PDA

View Full Version : S-100 backplane and prototyping board PCBs



NobodyIsHere
July 21st, 2009, 09:28 AM
Hi! The good news is that finally enough N8VEM S-100 backplane and prototyping boards sold to pay for the PCB manufacturing run. The bad news is that they are all gone. There are no PCBs on order and I am investigating ways to get more units.

I think the main reason the demand was as low as it turned out to be was due to the price. Due to small initial quantities ordered, the S-100 backplanes were $32 and the prototyping boards were $25 which is above the pain threshold for many people.

Rather the approach I had been taking with ordering my own S-100 PCBs and selling the extra ones at cost, I am considering an alternative means of supplying the PCBs with the intent of lowering the unit cost significantly. I do not know the final cost now since that would be dependent on final quantity.

The key to lower unit cost is to increase the quantity buy. Redesigning the boards won't help since the S-100 format essentially requires large PCBs of about 50 square inches or so. I estimate it would require at least 20 units of each type to significantly lower the price per board. Of course, more would further lower unit cost and final price as the costs drop following a fairly standard exponential decay "learning curve" with production quantity.

What I've done is start a waiting list for N8VEM S-100 backplane and prototyping PCBs. If you would like to buy some PCBs send me an email with the quantity you are interested in. Plan on the regular price of $32 for the backplane and $25 for the prototyping board although I am fairly sure the next order will be quite a bit less than that. Once the quantity is sufficient to warrant another order, I will place one. I will inform the people on the list as soon as the boards arrive.

Those on the waiting list will be given first claim to the units. Since I am not accepting any preorders or advance funds of any kind, there is no penalty for bailing out on your order commitment. However reneging is very uncool and it will hurt your reputation in this small community. Karma will see to it you reap what you sow so please only those who are able to follow through on their commitment to buy should request to be on the waiting list. Any extra units will be sold like before on eBay, VGCM, etc at a fixed rate.

Since this new approach is intended to lower prices there is some risk of not acheiving sufficient quantity to reach the cost target. In that case, I won't make the order and nothing will happen until there is sufficient quantity to proceed. If significant time elapses, I will send out an email to those on the waiting list before ordering to reconfirm their interest. This is purely an amatuer project and not a commercial venture.

Please post here or contact me if you have any questions. If you would like to be on the waiting list please send an email to
lynchaj@yahoo.com with N8VEM in the subject line. Please specify which S-100 boards you would like and quantity. It is very important that you specify N8VEM in the subject line as I get a lot of spam on that account and it is easy to miss your email otherwise.

Note I do not know at this time what the final price will be nor do I know when or if the order would go through.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

NobodyIsHere
August 15th, 2009, 07:20 PM
Hi! I am still seeking enough people to be on the N8VEM S-100 backplane and/or prototype board waiting list to go forward with an order.

You can see examples of the cards here: http://www.s100computers.com/Cards%20For%20Sale.htm

My goal is to get enough order commitments bundled so that the next order is much less expensive than the first batches were.

So if you are interested in building your own S-100 system or think you might be someday this is a great opportunity!

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

nekonoko
September 4th, 2009, 01:50 PM
I'm interested. I actually sent an e-mail your way when you were first soliciting back in June, but it must have fallen through the cracks.

NobodyIsHere
September 4th, 2009, 02:21 PM
Hi! Thanks! Please resend the email with N8VEM in subject and I'll make sure you are on the waiting list. Hopefully others will join soon so I can get this order off.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

nekonoko
September 4th, 2009, 02:37 PM
Excellent - I forwarded the original e-mail again; has N8VEM in the subject. Thanks much!

NobodyIsHere
September 15th, 2009, 05:32 PM
Hi! Interestingly enough recently more people have requested to be on the N8VEM S-100 prototype and/or S-100 backplane order wait list. The unit quantity is growing but still not high enough for an economical group buy yet.

If you are considering building your own S-100 system, would like an S-100 backplane for experimentation and/or repair, or just want some S-100 prototype boards please contact me.

If/when enough builders are interested I will go forward with a new order and hopefully get the price down to a more reasonable level.

Everyone who joins on increases the purchase quantity and reduces the per unit cost for everyone so please pass this along to your friends and colleagues.

I have gotten no complaints so far from the first batch of S-100 backplane and S-100 prototype boards so I think they are working fine.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

Dr_Acula
September 15th, 2009, 07:39 PM
Andrew, I didn't realise there was a protoboard as well. Are these files in the wiki inthe S100 section?

There is another post in the S100 section here on VCF regarding protoboards.

A general question - how much as the sockets?

NobodyIsHere
September 16th, 2009, 05:05 AM
Andrew, I didn't realise there was a protoboard as well. Are these files in the wiki inthe S100 section?

There is another post in the S100 section here on VCF regarding protoboards.

A general question - how much as the sockets?

Hi James! Thanks! Yes, all the files are posted on the N8VEM wiki including the S-100 unique parts libraries. There are photos and related files in the S-100 directory. Everything is there for builders to make their own S-100 stuff using KiCAD.

S-100 sockets are rather odd these days although you can still get them from some vendors. I've listed sources in previous related threads but you can buy them easily on eBay for $3-$5 each.

I have plans for another order of S-100 backplane and S-100 prototype board PCBs but they are on hold pending enough interest to make the manufacturing run feasible. There wasn't much interest in the last batches and I am trying a new approach to get costs down and hopefully spur some interest.

It's a bit of a catch-22 though since if the prices are too high there is low interest which reduces quantity, which drives up unit cost, etc. I am able to keep the N8VEM Eurocard ECB boards relatively low cost since they are only ~25 square inches of PCB but S-100 are ~50 square inches resulting in a higher unit cost.

We'll see what is next on the N8VEM S-100 side although it depends on the activity level of the Eurocard ECB side. There has been a *lot* of activity lately with the DiskIO CBIOS and new default ROM developments. Since the Eurocard ECB boards are thriving and busy with new projects appearing regularly the S-100 projects tend to get deferred which is a shame.

After some S-100 design work I can now better appreciate why S-100 fell by the wayside in favor of ISA, PCI, and other more compact and standardized busses. The S-100 bus has a lot of inherent disadvantages in terms of power, size, flexibility, and just plain economics working against it.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

NobodyIsHere
October 5th, 2009, 04:09 PM
Hi! If you are interested in getting one or more N8VEM S-100 Prototyping Board PCBs, I am getting ready to make a manufacturing order. Based on my current projections, I am estimating a single N8VEM S-100 Prototyping Board PCB will cost $18 each (reduced from $25 each originally) plus $3 shipping in the US and $6 shipping overseas. I will combine shipping to reduce shipping costs depending on final weight.

Please let me know soon if you would like to join in the order. If more persons join the order PCB costs may be further reduced. You can see additional information on the N8VEM S-100 Prototyping Board at the N8VEM wiki:

http://n8vem-sbc.pbworks.com/browse/#view=ViewFolder&param=S100

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

PacMan
October 6th, 2009, 06:46 AM
Andrew,
I seem to have returned to the forums in the nick of time :D
Put me up for 5 protoboards, that ought to keep me floating during the winter.

/Pontus

nekonoko
October 7th, 2009, 09:27 AM
I sent a message to the list a couple days ago, but just in case - I'm in for a proto board too :)

Thanks much!

NobodyIsHere
November 5th, 2009, 04:22 AM
Hi! A few days ago the PCBs for the N8VEM prototyping board group order came in and I've distributed them to everyone who ordered with only one exception. I expect the remaining unit will resolve itself fairly soon. I do have a small number of extra PCBs I ordered to fill out the lot. At least from what I've heard the builders seem to be happy with them.

The group purchase approach seems to have worked OK at least for the initial trial. It certainly reduced the unit cost from $25 to $18 each and also reduced my own exposure to having paid for a stack of PCBs in excess of what I can use. That is definitely win/win!

If anyone is interested in the N8VEM S-100 backplane or S-100 prototyping board please contact me and I'll add your name to the waiting list. There are about 5 or 6 people already on the waiting list for the S-100 backplane PCB so I think there may be a viable manufacturing order in the not too distant future. The bare minimum quantity for an order is 10 PCBs which will result in a unit cost of about $30 give or take some plus shippping. Of course, a larger quantity will reduce cost significantly.

Several builders have already gotten N8VEM S-100 backplane PCBs and its been quite a while and I haven't heard of any major problems. There are a couple things which could have been done better, as with any design, but no "show stoppers". My own S-100 backplane seems to work fine.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

NobodyIsHere
November 8th, 2009, 08:14 AM
Hi! I checked and there are 6 persons signed up for the N8VEM S-100 backplane PCB waiting list. I think a bare minimum for a viable manufacturing order is 10 units and that would still mean a fairly expensive board although less than the original $32 each.

I can't say how much they'll cost as I haven't "run the numbers" but if you are interested in an N8VEM S-100 backplane PCB please sign up. Better yet get your friends and fellow hobbyists to sign up. A larger the quantity buy means lower costs for everyone.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

fneck
November 10th, 2009, 12:59 PM
Hi,

Sorry, due to difficult of language, I'm not sure that I understand very well the topic :(
My question is, can I always buy or reserv a S-100 backplane PCB?

Thanks

NobodyIsHere
November 10th, 2009, 06:35 PM
Hi! Please send me an email and I will add you to the waiting list queue for the next N8VEM S-100 backplane PCB manufacturing order.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

PacMan
November 11th, 2009, 06:27 AM
Got my proto boards yesterday and they look great. Thanks a lot for your efforts Andrew. My first project will be a combined 8085/6502 S-100 processor board.

fneck
November 11th, 2009, 10:30 AM
Ok Andrew, I sent you a mail for the waiting list for one S-100 backplane and two prototyping boards. Have you a idea for when you can do the manufacturing order?

Regards.

NobodyIsHere
November 11th, 2009, 06:09 PM
Hi! Thanks! I got your email and it is all set up. I am not sure when the N8VEM S-100 backplane PCB manufacturing order is going to be placed but hopefully soon. There has been some renewed interest and that is a good sign.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

NobodyIsHere
November 11th, 2009, 06:14 PM
Got my proto boards yesterday and they look great. Thanks a lot for your efforts Andrew. My first project will be a combined 8085/6502 S-100 processor board.

Hi! Thanks! I am very happy you are enjoying your S-100 prototyping boards! I look forward to seeing your project! That sounds like a lot of fun!

Hopefully we are getting close on the S-100 IDE board John and I are working on. The design has gone through some iterations and refinements. I think it is looking very good and cannot wait to make this board available. Disk controllers are probably one of the more problematic S-100 boards, I think and providing a reliable IDE and/or CF controller will be a huge leap forward for a lot of S-100 hobbyists.

After that, who knows what is in store for future projects. I have some ideas but we'll just have to see how it goes.

Will your CPU board have onboard RAM/ROM and/or serial ports? Many S-100 CPU boards are exactly that and are not SBCs. Your design sounds very interesting and I look forward to seeing how it turns out. You are planning on using KiCAD, right?

Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch

PacMan
November 16th, 2009, 12:47 AM
Andrew,

The plan is to make a 8085 board capable of running CP/M. It will also have a Dual Port RAM that interfaces a small 65C02 sub system. The 8085 part will have a small FLASH memory as well as 64KB RAM where as the 65C02 part will only have a 32KB RAM and maybe a 65C22 device connected to it. I also have a lot of ATARI ANTIC, GTIA and POKEY devices so possibly some graphics and sound.

The plans are not fixed yet and I will probably make things up as I go along, and I will of course use your eminent protoboards for this.

/Pontus

Chuck(G)
November 16th, 2009, 11:09 PM
Any particular reason why 8085 and not, say, NSC800? The latter would give you Z80 instructions with pretty much the same timing as the 8085. No RIM/SIM instructions, however--and the trap interrupt goes to 0066H like the Z80. But the other "half-interrupts" are present.

PacMan
November 17th, 2009, 12:28 AM
No real other reason than I already have heaps of old 8085 processors laying around and I am to lazy to use anything else :-)