With the rapid rise of the Helium network worldwide, this is a decentralized network architecture. As of July 28, 2021, more than 100K gateways have been deployed worldwide, providing extensive LongFi network coverage around us. This provides a good hardware foundation for future LoRaWAN applications.

Explore the details about Helium people’s network: Helium Document Page

Heltec is actively becoming a third-party hardware manufacturer for the Helium network. Below is a timeline of what we did throughout the process.

Hardware development process

28th May 2021

Heltec’s internal meeting decided to participate in the HIP19 audit to become a third-party hardware manufacturer of Helium.

29th May 2021

Discuss hardware selection. By comparing PX30 (Insufficient performance) and Raspberry Pi 4B(tight supply), we decided to choose the RK3328 CPU based on the A53 core, with 2GB DDR4 RAM and 32GB eMMC ROM.

2th June 2021

Completed the functional verification on the RK3328 development board and recompiled a Linux Debian system suitable for us. And complete the structural design and make the first rendering at the same day.

3th June 2021

Submit HIP19 application. And Submit Heltec’s company information for the KYC process.

https://github.com/helium/HIP/pull/195

4th June 2021

Completed the design of the first-generation prototype circuit board and sent it to the PCB manufacturer for processing.

7th June 2021

Received the first-generation PCB samples, the hardware development team of Heltec produced the first-generation prototype circuit on the same day. All parameters are operating normally.

8th June 2021

Received the first-generation PCB samples, the hardware development team of Heltec produced the first-generation prototype circuit on the same day. All parameters are operating normally. Special optimize the radio frequency performance of the LoRa baseband part, mainly to optimize the output of higher harmonics.

9th June 2021

Through a period of hard work, Heltec’s R&D team has carried out a lot of optimization, upgrades and bug debugging of the operating system, made it running well on the first prototype hardware.

The system debugging mainly for the following aspects:

  • I2C bus driver;
  • SPI bus driver;
  • Docker installation;
  • Performance optimization of Docker running in a quad-core A53 CPU environment;
  • SDIO driver for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules;
  • File system optimization;
  • Optimization of human-computer interaction and other additional functions.

10th June 2021

The first prototype was assembled.

13th June 2021

Got the packing box, stuffing and other accessories.

15th June 2021

Sent out a sample for hardware audit to DeWi. The tracking information has shown the parcel was received on 17th June.

18th June 2021

The second-generation circuit is delivered to PCB manufacturers for production, used for the final structure design, and used as a template for mold design.

20th June 2021

Begin to prepare components for mass production, and stop providing PCBA services to external parties.

10th July 2021

The first ready-to-sale sample was produced.

Because of the light reason, the color of the real product is darker and looks very beautiful. For more hardware information and high-quality images, please refer to the Product Features Page (under construction).

13th July 2021

Submit “Test Onboarding with Test Maker Account”.

14th July 2021

Because of the hardware changes, which are inconsistent with the final sell version, we are required to send two new sets of hardware for audit.

Compared with the first-generation prototype, the official version has made the following changes

1. Added a special LED hood;
2. Modify the size of the main board to fit more closely with the shell;
3. Added a cooling fan control system to reduce fan noise;
4. Optimize the circuit.

20th July 2021

Two samples of the final sales version were sent to DeWi, and the tracking information showed that it was received on July 23.

23th July 2021

Submit Pull Request to Hotspot App.

https://github.com/helium/hotspot-app/pull/827

28th July 2021

Today is a big day for voting, but unfortunately, we are not among them, because our new samples were received last Friday.

The good news is we were told that they would arrange a special meeting for review as soon as possible.

We are debugging the assembly process for mass production, and plan to start production after the hardware audit is accomplished, and will start selling and shipping when the Heltec HIP19 application status becomes approved.

14th August 2021

The hardware test process is partially completed!

  • Enclosure — “The way it looks, very nice.” Passed
  • ECC test — Passed
  • Radio test — Passed

Blockchain test scheduled for next week.

19th August 2021

Blockchain test passed, hardware review passed!!!

Waiting for MOC vote on August 23ed.

24th August 2021

We just received an email from DeWi, we have passed the HIP19 audit!!! Thanks to everyone for their help and support in this process, and thanks to all the staff of Heltec Automation for their hard work. In the future, There still have three steps of work:
1. Obtain a maker account;
2. Access to the Helium blockchain;
3. Complete the compilation of the Helium APP.

After the above three steps are completed, we can start shipping.

26th August 2021

The first panic buying with small batches will get started at 23:00 Beijing Time (UTC+8) on 27th August.

https://heltec.org/project/ht-m2808/

31th August 2021

“Maker Account Created” and “Add Hotspot to Blockchain” had been completed!

Now the last step is APP compilation! We need to wait for Helium to accept the PR submitted by us and release the update.