Original Post

Hey,

As you know, we don’t have a link cable, or a suitable connector available for the VB. There’s several ways to make a cable that works, but in the end, it’s mostly ugly hacks for development/prototyping. I’ve been trying to come up with a way to make a quality cable that would just plug in… but so far have been unsuccessful.

So… it got me thinking… how about just making a proper cable? I contacted a custom part manufacturer (who I’ve used parts from in the past), and they said they could do it, but of course wouldn’t be “cheap”. I sort of based my design thoughts on the SNES A/V connector, which includes a plastic shell with crimp pins. So, I found some crimp pins which should work, but I didn’t have any way to make a 3D model of the plastic shell.

Well, of course I asked Hedgetrimmer (our resident 3D modeling expert), and he created a GREAT model of a plastic shell to house the pins. With that, I was able to verify with the MFG that it could be made, as well as get an estimate for price.

So, now here’s the question. They were right… it’s not cheap. A complete link cable would cost about $40, since the quantity would be so low. At this price, how many would be interested (and how many)? Would anyone want just the connector/pins?

There’d probably only be about 50 cables made, and this would probably be the only run, since I’m assuming the demand would be low. I don’t mind investing the money (and probably losing quite a bit on this project), since I think it’s a very worthwhile project… but, if I’m the only one that has any interest in it, there’s no point in even considering it further.

But, IMO this seems like a good time to pursue this, since homebrew is continually advancing, and I think linked homebrew has been held down by lack of link cable. Also, I assume some will be buying the new Flashboy, even though they already have an old Flashboy… so with two flash carts, why not have a cable to link the systems?

Of course, if there’s an unanticipated large interest in this, the price would come down… but we’re a pretty small community, and the homebrew crowd is really the only market for this.

Thanks,
DogP

378 Replies

wOw, I would be interested in a cable, that great project!!

A professionally produced link cable would be cool, but that’s out of my price range for a cable. Sorry. πŸ™

I would gladly pay $40 hands down for a professionally made link cable.

Also, if someone could make GDB work with (one end of) it for debugging on hardware from a PC, it would be the best thing ever! (I know both you and David Tucker have been tinkering with it in the past.)

I will probbely also be intrested in this cable

I’d definitely be interested in a link cable. I’ll put my name down for two.

100% interested in buying one.

What length will the cables be? something long, 5′ or 6′ would be cool.

One fore me πŸ˜€

I’d take one as well. πŸ™‚

I would most likely take one, too!

2

Thanks for the input… glad to see there’s interest! Hedgetrimmer sent me a new model this morning with the full connector and shell, which we’ve gotta verify will won’t interfere with any other part of the VB, and possibly make some minor modifications.

I assume a black connector and cable is preferred? I think that’d match the rest of the system the best (and look OEM), though I can have the plastic molded in several different colors, as well as getting the cable in various colors. Red would probably be the only other reasonable option, but I don’t think it’d look as good as black.

I planned on 6′ cables, unless there’s a special request.

And yes, link cable GDB would be amazing… unfortunately, I still haven’t had time to learn enough about GDB to make it happen. Hopefully one of these days πŸ™‚ .

I’ll keep you all updated on progress.

DogP

That all sounds good to me, personally!

As far as the colors go, I could imagine red connectors with a black cable to be a fairly attractive scheme, and it would be more unique for the VB rather than a pure black cable, but either way works with me!

Am I correct to assume that the actual cable assembly part is insignificant as far as cost goes?

The nice thing about just buying the plugs and making our own cables is that it would be easy to make a cable to connect to computer then.

mbuchman wrote:
Am I correct to assume that the actual cable assembly part is insignificant as far as cost goes?

The nice thing about just buying the plugs and making our own cables is that it would be easy to make a cable to connect to computer then.

Yes, the cable is very cheap (probably <10 cents/ft), unless I can find some really nice cable. I'd really like something like the cable used on the VB controllers, but so far I haven't found anything like that for a reasonable price.

The expensive part is the custom molded plastic pieces. The price on them does come down with a lot of quantity, but for ~100 connectors, it's just really tough to make them cheap (unless anyone owns a plastic molding shop πŸ˜‰ ).

DogP

I’d buy one. I think that red connectors with a black cable would be the best route (like the red/black scheme of the official headphones), and would give it that VB charm.

VBSAM wrote:
I’d buy one. I think that red connectors with a black cable would be the best route (like the red/black scheme of the official headphones), and would give it that VB charm.

Red & Black would look nice, but I think an all black OEM look would be best.

Quite frankly, I’d still buy one even if it was orange and pink! 😎

I personally think all black would be best… even in the headphone example, the connector on the headphone is black. It seems like everything that connects to the bottom of the VB is black (controller, headphones, stand)… I think the link cable should be as well.

Anyway, I’m still waiting to hear back on a price for the completed assembly… hopefully it’ll be reasonable enough that I can make this happen. I’ll keep you guys updated.

DogP

Although my input doesn’t really matter, since I can’t justify the cost, I also think an all-black cable is the way to go.

DogP wrote:
I personally think all black would be best… even in the headphone example, the connector on the headphone is black. It seems like everything that connects to the bottom of the VB is black (controller, headphones, stand)… I think the link cable should be as well.

Good point. Black is the most logical because it falls in line with the other connectors used for the system. I just don’t want it to get lost in the sea of black cables I own. I think such a specialty cable deserves a color scheme equally as special… but I’m happy either way!

VBSAM wrote:

Good point. Black is the most logical because it falls in line with the other connectors used for the system. I just don’t want it to get lost in the sea of black cables I own. I think such a specialty cable deserves a color scheme equally as special… but I’m happy either way!

^^My thoughts exactly.
If there isn’t any price difference and it isn’t too much of a hassle, would it be possible to produce a few of the red connector/black cable color schemes to those that confirm the intention to purchase one, then make the rest black?

 

Write a reply

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.