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41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
06-13-2017, 07:57 PM
Post: #1
41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
From Monte's site:

"Found out that the Flash memory devices used in the 41CL are Last-Time-Buy status. Need to decide how many more 41CL boards there might be."



So, how many new boards should be made if any ? Who wants one...? :-)
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06-14-2017, 06:57 PM
Post: #2
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
Wow, talk about timing. There's a Xilinx new Dev Board coming out, for about $90, called the Mini Zed.

At first I thought: what possible use could this have?
But when compared to the 41CL it has:
  • Plenty of Flash RAM,
  • USB port (for standard keyboard),
  • Arduino connector (for 3.5" LCD display),
  • Xilinx FPGA core for import of 41CL VHDL / Verilog...
...and suddenly there's a lot of potential.

There'd need to be changes, of course. Going from a scanned keypad to reading values from a USB-connected keyboard isn't exactly trivial.
BUT - I suspect this dev board has enough grunt to do the job.
Power & comms come from other USB ports, hanging off your PC. You could have the "41-CL2" sitting between your conventional keyboard, and your PC, ready to be invoked with a key shortcut.
Minimal loss of desk space.

That's a format which would interest me.
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06-15-2017, 06:09 PM
Post: #3
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
(06-13-2017 07:57 PM)Gene Wrote:  From Monte's site:

"Found out that the Flash memory devices used in the 41CL are Last-Time-Buy status. Need to decide how many more 41CL boards there might be."

So, how many new boards should be made if any ? Who wants one...? :-)

The only reason that I noticed the EOL status was that I went to the distributor website looking at pricing for larger Flash devices for a possible V5 revision. They are also EOL. Revising the board for the next larger size is a trivial exercise, and I am in the "should I do it" phase. This would double the size of the Flash to 1024 pages, from the current 512, guaranteeing that we would never run out of space again. It turns out that the 18MHz crystal I use is already obsolete, but I think that there is a replacement available. I still need to check the other distributor for any other obsolete parts (the BOM is split between two distis.) This, plus the amount of interest I see, will determine if/when I do another run.

At the same time, I am also considering finally doing an assembly run for the clone of the Time module. I just need to verify the design on the breadboard before I pull the trigger. I'm hoping that there is still interest in that project also.

Monte
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06-15-2017, 06:19 PM
Post: #4
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
(06-14-2017 06:57 PM)sa-penguin Wrote:  Wow, talk about timing. There's a Xilinx new Dev Board coming out, for about $90, called the Mini Zed.

At first I thought: what possible use could this have?
But when compared to the 41CL it has:
  • Plenty of Flash RAM,
  • USB port (for standard keyboard),
  • Arduino connector (for 3.5" LCD display),
  • Xilinx FPGA core for import of 41CL VHDL / Verilog...
...and suddenly there's a lot of potential.

There'd need to be changes, of course. Going from a scanned keypad to reading values from a USB-connected keyboard isn't exactly trivial.
BUT - I suspect this dev board has enough grunt to do the job.
Power & comms come from other USB ports, hanging off your PC. You could have the "41-CL2" sitting between your conventional keyboard, and your PC, ready to be invoked with a key shortcut.
Minimal loss of desk space.

That's a format which would interest me.

Replacing the keyboard would be the opposite of trivial. But it would be manageable if you merely translated the USB keyboard stuff directly into a open/closed set of signals that tied to the existing keyboard scanner. The Verilog source code for the NEWT is available on the 41CL website, as are the board schematics. I also have a Verilog model of the display driver chips, which would help translating to some other display format. I also have Verilog for the Timer chip.

In the past I have toyed with the idea of a "desktop" 41CL, with nice big LED displays, but never have gotten beyond the "that might be cool" stage.

Monte
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06-15-2017, 06:24 PM
Post: #5
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
Hello Monte,

He! He! great news! Smile

(06-15-2017 06:09 PM)Monte Dalrymple Wrote:  The only reason that I noticed the EOL status was that I went to the distributor website looking at pricing for larger Flash devices for a possible V5 revision.

I will take two (2) v5 boards.

(06-15-2017 06:09 PM)Monte Dalrymple Wrote:  At the same time, I am also considering finally doing an assembly run for the clone of the Time module.

How this assembly will be packaged ?
in a plug in module or as a daughter board on the CL ?
If it is a daughter board, what will be the compatibility with the beta, v2, v3, v4 & v5 boards ?

Best regards,

Sylvain
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06-15-2017, 07:12 PM
Post: #6
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
Hi Monte,

I also take two v5 boards.

Can you not integrate the time module directly on the board like on a CX?

Thanks
Patrik
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06-15-2017, 08:09 PM
Post: #7
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
Well it's time to go from the beta board to a version V5. I am sure I can find some donor shells :-)

So how about two for me also!!!

Geoff
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06-15-2017, 08:42 PM
Post: #8
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
(06-15-2017 06:24 PM)Sylvain Cote Wrote:  
(06-15-2017 06:09 PM)Monte Dalrymple Wrote:  At the same time, I am also considering finally doing an assembly run for the clone of the Time module.

How this assembly will be packaged ?
in a plug in module or as a daughter board on the CL ?
If it is a daughter board, what will be the compatibility with the beta, v2, v3, v4 & v5 boards ?

Best regards,

Sylvain

Either way. The board is designed to go into a module housing, but you can always solder it internally. Only V4 and V5 boards have connection points on the top of the board for this purpose, but you can always solder it directly to the 41C bus up by the display drivers. I would not recommend trying to solder it to the 41CL board directly unless you are an experienced solderer and have a temperature-controlled small-tip soldering iron. The connection points are only 1mm x 1mm on the CL board, so it will likely require 30-guage wire and a steady hand.
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06-15-2017, 08:50 PM
Post: #9
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
(06-15-2017 07:12 PM)CY-CL Wrote:  Hi Monte,

I also take two v5 boards.

Can you not integrate the time module directly on the board like on a CX?

Thanks
Patrik

Of course it's theoretically possible, but that would mean redoing the board layout, and it will be tricky trying to fit everything in. I am really hesitant to "fix" something that isn't broken. Plus, I want to make it available stand alone, for the Luddites who don't want a CL.

The alternative would be to switch FPGA technologies and integrate everything into a single device. This would simplify the board in one way, with fewer components and fewer switched power supplies, but the only FPGA technology with low enough current drain to be continuously powered only comes in BGA packages, with very tight design rules for the PC board. This is something I want even less to attempt. The CL board was my very first surface-mount PCB, and I consider it a miracle that it worked the first time. I wouldn't want to tempt fate again, with the project being my first BGA board.
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06-15-2017, 09:19 PM
Post: #10
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
Now the killer question Wink
Do you have any idea of what will be the selling price of this time module ?
Sylvain
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06-15-2017, 09:30 PM
Post: #11
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
(06-15-2017 09:19 PM)Sylvain Cote Wrote:  Now the killer question Wink
Do you have any idea of what will be the selling price of this time module ?
Sylvain

At this point I can't even guess what the PC board (tight design rules) or assembly (very dense part placement) is going to cost. My target selling price was $45-75. I can imagine all the business majors out there rolling their eyes at these two statements. But I'm doing this because _I_ want Time functionality for all of my personal machines, and imagine that others do as well.
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06-15-2017, 09:55 PM (This post was last modified: 06-16-2017 03:12 AM by Sylvain Cote.)
Post: #12
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
(06-15-2017 09:30 PM)Monte Dalrymple Wrote:  
(06-15-2017 09:19 PM)Sylvain Cote Wrote:  Now the killer question Wink
Do you have any idea of what will be the selling price of this time module ?
Sylvain

At this point I can't even guess what the PC board (tight design rules) or assembly (very dense part placement) is going to cost. My target selling price was $45-75. I can imagine all the business majors out there rolling their eyes at these two statements. But I'm doing this because _I_ want Time functionality for all of my personal machines, and imagine that others do as well.

Ok then, based on the assumption that the cost of one module will be under $100 USD,
I am committing myself for the following:
  • if no v5 board is produced, I will buy four (4) time modules (to match the number of 41CL boards that I have)
  • if a v5 board is produced, I will buy two (2) 41CL v5 boards and six (6) time modules
Last question, about the enclosing case, will you offer the 3D printed case parts and if not, are the following HP-41 3D printed module parts will be compatible ?
HP-41 Mod Top : https://www.shapeways.com/product/87BQPB...d=58936151
HP-41 Mod Bottom : https://www.shapeways.com/product/3V68BQ...d=58936242

Sylvain

edit: typo
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06-15-2017, 10:00 PM
Post: #13
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
You can count on me for one V5 board. I have a tall keys that is waiting for conversion. I may be interested in a time module, depending on price.
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06-15-2017, 10:12 PM
Post: #14
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
(06-15-2017 09:55 PM)Sylvain Cote Wrote:  Last question, about the enclosing case, will you offer the 3D printed case parts and if not, are the following HP-41 3D printed module parts will be compatible ?
HP-41 Mod Top : https://www.shapeways.com/product/87BQPB...d=58936151
HP-41 Mod Bottom : https://www.shapeways.com/product/3V68BQ...d=58936242

Sylvain

That case should work, and it's the one I would offer to use with the board. However, there is still the problem of the connector. I have been assuming that a donor connector would be used, because I don't know how to get one made (it was clearly custom for HP.) I know, that means destroying a module, but the same thing was required for the Clonix, so I figure it's what I'll have to do also.
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06-16-2017, 12:40 AM
Post: #15
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
I will definitely take one V5 board (possibly 2, depends on timing) and 2 Time Module boards.

Early response is looking good!

Thanks Monte!

--Bob Prosperi
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06-16-2017, 01:04 AM
Post: #16
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
and with the future automated updating of the flash rom it should be easier than ever to keep up in the CL world.

Anyone interested in starting an installation business to put boards into HP 41 units ? I think THAT is the biggest drawback based on the number of people at HHC conferences who have 41CL boards but never installed them.

?
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06-16-2017, 01:06 AM (This post was last modified: 06-16-2017 01:07 AM by Geoff Quickfall.)
Post: #17
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
Okay, I bid 300 quatloos and raise you two v5 boards and two time modules.
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06-16-2017, 02:58 AM
Post: #18
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
(06-15-2017 10:12 PM)Monte Dalrymple Wrote:  
(06-15-2017 09:55 PM)Sylvain Cote Wrote:  Last question, about the enclosing case, will you offer the 3D printed case parts and if not, are the following HP-41 3D printed module parts will be compatible ?
HP-41 Mod Top : https://www.shapeways.com/product/87BQPB...d=58936151
HP-41 Mod Bottom : https://www.shapeways.com/product/3V68BQ...d=58936242

Sylvain

That case should work, and it's the one I would offer to use with the board. However, there is still the problem of the connector. I have been assuming that a donor connector would be used, because I don't know how to get one made (it was clearly custom for HP.) I know, that means destroying a module, but the same thing was required for the Clonix, so I figure it's what I'll have to do also.

The problem of the module connector has bothered me for some time. Having gained experience with flex circuits though, I think they'd be a viable solution to replacing the stock connector. A flex could have gold contacts with the correct width and spacing to match the copper fingers of the stock connector, then narrow down at the other end to some standard width for the PCB, like 0.1" (or 2mm for the rest of the world Smile ) The flex could be optionally bonded to a stiffener, the better to attach some foam tape that would sit between flex and module housing. The foam would press the flex contacts against the I/O block flex contacts for an electrical connection. There would be two flex circuits to match the upper and lower copper contact fingers.

The key would be pressing the flex PCB contacts at the other end of the flex against the module PCB. I can imagine some sort of U-shaped hard spring material that would fit in the module slot reserved for the stock connector, that would hold the two flex contacts against each side of the PCB, and would serve to align the flex contact in the module shell so that they are correctly aligned with the I/O block flex contacts. Alas, though I have passing experience with CAD, I know nothing about 3D printed part design. I do have this on my round-tuit list and wouldn't mind dropping a Benjamin on the flex part. It would have to be in a cause greater than dumb curiosity though.

Speaking of the v5 board and desktop idea, you can connect the CL board to a motherboard now, power it from a 5V wall wart, add printer, two line graphic backlit display for X and Alpha register, LEDs to illuminate annunciator cutouts, add a more modern I/O bus, and some phat Cherry MX keys. Sorta ties into the other thread on a 42S desktop, right? Count me in as a v5 customer (can only afford one though!)

~Mark
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06-16-2017, 04:55 AM
Post: #19
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
(06-16-2017 02:58 AM)mfleming Wrote:  The key would be pressing the flex PCB contacts at the other end of the flex against the module PCB. I can imagine some sort of U-shaped hard spring material that would fit in the module slot reserved for the stock connector, that would hold the two flex contacts against each side of the PCB, and would serve to align the flex contact in the module shell so that they are correctly aligned with the I/O block flex contacts. Alas, though I have passing experience with CAD, I know nothing about 3D printed part design. I do have this on my round-tuit list and wouldn't mind dropping a Benjamin on the flex part. It would have to be in a cause greater than dumb curiosity though.

If I'm following what you're talking about, how about putting some sort of compressible material behind them, like the foam that presses the battery contacts against the batteries in the HP-71B, at least the two I have. Instead of using springy metal, they use a closed-cell foam rubber. I don't like the idea of using rubber in things you want to last for a long time (it's a problem in tape recorders, VCRs, etc. where there are rubber belts and sometimes rubber wheels that rot over time), but I've been surprised that my 71s' battery rubber has lasted just fine so far.

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
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06-16-2017, 06:12 AM
Post: #20
RE: 41CL chips going EOL - how many 41CL boards are desired in the future ?
I'd be about fifty-fifty on a v5 board.
I've not used my existing 41CL anything like enough, hence the hesitation.

Pauli
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