Getting Closer

It’s been a while since our last update and we’ve been busy. Here’s the big news:

We’ve ordered production printed circuit boards!

If you never worked on a hardware project, getting to the “final” printed circuit board design is a challenge, even at the hobbyist level. This is a huge accomplishment and Ricardo, Gustavo, Jeff and Tim all deserve a round of applause for their perseverance and constant care in pushing this project do as much as it can.

Ok, so we’ve locked the hardware for launch (and hundreds of parts are on the way to David’s house). In that respect, we are on target for launch in November 2023, the 40th anniversary of the launch of our favorite computer.

The other half (also huge) is the software. Ricardo and Gustavo have done an amazing job not just in developing a system that works but in making it flexible, reliable, extensible and easy to upgrade. 

The TS Pico supports the basic features you’d expect: load, save, verify, merge, show a directory, change directories, etc.

But what makes it really cool are the features on our “to do” list: adding cool commands like capturing screen images, listings and LPRINT output to files stored on the SD card. Once we’ve built and tested those featured, you’ll be able to upgrade your TS Pico from your PC, Mac or Linux computer. 

One of our future features is to give you the ability to develop your own commands. Because of the way Gustavo has engineered communication between the 2068 and the TS Pico, it’s really easy to add new commands that run on the Pico.

How does it connect?

We’ve been thinking ahead here, considering how the TS Pico might interact with other cool boards you might come up with (or legacy expansion devices you have). To that end, we’ve designed an expansion bus that plugs in to the 2068. 

We’re also thinking about folks who want a BEU-like experience and have some ideas to share about physical board size and layout. 

But, what if you want to plug it in directly? We’re supporting that, too. 

And, if you decide later you want to upgrade to an expansion bus, we have at least one path forward for you there.

What’s next?

We are fine tuning the TS Pico software and anxiously waiting for the PCBs to arrive. We’re working on a printed manual (which will also be available on the Github where we’ll publish everything).

We’ll send out at least one more update between now and the launch announcement, so look forward to seeing that.

How you can help

We’ve made a guesstimate about potential demand in the initial PCB, parts and supplies order.

What we need is a sense for actual commitment. We understand people are interested, because we’ve all talked and thought about a solution like the TS Pico for the 2068.

If you are interested in purchasing a TS Pico, in any of the iterations discussed in the prior update, please go here and let us know by selecting the option and making a token down payment. 

Your down payment will apply to your order (which will be through the same site). And if you change your mind, your down payment is refundable.

FYI, we’re still working figuring out the price but it will be affordable. This is a project by and for the community: the primary goal is making your 2068 experience more fun and sustainable.

Please go here to help us get a strong estimate for that initial production run:

Thank you so much for you interest and support! We are thrilled to bring this solution to you and not just keep our Timex computers ticking but breathe new life into them.

Ricardo, Gustavo, Jeff, Tim and David