Werner Almesberger | 28 Jul 09:31 2015

Anelok vs. CSS

I gave the Anelok Web page a bit of a face-lift:

Alas, CSS and I aren't friends. So the menu looks the way I want
it to look (*) on Chromium (43.0.2357.81):

But the boxes are a bit taller, and the boxes and "Personal Password
Safe" both are too low on Firefox (39.0):

Meanwhile, rekonq (2.4.2) places everything too high:

You can see my clumsy attempts at getting CSS to behave in
and there especially

I basically tossed in every hack and tweak I saw mentioned on Stack
Exchange, hoping I could do this with margins / padding / etc. and
alignment. Then I gave up and just forced placement with "position".
So some of the things may be redundant or even contradictory.

(*) I.e.,
  - logo and "Personal Password Safe" begin at the top of the
  - the logo is just high enough above the horizontal rule that it
    has a clear visual separation,
  - the boxes are slim and sit on top of the rule, without gap or
(Continue reading)

Werner Almesberger | 23 Jul 16:17 2015

Anelok at Chaos Communication Camp

By the way, I'll be at CCCamp 2015, which will be near Berlin, Germany,
August 13-17:

I'll be there "for work" (the Neo900 project), but I'll also bring my
Anelok critters with me. So if you want to see what they look like in
real life, or just stop by for a chat over a beer, that's the

You'll be able to find me at the Neo village:


- Werner

Werner Almesberger | 16 Jul 23:48 2015

Anelok: business 4/4, the poll

In order to have an idea of what we could expect, we'd now like to ask
you to indicate whether and how much money you or people you know would
be interested would consider putting into the Anelok project and company.

Based on this information, we will then develop a more detailed plan and
make a proper call for financing.

The options would be:

1) Donation. You give the project money without strings attached. This is
   the cleanest option for us, without significant tax or reporting
   burdens. You receive nothing in return, other than the warm glowing
   feeling of participating with an Open Hardware project.

   If all goes well, you will eventually be able to purchase Anelok
   products, just like anyone else. And you of course have access to
   all the information the project publishes, just like anyone else.

2) Co-founder. You buy initial stock and thus own part of the company.

   This stock will, if everything goes well and we're profitable, pay
   dividends, can be sold among shareholders, etc. It also entitles
   you to buy more stock later on.

   Please note that the names of founding shareholders will be on
   public record. Also, please bear in mind that we're still working
   on confirming whether we really can issue stock this way.

If the enterprise should fail, you're likely to get nothing in either
case, except for the experience.
(Continue reading)

Werner Almesberger | 16 Jul 23:38 2015

Anelok: business 3/4, finances

The project has so far been self-financed, but it will need external
money to proceed. This is a rough overview of financing stages in
relation to the product development process:


The funds will be mainly used for
- compensations, i.e., what's needed to keep key people in the
  project fed,
- lab, office equipment, and any other infrastructure (servers, etc.),
- materials for prototypes,
- external services, such as prototype manufacturing, accounting,
  certification (FCC, CE, ...), etc., and
- pre-financing of production.

The idea is to have multiple fundraisers, some of which would be
crowdfunding. Ideally, the crowdfunding would not be attempted
before the product looks reasonably nice and the of number potential
surprises and delays is low. Therefore, we'd like to try to make a
first fundraiser based solely on donations and possibly investment.

This may sound complicated, and it is. The reason for this lies in
no small part in very tricky legislation that impedes a lot of
"simple" solutions.

Some definitions:

- Donation: you like the project and give it money, expecting
  nothing in return. Almost as if giving money to a charity, except
  that Anelok is not a charity.
(Continue reading)

Werner Almesberger | 16 Jul 23:28 2015

Anelok: business 2/4, production plan

The first objective will be to finish development of the Anelok device
and to turn it into a product. This is a very high-level timeline of
the planned production process:


The phase 0 devices are boards made some time ago by Canaan. They
use the CR2032 design and have no case. They are available "now"
but are mainly aimed at R&D.

Phase 1 will be an AAA-based design. I hope that we can make them
relatively quickly once the company starts operating. These are
primarily intended for software developers. The underlying idea is to
grow the community and give more people a chance to actively
participate in the project.

Phase 2 will be for early adopters. These should be Anelok devices
one can actually use but they won't be as neat as the final product.
One major purpose of phase 2 is to find and eliminate issues (on all
fronts, not just hardware bugs) that would cause trouble when moving
to larger volumes.

Phase 3 is then the mass production of a hopefully perfect product.

The times between products are somewhat optimistic rough estimates
and will have to be updated once more details are settled.

One major source of such details is the financing, coming up next.

- Werner
(Continue reading)

Werner Almesberger | 16 Jul 23:18 2015

Anelok: business 1/4, company and director

The research phase of Anelok is beginning to bear fruits and it is
time to think about product development. Product development and
then commercialization requires a proper framework for doing business
and involves the handling of money.

I have been looking for a while for someone who could take care of
setting up and operating such a business, and I'm now happy to announce
that David Ball has volunteered to take this important role.

We already worked together a few years ago in the gta02-core project
that aimed to make a fully Open Hardware successor to the Openmoko
GTA02. While that project wasn't able to obtain the components it
planned to reuse, it was a good practice run for the open development
process and it provided infrastructure that serves us to the present

The plan is that Dave will soon create a private UK limited company
which will then "own" the project. Dave will be the director and both
him and me will be shareholders.

A round of welcoming applause, please !

There is more, though: this company needs objectives and it needs
financing. I'll cover this in the next mails.

- Werner

Werner Almesberger | 15 Jul 03:53 2015

Anelok: case, Tuesday edition

A new version of the case: I cleaned up some details, e.g., the
lanyard hole now has a proper exit and there are cut-outs for
USB and the switch.

The switch also has a knob, so one doesn't operate the little
knob on the component directly, but moves the customized knob
which then operates the actual switch. The knob is shown in
purple here:


The knob is extremely simple. Probably need to get a bit more
complex, but it may actually work even in its present form.


I think this case has all the major parts now. Next: the
electronics ...

- Werner

Werner Almesberger | 13 Jul 09:30 2015

Anelok: revised case (WIP)

The results of a weekend of case-tweaking:


Main changes:
- the screws are M2 with a nominal thread length of 7 mm,
- the screws move perpendicular to the bottom face (i.e., "vertically"),
- the lanyard hole is vertical, too, and less twisty,
- the USB connector (highlighted in green) is much closer to the

Known issues:
- still no cut-outs for USB and the switch,
- the lanyard hole does not end well at the bottom - I should
  make the whole corner part of the top shell

The STLs:

The source:

- Werner

Werner Almesberger | 11 Jul 00:23 2015

Anelok: case design (3/3): omissions and known bugs

There are a few known issues in this design:

- the barrels in the bottom half only attach to the battery bay
  but not to the bottom face. This is not completely wrong (i.e.,
  with stiff enough plastic and a good 3D printer, this ought to
  work), but might be inconvenient to manufacture.

- the "funnel" of the USB receptacle is about 1.6 mm from the
  outside wall, but the standard only gives us 1.3 mm to work

  According to the Micro USB 1.01 specification, the main body
  of the receptacle should protrude 0.7 mm over the PCB edge,
  plus 0.3 mm for the "funnel" (both in figure 4-11 on page 24).
  Then there is a clearance of at least 1.3 mm between funnel
  and the overmold of the plug (figure 4.9, page 22).

  That's a total allowance of 2.3 mm between PCB edge and outside
  wall, while we have 2.2 mm. So making this fit nominally may
  just be a question of moving the USB receptacle closer to the
  PCB's edge. In real life, we'd want a bit more mechanical
  tolerance, too, I'd say at least 0.4 mm.

- there are no cut-outs for USB and the switch yet.

- for the switch, I should also design the user-visible knob that
  moves it.

I'm having second thoughts about horizontal placement of the screws.
Now that I know that relatively short threads are available, it may
(Continue reading)

Werner Almesberger | 10 Jul 21:55 2015

Anelok: case design (2/3): interim result

The case design I have so far looks like this:

The big yellow rectangle is the polycarbonate "glass". Underneath
it are OLED panel and the sub-PCB with LED and slider. Additional
details like FPC, USB connector, battery, and the mounting holes
for the screws can also be seen. The toroidal lanyard hole is in
the upper left corner.

The overall design is quite similar to what I've shown before, but
there are two noteworthy differences:

- the case has grown to 52.0 x 45.25 x 14.0 mm = 32.94 ccm

- I moved the memory card holder such that it ejects (again) into
  the battery bay

A closer look - first, the bottom half:


This part is quite simple: left to right, there is half of the
battery holder, with a cut-out in the middle for the memory card,
then the barrels into which the screws (length 8.0 mm) go, and
then three lugs (or whatever one would call such things) that hold
the bottom half in place at the thin side of the case.

The top half is more complex:

(Continue reading)

Werner Almesberger | 10 Jul 21:01 2015

Anelok: case design (1/3): screws

Designing that case is tedious work, but I'm beginning to feel that
I'm getting somewhere. But first, there's something important that
needs proper consideration: screws.

When looking for small screws, it's surprisingly difficult to find
detailed specifications. While Alibaba and friends are full of
offers of little Torx screws for iPhones (NB: Apple nowadays uses
pentalobe screws), Blackberry, etc., there's hardly a shop that
actually provides a specific geometry.

In general, it seems that Torx T5 is a good compromise between size
and availability. I.e., most of the screws used in mobile phones
seem to have a T5 drive.

So, what's the typical T5 screw like ? The answer is that there is
none. Drive (slotted, Phillips, Torx, ...), head shape (cylindrical,
conical, round, and all sorts of fancy variations), thread, and
length, while all being related to each other, can appear in many

Eventually, I found a combination that appears in several places:
Torx T5 drive with a M1.6 thread. The smallest head for this type
of screw seems to have a diameter of 3.0 mm and a height of
1.2 mm - small enough for Anelok.

This leaves the length. I found a lot of useful information in the
flyer for EJOT DELTA PT screws:

So for M1.6, we can have a length from 3.5 mm to 16.0 mm.
(Continue reading)