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RE: [N8VEM-S100:2341] Re: accepting pre-orders for the S-100 Z80 CPU V2 board

Hi Andrew


Well the status of the N8VEM S-100 board suite as a whole is rather imprecise.  This is the main reason I removed the KiCAD EDA files last year.  They go out of date as soon as they are posted.  Builders make boards only to find out the EDA files are lagging the posted schematic and PCB layout files.  Then they get upset for wasted effort. 


Really though it is prudent to verify the files are current *before* placing a PCB order.  This is way too complicated to assume everything is exactly current all the time.  At any given time there are probably 8-10 boards in work between John and myself not counting side projects like S-100 Utility board (Thanks Neil!), S-100 VDP (Thanks Leon!), etc.  It is safe to assume everything is changing with each release.  There have been only a very few true unmodified PCB reorders that did not involve some kind of respin for whatever reason.


My suggestion is rather than try to take on the whole mass at once, pick one or a small number of boards we can definitely baseline – for example they are not presently in work or being respun.  I think also if we are going to distribute these boards across the builders there should be some sort of configuration control.  Right now there is none other than the directories on my hard drive.  Fortunately I do have off-line back up so it won’t disappear.


I think the S-100 regular prototyping board, the S-100 68K CPU V3, the S-100 Serial IO, the S-100 6502 CPU would all be good candidates.  The S-100 SMB V2, S-100 Z80 CPU V2, S-100 MS-DOS Support boards would not because they are being changed at the moment. 


Also some boards are in quasi-retired status due to low demand.  For example the S-100 parallel ASCII keyboard or S-100 Console IO.  Other boards are completely retired due to being replaced (S-100 4MB SRAM -> S-100 16MB SRAM) but could be brought back if builders wanted another run.


Another topic we have not discussed is the libraries associated with the board EDA files.  If there is one thing that goes obsolete faster than the EDA files it is the libraries that support them.  They change daily as the boards are updated and new ones are made and/or respun.  Fortunately the N8VEM KiCAD libraries are segregated from the rest of the distribution but there is a lot of duplication since the KiCAD libraries themselves are absolutely full of bugs that have been fixed by N8VEM builders over the years.  There are many dozens custom parts and footprints of all kinds.


Thanks and have a nice day!

Andrew Lynch


From: n8vem...@googlegroups.com [mailto:n8vem...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Andrew Bingham
Sent: Thursday, February 6, 2014 8:03 PM
To: n8vem...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [N8VEM-S100:2341] Re: accepting pre-orders for the S-100 Z80 CPU V2 board




I would think the first step would be to have an up-to-date list of all the boards and their design status (ready to make, new revision in work - hold fab for new revision, etc) with spots for contact information for new people helping to make the boards.  Or if a board is about to be superseded by another (John M mentioned on the VCF forum that there is a 16MB RAM card coming soon that might supersede the 4MB card, for instance).  A way to gauge the interest in a board would be useful as well so people who are interested in making a board could see which ones might be most needed.


I did look into Amazon Payments and Google Wallet and it looks like they may be more transparent about when they decide you are a business.  For example, Amazon states up front that it is something like above 190 transaction/year that requires an account upgrade to a business account. PayPal is always super opaque about what their policies are so maybe one of the other two would be a better option.


I respect your opinion on the 501c3 thing, but I would say that - the original Homebrew Computer Club no longer exists.  While I know of many local clubs and community organizations that are, and date back 50 years or more and are still going strong - some of which own their own buildings and property to perpetuate the group.  We promote anarchy at Mojave Makers, no one is directed to do anything and all of our members are free to work on their projects as they please (I hope to generate some new N8VEM builders by showing off my hardware to people who come through the space) - but having the tax status allows the few of us on the board to provide that environment for everyone else in the group without them having to worry about it.  So personally, I don't think the two ideas (by hobbyists, for hobbyists, and having a 501c3) would be mutually exclusive.  



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