This is from the latest STATUS OF PROJECT update over at Gideon’s Logic:
The Ultimate-II+ hardware is stable and in full production. Every few months a new production batch is started, that matches with the demand. Currently, the boards are on stock. Plastic cases are on stock as well. However, the IEC cables are not; I totally ran out and the delivery time for new ones is larger than the company who makes them had told me. So.. there is a hick-up right now in delivery of U2+ units until the end of September at least.
Available, plenty of stock…
- The very first production boards have been shipped in April and May 2018. These are V1.1 boards, about 110 pieces.
- EMC tests have been carried out on these first production boards, and the Ultimate-64 has passed these tests with flying colors. Yey!
- The production of the first batch of V1.2 boards is finished, and all 420 boards from this production batch have been shipped in October 2018.
- The third production batch (Also V1.2 boards) has finished by the end of 2018, and most of the 540 boards from this production batch were shipped out in December 2018 and January 2019.
- The fourth production batch (300 pcs) has completed, and the vast majority has been shipped. However, there are some orders that have never been paid for. They will soon expire, so more U64 orders can be satisfied from the remaining stock.
- The first U64 Elite production batch (230 pcs) has been delivered to the end customers. The joystick swapper was added last minute prior to production, but turned out to work well. 😉 Please note that not all U64 Elite orders could be satisfied with the latest production batch of 230 pcs. Orders up to 190917 were satisfied with this production batch.
- The “October production batch”:Purchase of components for this production batch has started some time ago. The first FPGAs have already been delivered. The next production batch will consist of 400 pcs Ultimate 64 Elite and 100 pcs Ultimate 64 standard version. The PCBs need to be ordered still, and have a lead time of 4 weeks. The reason that there is delay in ordering the PCBs is twofold. One: all components need to be confirmed before ordering the board, such that, if some turn out to have a lead time of 26 weeks or longer (which happens!), the board design can be changed to use an alternative part. Second: the Elite boards show a lower production yield than the U64 boards. The difference is found in the PCB quality. Which is strange, because these boards are manufactured by a big accredited company that is listed on the stock trading market. So it’s not just any company that runs its PCBs in a garage. This means that investigation is necessary, and investigation takes time.
Delivering the highest possible quality product to you requires constant analysis and improvement of both the production process as well as the design and the used components. It is an acknowledged fact that the cartridge connector that has been used so far for the U64 / U64E production is sub-par quality. (Please read the story…) The search for alternatives began. The original supplier offered me three alternatives, which were similar in quality. The good news is: A new supplier has been found, and Martijn Wieland (yup, same guy from the U64 Streamer application!) was the first to receive samples. These connectors are a lot better. The next production batch of U64 and U64Es will have this better quality connector.
Automated planning software for the U64 / U64-Elite orders is not finished yet. I have still have to check manually what I can ship when, and experience has shown that I don’t have much time for that, due to continued firmware development and processing of pending orders. 🙁
Speaker for Drive Sounds for U64
The speakers for the U64 for the drive sounds are on stock, but getting less. New boards need to be ordered soon.
U64 User Port Extension
Unfortunately, the User Port extension for the U64 has a flaw in the 9VAC generator. It can be fixed by replacing the chip for another type. However, I have to do this manually, one by one, and it takes time (5-10 min per board). If not explicitly requested, User Port adapters without 9VAC will be delivered.
U64 / U64 Elite Badges
A new sub-category of accessories has been added to the store, where you can find “badges”: high quality stickers with domed cover. These are designed and produced by Marco v/d Meulenhof. I have a bunch of each type on stock. Preferably ordered together with the U64 / U64E, to avoid unnecessary shipping cost.
Sometimes updates and communication is a bit slow. I do my best to respond properly to questions and problems. In this, I think the response to customer problems should take priority over new sales and shipments. Then, there is the software development, which includes bug-solving. As an engineer, I have the tendency to give my soul to it, … which sometimes means that planning issues, or rather: planning questions remain unanswered for some time. My apologies for this. I know it can be frustrating when individual questions regarding orders and planning are not answered. However, in the bigger picture, I do try to keep pushing everything forward. I do keep an eye on the dates, and try to order on time, and supply the data and answers to questions from the different factories involved.