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Last updated: 2020-04-13

Status of the Project

Covid-19 News

Covid-19 sadly affects the life of mankind all over the world. Some people have been hit hard personally, either health wise or economically. Many people, including myself work from home, and try to balance work hours with the care for kids and household chores. The 'speed' of life seems to be reduced and for me personally it feels like priorities have shifted. Of course, the current situation also has influence on the handling of orders of the Ultimate64 webshop. I try to ship whatever I can ship, but the interval has stretched to roughly 2 weeks.

Currently it is not possible to ship packages with Deutsche Post to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some other regions. Shipping with PostNL is a lot more expensive, and may be an option for some. Maybe it is an idea to use bulk shipments to one person per region, using a courier like UPS. This person could then distribute the separate packages through the local postal system. This is still under investigation. I'll contact customers of affected orders when there is more information.

Ultimate-II+

The Ultimate-II+ hardware is stable and in full production. Every few months a new production batch is started, that matches with the demand. In detail:

  • Boards: On stock
  • Plastic Cases: Only black is on stock. New cases expected: Apr 22, 2020
  • IEC cables: On stock

Tape Adapters

Available, plenty of stock again.

Ultimate-64

Current! An e-mail was sent to clients with a pre-order on April 2nd, reading:

You are receiving this e-mail because I have a pre-order on record for an Ultimate 64, or Ultimate 64 Elite board.

First of all, I hope that you and your loved ones are in good health. The situation in the world is rather critical at the moment. Priorities shift, situations at home change and we need to reorganize our lives accordingly. I am no exception to this. However, I do try to keep the Ultimate project going. With this e-mail I would like to inform you about the progress of the manufacturing of the board that you ordered.

It cannot be denied that things are a bit slower than usual. This was especially noticable when purchasing the components. However, the good news is that all of the components are complete, and the bare board PCBs have been made and have been, or are about to be delivered at the assembly factory. The factory where the boards are assembled has implemented extra safety measures and will continue to operate normally. I was notified that they will start assembling the boards after easter weekend. They usually need about two weeks before the first boards come out of their production line.

In summary, I expect to resume shipping U64's in the first half of May. In the mean time, I'll make sure to have stock of the power adapters and packing materials, so that I'll be able to dispatch quickly. If everything goes as planned, I'll send out a payment request in the last week of April for the orders that have not yet been paid for.

Update: PCBs were tested faulty. PCB factory needs to redo the boards; so there is at least 2-3 weeks delay.

History

  • The very first production boards have been shipped in April and May 2018. These are V1.1 boards, about 110 pieces.
  • EMC tests have been carried out on these first production boards, and the Ultimate-64 has passed these tests with flying colors. Yey!
  • The production of the first batch of V1.2 boards is finished, and all 420 boards from this production batch have been shipped in October 2018.
  • The third production batch (Also V1.2 boards) has finished by the end of 2018, and most of the 540 boards from this production batch were shipped out in December 2018 and January 2019.
  • The fourth production batch (300 pcs) has completed, and the vast majority has been shipped. However, there are some orders that have never been paid for. They will soon expire, so more U64 orders can be satisfied from the remaining stock.
  • The first U64 Elite production batch (230 pcs) has been delivered to the end customers. The joystick swapper was added last minute prior to production, but turned out to work well. ;-) Please note that not all U64 Elite orders could be satisfied with the latest production batch of 230 pcs. Orders up to 190917 were satisfied with this production batch.
  • Another batch of U64 Elite boards (400 pcs) and U64s (100 pcs) has been shipped by the end of 2019. Pending orders that were not paid for were canceled to clean up the data base. Remaining boards allocated to pre-paid orders.

Speaker for Drive Sounds for U64

Limited stock of the speakers for the U64. New ones have been ordered and will likely be on time for when the U64 Elite ships again in bigger quantities.

U64 User Port Extension

Unfortunately, the User Port extension for the U64 has a flaw in the 9VAC generator. It can be fixed by replacing the chip for another type. However, I have to do this manually, one by one, and it takes time (5-10 min per board). If not explicitly requested, User Port adapters without 9VAC will be delivered.

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.