Being creative on cyber monday

It has been some time since my last post, I meant to post earlier but got a bit distracted reviewing and deleting 24 emails and text messages I had regarding Black Friday! Cyber Monday added another 16 emails. Decided to be creative and write another blog post instead.

First of all, after a few unforeseen delays, the ATX power adaptors will be available soon. My expected delivery date from the manufacturer is 25/12/2015, a nice early christmas present! It will take a few days to get the boards programmed and tested once complete I will list the adaptors for sale on my website. Realistically, it will be January 2016.
The CDTV ATX adaptors are in stock, as are the audio mixer PCBs.
The smaller floppy adaptors (for double density Amiga use) will follow in approximately 2 weeks, so middle of January. A late change for further use, has delayed sending this order out to manufacture.
Pricing is largely unchanged:
CDTV power adaptor £9
picoPSU adaptor £10
Mega adaptor (replaces original and big box) £11
Audio mixer PCB £4
Postage and packaging to be added to all orders.

Getting PCBs fabricated is easy, I have used multiple vendors with comparative ease. Getting PCBs fabricated and assembled, for a reasonable price is another story. I contacted 7 companies for quotes and only got responses from 2 of them. I guess small quantities (75 of each PCB) was too low for some of them. The company I chose to manufacture and assemble the PCBs has been good, so far. With a few minor changes and advice from them I managed to remove one of the higher costs from the Mega adaptor PCB by removing the need for 2Oz copper to take the power, this halved the PCB costs. Hopefully I will not be disappointed with the assembled units when they arrive at Christmas.

I do try and respond to comments on the blog as soon as possible. I added the information regarding my upcoming projects to try and reduce the number of ‘is it done yet’ emails I’m getting. This blog and my development projects are a hobby activity, I have a full time job working in the electronics industry, so sometimes it is necessary to take a break from electronics! Sometimes work is not fun but at least I get paid to do it, if the ‘hobby’ ceases to be fun, it’s time to stop and do something else. I am committed to my current projects, just taking my time to get them right 😉

Project Hermes is one of my more popular projects, the current quick status is this:
Schematics complete and in internal review.
Changes made to fix potential EMC and signal integrity issues.
First draft PCB layout in progress.
Feeding in some lessons learned to reduce the PCB costs

ETA 2016. See my comments in the previous paragraphs.

The other project I have many comments about is regarding my experiments with the GBS82XX video cards and retro games hardware. I started developing an Arduino programme/sketch that reads the numerous status registers, decodes the input video type and then sets the correct output display. I had a bit of fun with 3.3V/5V I2C interfaces, fixed with a cheap level converter from Squirrel Labs. It needs a lot of work to finish the basic input testing and resolve a few bugs and is not currently in a format to release. I know what I need to do and roughly how to do it, but I can’t release anything yet as it will leave more questions than answers. This will be a nice project to experiment with over the Christmas break!

I’m not going to respond to any further questions of ‘can you make this work with system X’ or ‘why does this not work with my antique video system Y’. Sorry to be so blunt but I have other things to do. I am working on my retro video guide, which when finished (and published on my website), will help you to resolve the more common issues and hopefully give a better understanding of the vagaries of video.

That’s all for now, I plan another update by year end, hopefully with some pictures.

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4 thoughts on “Being creative on cyber monday

  1. Hi Ian, what features made it into the final Hermes pcb design sir?
    Did you do RGB or VGA out? Scan Doubler?
    I believe the last I saw was a very nice RAM and IDE combo, I wasn’t sure if you were adding additional hardware.

    1. The Hermes Hardware spec has been unchanged since the original post. This has been to allow the design to progress without feature creep.

      I have considered other display output options but want to test them first.

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