Redesign, once more!
Date: Sunday, August 11 2019 @ 17:23:13 UTC
Topic: Amiga FPGA accelerator
Working on 3rd Vampire 1200 accelerator revision took every piece of energy I had in my body. It was so time consuming and complex that I can't even explain. 2nd redesign revealed that we have mechanical problems. And yes that happened because I have designed accelerator without having Amiga 1200 plastic housing. In fact I have designed accelerator without even having complete Amiga 1200. I was thinking that pictures and documentation found online should be enough to calculate everything. Oh boy, could I be more wrong. Result, missed accelerator size by 3mm. It was too wide, hitting case and very hard to insert into trapdoor. It took me over one month to fix that problem. So, 3mm not much you may say, but in PCB design that's huge and had to move all components to make them fit to new PCB size, rerouting again, and again, who knows how many times.
Finally some time ago everyone jumped in to help when they heard what problem I have. Well, they were polite enough to not say that I was stupid, but I was. Like you try to make window frame on the house without measuring hole on the wall or even seeing the house. That's how designing this accelerator was. Apollo-team members send me some plastic cases for A1200. Some famous Amiga shops and case makers also did help providing me old and new, redesigned cases. I was able to measure and this time accelerator fits perfectly!
When I was redesigning the card, we, inside team talked a lot about certain features or problems connected to Amiga 1200 design. We took special attention to Amiga 1200 "dirty" clock problems and I hope that we solved that in this revision. Also, card has some other features now for potential support for other popular expansions.
Soldering first prototype took 2 days under abnormal conditions created by very high summer temperatures in my city and the fact that there has been work on the house connected to mine. Imagine soldering 0402 resistor in the situation when everything is vibrating from power drills used to destroy walls. Surrounded with hot air, heat from iron stations, vibrations and workers who are thinking that they know how to sing, it was nightmare.
Well, now coding, stay tuned!
Vampire 1200 II