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The ZY HARUNA computer-help with PCBs


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I'll cut'n'paste this bit: The ZY HARUNA (rhymes with eye-are-rune-R, or pronounced zeye har rune R, never Z-Y ).

I wanted to throw out a question to the brains trust, is there any (large or small) PCB company which is willing to make PCB's, simple single sided, no thru hole plating, no vias, no silkscreen, just etch and drill from a PNG file and text drill file if required. Not a gerber. This is the information I am after, if you could help me find this company I would be appreciative.

The designer of a new computer is producing their life opus, a hobbyist kit computer with a number of features never seen before. The designer has been working for almost a year on this new design called the ZY HARUNA, and I think the process would be sped up by connecting the designer with an appropriate and suitable PCB making company. I've asked for example Pcbway myself and they've flat out said no. The PCB design software in use outputs many image formats and resolutions, none of them are vector, none of them are gerber. The designer will not use gerber.

I thought that this would be a nice place to ask after having seen 'building my dream computer' one and two, as this machine may intersect many of the goals of that specification, and exceed them.

The design of the SVGA is mature enough to use initial prototypes and run tests for further development. The design allows for tens of thousands of colors on screen, fast tiling, scrolling and abilities beyond those of any comparable system I've seen as a hobbyist kit. It does so with a sort of blitter arrangement, though it is not a blitter. It is made from cheap new generic parts only. The video design uses many techniques I've never seen before.

The HARUNA is low budget, without any display the base board with backlit qwerty, cpu, memory and small odds and ends has a Bill of materials (BOM) costing $30-$40 total in quantities of 5-10 for larger parts and thousands for smaller parts (leds, transistors, resistors, diodes). All parts without exception are easily obtained from multiple vendors on the internet, and are old designs. There are no designer chips beyond the Z80 itself. No PGA style anything.

The HARUNA is designed to take blank memory. No EPROM programmer is required. After building the HARUNA and loading blank RAM and ROM, the user types the software (BIOS/monitor program) into the HARUNA, and the design puts the typed code straight into memory. It really does define the phrase 'the best programming language is solder' or as the late Mr Pease would say,  'My favorite programming language is solder' https://www.edn.com/analog-engineering-legend-bob-pease-killed-in-car-crash/

The base board already has hundreds of parts laid out and soon enough it will be time to etch and solder them in and look for any errors and adjust and polish the layout. The design explains and demonstrates a lot of diode logic and resistor - transistor diode logic enough to impart understanding to students and reduce the chip count of the board and keep the price of parts low. The whole base board including the "program-the-memory-yourself" feature is about $40, with the expansion board for integrated and fully explained SVGA from simple generic parts, and memory management unit in simple discreet logic, the computer is expected to be about $60-80 in parts.

Other boards on the horizon give the HARUNA hundreds of inputs/outputs and assorted drivers and many other features.

I do apologize if I cant return as often as I'd like to discuss this invention, my health also is poor.

I hope I can upload some cad drawings and perhaps photos soon.

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What's wrong with just using a PCB design software that creates Gerber files?

It took me maybe 20 minutes to learn how to use KiCAD, which can create the files that PCBWay needs. 

We're long past the days of photo etching of printed circuit boards; today, companies use lasers to etch the board, and the process requires vector artwork because of the nature of laser etching - the laser follows a vector path. 

 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, paulscottrobson said:

Sounds an interesting design.

Yes !! I have always thought the first thing people GO-TO when designing and building a computer system is an EPROM PROGRAMMER, so dispensing with the EPROM programming equipment is an innovation indeed. I can't wait to get a kit of parts and the sweet kiss of molten metal (lol, Abu quote).

It's by far the only innovation however, it's as though this thing came from a different timeline, when I hear things  like that, I dismiss it as imagination, but when you have this design in front of you and see it with your own eyes, and can make it, then, woah, what explains it?

2 hours ago, TomXP411 said:

We're long past the days of photo etching of printed circuit boards;

Did I just wake up and find myself over the hill, on a BBS dedicated to people trying to relive the past, are we in a world and dimension, a zone perhaps, the twilig- no, the retrozone.

The new innovations are incredible. You get tutorials that show how to print out a PCB design, or any design at all in toner from a laser printer and then NO HEAT AT ALL, you use a mix of acetone which is common and alcohol which I wish wasn't, and it softens the toner, makes it sticky. The design is pressed onto the fresh new copper side of a SINGLE OR DOUBLE SIDED PCB, IT WORKS ON BOTH. You line them up in with the sunlight I believe, but I'm no expert. The mixture dries up and the toner goes from sticky to stuck, then you throw it in water like taking a stamp off an envelope, the paper comes off.

They even have nice replacements for ferric chloride, yuk! stain alert! remember that ? There are a few different kinds, I believe a bit of hair bleach in salt and vinegar does the trick "these days". Then a bubble tank, or a spray etcher if you're keen to do thousands perfectly.

You know what ? I'll see if the designer can SVG export, I think it's possible, however, that still leaves the companies which all refuse to use ANY kind of image file, even with an it's-not-your-fault signed waver and everything. They just flatly refuse, I know how stubborn they are, I wonder why that is, it makes me wonder. It is an enormous amount of stubbornness. Why the company not just shut up and take my money ? I'll pay more.

 

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Perhaps you need a bit more of a community for your project. I'm no PCB designer, though I'm old enough to remember acid baths and so on, but if you had a community there would probably be someone there who could convert a circuit diagram into a PCB.

EEPROM boots are disappearing fairly rapidly ; there are several designs that use a Microcontroller to pretend to be one. Though I was a bit puzzled by "blank ROM", I would assume a design of this type would use battery backed SRAM chips.

I remember building this 20 odd years ago http://www.z80.info/jmz8boot.htm  which I thought was a work of genius. It's a Z80 with a 32k SRAM wired and literally nothing else.  It hacks code in by playing with NMI Clock and Reset. Amazingly it worked. There are some clever DMA hacks to get code, the Scelbi where you put 8008 instructions on the switches and con the CPU into executing them, and I saw a similar idea for the SC/MP in PE magazine. More fun than the old designs where you just put switches on the bus and R/W.

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awesome post Paul. Thankyou. Yes, a community allows even much much more than the sum of it's parts to be accomplished. For certain.  Lockdowns have ruined many lives permanently, rt is a good website to outline as much, to search your country. Not every single parent of a disabled child became mentally ill during lockdown in the UK, if I said every single one it wouldn't be accurate, it was 85%. That is five out of every six parents became mentally ill because of the lockdown. Anyhow, with everything closed, community building is difficult, and the effects are permanent.

Online is perhaps possible, who knows, worth a try. There are things people want, and the solutions are out there, I've seen some and want to help.

Using the z80 to do the incrementing of the addresses is of course a brilliant idea. The CMOS and NMOS versions can be clocked slowly, at DC. So with the data bus unlatched and manually redirecting keyboard output to memory means that the CPU can assist in avoiding switches to bootload. The solution you mention is awesome too, I expect there are a few out there.

Flicking individual data and address lines on 24 switches is possible, but not ideal and not necessary. The design of the Haruna won't need that, I don't know what the addressing solution is, but I do know that the bootloader code is short as it can be and once loaded it uses Light dependent resistors to read the rest of the code into the computer automatically. It is cheap as dirt, literally. While I do clearly recall once programming a UVEPROM myself one single bit at a time using a stylus and seeing the data LEDs respond by going dark one by one as they stored the bits in the memory, it won't be THAT tedious.

The keyboard as it is designed and laid out now puts Hexadecimal code straight onto the data bus, for storage in memory. Battery backed up is fine and a comfort for people anxious about making a mistake, but the code will reside sooner or later in ROM for security and that is in-circuit programming and a trivial thing to do.

A bootloader that runs the LDR scanner is going to be WAY shorter than this message I am typing out now, that is very easy for anyone to type into a computer and it eliminates the cost and hassle of the EPROM programmer.

The same keyboard design that I have seen is not only meant to put data straight from it's QWERTY keyboard into memory for bootstrapping, it also functions as a regular keyboard, which you need, on a computer. ( !! ) It's not a 16 key matrix affair, it's 50 keys in the prototype I believe.

It ALSO gets around any hard-to-find IC. the '923 keyboard decoder is rare because lets face it who builds things with keypads anymore. The Haruna only uses a common latch and generic small parts, 1cent and two cent parts only, like resistors and so on.

The circuit diagram I haven't seen a full one, not sure it even exists. What's needed is a pcb manufacturer on any scale at all, or I'm going to try to make this thing on protoboard. That reminds me of another feature, the actual PCB design is laid out so that every single hole lines up on a standard grid, same as you get in common generic protoboard PCBs and veroboard, so when it comes time for some kid in the third world to drill the holes, he or she can use a readily obtainable drilling guide in the form of a blank PCB with uniform holes in it already, same as you can buy in lots of places. Sticky-taping a printout of the drilling guide onto the stacked and taped new PCB and generic prototyping PCB will give a good guide to where the holes go. Some test drills that just scratch the surface and hinging the boards to check if all is well and then looking if the holds go through properly is the way, then once a few holes are in, broken drills can be inserted running through both boards to keep things lined up. I am hoping to use a small rusty CNC engraving machine to do the holes if need be. I have some ideas about writing and of course releasing the G-code for it. I am hopeful.

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 Oh, the designer is adamant that the Haruna has no micro-controllers or FPGA or any such thing, you literally do not need anything programmed in order to build this thing from scratch. A soldering iron on a mountaintop or in a dirt hut and no other computer or power for 100kms and you're good to go.

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4 hours ago, Oldrooster said:

You know what ? I'll see if the designer can SVG export, I think it's possible, however, that still leaves the companies which all refuse to use ANY kind of image file, even with an it's-not-your-fault signed waver and everything. They just flatly refuse, I know how stubborn they are, I wonder why that is, it makes me wonder. It is an enormous amount of stubbornness.

 

 

I believe they are being wise not to take on a a small one-off project that doesn't conform to how they do business with the mass number of projects that they process. They may have to go through many steps that might be painful & costly to do the work with an image file.  Even costing out the price for the work is probably out of their scope or experience. They have their right to be stubborn and not give reasons, just like you have the option to find a different company to do business with.

 

Quote

Why the company not just shut up and take my money ? I'll pay more.

 

I think they are looking at a bottom line. I don't think you can make it cost effective for them to event try without serious amount of financial profit. 

It's typical for companies to use price to avoid taking on a job/contract/customer. They do this to avoid the perceived hassle in dealing with a customer, knowing that they are better off without one difficult customer while having several other customers they can service without issues. 

I'm NOT saying you are difficult at all, just that the situation requires a different approach to achieve boards. Your project may be perceived to be more work than benefit to them.

 

Quote

 The designer will not use gerber.

OK - then someone is going to have to build a gerber file if you want a modern company to produce boards.  If the board layout/design is so simple, a very small shop should be able to take on the work and produce what you need to keep the project moving forward - either by generating a gerber file or doing the work. 

While I'm impressed with the innovative design, I feel that letting this item stop the progress would be a mistake. 

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TLDR; : There is no such thing as an unprofitable customer, there is only deficiency in price discovery. That is what defines bad business practice.

There is the hourly rate, 'We don't have a clue what it will cost us to find or write a simple app to convert images for our many prospective customers who have old magazine articles they'd like us to make into PCBs, but, if you'd like to pay us $200 a week, we'll assign a worker for four hours a week to look into it and keep you updated with his or her progress."

There is the F-off quote, " The cost is X amount ( X amount is a shockingly high amount which I've picked out of the air, it cannot possibly cost this much, however, I'll hold a straight face and tell you it's this much hoping you'll go away, OR say yes, and at that amount I will not only take the job but I'll smile and whistle the whole time because it's such a vast amount of money) and we can start the job this week if that meets your requirements "

There is another explanation of the universal business practice of extra data is required no exceptions. You are the product. That's right, PCBs of top quality for $2 each are being subsidized which is to say, you are the product. I suggest people watch this video and then work out what all that additional data which is _demanded_and_not_optional_ is all about. A huge ocean of data designs of PCBs, with full circuit schematics and layouts, footprints, silkscreens, what could that massive and growing by the second treasure trove of data be used for, in a world which is going to use AI to replace just about everyone. What do they do with that data do you think, when you are the product and it is not an option in any way shape or form under any circumstance no matter what money you offer them, I'd pay $100 for the board right this moment, since when is that not economical ? There is_no_such_thing as an unprofitable customer, there is only poor pricing and lack of pricing. Offer a million dollars for a PCB and you'd discover that all of a sudden, yes, they do make PCB's. But they will not haggle because the data is what they are demanding and it's not negotiable. They won't even give me a price. Anyhow, I prefer to keep on topic please, the designer does not need to be elbowed out of the picture by an ugly board drawer, the designer just needs png to pcb, you know, on this planet.

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5 hours ago, Oldrooster said:

I've checked the possibility of SVG, however,  it's PNG or bust. To quote the great Wonka, this is really starting to bum me out.

I think it boils down to "the known options require X; if realization of the design is not important enough to the creator to use the available tools, then there is nothing anyone can do".

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1 hour ago, Oldrooster said:

TLDR; : There is no such thing as an unprofitable customer, there is only deficiency in price discovery. That is what defines bad business practice.

True to a point, but some of the variables are so difficult to analyze and discover that they might as well be impossible. Companies have a reputation. They have a process. Spending time creating another process that won't be often used, and may likely create substandard parts, is not a profitable use of time and resources. In the time it would take for them to cater to a non-standard process that few people would ever use, they could improve the existing process to benefit far more people. If they provide a new process to use PNG files, with the inherent imprecision of pixels vs vectors, and the boards come out defective due to the difference, their reputation suffers and potentially costs them far more in loss of customers due to bad publicity than it gains them from the one customer that wanted the process if the customer isn't happy with the results.

Edited by Scott Robison
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9 hours ago, Oldrooster said:

You know what ? I'll see if the designer can SVG export, I think it's possible, however, that still leaves the companies which all refuse to use ANY kind of image file, even with an it's-not-your-fault signed waver and everything. They just flatly refuse, I know how stubborn they are, I wonder why that is, it makes me wonder. It is an enormous amount of stubbornness. Why the company not just shut up and take my money ? I'll pay more.

You're completely missing the point. 

The C&C hardware that makes PCBs today uses vector data files. There's no accepting of image files, because the systems don't support image files. The whole point of the Gerber file is that this is the format the hardware needs. 

That's not companies being "stubborn". That's simply the only way they can make a PCB. 

Honestly, if the guy can make a "no code computer", he can use KiCad. I don't get the stubbornness.

 

Edited by TomXP411
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Look at it this way,... "It won't be retro" although that is clearly not the point, the point is it will not be the designer's design, it will be something ugly and compromised. The designer doesn't need someone elbowing them out of the way at the design table, if they want to design a computer like this, then the result would be obvious, one compromise after another until you have a postage stamp sized ugly board that is dominated by FGPA and ugliness with added extra ugliness and compromises thrown in until there is no point to the exercise at all, it's not worth the time and bother.

Such awful designs are out there, everywhere, you can't turn the corner without someone saying here look at this propeller chip being a ZX81, hey look at this ugly Edison board rubbish named after a fraudulent thief with glossy advertising bereft of substance. By all means add to that, the designer, as I understand it will not.

On 9/17/2021 at 5:46 AM, Oldrooster said:

The designer will not use gerber. 

or allow anyone to elbow them off the design table onto the floor along with the whole point of the exercise.

10 hours ago, Oldrooster said:

the designer is adamant that the Haruna has no micro-controllers or FPGA or any such thing,

by the time you compromise on one thing, you're ready to compromise on everything, and the point has been missed entirely.

As it is now, this design matches the 8 bit guy's dream computer with the only exception being the preference for the 6502 which as I have understood is a low priority, but on the list of things to do, if ever things get done. I do know that other CPUs can be added to the design.

 

His list was, as I understand watching the video, the following.

 

Modern parts,                                       check.

VGA or HDMI                                        check, SVGA.

Real 6502 processor                         check, eventually, but not yet. Z80 is first cab off the rank, designers preference and I can't imagine that either a 6502 version would follow quickly

                                                                                        or someone will cut and paste the rest of the HARUNA around a 6502. He said in his video "it would have a real CPU preferably a 6502" so

                                                                                        it is a check if you take into consideration his spoken explanation rather than the written list, or the future HARUNA add-ons.

NO FGPA or microcontrollers       check.

Can run commodore BASIC          check, maybe. designer doesn't care, HARUNA has it's own, better GFX capabilities and so requires it's own suite of languages.

                                                                                 Someone else will do this as an easy project they have an interest in, the HARUNA can easily handle that, but as for native,

                                                                                 and a complete knock off of the verbatim commodore files it would need to wait until the 6502 version.

                                                                                Commodore basic was limited in that it didn't provide any sort of commands for graphics and sound. On the HARUNA, it would be a downgrade.

cost around $50                                check. looking good as the endpoint of this design. For the B.O.M. anyhow.

                                                                                The designer wants every student in every mud hut across the planet to be able to build and learn.

                                                                          

The ZY HARUNA is intended to have a sound system much like the prophet, which is easy enough, dave smith made the prophet as an improvement on the moog a long time ago, there is nothing technological to prevent this kind of a sound system on the HARUNA, it's all being held back by stubbornness all right, stubbornness not to compromise, stubbornness to stick to the designers vision which does not include one god ugly PCB for everyone to revile "Eeewww" retro my ass. Gerber garbage, no. Something better, of course. People have to choose, you want a decent computer which is everything on the list and more, or you want to compromise and go home with a piece of crap that costs a fortune and crushes your soul. Ok, drama there but am I wrong ? is the designer wrong ?

 

Edited by Oldrooster
typo, one word change
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Well, I don't want to argue about it, as I know nothing about what it being attempted. I don't understand the mindset. But it seems clear to me that in the end, there is no one here that can help with PNG based PCB creation. There seem to be a lot of hills that this project wants to die on (no vectors PNG only, no purpose build PCB design software, no FPGA, no this, no that no the other).

I wish whomever well and that they can realize their dream. I think putting artificial impediments in the way will do nothing but hurt the chances of said dream realization.

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putting aside the false premise that computers and PCB's never existed before kicad and other rubbish software came along, leaving aside that no computers ever existed without FGPA and never will, leaving that all aside, if I offered you $2,000 to make me this one PCB from an image file, I don't care if it's toner transfer or you use photo sensitive PCB pre-sensitized board from your local Jaycar or electronics store, whatever, would you accept the challenge ? probably not. I respect that, but would "everyone" reject that ? I'm not so sure. 200mm x 300mm single sided blank PCB costs $4.75 on ebay, peroxide, salt and vinegar are cheap, a printout from a laser printer is cheap, acetone and alcohol are cheap. There is serious change left from $2,000.

 

I may not need to offer $2,000 but at the end of the day it's first a matter of finding who is willing to do this, I try to be generous and I don't like haggling and someone must have some interest somewhere. No, I reject the idea that no-one that can help. Someone may read this and sign up and reply and be the first to get a HARUNA because they helped make it.

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well here's something to throw stones at e.g. "Zomg it looks so retro"  I think the current direction of the thread is the idea that a retro computer cannot be built, BECAUSE IT IS RETRO. It needs to be ugly, it needs to be modern and it needs to be gerber. None of those things will happen. It will be beautiful, it will be more advanced than any 8 bit computer before it, and it will not use gerber. Otherwise it shall indeed as Scott says 'die on a hill' for want of something there are video tutorials in abundance for. 

 

Here is a picture of the actual PCB in development at the moment to show the style. Tell me it can't be done.

 

for your forum.png

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You need to calm down. I said "no one here" not "no one anywhere". I never said "computer never existed before". No one here has made any such claim. You are inferring words that were not written or uttered.

Maybe there is someone else here that can and will offer to help. Good for them if they do. My words were "it seems clear to me" ... that is not an absolute statement, it is a statement regarding what I can see and perceive.

If it is such as easy, simple task, why hasn't anyone already offered to do it? I think that is the crux of the issue.

Further: If you have to offer someone $2000 to make a board (I realize it was just an example), you are going to price the project right out of the target market ("The designer wants every student in every mud hut across the planet to be able to build and learn.") It probably won't cost $2000. Maybe $1000. Maybe $500. But the biggest problem (as I understand it) getting technology into those "mud huts" is the cost of the technology when those people are barely surviving with the amount of money they have available. The One Laptop Per Child project tried and failed 10 to 15 years ago to put inexpensive laptops in the hands of children. From the Wikipedia article:

Quote

Some critics of the program would have preferred less money being spent on technology and more money being spent on clean water and "real schools".[11] Some supporters worried about the lack of plans for teaching students.

In many places in the world, a BOM of $40 to $50 is still going to be too expensive when their primary concerns are sufficient food and clean water.

3 hours ago, Oldrooster said:

Ok, drama there but am I wrong ? is the designer wrong ?

Very definitely drama. I intend to nominate you for an award! 🙂 But are you wrong? I think you're wrong to call all the things you don't like garbage. There is a place for FPGA and modern design. And there is a place for more retro. This isn't an either or situation. When you talk in absolutes like this though, it's hard to believe it has a chance of succeeding, and by "succeeding" I mean "putting it in the hands of people to use rather than staying in the designers mind". I don't think the designer is wrong for wanting a specific outcome, but inflexibility is not going to help matters. Just my opinion, do with it what you will.

As for the comment that came in while I was typing this: NO ONE IN THIS THREAD HAS SAID "IT LOOKS SO RETRO". You came looking for help. I think everyone here has offered what they can. Maybe someone else will come up with an idea that will help. Lashing out at people isn't going to get things built any faster, and no matter what hyperbole you use, it isn't likely to make someone come up with an idea that hasn't already been offered.

Please don't put words in my mouth (or in my fingers, I guess, since I'm typing and not speaking aloud). I'm not cheering for the project to fail. I'm stating opinions, just like you. I just don't try to read between the lines of your comments and insert words that don't exist.

Edited by Scott Robison
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Oh, I think I get it now.  It's not about refusing to learn kicad - this designer friend of yours wants his boards done the old(er)-fashioned way as an aesthetic choice.

And, that is a very visually appealing board design he has there.

I've actually seen some of those acetone board-fab videos before on YouTube, so I know what you're talking about.  The process looks quite difficult, but as you say, it's technically do-able (just not at large scales) if you can find someone willing.  I hope the designer is able to find someone - maybe try contacting the people who made those YT videos; since they already have an interest in it and have already put time into getting the process down, then maybe they'll take an order, for the right price.  Just a thought.

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On 9/16/2021 at 10:46 PM, Oldrooster said:

PCB company which is willing to make PCB's, simple single sided, no thru hole plating, no vias, no silkscreen, just etch and drill from a PNG file and text drill file if required. Not a gerber. This is the information I am after, if you could help me find this company I would be appreciative.

I can't think of any PCB company that would take the job, just because things changed over the years. You are talking about a simple old-school process of making PCB that many did at home. It might not be a PCB company you are after. I think you have better chances of just finding some people who are ok to take any job that can be done with their bare hands.

I will folow the project. I might be interested to build one unit for myself if you post enough information someday. I know there are many people who would like too.

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3 hours ago, John Chow Seymour said:

And, that is a very visually appealing board design he has there.

The designer is delighted to hear that. "Thankyou"

3 hours ago, John Chow Seymour said:

Oh, I think I get it now.  It's not about refusing to learn kicad - this designer friend of yours wants his boards done the old(er)-fashioned way as an aesthetic choice.

Thank you for your delightful post of support, yes, you are right on aesthetic choice.

The designer is able and familiar with Kicad and other programs. Aesthetic is one of many prongs in the designers pitchfork they run after these PCB softwares with. There is also the free open understandable software principle and the big data surveillance thing. But yes, you are right, the artists choice is in part aesthetic.

 

The very first cab off the rank in the assortment of PCB versions that would eventually be available is something a young person can make in a mud hut, as explained re drill-guide and tutorial videos. Universal accessibility is of prime importance. People who can do a 4 or 6 layer board can, IF THEY TRY (glare), (pause), (glare more) do a single sided board, however, single sided board may be the only available choice for many people.

 

It is "let them eat cake" to think that people can simply purchase a ready made PCB on the internet. Not everyone can just go on ebay and pay with paypal, if you can, good for you, however think of people in the one or two countries wanting an education who cannot get a PCB because paypal is banned in those one or two countries.

Oh, btw, those one or two countries are:

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • American Samoa
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua And Barbuda
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Cayman Islands
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of
  • Cook Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  • Crimea
  • Cuba
  • Djibouti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Gabon Republic
  • Gambia
  • Gaza & West Bank
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Guam
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Lybia
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mayotte
  • Micronesia, Federated States of
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Montserrat
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands Antilles
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Niue
  • Norfolk Island
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Palestinian Territory
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Serbia and Montenegro
  • Sierra Leone
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen
  • Swaziland
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Unicornia Just Seeing if You're Reading
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis and Futuna Islands
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

(source of this list) although there are many others.

So by priority, the most universal education access PCB needs to be designed as first order of business, and after that and many of the expansion boards are out there for everyone to enjoy and expand their horizons with, then can come the fancy 6 layer boards, but believe me, if the designer has anything to do with it it will be a signature move, not a piece of trash, or it will not exist.

(like unless someone else is making their own add-on, then different people have different ideas. A face only a mother could love.Or like something divine, who knows what talent is out there.)

2 hours ago, Cyber said:

I can't think of any PCB company that would take the job, just because things changed over the years. You are talking about a simple old-school process of making PCB that many did at home. It might not be a PCB company you are after. I think you have better chances of just finding some people who are ok to take any job that can be done with their bare hands.

I will follow the project. I might be interested to build one unit for myself if you post enough information someday. I know there are many people who would like too.

I shall endeavor to do so. I was, not an hour ago, discussing the idea, gentle persuasion if you will, with a handyman who may well take on the challenge. There were some very encouraging questions about what is involved in the tutorial video process which I could see was ticking over and they may well be able to help.  HERE is a video of the process I'm talking about, and you are right, I need to find a person rather than a company I guess.    other videos   o06i2QjilXc        D8M5BIo0a9Y. Also, ferric chloride stains, it's better to use hair bleach (hydrogen peroxide) plus salt and vinegar. It's safer too.

55 minutes ago, paulscottrobson said:

Where did you find to follow it ? I can’t find anything.

Here, now, me I'm the PR and point of contact for the designer. I've always wanted a project like this and I recall 8bitguy's dream computer list of must haves and so this is a logical place to do the first, and so far, only announcement. Plus, it's STILL in development, not ready yet, being held up by bandits on the superhighway ergh!

3 hours ago, Scott Robison said:

Very definitely drama. I intend to nominate you for an award! 🙂

wheresmyrewardIwantmyrewardGimmeanawardwhereisitIwantmyawardnowgiveittome.

Edited by Oldrooster
typo, removed single stray letter
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25 minutes ago, Oldrooster said:

wheresmyrewardIwantmyrewardGimmeanawardwhereisitIwantmyawardnowgiveittome.

Amazon.com : Etch Workz Drama Award - Gold Star Drama Award Trophy - Drama,  Theater, Acting Award - Engraved & Personalized Free - Customize Now :  Sports & Outdoors

But seriously ... I meant it before when I said I wish the designer success. There is a long way between "providing an honest assessment" and "being an internet troll". I'm glad someone was able to, if not solve the problem, at least give you a suggestion on a potential route to follow. If successful, I don't know how the volume is going to work.

Is the designer completely opposed to having PNG converted to a gerber file? I understand not wanting to do it directly, but would they be opposed to someone else taking the PNG and converting it to gerber for professional production? That feels like the best route forward that might satisfy the designer and still manage to acquire boards at a sufficiently inexpensive rate to make the platform viable for the impoverished people described.

As for the inability to use paypal to buy a board, there are ways to pay other than paypal, of course. I have to believe that the cost of materials and chemicals to make a board from scratch will exceed the cost to buy a board from a supplier. Of course they wouldn't want to go to PCBWay or its competitors to buy a one off board as that's the most expensive way to do it. But if they're going to have to purchase other hardware to populate said board, I don't understand why they couldn't purchase a board from a similar supplier that can buy in bulk and pass along the savings.

But I do understand tilting at windmills. I think we all do. We're not here because we think the Commander X16 is the best computer for all our needs. It is a hobby and we're willing to use retro technology because it scratches an itch. That's why I was surprised at earlier claims that we, of all people, were opposed to retro. I'm currently building an 8 bit CPU out of logic chips, breadboard, and wires. You don't get a lot more retro than that!

I have a list of projects I want to work on when I can find the time. Things like writing an alternative IBM PC BIOS. I don't mean a BIOS for a modern board. I mean a literal IBM PC 5150 BIOS replacement that will provide a completely different interface to the hardware. I don't do it because there is money to be made or because it is modern. I do it because it is fun and would allow me to play a "what if" game with "what if Commodore had put together PC hardware, what would the system have looked like?" PC 5150 with monochrome would be effectively like a PET. Replace MDA with CGA and you've got an alternate universe take on a VIC 20. EGA gives you a C64-ish experience. Or creating alternative ROMs for C64 & C128 that make them feel more like an IBM PC. Frankensystems, if you will.

Edit: I know Commodore much later sold PC compatible machines. I mean if they had originated the hardware platform.

Edited by Scott Robison
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Some of the solutions needed for a sprite generator, collision detection and parallax fields realized in cheap generic parts have been found for the ZY HARUNA, although more development is still required. I find it rather exciting, even if it's just a few sprites. I can't wait.

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