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Vectrex Shells and PCBs interest check (colors, multi-carts too)


5-11under
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Hi there,


I'd like to be able to supply the Vectrex community with game shells and PCBs on a continual basis. To offset initial costs, I'm proposing an interest check followed by a pre-order for an initial run of both.


Shells will be available in at least 3 colors, including black and perhaps blue and red. Translucent is also an option. Screws are included in the purchase. Specific colors will be determined by availability from the supplier, and quantity requested (for instance if you want 240 shells, I should be able to provide the color you want; if you just want one shell, you'll have to pick from the colors available).


post-3127-0-64428900-1397579450_thumb.png

The standard PCB is 32K, which should be able to handle any game that isn't bankswitched. It is completely assembled and tested before selling.


post-3127-0-13014400-1397579463_thumb.png

Besides the standard 32K game PCB, a simple DIP-switch multi-cart is available. It is 512K, which can hold a number of 8 or 16 or 32K games. It is completely assembled and tested before selling.


post-3127-0-57016100-1397579473_thumb.png

Note that the PCBs shown above are prototypes. The production version of the multi-cart has 8 switches instead of 4, to allow more games to be selected if they are less than 32K. Also not shown is the socket that will be installed underneath the DIP switch, for better access when installed in a shell. Both prototype PCBs shown were also hand-assembled; the production PCBs will be professionally assembled. Also note that the standard and multi-cart PCBs are identical; it is just the assembly which is modified between the two (memory size, DIP switch).


The PCBs can be programmed by the user, or, if you prefer, by me (public domain or your own game only, of course). Use your own programmer or buy one from me. Programming is a matter of installing the available connector onto the EPROM/flash programmer, then inserting the game PCB into the slot. Press “program” in the programming software, and the chip will be programmed. The game PCB can be re-programmed thousands of times, if you wish. This could be beneficial for game developers.


post-3127-0-21822100-1397579486_thumb.pngpost-3127-0-55786600-1397579495_thumb.png

I'm not looking for payment right now. I am, however, looking for people who are seriously interested in purchasing from the first run of parts. Please reply and/or send a PM if you're interested. Also please do the same if you have any questions, comments, proposals, complaints, etc. When and if enough interest is generated, I'll provide details on the next steps for pre-ordering and/or purchasing. At that time I'll also do my best to get another person involved to minimize risk. Mail costs will be actual costs, approximately, from Ontario, Canada (see Canada Post for details). Higher value purchases will be sent with tracking.


Basically this is what I'll call an “AA-starter” project. However, the funding goal is a moving target, depending on a number of factors, including my own investment, as well as exactly what is purchased. For instance, the amount of money raised by selling 10 single units is different than the amount raised by selling one set of 10 units (although both are just as beneficial to making the mold purchase feasible). I'll update this post or thread with the current status as a percentage.


Here are the prices I'm proposing (per unit). I've done my best to make sure that they're favorable to the prices I would use after this initial offering (especially in higher quantities, and especially in the package deal). That will hopefully encourage you to be part of this initial run.


post-3127-0-65135300-1397584613_thumb.png

Thanks for your time!

Edited by 5-11under
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Yes, that's the plan. I have a local company lined up to make the mold and then the shells.

 

About time. S.Kelly has had the monopoly on Vec cases for way too long.

 

AAMOI I like what you've done with the PCB - i.e. that it fits straight into the programmer via an edge connector. That's neat.

 

 

 

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About time. S.Kelly has had the monopoly on Vec cases for way too long.

 

AAMOI I like what you've done with the PCB - i.e. that it fits straight into the programmer via an edge connector. That's neat.

 

 

The thing is, I've searched for Vectrex shells many times via Google, and found nothing except for very old posts from about 2007 on a few sites... until an order that happened here a couple months ago... while I was still getting the PCB layout finalized. D'oh. I have never seen shells available anywhere, except the odd translucent red or blue ones via eBay fairly recently. One thing I have seen a lot of, is homebrew games without a shell.

 

Regarding the programming connector, thanks! I'm trying to do this with all my game PCBs. That way they can be assembled in advance, and then either the buyer or I can program them very quickly as the need arises.

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They are available currently from Chris Romero but I don't know who his supplier is. I think he uses the Sean Kelly mold. I paid 3.75 for a grey / black shell just this week. the blue ones are slowly being sold on Ebay as most are gone and I think Chris is stretching the last out. I don't know, just saying.

 

Anyway, you can get in touch with Chris at

 

http://vectrex.com/

mailto:vectrexer@gmail.com

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Okay, these projects often have stretch goals, so here's some that are do-able:

If the shells project goes forward, I'll be able to provide high quality professionally printed labels (better than any previous labels I've had made for Arcadia 2001 or ColecoVision) for any quantity of kits purchased (you provide the artwork). I can also do the final assembly, so basically I'd be able to provide a complete loose game cartridge for the prices already listed. Edit: I can also put-on-hold any paid kits/PCBs in case you want them programmed/assembled/sent at a later date.

If the goal is exceeded, I'll reduce the price of each kit/shell/PCB as much as possible so that no overall profit is made from the initial run (note that a "met" goal already assumes no profit for the initial run).

Unfortunately, given the lack of progress so far, these stretch goals don't seem too likely (I was disappointed for a while, but I'm over it now. ;)) In response, I've come up with a "compress" goal. If people already have access to shells, I can in the least provide completely assembled PCBs as shown in the first post. This will be much more viable, because the one-time fees are much lower.

I'm putting a deadline on these deals: May 18, 2014, which is one month away.

As always, feel free to reply/PM with orders, suggestions, etc.

Over the next few days or so I'll also be investigating shipping cost to give a better idea of your overall costs.

Edited by 5-11under
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They are available currently from Chris Romero but I don't know who his supplier is. I think he uses the Sean Kelly mold. I paid 3.75 for a grey / black shell just this week. the blue ones are slowly being sold on Ebay as most are gone and I think Chris is stretching the last out. I don't know, just saying.

 

Anyway, you can get in touch with Chris at

 

http://vectrex.com/

mailto:vectrexer@gmail.com

 

Exactly. I have ordered my shells via Sean Kelly in the past using his mold for special short runs in the other colors. Also the reason that colored shells are more expensive than the large bulk orders of the grey shells (aka Vectrex black)

The same can be said for the other shells I have sold mkiker2089. Gray is back in stock and I will have some individual sale Gray (black) shells up on eBay shortly. Lower priced individual direct sales orders taken outside of eBay.

 

BUT, I heartily recommend The OP, 5-11under, run ahead with his project. Especially for short runs of colored cart shells. We're not likely to see other colors until Sean is out of his newly delivered stock. Probably a couple of years from now at least.

 

Something I have found to be useful for controlling costs is the USPS Padded Flat Rate Envelope. The Come in two syles. Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelope and Priority Mail Express Padded Flat Rate Envelope. Both are free to order from the USPS. If you order the maximum amount they will be delivered in a box for handy storage. Each envelope can easily hold 10 or 12 Vectrex shells. Even though they are meany for the Priority Mail service you can flip them inside out and use them for First Class deliveries as well. For mkiker2089's delivery he ordered enough, and was in the right location, to justify using the flat rate price. So to protect the carts even further I stuffed the carts into a few layers of padded envelops. The overall package protects well while remaining as light weight as possible. The material also has a texture that most any tape or labels stick to firmly! Mkiker2089 will have to related what he thinks of my method.

 

No matter the outcome the experience gained from this project is valuable for producing runs of shells for other platforms. So go forward with it , please.

 

BTW, The best mailing method goes to Richard H. who mails his items in anti-static bags, inside bubble, inside Tupperware, covered with postal-quality brown paper, all covered in a layer of packing tape. If your items die en-route from Richard's place then chances are The Incredible Hulk was involved somewhere along the way. :)

Edited by Vectrexer
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Thanks for joining the conversation, Vectrexer. I'd love to get the mold made, and it'd work well for me, because I can supply PCBs at the same time. Unfortunately I don't have a boatload of cash lying around to just go out and buy the mold outright. ;)

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Chris's shipping method was perfect as it protects the wheels through layers.

 

Getting the mold is the hard part. Albert is working on getting a 2600 mold so he or retrolucid may have contacts in place to help. If you both go to the same people maybe... Just guessing here.

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Getting the mold is the hard part. Albert is working on getting a 2600 mold so he or retrolucid may have contacts in place to help. If you both go to the same people maybe... Just guessing here.

 

Getting the mold paid for is the hard part. ;) I have a competitive quote from a reputable company. There could be some savings when getting multiple molds made or shells from multiple molds at the same time, but that would be a low percentage savings. I am in contact with Retroillucid/Collectorvision on a regular basis, talking about Vectrex and other molds, so there may be some big help there.

Edited by 5-11under
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Getting the mold paid for is the hard part. ;) I have a competitive quote from a reputable company. There could be some savings when getting multiple molds made or shells from multiple molds at the same time, but that would be a low percentage savings. I am in contact with Retroillucid/Collectorvision on a regular basis, talking about Vectrex and other molds, so there may be some big help there.

We'll get this done :)

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We'll get this done :)

 

Yes, when the funding is in place.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Current status: ~1% funded, with 29 days remaining.

(assumes 5....D's order is confirmed).

 

Add 45%, or 50% if retroillucid/Collectorvision wants the number they've mentioned, or if we come up with a partnering deal.

I'll probably be happy with 80% confirmed funding - I can cover the rest.

Edited by 5-11under
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Yes, when the funding is in place.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Current status: ~1% funded, with 29 days remaining.

(assumes 5....D's order is confirmed).

 

Add 45%, or 50% if retroillucid/Collectorvision wants the number they've mentioned, or if we come up with a partnering deal.

I'll probably be happy with 80% confirmed funding - I can cover the rest.

 

I met Toby earlier this morning and we discussed about this ;)

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Have you talked to homebrew makers to see if any are interested? Kris who makes Vectrexians and Revival Studios?

 

Last time I contacted Revival studios they said they were out of them. That doesn't mean he wants more but at least he isn't flooded with them.

 

You could also talk to PackRat and see if he is interested in expanding to the occasional Vectrex game. It's doubtful, but maybe.

 

Don't Vectrex games fit (physically, not as in works) in another console? I thought I read that somewhere.

 

Contact Vectrex Rolli (sp) on youtube as well. He has European connections.

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Unfortunately, Revival Studios has been unresponsive since the beginning of the year. Ive sent 2 inquires about games and never heard anything.

 

Packrat Games is bring John Donzillas games back but unfortunately they and Kristoff were among the people who ordered from the last group buy. That does not mean they wouldn't be interested in more though.

 

Maybe some sort of future insentive can be made for future purchases for people who make this mold happen?

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By the way, there are a number of people who have surfaced just in the past 6 months in the development scene. Der Luchs, Juan Felix Mateos, Martin White, Chris Malcolm, James G Watts, Chris Parsons, Richard Chadd, Alex Kazik, Michael Simmonds and SBY Devolpments just today with a game called Vectrexagon.

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I think the guy at Revival may not be too interested. His site isn't updated either.

 

What about Recycled Gamer? He makes Vectrex controllers, would he have interest? Someone know him here?

 

I made a post at the Classic Game Room forum with a link here. CGR is a big supporter of the Vectrex.

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I've also contacted Good Deal Games. They used to sell Vectrex homebrews and may be interested in getting back into it.

 

I didn't know Packrat was getting into Vectrex. I would think this will be very interesting to them in that case.

 

---

Edit

 

The similarity to this was brought up by one of my contacts

 

Edited by mkiker2089
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Packrat is getting into Vectrex, with John's games, and hopefully others as well (time will tell). Only issue is, I just got a large shipment of shells from the 'other guy' — and I do mean 'large', so my interest here may be somewhat limited.

 

Would like to know if these shells have the same internals as regular shells - in simple terms, will PCBs I have now that fit the old style mold fit your mold? If so, I might be interested in some color shells besides the standard.

 

Also, will these boards only be 32K? I only ask, as I will need to go up to 64K for some of my future needs.

Other than that, it is nice that the PCBs are programable, and there is interest here fro Packrat. One thing that is not clear to me, does the price for the PCBs include the price of the chip on them?

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