QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

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Dave
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Re: QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

Postby Dave » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:41 pm

Derek_Stewart wrote:Hi Dave,

Your expansion plans for the QL sound good. But why not goto the 68040 or 68060. I am not really intetested in the 68030...

I built many Q60 boards in 2002. A lot of work to solder many joints and there are some construction issues that if care is not taken failure could occur.

As Qbranch found out, there requires alot of attension to detail. Which they did not have, ad thet suffered failures due bad component choice and useless solderong skills. Only the 1st batch of Q40s built by Tony Firshman were consistantly good.


The EC030 is the highest CPU with dynamic bus sizing, that can talk to a BBQL. That involves spending our design budget in areas that make a difference today. Coming up with custom logic for the 040 or 060 is a bit of a different beast. They're much faster and more efficient. Bottom line, we need to sell 100 '030 "Platinum Cards" with $100 profit on each to raise the funds to develop a custom logic to use the 040 or 060 in any meaningful timescale. It requires a good amount of prototyping, specialist test equipment (which we have mostly already bought and owe a lot on!) and then going out and buying a batch of 060s and all the rest of the bill of materials, it could easily cost $250 per card, so making 50 cards is a $12,500 up front commitment in components, PCBs, etc. Faster, non-fake '060s are expensive.


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Dave
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Re: QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

Postby Dave » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:07 am

Derek_Stewart wrote:I built many Q60 boards in 2002. A lot of work to solder many joints and there are some construction issues that if care is not taken failure could occur.

As Qbranch found out, there requires alot of attension to detail. Which they did not have, ad thet suffered failures due bad component choice and useless solderong skills. Only the 1st batch of Q40s built by Tony Firshman were consistantly good.


Well, yeah. I'm in my 40th year of soldering ;) I've seen some poor work in my time.

I have a surface mount rework station and know how to use it. I mount BGAs down to 1mm with a 100% success rate, and .65mm BGAs with about a 95% success rate first time, and after rework on those failures that goes up to around 99.25%.

If I had my way, I'd just re-implement the Q60 board in SMD for all 7400 logic and passives, update a couple of the components, eg: the ROMs to flash, and get the production variability down as low as possible. It would just get put in the pick and place machine, and assembled automatically. Then into the reflow oven. That would lower costs and increase reliability. Excluding CPLDs and the CPU, that board would then cost around $40-50 assembled. Then it's just a matter of the CPU and CPLDs. Genuine '060RC60s are around $375 now. Fake remarked ones are around $80 and are usually remarked EC or LC devices....

The 4MB SuperRAM is about the same construction complexity as a modern fabricated Q60 would be.


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Re: QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

Postby Peter » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:26 am

Dave wrote:That shouldn't be used as a reason to keep the IP proprietary long after you're gone.

Who says that I'm gone? :?

Derek has copies, in case I have to leave this world or the QL scene.

It is my decision whether I want to create support work for myself. And it is my own assessment whether publishing the Q60 design is likely to create support work.


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Re: QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

Postby Derek_Stewart » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:42 am

Hi,

I will look into the Q60 situation, I do get enquiries for the Q60. Maybe it is time later on this year to build some more. But there is a problem with the video display.

The Q60 only work with some LCD monitors and will work perfectly with a older CRT multi-sync SVGA monitor in 1024x512 High Colour mode. I can source all the parts and legal CPUs, programme the custom logic chips. The Q60 uses a ISA I/O Card for FLP, IDE, SER, PAR connections, these made hard to find, but not impossible.

If you let me finish the existing Q68 orders for Batch 2.


Regards,

Derek
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Peter
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Re: QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

Postby Peter » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:01 am

Hi Derek,

I made a new Q60 video controller recently which seems to work with a wider range of flatscreen monitors. It creates a black area on the lower third of the screen, not nice at all.
The flatscreen issue makes me reluctant about the Q60.

Another issue with the 68060 is "Qliberated" software. I have already got feedback from Q60 owners who prefer the slower Q68, simply because it does not have this issue.

Peter


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Re: QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

Postby dilwyn » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:01 am

Peter wrote:It is my decision whether I want to create support work for myself. And it is my own assessment whether publishing the Q60 design is likely to create support work.

I sympathise with Peter on this one. People often seriously underestimate the amount of support work that the QL scene and retro compuitng in general can generate. My own website generates a surprising amount of messages (often from the same small group of people asking the same old questions whcih have been answered many times over).

I periodically remove the contact message form from my website at times like the present when family circumstances mean that I have zero time to answer questions. The alternative is I just ignore messages for weeks on end which probably annoys people. I like helping people where I can, but ... :(


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Re: QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

Postby XorA » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:09 pm

dilwyn wrote:
Peter wrote:It is my decision whether I want to create support work for myself. And it is my own assessment whether publishing the Q60 design is likely to create support work.

I sympathise with Peter on this one. People often seriously underestimate the amount of support work that the QL scene and retro compuitng in general can generate. My own website generates a surprising amount of messages (often from the same small group of people asking the same old questions whcih have been answered many times over).

I periodically remove the contact message form from my website at times like the present when family circumstances mean that I have zero time to answer questions. The alternative is I just ignore messages for weeks on end which probably annoys people. I like helping people where I can, but ... :(


Its a pity there seems to be such a large body of people who seem unable to use community resources like forums and mailing lists :-(


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Dave
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Re: QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

Postby Dave » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:07 pm

I do understand the implied obligation to support something forever. I'm going to be slightly tongue in cheek here (so please, do not take me too seriously) and say you've both brought it on yourselves. Dilwyn. Your name is Dilwyn. Any code you write is bound to be blessed with chicken blood, and incomprehensible to normal folks. And Peter. You are the only person involved in your projects, so you don't have anyone to share the burden with :P

If you create an email address, eg: support@dilwyn.me.uk, that simply has an autoresponder that says, "Hi, I'm very busy right now, but (info on QL Forum and QL-Users mailing list. Hope you find a solution" would alleviate 80% of the burden. You could retain the emails, then just scan through them weekly or bi-weekly and see if they contain anything major that requires a personal response. It's what I do for my openWRT work that I ended a couple of years back, and still get at least 20 emails a week to support, even though my contributions have, for the main part, been updated out of existence.

Or you could just become a recluse, like Nasta, and move to a small European country? Worked for Tony Tebby too, except he failed at the small which is unusual for him ;)


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Re: QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

Postby RWAP » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:24 pm

Dave wrote:Or you could just become a recluse, like Nasta, and move to a small European country? Worked for Tony Tebby too, except he failed at the small which is unusual for him ;)


I already live in a small European country - it is just the Brexiteers who think we are a huge trading nation that the whole world needs to enter trade deals with in order for international business to survive.... :(

The problem is that both Dilwyn and I have very active and visible QL sites so we get all of the enquiries...

Maybe we need a support section / email address on the QL Wiki (which thankfully is now being seen by search engines in its own right) - queries could then be transposed to the QL Forum and used to create a series of FAQs.


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Re: QL 34th Anniversary new hardware.

Postby Peter » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:34 pm

Sorry Dave, I won't invite everybody to tinker his own Q60. Not because you called me "long gone", not because you find the Q60 very simple to build, and not even because forums exist, where I could support the tinkering.

The point is: People would spend hundreds of pounds to source over 20 year old parts, and tens of working hours soldering. The frustration when a self-tinkered Q60 does not work, will be enormous, and so will be the pressure for me to help. I simply won't do it.



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