Last week I built up one of the new (rev 1A) KIM Clone boards and it worked the first time. Woohoo! The fixes applied since the first spin seem to work fine. However, One thing didn’t work right and I just didn’t get around to connecting the logic analyzer. After about 15 minutes of head-scratching, I came to the conclusion that the 6532 was defective. Tried another from the same batch and had completely different problems.
Which brings up an important point of the vintage computer scene… good parts are sometimes difficult to find. I’ve gotten quotes for some chips at $75 per chip in quantities of 10. There’s no way I could sell a board where one chip cost that much, so that particular project was scrapped.
Not too long ago there were major distributors who stocked a lot of these components but those days are gone. I’ve got a few Chinese vendors who’ve supplied lots of good chips, so I just ordered some 6532s from them. Hopefully these are good.
So in the mean time, I’ll be sorting through my collection of a few thousand (yes, thousands) chips looking for another batch of 6532s and probably tossing this group into the trash, or at least until a few other sources deliver.
It was a nice family trip down to Marco Island, FL, again this year. In the summer New Jersey is hot and humid, so we go where the weather is…. hotter and a bit more humid, although the first two days were washed out by a tropical storm. Everyone just enjoyed doing nothing for a day before starting to head out for kayaking, boating, miniature golf, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, etc.
Being that I can’t just still too long, a lot of Corsham Tech projects were worked-on during the trip. Last year our flights kept getting cancelled and delayed so while waiting at the airport I wrote a big piece of a new 6800/6809/6502 cross assembler and had it working well by the end of the trip. This year while sitting at airports I finished the macro processor and refined a lot of small details while assembling some fairly large pieces of 6502 code.
The next version of the KIM Clone board was ordered and should arrive tomorrow (Aug 7), along with some more parts for the minor additions I made. There is a discussion about the board on the “6502 Programming” group on Facebook. One of the requests that has been raised is to add a bus so people can add their own hardware. The current board is a closed system because it had pretty much everything most people wanted in a KIM clone, but I’m open to changes.
I also started work on the KIM Clone User Manual and the KIM Clone Assembly Guide with instructions on how to assemble the kit. Since the cross assembler is working well, the new version of the KIM monitor was written.
By next weekend the first of the new boards should be assembled. Lots of fixes went in but if all of them work perfectly then the keypad and LED sections still need to be tested and debugged. There’s still no set date for when this will be available, but I’m starting to think maybe the end of September 2017.
I’m going to be taking a break for a week and not doing much with the business, definitely not shipping anything and probably not much development except maybe for finishing the KIM Clone revisions.
Last day to order to get shipment: Friday evening, July 28th. I’ll ship on Saturday morning. No more shipments until August 7th.
KIM Clone update: I’m hitting too many problems to do much more debugging, so now I’m finishing the board layout and will order a few of the new boards to continue testing with. I’m still not 100% sure about a few things but it’s getting really difficult to debug with all the work-arounds on the rev 1 boards.