LimeSDR Production Progress

The LimeSDR is a RX/TX capable SDR with a 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz frequency range, 12-bit ADC and 61.44 MHz bandwidth. Back in June 2016 they reached their $500,000 goal on the crowdfunding site crowdsupply. They are now gearing up to enter mass production the final product. Recently they released  a production update which is quoted below.

Production Progress

Since the successful close of our funding campaign, We’ve been incredibly busy preparing to deliver LimeSDRs to all our backers. Just as we worked hard during the campaign – internally, with key partners, and with our fantastic beta testers in the community — creating a series of exciting demos, we continue to work to ensure backers will have a first-class experience upon receiving their hardware. In this update, we’ll review the state of the production schedule, hardware design, testing setup, documentation, app store, and more.

Production Schedule

To be upfront, our production schedule has slipped, but not by a lot. We discovered that some of the parts used in the original LimeSDR design have since entered end-of-life status, so we redesigned the board with replacement parts. In addition, we are still waiting on manufacturers for a few key components, such as the high-precision oscillators. We are in close contact with those manufacturers and our best guess right now is we will have all components by mid-November.

Once we have the components, our manufacturing partner in Taiwan can very quickly produce the entire lot of LimeSDRs. The assembled boards will then be sent to the UK for final quality assurance and packaging before heading off to Crowd Supply’s warehouse for delivery to all backers.

Given all this, we expect all LimeSDRs, including the Aluminum Kit version, to be delivered in December. Of course, we will update everyone as soon as have more information. In any case, we will post an update at least once a week between now and delivery.

Update Your Shipping Address

You will know your order has shipped when you receive a shipping confirmation email from Crowd Supply. The shipping confirmation email will contain a tracking number. If you need to change your shipping address, you can do so by logging into your Crowd Supply account. If you didn’t already have a Crowd Supply account, one was automatically created for you when you placed your order. We will post a separate update letting you know about the cutoff date for updating your shipping address.

Hardware and BoM

We have been contacting all the component suppliers and manufacturers and placing orders through our operation in Taiwan. As part of this work we wanted to make sure that no component will become end-of-life for at least 2 years. As a result, we have had to make minor changes to the board to replace some of the older parts. This was followed by another set of prototype runs to ensure that there is no impact on performance and manufacturability of the boards.

First batch of the Altera FPGA parts delivered to Lime headquarters yesterday.
First batch of the Altera FPGA parts delivered to Lime headquarters yesterday.

Production Testing

A rigorous testing programme is essential with an advanced technology platform such as the LimeSDR and this work has just been completed. The LMS7002 production test had already been verified and running on industry standard Teradyne testers with RF test configuration. The program for the LimeSDR boards runs on x86-based workstations and provides an optimised test time while exercising all the functions, including frequency and bandwidth sweep across the full range.

Driver and Software Updates

We have already shipped over 100 boards to our community of beta testers for their feedback, before, during, and after the campaign. This enabled us to provide so many truly exciting updates during the campaign and, more significantly, we have been getting excellent feedback from the community, who have been simply outstanding in sharing their ideas for improving the user experience. We are making significant updates to the driver and calibration algorithms as a result, these are largely complete and will be pushed to Github before the end of November.

Documentation

We will continue to invest heavily in this area and see this as being key to demonstrating our steadfast commitment to the community. Giving you the best support begins with well structured documentation. Obviously, we rely here on your input and feedback. Making the process as smooth as possible is key, we have already started to publish data sheets and supporting documentation on the Myriad-RF Wiki, and will continue to do so as we gather your comments and suggestions.

LimeNET App Store

One of the key activities which we believe will set LimeSDR apart from other software-defined radio solutions is the concept of app-enabled SDR. With this, developers can provide their solution as a incredibly simple to install app, complete with all the various dependencies — with optional support and certification etc. — and publish it via the LimeNET app store. We envisage a rich ecosystem of many applications, resulting in a fantastic out-of-the-box user experience as the maturity and sophistication of the algorithms and software routines improves over time.

We are working very closely with Canonical (the organisation behind the immensely popular Ubuntu Linux distribution) to put in place the app store infrastructure and plan to have a basic service running and populated with a few initial apps by the time the first boards go out.

We are currently in the process of setting out the criteria for publishing an app in the LimeNET store, along with the associated terms and conditions. This is another area where we plan to seek input from you, our backers, to encourage the widest participation and cater for a variety of business and revenue models for developers. There will be numerous posts and updates on this topic, with plenty of opportunity for your input, comments, and feedback.

Last but not least, we shall be posting regular updates as we get closer to the deadline. This will be similar to during the campaign and with plenty of details, including things such as component delivery status, manufacturing progress, and delivery dates for the pledges made by you in all the different categories.

Thank you once again for your support and here’s to the exciting weeks ahead!

Ebrahim and the LimeSDR Team

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