Re: VIC-20 "all games in one" cartridge update

From: Nicolas Welte (
Date: 2001-03-30 13:26:02

Marko Mäkelä wrote:
> My question is: how many people would be interested in this cartridge, and
> how many have the skills and equipment to (a) manufacture, and (b)
> assemble the printed circuit board?  This will be a freeware product, but

I'm interested, and I think I can even make a board for myself. Actually I
begin to like SMD soldering more and more, it works quite well with a normal,
but very thin soldering iron. The problems begin when you have to repair SMD
stuff: desoldering transistors is possible, but desoldering ICs is a hell.
When I had to replace a PLCC flash, I cut off the legs with a miniature
grinding disk (or whatever it is called), then removed the legs with the
soldering irons and solderen in an SMD PLCC socket for the new flash chip.

> since I think that SMD chips and boards are difficult to handle without
> expensive equipment, it would be good to have the boards professionally
> produced somewhere.  If someone knows a cheap place for doing this (I
> think etching, drilling and coating with the "green paint" that resists
> solder would be enough), I would like to know.  My friend has access to
> some equipment, but it is not suitable for producing more than, say, 5
> prototype boards.

In Germany it is very expensive to have boards made, especially with all that
luxury of two sided etching, generating vias (the conducting holes), and
having that green paint applied. I was somewhat involved with Joe Forster's
X1541 shop in Hungary recently, he was looking for a place to have boards for
the new XAP1541 adaptors made. I don't remember the details, but the prices
are ridiculously high as well, because the new boards need some of that
luxury as well. The old single sided boards with green paint and just a few
holes drilled were much cheaper. The only way to get the prices down is to
have large quantities made, and IMO 100 pieces (estimated number of
interested hackers) are not a large quantity.

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