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Shop inventory updates

We are currently running low on the Virtual Tap and Servo Emulators. We will not be restocking the Virtual Taps once they run out. CastleMania Games will be providing Virtual Tap kits after we have run out. The Servo Emulators will likely be restocked, but in low quantities due to lower interest overall and being easier to acquire parts for. We also released our boards for these on OSHPark. In case someone wants to make their own.

The Nomad Triple Bypass and Colecovision RGB prototypes are currently being made. If there are no further changes necessary on either, these will go into production ASAP. The Nomad should be complete now. Based on the last prototype board and the very minor change made to provide better video in bypass mode to all screen types. We will be working on making some videos to showcase the new audio and video output.

If the final concern with the Colecovision RGB board was addressed, then those will also be ready for production. We apologize for the long timeline on these. It was very necessary to ensure that all the issues were being addressed going forward. For anyone familiar with the Colecovision consoles and their quirks, this should make sense.

As always thank you for your patience and support.

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This is Virtual Tap!

Virtual Tap kits are in our hands and programming has completed. We will be testing all kits the remainder of the week. On Monday we will be opening orders for kits. Both VGA and RGB are available. All kits will be fully tested before shipping.

There are no restrictions on the number of kits that can be purchased. Please remember these kits are sold only as a board and flex cable. You are responsible for providing the connector and any buttons or extras you want. Orders that include an install service do not need to worry about providing connectors or buttons. They are included as part of the install service.

We expect these to be quite popular and as such please understand that install services will likely see a long wait period. Before purchasing an install, please keep this in mind.

We are happy to finally be providing these to everyone who has been waiting. Thank you all for your patience and understanding while we worked on getting these ready.

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New Products Available

Good news for everyone who has been waiting. The “TurboAmp” PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 Stereo amplifier is now available for purchase. This is an inexpensive add-on for your consoles to enjoy high quality amplified stereo audio.

We are also happy to announce that Virtual Tap kits are now in hand and are being programmed and tested. Once testing is completed, we will open orders for the Virtual Tap kits.

More new kits will be coming in the future. We are finalizing testing on a few products that we hope to have available before the end of the year. Thank you all for patience and support this year.

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Outgoing Repairs

It’s with a heavy heart that we let people know all repairs will be shipping back to their owners. We have been trying to get these addressed for a long time and just cannot dedicate the appropriate amount of time to do so. It’s not fair to the owners of these units that we keep them here. If you have moved since you sent in your repair, please reach out to us with your new address. Otherwise we will be returning repairs to the addresses we have currently.

We don’t intend on making exceptions for these and it may not be popular but it has to be done. There are too many here that are not getting the proper level of attention and we just don’t see having the time in the future. Expect to start seeing your repairs heading home beginning this week. Apologies for wasting your time if you were waiting.

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Virtual Tap!

Exciting news for everyone who has been waiting. Virtual Tap kits are in manufacturing right now. Assuming all goes well, we should have these kits in our hands sometime in October. The kits will be available for install service or as a DIY. Kits will be available as RGB or VGA as well. If you have questions regarding the kit or about the installation, please reach out ahead of time. It is expected that these will be quite popular and as such, we may have limited time to answer questions once the sales are live.

For more information about the Virtual Tap, please refer to the link to the original creator’s website. http://furrtek.free.fr/virtualtap/

Nomad Triple Bypass is also getting close to being ready. The headphone/speaker amplifier is done. The balancing is almost done. We should have new capture videos being posted soon.

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New Shipping Dates and R&D

Welcome to September. Beginning September 9, 2019 we will only be shipping on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If any of those days are federal holidays, your item will be shipped on the next regular shipping day for the shop. We will still be able to receive packages every day, including weekends, but we are no longer able to ship out daily.

Currently the workload is minimal and all we are focusing on is finishing the final remaining installs, finishing old repairs, and the R&D projects. Install services will periodically open up as space clears for those. Once all of the repairs are out of the way, higher availability for installs will allow for additional quantities. Going forward, all installs will maintain specific quantities. This is so we never have a repeat of the March/April situation that has had the shop behind for so long.

Now for the exciting things people are most interested in. The Nomad Triple Bypass is one of the most anticipated new products we have coming. Currently we are finishing up balancing the circuit to ensure this is THE only audio/video solution you will ever want/need. There is no current ETA as the manufacturing will determine the timeline. We have started ordering the final production pieces for the additional components. There will be DIY kits, Install Services, and optional upgrades available when these go up for sale. Please keep in mind that the request for these boards was to make them incredibly easy to install, but at a slightly higher price. So these will be more expensive than the standard Triple Bypass boards, they also have added functionality over the standard Triple Bypass.

Colecovision RGB boards are still being tested. Unfortunately there is no good ETA on these either. The goal is to have them done as soon as possible, but we need to make sure all of the edge cases issues there were encountered with the old boards are no longer present. It is still a priority to finish these. There are no specialty or custom parts needed here. So all that is needed is to finish making adjustments to the circuit and starting manufacturing.

Virtual Tap kits are waiting on parts. As soon as the parts are on hand, we can begin the mass production. With any luck this will be in the next month or 2. We will of course offer your choice of RGB or VGA. Just remember each board can only be 1 or the other. As soon as we can have these available we will. If these sell out quickly, which is not anticipated, we will likely produce more, but the batch size would be determined by interest levels. This could also affect pricing.

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Days Out of Office

Just a small notice. The shop will be completely closed on August 24 and 25. If you attempt to contact us during that time, there will be no response until the 26th at least. We will not be working or available for communication during these days. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

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It’s Been A While

So it’s been quite some time since we updated everyone on the happenings in the shop. The number one thing on everyone’s mind has been when are orders opening back up. We finally have an answer, sort of, soon! For those that have been following the shop on Twitter, you most likely have seen some of the news regarding shop status. For those that haven’t, here are the updates.

Number 1 update. We moved! We are no longer located in Westlake, Ohio. So please don’t send anything there. If you need the new address for any reason, please reach out. All install services were already updated to provide the new address.

Number 2 update. The backlog should FINALLY be done in the next week or so. This has taken far longer than we ever could have imagined and we are EXTREMELY thankful to everyone who has been so patient with us. Going forward when orders open up, we will be limiting the orders to what can be completed in a 1-2 week period. This way we can keep installs moving quickly and get your systems back to you fast.

Number 3 update. We will no longer accept repairs going forward. This is something we have talked about in the past but it is a definite no to repairs in the future. The reason for this is they take an extremely long time to diagnose and correct. This in turn throws off all other work in the shop. The repairs that have been on hold due to the backlog will be addressed and will represent the final repairs we do. Aside from the general recapping/refurbishing we do, which is not a “pure” repair situation.

Number 4 update. We are nearing completion on the Nomad Triple Bypass boards. These will enable pristine RGB video and greatly enhanced audio from your Sega Nomad handheld. These will be sold as DIY and as install service jobs. The audio circuit we have designed is on par with that of the MegaDrive 1 VA3, considered to be the perfect revision for sound. No price has been determined for these at this time, but we will have pricing before the sales go live to prepare everyone.

Number 5 update. Colecovision RGB and CDX Triple Bypass boards are still not complete. The CDX boards are being redesigned at the request of many customers. These will now include a means of utilizing the headphone output. These are on hold until the Nomad circuit is complete however. The Colecovision RGB circuit is in final testing. If everything tests out well, then we will finally have the new boards produced. At this time, we do not intend on raising the prices for these boards, but if the manufacturing costs increase then we may have to adjust accordingly.

Final update. Virtual Tap kits have been tested and we hope to enter production with these soon. The number one hold up here is the overall cost of manufacturing and the time needed for testing. We have not yet built a production test rig for these so that will be a necessity for production.

Expect to start seeing install services opening back up soon and again thank you all for being so patient. If you were in the final group of installs and haven’t received your system back yet, it will be back to you soon. To everyone else, more good stuff is coming this year. Keep your eyes and ears peeled.

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It is almost July and the backlog is finally near complete. Thank you all so much for bearing with us. The amount of positive comments and friendly messages has been deeply appreciated. If your order is still outstanding, have no fear. It’s in the current final group of installs. Once these installs are complete, remaining repairs will be addressed and completed.

Going forward we will maintain the no repairs accepted status. Exceptions will be made at our discretion but aside from the standard no sound/low sound TurboDuo/TurboExpress, or similar known fix type of issues, we will likely not be taking them on. If we do, a new billing structure will be put into place which will take into account the real man hours put in to diagnosing the issues.

On a lighter happier note. Once the current group of installs have been completed, new installs will be accepted. This time, to prevent the backlog from ever happening again. We will be only accepting a limited number of installs at one time. So if you go to place an order for a DCHDMI install and find that the service is unavailable, check back the next day. This will probably look very similar to the way that our friends at Retro-Access.com do things. The reason for this is we know how long each individual install takes but some are obviously more time consuming than others. The ultimate goal is to return to turnaround times that are sub 2 weeks. Hopefully with the majority of installs being only a couple days.

In other exciting news, the Custom CDX Triple Bypass is almost ready for primetime. We are the ONLY shop that will be offering this, at least at first. It will be shared per the open source license but starting out we will be building and selling the boards as DIY or install service. We do not recommend DIY for those with limited or no soldering skills. If the idea of lifting pins and working with components at 0603 and 0402 sizes scares you, do not attempt this. The Nomad Triple Bypass is also getting ready for prototype boards. The layout is almost complete and the circuit is basically done. Once completed, this will also be available as DIY or install service. This will be a substantially easier install but the video portion of the install is considerably more difficult than the audio.

Virtual Tap kits are in testing here. Fabrication houses are still being shopped to attempt to keep costs as low as possible for everyone. Please note, these are not cheap to produce. While the boards themselves are compact, they really require some components that can get quite costly. So final pricing will not be set until the fabrication house is chosen and the batch size is determined.

Colecovision RGB boards are here and being tested. If these turn out as expected, they will go into full production and finally be back in stock. These will not be open sourced immediately. They will remain closed source for a period to recoup R&D costs. At which point they will become open source and require accreditation to both us and citrus3000psi for his contributions.

As always, thank you all for your patience and support. We are finally reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a very long road and there are plenty of exciting things finally coming to light.

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June is Upon Us

That’s right folks. June is right around the corner. Unfortunately the backlog is taking longer than anticipated, but we are still moving right along. Most of the really time consuming jobs are completed. What that means, is that the remaining orders should be completed at a much more aggressive pace. While June 1 will not be the day orders reopen, we are still targeting June, as early as possible. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. Going forward we have devised ways of preventing the backlog from becoming out of hand like this again.

Now onto more important and exciting news. All of the parts for testing our Virtual Tap kits have finally come in. What this means is that after we perform testing and validation of the flex cables, which were the big hold up, we will finally be able to place the manufacturing order to create a new batch of Virtual Tap kits. Of course both RGB and VGA will be available. We are considering doing a pre-order system for these with no limit to the number being produced, but this is still a discussion within the shop. As many of you know, pre-orders are not something we really like to do here. That being said, we also expect to have the next iteration of Colecovision RGB boards on hand soon. After validation of the new design, we will hopefully finally be having the new production of these made as well. These of course will be available for DIY or install service as usual.

While we can’t fully discuss everything that is currently being tested, there are a few projects in the works that are going to be very special. We have been collaborating with a few other members of the community to create some very special circuits that have never been done before. As soon as we have a better timeline on these, we will announce more details. This is shaping up to be a very exciting year with a lot of really awesome products coming from the community and hopefully from us as well.

Please continue to be patient and know that we have not stopped, will not stop, and will continue to provide the best service we can going forward. Thank you all for your never ending support.