Take two

Alright, preorders are open once again. This is a second production run and will probably be smaller than the first one, though that will depend on how much interest there still is in the device. Please note that if I’m again flooded with too many preorders I will have to make another waiting list. This worked well enough the first time around, just that the people near the end of the list will have to wait a few weeks.

All the units in this run will be the screw mounted ones. I still have a few remote PCBs left, without parts, I can send them along GDEMUs free of charge if you want to solder one on your own. If you don’t know what this remote is for, you don’t need it.

Please read the Ordering page (and all the other pages I’ve prepared) before asking me questions directly. In most cases the total price (unit, packaging, shipping, PP fees) is 110 Euro, if you’re fine with that please state that in your order. This will save me a round of emails, I’ll just send you a request to pay as soon as I have GDEMU unit to send. Less hassle for everybody that way. Assuming you give me your PayPal email address that is.

UPDATE: Well, so much for not flooding my email. List is full, preorders are closed again.

Gluttons for punishment

There’s another guy dissapointed in me – I mean, not only he made a detailed list of my shortcomings, he was nice enough to mail me directly to present it, along with “offer of help”:


Seriously people, some of you don’t like me. I get that. I can assure you the feeling is mutual. But do I go out of my way to mail you with my incoherent rambling? No, I don’t. Is it really too much to ask of you not to spam my mailbox?

I could understand if these guys were my clients and felt cheated out of their money – but they are not. GDEMU is what it is, perhaps not perfect for everybody, but I don’t force it on anyone. You don’t like it? Don’t buy it. You think you can make a better one? Prove it. Words are cheap.

On the subject of making GDEMU, to avoid what happened last time, that is people missing the preordering window, I’m going to plan it this time. The preorders will open on 1st of July. Hopefully the rush hour has ended and I will be able to keep it open for some time. I was seriously not expecting that level of interest and as such it has taken so long to finish the first run. In other words, I did everything according to plan, except my plan did not account for selling everything in less than two days. Also, I’m imposing a limit of maximum one unit per person, this is because bigger orders are a real PITA for me. Two is possible as well but you’ll get two separate shipments – the first as soon as I can make it and the second sometime later. You only pay for one unit each time so you can always just cancel the second one if you don’t want it anymore.

No more room on the carpet

I’m almost done with the preorders but I’ve hit two issues:

One is I buy the big chips for GDEMU in smaller quantities than a whole tray. That means the supplier has to repackage them for me, and apparently the last batch ended up in a malfunctioning machine or something. All FPGAs had some pins slightly lifted on one side and these did not solder down properly. I only discovered that after cleaning and during testing, which means a lot of reworking and more cleaning and testing is required. Which is very time consuming.

Second is much trivial, my local post office run out of CN22 stickers and they’ve only just requested more. As (bad) luck would have it, most of the units I’m about to send this week go outside EU area, and need a CN22. So if I’m not able to get some more stickers in the main office the shipping of some GDEMUs will get delayed until I either get them of figure a valid way to print them on normal paper. Which everyone says is OK to do but you see, if not, it ends up being the recipient problem. So I’d rather spare you that if it’s only a few days of waiting.

So, in about two weeks I should know exactly how many leftover units there will be, and I will make some more anyway. If only because there were some requests for more than two units and initially I refused that. Since I’m going to make more it makes no sense to start all this for just a couple units so it will be another production run. Stay tuned.

In other news, I got some cool new toys recently, plus a few more games as a bonus just yesterday. One of the toys looks like this right now:

Saturn WIP

The other one waits patiently for me to receive the necessary security bits to open it up 🙂 I did play with it a bit and I can really tell it needs a drive replacement, and fast. I mean, the seek times alone qualify it for that, and there are also issues with both reading data and playing audio (something that was never a strong point of this hardware, even brand new). Well, it is ’89 tech. This is going to be so much fun:


And before you ask, the menu thing is still WIP. It will arrive when I feel it’s usable enough.

I’m a dick

That much is true, but there’s a funny story of how someone discovered that while being completly wrong about, well, everything else.

I value and respect privacy so I would not openly publish my email exchange with GDEMU buyer(s) unless I had no other choice, but not everybody subscribes to that notion it seems. It’s a Comedy Central material by the way: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/127752-flashcart-and-multicart-list-all-systems/page-63

However, I do not agree with the “being petty” acusation. Just because I didn’t share every tiny detail of how GDEMU actually works with the developers of other – let’s call them competing – projects, doesn’t mean I ignored them, or refused to help at all. And I have email history to prove that but hopefully I will never have to make it public. I’ve put a lot of my personal time, and money, into this project and I belive it to be my right to decide what I do with the knowledge obtained. Yes, I could’ve “shared”, but that would only result in other people making and selling their devices, and I would be left with nothing. Forgotten would be the best case scenario, but probably people would still demand I make further upgrades to their devices. For free of course. I bet each and every one of those who call for GDEMU to be cloned and cheaply copied behind my back would gladly work for free as well.

So, in the end I refused a sale. For the first time, too. If you’re on a backup list – rejoice, I’m almost sure now I will be able to fulfill those preorders as well. And if you’ve ever wondered why my terms of sale sound like a legalspeak, and why I reserve the right to refuse sale or repair, it’s because I have to deal with people who have no clue but lot of demands.

So, to reiterate: You’re buying GDEMU as-is. There might be a newer, better model released in the future and if you don’t like that, just cancel your preorder. Or buy one of the competing devices. Frankly, I’ve already reached my primary goal of raising money for software I need – and I would like to thank everybody who already purchased GDEMU for that. What I’m doing now is pretty much assembling and selling out the leftovers. That money will cover R&D costs for devices for other systems – and I make no promises as to what will come of that.

Also, Dreamcast discs can be copied, at the very least in a sufficient way as to obtain fully functional backup images. These backups are nowhere near 4GB in size. There are SD (well, SDHC to be precise) cards bigger than 4GB and that has nothing to do with FAT32 limits of single file size or total volume size. And yes, PayPal could rain on my parade anytime by locking my account again.

And finally, pretty please, read all the pages with instructions and explanations I’ve provided. If I sound like a prick answering your email questions then maybe it’s because I’ve already had to do it 100 times and by now it’s even more annoying than spam – because spam at least can be filtered out and/or ignored.

Mr. Driller

I’ve run some tests to measure the PSU temperature in several different scenarios, both with original GD-ROM drive and GDEMU installed. The most interesting case was one with GD-ROM drive but no disc, and cover completly removed:

DC temp scan

Without any forced airflow the convection alone is not able to cool the radiators below some 70°C. It doesn’t get any worse than this though, basically the PSU reaches thermal balance at this point and stays that way.

With the cover installed PSU will heat up to about 58°C. Running the console without cover and then reinstalling it after some time will cause the temperature to drop eventually. In other words, the airflow inside the case does make some difference.

I’m a big fan of simple solutions so this is what I did:

DC side holes

I’ve also complety taped off the air inlet at the back of the console, so now most of the airflow will go through these holes and cool PSU down. With GDEMU installed it reached 63°C after an hour. It’s just 5 degrees more than with the original drive so I think I’m done making holes 🙂

One other point of interest, PSU voltages:

  • GD-ROM drive (no disc): 3.296V / 5.030V / 13.28V
  • GDEMU: 3.305V / 5.042V / 14.26V

Even without a disc inserted the original drive pulls some current from 12V line. GDEMU doesn’t (and uses much less power in general) so it’s possible the PSU is running in a bit less efficient way now.

Keep in mind this a 230V PSU, the 110V one might behave differently. I’m going to test that as well in a day or two. Still, the capacitors in the PSU are 105°C rated so 70 rather than 58 degrees is not going to suddenly damage them. If this thing was properly designed it should handle even less favourable conditions than that. After all SEGA guys did put the fan on the opposite side so overheating the PSU was not a major concern for them.