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Pre-order email

My pre-order email was sent out. Summary is that the Uthernet II has an introductory price of $59 till August 31st and then it will be $69 till the remaining stock of this run is sold out. www.a2retrosystems.com

Uthernet II survey

A few days ago I sent out a survey (http://goo.gl/forms/M12Myd7eQL) to everyone on my list (I hope I didn’t miss anyone). I have had a great response and I am moving to the next phase to lock down the price and prepare a pre-order email to be sent out to the survey respondents. Thanks for all the support and kind words for this project. The Apple II is alive and well in 2015!

A better Mouse Trap?

My brother ordered me a few esp8266 boards a few months back.

File:IM140905002 1.jpg

The esp8266 if you haven’t heard the buzz on it is a $3 wifi chip that got a lot of coverage on places like hackaday. Two additional good sites for more info would be espressif.bbs and esp8266.com.

In the down time between Uthernet activities I have been experimenting with the esp826-01 module. Two recent software developments are making it a lot simpler to utilize the chip as a native processor and not just a serial wifi modem. That would be that a) the Arduino now supports the esp8266 as a direct target and b) a mobile developer called blynk (backed them via kickstater) supports the platform along with a lot of other embedded devices.

I wanted a very simple project for my first foray into this platform and decide to upgrade my mouse trap. My house backs onto a forest. Some times mice find their way in somehow and my cat has something new to play with if she is quick. I have used these catch and hold traps but sometime I put them down and forget to check them when I get busy.

I figured why not use the esp8266 to signal when the mouse is in the house and send an alert to my smart phone so I can go and release the little pest elsewhere.

So for my prototype I am using

Hardware

  1. esp82266-01 modified to use deepsleep
  2. magnet placed under the ramp
  3. magnetic sensor attached to a GPIO 16 and RST
  4. battery

Software

  1. Arduino 1.6.4 with esp8266 support
  2. Blynk

Uthernet II Update – Part 3

Finished Product

New boards are in hand and all the parts and stencil as well. I did a build last night and so far on my test IIe the web page loading test has almost been running for 11 hours without any failures. So at least at this point there are no regressions.

 

View the results of preliminary testing the first card here

 

Finished Product

Uthernet II Update – Part 2

In my last update I said if all is well … Well all isn’t well.

The new boards had a flaw in them which I had introduced when trying to sub out one part for another. Once I figured that out, I proceeded to test a modified board and when doing extended tests I started seeing more timing issues. At this point the only model with full stability is my Enhanced IIe.

In an attempt to diagnose the issue, I have found it very difficult to take accurate measurements given the full SMT nature of the board. So I have ordered some new PCB’s with proper test points on them still using all the same components I would plan to use in production.

I will post another update once the new boards are in hand.

Update: Boards are back, stencil arrived today  … parts have also arrived.

Update: Test build build to start soon

 

Rev_V

 

Uthernet II update

Sorry folks … been a long time coming but an update is finally here.

About a year ago I was sending out first alpha, then beta versions of the new Uthernet II card. As I had done most of my testing in a IIgs Rom1 and an enhanced IIe, I was dismayed to find out that the card was not working properly in a unenhanced IIe or in most IIgs ROM3’s.There were two issues 1) the timing was off and there were intermittent problems and the interrupt line caused issues in the IIgs with the control panel activation sequence.

With Kilian Leonhardt and Daniel Krue’s suggestions I was able to update the circuit so that both of these problems are no longer an issue based on the testing both Kilian and I have done. So I made modifications to the PCB and just today received some new boards. Later this week I will be cooking up a few and then will proceed with the final testing.

PCB_rev3

 

After that if all goes well, I plan to send out a small survey with a few questions and then we can proceed with taking pre-orders.

 

 

Beta run

The next revision of the PCB boards are on their way to me now. Parts to be ordered soon. Should have cards ready for the beta testers hopefully the end of next week. Wanted to give a shout out to David Finnigan of http://www.macgui.com/  for the Uthernet II logo gracing our home page.

Next Rev

SketchUp rendered rev2 board

 

Update #2

Hi I have a working board now but I realized I will need to spin another PCB before sending out a broader beta testing run.

The current PCB needs an inverter due to the way I hooked the LVCC4245 to the apple II bus. Once I added that I also found the LVCC4245 had some timing issues in the IIgs.

Replacing the LVCC4245 with a standard 74LS245D seems to work okay so far.

My first real world test other then web browsing was to use Contiki to participate in the IRC server on a2central.com the other night.

Progression

I thought perhaps some folks might like to see my hardware progression from Uthernet I to Uthernet II (after the decision was made to finalize on W5100 vs the other contenders).

So from left to right we have (1) the original Uthernet, then we have (2) a custom bridge adapter that let me use the WIZ811MJ module with the original Uthernet base board, then we have (3) PCB version of that adapter (while this works fine there are clearance issues in adjacent slots that make this too risky for a production solution imho) so I shelved that idea and moved on to (4) the AIO (All in One) card.