Always a Catch

I’m almost done with this GDEMU batch but if you got that ~3 weeks estimate and haven’t seen the PayPal request yet then I have some bad news: expect a week, perhaps two of delay. Something came up and I was unable to work during the weekends, which means there is a bunch of GDEMUs that haven’t been finished yet.

It also means I couldn’t start working on Rheas either – that too got pushed back by about 2 weeks from now. This is more or less when I’ll start taking orders for those. In itself it wouldn’t be too bad but by now I know better than to plan anything for December, especially shipping stuff. Trust me, you don’t want that.

Another batch of GDEMU PCBs is already on it’s way here but those are probably not going to be ready before January 2017 – I have to be realistic, there’s only so much time in a day.

Get Lucky

GDEMU orders are open. Again, the idea is to have smaller batches but more frequently. This completly failed the last time thanks to Google and I ended up doing nothing else but GDEMUs for 3 months. I’m not keen on repeating that. So I might have to close in just few hours but if you miss your opportunity this time, there will be another batch.

I’d like to remind you of the recent price increase, the one device per customer rule, and to be patient about your order confirmation – that might take a few days. Make double sure the email addresses you give me are correct.

EDIT: Closed. One hour is all it took. While I realize not everybody got lucky please keep in mind I do try to vary the days and hours I open orders to give people living in differnt time zones a chance.

Don’t Leave Me Now

The good news: All remaining Phoebes have been shipped and I’ve started making GDEMUs again. I plan to start accepting orders sometime next week.

The bad: I need to raise the price of GDEMU by 5 Euro to 115. The USD has slowly crept up vs Euro lately and while this process was slow and the difference is not very big it has affected the prices of components I buy. Mostly it’s about FPGAs, though a little bit here and there added up as well.

Luckily my primary supplier is still able to source these FPGAs pretty cheap compared to outlets like Farnell or Mouser, especially for a guy like me who doesn’t order a thousand each month. It’ll be a very sad day when they run out – for everybody. Though quite frankly GDEMU is going to saturate the market eventually, right? I mean how many Dreamcast users are still out there? So I’m planning on having one more batch after this one and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the last one. I’d really rather have a slow trickle of orders I can take care of during evenings than these big batches because that really consumes pretty much all of my free time. Time will tell I guess, you people keep surprising me.

Anyway, stay tuned next week.

The Top

All Phoebes are done, I’m now assembling the remaining leftover PCBs. I will open orders for those during the weekend but keep in mind there aren’t all that many devices for sale – I will plan for next batch though if there is enough interest.

I actually have some PCBs ready, configured and tested, so the leftovers will be shipped out somewhat randomly depending on what type you want. This should be wrapped up in about 2 weeks and then I’ll be taking GDEMU orders again. I also have a fresh batch of Rhea PCBs and will try to somehow squeeze the making of those alongside GDEMU. We’ll see.

I might actually not be able to keep up that ‘summer’ delivery date for PCE photos but those shouldn’t be too badly delayed. I meant it when I said ‘in working state’. The problem is the analog audio amplifier part, I might choose to cut it out of the PCB and redo later, and just focus on the digital part and more testing now.

EDIT: Phoebe leftovers – orders open. 50% left. Sold out.

EDIT2: I won’t be sending out notifications this time, I’ll just ask for payment now and you will get your Phoebes shipped right away or have to wait up to a week if I need to configure more of that type. If you do have any urgent questions feel free to ask before you pay though.

Storm Column

Well shit. Phoebe ordering window was open what, 5 hours? And you’ve managed to fill the list up.

This time I cut it a bit short, I’d rather have a few spares than explain to dozen people why I have nothing to sell to them. But still, this is way more devices than I planned to build, I figured I will take it slow and the rest will just trickle out. Now I have to hurry with everything so that previous estimate of 4 weeks? Make it 6.

I’ll start replying to emails tomorrow. I don’t want to look at my inbox now.

EDIT: I get asked this a lot so: Yes, there will be another batch. Hard to say when because this is an unprecedented interest in Saturn ODEs. Had you guys (any gals?) been here last time I made Phoebes I would have ordered more PCBs and parts now. And planned things differently.

Also, replying to so many emails takes time, I can’t do this all day you know. Have patience. I can already tell there are some duplicates so let me remind you the one device per batch per person rule is still in effect. On the bright side there should be a bunch of leftovers.

Don’t Think Twice

Last 2-3 weeks were quite hectic for me but situation has somewhat improved now. Hopefully it’ll get back to normal in a few days.

So, I’ll open Phoebe orders this weekend. Saturn devices are not in such high demand as GDEMU is – which means I can manage assembly even if I don’t have a lot of free time. I expect to finish that run in about 4 weeks and then I’ll start with GDEMU again.

Note that Phoebes are made in batches by type so your order might get processed out of order if I have (or don’t have) what you need at the moment.

As for Rhea, I will try to make some during GDEMU run, assuming it doesn’t turn into a disaster like the previous one did. I’ll announce when/if I have something for sale.

Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked

You keep asking so here’s PCE status: In progress.

I know it doesn’t look like it from the outside but I am working on it. Most of the Saturn code changes I’ve introduced lately are actually meant for PCE. It’s quite difficult to do a proper low-level optical drive emulation. For example dumps usually don’t have track 1 pregap or leadout data in them – it has to be spoofed. Missing sector headers, EDC/CRC data has to be regenerated on-the-fly. Copy protection has to be spoofed. Not all dumps have subs so basically the whole system must be able to do without them, whereas it should actually be based on subs only. Then there are hardware limitations, I want to avoid PLD/FPGA devices as these make things more expensive and difficult to upgrade – so I have to resort to some tricks that aren’t always easy to implement or timed perfectly. And don’t get me started on hardware bugs, both in the stuff I use and in the consoles.

Case in point: After some tinkering Rhea has only one code path now that handles both audio and data sectors, which actually requires more processing but the result is closer to what a real drive does. This, coupled with some changes in the internal logic and status reporting made Bug! work. New FW will be available once I test things a bit more.

For PCE I’m going to go even further and limit supported image types, subs will be required. Now that I have one less thing to worry about I can focus more on hardware design again. I will post some photos but only once I have something booting at least a few games.

Speaking of Rhea, I’ve sold all the leftovers – there really weren’t many so it all happened pretty quickly. I’m planning to start Phoebe run next, probably near the end of this month. Then Rhea or GDEMU, depending which will look like less work. As usual watch the blog for announcements.