After many months, it’s finally available… in small quantities! This takes a lot of time to build, and takes a lot of parts that are being ordered, so I’ll probably only be able to build/ship one or two units per week.
Assembled units are available in the shopping area. These are initially using the rev 1B boards which are fully functional but have some silkscreen errors. Ie, some of the text printed on the surface is not correct; this has nothing to do with functionality. I stopped doing serial numbers years ago but have decided to start again. This is board #3:
The keypad has nice buttons that click when pressed. Getting custom printed keycaps was out of my price range, so these are standard caps with white/clear printed labels on top. Getting those buttons labeled is the single most time consuming process to build a board.
The USB interface to the PC is along the top. Earlier I mentioned silk screen errors, and here is one of them. Below our URL should be “Version 1B” but it was put on the back side of the circuit board by mistake.
This morning I started building the first of the new revision KIM Clone boards and had it running around 3 PM. Of course I spent some time doing family activities as well, so it wasn’t a full seven-hour effort. As you can see from the photo the LEDs and keypad are not populated except for the RESET button. The serial monitor came up immediately, and the only board change is working as planned. This is getting more and more complicated to build, now with three surface mount devices. Besides the FT232 chip in the upper right there are also two small level shifters that make every other component seem quite large.
We’re in a time crunch at my full-time job, so there won’t be a lot of free time in the evenings for a while. My goal is to have all of this board populated and tested by next weekend. I’m doing a parts check and ordering anything with low quantities in my inventory. BTW, I have probably close to 10,000 parts. When ordering some things, I buy 1000 at a time, many others hundreds at a time, etc.
Next weekend I’ll officially announce the sale date and price. Currently it’s looking like $225 for assembled and tested.
Rev 1B of the boards have been ordered but there is a national holiday in China so that’ll slow things down a bit. There are several minor tweaks to this version and one new feature, so it’s still at a rev 1B in case it needs a fix. However, if this board works then it’ll be the first official release and I’ll bump to revision 2 later.
Expect news in about two weeks, which gives the boards and parts time to arrive and a few days for assembly of the first board If it all works, assembled boards will be quickly available, although in small quantities at first.