Exciting week as we can start to see the home stretch. Soldering has gone faster than we expected, which should give us a jump start on testing and potentiometer soldering for next week. FieldingBlue, has made progress with MOD3 and we sent his Synthboy+ to him on Friday. He resides in Australia, so he should see it next week. It was a great feeling double boxing up and sending out the first Synthboy+!
Fun week this week as we are really making progress. Cutting out the PCB’s went smoothly and after inspecting each and every board, I have to say they look great! This coming week we start what will seem like an eternal soldering process, but we will work as hard and as fast as possible. Also we ship out kits to our developers so they can start testing MOD3. More on that soon.
On a side note Josh and I are entering the Moog Circuit Bending Challenge. We built the MCBC-01 during the week and a half we took a break from the SYNTHBOY+. IF you like it, please ‘like it’. We are getting a bunch of iPad haters. The iPad is not necessary for the unit to function, just thought it would be a cool interface. Here is the video if you are interested.
We received them Friday. We are excited to get moving forward on building SYNTHBOY+’s. Silver Circuits did a great job and I would recommend them to anybody who is interested in getting any board made. We will focus on cutting and shaping the boards this week. I would also like to start our rigourous testing too.
We made a few minor improvements to the code this week. We still are tweaking and testing. The code will be published right before we ship. Still working on the Gameboy Pocket model compatability. Excited to see these coming to life!
See ya soon.
Funds have cleared and all components have been ordered. We expect all parts to arrive next week. This week was very productive.
First: I was able to finish the high density foam inserts.
Second: We were able to finish soldering wires to all of the components; both the power relays and DB9 connectors.
Third: I revised the DIY mod guide. A special Thanks to Flippinjax for helping me revise the guide.
Fourth: We started tweakin’ and tunin’ the Sexboys. These GB’s are so cool:)
Expect survey’s on Tuesday some time during the day.
I am going to delay the mod news that I wanted to share for another week. Working out a few things.
More to come.
Without further ado the winner of the drawing for a SYNTHBOY+ with original Gray DMG-01 is:
Please contact me directly to accept your new reward. chrisATblarskyDOTcom
Worked very hard this week on several things.
First, I worked on the DIY Mod Guide. Shot pictures and revised a few things to make it easier. We will include tri-blade screwdrivers in the DIY kits so you will not have to find them. Have 90% of the guide done, just need to polish up a few things.
Second, I CNC routed all of the high density foam inserts. Made a few adjustments to my original design.
Third, we worked on all of the wires. We stripped and tinned all of the wires. I also have all of the wires finished for MOD 1.
We expect to have funds cleared by mid week. In which case we will start ordering parts and components. We will expect to send out surveys at the beginning of next week. Working on more big news we hope to release in the next update.
Thank you to everyone who backed the SYNTHBOY+! We have received emails and support from around the world and would like to thank everyone for the great response. We will be starting immediately on building user guides and the ‘how-to-mod’ guides. We have to wait for funds to clear which takes 15 days; then we can place orders for components. However we have plenty to work on between now and then.
One of our focuses is to work on building this community. We appreciate feedback from you and want to encourage you to make comments and ask questions. You can do this through Kickstarter, but we would rather you do this on http://www.ninstrument.com. We ask this because we are building our business and want you to be part of it. Your thoughts and questions will provide insight to OUR future customers and it makes sense for this information be listed on our site. We will consider a forum, but for right now we would like to focus on the product and the blog format provides plenty of direct involvement. We expect criticism and encourage you to help us find solutions to the problems as well as pointing them out We are normal people and have feelings. We are not a huge corporation. I only say this as I have backed other projects on Kickstarter and I have read comments that are really mean and negative. Honestly the golden rule is appreciated. Please treat us like you would want to be treated.
We have big plans and we are very excited that you are helping us accomplish them. Communication is key in building a new business. Expect an update on every Sunday sometime during the day. If you have any questions or need help directly, please don’t hesitate to email me directly at chrisATblarskyDOTcom or use our ‘contact’ page which also goes directly to me. We plan on drawing the winner from the 7 who backed the $35.00 reward next update.
Let’s make some great music and some cool noise!
We are excited to report we have finished the grueling tests we put the SYNTHBOY+ through and have had no problems or issues! We tested extended use with constant MIDI traffic. We tested performance with elevated temperatures. We tested performance of the adapter using 220V power. We measured noise during use of both 220V and 110V and are extremely happy with how quiet it is to use. There is no increase in noise by using the power adapter as opposed to batteries. We have been testing for months, long before the Kickstarter launch and confidently stand behind our product.
We are making final improvements to the board design, adding extra access pads for future possible mods. We are excited about the response from the latest product tour video.
A special thank you to synthtopia.com and matrixsynth.com for their help getting the word out. If you are not familiar with either of these sites, I would encourage you to check them out. We would also like to welcome the new backers this week and would like to let you know you can expect a weekly update from us on every Sunday.
I also am hard at work doing everything possible to make or exceed our December delivery schedule. All communication with component vendors is strong and supplies for our parts look solid. In anticipation of any trouble, I have already ordered bulk of the items that were in question, so I know we will have what we need. For example, there were unknown back order dates for a couple of the audio connectors, so I bought them in bulk and now have them on the shelf, no worries, no stress. I am also using a very specific power adaptor. One with almost no noise. It was hard to track down, but I now have plenty sitting on the shelf. Once we are 100% funded I can promise you work will start immediately. We will do almost all of the fabrication in house. For instance, we can start modifying Gameboys immediately; fabricating the high density foam inserts and also prepare wiring for installation.
As always we welcome any questions or ideas you have. Thank you so much for your support.
We have released the SYNTHBOY+. Here is the link to the Kickstarter.
Ok, here we go.
Need to get a few things out of the way before we start.
First we want to thank everyone who has emailed us with ideas and suggestions. We are listening and we encourage you to chime in if you have ideas or suggestions.
Second. We are looking for USB cartridges and used working systems. Yes we are buying like mad off of Ebay, but if you are sitting on a pile of working used gaming systems, we would love to offer you cash or trade for what you have. If you would like to donate, we will pay for shipping and post your name, (If you want) on a sponsors page.
Third. Everyone is waiting for prices on our systems. We have reached a point where we will need to generate some funding to pay for development, and research costs. We are working very hard on a cool Kickstarter project we hope to release in a few months. We will not release prices until the results of the Kickstarter project ends. This will determine how much we will be able to charge for our Ninstruments. I know there are a lot people bummed right now, but we will need to buy in quantity in order to bring down the per piece price of our machines. If the Kickstarter project is successfull, we will pass the cost savings directly to you.
This step by step Prototype II build guide is going to start slow, but please realize we are hard at work behind the scenes with testing and developing new features in both this prototype build and the upcoming Kickstarter project.
This may seem a boring place to start, but if you are even marginally interested in building your own, or are even slightly interested in what type of components we will use, this needs to be covered.
The main source of our audio jacks, headers, resistors and basic components is Jameco.com. We have decided to use them because their consistency in parts is excellent. We won’t reference part numbers directly but if you ask us, we will supply part numbers. There are other components we will get from other suppliers. Sparkfun.com is very close to us in Boulder Colorado, so we will support them as much as we can. All Arduino’s, Uno’s for testing and the Pro Mini’s will be purchased from them, as well as headers and some switches. AllElectronics.com has other hard to find stuff, such as specific height stand-off’s that are tough to find anywhere else. Again we will not reference these part numbers directly, but will furnish them upon request.
The metal rack-mount cabinets are from CircuitSpecialists.com. Full steel top, back and bottom. The front is extruded aluminum. These cases are easily modified and are very reasonable in cost. They come shipped in strong cardboard boxes that we will double box and custom cut additional Styrofoam before shipping the final assembled product to you.
As mentioned above we are using systems mainly found on ebay. Prices can fluctuate, but we try and buy in quantity when possible. We have also partnered with a few other gaming stores to buy from them when they acquire them. We will have discounts available to you if you decide to purchase and may even be able to trade Ninstruments for just a large lot of working gaming systems, so start hunting and saving them up as you see them at garage sales and thrift stores, it will benefit both of us!
What systems are we looking for?
Orginal Gameboy DMG-01
Remember, they need to be working, unless you just want to donate as mentioned above. Please don’t discount donation, there are some parts we will be de-soldering off of non-working originals in order to build functioning originals. We want to use as many original parts as possible!
Here is the case. I have decided to build two of these during the prototype build to accelerate bug finding and fixing and to build initial parts by hand, then program the CNC router to cut them in quantity. Again please realize these are PROTOTYPES! These are not finished polished shipping models. If you don’t like something, or think something could be done differently, to be more efficient or more cost effective, please leave a comment.
Dimensions are 17″ wide x 3.5″ tall x 11.75″ deep. This is very large as far as standard rack mounted instruments go, but we plan to utilize every inch of space as we add more and more vintage gaming systems.
Next post will be focused on cutting the front face plate. I will try and post these step by step posts every two weeks. Thank you for the support with this project.
Here is a sneak peak:
The Atari 2600’s are powered by synthcart. The Commodore 64’s are powered by Mssiah, cynthcart. The NES are powered by Chip Maestro, NTRQ, MidiNES. The Gameboys are powered by Arduinoboy/mGB, LSDJ, nanoloop.