All posts for the month June, 2011

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.