I have been trying to get a bunch of bundles ready. It wasn’t my intention to announce that I only had 3 ready, but that’s the reality. I’m expecting to get a bunch more ready in about 2 weeks (when I can get some more NGPC cartridge connectors made).
I know that some people have contacted me inquiring about the availability of the NGPC bundles, and I’ve said to sign up for the automated emails or watch the site to find out when there are bundles in stock. If I don’t announce this stuff here, then I may be letting people down.
Otherwise, my work on the WonderSwan continues, building more NGPC bundles continues, real life continues, etc.
If we haven’t connected on Twitter yet, please send me a message and we can follow each other. I’d like to start using that more as a way to connect with people. http://twitter.com/freeplaytech
Summer has been a bit crazy. It definitely hasn’t been bad for me. I’ve had a chance to take a couple little vacations with another coming up, so I’m not complaining. It’s just that I’ve been off my regular schedule, and I haven’t had a lot of time for soldering and assembling Neo Geo Pocket Color Flash Masta carts.
To help make up for my lack of time, a friend of mine has been helping with the soldering. While I was out, he soldered up some cartridge PCBs. This past week, he soldered up some Link Masta PCBs, so now we’re dangerously close to having full bundles available again. All I need to do is put the NGPC cartridge socket on the Link Masta PCBs, do a bit of assembly with the cases, and test them out to make sure they’re at 100%.
This time around, I already have a waiting list of people that have contacted me ready to make a purchase. I don’t like selling something I don’t have, so I want to make sure these are all working before putting them up on the site. However, I will be contacting those on the list now to offer bundles to those that have been waiting.
Part of what this means is that if you were someone that contacted me and you want to be sure that you get one of these, email me back, especially if you don’t hear from me in the next day or so.
I should have enough bundled to cover those on the waiting list, and still have a few left to put up for general sale here on the site. We’ll definitely be building more now. I’d prefer if I could stay in stock and keep up with demand, but I’m sure I’ll come up with some lame excuse about having a baby or being on vacation or something.
I’ll post again when bundles are ready to go live (and remove the “Sold Out”) on the purchase page.
SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color Flash Masta and USB Linker
I had to send out a bundle this morning, and it occurred to me that I didn’t have any real recent pictures of the Flash Masta and Linkmasta bundles.
I had a little photo shoot with some good poses. No, I didn’t wear a bikini, but I think you’d rather see these pictures.
Things have been slow since summer started. I haven’t had much time for stuff, and I assume that you guys are pretty busy, too. Ever since school got out, sales have dropped off. Because of these things, I have decided to offer a “Summer Sale” and dropped the price of the bundles. Check here for the summer cheap NGPC devkit pricing. I should note, however, that this coming week is a holiday here in the US, and any orders that come in during that week will probably be delayed by about a week.
Here are the results of this morning’s photo shoot.
SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color Flash Masta and Linkmasta With USB Cable
I just finished editing a tutorial video to instruct other makers and hackers how to make their own NGPC cartridge socket (or any other videogame cartridge socket). These cartridge connectors are impossible to find, unless you remove them from a console. If you’re lucky (or unlucky as it may be) enough to own a non-working system, you can just pull its connector. Otherwise, you probably want to make your own connector.
The video specifically shows my father and I cutting a PCI socket to make two NGPC cartridge connectors. To make other sockets/connectors, the same process can be used, but you may have to start with a different edge connector. Just choose something with the same pin pitch as your project, grab a Dremel tool, and start hacking.
Here’s the video. Below it, I will lay out some of the steps involved. Please leave a comment (especially on YouTube) about the project you’re working on.
The PCI socket has 2 openings. One is large enough to accommodate a Neo Geo Pocket cartridge. Then there’s a “key” and a smaller area of pins. Cut the PCI socket right at the key to remove the smaller area of pins. It’s useless to us. (Images: Cutting, Cut, Cut Angle 2)
Turn the PCI socket so that the through-hole legs (for soldering to the PCB) are toward you. Cut the socket in half the long way. Be very careful not to nick any pins or legs. Do not allow your cutting wheel to get too deep as to enter the edge connector portion of the PCI socket. It’s better to too shallow, because it’s easy to break apart later. (Image: Just After Cut)
On each end of the PCI socket, there should be a bit of plastic. Carefully slice this plastic vertically. Again, do not allow the cutting disc to contact any of the pins.
With a pliers and flat-head screwdriver, crack the remaining bits of plastic to end up with 2 halves of the PCI socket. Each of these halves can produce a cartridge connector.
Using some sort of guide (or carefully counting pins), mark the center. The NGPC cartridge has a “key” here, so we need to provide a slot for the key to enter. Pull out one pin from either side of this center mark.
Similarly, find and mark the final pin. Pull out one (or more) pins after the final pin. On one half of the PCI socket, you will be marking the right side. On the other half, you will mark the right side. It’s hard to explain via text, but I think it will be obvious especially if you watch the video.
Make a vertical cut for the center key.
Make a vertical cut for each end of the cartridge.
Make a horizontal cut on each end to create a “shoulder” for the cartridge to rest on when inserted into the socket. This step is not strictly necessary. The ends of the socket can be completely straight down to the PCB, but the shoulders really help insertion and alignment and alleviate stress from the socket.
Feel free to round or widen any of the edges. I find that if you’re doing it all by hand, it’s best to cut it a bit wide (or skinny in the case of the center key slot). You can always file it down. However, if you make the connector too skinny (or the key slot too wide), the cartridge may fit in sloppily and the connectors may not properly align.
That’s about it. Here’s the finished product. Of course, you have to have a PCB or breadboard adapter that will accept this newly created socket.
Hopefully you found this interesting. Maybe you just wanted to know how we did it, but maybe you’re going to use the info for your own project. Either way, I’m curious what you’re working on or playing. Leave a comment on YouTube and share your reaction.
I had a chance to shoot some video this morning, so I made a little tutorial style video about how to install the Neo Pocket Linkmasta under Windows. I stole my wife’s laptop, because it had never gone through the install before. Anyway, here’s the video. I have a bit more footage for a follow-up video. Maybe I’ll get to that tomorrow.
I have several bundles ready that just need a bit of assembly before I send them out. I put some of them for sale just now, and I will adjust the quantity as I build more units. If they sell out, I will update the purchase page to reflect that fact. If I sell out, I will then publish a new post here when I have more available. If I don’t sell out, the Add To Cart link on the Flashmasta purchase page will remain open.
As the title suggests, there’s also new “gear” available. That wasn’t intended as a pun, but, as you can see on the right, the T-Shirt features Gears Of Fate which is a homebrew game created by Thor. You can find the game at Thor’s site.
Wow. Maybe that’s a record for me. All 9 bundles are already sold. I expect to have around 7 bundles available in another week or so when I get some more soldering done. For those of you that have just ordered in the last day, I would expect to ship your bundle by this coming Friday. I’ll email you when I do. If you don’t hear from me by Friday, email me!
Thanks everyone. You guys always exceed my expectations. Maybe I should raise ’em. 😀
P.S. I found that pic somewhere a while back, and I’ve been wondering what post it would apply do. Well, I didn’t have a picture for this post, so why not?
The day is finally upon us. The NGPC Flashmasta and Linkmasta bundles are once again available for purchase. I have all the parts in stock, and I just have a few small assembly bits to complete before they’re ready to ship out. I have put 9 bundles up for sale on the Neo Geo Pocket purchase page.
I am hoping to get some more bundles made again soon after these are sold. I now have parts for some more bundles, but, as it always seems to go, I’m running low on certain parts. It’s like a never-ending cycle. I mean, it’s a good thing, because it means they’re selling, but it means that production is slow at times.
Please note that the page where you can purchase the NGPC flash cartridge and linker currently shows an older picture of the bundle. I will update that when I have a full bundle all together. Right now, I only have the Flashmasta and Linkmasta as seen in this picture to the right. The full bundle you can purchase will look like this but have a hole in the cartridge and include a USB cable.
Thanks for your patience while production was slow. Now is the time, if you’ve been waiting to buy!
Well, I now have a new daughter that arrived at the end of March, so things haven’t been quite normal recently. The good news (besides having a healthy newborn of course) is that a friend of mine has started helping me with the assembly/soldering lately. The picture shown is one he just sent to me. The only thing we’re missing now is the NGPC sockets that are hand cut. My father’s workshop is set up to do those, and I will see him on Thursday. Hopefully that means we’ll have some sockets in a week or two and then there will be bundles ready to purchase.
The other bit of news that you may already have picked up on is that I registered the website www.flashmasta.com. I’ve been wondering how to handle adding new items, and I think this is a good way. Before, the URL was NGPC-specific. I wasn’t sure if I should just add another site, somehow make a base site that linked to sub-sites, or what. Well, the solution is that the Flashmasta site will house any flash cart work that I do. It doesn’t have to be NGPC. As you saw in the last post, I’ve recently been looking into some Lynx stuff. That will go here, too. The site will no longer be NGPC-only, but I expect that it will be NGPC-mostly for quite a while. If I do start getting into other systems more, I will probably section things off a bit more. We’ll see how that goes. As for now, I’ll leave it pretty much as it is. In time, it may evolve if I have more news about say Lynx or Wonderswan or whatever.
As always, thanks for supporting the NGPC and my projects! If you want to leave a comment here, I always like to see those, and don’t forget that there’s also the Forum if you want to connect with others.
Here’s the deal as I see it right now. I think I will only have enough parts to make 3 bundles. If things go right, I think they’ll be ready in less than a week. There are people that have already been contacting me about waiting to purchase these. I expect that the 3 will go to them and still leave some people waiting anxiously. I know this isn’t ideal, but I am working on some ways to build units faster and more efficiently.
I have already begun ordering stock of a bunch of new parts. I still need some chips, and after that the big issue is the NGPC sockets. I will have to get a bunch of parts to start hand-cutting more of those. I may do the NGPC sockets on very limited basis until my father comes home. Then, I will have his workshop available to do them much faster/easier.
So, the bottom line is that there will be a tiny set of bundles available to those that have requested them via the contact form like I asked on the purchase a NGPC flash cart page. After that, there will be a period while I am acquiring parts, making some new sockets, having a baby, etc. Optimistically, I think we’re talking about a month or so before there’s any more bundles ready.
There’s the news. If you really want a bundle, I’m sorry to say that you’re probably looking at waiting over a month. Well, as an NGPC lover, I suspect you’ve been waiting over 10 years already. Maybe another handfull of weeks won’t bother you so much. I know how it is, though. When you want something, you get an itch that you can’t scratch until it arrives. I’m sorry if I’ve got your hopes up, but the plan is to ramp things up a bit more. I have a friend that seems very willing to help me build units, so if that works out as planned, this next batch should be very doable. If we could get another 20 bundles ready, I’d be pleased.
It’s been a while, and I know that interest is building. I want to be able to get these ready for you guys. Hang in there just a bit longer.