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XM has shipped!


Curt Vendel
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2 hours ago, Curt Vendel said:

So, getting some video's and feedback from the developers, they are hitting the RAM pretty hard and looks like they are getting some random pixels on the screen, seems to be thermally related.   We are looking at the issue and trying to isolate the cause.   This is very helpful that the dev's have the XM's only so that they can really push them hard and anything still lurking can be resolved.   Mark is busily working on the End User BIOS and I also found a missing ground to a PAD for the SIO, so these tiny things are being sorted out.   Nothing is going to be a show stopper, so this is just getting any final issues out of the way so that we can make sure that the user versions are as bug free as possible.

 

Something I'm going to say.  The XM's are going to come with a disclaimer on them.    There is a lot of hardware in these units and we all have to remember that our 7800's are 28-35 years old.   I had to replace PacManPlus' 7805 and one of his caps on his 7800 because it wouldn't power up with the XM installed.  Once those were replaced, the 7800 with the XM powered up fine.  So there is the possibility that a persons 7800 may need repairs if they don't work with a XM installed.   I might have to consider given it, its own P/S to power it to reduce the pull the 7800's.

 

 

Okey-dokey people... 

Me just askin’ ye know...

 

??????????????

 

Should I put an XM as Birthday- or XMas-wish number 2, 3, 4 or even 5... (I mean... as to realistic expectancy?)

 

 

Dunno...

 

... just felt like gettin’ a bit 80ies there for second... The-who’s gonna-know-why...

Edited by Giles N
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7 hours ago, Shawn said:

 

I'm near positive he means the next batch of units that go to those that have pre-ordered. You still have close to 200 people in front of the line before new orders are being taken. It's gonna be a long time before that happens.

Ok ok - so I’ll get it at earliest in 2022 (practically speaking; in a ‘robocopian’ future)... ?

 

But it will provide cool sound!!!

 

 

Edited by Giles N
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10 hours ago, Curt Vendel said:

Something I'm going to say.  The XM's are going to come with a disclaimer on them.    There is a lot of hardware in these units and we all have to remember that our 7800's are 28-35 years old.   I had to replace PacManPlus' 7805 and one of his caps on his 7800 because it wouldn't power up with the XM installed.  Once those were replaced, the 7800 with the XM powered up fine.  So there is the possibility that a persons 7800 may need repairs if they don't work with a XM installed.

A hardware test feature in the XM's BIOS might be a good addition, if it's not already there. Not just for the XM's hardware - but the base 7800 as well. That way when there is a problem in a user's console you won't be in the dark.

 

 

10 hours ago, Curt Vendel said:

I might have to consider given it, its own P/S to power it to reduce the pull the 7800's.

I highly recommend going down this route, and thought the hardware was already designed this way. The XM adds quite a bit of junk in the trunk and a cartridge can be plugged into it. Given the age of the 7800 and unpredictability of what could be inside any cartridge, it's a good investment - there's a reason Sega did this with the 32X.

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On 3/12/2020 at 9:47 AM, TailChao said:

A hardware test feature in the XM's BIOS might be a good addition, if it's not already there. Not just for the XM's hardware - but the base 7800 as well. That way when there is a problem in a user's console you won't be in the dark.

 

 

Any more additions are really not going to be welcomed by many at this point. There needs no reason for further delay. Perhaps a binary that could be run from a cartridge would be a more palatable option if that is a thing in the future.

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12 minutes ago, Shawn said:

 

Any more additions are really not going to be welcomed by many at this point. There needs no reason for further delay. Perhaps a binary that could be run from a cartridge would be a more palatable option if that is a thing in the future.

 

There is zero reason to implement this into the BIOS, we can already take over the entire system with a cart.

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On 3/12/2020 at 9:47 AM, TailChao said:

I highly recommend going down this route, and thought the hardware was already designed this way. The XM adds quite a bit of junk in the trunk and a cartridge can be plugged into it. Given the age of the 7800 and unpredictability of what could be inside any cartridge, it's a good investment - there's a reason Sega did this with the 32X.

Yep, agree 100%!  I hope you decide to go this route, Curt!

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On 3/11/2020 at 11:07 PM, Curt Vendel said:

   I might have to consider given it, its own P/S to power it to reduce the pull the 7800's.

 

 

This would probably be a great idea. What a headache it would be when 100 people give or take have an xm and can't use it with their system. Most people can't solder or want that hassle. I would gladly pay you for the power supply if need be. 

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17 hours ago, Shawn said:

Any more additions are really not going to be welcomed by many at this point. There needs no reason for further delay. Perhaps a binary that could be run from a cartridge would be a more palatable option if that is a thing in the future.

No worries - not my hardware, not my call.

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On 3/12/2020 at 8:47 AM, TailChao said:

A hardware test feature in the XM's BIOS might be a good addition, if it's not already there. Not just for the XM's hardware - but the base 7800 as well. That way when there is a problem in a user's console you won't be in the dark.

 

 

I highly recommend going down this route, and thought the hardware was already designed this way. The XM adds quite a bit of junk in the trunk and a cartridge can be plugged into it. Given the age of the 7800 and unpredictability of what could be inside any cartridge, it's a good investment - there's a reason Sega did this with the 32X.

I can see where auxiliary power might be a "must" rather than a  "how about", unfortunately.

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On the one hand, if there is another board rev coming, (due to the missed ground pad, for example) then adding a jack would be rather easy. It can be added, and appropriate means for isolating and/or combining the power from both sources also needs to be designed in, which would require some thought and consideration for different versions of the 7800, possibly.

 

HOWEVER, that means there needs to be room on the edge of the board and a hole in the case, which there probably is not. That means, if a suitable location is found, isolation/combining of dual sources, an access hole still would need to be manually added to the existing run of cases. Curt already has, what, 100 cases?

 

 

Leave it up to them to decide...

Edited by Zonie
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On 3/17/2020 at 12:41 PM, Zonie said:

On the one hand, if there is another board rev coming, (due to the missed ground pad, for example) then adding a jack would be rather easy. It can be added, and appropriate means for isolating and/or combining the power from both sources also needs to be designed in, which would require some thought and consideration for different versions of the 7800, possibly.

 

HOWEVER, that means there needs to be room on the edge of the board and a hole in the case, which there probably is not. That means, if a suitable location is found, isolation/combining of dual sources, an access hole still would need to be manually added to the existing run of cases. Curt already has, what, 100 cases?

 

 

Leave it up to them to decide...

500 cases were made.   

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Hi,

 

   Sorry, trying not to leave everyone in the dark too long, just not much to report.   The next batch of boards just shipped, I just got the DHL notification.   Also Mark just sent me another BIOS update for testing the PIA if installed.  This is doing some loopback tests just to make sure the BIOS can control the PIA.    Going to be testing something very important in the next week and hoping to have something real eye opening to show everyone that will be in the End User BIOS, this is something that will be an important element to the XM for the Dev's and for the End users alike.

 

  So, I'll have the new boards this week, will see if the timing issue that the Dev's found is resolved, I added the missing +5 to the pad that was missing.  Hopefully the Dev's will have some goodies coming to show off to everyone again soon and as I mentioned, a key part of the End User BIOS should be ready soon and will see how much is left to pull these remaining things together.  

 

  As for adding power, its not that complicated a feat to do.   I'm kinda hoping to see if I can use standard Atari 9v 500ma P/S's and put together a clean VR circuit and then isolate the XM power from the 7800's...  My only other thought is looking to sense if the 7800 is off and turn off the XM as well...

 

 

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On 3/12/2020 at 9:47 AM, TailChao said:

A hardware test feature in the XM's BIOS might be a good addition, if it's not already there. Not just for the XM's hardware - but the base 7800 as well. That way when there is a problem in a user's console you won't be in the dark.

 

That's not something I would even consider...   If it were to ever happen it would come as a BIOS update down the road, not something in the current release.   Right now its about completing the current End User BIOS and sweeping out these last couple of bugs and challenges.

 

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Curt, can you provide an update as to when the XM units will go up live for sale on your page ? I referring to new orders as I can't recall if I every pre-ordered, don't remember paying ? How would one check if they had pre-order considering the time. I remember messaging you awhile ago and you replied that you had expected in April for new orders. I find new released products seem to get back logged or put off for some time before posting for sale on the Atariage Store.  

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19 hours ago, conjurershand said:

Curt, can you provide an update as to when the XM units will go up live for sale on your page ? I referring to new orders as I can't recall if I every pre-ordered, don't remember paying ? How would one check if they had pre-order considering the time. I remember messaging you awhile ago and you replied that you had expected in April for new orders. I find new released products seem to get back logged or put off for some time before posting for sale on the Atariage Store.  

I will post up when I myself know...  I am waiting for new revision boards to arrive thurs to correct a timing issue that the Dev's found while pushing a lot of data in and out of the XMRAM, I had to fix a missing power trace to a pad and I have made 2 electrical changes to the PIA footprint to enable something I'll show soon.    After 10 years of stops, starts and having to deal with a system I love, but a system that is a mess in many aspects, to get this running the way it needed to be.  I'm not going to, at the final stage, rush this out to people only to find that many would have issues and others none.   Whats the point then.   After all this time, if its gonna be an extra month give or take, then let it be.   I want this to deliver as promised.  So please hang tight on ordering, it'll come.   

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

 

    Update:   The new boards that correct the deep timing issue arrived and I have built one of them out and did testing with RevEng's ROF Test program and now the timing issue is resolved.   I will complete this board (only did the left side of the board with all of the memory components) now I'll finish the Audio and I/O section on the right side and do some additional testing.

 

   Mark has given me the first pass and a small revision of his End User BIOS... all I can say is, its even better than expected... let me allow him to finish it and then I can post a full walk through of all of the area's of the menu.  Its a beautifully polished design and it really rounds on things.   So, while we are all stuck in COVID limbo, I've been working away, so has Mark and I am going to check in with all of the Dev's and see how they are progressing.  I saw Bob's great update announcement and I think he made a great choice in just getting himself used to working with his XM to develop on and hopefully we'll see what the guys are up to.

 

  Everyone please stay safe and hopefully once we get through this crap and everything gets back to some type of normalcy, then these units can go out to everyone, but the downtime is definitely being put to very good use to complete these final items.

 

Curt

 

 

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