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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.

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Holiday schedule

Just a quick announcement regarding this holiday weekend. We will be working overtime to continue getting caught up on the backlog. Any jobs that complete from Friday through Tuesday, will be shipping out on Wednesday. We will not be taking any time off during this weekend and instead will focus on trying to get even more done than normal.

We hope you all have a happy and safe holiday weekend. With any luck, a good portion of you waiting will be receiving shipment notifications in the coming days. Thank you all!

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I’ve Been Waiting Forever! What’s My Status?

Greetings to everyone. We wanted to provide an update now that we are in mid-May. We are still working on the backlog. We are still not taking new orders and have no intention of doing so until we are caught up. Many of you want to know what your current status is, rightfully so. We are investigating a few different ways of providing better order status updates. Namely some kind of page on the site that you can query to determine where you are at. So far, none of the tools we have found have provided the level of granularity we are looking for.

Additionally, once the backlog is caught up, we will be implementing a new method of maintaining a reasonable amount of orders. This way we can keep the turn around times low and mitigate this issue entirely. The “downside” will be that we may close install orders for a couple days while we catch up. There are a few avenues being explored to determine the best course of action.

More exciting news. While working on the backlog we are trying to fit in some additional R&D here and there. With any luck, once we are back to full strength, we are hoping to begin selling Virtual Tap kits, as promised. Possibly some other highly sought after boards as well. Many of you may have seen the Sega CDX Triple Bypass announcement on the RetroRGB Weekly Podcast. This was a direct result of requests from many of you. As a part of that, we will be planning on creating a new board specifically tailored to the CDX and it’s unique design. There may even be a few more things in the works that we aren’t ready to announce.

So the information that you probably want more than anything. Will we be opening back up on June 1? As of right now, most likely no. Reason being, the backlog is taking a really long time to work through. Will we be reopening? Of course! We just don’t want to provide a poor experience and so far we feel like we are. Keep an eye on this page and Twitter to see updates, but all timeline information will be posted here first. If we power through and get the backlog done before June 1 that will be the date. If we don’t have it completed then we will stay closed, keep working, and provide more updates.

As always thank you all for your patience and kind words. As always you can reach out for more specific information. If you want your systems back without being completed, we completely understand and will absolutely return them. Hope to be seeing you all soon with good news.

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Hey! Where did the installs go?

As posted last week, we have shut down all new install service orders for this month. We will be focusing primarily on the backlog and potentially getting some of the new circuit offerings completed. Any orders already placed but not shipped to us are still able to be sent in. Any order already received is part of the plan for this month. Expectation is to reopen June 1. Please feel free to reach out with questions but we do not intend on allowing “side loading” of installs/repairs. Any items we sell that are available for purchase without install, will still be available. Keep an eye on the page for updates as we work through everything.

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Important Announcement

Customer service has always been one of the highest priorities in the shop. Anyone who has ever reached out to us knows, we tend to be overly responsive. The last few months have been awesome. Lots of exciting new products have been coming out and are in the works. Colecovision RGB boards are close to being finalized. The ever looming PS2 HDMI mod is on the horizon. Along with so many other awesome products.

As such we want to ensure that we are providing the best experience and products for our customers. Right now we believe we are falling short on that. With the increase of new mods coming out and the health issues that came up earlier this year, things have fallen behind. Instead of continuing to talk about the backlog and timelines, we are going to do something about it.

Beginning on May 2, we will cease taking new installation orders temporarily. This is something we have been discussing quite a bit and is not something we take lightly. The intention is to spend the month of May wiping out the backlog. At this time, we intend to reopen install services on June 1. This date is subject to change, but if it is going to be adjusted we will announce it here. We are not going anywhere. The plan is to finish some of the upgrades we have been putting off in the new shop and burning through this backlog. This way when we come back to taking new installs, we will be starting fresh with short wait times.

So what if you have an install already ordered with us? If we have your console, congratulations, you are one of the people who we will be focusing on for May. If you have purchased an install but have not yet shipped, that’s totally fine too. We will take that console in and get it addressed. If you are planning on placing an order and have not yet done so, you have until May 2 to place the order. After that time any new install service orders will need to wait until we reopen.

What about boards we sell like the FU-RGB? No problem. Any DIY kits we sell will still be available. Some new ones might even pop up.

Just remember, this is not a vacation. We will still be in the shop working just as much as ever. If the backlog is cleared before June 1, we might even open back up early. If June 1 comes around and we still feel more time is needed, we will take it and put off reopening installs. All of this is so we can better serve all of you. Please continue to bear with us and know that our goal is to come back strong and ready to give you the level of service you deserve.

Thank you all for your support as always!

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Repairs, Turnarounds, and Getting the job done

Anyone who has been a customer of ours for any length of time knows that we have always prided ourselves on high quality and fast turnaround. As we continue to grow the offerings of the business so must we accept that there will be changes. As such going forward most repairs will no longer be accepted. What does that mean? Well If you have for example a TurboDuo that has no sound, missing effects, or weak sound, we will still accept that. Since most of the time those types of repairs are replacing capacitors and/or op amps. However if your repair is something more in depth, like a NeoGeo MVS MV-1FZ that is having “click of death” errors, while we would love to help, it’s just not feasible any longer.

What does this mean for current repairs? Well anything we currently have for repairs is still intended to be repaired. Repairs have always taken a back seat to installs and these days we just don’t have the time to focus the required attention on them. Going forward a policy will be instituted that any consoles shipped for installs that have undisclosed issues will either only have the install done or be returned at the owners expense. These situations will be discussed via email with the system owners privately.

At the time of the last post we were getting the turnaround time down to a solid two weeks. Since then the turnaround has been slowed and is now around the one month mark. Rest assured, your systems are safe and we absolutely will perform the work but we cannot sacrifice our install quality for the sake of faster returns. Our queue based system ensures that systems that arrive first are the first to be worked on. We do not provide preferential treatment, unless there are extenuating circumstances, which is done at our discretion. Why is it taking so long? Well we had a series of systems sent in that had numerous issues which the customers were hoping would be addressed by their requested services. These were reasonable expectations but unfortunately was not the case.

This is a long post. The important part is to know that we will continue to increase our offerings. We will continue to provide exceptional quality. We will strive to lower turnaround times but going forward we will answer questions regarding this as “about a month give or take.” Your work will absolutely get done. We still work 7 days a week. New products for DIY will be coming, along with installs for them. Prototypes are in hand for a few new devices that we hope everyone will enjoy. The only public announcements so far are that ColecoRGB will be back and better than ever soon. Along with a new offering for the TurboExpress/PC Engine GT 3.5″ LCD install.

As always thank you all for your support and patience as we work through these growing pains.

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FU-RGB Are Back!

The FU-RGB boards are back in stock. Backorders will be shipping out on Monday. This weekend will be spent validating all boards before they go out.

Turnaround time is slowly getting better. Keep an eye on your emails for updates on your order as it moves through the process.

We will keep this short and sweet. Thank you all for your support and keep those eyes open for what comes next.