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Where do you source your parts?

The overwhelming majority of our parts come from Mouser Electronics. They have a great online ordering process and the shipping times are great. They are also located relatively close to us so if needed we can run up and get some parts. This being said there are times when we just can’t find the parts we need there. We build cards for vintage machines so sometimes parts like chips and even connectors are discontinued or on their way out and the prices are just too high to even consider purchasing in bulk. In these cases, we will check Octopart for vendors who may have stock of these discontinued parts. On a side note, if you ever decide to start seriously getting quotes from these vendors dealing in obsolete parts, be prepared for an influx of phone calls from several vendors with suspiciously similar prices and sometimes added fees once the price has been agreed upon.

When these part gathering efforts are fruitless, we turn to eBay. This is a risk as there are many grey market chips on eBay so a lot of research and testing is involved. To explain it in more depth we have made a video about our experience with grey market chips as it is a lengthy and detailed discussion. That being said, we go through a rigorous process to ensure each card we build is fully functioning. This is the same for all of our products, not just the few that use hard to find parts. Not only do Kevin and I test parts when we get them in, but we also test every single card we build before it hits the door to you!

I would also like to take this time to acknowledge the conversation surrounding grey market chips in the vintage/retro community. As you may have already seen, Clint aka LGR released a video on his LGR Blerbs channel a few days ago discussing “fake” chips. He was intrigued by this subject matter after seeing a video made by David of Plogue. If you watch that video you will see Clint talking about cards made by companies like us and our SAAYM card was shown specifically. Needless to say, we felt it was very important to respond with our point of view. Therefore, Kevin and I have spent a few days preparing a video to go into more detail about grey market chips and our personal experience. The video also touches on our involvement with the Commander X16 as well as the birth of the SAAYM card. Please take some time to watch our video. After we were named specifically by Clint, we felt we needed to make certain that our current and future customers know that we are running our business in a transparent manner, with only good intentions.

Thank you for your time and kind regards!

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Tester with a Yamaha C1 Music Computer Needed!

**UPDATE: We have found a tester. Thank very much to everyone who responded! We will post another update once the card has been fully tested.**

Please share, retweet, help us spread the word however you can. Maybe you have a friend with a nice computer collection or maybe you have one yourself. We need someone who has a Yamaha C1 Music Computer. It looks like this:

James at Lo-tech has designed a Yamaha C1 HDD interface that will allow a CompactFlash card to be used as a hard drive in a Yahama C1 Music Computer. The Yamaha C1 Music Computer uses an MFM hard drive, over time these commonly quit functioning properly which, of course, renders the machine very difficult to use to say the least. Here is the development thread started by James on the Vintage Computer Federation forums.

As you can see, the prototype is ready to go, now we just need someone to test it for us:

Please contact us if you have a Yamaha C1 Music Computer and would be willing to do some testing.

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Our First IBM PCjr Boards, Extended Shipping Area, the Future of Resound and More

You may have already noticed that we added two new products to our store last night.  We are so excited to break into the IBM PCjr world with our breakout boards!  We recently found an IBM PCjr and loved playing with it so we just couldn’t help ourselves.  We were mostly inspired when we started looking for a keyboard and monitor for the PCjr as ours did not come with either of these.  Both of these items are a bit hard to come by and we needed both!  The keyboard we did find was not tested and had issues when we it arrived.  Not to mention the reliability of the wireless/infrared design to begin with, we all know how reliable that was back in the day!

First we have the IBM PCjr Joystick and Keyboard Breakout Board which allows you to connect either a PS/2 keyboard or an IBM PCjr keyboard via a standard RJ-12 phone cable.  It also has two joystick ports to allow you to use standard PC analog joysticks.  There is much more detail on the product description about how it all works so be sure to check it out.

Second we have the IBM PCjr CGA and Serial Breakout Board.  This card will allow you to connect a standard CGA monitor and a standard serial device. Again, there is more detail in the product description so check it out if you’re interested.

Don’t miss our YouTube video all about both of these PCjr cards along with a teaser about a future board at the end! 😉

We are also happy to now be offering shipping to South America!  Honestly, we have had some bad experiences shipping to some parts of South America but had totally dismissed Brazil!

We have shipped there via eBay on numerous occasions and should have been offering this all along.  We finally had someone bring this to our attention and so here we are, shipping to South America via our store.  If you are in South America please feel free to order here via our website.  If you have an issue, just let us know so we can work it out.  We now have a new customer with a video using our Resound card because he contacted us.  So if you speak Portuguese you may find this video very helpful:

Speaking of the Resound, we will be restocking more of those very soon!  Hopefully you saw our last video asking for some feedback about the playback on some games.  We heard about some games having an issue with the gain so we were entertaining the notion of installing a gain knob.  After posting a video for feedback and installing a gain knob we don’t really see too much benefit in that.  It simply just didn’t make that much difference according to our followers and our tests. So our plan is to reduce the gain to avoid it peaking.  This way you may just need to raise the volume on some games, and that’s it.  No pesky gain knob on the back of the machine to deal with.  We should have those back in stock within the next few weeks.

We have also had some requests for other Lo-tech boards we don’t currently offer.  We were finally able to reach James and hopefully we will have the following boards in stock very soon, we are just waiting on some files; Tandy 1400 XT-CF PCB, 8-bit IDE Adapter PCB and the XT-CF-lite rev.2 PCB.

There may be an Adlib OPL2 clone in our very near future.  Kevin could be in there ordering parts right now and I probably shouldn’t be saying this. 😉