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Introducing SCSI2SD V5.2 - Now assembled in Canada


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Last week we took delivery of the first mass-production batch of SCSI2SD V5.2's, all of which are now assembled in Canada (with foreign components), with a new Markham, Ontario-based contract manufacturer. They produce a far-superior quality product, and the quality of their Printed Circuit Boards is a cut above what we've come to expect. We are very pleased with the results.

 

From a user's perspective, on day one, the V5.2 isn't much different, functionally speaking, to that of SCSI2SD V5.1. It's a derivative design, and anything that works with V5.1 will work fine with V5.2. The most notable change is the removal of the DB25 connector area, as we now have SCSI2SD V5.5, which didn't exist back when V5.1 was designed. The introduction of SCSI2SD V5.5 had the expected effect of cannibalizing V5.1 sales, almost entirely.

 

The removal of the DB25 SCSI traces from the bottom side of the V5.2 PCB allowed us to build in the ability to add features to SCSI2SD V5.2 in the future. We've moved a few pin assignments around, and as a result, were able to bring out some signals to a SPI header. While the intent of this was to use these pins for SPI, they are true General Purpose pins, and could be used in a variety of different ways. Looking down the road, we've also added a place for SPI NOR flash (in two different footprints), which you can see below, where the silk screened text shows U302 and U303. Once firmware development is complete, and we're happy with the results, this will enable us to, as an example, ship SCSI2SD's with pre-bundled software. Current NOR flash components are available in capacities up to 256 megabits (32 megabytes), at a cost of only several dollars each.

 

 

Feel free to ask any questions you've got about SCSI2SD V5.2 here; I'm happy to answer them.

 

 

SCSI2SD-V5.2.thumb.jpg.5c10d62f48deb1616af18f7a8b3c68c5.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Personally I dont know how I feel about this. 

 

Removing that DB25 footprint kinda kills it for me, I liked being able to use it both ways, it made it very versatile. Now I suppose for a permanent installation one way or another it makes sense to do it the way you are doing it. But for the way I use them, it doesn't make sense at all. But I suppose I fall into the minority. 

 

Also ive noticed the trend of the PCB size kinda staying big. I miss the 5.0 and its small form factor. 

Edited by techknight
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On 11/29/2020 at 5:28 PM, inertialcomputing said:

The removal of the DB25 SCSI traces from the bottom side of the V5.2 PCB allowed us to build in the ability to add features to SCSI2SD V5.2 in the future. We've moved a few pin assignments around, and as a result, were able to bring out some signals to a SPI header. While the intent of this was to use these pins for SPI, they are true General Purpose pins, and could be used in a variety of different ways. Looking down the road, we've also added a place for SPI NOR flash (in two different footprints), which you can see below, where the silk screened text shows U302 and U303. Once firmware development is complete, and we're happy with the results, this will enable us to, as an example, ship SCSI2SD's with pre-bundled software. Current NOR flash components are available in capacities up to 256 megabits (32 megabytes), at a cost of only several dollars each.

 

Excising the DB-25/trace footprint sounds fabulous, can't wait to see what happens in the future. Assuming 10bT is in the works, but the GP pin interface is most intriguing. Open source documentation for outside development?

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
apparently I can no longer type or spell.
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12 hours ago, techknight said:

Also ive noticed the trend of the PCB size kinda staying big. I miss the 5.0 and its small form factor. 

I found the smaller ones way easier to mount and like using the micro SD cards way better (I know I can use adapters, just not a fan).  I'm also not happy with the move to exclusive use of the larger form factor.

 

2 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

Assuming 10bT is in the works

That would be very cool - adding networking to my Classic would make me forget most of my other gripes :-)

Edited by Juror22
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21 hours ago, superjer2000 said:

Awesome!  I love my SCSI2SDs (I think I have around 8 of them). Any chance this might make shipping to Canada less expensive?  I’m guessing not as orders are still probably fulfilled from the US but that would be great as I had started ordering them to my hotel when on vacation to the us to save on shipping. 

We are actually working on securing a Canadian distributor. While we can't do anything about the cost of shipping from the US, this is how we can improve the experience for Canadian customers. More to follow.

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2 hours ago, Juror22 said:

I found the smaller ones way easier to mount and like using the micro SD cards way better (I know I can use adapters, just not a fan).  I'm also not happy with the move to exclusive use of the larger form factor.

 

That would be very cool - adding networking to my Classic would make me forget most of my other gripes :-)

The number one requested feature, when V5.1 was designed by Michael McMaster, was a full sized SD card. LOTS of people hate hate hate microSD with a passion. We don't have anything against the form factor, personally, and find it a lot more environmentally friendly, given that more than half of a modern SD card is pure ABS plastic. While it's trivial to adapt from full sized SD to micro, it's not to go the other way around.

 

I've considered making a variant of V5.5 in the V5.0b form factor. Would that be of interest?

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14 hours ago, techknight said:

Personally I dont know how I feel about this. 

 

Removing that DB25 footprint kinda kills it for me, I liked being able to use it both ways, it made it very versatile. Now I suppose for a permanent installation one way or another it makes sense to do it the way you are doing it. But for the way I use them, it doesn't make sense at all. But I suppose I fall into the minority.

It definitely reduces versatility, but that versatility had unintended consequences when it came to noise immunity. V5.5 is way, way more portable, and most people are happy to use that.

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9 hours ago, inertialcomputing said:

V5.5 is way, way more portable, and most people are happy to use that.

 

This is where I agree to disagree. The only way that statement would even be remotely true (to me) is if there was a 50 pin header on the PCB directly behind the DB25 footprint or something. 

Edited by techknight
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10 hours ago, inertialcomputing said:

We are actually working on securing a Canadian distributor. While we can't do anything about the cost of shipping from the US, this is how we can improve the experience for Canadian customers. More to follow.

As long as it doesn’t increase the overall price. I’ve been very happy with inertial’s shipping time. I wouldn’t want to pay more to order from a Canadian distributor as my prior experiences have already been good. 

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5 hours ago, techknight said:

 

This is where I agree to disagree. The only way that statement would even be remotely true (to me) is if there was a 50 pin header on the PCB directly behind the DB25 footprint or something. 

It's actually still a true statement, even if it's not for you. The numbers don't lie. The good news for you, though, is that we envisioned this use case (V5.5+IDC50) long ago, and have a couple of very straightforward solutions to it, along the lines of what you're referring to:

 

20201202_101659.jpg

SCSI2SD-V5.5-IDC50.jpg

SCSI2SD-V5.5-IDC50-MPC3000.jpg

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Calling "most of everyone else" sheeple in a place they're looking isn't a great look.

 

This isn't the best solution, but was it the v5 of the v6 that stored configurations on the card? if the, say, v5.x configurations are all cross-compatible you could move an SD card between a 5.5 for external use and one of the other varieties for internal use. (I'll defer to intertialcomputing/aperezbios on whether or not that'll work, this is a detail that I like but I can never remember which one it is that allows for this.)

 

The biggest downside I can think of to the 5.5 even as a permanent solution is that it's slower than the other v5 series, but whether or not that matters depends a lot on context. It'll matter a lot less to an SE than to a Quadra 840 or a PowerMac of any kind. (Though, for general data transfer, it'll still be better than most of the other options, if you don't want to involve a network, that's, of course, a separate topic better evaluated to a particular scenario.)

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22 hours ago, inertialcomputing said:

I've considered making a variant of V5.5 in the V5.0b form factor. Would that be of interest?

Yes it would!  :-)

I really appreciate the effort you put into improving the products and still endeavoring to accommodate some of the niche requests.

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On 11/30/2020 at 7:28 AM, inertialcomputing said:

While the intent of this was to use these pins for SPI, they are true General Purpose pins, and could be used in a variety of different ways. Looking down the road, we've also added a place for SPI NOR flash (in two different footprints), which you can see below, where the silk screened text shows U302 and U303. Once firmware development is complete, and we're happy with the results, this will enable us to, as an example, ship SCSI2SD's with pre-bundled software. Current NOR flash components are available in capacities up to 256 megabits (32 megabytes), at a cost of only several dollars each.

 

The above statement implies we should probably wait until your firmware development is complete and subsequently wait to see what flash options and accessories you will offer before making a purchase.  At least, that is my own personal logical interpretation based on what you wrote.

 

Also, can you provide specific examples of how SPI will be used?  (You merely said, "a variety of different ways.")

 

To be honest, I've never purchased a SCSI2SD.  I've quietly been reading and watching what others have done in the background.  But the expandability of your new product has me quite curious, hence my questions.  Thank you.

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On 12/3/2020 at 7:07 PM, JDW said:

 

The above statement implies we should probably wait until your firmware development is complete and subsequently wait to see what flash options and accessories you will offer before making a purchase.  At least, that is my own personal logical interpretation based on what you wrote.

SCSI2SD V5 firmware is very mature at this point, having been iterated and improved upon since ~2014. Around ten thousand V5.x boards are in use in the wild, and V5.2 uses that same firmware, so to somehow twist that in to "it's not ready yet, I should wait" is a bit laughable. V5.2 can do everything the previous V5 boards can, so judging it purely on the basis of future functionality seems...odd, at best.

 

You shouldn't ever buy a product for features that don't exist when you make the purchase.  That said, the pins on the Cypress PSoC 5LP microcontroller that is used in SCSI2SD V5.x are flexible. They can be assigned, at firmware compile time, to perform a variety of different functions (SPI, I2C, I2S, etc.), hence the "a variety of different ways" comment. That said, our envisioned used cases for the V5.2 with the GPIO pins configured in SPI mode are the following:

 

1) SPI NOR flash, either 128 megabits or 256 megabits, to enable a flash-equipped V5.2 to be a boot-able, read-only System 6/7 environment, with disk partitioning/formatting utilities bundled.

2) SPI Ethernet modules, build around the Microchip ENC28J60, a widely available SPI to 10Mbit/sec Ethernet part which is inexpensive and widely available. Chinese-manufactured SPI boards that incorporate this part (also used by Scuznet) cost around $5-7/each. Example photo below. The pinout of the SPI headers, P301 and P302, on SCSI2SD V5.2, are identical to the pinout of these ethernet modules.

 

SCSI2SD is largely the product of one man, Michael McMaster, but the firmware was and remains fully open source. Anyone can build and modify the firmware to make SCSI2SD do anything they are capable of implementing. All that's required to do so is a willingness to get one's hands dirty, and learn new things.

 

Quote

 

Also, can you provide specific examples of how SPI will be used?  (You merely said, "a variety of different ways.")

 

To be honest, I've never purchased a SCSI2SD.  I've quietly been reading and watching what others have done in the background.  But the expandability of your new product has me quite curious, hence my questions.  Thank you.

 

ENC28J60-SPI-Ethernet-module.jpg

ENC28J60-SPI-Ethernet-module-iso.jpg

Edited by inertialcomputing
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  • 1 month later...
On 12/6/2020 at 5:48 AM, inertialcomputing said:

SCSI2SD V5 firmware is very mature at this point, having been iterated and improved upon since ~2014. Around ten thousand V5.x boards are in use in the wild, and V5.2 uses that same firmware, so to somehow twist that in to "it's not ready yet, I should wait" is a bit laughable. V5.2 can do everything the previous V5 boards can, so judging it purely on the basis of future functionality seems...odd, at best.

 

You shouldn't ever buy a product for features that don't exist when you make the purchase.  That said, the pins on the Cypress PSoC 5LP microcontroller that is used in SCSI2SD V5.x are flexible. They can be assigned, at firmware compile time, to perform a variety of different functions (SPI, I2C, I2S, etc.), hence the "a variety of different ways" comment. That said, our envisioned used cases for the V5.2 with the GPIO pins configured in SPI mode are the following:

 

1) SPI NOR flash, either 128 megabits or 256 megabits, to enable a flash-equipped V5.2 to be a boot-able, read-only System 6/7 environment, with disk partitioning/formatting utilities bundled.

2) SPI Ethernet modules, build around the Microchip ENC28J60, a widely available SPI to 10Mbit/sec Ethernet part which is inexpensive and widely available. Chinese-manufactured SPI boards that incorporate this part (also used by Scuznet) cost around $5-7/each. Example photo below. The pinout of the SPI headers, P301 and P302, on SCSI2SD V5.2, are identical to the pinout of these ethernet modules.

 

SCSI2SD is largely the product of one man, Michael McMaster, but the firmware was and remains fully open source. Anyone can build and modify the firmware to make SCSI2SD do anything they are capable of implementing. All that's required to do so is a willingness to get one's hands dirty, and learn new things.

 

 

ENC28J60-SPI-Ethernet-module.jpg

ENC28J60-SPI-Ethernet-module-iso.jpg

You say the pinout of the SPI headers, P301 and P302, on SCSI2SD V5.2, are identical to those of ethernet module Microchip ENC28J60 but there is a problem, there are 12 pins on the Microchip ENC28J60 board and only 10 pins on the SCSI2sd V5.2 board...

 

Please advise us all....?

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