Site Migration

This site is going to be migrated to a new service provider in the next couple of days. The site may go down temporarily as this takes place.

Retropie 4.8 images for PJ Adapter are available now!

There are some issues booting earlier versions of Retropie on new versions of the Raspberry Pi4 manufactured in 2022… not that you would be able to get one anywhere. If you do manage to get a new Pi somehow, Retropie 4.8 will address this issue for you.

Tearing and jitter on a Pi4 is still horrible and I would strongly suggest everyone avoid the Pi4 for emulation for the time being.

That said, the images are now available on the PJ images page right here. Please report any issues.

Website Update Progress

The company that does the hosting for me had a datacenter failure, and many of my virtual servers got corrupted in the process. This has been going on for the last few days.

This is a fresh restore from an earlier backup. Some pages and files, mainly the retropie images for the PJ adapter, are still missing. I’m working on it and most of the stuff should be back online this evening.

I’m going to take the opportunity to make some software updates as well, and may do periodic restarts as this takes place.

Thanks to everyone for their patience.

Cutbot – A New Robot Controller Added

Here’s my newest robot controller. I’ve been working on more of these, in fact I have completed several already, just haven’t had a chance to do a proper write up about them.

These controllers are just some of the projects my son and I did a while back as a learning excercise, with the end goal to automate some wire, shrikwrap cutting and pin bending tasks that we do around here.

Check out the project page here. I’ll be posting some videos of this thing in action when I get around to it. In the mean time you can grab the gerbers and source code and start using these to make your own cutting projects.

This was developed as open source and open hardware project. It was made to be easily understood for a beginner and can be made using inexpensive and readily available parts. You can modify this design for any purpose you feel appropriate. I can only provide minimum support and no warranty of any kind.

Bally/Midway BurgerTime video sync issues.

Short post today….

So it turns out that some of these BurgerTime don’t use composite sync and will have issues connecting to a JAMMA setup.

I’ve been sitting on this information for a few months already, got distracted and forgot to post it. It came back to me when I found this version of the board for sale recently. So… here it is, the information on this specific issue and a mod to address it can be found at the following page:

Data East 20 Pin Video Connector

Hopefully this will be useful to someone out there.

Online stores now… online?

The two new stores are now open for business. There will be some more activity here as we integrate this site with the Shopify store to make the shopping experience even smoother, but that will happen gradually over time. The Etsy store has been created since there is already a fairly active arcade, gaming and electronics community of small creators on there. The main goal of this site will still remain the same, to provide information on my current and future projects.

Alright… so why do this? First of all, not everyone likes to use eBay. While the platform itself is fine for what it does, eBay has developed a reputation for it’s high fees, arrogance from being too big of a company and generally not giving a crap about its customers, especially sellers. Nicknames that include the word “greed” come to mind.

There are some specific issues that I have with eBay. First of all, the calculated shipping method that eBay uses is absolutely messed up. Instead of adding up the weights and volumes and getting a shipping quote on that during the checkout process, it just adds the shipping costs for each individual item. I usually have to fix it during order fulfilment or refund the people afterward. This is very annoying. I don’t know how anyone puts up with that.

Second, the prices on shipping are wrong to begin with. I get a small discount on shipping with my CanadaPost corporate account, but there is no way to utilize that effectively. There is a way to add a percentage discount on calculated shipping quotes, but that applies to all quotes, and the discounts from the shipper don’t work that way, as they are different based on the service and destination chosen.

Then there is the issue of taxes. eBay has to collect taxes on all foreign sales. They do that automatically. We are in Canada, so I only have to collect sales taxes within Canada. Since I have no physical presence elsewhere, my understanding is that (this will likely change in the future anyway but for the time being…) I do not need to collect taxes on foreign sales. I can simply leave it up to the usual customs process and import restrictions of each county. Since more than 90% of my sales go to the US, this is a clear win for US folks, as their import restrictions are nearly non existent for this type of activity.

Then there is the simple matter of customer experience on eBay. That site not only looks dated, it functions like a fossilized dinosaur. They only recently added to ability to accept payment methods other than PayPal, and likely only because other e-commerce site have had this functionality from the get go. I could spend an entire post on just this…

Finally it’s their fees. The fees on eBay will take at least 10% of gross sales which includes shipping. Then they will collect the taxes. Then there are listing fees, most that can be avoided with some strategizing. Then you have to pay a monthly fee on top of that, that’s if you want to have an online store there and basic functionality like the ability to provide announcements and vacation settings.

Now there are positives about selling on eBay too, like the fact that the site just works, has a massive presence and will do some promo type activities, which helps a lot. It’s great for people who just want to dip their toes in without spending additional money, and see if there is a market for their inventions and ideas. That’s probably their biggest selling point. If it wasn’t for eBay, and the people that have supported me here, I don’t think I’d be able to do these projects right now.

But like I said not everyone likes eBay, and sometime it’s good to diversify. My project site is already pretty high in terms of search engine rankings. Most people come here first to look for info on my projects, then they get confused and discouraged when they want to buy the product they like, but can’t purchase it here. That’s why the integration is needed. This is probably the most frequent complaint I’ve been getting recently. Also, while eBay will always be an option, I’m going to have the opportunity to fix some of the problems I’ve had with that site and to pass some of the savings to you guys.

Again, thanks for everyone for supporting me and my work over the last couple of years. I am grateful as it helps me develop more projects and stay more involved in the arcade and gaming hobbies, hopefully helping others out as well. Being my hobby, this work beats anything I’ve done in the corporate environment hands down, in terms of my enthusiasm and motivation to do more, and just the overall fun factor. Hopefully this can continue going forward.

Atari JAMMA Adapters listed.

I’ve been sitting on these for a while, unable to assemble them to keep a steady flow. We’re improving our assemble process slowly, freeing up some time to work on and release some of the outstanding projects.

As a result we have here a new batch of Atari adapters for some of their more popular games:

These will be released on the ebay store, then elsewhere. Here’s the link:

Ebay Store (online)

I plan to work on converting more Atari so this isn’t the end of these.

More ways to get my stuff.

We’ve been working on setting up a new online store over the last few weeks and working on putting stuff up on other e-commerce sites for a larger online footprint since we don’t do any marketing here whatsoever.

Every sale that I’ve had since I started this almost 4 years ago has been from word of mouth support from people that liked these projects. For that I am tremendously grateful, and to those that helped spread the word, a big “Thank You!” from the bottom of my black heart.

Up until now I’ve been selling my products only on ebay, which has worked fairly well so far, but there are some obvious issues with that. Having a dedicated online store will give buyers more choice in terms of where to shop, and for me, more online presence and more control to do the things I need to do.

I’m sure this will be a welcome addition. While I will continue to sell on ebay, you will see some changes over the next few weeks here, that will integrate this site with the new store to make the shopping experience a lot smoother. Also, there will be more places out there on the web where these products will be available.

For now if you are interested in a sneak preview, my projects can be found on the following platforms:

These links may not be fully functional until the stores launch at the end of March hopefully. See you there.

Many new projects coming up on here.

I’ve been neglecting this site somewhat. There are a few reasons for this… two home renovations including a purchase of several, large and expensive pieces of equipment for a new workshop / lab which is still being expended to this day, the closure of our family business and a move across the province in search of a better life… and most importantly, a lot more quality time with the family.

There was no shortage of projects last year however. I’ve worked on, and completed many things, including a number Arduino projects, dozens of new JAMMA adapters, a new TV mod, a couple of robot controllers that I worked on with my son. It was probably my most productive year ever.

Many of these things have not yet been documented however, as documentation isn’t normally something I look forward to, but some of these projects I think are pretty cool and I’m sure they can be useful to some of you out there. Don’t be surprised to find out of order blog posts as I plan to back date these to around the time they were completed.