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Itsy Download Q&A  Itsy Homepage


Q. What kind of support are you offering for Itsy?
A. None. Our specifications are offered "as is", see the license for details.


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?
A. 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 small quantities.
Flash: There is a major worldwide shortage of flash memory of almost all types.
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 adaptor.


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.

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