Just a quick heads-up, I recently ordered some stuff from Retro-Donald’s Sinchai-Shop. Finally the goods arrived, and above you can see the loot I got.
Top: Micromys V3. Below, from left to right: EasyFlash 3, MMC2IEC + programmed AVR, Nano SwinSID, Super PLA.
Sinchai.de is an online shop that is specializing in Commodore 8 bit accessories and DIY kits. Unfortunately the site is in German only, as is all communication and support. Additionally the information and instructions for the products may be very slight, and most of the product support seems to be at the German C64 forum Forum-64. The shop supports the community there and vice versa it appears.
At least the product assortment is very interesting, and they ship worldwide. And Google Translate is your friend if you are like me and don’t speak nor read German.
Apart from the language barrier and almost three weeks’ delivery time I’m very pleased with the experience. Might be that Donald is busy putting the now-released EasyFlash 3 boards together! The pieces I finally got are of good quality, and the packaging was well done. Postage rates were reasonable, and generally, so are the prices at the shop. My recommendations.
Quick run-down of the stuff I ordered
Micromys V3 – It’s an adapter for connecting PS/2 mouse to C64, Amiga or Atari computers. I had no particular reason for getting one, just thought that it might come handy some day.
EasyFlash 3 – Awesome cartridge. It’s a multi-function cartridge like no other before. Being EasyFlash, it provides 7 fully EasyFlash (original) compatible slots. Additionally it provides few slots for Action Replay and similar freezer cartridges. And the real deal with EF3 is that it acts also as an external KERNAL replacement. So yes, you can change the C64’s working KERNAL with this cartridge – no wires, no soldering, no nothing. The cartridge features also a USB connector for firmware updating.
EasyFlash 3 boots into a menu from where you can launch the EasyFlash, freezer cartridge or KERNAL binary slots. All the binaries are updatable using built-in EasyProg that supports EF3’s features.
I have only quickly tested this baby, and I’m fascinated! Hats off skoe!
MMC2IEC – This is a MMC2IEC board kit that I ordered together with programmed AVR. It’s one of the many hardware designs that can run the magnificent sd2iec firmware. You may think of this as DIY uIEC if you like (which is kinda silly and misleading, as MMC2IEC is originally made as a DIY-friendly design, and the only thing common with uIEC is that those both now run the independent sd2iec firmware on a ATmega AVR chip). The board + SD card slot alone is mere ten euros, and with programmed AVR 20€. The other parts are not included, but you can get those from your electronics dealer for just few euros.
Nano SwinSID – This is basically identical to Micro SwinSID, only a smaller design. When it is equipped with SMD crystal like this, it is really small. The footprint, or area, is exactly same as SID chip’s, and it’s only slightly thicker.
Super PLA – No really need for this either, I just wanted to try it out. It’s a replacement for the fail-prone PLA chip used in the older C64 models. All “breadbins” and the early C64 C models have the PLA chip, and it’s one of the most common ones to fail, causing the C64 appear as dead, or malfunction in a variety of different ways. Being a proprietary special logic chip it is difficult to replace without getting compatibility issues. I have understood that this is one of the better replacements.
I will get more detailed with these items as I get more familiar with them. Stay tuned.