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karri

Programming the Lynx for a living - blank carts

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I'm working on the pogo pin mechanism, its just a bit of a slow going right now :P

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This is a really cool project, and something I will eventually need.

 

As for the 3D printed label, how many labels is needed to make molding it feasible? I mean, tech moves forward and smaller and smaller volumes get's feasable to produce at a reasonable cost in almost all sectors, why not plastic molds? It's not a complicated shape.

 

Or have anyone tried molding themselves? It's surely messy, and probably not as fun as playing around with a 3D printer, but 1 liter of liquid plastic is about €20 (possibly cheaper, I just had a quick lookaround), and should be enough for quite a few labels.

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The problem is the low number. My releases are around 50 carts. No company would print less than 1000 carts. That is around 20 years of annual game releases by me.

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if we put together, this might be feasible. I was already thinking about getting laser/water cutting or CNC milling of cards.

But its always the same problem. low numbers.

Same problem for packages, boxes ...

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The problem is the low number. My releases are around 50 carts. No company would print less than 1000 carts. That is around 20 years of annual game releases by me.

 

Start a new business : flash on demand an homebrew Lynx game for a few bucks via a website, if you have enough games from different developpers, it could be an option to sell 1000 cartridge in less than 20 years.

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Only issue then is distribution and shipping costs. I'm sure Jasper can tell us some horror stories with shipping

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Don't get me started... but yeah the logistics can be kind of unforgiving, specifically the part after you deliver your parcel at the postal office.

So far I've had only a few returned, but it quickly nullifies any kind of profit if you were hoping to get some. Luckily we're not in this for the money :)

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I had a lot of broken Flappy Bird carts and lost money on that release. Now I offer these panels without any profit for 3€. If you want me to test them before shipping and give some replacement guarantee the price us 5€ each.

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The problem is the low number. My releases are around 50 carts. No company would print less than 1000 carts. That is around 20 years of annual game releases by me.

Really! I thought you'd be selling a lot more carts, both your own and empty carts to other developers. I really don't understand why everyone is so keen on doing limted runs either, many potential customers are lost this way since there's only a few hardcore enthusiasts that check new releases on a regular basis.

Your system allows everyone to be making carts on demand..

 

I had a lot of broken Flappy Bird carts and lost money on that release. Now I offer these panels without any profit for 3€. If you want me to test them before shipping and give some replacement guarantee the price us 5€ each.

What was the problem? Bad PCBs? Soldering? Chips?

Btw, for the cartridge connector issue with your programmer, have you checked with Best Electronics? They sell Lynx II cartridge connector solder pulls for $7.50. They should also have Lynx I cartridge connectors for $6.50 according to their catalog.

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I had a lot of broken Flappy Bird carts and lost money on that release. Now I offer these panels without any profit for 3€. If you want me to test them before shipping and give some replacement guarantee the price us 5€ each.

 

I'd be happy to try this out, though I first need to assemble the programmer if I want be able to do anything useful with it. Haven't had a chance to dig into the programmer yet, but I really like the idea of using the raspberry and the pins.

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Really! I thought you'd be selling a lot more carts, both your own and empty carts to other developers. I really don't understand why everyone is so keen on doing limted runs either, many potential customers are lost this way since there's only a few hardcore enthusiasts that check new releases on a regular basis.

Your system allows everyone to be making carts on demand..

 

What was the problem? Bad PCBs? Soldering? Chips?

Btw, for the cartridge connector issue with your programmer, have you checked with Best Electronics? They sell Lynx II cartridge connector solder pulls for $7.50. They should also have Lynx I cartridge connectors for $6.50 according to their catalog.

 

The first problem is time. Posting stuff is something I don't like. So I rather have a week now and then for posting and not keep looking at my shop all year around.

 

Flappy had bad plastics that broke easily. I was also using unpadded envelopes.

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I've been working on this revised design for the programmer board. It's based on Karri's original design. At first I was going to make a pogo-pin based connector to fit Karri's programmer board but I measured some things wrong and got a dud PCB. So I decided to make the connector and the programmer as one unit and also make it into a Pi Hat. These are going for fabrication this week and I'm getting some shells for the cart connector housing 3D printed. There will be some challenges in soldering those 4.5mm/1mm pogo pins which I need to address, but overall I am happy with this design. I'll make the source for it available once I confirm it works.

 

post-54616-0-46180900-1548209703_thumb.png

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I went ahead and bought a new DLP resin 3D printer so now I'll be able to make the cart surround shell at high resolution instead of having to rely on spacer PCBs. With a 3D printer handy I also won't need to solder on those 2 disconnected pogo pins - I'll just print a plastic platform for the cart instead.

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I now re-designed my 3D STL file to match the PCB carts I use in the panel.

 

post-2099-0-00811900-1548856837.jpg post-2099-0-30101300-1548856865.jpg

 

Here is printing going on using my Monoprice printer with dark grey ABS plastics.

 

Enjoy the STL file.

blankcart.zip

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Ok so I got my compact version of Karri's programmer board all assembled and gave it a test run. It works! After fiddling around I was able to get the first cart dumped, haven't tried programming one yet but I imagine that will be very much the same process. I'll need to order some stand-offs to keep the board from crushing the raspberry pi below it. A few tweaks will be required to this initial board eventually, but I should be able to assemble a few more of this version soon.

 

Also as you can see I 3D printed the cart holder surround after several unsuccessful attempts at using my new Wanhao D7 Plus printer, but I got it working in the end and the shell feels very solid.

 

post-54616-0-11400900-1549341157_thumb.jpg

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Ordered some from AliExpress already, but they won't ship until after CNY. I needed a few different lengths in the M2.5 size. The Pi Hat spacer is 11mm tall and then I needed 5mm screws and 14mm screws too. The problem I noticed with this setup is all of the carts I got from you Karri (flappy bird, shaken, etc) get stuck because of the gap in the cart pcb and the cart shell. Not sure which way to go from here - I could try replacing pogo pins with pcb test points or pcb spring contacts if I can find the right size but then their offset doesn't work well on the pcb itself. I've not been able to find 0.9-1mm contacts I could use so far.

 

So now there are two options - come up with a different way to secure the cart or just fill in the gap on the cart so it doesn't get stuck.

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Do you mean the gap between the golden contacts and the front of the card?

 

I had to change the shell for the new paneled pcb. Unfortunately they made a mistake and shipped a 0.2mm thicker board than before so I had to change the shell. I also took away all gaps.

post-2099-0-20203200-1549429380_thumb.png

blankcart.zip

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Yep that's the one Karri, I think filling in the gap will solve this issue, some clear epoxy resin will do the trick. Going to try that this weekend when I'm back home.

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Tried printing the new blankcart.stl file and it came out about 1mm too thick on my printer. The problem is definitely with my printer doing something odd. You can see in the side photo there is a raft which is about the thickness of the PCB being added onto the top side. I think the indent for the sticker is also causing some resin bleed and contributing to this additional thickness.

 

Going to make my own version of the shell without all the fancy curves and indents to see if it will work better on my printer.

 

post-54616-0-14009800-1550548274_thumb.jpg

post-54616-0-72843000-1550548282_thumb.jpg

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