Author Topic: Project to recreate C64. And Atari, And BBC And Spectrum And Apple II....  (Read 24267 times)

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Offline FrankBuss

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I didn't even know of the negative criticism (though I'd assumed there would be some) towards the project when I attempted to reach out to Jeri Ellsworth and get some input. Looking for any contact info I came upon her Twitter account and her tweets mocking the project and calling it a scam. I do admire Jeri and look up to her so those tweets were crushing to say the least. A little more research lead me to this site and this forum post. Reading it didn't life my spirits either.
Don't take it personal. Engineers are not politicians and they say what they think.

Some red flags in your campaign were "I don't have the technical skills" and you didn't demonstrate in your campaign that you have done some research how much it costs to hire a company to do it for you, just wishing it should cost $75. I guess only recreating the old keyboard would cost 5 digits in tooling and design cost. And if you don't sell at least thousands of it, the price of each one will be too much to be in the limit for your desired system price.
Another point is the hardware compatibility. "Being able to use peripherals built for the machine" would make it even more costly, because just trying to 100% implement the behavior of the expansion port of this old computer is a mess.

Finally a 100% backward compatible C64 would be very difficult, with the VIC as the most difficult part. The best implementation I know so far is used in the Turbo Chameleon, and just the module, without keyboard or docking station, costs EUR 200. Take a look at their mailing list and read about the problems they have, and they are developing it for at least 5 years now (this is when the Yahoo group was created). For the C64 DTV they just patched the bundled games until they worked :)

That said, with a Raspberry Pi it might be possible to create a cheap solution, of course, not external hardware compatibility, but most people want to run the software only anyway. I've tested it a year ago: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=148184 and someone has created a full C64 with it: http://retrotext.blogspot.de/2012/06/its-complete-post-is-coming-soon.html I would recommend that you try to rebuild this, because this would help you to understand some of the problems that arise when you try to build something more difficult. The blog entry is very detailed and should be no problem. You don't have to use a working C64 for the keyboard, buy a broken one from eBay.

When you have a working prototype, you could ask manufactures for the keyboard and the case, and the Raspberry Pi foundation if they can deliver you the required many Raspis. Then start a new foundraising, if you have all the numbers, and don't use a flexible goal, because you can't pay the tooling and other setup costs from it. Maybe even easier would be to use a PC keyboard (you don't need that often the keyboard for gaming on the C64) and some laser cutted parts for the case. This would reduce the required number of units to make it cheap.
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Offline sarm

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You should take a look to 2 great videos of Dave about printed circuit boards:
EEVblog #127 - PCB Design For Manufacture Tutorial - Part 1 http://youtu.be/VXE_dh38HjU
EEVblog #239 - PCB Design For Manufacture Part 2 http://youtu.be/Uemr8xaxcw0
 

Offline pickle9000

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Have a look at these handheld games from china, they are android or emulators for most of the popular systems. Read the fine print find gameboy, atari aand so on.

http://dx.com/c/video-games-699/other-game-consoles-610
 

Offline sarm

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EEVblog #72 - Let's Design a Product http://youtu.be/g7b5YZENvjY
 

Online tom66

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If you wanted an "easier" project, I'd say start with perhaps a kit for building in a Pi to one of those C64 cases. You may be able to get a similar looking keyboard with custom keycaps made, although, I don't think this would be cheap, it would be cheaper than completely remaking a C64.
 

Offline Ottomobiehl

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I just wanted to say thank you for the insight, links and the attempts to gently nudge me in the right direction. I have been watching the videos and reading the blog posts/forum posts. I do believe I've learned more from spending a couple of hours watching those videos and pursuing this site than I did in the months of trying to contact people/companies leading up to my fiasco.

As far as a project I think I'm just going to order one of those 6502 compatible CPUs from Western Design Center and start playing around with that. Making it strobe an LED for example.
 

Online EEVblog

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What puzzles me though is that not one person contacted me and said, "interesting project. Seems kind of like a scam though." I wish somebody would have though because I'd probably have asked what parts seemed scammy and some input into how I could have fixed it. My email was posted on the page and there is a messaging function built in too.

Sorry, but you put your butt on the line in public, and it got discussed in public based on your public content, that's how the world works. Lesson learned.
You can't expect everyone to privately email you and clarify everything before commenting.

To most hardware experienced people it was obvious that it wasn't a scam (and I'm sure that would be the same for Jeri too, and she didn't mean scam as in deliberate fraud). You were simply an enthusiastic amateur that didn't know what's involved in producing and delivering something like this.
 
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Finally I just wanted to say I'm sorry about the whole affair. I'm sorry if anybody was hurt or offended. That was not my intention.

Don't apologise. You tried, which is more than most people do!
And you also had the good sense to pull the project, and did the right thing refunding the money.
And you learned some stuff, so it's a win  :-+

 

jucole

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Also, to the user that pointed out my YouTube channel. Yes it is my channel and I'm not sure what the "broken spoons" thing means. I'm assuming you don't like my channel or, perhaps, me.

Hi Dan,  thanks for your honest posts;  my comment joke was only about your project idea; and the fact you were asking a lot of money, it was in no way about you personally or your channel.

You made a mistake, so what, in a few weeks no-one will care anyway; so don't let any of these negative comments get you down or put you off your ideas and dreams!    I'd love to see a raspberry pi running a port of winVice inside a real C64 case with a real C64 keyboard.      Also CC65 is a pretty nice C compiler specifically if you wanted to play with programming the 6510 or 6502 chips without doing too much assembly.  http://www.cc65.org/

and welcome to the forum



 

Offline Ottomobiehl

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Sorry, but you put your butt on the line in public, and it got discussed in public based on your public content, that's how the world works. Lesson learned.
You can't expect everyone to privately email you and clarify everything before commenting.

To most hardware experienced people it was obvious that it wasn't a scam (and I'm sure that would be the same for Jeri too, and she didn't mean scam as in deliberate fraud). You were simply an enthusiastic amateur that didn't know what's involved in producing and delivering something like this.

Fair enough. I did put my butt out there and I guess I do deserve the arse chewing I got.
 

Don't apologise. You tried, which is more than most people do!
And you also had the good sense to pull the project, and did the right thing refunding the money.
And you learned some stuff, so it's a win  :-+

I do appreciate the kind words and encouragement. I've read a lot of unkind things today from many different people at many different groups around the Internet. For a while I felt as if most people on the Internet disliked me. Made me want to hide under a rock in some remote location. Very disheartening indeed.

Quote from: jucole
Hi Dan,  thanks for your honest posts;  my comment joke was only about your project idea; and the fact you were asking a lot of money, it was in no way about you personally or your channel.

You made a mistake, so what, in a few weeks no-one will care anyway; so don't let any of these negative comments get you down or put you off your ideas and dreams!    I'd love to see a raspberry pi running a port of winVice inside a real C64 case with a real C64 keyboard.      Also CC65 is a pretty nice C compiler specifically if you wanted to play with programming the 6510 or 6502 chips without doing too much assembly.  http://www.cc65.org/

and welcome to the forum

Thanks for the clarifications and no hard feelings.

Several people have mentioned the Raspberry Pi idea to me and the more I think about it the more I like the idea.

Also, I appreciate the link to the CC65 compiler as I've not heard of it. I'll have to download and play around with it a bit. I do enjoy messing around with that kind of stuff. Fortunately I know a little bit of 6502 assembly and have used the Acme cross-compiler for a few personal projects.
 

Offline JoannaK

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Hi Ottomobiehl.

In a way, you should consider yourself lucky. If you had managed to get project funded and *then* run into all those problems expected, it would have been a lot worse situation. With this, you got some good experience, didn't lose money nor ruined your name at public. Not to mention the fact you found yourself a new forum where to ask some help in the future.

I know that people like Jeri, Mike, Dave etc can sound a bit harash at time, but you have to understand that these are the things they (and I) do for living. And with decade (or two) experience of various projects, daydreams and failures one kinda learns to see and evaluate these things.
 

Offline Sionyn

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snooty soldering-iron wielders on electronics forums, the cheek or it
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/10/ellsworth_tweet_prompts_bread_bin_cancellation/
eecs guy
 

Offline Ottomobiehl

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snooty soldering-iron wielders on electronics forums, the cheek or it
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/10/ellsworth_tweet_prompts_bread_bin_cancellation/

Ouch! You guys seem to be caught in the peripheral of any press this thing is getting. I'm sorry about that.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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snooty soldering-iron wielders on electronics forums, the cheek or it
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/10/ellsworth_tweet_prompts_bread_bin_cancellation/

Ouch! You guys seem to be caught in the peripheral of any press this thing is getting. I'm sorry about that.

Oh come on,
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snooty soldering-iron wielders on electronics forums
is actually funny. We are calling each other far less funny things occasionally.
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Offline JoannaK

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As a somewhat related idea. I noticed this couple days old Tweet from Jeri:

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Jeri Ellsworth ?@jeriellsworth 9 May

@kgagne Haha. They should've reached out to me, because I have 100k c64 dtv chips.


Makes me wonder how hard it acually would be for us hobbyists to use some of those chips for something? IIRC her design was quite compatible with a real C64 and even had some hackable IO ports???

 

Offline Corporate666

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Hi everybody, I'm the "clueless" guy who is behind "Project Bread Bin".



Dan,

I've started various businesses over the past 15 years, from dot.com's with lots of venture capital funding, to bootstrapped startups.

Here is the thing you need to appreciate and take away from all of this - you violated one of the MOST IMPORTANT rules of asking for investment, which is that you MUST respect the seriousness of people giving you their hard earned money to do something for them.  You were not qualified to take on this project, you did not do your due diligence, you did not mitigate risk, or have a solid business plan, or do much research, or invest your own time and money before asking others to give you theirs.  You had a dream and wanted other people to fund it. 

The *only* difference between your actions and that of a genuine scammer who has no intention of doing anything but collecting the money is that you are naive about what you were doing.  But that is the same difference between someone who causes a bus load of people to die because he forgot to do the maintenance on the bus, and someone who didn't care about doing the maintenance because he just didn't want to spend the money.  If the bus crashes and the people are all dead, does it really matter if you "didn't mean to" do it?

I'm not trying to bash you - I hope you will learn to respect the seriousness of taking money from people - whether it be in employment or for projects like this.  It is a very solemn responsibility and if you are not the one with the most to lose on the line, you really have no business asking others to put their money in.
It's not always the most popular person who gets the job done.
 

Offline FrankBuss

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As a somewhat related idea. I noticed this couple days old Tweet from Jeri:

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Jeri Ellsworth ?@jeriellsworth 9 May

@kgagne Haha. They should've reached out to me, because I have 100k c64 dtv chips.


Makes me wonder how hard it acually would be for us hobbyists to use some of those chips for something? IIRC her design was quite compatible with a real C64 and even had some hackable IO ports???
Should be possible. But Jeri's chips are not bonded, they are just the dies. But maybe it will be not too expensive to bond them, if enough people wants to buy a chip. Maybe a new Kickstarter project? ::)
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
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Offline justanothercanuck

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I think I said this in another thread, but the original consoles/microcomputers are still fairly cheap that it's probably cheaper to buy them instead of recreating them in FPGA/etc.  Just throwing it out there...  :-//
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Online EEVblog

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I'm not trying to bash you - I hope you will learn to respect the seriousness of taking money from people - whether it be in employment or for projects like this.  It is a very solemn responsibility and if you are not the one with the most to lose on the line, you really have no business asking others to put their money in.

Yes indeed, taking other people's money is serious business, and I have always avoided that at all costs.
However, I have decided to try crowd funding for my next project and I hope to get that up and running in the coming weeks.
What will I have to show the "investors"? Not only a fully working and finished prototype, but the production PCB panel already made. I've put up the money for all that. All that is left is to buy the bulk parts from Digikey and ship to the assembler - job done. Practically zero risk for all involved.
I couldn't image offering up a project were I do not have at least have a fully working prototype. The odds of failure and/or extremely late delivery are almost even money.
IMO, if you can't fund a prototype yourself to prove the concept and show, you should not be allowed to crowd source anything.
Kickstarter agree and have that new rule. No prototype. no campaign.
 

Online EEVblog

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In a way, you should consider yourself lucky. If you had managed to get project funded and *then* run into all those problems expected, it would have been a lot worse situation. With this, you got some good experience, didn't lose money nor ruined your name at public. Not to mention the fact you found yourself a new forum where to ask some help in the future.

In fact, he's made a name for himself!
His next campaign can start "From that enthusiastic guy that tried to bring back the C64!"
As I said before, that's more than most anonymous armchair ranters can claim.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuffTopic starter

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As a somewhat related idea. I noticed this couple days old Tweet from Jeri:

Quote
Jeri Ellsworth ?@jeriellsworth 9 May

@kgagne Haha. They should've reached out to me, because I have 100k c64 dtv chips.


Makes me wonder how hard it acually would be for us hobbyists to use some of those chips for something? IIRC her design was quite compatible with a real C64 and even had some hackable IO ports???
Should be possible. But Jeri's chips are not bonded, they are just the dies. But maybe it will be not too expensive to bond them, if enough people wants to buy a chip. Maybe a new Kickstarter project? ::)
Although a kickstarter to get some boards made and chips bonded would undoubtedly be popular, I suspect a major issue here is that she probably doesn't have rights  to the games, which AIUI were modified from the original versions to work on the new hardware, so it wouldn't be quite as simple to get something that was useable. However if at least some of the software suppliers could be got involved  for a percentage, that could work.
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Offline Corporate666

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I'm not trying to bash you - I hope you will learn to respect the seriousness of taking money from people - whether it be in employment or for projects like this.  It is a very solemn responsibility and if you are not the one with the most to lose on the line, you really have no business asking others to put their money in.

Yes indeed, taking other people's money is serious business, and I have always avoided that at all costs.
However, I have decided to try crowd funding for my next project and I hope to get that up and running in the coming weeks.
What will I have to show the "investors"? Not only a fully working and finished prototype, but the production PCB panel already made. I've put up the money for all that. All that is left is to buy the bulk parts from Digikey and ship to the assembler - job done. Practically zero risk for all involved.
I couldn't image offering up a project were I do not have at least have a fully working prototype. The odds of failure and/or extremely late delivery are almost even money.
IMO, if you can't fund a prototype yourself to prove the concept and show, you should not be allowed to crowd source anything.
Kickstarter agree and have that new rule. No prototype. no campaign.

I think you also have a reputation that precedes you and based on your knowledge (and since I believe you already run a business), people would and should feel comfortable investing, even if you didn't have all of the pieces already in place.  I am very curious what your project is and I hope you will let us know about it because I would certainly like to participate in the funding - would be cool and fun!

The C64 project reminds me of the group my dad called me excitedly about some years back... they were looking for investors and were going to buy up land in Texas and mine it for oil.  That fell through because of mineral rights issues (lack of DD really), and their fallback plan was investing in Venezuelan offshore oil drilling platforms that made sweet crude the USA bought. I think that announcement was about the last communication my dad got - it was some months later he realized his $10,000 of fools money was gone forever.

As far as Kickstarter... one thing I would caution you about - I think everyone realizes that Kickstarter is really just a place to take pre-orders so one can get volume discounts on parts and not so much about actually funding the R&D of a thing anymore.  I decided to launch a project on there and I emphasized the "we're pretty much ready to go - we just need your $$$ to buy enough volumes of parts to make it happen".  My project was declined because it did "not meet the guidelines", which apparently included the fact that you actually do need the money.

I didn't really need the $$ to make my project a reality.  I doubt you do either.  I just wanted to pre-sell $100k worth of my stuff (and get paid for it!) before I had to make it. 

So I'd suggest not being too overt about the "we're all done, just need to buy volumes of parts" in the video, or you could face the Kickstarter hammer :)

Please post your project when it is live.
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Offline amyk

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Finally a 100% backward compatible C64 would be very difficult, with the VIC as the most difficult part.
FYI the Visual6502 project has decapped one to reverse-engineer, although won't be done anytime soon probably.
http://visual6502.org/images/pages/Commodore_8565_die_shots.html
 

Online EEVblog

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I think you also have a reputation that precedes you and based on your knowledge (and since I believe you already run a business), people would and should feel comfortable investing, even if you didn't have all of the pieces already in place.

I also have a lot more to lose than most in terms of name!

Quote
I am very curious what your project is and I hope you will let us know about it because I would certainly like to participate in the funding - would be cool and fun!

Sorry, nothing exciting. In fact it's positively boring and familiar I'm afraid. But it's something to try the whole crowd source thing with.

Quote
I didn't really need the $$ to make my project a reality.  I doubt you do either.  I just wanted to pre-sell $100k worth of my stuff (and get paid for it!) before I had to make it. 
So I'd suggest not being too overt about the "we're all done, just need to buy volumes of parts" in the video, or you could face the Kickstarter hammer :)

I can't use Kickstarter, I'm not a Yank, or a Pom.
I will be using Pozzible.
Yes, I don't need crowd funding. I can simply take the money out of the home loan and do whatever size run I like, like I always have. But it has the usual risk.
I could do pre-sales on my website to find out what numbers I need to produce, but I like the "meet the target or no charge" role of the crowd funding platforms.

I don't understand why Kickstarter has that silly rule, which is broken with a lot of projects anyway. Wouldn't people in our situation (paid for everything already except production) provide almost a "sure thing" for them?  :-//
The person who can't pay for production is essentially no different to the person who can't pay for the prototype.
 

Offline FrankBuss

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Quote
I am very curious what your project is and I hope you will let us know about it because I would certainly like to participate in the funding - would be cool and fun!

Sorry, nothing exciting. In fact it's positively boring and familiar I'm afraid. But it's something to try the whole crowd source thing with.
Is it your USB power supply?

Quote
I don't understand why Kickstarter has that silly rule, which is broken with a lot of projects anyway. Wouldn't people in our situation (paid for everything already except production) provide almost a "sure thing" for them?  :-//
The person who can't pay for production is essentially no different to the person who can't pay for the prototype.
I like the prototype rule. Usually a prototype is much less expensive than the production, if you build it with flying wires, hot glue etc., as a fun project in your spare time. It avoids scams and unrealistic projects.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 01:54:44 pm by FrankBuss »
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
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Online EEVblog

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I like the prototype rule. Usually a prototype is much less expensive than the production, if you build it with flying wires, hot glue etc., as a fun project in your spare time. It avoids scams and unrealistic projects.

That depends entirely on how close the prototype is to the real production item.
In my case it's practically the same. The only difference is I hand soldered the first (pre) production panel instead of a machine doing it.
In the case of say a C64 prototype on a ratsnest veroboard, it's streets (and maybe a few hundred K$) away from a finished market ready computer you can ship.
 


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