Update

I just looked at the date of the last post, and it’s been well over a year. Everyone has been asking when the DSS-1 and DSM-1 upgrades will be available. To be honest there hasn’t been a lot of work done on them recently. There are several reasons for this but mostly I’ve been too busy with house renovations, family, and work. Also the new microcontroller I had planned on using was more than 18 months late (it was announced in January 2015). I have finally received some samples and will start work on it soon, time permitting. I don’t expect the upgrades to be available until the end of 2017.

As for the other projects, the ASR-10 SCSI boards are still available, as are the CEM5530 replacement modules. The EPS16 SCSI boards are sold out. I haven’t decided whether I will do another batch of them since I would rather use the time for the Korg upgrades.

People often ask how to order boards from me. What I need is your PayPal email address and your shipping address, so I can send an invoice. I only ship on weekends now as I can’t get to the post office during the week.

All of the equipment posted for sale has been sold. I’ve also stopped buying, repairing, and reselling synths as I have no time to do it and there is minimal financial return.

I haven’t posted in quite some time. The usual excuses apply: work, family, lack of motivation. However I have had numerous requests for a solution for the CEM5530 IC. I designed such a board back in 2000, and the bare PCB’s sat collecting dust in a drawer until somebody mentioned that I had some of them. Within a few weeks all 30 boards were gone (including the ones in my two Prophet VS’s).  I had re-done the design as a 4 layer PCB to make it even smaller and the latest batch are built and assembled by a factory (instead of being hand assembled by me). The price of the boards is 50.00 each plus shipping.

The DSM-1 project has stagnated a bit. However I will be revisiting it soon.

The DSS-1 kits are almost sold out. As of today there are two left. I won’t be making any more until after the DSM-1 kit is done, the new DSS-1 kit will be based on the DSM-1 kit.

The new 5530’s getting ready for wave soldering at the factory:

picture

 

Over the last few months I’ve had several DSS-1 boards sent to me for repairs following unsuccessful modifications. So, I’ve decided to change my policy regarding upgrades. Going forward, I will only support installation by an authorized service center. I only have time to either build the boards, or do repairs and installation, but not both. And it ends up being just as expensive to have the boards repaired as it is to send them to a service center in the first place.

Contact me for a list of people that I’ve authorized to perform the upgrade.

Well, we finally made it through 2012, the Mayan apocalypse didn’t quite happen and we haven’t fallen off the financial cliff (yet).

The interest in the SP-2 SCSI kit is increasing, and demand for the DSS-1 upgrade kit is still strong. I have just ordered PCB’s for another 50 kits, and I have several DI-10 and SP-2 kits in stock. I also have a few SP-3 for the ASR-10 left, although they will probably get installed in the ASR-10’s that I have here.

I have had some requests for other upgrades, especially the DSM-1. I’m currently looking into doing an upgrade for the DSM-1, and hopefully I’ll have something to announce in the next few months.

The DSS-1 mod kits are sold out until early next year. Thanks to everyone that bought one!

My current focus is on the SP-2 SCSI interface for the EPS-16. Garth at Rubber Chicken Systems has kindly referred his customers to me, as nobody is making the SP-2 anymore. I’m starting off with 30 units, and will build more if demand is strong.

I am also redesigning the CEM5530 board. It’s going to be a 4 layer board and be a bit smaller and have a cleaner layout. There is also someone else who has designed a CEM5530 replacement, and it looks very nice.

Getting a couple of DSS-1’s ready for customers this weekend. I now have 2 left, and I’m reducing the price to $450 since they have some cosmetic issues. I also have some other items for sale, check out the Gear for Sale page.

I’m finding it so easy to update the site now that I’ve revised several sections. I’ve added information on almost every section, and added a couple of new ones, for the EPS-16 and EIII. I’m also going to try and find a way to have direct download links for the DSS-1 files and other hard-to-find files. I have a bunch of EPROM images that might be useful…

 

I’ve officially sent out an email letting all interested parties know that the kit is available again. This time, I’m going to focus on just building and testing the boards and let the installation be done by the end user or a local service center. The new style boards require more end-user work, but it’s mostly removing IC’s and installing sockets.

We’re pretty much done with software development for now; both mine and Jim’s schedules will only allow for bug fixes or minor tweaks. That may change in the future. SCSI support is pretty much gone. The new board has locations for the SCSI components but I won’t be installing them unless by special request.

Next, I have to work on a revised service manual to go with the new CPU board. The text is almost done, just need to take some pictures of the process.

Hopefully there are a few people left who haven’t lost interest and moved over to soft-synths…

It’s been almost a year since my last post. I haven’t abandoned the project, but two things have severely limited my time: 1) I’ve been working 70+ hours a week getting the new Technicolor at Paramount studios online and 2) Raising my son Ivan, now 15 months old. However I did have time to redo the main CPU board, and tomorrow I ship to the first customer.

I’m going to slowly start delivering the boards with a new pricing structure. It will be $250 for the kit, and another $50 for me to do the modification. As before, if you’re technically inclined you can probably do it yourself. The $250 does not include the SCSI option (it’s another $30), since almost nobody uses SCSI anymore.

My new company, Straylight Engineering, will host these pages until I redo the site.

http://www.straylightengineering.com

I plan on sending an official email to those of you have been waiting for me to start making the kit again. Ivan thanks you all for your patience…

It’s become somewhat of a cliche in Hollywood to ‘reboot’ a movie franchise if the current sequels aren’t doing so hot in the movie theaters. So, I’ve decided to take a page from their book…or script…whatever. I’ve decided to stop work on the new CPU board that I was developing and start fresh.

There are a few reasons for this. I was planning on using the VNC2 USB controller with the new design. However when I started testing, there were serious bugs in the firmware, which the manufacturer hasn’t addressed. There were issues with driving the sound generator board with a 3.3V CPLD device. Also Jim hasn’t really had time to debug the new floppy controller or deal with the bugs in the USB controller. In true Hollywood style, the project has been in “development hell”.

So, I’ve decided to keep things simple. The new design will be a daughterboard that plugs onto the stock DSS-1 CPU board. About 75% of the original CPU board’s functions will still be used. The new board will contain the new CPU, memory, SCSI controller, USB controller, and a couple of logic arrays to tie things together.

Why didn’t I just use this approach in the first place? One of the main goals of the original CPU board that I designed was to reduce power consumption so that the power supply would not have to be modified to handle a larger current draw. Without the original RAM, ROM, CPU, and assorted 74LS chips, I think the power requirements should be less than the original board.

Between my new job at Technicolor Sound Services, having a new house and a new baby boy, my R&D time has been pretty limited. The new design is ready to be manufactured, so unless I run into serious design flaws, I can start shipping the kit in the near future.