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Corneleous Worthington

Thoughts on X16, and hello from PE6502 designer!

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Hi folks, and happy holidays!  

I'm Jason- I created the PE6502 computer that The 8-bit Guy reviewed on his channel a few years back- and before I say anything else, let me just say THANK YOU David for your review!  The exposure my little computer got (> 1 million views!) was astounding, and literally because of your effort/video, we sold well beyond what I ever thought I'd sell (or would interest people!)  It almost single-handedly put us on the map! 

I must say- the Commander X16 looks amazing- I absolutely will buy one when they are available!  While I love your Xbox-inspired case mock up, but I personally think that something done with "snow white design language" (but just no more boring off-while color, make it bright orange!) would hit a home run.  I honestly believe your computer will succeed WELL beyond your wildest expectations (and I hope you don't mind my opinions here!)  The more I read about your computer, the more I like- and you've got a dream team of folks working together on this.  I am genuinely really excited for you (and for me, because like I said, I want to buy one!) :-)

If I could offer any advise (and my experience pales to what you've all each already done, so, please take with a grain of salt) it is- find a way to automate production as much as possible, and consider making an all-surface mount, pre-assembled version of your computer.  This would cut costs across multiple levels of your supply chain, and also lesson support needs too.  That way you can focus on development of follow-on products that can be used/integrated into your computer.  This is where I feel like I have to some degree failed with my computer, because I didn't do this..

As for the PE6502- I sold perhaps 150 units before I threw in the towel trying to keep up with orders/sales.  I still get weekly emails from folks asking if they can buy.  I tried to find a replacement seller, but due to COVID (and perhaps they're own business workload) they've not yet made the kit available on their site- and at this point the tech is getting a little bit old (yes it's retro, but I don't know how much longer all the parts I used will continue to be available.)

Anyways, sorry for my rambling note, but I just wanted to chime in- I am absolutely a fan of this project!!!

Jason Putnam
putnamelectronics.com

 

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Good morning Jason!

First, WOW.  I remember watching David’s video, soldering your machine together, and thinking what a neat little design your computer is! I’m sorry to hear about the production issues.

I also wondered what ecosystem could grow up around such a computer.  But I suppose that production is a SERIOUS bottleneck to stifle ecosystem, no matter how hopeful.

Similarly I wonder if other 6502 projects are hurt by this... I reckon Ben Eater’s series aren’t affected since the whole point of his videos is to build computers from breadboards and chips.  The new PET boards might have their assembly lines figured out, although I don’t know.

I know surface mount is a goal, but not an immediate one.  With a few professional tech dudes in the mix (e.g. Texelec), I assume they’ve thought about this, but I’m glad you’re here to ask the question anyway.

 

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Hi Jason!

Another one of the hundred-and-fifty PE6502 users here.  I didn't realize you'd stopped selling them -- hopefully that is only temporary.  I'm glad I bought mine when I did, I'm quite happy with it.  That automatic serial connection as a storage solution is just wonderful.  

(I'd get more use out of it if I could figure out how to get the CPU to address the GPIO header; then I could use it for breadboard experiments.  But I've been hesitant to ask about it since I know you're getting burnt out on support and I didn't want to bother you.)  In any case, it's good to hear from you and I'm glad to see you're a member of the X16 community as well.

Anyway, my understanding is that most X16s will be sold preassembled, even the "X16p" model which has through-hole components.  We've been told that unassembled kit versions will be available, for those crazy few of us who want to solder together our own computer.  (Hey, my PE6502 worked after I put it together! I mean, not the first time I turned it on, but I eventually got it working ...and without having to bug you for support.  I'm sure the X16 will go just as unsmoothly, but will be just as rewarding.)

But for the majority of the X16p, even with through-hole, assembly will surely be automated, right?  (I'm not on the design team, but I didn't picture David forcing his whole family to solder X16s together by hand in their spare time.)

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John- my sincere thank you for your purchase, and I'm really glad you enjoy the machine!  I think I saw your email come through the other day?  I got halfway through a response to you, got distracted, and lost the email, and I'm just not remembering it.  DANGIT!  🙂

At any rate- I'm always happy to support users.  A tutorial on my web forum on how to put together an expansion card, with the necessary on-expansion-card glue logic so it can be interfaced, is long overdue.  I'll be happy to write something up this weekend actually, and put it up there.  Also- if you PM me your desired username, I'll add you to the forum too (I had to turn off auto-register, as the forum gets 100's of hacker attempted account creations so they can spam the board with nasty stuff, so that feature had to be turned off, but now new users get lost in the noise!

PS:  I'd love to seel the PE6502 again.  I need to see if I can partner up with a reseller/distributer. 

Jason

 

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Ugh, I know from past experience that keeping spam off of a forum can be frustrating and exhausting.  I'll PM you about that other stuff.

In any case, hopefully your comment at the start of this thread will help people think more critically about production.  Between this forum and the X16 Facebook group, I've seen a lot of comments, criticisms, or feature requests from people who clearly haven't thought about how their request would impact the cost and feasibility of production. 

Hopefully reading some advice from someone who's been there will get people to think about that side of it more.

That said - it is possible to machine-assemble a board with through-hole components, right? Anyone know more about that?

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