TX1 ORCAD / Allegro SCH / PCB files


my name’s luke kenneth casson leighton, i’m a software and hardware libre developer, and the guardian of the EOMA68 open standard. i am always looking for new SoCs to create Cards around: the latest in development is an RK3288 4GB quad-core board. the PCB size of EOMA68 is 78.1mm x 47.3mm, which makes the Jetson TX1 module size perfect for a very fast conversion to EOMA68 with no “design support” costs to Nvidia.

can you therefore please make the Jetson TX1 CAD files available (without an NDA) so that i can carry out the conversion to EOMA68 form-factor and thus introduce the TX1 to a combined wider technical and mass-volume audience.

many many thanks for your prompt attention and desire to collaborate to bring your products to a wider general market.

UPDATE: the forum sysadmins attempted to mark comment #2 as the answer, despite a comprehensive explanation in #3 as to not only why it is not the answer but also an explanation as to why the information sought SHOULD be provided. if the information sought was already available online without an NDA (the full CAD files of the Jetson TX1 module PCB), i would not be asking the question “please provide the full CAD files of the Jetson TX1 module PCB”, would i? come on, sysadmins, escalate this to the design engineers and management, and get them to provide the full CAD files of the Jetson TX1 module PCB. many thanks.

You might find some of this useful (I think CAD is available there):

Note that CAD and most other information is either for the interface to the existing module, or to the carrier board. Detailed design within the module itself is not publicly available (the Technical Reference Manual tells you all about the SoC, it’s the module board surrounding the SoC which won’t have public schematics and CAD files).

appreciate the reference, linuxdev: i reviewed all of those: the specific design files that i seek are not available. the carrier board (of an incompatible design) files are available, and whilst the remaining documentation contains the information, i don’t know if you’ve done PCB design before but to read all of that and implement it correctly can take literally months, requires asking a lot of questions for clarification (which is a burden on nvidia’s technical team). then you try to make the board, which costs upwards of $2,000 for 5 samples assuming a 6-layer design (and it escalates exponentially, the more layers you have)… only to find that there’s some simple error and you have to throw the entire prototype away, debug the error, correct it and repeat the process.

all of that time and money totally wasted, by both the engineers and by nvidia, because all that nvidia have to do is release the Jetson TX1 CAD files, and people can create new PCBS WITHOUT NEEDING TO BOTHER NVIDIA.

i simply have not got time to waste with companies that do not comprehend that they are sellers of product, not sellers of information ABOUT product.

here’s the thing: i got hold of the RK3288 PCB and SCH CAD files (Orcad and Allegro) by paying some random guy off the internet on taobao.com a whole whopping $USD 25 (shock, gasp, horror). even if the guy was a scammer i was quite happy to spend $25 to find out if he was a scammer or not: turned out that he was genuine. so in three short weeks - with no NDA - i’ve managed to turn his $25 PCB CAD designs into the first EOMA68-RK3288 preliminary design, which i will send to prototype manufacturing in a week’s time.

i then contacted t-firefly and they sent me (free of charge) one of their developer boards for me to test out. (t-firefly have nothing to do with rockchip: they’re a third party).

why did i pick the RK3288?

two years ago, the RK3288 was the processor selected by Asus for the C201 Chromebook. Asus worked closely with google, and guess what happened? google upstreamed support for the Asus C201 and the RK3288 in their chrome OS repository, then various companies created developer boards (including http://www.t-firefly.com), where the firefly rk3288 quickly became the de-facto developer board of choice for the software libre community. that then resulted in FREE AND UNPAID TECHNICAL SUPPORT BY THE FREE SOFTWARE COMMUNITY WHICH ROCKCHIP HAS NOT HAD TO PAY A SINGLE PENNY FOR. the software libre community has been working all that time - unpaid - on maintaining support for the RK3288, including mainline u-boot and mainline linux kernel support.

so with all this linux community support out there, dozens of independent people have released HOWTOs on the internet on how to install {insert favourite preferred OS of their choice}. it’s actually become difficult to find (correct) stuff, because there’s so many people writing up their favourite installation recipes.

the benefit for very busy libre hardware engineers like myself is that because of the overwhelming independent community adoption over the past two years i can have a huge degree of confidence that by working with the people on #linux-rockchip on irc.freenode.net i can get a board up and running for a mere $USD 2,500 in about six weeks flat. if you were to tell another PCB CAD designer based in the West that you managed to make a professional-grade quad-core 1.8ghz PCB for only $USD 2,525 they would look at you in shock and disbelief.

here’s the thing: because i have the RK3288, i don’t actually need the Tegra TX1, it’s about whether NVIDIA is going to recognise that releasing PCB CAD information will increase their sales and profit margins.

Texas Instruments Beagleboards? PCB CAD files publicly available without an NDA.

Freescale iMX6 Sabre Lite? PCB CAD files publicly available without an NDA.

Ingenic M200 ultra-low-cost IoT processor? PCB CAD files publicly available without an NDA.

Rockchip RK3288? PCB CAD files found on the internet in china for $USD 25… without an NDA.

Allwinner R8? PCB CAD files found on NextthingCo’s github repository… without an NDA.

Allwinner A64? PCB CAD files found on the internet… without an NDA.

whilst hunting for CAD files for the RK3288 i managed to find a huge number of other modern SoCs, including some very recent ones from HiSilicon.

the strategy of providing FULL design information online is proven and tested, time and time again. the community based around each of these SoCs is self-supporting, costing the companies involved absolutely nothing, and resulting in increased product diversity, which in turn increases product awareness, which in turn increases confidence in the minds of potential designers, much better community-led software support and ultimately results in increased sales.

i look forward to nvidia recognising this and releasing the relevant CAD files (which are already available for the TK1, almost two years after i first contacted them and requested the exact same files that are now publicly available) promptly, and releasing the relevant CAD files preferably whilst the TX1 is still a relevant design. i know that you, nvidia, know that the SoC market is a space with significant competition.

I tend to do my design in FreeCAD (partly because of cost, but also because I can develop on it from Linux), so I have to implement just about everything myself down to the footprint and 3D models (and that is a lot of time to do). There are some Allegro and OrCAD files in the Jetson docs, but I don’t know how complete those are (nor if those work with your software). If Allegro or OrCAD works for you, then you may still have files available…which schematic software do you use?

linuxdev: can i please ask you a favour: the forum admins clicked #2 above as “the answer” which is total nonsense (luckily it’s possible to “unaccept”). could you please modify your response #2 so that it includes a section which says “UPDATE: this responses does not provide the specific information sought by the OP nor a reference to the information sought by the OP”?

forumadmins: i seek the FULL reference design files of the PCB known as the “TX1 module” - not the “TX1 base board” (because that’s already provided), not the Technical Reference Manual (because that’s already provided).

linuxdev: for simple boards (2 to 4 layer) it’s fine to use FreeCAD or other non-industry-standard PCB CAD tools, but for something like the TX1, which involves Gigaherts data paths, enormous current and thermal loads, they simply don’t cut it unless you are an extremely experienced engineer.

i did say: the files provided are completely inadequate for costly, risk-free timely production of products. there’s no way in hell i’m going to spend months of my time DUPLICATING work that someone else has already done. why? because it’s costly, risky and it’s time-consuming, simple as that. i have too much else to do.

i use PADS, because it is exceptional, intuitive, provides context-sensitive adaptable menus (unlike Allegro which shoves well over 500 menu options in your face and expects you to find what you need), and there are publicly-available conversion / import applications which work very well.

I don’t see the “accepted” part, I guess your unmarking succeeded there. So far as what is available you’d probably have to contact someone and sign a non-disclosure agreement to get details on the TX1 module itself (as you mentioned, the carrier board info is public, so is the SoC info, but not the module board the SoC is soldered to).

For FreeCAD I only do 2-layer designs at USB2 speeds or slower (typically my interests are in USB1.1, USB2, and audio when I work on any prototyping, so I have no need to work with stricter requirements like a TX1 module or carrier board). If I had to use more expensive tools I’d be out of business.

looks like it did. yeahyeah, i have a hard rule now: no NDAs with fabless SoC semiconductor companies. i can get western SoC TRMs and full Reference designs without NDAs, and by paying a bit of money on taobao.com i can find chinese SoC full Reference designs… then get the actual SoCs from huaquiang road, futian district, shenzhen. the extremely good RK3288 made its way into the public arena because of the relationship with google: two years ago it was chosen by Acer for the C201 chromebook.

it’s particularly telling that the NVidia Tegra TK1 was chosen by microsoft for the (failed) Surface RT, with the DRM-locking that worked its insidious way all the way down to applications, and the chinese rockchip RK3288, which has all resources available online for both hardware and software developers, and the OS may be replaced (with a bit of messing about) with anything that the user is technically competent to implement, was chosen by a google-Acer partnership.

no, the strange thing is, linuxdev, that the TK1 module PCB CAD files are available without an NDA. it’s the TX1 where they’re missing.

i’m particularly interested in the TX1 because the TK1 is too power-hungry, and also because the TX1 is sadly going to be the last opportunity for NVidia to be part of full libre (RYF Certifiable) products which have an entirely libre software stack, including 3D Graphics.

the problem in the embedded world is that there is LITERALLY not ONE SINGLE modern SoC with a GPU and a VPU for which the entire source code is libre for the boot process, the OS, the on-board video processor and the on-board 3D Graphics processor.

the Freescale iMX6 and iMX8 series: libre fully documenteed boot process, etnaviv for the GPU… and a proprietary VPU.

allwinner SoCs: most of them have been reverse-engineered for the boot process, and the VPU as well… but the GPU software stacks (PowerVR or MALI) are proprietary.

the list just goes on and on.

NVidia, due to the history from the desktop NVidia’s GPU series has been continuously reverse-engineered and has a libre 3D driver which is always slightly behind the times but is functional. some… IDIOT inside Nvidia decided that this is quotes unacceptable quotes and has, in the very latest series, mandated treacherous DRM locking of firmware that is uploaded to the GPU.

the TX1 is based on the LAST version of the Nvidia GPU which does NOT require treacherous DRM locking.

so there is one last opportunity for NVidia, here, but i suspect that they’re already working on the design of the next processor, already integrating the latest treacherous DRM-locked VPU design into it. it’s completely the wrong direction but the hardware engineers will just be doing what they’re told to do by management… oops.

Hello Luke,

I am designing a dev board for IOT platform and i am very interested in the RK3288. Can you please tell me where can you buy the design from, or can you resell it to me?

Thank you very much

hi 2klic, send me an email to luke.leighton@gmail.com and i will email you what i got on taobao for free. it would not be fair to sell you those files by way of nvidia’s forum

message to nvidia. nvidia? hello? you just lost out on ANOTHER batch of product sales of your high-end TX1 SoC by FAILING to provide the schematics and PCB reference designs that have been requested. do you finally GET it now??

every “small sale” for which you are protecting the established cartel of “Trusted ODMs” that belong in your “clique” is a potential to turn into a “medium-to-large sale” that you are losing out on… with the advantage that there is no need for support, they’re all self-supporting via forums like this one.