PineBook Pro #168's harrowing adventure
#1
My PineBook Pro arrived today, which is the most awesome thing to happen to me in several months at least.

First obstacle: the eMMC module fell out during shipping.  :s  The machine wouldn't boot and then I heard the module rattling inside the case. I had to get inside to install the NVMe adapter anyway, so while I was in there I put it back in place...

Second obstacle: The trackpad ribbon cable was routed directly under one of the screw holes for the NVMe adapter, and resisted every attempt to route it any other way. I ended up only using the other two screw holes. (Bonus minor problems: speakers fell out and I initially remounted them upside down, and the power jumper cables were taped in awkward places.)

Third obstacle: Once I got it booting, and tried to set up full disk encryption, I found that mrfixit's kernel doesn't include dm_crypt support. Just to see if an update would fix it, I clicked on the super friendly update button in the lower right, it downloaded a "pinebook" update, and ... bricked the machine. Heck! I never got it booting with root on eMMC again, even through hours of troubleshooting, reimaging, and weird bypasses. But I did eventually manage to get it booting from eMMC with encrypted root on NVMe, which is what I wanted anyway, so...

Fourth obstacle, still unresolved: I'm affected by the sometimes-screwy-input-on-keyboard-and-trackpad thing, and quite severely. :(

Overall I'm really happy with this device. This is the laptop I've been waiting the last two decades for. I hated the trackpad but I'm quickly getting used to it (same as every other trackpad I've ever used). Me being unused to ISO layout was completely mooted by switching in software to a more familiar layout. The straight pros: It's big enough for my piano monster hands. The key mechanisms are nice and crisp. The display is a gorgeous IPS panel; it's not 4:3, but I accept that that battle ended more than a decade ago. Mass storage is fast and all solid state. Case is stylish; light, yet sturdy. No moving parts to wear out. Enough processing power and RAM to do almost anything I ever need a computer for, while burning less energy than the LED lamp behind me. All that, and it respects my freedom!

Every time I see the lovely Pine64 logo on the Menu key, I'm gonna be smiling and sending a telepathic thank you to everyone who worked to make this possible. Once we get the input issue figured out, the PBP I'm posting from will become my main computer... and I expect it to stay that way for the next ten years, at least.
#2
Nice, I love reading this.

Every time I think to myself, "Hmmm I wonder if that PBP has shipped..." and the answer is "Not Yet" I head here and check for these posts.

Quick somewhat subjective quality questions:
Is the display panel glossy or matte? How is the touchpad texture? How much flexy-flex is in the chassis and the keyboard? Any at all? How are the hinges and the open-close action? What about the power connector's port, is it good, what do you think about that and is there a choke on the power lead that might get stuck on a table or something? I know they squashed the whine for us (To PINE64: thank you so much for that effort), so how about noise? For that matter, how do the builtin speakers sound and did your issues affect them?

Thanks again and thanks to PINE64. I love this project, and all of your other projects look really compelling.
#3
The eMMC was popped out on mine, also. @Luke helped get me straightened out in no time.

I hadn't considered disk encryption yet. Thanks for guinea pigging for us.
#4
Will get the eMMC secured down on future shipments. What on earth is DHL doing with these boxes?

As for the trackpad / keyboard issue, its being worked on - the vendor is trying stuff out over this weekend. S/he was unable to replicate the issue because they were testing on a generic rig; we gave them a PBP to test on. It'll get solved sooner or later.
You can find me on IRC, Discord and Twitter


#5
DHL is doing some serious damage to these packages. Mine was completely massacred but everything inside arrived mostly intact. The eu type plug adapter thingy got kinda bent but i managed to straighten it out. The cardboard boxes looked like they were run over by a bulldozer but they did keep the pinebook safe.

Using it right now, looks totally fine.
#6
(11-01-2019, 10:56 AM)cartoonworld Wrote: Is the display panel glossy or matte?

I think it's matte. It doesn't seem to suffer from unwanted reflections, at least.

(11-01-2019, 10:56 AM)cartoonworld Wrote: How is the touchpad texture?

Fresh out of the box, terrible. After just a few hours of use, already much better.

(11-01-2019, 10:56 AM)cartoonworld Wrote: How much flexy-flex is in the chassis and the keyboard? Any at all?

Very little flex. The case feels really sturdy and solid, in spite of how light it is. (I wonder how much of the cost of manufacture is just from the case...)

(11-01-2019, 10:56 AM)cartoonworld Wrote: How are the hinges and the open-close action?

Open-and-close action feels smooth. Force gets balanced nicely across the hinges, even if I open/close from a corner. Lid tends to stay in whatever state I put it in.

(11-01-2019, 10:56 AM)cartoonworld Wrote: What about the power connector's port, is it good, what do you think about that and is there a choke on the power lead that might get stuck on a table or something?

The port grips the plug very well. There's no choke at all on the adapter that came with mine. It's not very long, but it's a 5V adapter so length has a big effect on efficiency... and the battery life is so good, I actually had it unplugged for almost all of my troubleshooting yesterday and used about 25% of a charge.

(11-01-2019, 10:56 AM)cartoonworld Wrote: I know they squashed the whine for us (To PINE64: thank you so much for that effort), so how about noise?

No noise at all while operating, at least not that I could hear. I'm in a slightly noisy environment at all times these days, but I'm also normally sensitive to electronics whine.

(11-01-2019, 10:56 AM)cartoonworld Wrote: For that matter, how do the builtin speakers sound and did your issues affect them?

I actually hadn't tested them yet, so I tested them just now. Very poor low frequency response, but ... ugh, just had a terrifying mental image of a laptop with a subwoofer... Anyway, in the upper frequencies it's fine. Overall, a decent small-speaker experience.

Someone in another thread was concerned about the fact that they're downward-facing and that that might cause suboptimal sound if used on a soft surface like a lap or a blanket. I can confirm the validity of that concern.

(11-01-2019, 10:56 AM)cartoonworld Wrote: Thanks again and thanks to PINE64. I love this project, and all of your other projects look really compelling.

I'm also loving my ROCKPro64, and counting the days until I can get my hands on one of the Brave Heart edition Pine Phones. Big Grin

(11-01-2019, 12:32 PM)Luke Wrote: Will get the eMMC secured down on future shipments. What on earth is DHL doing with these boxes?

My boxes were physically intact, but given how loose every single thing that wasn't taped down was in my case, I can only imagine.

(11-01-2019, 12:32 PM)Luke Wrote: As for the trackpad / keyboard issue, its being worked on - the vendor is trying stuff out over this weekend. S/he was unable to replicate the issue because they were testing on a generic rig; we gave them a PBP to test on. It'll get solved sooner or later.

Is there anything I can do to help? Aside from a willingness to work way too hard to get small things working, I have some experience with microcontrollers and the like. (It's a shame my "rocket control interface" never made it to GitHub even though this terrible thing did...)
#7
My #187 arrived yesterday on the East Coast of the US. There was no external shipping damage to the package, boxes or the laptop. However, I have trouble getting the screen to come up so that I can log in. Maybe something came loose in shipping or some keyboard issue as well? After a few minutes, sometimes a very dark image with lots of screen flicker appears. If you try to log in by tapping the keyboard it gets a bit brighter but still with a lot of flicker. Once logged in it stabilizes, gets bright and works great. Most times on startup, it just stays dark until you tap the on/off key and then give it some other key strokes to gradually warm it up enough to see how to log in through the flicker.

Restarting or rebooting immediately after a shut down brings the screen comes up quickly and without the flicker. Booting from an SD card has the same problem. Something loose? Should I open it to take a look?
#8
Any updates? I'm curious if you managed to figure out what was wrong.
#9
(11-01-2019, 12:32 PM)Luke Wrote: What on earth is DHL doing with these boxes?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trebuchet   Big Grin
#10
I decided I had better submit a support ticket since I only get the dark screen when trying to boot up now. For a while I found that I could press down on the top center of the keyboard frame to get the screen to come up and stabilize. When it worked the screen was very bright and stable without any problems for over an hour.


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