Sales

Before we get into the list of devices I am happy to offer to the public, I’d like to underline a few very important points:

  • Each of my devices is a craft work that I carry out for the benefit of those who are not comfortable with soldering, dremelling, etc. I am nowhere near mass-production capacity and I am not interested in that either.
  • I cannot provide estimates about the waiting times as I craft my devices during my spare time, which varies a lot according to other commitments: this is not my full- or part-time job🙂
  • If people show a strong preference for fully built devices over DIY kits I also reserve the right to bump up the price of such devices in an attempt to balance offer and demand and avoid being pestered by buyers.
  • If the kits below are shown as not available it means that some of the parts have been ordered but not yet received.
  • If the devices below are shown as not available it simply means new builds are not yet ready for sale, hence the price quoted is to be considered an estimate that I can change at my discretion, e.g. if the price of some part changes when ordering more of them.
  • However, if you order a device when it is listed as available then the price that I advertise is the one you will be paying. This is the preferred route as it might be quite a while between people pre-ordering devices that are not available and myself finishing a build for them.
  • My kits and devices come without any explicit or implied guarantee of being fit for any purpose. I describe here what I designed and/or built them for and you can be confident that they do what I say they do, however you are encouraged to assess every bit of information provided in order to understand whether they are suitable for your own needs. If in doubt just ask🙂

That all said, if you are interested in one of my DIY kits or devices (and, even better, these are also listed as available) just drop me a line at: armaeth at libero dot it.

Payments

Payments are exclusively in GBP through PayPal and buyers pay for the fees.
It only makes sense to ask for the details of a payment once the device or kit you are ordering is available to ship and you’ve chosen whether the shipment should occur via standard airmail or courier. In the latter case you should also have got a rough idea of the shipping costs (see the Shipping section below).

Shipping

For the shipment of my most expensive devices outside of the UK you might want to get a custom quote with a courier instead of standard airmail as the latter gets overly expensive for my most expensive devices (cost is based on the declared content value and therefore cover for loss/damage).
In the past I used a broker service but I am not recommending any specific courier. You can get an estimate with them by choosing a volume of 15 cm by 15 cm by 10 cm and 0.3 kg. Don’t forget to double check that the service you quote for offers an adequate cover in case of loss or damage.

Supporting firmware and software

When you receive one of my devices or kits you should expect that the MCUs are pre-programmed and that all the details of the PC-side software will be provided to you via email upon confirming your order.
I am looking at ways to allow users to download software updates whenever convenient for them should new versions be published. I am not there yet as I think download links might end up being posted on the relevant sections of my home website where these resources are ultimately hosted. However, updates to my website are not quick to make so I might end up having download links on this page to start with so that users will have just one place where to look for software updates.

DC2N

DC2N comes in different fashions and with different features, which also means wide price ranges. The sections below outline the feature-set for each line that is for sale.

DC2N2-mini (128k version)

This device can be used for three purposes:

  • make backups of PET, Commodore 64/128, Vic20, C16/+4, Spectrum, BBC, and MSX tapes (including using both signal edges, a.k.a. halfwaves);
  • record from a PET, C64/128, VIC20; and
  • playback v0, v1, and v2 TAP files to PET, C64/128, VIC20 (with a third party adapter C16 is supported as well, which is the one that would benefit from the support of v2 TAP files).
DC2N2 mini dumping a tape by Luigi Di Fraia

DC2N2 mini dumping a tape

DC2N2 uses micro SDHC cards as storage medium and provides a character LED interface.

A regulated +5V DC power supply, capable of providing at least 1A, is required in order to power the device, the cassette player and its motor when making tape backups. The power supply has to terminate with a 2.1 mm (inner)/5.5 mm (outer) DC plug. The inner part has to be +5V, the outer one GND.

A 20mm coin cell battery (e.g. LIR2032) can be used to hold the current date/time so that files written to the micro SDHC card are stamped accordingly.

Who is DC2N2 suitable for? Anybody willing to backup tapes AND playback TAP files into their Commodore home-computer.

If you are into soldering and don’t mind putting together a suitable case for DC2N2-mini, here’s what might interest you:

DC2N2-mini DIY kit price: £37.99 + shipping
Backup solution for
: PET, Commodore 64, VIC20, Commodore 16/+4 (including “halfwaves”), Spectrum, BBC, and MSX tapes
Playback TAP files natively to: PET, Commodore 64, and VIC20
TAP version support
: 0, 1, and 2
Firmware support
: Available (update in the field is possible by means of a built-in USBSerial bridge or from micro SDHC Card – one method excludes the other)
Hardware support: Not available
Blue enclosure: Not included. I last bought these for £5.99 + VAT at Farnell UK.
Micro SDHC card
: Not provided
USBSerial bridge: Included within the device
USB cable
: Not provided
Cassette player: Not provided
Power Supply: Not provided
Coin cell battery: Provided (rechargeable – charger not supplied)
Available kits
: 5
Last inventory count: 30th of October 2016

For a fully built DC2N2-mini provided in its blue enclosure (costing me £5.99 + VAT) here’s what you’d be paying instead:

DC2N2-mini fully built and enclosed price: £82.99 + shipping
Special Delivery Guaranteed® to UK addresses: £7.50
Courier shipping to the rest of the world:
 Check the shipping section or ask for a quote
Backup solution for
: PET, Commodore 64, VIC20, Commodore 16/+4 (including “halfwaves”), Spectrum, BBC, and MSX tapes
Playback TAP files natively to: PET, Commodore 64, and VIC20
TAP version support
: 0, 1, and 2
Firmware support
: Available (update in the field is possible by means of a built-in USBSerial bridge or from micro SDHC Card – one method excludes the other)
Hardware support: Not available
Micro SDHC card
: Not provided
USBSerial bridge: Optionally included within the device itself
USB cable
: Not provided
Cassette player: Not provided
Power Supply: Not provided
Coin cell battery: Provided (rechargeable – charger not supplied)
Available devices
: 5 devices can be built upon request
Last inventory count: 30th of October 2016

DC2N3 (128k version)

DC2N3 is a backup-only solution that creates PET, Commodore 64, VIC20, Commodore 16/+4, Spectrum, BBC, and MSX tape backups on USB flash-drives. Although the functionality to playback tape images into supported Commodore home-computers was developed, it is not practical to fit the tape port connector on the current assembly so that feature is not available.

DC2N3 prototype fully assembled by Luigi Di Fraia

DC2N3 prototype fully assembled

DC2N3 also provides a very useful OLED display for monitoring the signal coming from a Commodore 1530 (or compatible tape player) thus allowing precise and effective read head (azimuth) alignment.

Additionally, DC2N3 includes a battery backed RTC module for tracking date and time in order to write files to the USB flash-disk with a current creation date. The provided coin cell battery is rechargeable and should last for quite a while.

Finally DC2N3 provides a custom boot-loader that I wrote myself in order to update the DC2N3 firmware in the field from a USB flash-drive so that users can benefit from updates that add new features or fix issues they might find.

A regulated +5V DC power supply, capable of providing at least 1A, is required in order to power the device, the cassette player and its motor. The power supply has to terminate with a 2.1 mm (inner)/5.5 mm (outer) DC plug. The inner part has to be +5V, the outer one GND.

DC2N3 dumping a tape by Luigi Di Fraia

DC2N3 dumping a tape

Who is DC2N3 suitable for? Well, this is an old-school (pre-Arduino) piece of kit built using expensive breakout modules (e.g. the USB host alone costs me £17), packed with features, beautifully designed, and assembled by hand. Thus it comes at a high price but it is essentially going to be a collectible item in the long run, also due to the low volume of units produced. Therefore DC2N3 would be a recommended acquisition for retro hardware and/or tape collectors.

DC2N3 fully built and enclosed price: £82.99 + shipping
Special Delivery Guaranteed® to UK addresses: £7.50
Courier shipping to the rest of the world: Check the shipping section or ask for a quote
Backup solution for: PET, Commodore 64, VIC20, Commodore 16/+4 (including “halfwaves”), Spectrum, BBC, and MSX tapes
Firmware support: Available (update in the field is possible)
Hardware support: Not available
USB flash-disk: Not provided
Cassette player: Not provided
Power Supply: Not provided
Coin cell battery: Provided (rechargeable – charger not supplied)
Available devices: 4
Last inventory count: 30th of October 2016

DC2N4-Low Cost

DC2N4-LC is a backup-only solution that creates PET, Commodore 64, VIC20, Commodore 16/+4, Spectrum, BBC, and MSX tape backups on PCs running Windows or Linux (OS X might follow if I manage to access a suitable build environment).

DC2N4 Low Cost fully operational

DC2N4 Low Cost fully operational

DC2N4-LC connects to a PC via a USB serial connection and the tape backup process is handled via either a console or a GUI application.

A regulated +5V DC power supply, capable of providing at least 1A, is required in order to power the cassette player and its motor. The power supply has to terminate with a 2.1 mm (inner)/5.5 mm (outer) DC plug. The inner part has to be +5V, the outer one GND.

DC2N4 GUI client running under Windows 10 64-bits

DC2N4 GUI client running under Windows 10 64-bits

DC2N4 GUI client running under Windows 10 64-bits

DC2N4 GUI client running under Windows 10 64-bits

Who is DC2N4-LC suitable for? Well, it’s suitable for users across the whole spectrum. I’ve taken away most of what I could so that this is a minimal backup system that comes at a decent price, despite being built by hand. On one end of the spectrum, those who only have a few tapes to backup and are on a budget, would ideally go for a DC2N4-LC. On the other end of the spectrum, collectors with a vast amount of tapes to backup, would definitely go for a DC2N4-LC as it streamlines the process greatly, allowing users to name, organize, and test files at the instant they are produced: In this way there is no need to come back on a tape at a later time, thus saving a huge amount of time in presence of a vast collection.

DC2N4-LC fully built and enclosed price: £21.99 + shipping
Second class shipping to UK / Signed-for: £0.75 / £1.85
Standard Airmail Shipping: £3.55 (Europe), £4.20 (World Zone 1), £4.55 (World Zone 2)
Backup solution for: PET, Commodore 64, VIC20, Commodore 16/+4 (including “halfwaves”), Spectrum, BBC, and MSX tapes
Firmware support: Available (update in the field is possible)
Hardware support: Not available
Software support: Limited (I will help as I can but I haven’t got access to all possible systems or architectures in order to provide binaries)
USB cable: Not provided
Cassette player: Not provided
Power Supply: Not provided
Available devices: 0 – Sold out
Last inventory count: 28th of August 2016

DC2N5-Low Cost

DC2N5-LC is the last member of the DC2N family, based on a 32-bit ARM MCU.

DC2N5-LC file name extraction example

DC2N5-LC making a tape backup (note how the file name was intercepted)

This device can be used for three purposes:

  • make backups of PET, Commodore 64/128, Vic20, C16/+4, Spectrum, BBC, and MSX tapes (including using both signal edges, a.k.a. halfwaves);
  • record from a PET, C64/128, VIC20; and
  • playback v0, v1, and v2 TAP files to PET, C64/128, VIC20 (with a third party adapter C16 is supported as well, which is the one that would benefit from the support of v2 TAP files).

DC2N5 uses a micro SDHC card as storage medium and provides a wide OLED display useful for monitoring the signal coming from a Commodore 1530 (or compatible tape player) thus allowing precise and effective read head (azimuth) alignment.

A regulated +5V DC power supply, capable of providing at least 1A, is required in order to power the device, the cassette player and its motor when making tape backups. The power supply has to terminate with a 2.1 mm (inner)/5.5 mm (outer) DC plug. The inner part has to be +5V, the outer one GND.

A 12mm coin cell battery (e.g. CR1225) can be used to hold the current date/time so that files written to the micro SDHC card are stamped accordingly.

Who is DC2N5-LC suitable for? Anybody willing to backup tapes AND playback TAP files into their Commodore home-computer.

If you are into soldering and don’t mind putting together a suitable case for DC2N5-LC, here’s what might interest you:

DC2N5-LC DIY kit price: £22.99 + shipping
Backup solution for
: PET, Commodore 64, VIC20, Commodore 16/+4 (including “halfwaves”), Spectrum, BBC, and MSX tapes
Playback TAP files natively to: PET, Commodore 64, and VIC20
TAP version support
: 0, 1, and 2
Firmware support
: Available (update in the field is possible by means of a USBSerial bridge)
Hardware support: Not available
Blue enclosure: Not included. I last bought these for £5.99 + VAT at Farnell UK.
Micro SDHC card
: Not provided
USBSerial bridge: Not provided
USB cable
: Not provided
Cassette player: Not provided
Power Supply: Not provided
Coin cell battery: Not provided
Available kits
: 0 – Sold out
Last inventory count: 30th of October 2016

For a fully built DC2N5-LC provided in its blue enclosure (costing me £5.99 + VAT) here’s what you’d be paying instead:

DC2N5-LC fully built and enclosed price: £49.99 + shipping
Courier shipping to the rest of the world: Check the shipping section or ask for a quote
Backup solution for: PET, Commodore 64, VIC20, Commodore 16/+4 (including “halfwaves”), Spectrum, BBC, and MSX tapes
Playback TAP files natively to: PET, Commodore 64, and VIC20
TAP version support
: 0, 1, and 2
Firmware support
: Available (update in the field is possible by means of a USBSerial bridge but the enclosure has to be opened in order to access the programming interface)
Hardware support: Not available
Micro SDHC card: Not provided
USBSerial bridge: Not provided
USB cable
: Not provided
Cassette player: Not provided
Power Supply: Not provided
Coin cell battery: Not provided
Available devices
: 0 – Sold out
Last inventory count: 30th of October 2016

Misc devices

Tiny C2N Monitor DIY kit

Those who have been following my blog know that this is a little device that sits between a C2N and either a C64 or DC2N (depending on the DC2N build you got you might have to cut the sides of the blue tape connector) and ‘spoofs’ the signal coming from a tape being played back, displaying it on an OLED display.
As part of the spoofing process this device is also capable of intercepting “CBM ROM” and “TutboTape 250” file names upon detecting the relevant signal. Any intercepted file name is shown on the display as well.

Tiny C2N Monitor at work (the intercepted filename, SILKWORM, is also shown)

Tiny C2N Monitor at work (the intercepted filename, SILKWORM, is also shown)

This is a DIY kit: buyers will have to assemble the device by themselves, therefore some experience soldering SMD components is required!

Once assembled the device looks as per below:

Tiny C2N Monitor fully assembled

Tiny C2N Monitor fully assembled

The micro-controller was already programmed with the Tiny C2N Monitor firmware so buyers of the kit will NOT need a programmer.

All electronic components are from Farnell UK and the PCB has a gold finish. This is not a big scale project: Components and PCBs for just 10 kits were ordered, hence the somewhat higher-than-expected price.

Note on assembling the device: Users are required to confirm the orientation of the two capacitors (the yellow/orange components) before powering up the device. There’s a cut on one side of each capacitor and such cut MUST face the integrated circuits (U1 and U2) in both cases. Mounting this component the wrong way around will result in a device that might work for a while but the capacitor closer to the blue tape port connector will eventually blow up and possibly short the 5V supply of the C64 to GND.

Tiny C2N Monitor DIY kit price: £12.99 + shipping
Second class shipping to UK / Signed-for: £0.75 / £1.85
Standard Airmail Shipping: £3.55 (Europe), £4.20 (World Zone 1), £4.55 (World Zone 2)
Firmware support: Not available (no update in the field is possible)
Hardware support: Not available
Available kits: 0 – Sold out
Last inventory count: 1st of October 2016