Mycroft Community Forum

Mark II Update - November 2020

Originally published at: https://mycroft.ai/blog/mark-ii-update-november-2020/

This month most of the team braved the airports and came together in person for a two week sprint. The aim was to have a fully working device by the time we went home. Spoiler alert – we did it!

Obligatory COVID note:

We took a lot of precautions to pull this off. With everyone taking tests before, during and after the sprint. Remaining isolated until test results were confirmed. Using the best PPE available. Everyone is now safely back home with negative tests.

Audio output

Very quickly we discovered that the SJ201 rev 3 had an issue reliably outputting audio. This hadn’t come up in our testing to date as the sound works when first booted. However after varying amounts of time the output cut out and would not return until rebooting the device.

As you can imagine, this was an unexpected turn of events, consuming a sizable portion of the sprint efforts.

The issue was tracked down to an incompatibility in the USB of the XMOS chip and Raspberry Pi 4. It works fine on a Pi 3 but that causes other problems, so we decided to work around it and use the I2S bus instead. As a temporary work around, we were able to add a jumper from one of the Pi’s GPIO pins to the XMOS chip allowing us to reset the chip in software anytime the failure occurred. This meant we could continue prototyping with the current board, however it is not a final solution.

SJ201 Rev 4

As we mentioned in the last update we were already planning another revision of the board in order to switch the audio output to use a direct I2S connection. The change to I2S will also address this audio output issue as we will no longer be needing the USB driver.

Our expectation is that this will be the final revision before we start shipping the Mark II Dev Kits.

Mark II Dev Kit with 3D printed audio chamber

Added in Rev 4

  • I2S Audio Amp TAS5806MD
  • Changed audio path from USB to I2S. Better quality and gets around bug in
  • XMOS/Raspberry Pi 4 over USB.

Removed in Rev 4

  • I2S to Line Out IC
  • MAX9744 Amp

Pantacor

An exciting new addition to the Mark II is Pantacor, a comprehensive and robust software life-cycle management solution.

This is an open source solution that uses container technologies to securely and reliably maintain edge services on Linux devices. That can be anything from home WiFi routers through to industrial control systems.

Cut the jargon! What the hell does all that mean for the Mark II?

Most importantly this provides a very stable and resilient operating system and update service. If something goes wrong on your Mark II, the device will automatically roll back to a previously working state. This is the type of feature that you will never notice because it “just works”.

We are really excited to be working with the Pantacor team. We have contracted them to set up the infrastructure and integrations needed to get us started, so we can stay focused on Mycroft’s core capabilities and getting the hardware shipped.

Future planning

While the team was together, we also took some time to map out some of the larger changes we want to make. We’ll be sharing these ideas and draft specifications with the Community over the coming weeks and months to get your input and help prioritize these longer-term projects.

2 Likes

“By putting down a $1 deposit per speaker we’ll hold your place in line and ship them when mass production starts in late 2019 or early 2020.”

Well maybe you should update the shop then…

Hey there, thanks for flagging this because it looks like you found your way to our staging site which clearly hasn’t been updated in a while. It’s mostly the same as the regular https://mycroft.ai site and is just as secure but the store was meant to be deactivated which it clearly isn’t.

I’ll be fixing that up and will migrate your reservation over, but I was wondering if you remembered how you got through to that page? Eg clicked a link in an email, a blog post, or just searched and clicked through? If there’s a public link sending people in that direction we’d like to get it fixed up.

Hey, i just visited https://mycroft.ai and clicked on Store in the top left.

Hey thanks for responding.

This navigation item (at least currently) links to the relevant store on each domain, so I’m thinking there must be a rogue link out there that’s getting people onto the test site in the first place.

Will keep looking…

Well it is still the same.

  1. google “mycroft ai”, click the first result.
  2. https://mycroft.ai loads.
  3. click on store top left.
  4. https://mycroft.ai/shop/ loads.
  5. click on “reserve yours today!” under Mycroft Mark II

and there you are. the page that told me the info above. NOW it says “By putting down a $1 deposit per speaker we’ll hold your place in line and ship them when mass production starts in 2021.”

So the description is fixed now and i do not get your story about rogue link or whatever. All i wanted to point out: update your content. i am/was an interested customer. missinformation and old content on websites create trust issues. just saying. Not sure if i really want to get a Mark II. Looks nice and all, but no one finds information about the status, except in a forum here?

uff.

Yep, to be clear, you ended up at: https://test.mycroft.ai/ not https://mycroft.ai
and reserved a Mark II via the staging site at this link: https://test.mycroft.ai/product/reserve-your-mark-ii-with-a-small-deposit/

That’s where the outdated text was which I’ve now updated and added the bright orange warning on the front page.

You aren’t the only person to have reserved a Mark II on the staging site either, which is why I believe we have a rogue link pointing there. The other (less likely) possibility is that Google or another search engine decided to return our staging site as the primary result for some people or some period of time.

The updates for the Mark II are all on our blog, Kickstarter and IndieGogo. Once we get the dev kits out in the world and get closer to shipping the production units we’ll be able to show more of the end-to-end product experience.

If you have any questions, happy to answer them :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Well, i never saw the “test” in the url. i always went the path i described above. just btw: when i google “mycroft ai” the very first result is https://mycroft.ai and now i see the following page.

From my point of view it is broken now. As a user i always search for a product on google or other sites. The first result is the most clicked… and now shows the above. Looks like: oh no we stopped the project, no one is taking care of it.

I guess the test.mycroft.ai site is somehow merged with the non test site. Otherwise i can’t explain the issue.