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New Town, New Home and working through the boxes

Well I’m back………  Almost.  🙂

I’m done with city life.  Small town is more my style now.  I’m sure I’ll miss somethings about the city, but being able to get from one side of town to the other in 10 minutes I don’t think will get old anytime soon.  Owning my own home is nice too.

Boxes are going to be my life for the next week or two.  Just when I think I’m making headway, I find another stack that was hidden behind the one I just emptied.  I swear my apartment was only 810 sq ft.

The kitchen is almost finished.  The bedroom, living room and hobby rooms are almost done too.  The guest bedroom seems to be the collection point for all uncategoried items.  One of these weeks I’ll start in on it.

BitsofthePast.com is open for business again. 🙂

 

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Moving to new home All shipments will be delayed sorry :(

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ell that time has come.  I am moving all my worldly possessions to a new temporary home. And then from there I hope to finally settle into the second home I’ve ever owned in few weeks.  Due to that I have to put up a notice that any purchases will be delayed until I get setup permanently.   Hopefully that will only be a few weeks, sometime around the middle of Oct.

On another note, I have sold the NextEngine 3d Scanner.  It just wasn’t doing what I needed it to do.  Not that it was bad, but a lot of Atari stuff is darkly colored and it just wasn’t picking up the dimensions without massive cleanup and that was way more time than I wanted to spend on it.

The Flashforge Creator Pro 3d printer has been a much better investment.  I am working on  modeling several Atari related cartridge cases, and being able to immediately print them within a couple hours for testing is a godsend.  It truely is a revolutionary device.  There’s new uses for the technology every day.

This is probably going to be the last post for some weeks until I get setup at my new diggs.  See you in a few weeks.

 

 

 

 

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3D Print/Scan

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]o the scanner hasn’t arrived yet. Should be in tomorrow. I did go ahead and pull the trigger on the FlashForge 3d Creator Pro printer. Trusty Amazon delivered on time and I’ve spent the last two days getting to know the quirks and idiocycies of the printer. I hope to have a youtube video published soon.

I understand the earth moved big time in California again this morning. I hope no one has been killed. For once the ground was somewhat firm here. We don’t get the earthquakes here like they do in California, but I don’t remember any quakes in my childhood. It seems like in the last three to five years Oklahoma has been getting very shaky. I for one would prefer the tornadoes. At least with them you generally have some warning and can get out of their way or go underground. 😉

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3d Scanning and Printing

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ell today I joined the ranks of the new emerging community of 3ders. I picked up a NextEngine 3d scanner hd and multidrive set for about half what it goes for new. My plan is to scan the hell out of everything Atari, then move on to anything else that strikes my fancy. I might even rent out time on the unit for others. So if you are interested, drop me a line.

In the next few days I also plan to purchase a 3d printer. Right now I am focused on the FlashForge 3d Creator Pro. It seems to have the right combination of features and flexibility that I am looking for. Hopefully with scans from the NextEngine I can create in ABS plastic some of the carts and parts that the Atari community is pinning for. It won’t be mass production on the scale of thousands, but it might be affordable on the scale of tens and a hundred or so.

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Reimaged XF551 Control Board is Done!!!

XF551s

 

Well the mainboard is finally done.  No more changes. troubleshooting etc.  Not the same to be said about the mod board and the enhancements.  I was hoping to be able to offer both the board and the mods at the same time, but now my tester/creator of those mods is otherwise occupied with life.   So we move on.  I have decided to offer the boards anyway.  Once the mods have been tested and finalized, I can offer them as a plug in upgrade.

Due to the severe shortage of SIO connectors I will be limiting the number to 1 per order.  That at least will give everyone a fair chance I hope to purchase.

I am looking into possibly an alternative to the SIO connectors (board redesign?) or having them 3d printed.  I am thinking that the state of 3d printing might have progressed to the point that the metal pins can be incorporated during the printing process.  It seems possible.  3D printing is appealing, but still just a little out of my price range for the quality I want.

I started this project a little over 2 years ago.   Working part time through two different pcb board design software suites, my own inexperience and a desert of information on the XF551 I have come out on the other side a changed person.  Along the way I have been helped and tutored by several  people that if not for them, I would not have succeeded.  I want to publicly thank Guus Assmann(guus.assmann), Igor Gramblicka, and Jonathan Halliday(flashjazzcat).

Give me a couple days to get the boards photoed and the site setup to sell them.  In the meantime  here’s something to wet the whistle.

 

 

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Nearly final XF551 update

XF551s

 

Hello,

No I didn’t die, or run off to South America or turn into a monk or anything like that.  I was busy, busy working to finish this darn project.  🙂

I now have functioning versions of the modern power supply and the original power supply XF551 boards.  All that remains is for the final testing of the mods and some cleanup of the pcb design.  I will be sending  one proto board to Igor Gramblicka for the mods testing.  I’ll be sending my other proto board to Jonathan Halliday to work on the panel cutout templates.   As soon as I get their feedback  and incorporate it, the mods portion of the project will be done.    At that point I’ll add them to the store for purchase.

The XF551 main board is almost ready for sale.  There is a 1 board limit on the number of boards per person.  This is due to the fact that I only have SIO connectors enough to do 20 boards.  I will offer SIO-less boards later.  The boards will be fully populated, except for the heat sink on the original power supply board and the mounting hardware for the case.

Here’s a nearly final view of the original power supply version:

DSC_1800  DSC_1801

DSC_1802

 

And another look at an early version of the modern power supply version:

DSC_1715M

 

 

 

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XF551 small update

XF551s

I’m still alive.  I know it’s been almost a month since my last update.  Sorry.  I took a much deserved break and vacation to visit family in Phoenix Az. Once I land a job I doubt I’ll be able to get out there for a year or so.  One of the things I’ll miss from my old job is the built up vacation time I had.  So that took about ten days.  The last week has been spent recovering and taking care of problem areas.  Doing some spring cleaning and filing for unemployment.

Oh…. but this is a XF551 update post.  Sorry I don’t have a lot to report.  So far the current status is that I have a working modern power supply version prototype.  I have been working on getting an original power supply version working.  I think I’m just about there.  I’ve also been working on designing and building the modifications board and front panel display.  As well as the alternate OSC circuit since the 8.3333 MHz OSC isn’t exactly common.   I wanted to prove that I am still working on this.  Thank you for your patience.

DSC_1717

DSC_1719

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XF551 Updates

XF551s

 

Well,  sorry about the silence.  It’s not that I haven’t been working.  I am finalizing what I hope to be the production models. I will be selecting two people one here in the US and one overseas to do final testing and review. For something this big and expensive I want to make sure I didn’t foul this up. They’ll be able to look at and use the finished product and make recommendations etc. They will also be helping with front panel display designs so they will need to have the ability to draft a cutting template and make quality cosmetic mods to the XF551 top case. Something I am not very good at. I tend to take a blow torch approach. Not very cosmetic I’m afraid.  Laughing

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Sea Change update

XF551s

Well one chapter of my life is ended and another is about to begin.  My last day at work was this past Sunday.  It was a strange feeling. Not to many people were there. There usually isn’t on a Sunday. The usual irritable customers were though. A customer that thought that she was the only person alive that should be able to surf the net and a tech visit that afternoon was unacceptable. I should be able to fix her dead data modem remotely and have her up and running right now. A customer that wanted to get a good deal on his current services without adding another service to qualify for the current promotion. He didn’t like it when I also had to reminded him that he was 30 days overdue on his current bill and I would have to collect before I could change his service anyway.

The severance package was reasonably good.  The company has a hard to find nowadays defined retirement package and I was vested. So it looks like I’ll get a early retirement check in a few months. It won’t be much, but every little bit helps. I might not have to liquidate my 401k afterall. Finding a job in this environment is not going to be easy. I’m just at that right age that I’m too young to retire and most people won’t hire me because I’m too old. Age discrimination laws not withstanding.

To quote a saying I don’t know who said  “It’s been real, sometimes it’s been fun, but it hasn’t been real fun.”

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XF551 Small update

XF551s

 

Just a small update:  I recieved what I hope is the last prototype boards in yesterday.  On these I’ll be testing the full blown board operation including the alternate osc circuit, front panel mods and the fit and trim of the boards.  I’ve started installing the parts tonight.  Hopefully I’ll have a ready to test board in about three days.   At this point I still am employed, so that has to come first.  🙂