Hi, and welcome to my page where I cover the gadgets I make and sell.
Updates and random info below. I also post a few updates on https://twitter.com/IrkenLabs.
- Category: News News
- Published: 11 May 2022 11 May 2022
- Created: 20 April 2022 20 April 2022
- Last Updated: 11 May 2022 11 May 2022
Spring is here, time for an update.
Stock levels & Parts shortage
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.
- Category: News News
- Published: 20 September 2021 20 September 2021
- Created: 19 September 2021 19 September 2021
- Last Updated: 20 September 2021 20 September 2021
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.
- Category: News News
- Published: 20 March 2021 20 March 2021
- Created: 20 March 2021 20 March 2021
- Last Updated: 20 March 2021 20 March 2021
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.