Wow. It’s been eight months since the last update. A lot has happened with the project, as well as my personal life in that time. The project is alive and well, although in suspended animation. I’m actually just about to start testing the new revision of the CPU board. One of the big delays on the project was that FTDI Semiconductor, who make the VNC1L chip that powers the USB part of the CPU board, came out with a new, improved version, the VNC2. Unlike the VNC1, the VNC2 comes with a free IDE (integrated development environment) and royalty-free RTOS (realtime operating system), which allows complete customization of the USB firmware. Previously, you were limited to whatever firmware FTDI developed for the VNC1 (along with its bugs and limitations).
They say things happen in threes, and for me that’s no exception. As of today, I have a new job, a new house, and in January my wife and I will be having our first child. Things like that kind of put weekend projects on the back burner. However, I’m still working on the project. It’s a lot closer than it was, but will still have to wait until the USB firmware matures to a point that it will be user-updatable. The long term plan is to have totally custom firmware tailored for the DSS-1. That is almost as big of a software project as the DSS-1 code. Luckily the out-of-the-box firmware provides enough functionality for 90% of our needs.
I’m putting together a mailing list for all the people who have contacted me wanting to purchase an upgrade kit. So far, it’s well over 100 people, far more than I expected, and a good reason to get the new boards out the door ASAP.