Sometimes, a product gets lost on the way to final production. Our QuadPortIEC 4 port IEC bus hub is one such product. After announcing the design here and showing off completed boards here, we focused our attention on the recently introduced ZoomFloppy and then the EasyFlash 3. Finally, we sent the boards off for assembly, but still felt a bare board with wires would simply not work as a product. Finally, about a year or so ago, Commodore enthusiast Jim Peters in Iowa requested some bare PCBs and assembled units for personal use, which we supplied. He took it upon himself to machine finished cases for the units, with fabulous results. Thus, we hired him to supply finished cases for the remaining stock, and now can offer them in the store.
The design has not changed; QuadPortIEC is nothing more than a “dumb” IEC hub. ATN switches on the front for each port allow “silencing” of each bus segment, but that’s the only functionality exposed.
Still, we are glad to finally put the units in the store, where they will sell for USD$30.00. Since the units fill out a small flat rate box, we may need to adjust shipping charges for buyers.
QuadPortIEC boards arrived today from the manufacturer. They look very clean, though the design didn’t exactly push the envelope. At $100.00 for 100 sq inches of PCB (shipping included), they were not cheap, but I saw much less competitive offerings in the marketplace. Test fitment in the Hammond case looks good, though I need to order a few DIN sockets to test for sure.
While true innovation might be lacking in this project design, it serves a valuable need. Many months ago, I helped a forum reader with a design for a multi-port IEC hub that allowed individual ports to be “disabled” to disconnecting the ATN line for that IEC port. Months later, Jim Peters, another enthusiast, started conversing with me about a vanilla multi-port IEC hub project he was attempting to design. I brushed off the earlier design, showed Jim the results, and solicited feedback. After revamping the design to fit in a standard Hammond Black 1591XXCSBK or Translucent Blue 1591XXCTBU case, I submitted the design for prototype production this evening. Though I’m happy with my current board manufacturer, there’s not as economical on prototype runs, and I thought I’d try a new company. The finished units should arrive in 2 weeks. I’m only ordering 10 units, but if there is sufficient interest, I’ll consider a production run.