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1000+ and Gigatron future

Posted: 28 May 2020, 12:35
by walter
In the last year, a lot has happened. We now have 6502 emulation and the Gigatron can run 6502 code such as Apple-1's WozMon and Micro-Soft BASIC. There's now also the BASIC compiler thanks to at67, opening the way to create great games. Looking back on the original goal to play tic-tac-toe on a LED matrix, we are super chuffed that we have a system running BASIC that feels like an actual homecomputer from years ago - still without a microprocessor.

And today, Gigatron #1000 has found a new owner! Thanks to everybody for making happen what we could not have dreamt of when we started! Unfortunately, it is just a few days too late for Marcel to also enjoy the moment.

We have decided to stop selling kits once our stock has been sold, which should be in a few months. For us, the Gigatron was always about inventing new things, understanding technology, designing, fine tuning, tinkering, and also about meeting like minded people (and having fun in the process). Making it into a kit had its own charmes, writing a manual, sourcing components, designing a PCB. Packaging and sending out kits, however, resembles a plain job too much, but was needed to create a community of people that would also want to design, understand and tinker.

That community now exists, and wonderful things have already come from it, both in hardware and software. So we (so used to using "we") will stop selling and providing support in a few months. Does that mean you can no longer get a Gigatron? No, you still can, because the PCB layout, the schematics and the software have all been open sourced. The only thing you probably cannot get is the wooden case that we had tailor made for the Gigatron. Somewhere in July or August, the assembly manual and more will open sourced as well. We hope the Gigatron will live on!

You will understand that with the passing of Marcel, the ROM development has come to a halt. We split all the work that went into Gigatron, and all the software development was done by Marcel (which was a wise choice :-). But the both of us had decided earlier to stop. I want to pursue other challenges (starting with building a Tardis replica in my garden). And certainly now, if I were to go on with hardware development, that would not be the same without Marcel.


On the bottom you can see Marcel with the Gigatron, when we were at 34C3 in Berlin. They did not accept my talk about the Gigatron, but we had a good time and a lot of development was done on the spot, including the beginnings of the Racer game. Did you know the skyline in the game is to look like The Hague (where Marcel lived) and Eindhoven (where I live)?

Re: 1000+ and Gigatron future

Posted: 28 May 2020, 13:19
by at67

Re: 1000+ and Gigatron future

Posted: 29 May 2020, 11:11
by at67
Is it just on my end or did a message get overwritten with Walter's future Tardis pic?

And yes this is the place for Tardis updates :)

Re: 1000+ and Gigatron future

Posted: 29 May 2020, 11:27
by walter
Sorry at67, I pressed a wrong button and removed your posting as a result.. :(

Back on topic:

I don't know if this is the place to talk about tardisses. But here's the first part I scavenged, which now means I have to go along with the project.
tardis1.jpg (243.92 KiB) Viewed 1681 times

Re: 1000+ and Gigatron future

Posted: 16 Jul 2020, 14:39
by walter
The Gigatron lives on!

Dutch company Budgetronics is offering Gigatron kits. They are a bit different to what we used to ship though:

- No wooden enclosure included
- No game controller included
- No manual included (you can download & print yourself)
- Black PCB instead of green

Since there's less included, the price is also lower: € 99.95

If you attach a PS/2 keyboard, you have all the functionality, as ROMv4 is included (preprogrammed) as well as the Pluggy McPlugface PS/2 adapter. ... a-25779-20

Just to be clear: this is an independent seller, we do not get any royalties, nor do we supply any support.

Re: 1000+ and Gigatron future

Posted: 17 Jul 2020, 16:54
by bmwtcu
That's excellent news! I hope they will be able to continue supporting the community with hardware and software revision updates. While the original Gigatron should live on as-is, my wish list for "experimental kits" includes:-
1) 64k RAM by default
2) Integrating the SPI expander changes and Pluggy Reloaded in a single PCB, in conjunction with a formal Rev 5 ROM to allow booting from SD Card.
3) Further cost reductions by shrinking the ROM size in conjunction with being able to boot from SD card. (What is the smallest size ROM that can boot and allow reading from SD card anyways?)
4) Perhaps even making a 12.5MHz SMD version of the kit for folks with more advanced capabilities.

I'm totally in for purchasing all the above in a single cost-reduced board!

Re: 1000+ and Gigatron future

Posted: 17 Jul 2020, 17:30
by walter
bmwtcu wrote: 17 Jul 2020, 16:54 That's excellent news! I hope they will be able to continue supporting the community with hardware and software revision updates.
Budgetronics is just selling kits, any hard- or software updates should come from the community..