2288 of you, but unfortunately supplies are limited. Still, I am proud to have accomplished such a large give-away of open source hardware.

Q: What are my odds of receiving a Jawbreaker?

A: If you registered with a valid beta invitation code, a beta unit should have been shipped to you already (100%). If you registered without a code, you will receive a Jawbreaker only if you were among the first 11% or so of people who registered. If you heard about beta registration from the GSG-announce mailing list, irc (#hackrf on freenode), or by following me on twitter and acted quickly, you have a good chance of getting a board. If you signed up later without a code, you probably will not get a board.

Q: Will I receive a confirmation email even if I do not get a beta unit?

A: Yes. If you included a valid email address with your registration you will receive an email either way. If a beta unit is shipped to you, I will send you an email that day. As soon as beta supplies are exhausted I will send an email to everyone still on the waiting list letting you know that you will not receive a unit.

Q: How are beta units shipped?

A: I'm shipping all beta units via USPS First-Class Mail or First-Class Package International Service. I realize that this isn't the speediest service for international beta testers and that time in customs can vary greatly, but keeping the cost low is part of how I am able to ship so many total beta units.

Q: What if my Jawbreaker fails?

A: Unfortunately I expect some hardware failures in the field. Even units that passed my improved test procedure might fail in the future. I've already seen (and replaced) one such unit that had a weak solder joint that failed after being shipped to a beta tester. I can't guarantee you a working beta unit, but I will do my best to repair or replace units that fail. If you suspect a hardware failure or have any other technical concerns, post your question or test results to the hackrf-dev mailing list.

Q: When can I buy a HackRF board?

A: I will make an announcement about commercial availability soon. If you want to be among the first to hear about it, sign up for the GSG-announce mailing list.


j said...

Thank you so much for the updates!

AlexJeb said...

Thanks for all the info and awesome job with the project. Looking forward to eventually getting my hands on one.

J G Pelham said...

Thanks for keeping us updated. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a board.

Mukundan said...

Thanks much for the info. Praying to get included in the first 11% .....:-)

Andrew Wasson said...

Thanks for the detailed update. This is really a pretty cool project!

Dimitris Chatzis said...

Thank you for the updates!

g0hww said...

Perhaps the cats were installing their whiskers in the radios!

Nibble said...

Good work! Thanks for the news. I hope to be contemplated with a board.... if possible.

Gabriel said...

Man you are insane!

What are your motivations behind so much work? I can´t imagine taking so much time os my daily life to acomplish so impresive labor.

You deserve my deepest respect.

Michael Ossmann said...

Gabriel: This is a commercial endeavor, or it will be soon anyway. Being an open source project, I thought it would be appropriate to give away as much hardware as I can first.

Aeroengineer1 said...

I am still hoping that I made it to the beta (I got signed up in the first ~30 hours of the announcement), but if not, are there any plans to sell just the PCB? I do not mind soldering up a kit. I quickly looked at the BOM and nothing jumped out as something that would be too hard to solder. The QFN's might be the hardest, but they are not too bad as the seemed to be small.

If a board were available, I think that this would cut the cost considerably as a 4 layer board can get costly. Many of the rest of the components might be had via a sample program. Thanks again for developing this device. It looks like it could be a lot of fun in the future.

Unknown said...

Thx for the update.

CheMaRy said...

Thanks by the info, I joined too late to have any hope of receiving one.
How much will it cost pre-assembled or in a kit?

Aeroengineer1 said...

Ok, so I got the no more left email today. A bummer for sure, but once again, I hope that there might be a possibility to be able to purchase a PCB that could be built up.

From the services I looked at, it looks like it would be $70-100+ just to have the board made up in small runs (Usually, you get a few of them back, but I only need one).

Thanks again for a great project, I hope to build one up in the future.

decula said...

Got the dreaded email this morning, drat!
Thank you for the chance and all the work you are pouring into Jawbreaker, Michael. Noticed your mention of 13.56 MHz RFID in a post - quite cool.
Keep up the good works and I look forward to a purchase when they become available.

zenographie said...

Sooooo saaaaad day today... I' not in the 11% pool :- ))
Anyhow, thanks for all, Mike.

Just one stupid question : could you consider selling the PCB only ? I had the chance to have a look on jawbreaker, and it's definitely not a big deal to solder (from my point of view indeed). And as long as RFHack is a hacker's project, I would appreciate NOT to have my own pre-chewed dogfood (and I'm allready considering some personal hardware hack)

Thnks for your efforts again


zenographie said...

Sooooo saaaaad day today... I' not in the 11% pool :- ))
Anyhow, thanks for all, Mike.

Just one stupid question : could you consider selling the PCB only ? I had the chance to have a look on jawbreaker, and it's definitely not a big deal to solder (from my point of view indeed). And as long as RFHack is a hacker's project, I would appreciate NOT to have my own pre-chewed dogfood (and I'm allready considering some personal hardware hack)

Thnks for your efforts again


PP2KR said...

Hi dear
I would like to buy at least one blank board from you.

Michael Ossmann said...

In case any of you missed it, HackRF is now on Kickstarter:

Bare PCBs are available in addition to fully assembled units.

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