RETRO Innovations

Archive for June, 2009

ROM-el in production!

by on Jun.29, 2009, under Hardware Design

I’ve initiated phase 1 of ROM-el production, scheduling the PCB design for production and shipment.  ROM-el will be completed in 3 phases:

  1. PCB manufacture and shipment of 2 bare boards
  2. Manual assembly and testing
  3. Release PCB for assembly and shipment

This is typical for new designs, for the following reasons:

  • Given the low cost of production boards, it’s cheaper to make a production board run instead of an initial prototype board run.  In the best case, the board is operational and no prototype board costs are incurred.  At worst, the board must be “spun” once more, but the total cost does not exceed a prototype + production run cost.
  • Shipping 2 boards ahead of time permits verification of the design before assembly.  The boards are shipped at no cost by “piggybacking” them on a previous order that is nearing completion.

Normal turnaround is 10 business days (2 calendar weeks), so I expect boards around July 12th.

To save costs in creating the SMT stencil and the boards themselves, I “merged” 4 designs into one set of files for the PCB house using Gerbmerge.  I struggled to install the program in Windows, which was unsucessful.  The application has some dependencies, one of which requires a C compiler.  The Windows install of the dependency assumes Visual C++, which I do not own.  After wasting a few hours, I installed on the local Linux server, which was trivial.  The application is very straightforward, and I was able to create a minimal merged set of files in a few minutes.  Thus, I will be receiving 100 units of:

  • ROM-el 2364
  • ROM-el 23128/23256
  • 2364Adapter (simple DIP style 24-28 pin adapter
  • 6540Adapter (CBM-Hackers folks asked for this design, which has not been tested)
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64NIC+ 1.0a boards shipped to CCCC

by on Jun.23, 2009, under Hardware Design

The remainder of the 64NIC+ boards have shipped to CCCC for sales and distribution.  The 1.0a board sillkscreen looks very professional and calls out not only the Cincinnatti club but also Eric Pratt and Till Harbaum, whose designs I utilized in creating 64NIC+.

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64NIC+ Initial Boards Arrive

by on Jun.06, 2009, under Hardware Design

The first 20 boards have belatedly arrived from the assembly house.  Scheduled to arrive for the C4 EXPO, they were delayed and then sent to my work address instead of the EXPO location.

I am busy making the required minor modification to the 1.0 PCB layout to address issues found during initial testing.  These 20 initial boards (+ the 2 prototypes) will be special editions, as the remainder (80) of the units will sport the 1.0a PCB design, which corrects the minor issue with the board.  It will be easy to spot a 1.0 board, as much of the silkscreen artwork is missing (an error on my part in creating the files for the PCB house).  Still, both the 1.0 and 1.0a boards will function the same.

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