New website has been up and running for about four months now, and apart from a zillion required plug-ins to make even the most rudimentary basics work, I’m pretty pleased with it. The shipping plug-in is a lot better than the old one, and I particularly like how shipping is handled. I hope you like getting clickable tracking numbers by email when orders are shipped. Another option I have with the new website is back in stock notifications, which was highly requested – and having sales. In regards to sales and marketing tactics, I’m not a big fan of FOMO (fear-of-missing-out), spamming and social media marketing – my strategy remains to have stuff I would buy myself available for easy purchase, in stock, with fast shipping.
That being said, if you buy something, posting a picture of it on Twitter or forums is greatly appreciated!
2022 saw the release of 3 new designs, which is frankly a bit too much. I hope to focus a bit more on firmware in 2023, and one or possibly two new products.
Stock levels are healthy right now, and I hope to have everything for quite some time. The IC shortage is still very much in effect, making it complicated to re-stock and to work on new designs. Even when parts are in stock, everything seems to have gotten more expensive lately, including shipping, parts cost and fabrication.
Since Irken is 100% my thing, nobody can stop me from publicly stating that I support Ukraine, and I hope all of you reading this is doing so too. A donation was made by Irken to the Ukrainian Red Cross in 2022, and I hope being able to repeat this in 2023.
Lastly I would like to thank all my customers, it really makes me happy when I see repeat orders as it tells me I’m doing something right.
Phew, migrating a website is not fun, at all. I’m now running WordPress+WooCommerce, which supports pretty much all shipping carriers, as I’ve had some issues with my current carrier and want to be able to quickly switch to another should it be necessary.
Shipping is kind-of sorted with FedEx, prices has gone up a bit – but I think it’s still on the reasonable side.
As for products & Stock, I have a case full of Jammafier 2.0 and JVS-PAC 2 boards ready.
I have just a handful of JAMMA Expanders for use with MiSTer, but I expect these to run out of stock very quickly – and I don’t think I’ll be able to restock these until the chip-shortage gets better.
If you see something odd with the new website, or during the order process – please let me know via the about->contact form.
As you probably know, there is a global parts-shortage going on. I’m not a betting man, but I suspect this will last until at least 2023. As Irken is a such a tiny operation, I have managed to ‘scoop’ up some parts here and there but for the last two months it seems the critical parts are really gone, unless you’re ready to pay 10x the price.
A summary of stock levels:
Retro Scaler A1 – healthy
JAMMA Expander – somewhat limited stock
JVS-PAC 2 – very limited stock, I expect to run out soon
Jammafier – very limited stock, I expect to run out soon
Tri-Sync Helpers – out of stock
Unless parts suddenly pop-up, I don’t expect I’ll be able to restock JAMMA Expanders this year.
Toshiba ‘PF’ Enhanced Remote
I got a Sega New Net City cabinet last year, so of course I had to make a remote for it that gives me access the hidden to geometry and color adjustment menus. I had a few of them made, and they’re available for purchase. I called it the PD-1843 enhanced remote, but later learned that it can be used with a whole family of monitors, so going forward it will be called the Toshiba ‘PF’ enhanced remote.
I’m working on a product page for it that should be ready soon.
New Jammafier 2.0
There is a new Jammafier in the works, and I hope to have it available for sale within a few months. The new thing is that the Tri-Sync Helper is integrated, making it a bit more practical if you need a Tri-Sync Helper. A neat feature is that you can switch between C and HV sync via the menu, this is especially useful with Toshiba PF monitors where you can get some sync distortion in the top of the frame with either C or HV sync depending on which game you use.
It will be more expensive than the existing because of added parts (and cost of parts), so if you only need a Jammafier – now is a good time to pick one up. Firmware and features will be identical to the existing one, apart from the integrated Tri-Sync Helper.
The MiSTer JAMMA Expander is finally released, it took a little longer than anticipated. The PCB and the involved tech itself is not terribly complicated, but for this product I figure out how to source custom cables.
The IC shortage was also a challenge, as the main IC on this board was not available in China where the boards are assembled. I had to buy chips from a Norwegian distributor and FedEx them to the factory.
Another aspect that took a fair bit of time was trying to influence how MiSTer handles input, and it kind of reached a compromise – the default settings on the Expander makes it pretty much plug & play, and the hard way that is geared towards ‘console’ users. A few developers are going to great lengths to make cycle-perfect recreations of Arcade boards, which involves stuff like de-capping and reverse-engineering IC’s.
In light of this, I find the reluctance to accommodate arcade users who expect coin, test and buttons in general to work like the original a little strange. I’m pretty sure that a complete rework of the MiSTer input system is going to happen sooner or later. Whatever the future holds, the Expander supports both methods (MAME keyboard with standard layout, and 2 x gamepad).
By the time you read this, it’s almost guaranteed that the Expanders are no longer in stock. I’m looking into having more made, but not ETA yet, and the price will likely be a little higher than the first batch.
As I now know how to get custom cables made, used this new ‘capability’ to have a few ATX to JST-VL (Naomi) adapters made. It’s basically a copy of something I made for myself some time back when one of my earlier ‘hacks’ failed on me, and I decided to make something proper. They feature soft silicone wires, the type you get on good test leads, and has double wires for 3.3V and 5V that should minimize voltage drop to the point that adjusting voltage is not needed. I don’t expect to ship any of these as single orders, but you may consider adding one to your order if you’re buying something else. Next time I may get some kick cables for the Jammafier made, I totally forgot about that this time around.
It seems like everyone and their mother is working on a different types of JAMMA solutions for the MiSTer project, and I am too 🙂
I haven’t settled 100% on a name yet, but for now the working title is simply “JAMMA Expander”, as it expands the DE10-nano to work in a JAMMA cabinet. It doesn’t have a zillion features, but aims to make running MiSTer in a cabinet as easy and clean as possible. If you want a really good “multi-pcb” for use in a cabinet, but don’t feel like a taking on a project – this may be the board for you.
This board uses the HDMI output of the MISTer, so both video and audio will be as good as it can get.
24 bit color, coupled with a high quality DAC and RGB amplification.
It has a decent audio amplifier for MONO audio, but you can also toggle a switch to get line level stereo via RCA if you have a stereo amplifier in your cab.
Hassle-free firmware updates via micro-SD, very much the same way as the Jammafier and the JVS-PAC 2
an OLED for diagnostics
You mount the DE10 on top of this board, not under – so fitting it in a cab should be very simple, and it’s also easy to remove the DE10 should you want to use it for something else.
Availability should be sometime this summer ;), price is TBD.
A long overdue winter update! My lab is now operational and there is actual r&d happening 🙂
I’m happy to report that the JVS-PAC 2 and MiSTer are now friends, and it makes for a very easy and nice setup! I’ve added a tutorial on getting a MiSTer up and running in the JVS-PAC 2 section. To make things more plug and play, I’ve updated the default key-mapping for Player 2 Button 5 to “E”, which is the MAME standard and also used in Jotego’s fantastic cores e.g. the CPS1 – i.e. no complicated merging/unmerging of devices or remapping of input.
If you already have the JVS-PAC 2, all you need in addition to the DE10-nano is an SDRAM module.
For Jamma cabinets, a little more hardware is involved in making the DE10-Nano cabinet friendly, but I’m confident there be solutions for that soon 🙂
Stock levels are healthy, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
There has been close to zero R&D last few months, and it will unfortunately continue like that until sometime in December. I started a new job this summer, and right now I’m in the middle of moving out of our apartment in the city centre to a proper house with garden on the outside. I will miss having coffee shops and stores minutes away by foot, but look forward to having a dedicated office/lab, garage, garden etc. As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also getting my drivers license and a car, which is kind of a thorough process here in Norway. Anyway, I expect to be done with all of this in December.
Store closing 1 – 15 October
I’m away on business a couple of weeks, and instead of getting a backlog of unshipped orders I will simply close the online store the first weeks of October. The store will likely also close for a week or two in November.
I’ve gotten a few emails about JVS-PAC 2 not working with MiSTer, and I can confirm it is indeed problematic at this point. I got a MiSTer setup myself, and I’m positive that it will work some time in the future.
A possible fix/workaround will be to implement the planned gamepad mode for the JVS-PAC 2, but given all the problem-reports I’ve been reading for a lot of different devices this is just a theory. A good test to check if a setup is working properly is to load up a 2 player 6 button game, enter test mode and press all buttons for all players at the same time, while move the joysticks around. I expect this simple test would reveal issues with a lot of MiSTer setups..
From my perspective, the problem is mostly with the input model of MiSTer, they could learn a couple of lessons form the MAME project..
Except the A1 scaler, no stock shortage in sight for the foreseeable future. I’ve initiated another run of the A1 scalers, but may run out of stock until it’s completed.
The tri-sync helpers are finally back in stock. I’ll be the first to admit that the utility of the Tri-Sync Helper may not have been communicated very clearly, and may be a source of confusion unless you already ran into problems and have spent some time researching solutions. I’ll try to update the website to make it easier to understand if you need one or not.
For now, it’s an add-on to the Jammafier to that provides a more standard video signal from Arcade boards – this is useful for Tri-Sync CRT owners and people using the OSSC upscaler.
The arrival of the manufactured Tri-Sync Helpers (TSH), marks a couple of important milestones:
All products are in stock, at the same time
All products are professionally manufactured
It may seem trivial to keep stuff in stock, but for the type of niche products I sell it’s actually a little tricky for a few reasons
Parts sourcing, minimum order quantity(MOQ), and time when doing manual assembly
MOQ for having things manufactured
Low and sporadic sales volume
Hopefully, having everything in stock will give me better data about actual demand so I can plan accordingly, I have already initiated another production run of the Jammafiers.
The Corona/Covid situation seems to have calmed down a bit in this part of the world, and I’m happy to report that FedEx shipping is back to it’s snappy normal service.
To all existing and new customers, thanks for your support and have a great summer!
They actually came back in stock a week ago, but I’ve been too busy to actually write about it.
New in this version is that you can enable/disable 5V for the Tri-Sync Helper with a switch instead of a solder jumper. There are a few other differences as well, like the type of OLED screen used – but nothing that affects the use or performance of the device.
The reason this article is a bit late is that the response has been incredible, in a week I have shipped over 50 of these – I was hoping for maybe 20. It got to the point where I ran out of FedEx shipping supplies, and a few orders got delayed a couple of days.
Another thing I was not prepared for was the demand for Tri-Sync Helpers, I had 18 in stock prepared – but they went away in a day. The Tri-Sync Helper is the only product still made manually, and to make matters worse – it actually has a quite a few components on it despite it’s size. To resolve this shortage, I’m currently investigating if they can be professionally assembled. It may be a little tricky as the pins of the VGA connector is pretty close to other components – no problem if done by hand, but may pose an issue for automatic assembly. I will know more in a week or so. If you’re interested in a Tri-Sync Helper, please drop me a message via the contacts page and I will add your name to a notify list so you will be notified by email once they are available.
Lastly, DO CHECK OUT the bundle promotion consisting of a Jammafier & Retro Scaler A1 – it’s in my opinion the perfect combo for VGA only JVS cabs like the Naomi Universal.