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General Category => Amstrad CPC hardware => Topic started by: Prodatron on 21:33, 10 December 12

Title: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 21:33, 10 December 12
Hi,
 
 good news: The new SYMBiFACE II batch is finished, and it's new "firmware" is also working now! This time, the whole process took a little bit longer as originally planned, but now it's done :)

Price for one card is 120€ + shipping

Everyone who is interested, please write me directly to
 jmika [a t] prodatron [d o t] net
 
 CU,
 Prodatron
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: robcfg on 01:30, 11 December 12
Hallo Jörn!


Could you tell us what features does the new firmware have?


And, it's possible to update an older Symbiface II board to the new firmware?


Not that my board doesn't work just dandy, but the more juice we can get, the better!  ;)
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 03:40, 11 December 12
Hi Robcfg,

sorry, please don't mix it up :) Of course the functions and features of the new batch stay exactly the same. There are no differences to the old cards.
It was necessary to modify internal stuff a little bit, as some of the chips had to be replaced with more actual ones (the old ones aren't available anymore - but the new ones also don't do anything more then the old ones).
That was the reason for the delay.
CU,
Prodatron

Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: TotO on 10:20, 11 December 12
It's a great news. Sure, I'm interested. ;)
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Badstarr on 10:43, 11 December 12
How much will these devices be selling for? I'm rather tempted if I can lay my hands on enough cash, to put it another way, if the price is right I will take one!  :D
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 14:57, 11 December 12
Sorry for not mentioning the price before. It's still the same as usual: 120€ + shipping

CU,
Prodatron

Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Badstarr on 15:26, 11 December 12
Cool !  ;D  I'll take one!!!
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Gryzor on 16:30, 11 December 12
Short question - was the RTC changed in the new board? IIRC, the one that's used will run out of batter in a few years' time and there's no way to replace it...? So it kind of becomes useless after that period.
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 21:10, 11 December 12
Short question - was the RTC changed in the new board? IIRC, the one that's used will run out of batter in a few years' time and there's no way to replace it...? So it kind of becomes useless after that period.

The RTC is still the same Dallas chip with integrated batterie. This chip is socketed, so if the batterie will ever be empty, you can replace the whole chip in a very simple way.
The batterie with the blue frame, which you can see on the board, is responsible for the ROMs. Dr.Zed calculated, that it would suffice for more than 10 years. So even the very first SF2 cards from 2006 would have working ROMs until 2016 or longer. If it will ever be empty (in the far future ;) ), you have to un-solder the batterie and replace it with another one.

We were discussing this, when the new batch was planned at the beginning of this year. Unfortunately it wasn't possible to make changes to the layout (e.g. for the batterie) without re-creating the whole board.

CU,
Prodatron
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Joss on 10:47, 14 December 12
Hi Prodatron. I take one too. I'll send you an email. Thanks!
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Gryzor on 12:11, 14 December 12
Oh, I didn't realise the RTC is socketed. Do you have any in stock?

But why solder the other battery instead of placing a battery socket?
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Bryce on 13:06, 14 December 12
The battery socket has a different footprint than the soldered battery, so they would have had to re-do the entire layout to make that change.

Bryce.
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Gryzor on 13:08, 14 December 12
Nah, I meant why not do it socketed from the beginning... soldering batteries sounds a bit strange.
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Bryce on 13:44, 14 December 12
Soldering in the battery was standard practice back then. Most PCs and as most of us here know, many Amigas had the battery soldered in too.

Bryce.
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Gryzor on 13:45, 14 December 12
Huh? :D But we're talking about the SF here, not the CPC! 
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 13:47, 14 December 12
Well its already 8 years ago when this project started  ;D

CU,
Prodatron
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Gryzor on 13:48, 14 December 12
No battery sockets in 2004? :D 
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 13:50, 14 December 12
I mean that its senseless to discuss it after 8 years
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Gryzor on 13:54, 14 December 12
A new batch is being made; people are buying it. I'd say it makes quite a bit of sense to discuss it ;)

Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 15:15, 14 December 12
We were discussing this, when the new batch was planned at the beginning of this year. Unfortunately it wasn't possible to make changes to the layout (e.g. for the batterie) without re-creating the whole board.
The battery socket has a different footprint than the soldered battery, so they would have had to re-do the entire layout to make that change.
Nah, I meant why not do it socketed from the beginning...

A new batch is being made; people are buying it. I'd say it makes quite a bit of sense to discuss it ;)

I don't get your point. Bryce and I described the problem quite well I think. Do you want to discuss it for a successor of the SF2 or what is your intention?
 
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Gryzor on 15:20, 14 December 12
Quote from: Prodatron
I don't get your point. Bryce and I described the problem quite well I think. Do you want to discuss it for a successor of the SF2 or what is your intention?
 
You know how people sometimes talk about stuff that can't be changed any more, just because they're interesting and all? Like, "Why didn't Sugar put a 3.5" drive in the CPC"? 

Same here: "why did they go with a soldered battery in the first place?"... the more so since this is a project alive and well! Bryce didn't describe the problem, he was referring to something else, as far as I understand.
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 15:26, 14 December 12
Ok, I got it!  ;D
If there will ever be a successor of the SF2 we will use a easy-to-replace battery ;)
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Gryzor on 15:28, 14 December 12
So the SFIII is alive?
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 15:53, 14 December 12
There is this working SF3-prototype from 2008, which is plugged on top of the SF2.
But I don't know if Dr.Zed will make a batch, as there was still some work left making it ready for serial production.
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: db6128 on 19:24, 14 December 12
These look great, and I'm very tempted to buy one, but I don't know when I'll be able to; do you think they'll be available for a good amount of time still?
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 20:06, 14 December 12
That's really difficult to say. Currently they sell quite quick. If it would go on like this, they are out of stock in two weeks, but of course it will slow down now, I guess.
It depends on the amount of time I think...

CU,
Prodatron

Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 21:26, 14 December 12
Today I switched to another harddisc. It was amusing to read these numbers:
(http://www.symbos.de/files/symbos-100gb.jpg)
I remember when I bought my first 1GB harddisc for my PC in the mid-90ies. Everyone told me, that this size is just stupid crazy.
Now it's really funny to have 100GB on my 8bit CPC  :D ...
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Bryce on 22:26, 14 December 12
It's not my project, so I don't really want to get involved here, but I'd like to give my hardware opinion on the SF2 second batch so that others understand what's involved in designing and producing something like this.
The current batch seems to be a re-run of the SF2, so obviously it will be 99.9% identical to the old batch. As soon as you make any change to a layout or schematic, you can more or less start from scratch regarding checking, testing, prototypes etc. So I can fully understand that the guys are reluctant to make any changes. If they do decide to make an SF3, then anything's possible, and there are quite a few things that would make more sense today due to new technology (and associated costs) that weren't possible back then. But don't expect the guys to suddenly make changes to a design to make it fit todays expectations. That just isn't realistic.

Bryce. 
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: PhilZeVibe on 22:39, 14 December 12
Now it's really funny to have 100GB on my 8bit CPC  :D ...
For an 8-bit computer, the size just blows my mind :o
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: Prodatron on 23:08, 14 December 12
@Bryce: Thanks for the explanation! You are more into this than myself (I am only the programmer, I can only dream about great hardware, but others have to create it like you or Dr.Zed ;) ).

@Phi2x: The other funny thing is, even a FAT32 100GB partition doesn't slow down anything. For such a simple (compared to modern) filesystem it's quite well organized. Unfortunately all this space currently can only be used for very LONG videos. But this was also only something like a demo, to show that it's possible on the CPC :)

CU,
Prodatron

Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: TFM on 01:05, 15 December 12
Videos, ... Snapshots... Music files.... and I guess more  :)
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: buzby on 21:29, 15 December 12
symbiface 2 ordered
Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: TFM on 23:57, 15 December 12
Me too (a while ago). Can't wait to get mine. And I'm really glad, that the new SF2 batch was not changed! (There were some discussions...). It's still the most comprehensive expansion card for the CPC. And from a software side point of view it's good if a computer has a kind of 'standard expansion card'. Saves coding time ;-)

Title: Re: SYMBiFACE II can be ordered again! - new batch finally available
Post by: buzby on 00:22, 16 December 12
what is the best power supply to run it ?

Title: Everything counts on larger mounts ;-) - Re: 100GB on a CPC
Post by: OCT on 02:48, 30 December 12
switched to another harddisc. It was amusing to read these numbers:
I remember when I bought my first 1GB harddisc for my PC in the mid-90ies. Everyone told me, that this size is just stupid crazy.
Just like "640k ought to be enough for everybody" when Yarek sells 4M RAMs even for 8-bits.
Quote
Now it's really funny to have 100GB on my 8bit CPC  :D ...
So now you know what Depeche Mode meant by "Everything counts on larger mounts" released just before the 464. :D (To quote a tape ad from the era, "I think that's about what they say, but I need to hear it on a TDK.")