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Atari A/V mod update

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I just got an email from PayPal that my order from Parker has shipped, with a tracking number. Its USPS so the number has not been scanned. This may be a ray of hope! I will not count my chickens before they hatch though. I will keep you all posted.

Edited by doyman

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Yes, I am aware of that. It would still be suitable in a kit, however, if the board came with the chip attached and nothing else. There are a handful of us who can solder something like a MAX9512.

I'm curious about something (because I've never used the assembly services that many board fab houses offer): what would be the difference in cost between a fully-assembled board and a blank board that the buyer or seller would have to assemble by hand? Given how labor-intensive it is to build these boards, particularly the ones that use very small components, it seems that the extra cost would be worth the time it would take to assemble it by hand, not to mention the higher quality you'd probably get from automated assembly. We're only talking about (approximately) two dozen components on a relatively small board.

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I'm curious about something (because I've never used the assembly services that many board fab houses offer): what would be the difference in cost between a fully-assembled board and a blank board that the buyer or seller would have to assemble by hand?

 

For small quantity stuff your boards won't even go near a pick and place machine. It'll be technicians hand soldering it so the quality will most likely vary. For larger numbers (not made in the far East) there will be an NRE cost (probably $1k+), a tooling cost for setting up the machines (at least $2K+). The rest of the price depends on PCB size, PCB layers, component complexity, hand fitted components and any component level testing required.

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Yes, I am aware of that. It would still be suitable in a kit, however, if the board came with the chip attached and nothing else. There are a handful of us who can solder something like a MAX9512.

I'm curious about something (because I've never used the assembly services that many board fab houses offer): what would be the difference in cost between a fully-assembled board and a blank board that the buyer or seller would have to assemble by hand? Given how labor-intensive it is to build these boards, particularly the ones that use very small components, it seems that the extra cost would be worth the time it would take to assemble it by hand, not to mention the higher quality you'd probably get from automated assembly. We're only talking about (approximately) two dozen components on a relatively small board.

I can't imagine an need for more than 100 mod boards, and the real market is probably smaller than that, and fab houses hate small runs. Setting up a board for assembly for just 100 boards is going to cost a lot, and there are always a number of waste parts while trying to get the assembly going (that you will need to pay for.) The other aspect is you need to buy all the parts ahead of time, send the parts to the fab house (likely overseas, or labor costs will be insane, sorry to say but it's true) and pay for insurance, import taxes, and wait forever for it to get through customs. I would guess a run of 100 boards would require an investment of around $1500 just to get going, and it would take a long time to make that money back.

 

That said, someone suggested an alternative to me - some colleges offer electronics assembly classes and you might be able to get students to do the soldering for you, and they wouldn't mind small runs. I'm sure the cost would be reasonable but most likely you'd have a lower yield and more waste parts.

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I just got an email from PayPal that my order from Parker has shipped, with a tracking number. Its USPS so the number has not been scanned. This may be a ray of hope! I will not count my chickens before they hatch though. I will keep you all posted.

 

doyman,

That's good news...I'll keep checking here for your updates.

I'm waiting on LE's un-assembled 2600 A/V kit.

 

StephenJ

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Wow, so Longhorn has disappeared again? He did this last year, too. My sympathies to those who are waiting for their orders; I was in the same boat myself in August. When he came back, he said he was "burned out", which was what I suspected when he stopped answering e-mails and PMs.

This is basically what he did with me as well. I sent him a 4-switch 2600 to mod in March 2010, and paid him for it. I haven't heard anything from him for months now.

 

Whenever I shop for homebrew services like this, I always know there's a chance I won't get anything for my money, so I never spend more than I'm willing to lose. I've been pretty lucky until now, but this time it looks like I am out the cash AND a console. I don't expect to get either back.

 

The guy seems to have some "AtariAge Blackouts" and disappear (as before) but he seems like a nice enough (definitely capable) guy that he'll probably come through eventually. I would be really suprised if you were to get ripped-off in the end, but I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses for him, either. I was wanting one of his mods, and I was thinking of sending him my console, not feeling too confident in my own abilities. Guess I'm glad I didn't now.

 

What I don't understand - and would suggest - is that since he gets overloaded and burned out, that he self-impose limits on the ordering. He should set his website to accept a FEW orders, and close ordering after a few, and then re-open it when he feels like. That way he could take breaks without people waiting or wondering, or having paid. Maybe if he comes back, he'll do something like that.

 

I ended up wishing I'd bought a pre-modded 2600 (as I see them for sale now-and-then) and [very] recently, that's what I did.

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It looks like the shortage of FMS6400 and compatible ICs was only a temporary situation.

 

Online Components lists 12,500 of FMS6400CS1X and 40,000 of FMS6410BCSX on order, both ETA 2/2/11.

 

This information is probably from their distributor as Future Electronics show the same amounts "In transit".

 

 

Online Components also has slightly inferior ICs in the same package, the Fairchild ML6428CS1 and ML6428CS1X. The main difference is they are 4th order filters instead of 5th, but they still sum Y/C to create composite.

http://www.onlinecomponents.com/KeywordSearch.aspx?Text=ML6428CS1

 

According to the datasheet their pinout is compatible with the FMS6400 with outputs at +6DB. The ML6428CS1/ML6428CS1X use pin 2 as a separate power supply for the filter/reference stages, while pin 7 power is only used for the outputs.

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It looks like the shortage of FMS6400 and compatible ICs was only a temporary situation.

 

Online Components lists 12,500 of FMS6400CS1X and 40,000 of FMS6410BCSX on order, both ETA 2/2/11.

 

This information is probably from their distributor as Future Electronics show the same amounts "In transit".

 

 

Online Components also has slightly inferior ICs in the same package, the Fairchild ML6428CS1 and ML6428CS1X. The main difference is they are 4th order filters instead of 5th, but they still sum Y/C to create composite.

http://www.onlinecomponents.com/KeywordSearch.aspx?Text=ML6428CS1

 

According to the datasheet their pinout is compatible with the FMS6400 with outputs at +6DB. The ML6428CS1/ML6428CS1X use pin 2 as a separate power supply for the filter/reference stages, while pin 7 power is only used for the outputs.

I am pretty sure that Future only sells reels of 2,500 parts for these. Are you sure that other distributor doesn't?

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Has anyone ordered from Online Components before? This is the first I've ever heard of them. They seem to have a good number of older parts for reasonable prices.

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I just got an email from PayPal that my order from Parker has shipped, with a tracking number. Its USPS so the number has not been scanned. This may be a ray of hope! I will not count my chickens before they hatch though. I will keep you all posted.

 

doyman,

That's good news...I'll keep checking here for your updates.

I'm waiting on LE's un-assembled 2600 A/V kit.

 

StephenJ

 

That is good to hear. I'm still waiting on my replacement mod board for my 7800 as the one he sent me was defective. VCS games look great on the mod, but 7800 games are in B&W only. Hopefully someday...

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It looks like the shortage of FMS6400 and compatible ICs was only a temporary situation.

In my experience, it may be jumping the gun to say the part is no longer in short supply because one distributor has an expected delivery date. What you dont see is that they may have backorders of a hundred thousand or so parts, which means that the inventory is already spoken for. That happens all the time with select AVR microcontrollers, at least thats where I have noticed it. Also, one off orders arent generally given preference at larger distributors because it would mean cutting a reel, or breaking a box, or something so that they end up with less than a full unit.

 

That all said, I do hope the drought is easing up or a suitable replacement is found.

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I had a PM conversation with Parker earlier today. He's going to repair the defective mod board for me. In spite of the issues that arose, I still trust him and I believe that when I send my console to him, he will repair the defective board and send the console back to me as quickly as possible. Hopefully, this will go down without a hitch and it will restore some people's faith in LHE. :) I'll keep you all posted!

 

I'll let you know when I send it out to you, Parker. Thanks a bunch!

Edited by Deteacher

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It looks like the shortage of FMS6400 and compatible ICs was only a temporary situation.

In my experience, it may be jumping the gun to say the part is no longer in short supply because one distributor has an expected delivery date. What you dont see is that they may have backorders of a hundred thousand or so parts, which means that the inventory is already spoken for. That happens all the time with select AVR microcontrollers, at least thats where I have noticed it. Also, one off orders arent generally given preference at larger distributors because it would mean cutting a reel, or breaking a box, or something so that they end up with less than a full unit.

 

That all said, I do hope the drought is easing up or a suitable replacement is found.

Online Components does have 28 of the FMS6410CS, 85 of the ML6428CS1 and 1215 of the ML6428CS1X in stock.

 

I found these chips on Online Components site by following the links to alternative chips starting on the FMS6400CS1X page. The FMS6410CS needs pin 2 disconnected, while the ML6248CS1/ML6248CS1X need it connected to +5v, same as the FMS6400 with outputs boosted to +6DB.

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I just got an email from PayPal that my order from Parker has shipped, with a tracking number. Its USPS so the number has not been scanned. This may be a ray of hope! I will not count my chickens before they hatch though. I will keep you all posted.

 

Regardless, I hope this has taught a lesson to EVERYONE reading this: DO NOT ORDER from the Longhorn "Engineer". Wait until a better mod has been designed by more responsible people.

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For small quantity stuff your boards won't even go near a pick and place machine. It'll be technicians hand soldering it so the quality will most likely vary. For larger numbers (not made in the far East) there will be an NRE cost (probably $1k+), a tooling cost for setting up the machines (at least $2K+). The rest of the price depends on PCB size, PCB layers, component complexity, hand fitted components and any component level testing required.
I can't imagine an need for more than 100 mod boards, and the real market is probably smaller than that, and fab houses hate small runs. Setting up a board for assembly for just 100 boards is going to cost a lot, and there are always a number of waste parts while trying to get the assembly going (that you will need to pay for.) The other aspect is you need to buy all the parts ahead of time, send the parts to the fab house (likely overseas, or labor costs will be insane, sorry to say but it's true) and pay for insurance, import taxes, and wait forever for it to get through customs. I would guess a run of 100 boards would require an investment of around $1500 just to get going, and it would take a long time to make that money back.

Thank you both. It's good to have an idea of how much these services cost, and what they entail. It might still be worth it if the market for these A/V upgrades was much larger, but alas, the size of that market is limited by the number of functioning 7800 consoles out there that haven't already been upgraded.

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All,

 

I got the package in the mailbox at around 5 tonight. Set to soldering and got mostly done with one 2600 board, lots of little bits.

 

I'm beyond happy to have gotten the mods but I hope Parker either stops offering these things (worse case scenario) or works on some kind of system to keep up with the orders without getting burnt out.

 

Good luck to anyone else who is still waiting, and if there is anything I can do to assist let me know.

 

 

 

Dave

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All,

 

I got the package in the mailbox at around 5 tonight. Set to soldering and got mostly done with one 2600 board, lots of little bits.

 

I'm beyond happy to have gotten the mods but I hope Parker either stops offering these things (worse case scenario) or works on some kind of system to keep up with the orders without getting burnt out.

 

Good luck to anyone else who is still waiting, and if there is anything I can do to assist let me know.

 

 

 

Dave

 

Dave,

Glad to here you got your order.

Thanks for the update...and the "Good Luck".

 

StephenJ

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I can't take it any more. I've tried to stay silent, and I mostly did so through the 8bitdomain debacle and now over a year of Longhorn's problems. But this is ridiculous.

 

Given that nobody can deliver on these mods, I have decided to make the CyberTech boards available again. To make it happen, I need to work out supply chain issues and my own lack of cash. But happen it will. And very soon.

 

I know this doesn't help the people who already ordered from Longhorn, but at least there will be a/v mods *readily* available again. Like I said, I don't have all the details worked out, so I'm hesitant to make promises at this point. (that way lies madness - as we all know). But I can say they will be very high quality, and priced to sell.

 

Watch for forthcoming details.....

 

-Chris

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I can't take it any more. I've tried to stay silent, and I mostly did so through the 8bitdomain debacle and now over a year of Longhorn's problems. But this is ridiculous.

 

Given that nobody can deliver on these mods, I have decided to make the CyberTech boards available again. To make it happen, I need to work out supply chain issues and my own lack of cash. But happen it will. And very soon.

 

I know this doesn't help the people who already ordered from Longhorn, but at least there will be a/v mods *readily* available again. Like I said, I don't have all the details worked out, so I'm hesitant to make promises at this point. (that way lies madness - as we all know). But I can say they will be very high quality, and priced to sell.

 

Watch for forthcoming details.....

 

-Chris

I started a topic about designing a new mod from scratch and releasing board Gerbers and schematics. It's great you're bringing your board back, but in the spirit of sharing, an open design (especially something that could be hand-assembled) would also be nice to have so people have more options. Since you're the defacto expert on video mods, would you mind commenting on the thread I started?
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I can't take it any more. I've tried to stay silent, and I mostly did so through the 8bitdomain debacle and now over a year of Longhorn's problems. But this is ridiculous.

 

Given that nobody can deliver on these mods, I have decided to make the CyberTech boards available again. To make it happen, I need to work out supply chain issues and my own lack of cash. But happen it will. And very soon.

 

I know this doesn't help the people who already ordered from Longhorn, but at least there will be a/v mods *readily* available again. Like I said, I don't have all the details worked out, so I'm hesitant to make promises at this point. (that way lies madness - as we all know). But I can say they will be very high quality, and priced to sell.

 

Watch for forthcoming details.....

 

-Chris

I started a topic about designing a new mod from scratch and releasing board Gerbers and schematics. It's great you're bringing your board back, but in the spirit of sharing, an open design (especially something that could be hand-assembled) would also be nice to have so people have more options. Since you're the defacto expert on video mods, would you mind commenting on the thread I started?

Sure...where is it? </LAZY></IN A HURRY>

 

At least one of my designs will be open sourced...but I don't have details at this time.

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Sure...where is it? </LAZY></IN A HURRY>

 

At least one of my designs will be open sourced...but I don't have details at this time.

Very cool - the more options, the better.

 

Anyway, this is the thread I started, and I just posted the latest schematic - it's untested but it does address some things that were not properly done in the first schematic.

 

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/176257-lets-design-a-new-video-mod

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Well, what do you know? I was extremely surprised to find that my 2600 has arrived in the mail today, mere days after I had posted here that I never expected to get it back. The mods were completed as ordered, and the games look and sound better than ever. I am VERY pleased with the quality of the mods. Of course I am less pleased with the lengthy turnaround time and lack of communication, but in the end I did get what I paid for, eventually.

 

Based on my experience I'd have no problem telling anybody to buy a pre-modded Longhorn console if they came across one on eBay for example, but I can't help but recommend caution ordering from Longhorn himself. I have the feeling he is going to come through with all outstanding orders, but it may take a while.

 

Looking forward to a 2600-packed weekend... :cool:

Edited by williamc

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I'm thinking only Parker can answer this question, and he probably won't since he probably hates my guts, but I'll ask anyway.

 

On the 2600 mod with the new FMS64xx chip Parker says to not install 3 of the 75Ohm resisters. Is this the case for the 7800 board as well, or do I assemble it just as instructed?

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I'm thinking only Parker can answer this question, and he probably won't since he probably hates my guts, but I'll ask anyway.

 

On the 2600 mod with the new FMS64xx chip Parker says to not install 3 of the 75Ohm resisters. Is this the case for the 7800 board as well, or do I assemble it just as instructed?

 

Same with the 7800 mod.

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