Last updated: 2023-08-18

What you can find on this page

Since I don't have a working blog yet, I will try to more actively use this page for now to record some progress on various aspects of the Ultimate project. Below you will also find the production status of the various products and accessories.

Blog Items

August 2022

Last month the first 1000 units of the Ultimate-II+L cartridges has sold out; all of these were pre-ordered. The cartridge now goes from pre-order to back-order, which means the product is now in a regular production cycle. It is now fully outsourced, including the purchase of the components. The component shortage on the market seems to have passed for a great part. A new production has started in a second production location in a batch of 500 pcs. It is expected that by the beginning of September the cartridges will be back in stock.

Customers that have pre-ordered will soon be asked to pay for their order, so their order can be shipped first.

The Ultimate-64 MK2 is still in the design phase. More information will follow at a later date.

May 2022

The last months have been super super busy! The Ultimate-II+L boards have been flowing in from the factory again and I have been shipping like crazy. Well, for the people waiting it must feel slow still, but plowing through a backlog of literally hundreds of orders is just a lot of work. Doing this alongside of my 4-day per week demanding job is a bit much. The production batch of 1000 pcs has now been shipped for roughly 75%. There are still many unpaid open orders, so I need to clean up the database a bit after at least one more reminder, before prematurely selling the remaining boards to newer customers.

Firmware has been killing me as well. The Lattice tools are giving me some pain in the butt, as some FPGA builds seem to be slightly unstable, with the root cause unknown. This slows down a project quite a lot; nobody likes to hunt ghosts for days. For now it seems to be sufficient to demand extra timing margin and carefully check the build reports for peculiarities. Some thorough testing has been done with the C128 as well, which resulted in some changes in the timing on the cartridge bus. How frustrating is it then, to read on Facebook that this causes problems elsewhere. :-(

Introducing the U2+L caused many design files to change, and it comes with no surprise that this introduced problems in existing firmware builds, e.g. for the good old 1541U2. Today I tried to fix the latest firmware for this platform, so that I can release a complete package with version 3.10h for all platforms; U64(E) / U2+L / U2+ and 1541U2. The build for 1541U2 was seriously broken; USB didn't work, cartridges didn't work, the 1541 drive didn't work. These problems have now all been solved. However, some other problems remain. I hope to find time soon to address these issues. It is frustrating that this pulls me back from work that I'd actually prefer to be doing: work on v3.11 with increased functionality, and maybe on a new U64E board.

Dec 2022

Currently I am working together with another enthusiastic developer, Johan Smolinski, on the definition and implementation of a REST[-ful] API for the Ultimate products. This API will appear in version 3.11 of the firmware. What functionality will the API provide? Well, it can be used for various purposes:

  • Remote control
  • Automated testing
  • Remote development
  • Provide user interfaces on mobile devices
  • ...
Actually, the list is endless if we let our creativity out of the cage. The API will provide access to the file system as well as various functional hardware and components of the Ultimate, such as the floppy drives, software IEC, settings, and so on. The purpose is to make this API so easy to use that anyone with a bit of experience (for instance with HTML, CSS and JS) can make really cool things and join the retro world and the present together! Yes, YOUR Ultimate device will become a web server! Maybe a bit slow and primitive, but... isn't that what we love about retro computing anyway?

More about this later!

Status of the Project


February 2022:The Ultimate-II+ hardware as it used to be is, due to component shortages, currently impossible to build. And certainly at the current price point. The FPGA jumped in price about 7-fold. So in short, since April 2021, the production of this board has stopped.

Bad news? Yes, to some extent. At the time of writing, I can tell you that investigations to port the Ultimate design to another FPGA vendor have been successful. With this success I took the jump to purchase a sufficient number of these FPGAs for at least the entire 2022 and some of 2023, for an acceptable price point for this product. Under the current market conditions it is always a bit tricky to know whether the parts you buy are fake or not... So let's keep our fingers crossed that they are good. In addition, suitable components have been found to implement a new Ultimate-II+ board. This board will be named "Ultimate-II+L", to differentiate it from the original U2+.

In the mean time (mid-April), the hardware has been ported to accommodate all new components, and all components that are necessary to build the boards are in stock! In professional terms: I have been engineering a form fit function compatible device based on current market availability. The PCB for the prototypes are now in production. Hopefully within a month or so, I can test the prototypes and start mass production shortly after.

Update June 24, 2022: The prototypes of the U2+L have arrived! Later than expected, as the assembly company had some other projects that were taking much longer to produce than planned due to bad quality material. Then the U64E went first, so that I could start shipping those. All in all, there are only 2 weeks left before my holidays, so there is little chance that the design can be validated and fully working before that date.

Update July 6, 2022: Some life is getting into the U2+L prototypes. Not everything is proven to be working, but in small steps it is getting there. Unfortunately the sign-off for mass production is too risky at this point. So, this will have to be pulled over the holidays.

It is now possible again to pre-order the U2+ on the website (new version). The price has increased with just a few euros compared to the previous version, much less than the insane inflation rates we are seeing today.

Update September 23, 2022: U2+L prototypes are working fully. PCB data has been corrected for the few mistakes and adjustments that needed to be made.

Update October 5, 2022: U2+L PCB production data has been approved for mass production. PCBs are planned to be ready by Nov 9.

Update Nov 10, 2022: Factory test system finalized and sent to the assembly company

Update Nov 11, 2022: Assembly company admits that they are overbooked and that the production of the U2+L will start in January 2023.

Update Nov 20, 2022: Official mailer created using the Google Gmail API. This facilitates sending customized e-mails. Sent ~700 emails with order status update.

Update Mar 01, 2023: Assembly company finally dispatched the first 82 U2+L boards!

Update Apr 04, 2023: Most U2+L boards have been delivered, roughly 925 of them in total. Some are still pending due to a missing coin cell holder.

Update May 09, 2023: Roughly 750 U2+Ls have been shipped! Shipping roughly 80-100 per week until stock has depleted.

Notes on available stock:
  • Boards: Limited stock. New production inquiries have been sent.
  • Plastic cases: Dark blue, a new color! Beige is now out of stock, and so is purple.. :-(
  • IEC cables: In stock.

Tape Adapters

In stock


Current board version is 1.4a. No further changes were made since the beginning of 2020. The board is fully jumper-less. Voltage and filters for the SID sockets are set automatically. For logistic reasons, only the Elite boards are available.
  • The latest batch of 500 boards has been sold out.
  • Pre-orders will open as soon as the manufacturing price of the boards is confirmed by the assembly company. Lead time of the FPGA is one year, so no new boards are expected before the end of 2023. This is not a typo.

Speaker for Drive Sounds for U64

Out of stock.

U64 User Port Extension

A new version of the U64 UserPort Adapter has arrived from the factory, which includes the 9VAC fix and a 5V power-on delay fix.
In stock.

U64 / U64 Elite Badges

A new sub-category of accessories has been added to the store, where you can find "badges": high quality stickers with domed cover. These are designed and produced by Marco v/d Meulenhof. I have a bunch of each type on stock. Preferably ordered together with the U64 / U64E, to avoid unnecessary shipping cost.

Personal notes

Sometimes updates and communication is a bit slow. I do my best to respond properly to questions and problems. In this, I think the response to customer problems should take priority over new sales and shipments. Then, there is the software development, which includes bug-solving. As an engineer, I have the tendency to give my soul to it, ... which sometimes means that planning issues, or rather: planning questions remain unanswered for some time. My apologies for this. I know it can be frustrating when individual questions regarding orders and planning are not answered. However, in the bigger picture, I do try to keep pushing everything forward. I do keep an eye on the dates, and try to order on time, and supply the data and answers to questions from the different factories involved.