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View Full Version : PCjr owners: Interested in a jrIDE?



mbbrutman
March 1st, 2016, 07:12 PM
We have not done a batch of these sidecars in a while and I have gotten some random emails from people over the last year about another batch, so now I'd like to try to gauge how much interest there is.

If you are interested please send me a PM or an email and I'll add you to a list.

For those of you unfamiliar with jrIDE ... one sidecar gives you a modern PATA/IDE interface, DOS memory up to 736KB, a clock/calendar and some persistent FLASH memory on board that we haven't even tapped into yet. The parts run around 70 to $100 and it takes a little soldering but it is easily done with normal home tools. You have to provide your own donor sidecar shell - otherwise, the kit includes everything else. For the first batch assembled cards were also available for a nominally higher cost.

eeguru is the designer of the board and was responsible for getting the first production batch out into the world. I'm hoping he can be bribed into doing it again, assuming there is enough interest.

For details see:

http://www.brutman.com/jrIDE/jrIDE.html
http://www.retrotronics.org/jride/


Mike

Trixter
March 3rd, 2016, 06:31 PM
As a quick endorsement, one of these things turns a PCjr into a seriously usable system. Full 640KB RAM even when using graphics mode, and the ability to connect a DOM (http://www.amazon.com/Kingspec-channel-Vertical-Socket-Module/dp/B00ZZ0UESS/ref=sr_1_5?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1457061956&sr=1-5&keywords=flash+disk+module) and hide it inside the shell and have it actually work (2G or more of flash as a hard disk!) is truly transformative for the junior. Thanks to the jrIDE, I was able to program on the system itself using Turbo Pascal, Turbo Assembler, Turbo Debugger, etc. and created this 60Hz "masterpiece" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs1oJOlPqMM).

Sorry to rave so much, but it's probably my very favorite homebrew kit for vintage systems. (A close second is jj_pearce's boards!) I met eeguru at VCFMW in 2015 and thanked him profusely for it.

EagleTG
March 7th, 2016, 09:32 AM
Been waiting for this for a while now! E-Mail sent!!

Great Hierophant
March 8th, 2016, 06:05 AM
I would like to echo Trixter's endorsement. This sidecar and a parallel sidecar are all the hardware upgrades you really need to get a PCjr. comfortably working with your other computers. Even if it is not essential for gaming, having a hard drive makes gaming so much more convenient than having to keep stacks of floppy disks at the ready.

I would like to take this opportunity to correct something I posted somewhere a while back : The jrIDE is entirely through-hole soldering, there is no surface mount soldering required. Even the cheapo Radio Shack soldering iron can handle the putting together of a jrIDE.

eeguru
March 8th, 2016, 07:35 AM
I've ordered enough connectors to satisfy many board runs and extras I will sell at cost to Jr owners. I'm going to make some very minor modifications to the board this week. Mainly adding extra caps and changing the Dallas RTC from a module to a chip w/o battery and separate coin-cell holder. Then it will take about a week and a half to get the boards back from China and kitted up.

Will post here once ready.

mbbrutman
March 8th, 2016, 01:06 PM
How much of a difference do the new capacitors make? Should I be wary of my 1st generation boards?

eeguru
March 8th, 2016, 01:34 PM
How much of a difference do the new capacitors make? Should I be wary of my 1st generation boards?

No issue. I just noticed the 5V rail on the JR-IDE board was very noisy when I was trying to use it as a platform for another project I'm working on that was more sensitive to noise. I worked around it. Rev A support will never be dropped. Any extensions I add will be fully tested and supported on Rev A.

wesleyfurr
March 14th, 2016, 05:19 PM
What sort of prices are we looking at on this run? I shouldn't be interested, but I am. :-)

On a side note, will this upgrade the RAM of a 64k PCjr? The 64k upgrade board is no good mine...probably a bad chip, but I've not messed with it further.

Thanks,

Wesley

mbbrutman
March 14th, 2016, 05:31 PM
The costs from the first run are right in the first posting of this thread - $70 to $100 depending on the parts cost this time around.

You have to start with a working 128KB machine. (I doubt that any sidecar attached memory can backfill the area between 64KB and 128KB.)

wesleyfurr
March 14th, 2016, 05:54 PM
I wasn't exactly sure what the meant...and the two links included price lists for the PCB only, parts kit, etc. individually. If this round is only being sold as a whole kit for $70-100, I'll have to pass. If I can pick up just the PCB and connector, I may go for it and pick up the other parts later.

Thanks for the RAM info...figured that would be too easy... :-)

Thanks,

Wesley

eeguru
March 14th, 2016, 06:11 PM
As before, you can always order ala cart. PCB, connector, CPLDs, rest of kits are priced as before or lower and each of those sold separately and at my cost. I haven't updated the spreadsheet yet but nothing has increased in cost. I'll order boards this weekend. I've been a bit behind at my 1st job and my 2nd job :(

EagleTG
April 25th, 2016, 12:21 PM
Any update for us new(ish) and overexcited super-annoying PCjr owners?

(I do realize PCB's take some time to order, and that this isn't a primary job for anyone... Just thought I'd check in!) :D

eeguru
May 13th, 2016, 07:40 AM
Any update for us new(ish) and overexcited super-annoying PCjr owners?

(I do realize PCB's take some time to order, and that this isn't a primary job for anyone... Just thought I'd check in!) :D

It took a while for me to get boards ordered. They came in this week. However I ordered from iTead instead of OSHPark due to price. The hole sizes for the side-car connectors are smaller and I'm not sure if these boards will be viable. I have to find a reasonable solution to mounting connectors. I have none atm. As given my current schedule and work load on other things, I have no ETA on getting kits together atm. I wish I could give a better outlook but free time is my limiting factor atm.

-Alan

mbbrutman
May 13th, 2016, 08:31 AM
It's tedious but is it possible to drill the holes out and still have room for solder to hit the traces, or are the holes that small?

glitch
May 13th, 2016, 09:05 AM
If desired, I can run boards and/or build up kits. I have a number of manufacturers I work with regularly as part of my day job.

EagleTG
May 13th, 2016, 12:40 PM
I wish I could give a better outlook but free time is my limiting factor atm.

-Alan

No worries at all. I appreciate the work you are doing. I'm fully willing to help in any way I can, shoot me a PM if I can be of assistance. :)