Q. What kind
of support are you offering for Itsy?
A. None. Our specifications are offered "as is", see the license for
Q. Can I build
an Itsy myself?
A. Yes, but you need access to a good hardware infrastructure. You
can't build a system as small as Itsy with commodity parts and
skills. Itsy V1.5 requires a six layer PC board with 5 mil lines and
spaces, fine pitch assembly tools, and a highly skilled assembler.
Q. Why aren't
all the parts readily available?
A. You can't build systems as small as Itsy without specialized
parts. We designed Itsy as a state-of-the-art device, using the most
appropriate components we could find. We are now providing the
information "as is."
Q. So what are
the hard-to-find parts?
LCD: This display is typically only sold to OEMs, and may be hard to
buy from Epson in small quantities.
Touchscreen: Dynapro has our permission to sell it, but they may
choose not quote a small order. The Panasonic EMU601A2M008
touchsceen might be adaptable, but has not been tested.
EDO DRAMs: An acedemic user has told us that they are hard to buy in
Flash: There is a major worldwide shortage of flash memory of almost
160-pin, 0.5mm connector: While we used an Nais part, the JAE AXK-series
is footprint compatible. The two brands will not intermate however!
The KEL DG01-series may also work, but is untested.
Q. How hard is
it to interface another LCD to Itsy?
A. The LCD controller of the SA-1100 is fully configurable by
software. Therefore, it should be possible to build a cable adaptor
to match another LCD to our connector. You would obviously be
restricted to the signals that are routed to our connector (e.g., 8
data lines). As explained in the
manual, Itsy makes it possible to keep an image on the LCD while
the processor is in sleep mode. This feature relies on the fact that
our LCD has a memory containing a full frame; it would obviously not
work on LCDs that lack this property.
Q. How hard is
it to interface another touchscreen to Itsy?
A. Our touchscreen is a conventional 4-wire resistive touchscreen.
Just like the LCD substitution, all that is required is a cable
Q. Why are the
schematics in PostScript instead of an industry standard CAD format?
A. Itsy has been designed using an internal CAD tool, not an
industry standard one. Providing the CAD source files would not have
been more useful than PostScript schematics. However, the net-list
is provided in ASCII. It can be processed, modified and fed to
another CAD tool.
Q. Itsy uses
several power planes, why don't they appear in the schematics?
A. Our CAD tool does not show this information on the schematics.
However, this information can be found in the net-list.
Q. Given the
above, how can I benefit from your information release?
A. Detailed engineering specifications provide a wealth of
information to researchers with similar interests. In the past, many
such groups have requested this information. We expect other groups
to modify our design and parts list based upon their own system
requirements. Those who have built hardware recognize that part
substitution and schematic entry are a small part of the effort of
constructing a new system.