Oct 30, 2011:
I will be traveling for work from 10/31/2011 to 11/02/2011. CFFA3000 shipments will resume on 11/04/2011.
Oct 25, 2011:
The CFFA3000 (Run #1) is finally shipping! It has been more than two years since this project began and I am happy to report the boards are going out.
I need to revise my previous estimate about how many boards I will be able to ship per week from 100 down to about 60 or so.
Please go to the order status page to follow my shipping progress.
Oct 19, 2011:
I have just uploaded the first firmware/logic release candidate to the beta page!! A l
ot of effort has gone into
this release and it will probably be the shipping version. I plan to start shipping boards on 10/24/2011. I am aiming
to ship 100 units on the 24th, and another 100 the following monday, and the remainder the week after that.
Oct 07, 2011:
Beta testers, we have just release beta version b24. This version adds support for switching floppy images using the remote switches. It also fixed a number of bugs including a
long name directory entry corruption bug. Please update to this new version.
I have finally updated the order status page with all of the orders. Please verify that your order is there and matches what you expect. I am now shooting for the first or seco
nd week in October to begin shippments. I hope to ship at least 60 boards per week.
Sept 03, 2011:
I was hoping to being shipments today of CFFA3000's boards. But after polling the first 60 customers with the suggestion
that I delay a couple weeks if it help me get the firmware into better shape, more than half agreed that delay
would be alright. So I have decided to push back the initial ship date until Oct 17, 2011. I know this will be
disappointing, but I believe this extra time will allow us to really nail down the firmware, especially in the
area of Disk II emulation. I will try not to allow that date to slip again. Even if there are known firmware issues
I will get shipments started. Also I will try to increase the 1st shipment batch size from 60 to either 80 or 100 boards.
August 31, 2011:
David Schmidt has just sent me a beta version of his new Apple III driver for the beta testers to test. I don't know
how many of you guys have Apple 3's but if you try it please let us know what you find.
A few days ago I sent the Remote PCB parts off to the assembler. I was going to assemble them
myself but it was just too time consuming. They should be back in a couple weeks. There has been some good progress
on the firmware stability especially with USB writes. Also the floppy switching firmware is coming along nicely. There will
be a new beta version soon.
August 18, 2011:
Well that was quick! The CFFA3000 Run #1 Pre-orders are sold out!
I am starting a new list for run #2. Please send me an email .
Keep in mind that it will be awhile before the second run can be build. Something in the 6 to 12 months range.
August 14, 2011:
As of today there are 15 CFFA3000s left. The card has sold fast probably due to the long developement period.
Now the job of getting everything done in the firmware and getting ready to begin shipments is next.
I am going to be sending out switch units to the beta testers on Monday.
On a personal note, my mother died last Saturday at age 86, and this last week has been a blur. I mention this because
my mom is the one who bought me my first computer:an Apple II+ in 1981. I had begged her for an Apple for months and made all kinds of
promises about saving money if she would get me one. Finally she took me to the local Team Electronics here in town and
we purchased a complete Apple II+ system, with 16KB ram card, two floppy drives, monitor, and printer. The whole setup! I think it
ended up costing a little north of $3000. I was in heaven! My friend Steve already had an Apple II+ for some time,
and I am sure I was jealous. All of my friends were interested in computers and I was the second one to get an Apple II+. To
say this changed my life would be an understatement and if you are reading this you probably understand why.
I went on to get a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, but I have always worked
in jobs related to programming even to this day. One day, about 15 years later, I was talking to my mother about
that old Apple computer and its effect on my life when she mentioned in passing that she had taken a bank loan to be able to
afford the computer. I knew we were not a wealthy family but I am sure I did not appreciate how hard it was for her
to buy that computer. I sure appreciate it now. Thank you mom! I will miss you...
July 23, 2011:
Back from Kfest 2011. I had a ton of fun and got to meet a lot of great people! Everyone made me feel right at home.
I sold a bunch of cards to Kfest attendees and I am looking formward to feedback from them to help us finish
the firmware. I was also able to test my shopping cart and get to the bottom of a couple problems that should make
pre-ordering go more smoothly. The next step is to open for pre-orders.
July 12, 2011:
Wow, only a week until KFest. Everthing is coming down to the wire. The first article PCB came off
the assembly line to be tested and it passed all of the tests! So now the assembler is assembling
the other 299 boards. I hope to have a batch of 50 boards back from the assembler by 18th so I can
take them with me to Kfest. My hope is that any folks at Kfest who are interested in the CFFA3000
will be my beta testers for the CFFA3000 and provide feedback for the final tweaks to the product
before I start filling pre-orders. I have also decided to delay opening up for pre-orders until after
Kfest. This is because I just changed my order form to use a commercial shopping cart. What a pain!
So hopefully the Kfesters can help test that for me too.
July 1, 2011:
I received the PCBs yesterday and today I shipped them to the assembler. Once they arrive at the assembler I will open up for pre-orders. This will be around July 7.
June 27, 2011:
Today I boxed up all of the parts (except PCBs) and shipped them to the assembler! Box was about 22lbs (10Kg). Now I am just waiting for the PCBs to arrive. I will inspect them and ship them to the assembler also. I am still trying to get my web site open for orders. But have not finished that yet.
June 13, 2011:
Finally, 300 PCBs of the revC design have been ordered! It has been two years in the making. I am still hoping to get finished boards back before I drive down to KFest. It would be fun to have boards by KFest but not the end of the world if they are not ready. I will be opening pre-orders in the coming weeks once I get my web site ready. I will send out an email to everyone on the CFFA3000 interest list when I am ready!
Project Status - 6/2/2011:
I have just finished ordering all of the components for 300 CFFA3K boards!! I will also be placing the PCB order very soon. PCBs will take about 3 weeks to have made. Then everything gets boxed up and sent to California to be assembled. I am still aiming to be finished by Kfest. Once I send in the PCB order, I will start taking pre-orders.
April 25, 2011:
I have assembled the first of 5 rev C boards, and it seems to be working perfectly. On this rev of the board I tried to reduce the part count and therefore the cost. The rev B board was just too expensive to produce. Also some changes where made that just made good sense. The 4 LEDs at the top of the board seemed like a good idea at first but after using the board for many months, they just seemed confusing, and unneeded. The reset push-button was removed and the USB traces where cleaned up in the new layout. Some of the parts seen below will not be installed the production board. LEDs D0-D3 are just for debug and will not be installed. Also all of the headers except P4 will not be installed as they are not needed. Although you can't see it, the silkscreen on the back of the board identifies the purpose of the Config dip switches currently defined.
I am hoping this board doesn't have any mistakes and will be the production layout. -Rich
Apr 8, 2011:
It has been awhile since my last status update and some good progress has been made.
A third, and hopfully final, prototype PCB design has been sent to Advanced Circuits to be built and it just shipped.
I should have them in a day or two. I hope that this is the final prototype and this design can be used for
the production run.
Unless you read the forums, you might not know that David Schmidt has been doing a lot of testing
on the CFFA3000 and has given us some great feedback and found a variety of problems. This has helped
kick this project back into high gear. So I thank David for that.
The plan at this point is to build up 5 rev C prototypes and begin testing the new board design.
In the mean time I plan to get enough parts ordered to build around 300 boards. I can report that
the bootloader is finished so now the all of the programmable devices can be programmed by the user.
Dec 9, 2010:
The CFFA project is still alive and well. It has been quite awhile since
I have updated my web site. Sorry to keep everyone in the dark.
There has been a lot of interest, and the delays have not been
for lack of interest in the project, but more for personal reasons. I am loath to make a firm estimate
about when this will be done, so I won't. I do know that we are at least another 3 months away.
Here is a brief summary of the progress on the CFFA3000 and an update on the price:
1) The CFFA3000 will cost US$149.95.
This is more than I wanted, but I didn't have a choice. Compared to the
previous CFFA, the CFFA3000 has more features, over twice as many parts,
and a CPLD 9 times larger. Not to mention the costs for PCBS and assembly rising.
2) The CFFA3000 can now read/write and boot 140K DSK, NIB and 2MG files.
It handles both ProDOS order (PO) and DOS order (DO) images, and of course
very large SmartPort images (up to 32MB for ProDOS, and even larger under GS/OS).
3) Although the CFFA3000 only uses one slot, it will require two empty
slots to enable both SmartPort (Hard Drive) and floppy emulation. A typical
setup might be the CFFA3000 in slot 7, and slot 6 left empty for the
CFFA3000 disk emulation to map into. You can configure the CFFA3000 to
function as a standard mass storage interface, or as a Floppy controller or both.
When both are selected, the slot with CFFA3000 plugged in is the hard drive,
and another available slot is the floppy controller.
4) Five prototype #2 boards were made and the third prototype PCB is
nearly ready to be produced. I am hoping that this prototype will be the
final production version.
5) The CPLD bootloader is finished so customers may download logic updates
to fix future problems found in the CPLD logic.
6) Work has started on the microcontroller's bootloader, and should be
finished soon. The bootloader's job is to apply updates to the firmware
running on the AVR microcontroller.
7) Good progress has been made on the boot menus and file selection user
interface. There are several ways to enter the CFFA3000 menu, including
pressing 'M' at boot time, or (on the Apple IIgs) using the Classic Desk
Accessory menu by pressing Apple-Control-Esc.
8) A number of images have booted and run, including ProDOS 2.0.3, DOS 3.3,
UCSD Pascal, CP/M 2.23, Contiki, and Merlin-8 2.47, and RobotWar.
These tests are not very exhaustive yet, but so far have not shown any
problems (that we couldn't fix).
9) The AVR microcontroller part we are using for the CFFA3000 is on allocation (in
short supply) so I have already ordered and received 200 units just
in case they are hard to get later.
So what is left to do?
1) Finish the bootloader for the AVR micro.
2) Finish the menu and file selection features.
3) Add support for FAT's Long File Names if possible.
4) Get third prototype PCB sent in, assembled and tested.
5) Lots more testing on image files.
6) Get ready for production.
7) And anything I forgot to mention...
August 18, 2010:
I completed assembling the first of the second prototype PCBs a couple days ago.
Everything that I have tested so far is working as expected. There is still more testing and development
of course, but so far so good. There is a lot of interest in this card and it is getting excited
as progress is made. We are now to the point where we can handile .nib files and are working on
.dsk files with read currently working. Also .2mg and raw images on the CF are working.
No progress on DMA yet, but now the hardware is ready to work on that feature!
July 14, 2010:
I have finally ordered and received the second prototype PCBs (5 in total). This board adds support for bus buffers and a standard type A
USB socket and an off board LED/Button interface to control floppy swapping. There are other tweaks but nothing too major. The biggest
change is the bus buffers on all signals. This was added mainly to support DMA as the CPLD would be incapable of driving a full
apple II bus directly.
June 1, 2010:
This update is long overdue. The project had little progress over late winter and early spring, but is now moving forward again.
Unfortunately, the schedule has slipped at least 2 months because of it. I would expect to ship boards around Sept 2010 now.
The second prototype board is still not set into Advanced Circuits to be made, but it is very close to being done. I ended up
re-laying out the entire thing after it was decided to add a complete set of bus buffers to ensure that DMA will work properly.
To give you a better idea of where the project is at here is some detail:
* Disk images files can be used from both a USB drive and a CF card at the same time.
* If a USB device is present at boot time, we wait for it to finish connecting.
* FAT performance is greatly improved for disk image files that are not highly fragmented (we now spend a fraction of a second analyzing the file up-front, and it sped up a GS/OS boot (with lots of extras installed) from 102 seconds down to 72).
* The interactive menu screens are coming along, but many menu choices are stubs that are not hooked up yet. Preferences can be stored in the AVR's EEPROM.
* The "Upgrade CPLD" feature works, allowing a field upgrade of the CPLD logic from a file on a CF card.
* Automatically installs an Apple IIgs CDA that allows quick access to the CFFA menus without having to reboot.
March 4, 2010:
I am posting a status update because some have been asking for one. Progress on the CFFA300 has slowed down lately because I have been busy with
work. I have started on the second prototype spin of the PCB board design. I hope to have those design file ready by the end of the March or earily April.
So far the July 2010 availability date still seems reasonable. I still don't have an accurate cost estimate for you yet, sorry.
Jan 1, 2010:
The CFFA3000 can now boot, read, and write from HD and floppy image files stored on common USB flash drives. The flash drive can be formatted FAT16 or FAT32. Currently .PO and .NIB files are supported. There is still a great deal of supporting code to be
written and tested and some flash drives don't work so they will need to be debugged. Also a second prototype will be needed to correct a few bugs and add a couple small features.
Nov 2, 2009:
We have DOS 3.3 booting and running in read-only mode from a nibblized disk image. I am running Robot War as I type!
This is an exciting milestone in the project. Still have floppy write support and USB support to do.
Also need to work on the cost estimations. Stay tuned...
Oct 18, 2009:
An important bit of progress to report. ProDOS 8 is running from the CF card. This proves out about 90% of the hardware on the card and verifies the design approach the card uses. The next area to focus on is the floppy emulation and multi-card mode
where both the CFFA and the emulated floppy controller are active at the same time.
Note:Extended SmartPort support is working, which means there is no need for a GS/OS loaded driver to achieve high performance.
Instead, the automatically "generated" driver asks CFFA3000 to read or write a block directly to any memory
address, without having to copy the data through bank 0.
August 19, 2009:
It may look almost done, but don't be fooled, it doesn't do anything yet. Still tons of code to write
and lots of logic to develop. The AVR micro is working and the SRAMs are mostly working-couple quirks yet to be figured out.
I need to start on the CPLD logic to really get to the point where firmware can be developed.
So far no surprises! Keep in mind this is just the first prototype PCB and it main still change in significant ways.
Please note that I am revising my estimate on when this project will be finished to the middle of 2010.
July 14, 2009:
First Prototype PCB files sent to board house!
I have just sent the design files for the first prototype of the new CFFA to the board house. See rendering of PCB below...
Even if this PCB were perfect, and it won't be, there is still much programming work to be done.
I expect several more prototypes to be built before I am done.
I have not chosen a name yet for the new CFFA but the code name is CFFA3000. One feature I have not talked
much about so far, is USB flash drive support. The new CFFA will allow users to store hundreds of disk image file on a USB flash drive (both floppy and HD images) and activate them with the startup menu. A standard FAT format will be supported so you
can copy image files from any PC/MAC.
June 3, 2009:
I was originally going to sell any boards I fixed on Ebay. But after fixing 6 boards, I decided to
just email the people at the top of my interested list and offer the boards to them at the regular price.
I am currently working on the first prototype's board layout of the next CFFA design. Progress is slow because I only
have a limit amount of time to spend on the project.
Feb 23, 2009:
Run 6 of CFFA cards is sold out. I have no plans to produce any more CFFA's of this design. In a few weeks I will
take a look at some of the units that never worked and see if I can repair them. If I can fix them I will throw them up
May 5, 2008:
I shipped the first 25 CFFA boards from Run 6 today. One 16MB CF card is included with each order. It will boot into ProDOS 1.9 and should work on any Apple II with at least 64 of memory. ProDOS 2.0.3 is also on the card in a subdirectory. I believe firmware version 2.0 is solid, but I encourage all customers to test the CFFA throughly before depending on it with imporant data. The manual, in PDF format, is on the CDROM included. I am sorry about the additional delays. The next batch of boards should go out next Monday, May 12, 2008.
April 27, 2008:
I have set a tenative ship date for the first 20 units of May 5, 2008. I have been working to be sure that the new firmware is bug
free. My plan is to include a CF card with every order that contains both the new v2.0 firmware and the older v1.2 firmware, along with several useful utilities including davex and the flash update program. This will make it easy for you customers to revert back to the older firmware if any critical problems are discovered with the 2.0 version. Thanks to everyone for your patience.
April 14, 2008:
The 200 assembled PCBs have arrived!! Now begins the task of programming and testing.
Important: I had a flood in my basement
last weekend. Although there was no damage to my CFFA project stuff, the basement had to be totally cleaned out.
Everything that was in the basement is now in the garage. Unfortuately that is were my office was.
I am trying to minimize the delay this will cause on shipping CFFA cards, but it will add at least a week or two.
We have replaced the sump pump and the cleanup company has removed the carpet and bottom foot of drywall.
Here are a couple low res photos from my iPhone. Note the Apple II color monitor sitting on the floor. That was after we sucked
up about an inch of water from the storage room.
April 7, 2008:
FlexOne has notified me that my order of 200 assembled PCBs has shipped. I am continuing to work on the testing of new firmware and
CPLD logic. Once the boards are back I will begin testing them. There is still a lot of testing to do, but we are getting closer!
March 30, 2008:
I recently spoke with FlexOne (the PCB assembler) and they told me that April 6 is the new date that my 200 PCB will be finished.
This will add at least a two week delay to the CFFA shipment dates. Sorry about that. I am using this extra time to finish testing the new version 2.0 firmware and CPLD v2.1 logic. I hope to deliver a very solid update.
March 4, 2008:
The CFFA Run6 parts kit finally shipped to assembler!! The assembly house has quoted about a 3 week turn around time for assembly. Add a week for shipping time, and I should have the boards back in house around the end of March. I am still working on the new 2.0 firmware. This will be a big improvement (in my opinion), and will be starting beta testing next week with any luck.
Jan 23, 2008:
There will be another run of 200 CFFA cards. Today, Jan 23, I ordered the PCBs and the parts. It will take about 3 weeks
for the parts to arrive and then a week to get them to the assembler. Once there it will be another 3 to 4 weeks to get back
the assembled boards. The cost of run 6 boards will the same $99.95 + shipping as the previous run.
Nov 1, 2007:
Run 5 of CFFA for Apple II have sold out. Unfortunately there were a bunch of boards that never worked, mostly due to defects
in the PCBs. I may attempt to try to fix some of them, but it is difficult to find the problems without an X-ray machine.
I have started a run 6 interest list, but I am skeptical that there will ever be another run based on the current demand.
The CFFA has been a fun project and I have been honored to be a small part of the Apple II community that still thrives out there. Thanks for everyone's interest and support!
I still have a bunch of CFFA for Apple1 if any of you decide to start playing with an Apple 1 clone. I will be leaving for
the VCF X tomorrow. I hope to see many of the Apple II faithful there!
Feb 16, 2007:
I have just ordered a batch of 100 PCBs for the CFFA1 project. I will be ordering all of the other parts next week and in
about two more weeks I should have all the part needed. I will then be sending all of the parts and PCBs to FlexOne for
assembly. Once I get my order site up and running I will send out an email to announce that I am accepting pre-orders.
August 31, 2006:
I have run out of boards until I get another batch from the assembler. I am also
going to be traveling for the entire month of October, therefore the next orders will ship around November 10, 2006. I have
kept the order page open.
August 11, 2006:
I have finally caught up on all of my order back log. Yes, it took months and months.
Thank you to everyone who order a CFFA card. Thank you, also, for your extreme patience! I have 17 boards left in this
June 28, 2006:
Another batch of 100 assembled boards has arrived yesterday. I will ship the next group of orders around July 5. This should be about 20 boards maybe more.
June 8, 2006:
I have shipped boards 1 to 97. I am now waiting for another batch of 100 boards from the assembly company. I did have
a slight delay in getting parts for the next batch and this will cause an additional two week delay in the next shipment.
Sorry about that. All of the future boards built by the assembler will be built completely so that I will have no hand soldering
to do. This costs a little more, but the time savings (especially cleaning) is worth it. I would look
to the end of the month for the next shipment of CFFA boards.
May 21, 2006:
Boards are shipping and I have shipped about half of the total orders received. I added a forum topic in the CFFA forum for
people to tell others what they are doing with their CFFA cards. Feel free to ramble on about anything that you are doing
with your CFFA card in that forum section.
April 22, 2006:
I have shipped the first 20 or so boards. I hope to ship about 20 to 25 boards per week, but this weekend I came down with the
stomach flu and will not be able to get any boards out, Sorry. You may notice that some foreign order shipped a day or two later
than they were suppose to. This was a problem with USPS.COM giving useless error messages, which prevented me from printing the postage.
March 30, 2006:
The first 100 boards arrived today from the assembler. I still have to finish soldering all of the through-hole parts, program
the chips, test each board, and finally print the revised manuals, then get my accounting in order. But all in all things are moving along.
March 22, 2006:
Today I received the first two sample boards from the assembly house. They both worked fine! So the rest of the first 100 board
of the 4th run will be assembled. The updated manual should go to the printer late this week or early next.
March 11, 2006:
I have opened the CFFA order page for pre-orders! All of the parts have been ship to FlexOne the PCB assembly house for the
first 100 PCBs. I plan to built up to 400 boards for this run if there is enough demand. So you only need to pre-order/pay if you
want to get your CFFA sooner rather than later. I assume it will take until April before I am able to start shipping out boards.
The order in which boards will be shipped will be based on the order I receive your payment, not the order in which orders
are placed. So if you want to get in the front of the queue, I recommend using Paypal for fast payment.
March 6, 2006:
Today I receive the first batch of PCB boards for run #4. I assembled one board to be sure everything works and everything did :)
I will be packaging up these board and all of the parts and sending them to FlexOne in California on Wednesday.
I should be able to open my order page up for pre-orders very soon now.
Feb 27, 2006:
I have now placed the production PCB order and have ordered all of the parts. This will take two weeks. Then all the parts
will be packed up and sent to the board assembly house in California. I am not sure how long that will take but I would guess another two weeks at least. In the mean time, I will be updating the manual and getting my web site ready.
Feb 18, 2006:
I have completed assembly of 3 new prototype boards from the new revB layout. I am happy to report that these seem to be working
fine. I will be sending out two of the boards to other people to test for me in their machines. I am now hoping to place my
production order by February 27. Click to see a picture of the new revB board. Note the addition of address line buffers and
termination resistors. Also keep in mind that this is just a prototype so it doesn't have gold fingers.
Feb 8, 2006:
I have completed a new 2 layer PCB prototype that I will be sending out for manufacturing on Feb 6. This will take 7 days to receive. I hope this will be the last prototype board before I order the production run of boards
Jan 31, 2006:
Well, there is definately a problem with the first prototype design for run #4. The problem was a very bad ringing problem on many of the address lines. The problem was worst when no other cards where in the Apple II+, this problem also affected the IIe but to a much lesser extent. I am now finishing up a new PCB layout, the key change will be address line and control line buffers and series termination resistors. The problem only shows up when I use an EEPROM. Using an EPROM did work fine. Anyway, the bottom line is, there will be more delays before I can ship boards. I think April is going to be the soonest I will be ready at this point.
Jan 4, 2006:
Hi All, I have received back the prototype boards, and they are all working fine with one exception: I have a problem booting in the Apple II+ that did not exist on the old board design. I am working on this problem currently and hope to have it fixed soon. Once this problem is solved I think it will take me about 4 weeks to get the first batch of board and begin filling orders. I know many of you have waited a very long time. I appreciate that very much. Please hang in there, the finish line is near... If you would like to see a photo of my first prototype for this run, please click here
Nov 22, 2005:
I just sent the gerber files to PCB house to build a prototype for the 4th run of boards. I have made some changes to the board
including the 3 jumper fix. Functionally the board will be the same as the previous runs, but will include an EEPROM so customers
can update the firmware themselves. I was planning for late December as the shipping date for the 4th run, but due some long part lead times, it appears that early February is more likely.
April 27, 2005:
Today is my last day of work in Rochster, MN. It has been eleven months since I started working there during the weeks.
Being home again every day will definately allow me to catch up on CFFA orders. I am just finishing the work on CPLD
version 1.4. This has taken much longer than I thought it would. The good news is I think I am nearly done testing.
The bad news is that just a CPLD upgrade won't fix the problem with the CFFA when using the 256MB SanDisk card on all
Apple II's. To fix this CF card, and to allow most other brands like lexar to work with the CFFA, you will need a hardware
modification to the card. That mod is three "re-work" jumpers that go from the back of the board around to the front of the
board. If I do another run of boards, I will probably re-layout the board to include this fix. Once I get caught up with orders
I will send out an email to everyone letting them know about the fix. I will also post a do-it-yourself guide for those who
want to apply the fix themselves. I will also have some kind of return plan for those who would like me to make the fix for them.
April 20, 2005:
I have sold out of Run 3 CFFA cards. If you are still interested in buying a CFFA card, let me know and I will add you to a list of people interested in a fourth run. The cost would still be US$105 + shipping. I still have a bunch of CFFA orders to fill, if you
have not received your yet, don't worry, you will.
Feb 28, 2005:
I have found a problem with V1.3 CPLD logic. This problem seems to show itself mostly with larger CF cards
like the 256MB SanDisk card. But it could should up with any CF card. I have sent beta samples of v1.4 CPLD to
several customers and I am waiting for feedback. So far all feedback has been positive. If all goes well, I will
be starting a CPLD trade in program next week. To get everyone updated.
Feb 16, 2005:
My son, Michael James was born. Weight 8lbs, 12.5 oz.
Dec 6, 2004:
I have shipped the first 5 boards of the third, and likely final run of CFFA cards. This run uses the original company, Advanced
Circuits to make the PCBs. The PCB solder mask is a dark green unlike the light green from the second run.
Oct 30, 2004:
All of the parts for the next run of 100 CFFA cards has arrived, and enough extra parts for all of the upgrades that
have been requested are now in hand. I will be sending out upgrades over the next few weeks, and once I get a test board built
and working, I will open up the order form on my website for the third run of CFFA boards!
Sept 30, 2004:
Sept 30, 2004: I have just placed an order with Arrow Electronics for the parts for another 100 CFFA Boards, and 50 v1.3 upgrades.
The lead time for the parts varies from a week to about 5 weeks. As soon as the CPLD and EPROMs come in I will start shipping out
upgrade to those who have requested them. The main purpose for the firmware update is to support the Apple ][+ and //e. There are NO code
changes for //e enhanced and //gs users, but the CPLD logic update should give better CF timing for all apples.
Sorry this has all taken much longer than I originally predicted.
Sept 7, 2004:
I have sold out of the second run boards, but already have enough interest to do a third run! That's great.
But the lead times on some of the parts is up to six weeks or more, so it will probably not be until the winter (Dec. 2004)
before more boards are available. Also, I have no forgotten about the people interested in v1.3 Firmware/CPLD upgrades,
I will be ordering more parts for those also. The good news is that I will be sending those out free of charge this time around.
Aug 5, 2004:
Well it took awhile but I have finally sold out of CFFA boards. I am keeping a couple for repair/returns
just incase. If you are still interested in buying a board, please let me know via email,
and I will add your name to
a list of interested people. Like before, I will need at least 40 people to express an interest before I could
do another run. I fear that there may not be 40 more people who still want one, so this may be the end of the line.
I did very much enjoy making and selling these cards, and contributing to the old Apple II community. I
will always have a soft spot for my first Apple II+. I still have to get the upgrades out to people and will
be doing it free of charge, at least for this upgrade. Please be patient, if you asked for one you will get one.
July 10, 2004:
I have sold out of boards being sold at the normal full price. I do still have a
number of boards that will be offered at $75 + shipping, because they have some type of minor physical or costmentic flaw.
When I have had time to go through those boards, I will put up an order form for them. Any boards that I do sell, will be
guarenteed to work and have the same warranty as the full price boards. The cosmetic problems were the result of the board
manufactures poor quality controls. As of July 10, 2004 I have about 12 boards left with cosmetic issues that I need to go
through. I hope to have an order page back up sometime in July for those boards.
May 30, 2004:
I have sent new CPLDs and EPROMs to a couple people for testing. Vince has
reported that, so far, everything has worked fine.
Hopefully, I should be able to make this update available soon.
If you are interested in getting updated logic and firmware, please drop me an
May 22, 2004:
After revising the firmware, it because apparent that there was a hardware problem with
the CFFA in the ][+. After several hours, I found a subtle timing difference between the
my ][+ and my //e platinum. That difference pushed already tight timing over the edge into
failure. I have revised the logic on the CPLD and greatly improved the timing margins.
This will become Logic release v1.3. The 6502 version of firmware will become v1.3 also.
How these will be made available, I have not yet determined. Much testing has yet to be done!
May 20, 2004:
I have started work on revising the CFFA firmware to allow it to work with the 6502
This mean removing all 65C02 specific instruction. My hope is to allow ][+ and //e users
to also be able to use my card with ProDOS 1.9. More too come...
March 21, 2004:
As of today, I have sold 134 boards out of the second run of 200.
I should have 66 boards left, but I only have 20 boards left that are fit
to sell because 44 units are substandard in one way or another. A few were DOA from
the assembly house/PCB manufacturer, and the rest have some cosmetic damage. After the last
20 units are sold, I will carefully review the substandard units, and if there is demand,
offer them at a reduced price, yet to be determined.
December 31, 2003:
As of today, all paid orders have been shipped. The number of boards shipped from both runs is 210 boards.
On Dec 19, I updated the web site layout, and began adding information about other projects I have done.
Orders still trickle from all over the planet. The last couple boards shipped to Australia, Japan, and the US.
Happy New Year to all...
October 1 , 2003:
Shipped the 100th board today from the second run! Total Shipped so far is about 200
August 27, 2003:
Today I just shipped the 89th board out of 200.
Currently all orders are filled. Although, not related to the CFFA project,
I can't help but indulge in a bit of self promotion... check out most recent
Circuit Cellar contest that just finished :)
July 9, 2003:
Dale Jackson has completed a driver for my CFFA Interface card that lets it work
with the Apple ///. Very cool. If you try it, please drop me a note and let me know your experience.
The source files and binaries can be download from the downloads section
June 17, 2003:
Shipped 20 units today.
June 14, 2003:
The rest of the currenly paid orders (18 units) will ship Tuesday June 17,
June 7, 2003:
A small batch of boards shipped today. The international packages from that batch will go out Monday June 9th, because USPS.COM is having technical problems and I could not generate postage for Global Express Mail packages.
June 2, 2003:
The next batch of board will probably go out Friday, June 6th.
May 27, 2003:
I shipped the first 30 units today to 24 customers. I hope to get the next shipment out on June 2nd.
May 21, 2003:
Good News... I just received a partial shipment of 40 boards today. I will begin testing tomorrow. If all is well, I should be able to ship about 20 units on May 27th. The rest of the units from the assembler are not far behind. (revised 5/22)
May 11, 2003:
I have received all 200 Manuals from the printer yesterday. I am still waiting for the boards from the assembler. I expect them to be delivered to me sometime this week.
April 27: 2003:
All 200 PCBs are now being machine assembled and should be delivered to me in the next week or so. The manual is at the printers, and remains unchanged from the last run.
April 15: 2003:
Good news! I received 5 test units from Pulsar, Inc. and they all worked fine. So I am going to go ahead and start taking orders for the second run of 200 boards now. I have been led to believe that the rest of the boards can be done in another 1 to 2 weeks.
Orders will be filled in the order I receive your payment. So PayPal users have their orders typically filled the quickest.
April 4, 2003:
The blank test PCB I received had a small manufacturing defect, but it had not been through the standard test procedure which would have caught that problem. The 200 boards have now been through electrical test, the edge connector gold plated, and have been sent over to the assembly house. I have decided to wait before taking orders until the initial assembly test units are sent to me. That should be around Friday, April 11. If those units check out fine, then it will be another week or two befor the rest of the run is assembled. I am still shooting for the end of April to start shipping.
March 23: 2003:
Yogi from Pulsar, Inc called and told me that a bare PCB for my testing was being sent to me and should be here on March 25th. I will build up this board and if all look right, I will okay the start of assembly on a batch of 200 units and start taking orders for those units.
March 15, 2003:
All of the parts for second run of boards have been purchased and shipped to the PCB/Assembly company. They will be sending me a test PCB to build up, in a couple weeks, and if all checks out, they will go ahead with assembly of the next run. I will start taking order once I know that the test board works.
Feb 25, 2003:
Finally, the parts have started to arrive. I talked with Yogi at Pulsar and told him he can now actually go ahead with the board production. Once that is complete the boards will be machine assembled. I figure it will be at least another 4 or 5 weeks to get back the assembled units. I hope to start taking order around that time.
Jan 02, 2003:
All of the parts have been ordered for the second run. The CF socket made by Molex was out of stock at all of Molex's distributors.
I talked with a sales rep at Molex and they could not give me even an approximate lead time. They said just get your order in and it will probably be filled within a month. This could turn out to be a serious problem for the late January delivery date I was hoping for. I will post updates when I know more.
Dec 20, 2002:
I went to Chicago to meet the folks at Pulsar, Inc. a PCB manufacturer, and place an order for 100 fully assembled CFFA boards. They are very nice people and gave me a tour of their facilities and the Assembler's facility that they sub-contract with. I am hoping that the quality of their boards exceeds the quality of the first run boards I received from Advanced Circiuts (and had to return)! Advanced Circuits has a slick sales staff, but their product quality leaves much to be desired. Not recommended! If you are doing a board of your own, you can contact Yogi at Pulsar to see what they can do for you. I will post follow-up information about the quality of the boards I get from Pulsar in the future. Also Apple II fan Howard Katz met me for lunch where we discussed the future of Kfest, how many more boards I might need to make to meet demand, and the bad weather. Overall everything went well, except for driving in a snow storm, but that didn't last long.
Dec 03, 2002:
There is enough interest in a second run, so I have begun talking with Pulsar Inc. about building and assembling the boards for me.
Sept 30, 2002:
Shipped 5 units. If you have placed an order please send your payment, thanks.
Sept 18, 2002:
I am getting pricing information on doing the second board run. If I can get enough interest, I want to have the boards machine assembled for this run. For the last run, I hand assembled all of the baords. This should reduce the amount of time it take to fill orders significantly. So if you are interested if purchasing a CFFA Interface card please let me know. Once I get about 30 to 35 interested people, I will go ahead with the project. It will take at least 4 weeks from that time to get the boards in hand to start testing.
August 27, 2002:
Shipped 10 units today.
August 24, 2002:
My son, Nathan Thomas was born. Weight 9lbs, 7 oz.
August 12, 2002:
Shipped 7 units today.
August 3, 2002:
I have stopped taking orders, because I am at (or very near) the end of my board supply. The folks at Kfest have reserved the remaining units. If they don't follow through with actual payments, there may be a few units that free up, which would then be sold to someone else. I have started a list of people who would be interested in having me do a second run of CFFA boards. You can email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. If I do end up with a few extra boards from this first batch, I will contact the people on my list those interested in a second run.
NOTE: FedEx Ground has really screwed up the last shipment. No less than 4 packages had mis-entered addresses by FedEx employees. Sorry to those people who have been negatively affected. I will be canceling my FedEx Ground Account. All Remaining packages will be shipped via USPS.
July 26, 2002:
Shipped 8 units today. As of today, I have about 24 units available..
July 12, 2002:
Shipped 12 units today. I have about 28 units left.
June 28, 2002:
Shipped 10 units today (through unit 48) -includes one to the Woz. Out of the run of 100 boards, about 65 have been ordered.
June 18, 2002:
Shipped 4 units today.
June 14, 2002:
Shipped 8 units today. Four more should go out on the 17th.
May 31, 2002:
Due to unavoidable delays, the next shipment will probably not be until June 15th. I am sorry of the delay.
May 29, 2002:
Howard Katz reported a problem he was having formatting partitions 3 and 4 on a 128MB Sandisk card. It was not reporting the correct size after format. Dave Lyons was able to discover that both Copy II+ and Apple System Utilities have a bug in them that will cause them to incorrectly determine the size of partition mapped into "other" slots. Please see click here for more specific information. I have been side tracked quite a lot this week and therefore it looks like I will not be able to ship a batch of boards this Friday. I will post my next ship date as soon as I know it.
May 28, 2002:
I have noticed that a great many CF cards are not currently compatible with the CFFA Interface card. From Emails it looks like
many people would like to use the LexarMedia CF card, but are unable. Dave is sending me a Lexar card so I might do some testing with it. Also, I just got off of the phone with Engineer Dan Lee at LexarMedia. He was very interested in helping and ask many good questions. As soon as I get a Lexar card in my hands I should be able to answer the questions posed by Dan. Thanks Dan!
May 24, 2002:
I shipped 13 units today. Next shipment will probably be May 31st. So far no one has reported any problems with their units. But, many of the CF cards that I just assumed would work, are turning out to be incompatible with the CFFA. Please remember that SanDisk CF cards are the only brand I guarantee will work with my card. Check the compatibility page so see if your card will work. If you have information on a card that is not in the list, please send it to me, thanks.
May 20, 2002:
I have updated the downloads section with all of the lastest project files I have. You can also download Dave Lyons' GS/OS driver too. If anybody needs Dave's driver in a different file format, please let me know. I am still shooting for May 24th to ship another 15 units.
May 17, 2002:
Hooray! Today I have finally shipped the first 14 units. Although not as many as I had hoped, I have now gone through the entire process.
So it should go smoothly from here. I hope to send the next batch of 15 units out by the 24th of May.
I currently have orders for 53 units.
May 10, 2002:
Things are moving just a little slower than I hoped. I received the shipping boxes today from Canada! That is a relief. I have decided to print the manual myself (due to outrageous printing costs), and send it out for the cutting and binding... the printing is happening today. So that means the cutting and binding will have to be next week. This will push the ship date for the first batch out to the end of next week. Also, I will be cleaning the first batch of boards this weekend.
May 1, 2002:
I have received orders for 22 units as of today.
I am still waiting for shipping boxes and PCB cleaning supplies to arrive. The manual goes to the printer on Friday...it's time to stop tweaking on it. I have 9 units assembled. May10th still looks like the shipping date for the first batch of about 20 units.
April 27, 2002:
FINALLY! I am now accepting orders for my CFFA Interface card. I have sent an Email to everyone who has contacted me expressing an interest in my project. If you are interested, you can order your CFFA card using my web-based order form. The user's manual will be sent to the printer on April 29th. The shipping boxes should be here in a little over a week. I expect to be able to start shipping the first boards around May 10th or so.
April 18, 2002:
I have assembled a whopping 4 boards so far. I am getting pretty good at it already and have the assembly time down from 2.5hrs to about 1 hour per board. That doesn't include testing, cleaning, packaging, etc. The first board I assembled did not work, and I still don't know why. So I actually have three working boards so far.
April 12, 2002:
After a closer look at all of the board blanks, much to my dismay, I found 25 boards that were unuseable. I sent those board back today.
It is still unclear what the manufacture is going to do for me, but I should know more on Monday or Tuesday next week. In the mean time I am working to finalize the firmware, the user's manual for the board, and a web page to help people place orders.
Misc small parts ready to go:
April 10, 2002:
The 100 boards I ordered have arrived today :) From my initial inspection of the boards, I see that the boards look good, but until I build several I will not know for sure.
April 2, 2002:
Some of the parts arrived today from Arrow Advantage. This branch of Arrow Electronics works with smaller companies and they will deal on the cost of most parts, at least the ones who's manufactures will let them. They can be reached at: 800-833-3557. Two other orders are still coming...
March 28, 2002:
I have updated the project schematic and PCB layout in the downloads area. These are the source files used to make the PCB I ordered a few days ago. If you have questions or problems with these files let me know. All of the parts for the boards have now been ordered. :)
March 25, 2002:
I have finally ordered the printed circuit boards! I should receive the boards no later than 2 weeks from today + 2 days for shipping.That puts it on or before April 10th. I will also be ordering all of the other parts for the board tomorrow.
Mar 15, 2002:
I have uploaded my current version of Altera CPLD design files to the download section and updated relevant links. I am reasonably sure it will not change before the PCB ships so I went ahead and posted it. The schematic and firmware source should be coming soon too.
Mar 13, 2002:
The firmware now includes Smartport support! (Dave did most of this work. Thanks Dave) I will probably ship the finished version with a couple firmware versions supporting a couple different partition schemes. More on that later. I am waiting for testing feedback and hope to be ordering PCB blanks in a few days. They have a two week lead time. I have also been working on the product manual.
Mar 5, 2002:
The Rev B boards seem to be working fine. Today I am sending one to Dave for further testing with his GS/OS driver.
Someone asked me what SlotScan said about my cards, I ran it, and it reports: Semi-intelligent disk Card, followed by the drive sizes of 32meg each.
Mar 1, 2002:
The first CFFA Rev B board "seems" to be working fine. It is too early to make any conclusions, but so far so good.
Feb 28, 2002:
The two new prototype PCBs arrived yesterday, and the parts for them arrived today. I will be assembling today and should know if they work by tomorrow.
Feb 20, 2002:
Just sent the design files for the second round of two prototype boards. No significant changes from the previous board, just bug fixes and a little design layout cleanup. The new boards should be back on the 27th or the 28th.
Dave Lyons has been working on a GS/OS driver for my hardware and has been making excellent progress. He told me he was impressed with the speed he is getting, as it is comparable to his DMA based SCSI hard drive controller (he has only tested with CF cards).
Feb 19, 2002:
Added a discussion forum for this project. I am hoping that people interested in this project who have questions or want to contribute ideas will use the forum to communicate with others and myself. The forum software runs under Linux and is free, if you experience problems, please let me know and I will attempt to solve them. I have not used this forum software before either, but it seems to be working well.
Feb 15, 2002:
Testing on the Apple IIgs has begun!! (Although it is being done by someone else... More info in a couple days.)
Feb 13, 2002:
Here are a few pictures with a 2.5" hard drive attached to the card.