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.

23 thoughts on “No more room on the carpet

  1. Hi Deunan.I see you are working on Sega Saturn and Pc Engine so no FM-TOWNS for now😦
    Anyway, could explain me your development /analyzing setup?I can see a logic analyer on the left, then maybe a level shifters between Sega Satun CD and development board (to adapt TTL to CMOS levels of the FPGA development board, I presume).I can’t distinguish other devices.
    Just a note : don’t you think powering electronics devices on a carpet is dangerous ?You could fry them due ESD discharges.

    • Eh, I’m not saying FM Towns won’t happen eventually, but there is only so many things I can do at once. Thanks for the schematics BTW.

      I don’t have LA, FPGA does all that🙂 I have to say – when I bought DE2 dev board I never assumed it will “pay for itself” so to speak, but I had some fun with it and now it actually did bring me some money. Goes to show even expensive toys can actually have other benefits than just being educational.
      The green PCB with LCD on the left is an old ARM7 dev board, another toy of mine, I used it here because unlike my CortexM3 based projects it has SSC interface pins easily accessible so I was able to capture transmitted sector data along with command stream.

      The small PCB inside Saturn has 20-pin ribbon connectors so that I don’t have to solder anything to the console and provides 5V to 3V3 level shifting. It’s purely read-only addon.

      As for the carpet, quite frankly I’ve yet to kill any chip at all due to ESD. I guess I’m lucky. Also, the dev PCBs actually have small legs to stand on and the FPGA bottom plane is pretty much all ground. Nothing there to kill. If I do damage it someday it’ll be due to my own body being charged, but not by keeping it on the carpet. Also, not enough space on the tables for all that stuff🙂 At this point I’d need a proper workshop anyway…

  2. Thanks for your explanation, Deunan.Yes ,sur,e you can’t do too much things at same time but when will be th right moment, feel free to ask for some FM-TOWNS hardware, I will gadly donate for development purpose.

  3. For the PC engine (TurboGrafx-16): Would love to see a replacement CD module emulator that would not depend on having the CD hardware at all. Possibilities are intriguing. Thanks for all your hard work.

  4. Eagerly awaiting the Saturn developments🙂 IIRC there are Saturns which use different number of pins on the ribbon connector though – hopefully whatever solution you come up with can cope with the variants.

  5. Very happy you are doing another production run and that you are also working on a Sega Saturn solution!

  6. Thank you for considering another production run. I bet there are alot of people waiting for the chance to pimp their dreamcast that have not posted yet

  7. @caiusfabricius
    I think A LOT more people would buy and appreciate a Sega Saturn-device rather than a FM-TOWNS-device. I dont know why you so desperately want to talk Deunan into making a device for this system, when there are so many other systems who would benefit alot more of such a device.

  8. Who is speaking?Probably someone who doesn’t neither know what is a capacitor or a three-state device..:)
    Anyway, developing an FM-TOWNS replacement CD-ROM drive is more easy than other, Deunan knows well this as we already spoke about.
    And I’d want to see this not because I own an FM-TOWNS machine (so for my personal purposes) which, believe or not, is more popular than you may think.

  9. Well, even if I did not know what a capacitor was, I’d still ask my question to you.

    I work as a lineman (and previously electrician) so I do in fact know what a capacitor is, but that doesn’t make my question to you more or less valid.

    The fact that it is easier to make a device for a platform doesn’t automatically justify spending countless hours on making it just because you want one. But since you know so much about electronics, and the FM-TOWNS is so extremely popular, why dont you make it yourself?

    I’d say let deunan decide what he shall make without you trying to screw all other Saturn owners over.

  10. He also obviously has some love for Sega systems as he already made GDEMU for Dreamcast, so why on EARTH he should go ahead and drop the Saturn version and make one for FM-TOWNS instead is beyond me.

  11. You are misunderstanding me.I NEVER said that Deunan must abandon the Sega Saturn or whaever other machine development in favor of FM-TOWNS.This is your interpretation, dear my Petter K.
    Probably Deunan will look at this and other consoles too since he has the skills to do it.

  12. Damn! Saturn and PCE HD loaders would be a dream come true! I will keep an eye on this so I can hopefully contribute to both if you open for “investor” donations😉 I would just need a MEGA-CD and PS2 loader and I’d be set! I have a 320GB HDD in my PS2 but only maybe a quarter of my games would fit on it. A faster, modern approach would be fantastic!

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