Just so you know, I haven't started building my ebook yet. I've slowly been buying the parts as I have the spare change. That being said. The PCB arrived safely and much quicker than I expected. So, that was a nice surprise. There was plenty of padding to keep the board safe. The board has instructions printed on it and that's pretty cool. Almost an art piece in itself. But I had my doubts I could read it without taking a picture and zooming in on it. Then I found the papers in the shipping box. One of them was a diagram of the board, it was much larger and therefore easier to read the directions. Big sigh of relief. I've recently purchased a 3D printer, too, so I plan to make a housing for the ebook when I have all the parts and feel secure in my welding skills. :)
Oct. 25, 2020
NOT for the inexperienced with surface mount soldering.
This ended up being a costly learning experience (read, failure). Having had some experience with surface mount assembly, I let the description's statement of relative (to the main board) ease convince me that I could do this. There were challenges, but I managed to get everything except the microSD card holder and the flex ribbon connector. Those ended up destroyed, so I had to order replacements, adding another delay while waiting for parts. Finally, I was satisfied that everyone was soldered and solder bridges fixed, so I want to assemble. When I tried to insert the flex strip, the connector came off, ripping out the traces. End result, an expensive learning experience and an e-ink display that needs a controller board.
In other words, while it might be easier, it isn't easy. Do not attempt unless you know what you're doing.
And a minor complaint about the assembly instructions: It should be clear that the through-hole tactile buttons get mounted on the reverse side from the SMT components.
I've been following this project for a while, and jumped at the chance to get a board. Just look at it, it's beautiful! Almost seems like a shame to cover it with components! Although I will do soon. Just waiting on delivery of the screen and a couple of other bits at the moment.
The online documentation is superb, but it's really nice to have good clear paper documentation too. This is in addition to the PCB itself, which is, of course, it's own documentation :-)
Update: All the components arrived, and I set to work putting it together. Although I'm sure it is possible to hand solder this, I went down the stencil, paste and hot air route. The pitch on some components is very small, so this certainly wouldn't make a good first solder project, however, with patience and attention to detail, it's quite buildable. And very satisfying too! The documentation is great, and holds your hand all the way through. A really nice touch was an interactive test script which you can run after getting the bootloader on the SAMD51, which takes you through testing each subsytem. I haven't delved too deep in to the software side of things yet, but everything works and I have an open source ebook reader now, so that's what it's all about :-)