If Atari had continued for any number of years you would have continued to see different models come out with different external connections. They would mirror what happened with the differences between the 600/800XL and 65/130XE external connections. Sad to say the PBI is not standard, nor is the cart/ECI. They are not interchangeable and only occurred on 1 model apiece, so neither can be considered a standard. Even if you insist on saying one or the other is a standard, I don't know of any standard that doesn't evolve over time and inherently change in form and/or content or disappear.
The battle between Betamax and VHS comes to mind. Completely incompatible formats. Betamax came first and was considered superior to the competing VHS. But as VHS evolved and became better, longer recording time and cheaper, Betamax began to lose market share. Eventually VHS completely supplanted Betamax. It wasn't too much longer that VHS itself was supplanted by DVD and now the same thing is happening to DVD with Blu-Ray and streaming video. Each time a new standard was formed, the best features of both initial formats were combined.
I'm surprised at all the negativeness here at this idea. I'm not expecting rah rah go girl. But really...... Are we that afraid of change? So far the objections seem to fall into these categories.
(It'll be costly. You would have to decode this or that. CPLD do it better cheaper)
Duh... all of that is debatable and/or solvable and compared to what... for what? That's not a reason not to do something, those are problems to solve in the steps necessary to bring something to market. I'm not manipulating signals at this time, just physically routing them to a common output format.
(XZY product doesn't play well with TXT product)
So....? What does that have to do with standardizing the PBI/ECI bus connector? That's between XZY and TXT products. They didn't play nice together before.
(I might have to connect three wires internal to my computer)
The only way to avoid some modification is to redesign the computer from the ground up to include any and all current mods. But isn't that the biggest modification of all and the most costly. Simply because you now are rebuying not only the base computer but all mods too. And then you would have something come along that needed a internal signal that wasn't on the external connector. The key is the ratio between mod and gain. For instance 3 internal jumper connections, no external case mods to gain the most important signals coming from the 130XE ECI connector on the PBI connector.
(There are PBI devices out there that don't follow the standard)
Not sure what standard referred to since there's no physical and electrical backward compatibility between computer model bus connections anyway. Either bring these pbi devices into the new standard by modifying them or incorporating their custom connections/requirements or cut them loose. Worse case is that those who own these devices will need a clean/virgin 800XL or 130XE to use them, but I suspect that's the case for the most part anyway now. Best case is that these devices may run better and/or be more compatible with other devices.
(Existing multifunctional PBI devices: XYZ product was designed and built in 1983 for the 800XL PBI. It is the cat's meow, a wizzbang product. It doesn't matter that not many were produced and even fewer have survived the years and absolutely none have been upgraded to take advantage of the new technologies out there, we can't change the PBI connector because they would stop working.)
If they were properly designed then no changes I purpose to the 800XL PBI connection will affect them. Those pins shouldn’t be connected to anything on the XYZ product. If they weren't designed properly, then they are non-standard devices as well and the previous statement is valid.
What I am trying to do is to develop a standardize PBI/ECI adapter for both machines. The adapter will physically route the signals to a common bus connection, not manipulate the signal. To that end I am collecting information on what is needed to allow the connection of the greatest number of existing devices or the modification of those devices. It is certainly doable. It may require some internal 800XL jumper connections. Perhaps on the 130XE too. There might even be connections that would need external case modifications, but at this time I'm not sure.
Shouldn't be that expensive either whether you have an 800XL or 130XE. If you are fortunate to have a 600XL that has a PBI connector than you shouldn't have that much cost either. If you have a 1200XL, 65XE or a European model w/o the PBI/ECI, then things get much more costly and hard to do, but then what exactly has changed. Most likely you weren’t going to put the PBI/ECI on these computers anyway.
Eventually I plan to develop a 1090XL like shell for multiple devices to coexist within, a physical framework to support them. That is where the manipulation of the signals will take place. I want to foster new development for years to come. Or at least what new development there might be. It certainly helps if you have a standardize card slot to pick the signals off of including power and ground without worrying how to run additional wires off the board or provide a container for the device. New developers might even finally be able to use the Atari provided method to allow multiple devices to co-exist on the same bus and auto configure.
But to get back to the first step. Would someone buy this standardized PBI/ECI connector? It depends. It may take the finished 1090XL shell to motivate people, it might even take the new wizzbang card device to motivate them to buy. I'm not even sure I'll release it until the 1090XL shell is done. But you have to start someplace. You can’t finish something if you don’t start.