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Dontronics welcomes your input for new SimmSick designs.

New SimmStick products are just a matter of what users want or need, and what we can produce.

The main thrust at the moment seems to be towards the new Atmel AVR's, PICmicro's new Flash, and Scenix chips, so this will be the theme we will follow.

18 to 28 pin Micros are ideal for SimmStick, 40 pins is pushing it a little as it really means some of the I/O must appear on an additional header, which we have done, but anything above or below that isn't a tidy match at all. Sure you could easily hard wire up an 8 pin micro to a 1 inch DT201 proto board if you want to use the benefits of the SimmStick platform, but we don't see a board being produced at this stage.

72 pin or larger SimmSticks have been suggested and discussed many times, and now argued for 2-3 years, but it has been decided to go with the 30 pin platform only, for the time being. This is a long argument, that we could never cover without writing almost a novel.

Motorola Micros are high profile in the Robotics groups and other areas, and as much as it would be nice to include something here, experience has shown that when the chips are down, stocks dry up, prices go up, and those Cell phones just keep being churned out. That's show biz!!

The SiStudios old PIC002, PIC003, and PIC004 PCB's are in short supply and won't be around for ever, so it is an ideal opportunity to replace them, and include Scenix and PICmicro flash designs at the same time. The PIC001 has already been replaced by the DT101 and DT111.

Ideally, we can make use of the existing SimmStick Mini-Motherboards available such as the DT001, DT003, and DT004 to support these new products.

At the bottom of the DT001 Hardware Assembly Page, good user feedback shows you what can be done with a DT001 PICmicro programming board, and expanding to your own board or prototype designs using the PIC16x84, and still retain the Load/Run features built into the DT001 board. There is no reason this couldn't be used with the new flash devices from Microchip.

Any new SimmStick should have the connections to program the device in both serial and parallel modes, on the Simm bus and possibly an ISP header if applicable, a small +5V power supply,  power up/reset support, crystal/resonator, serial Eeprom, and RS-232 as standard. The RS-485 interface is becoming increasingly popular, so this may well be dictated to us by users, and board sizes/layouts. The RJ-45 connectors and CAT-5 type cables are becoming the modern way of doing things. Certainly, cable prices are dropping and becoming available everywhere.

It would be very easy to migrate the PIC002, PIC003, and PIC004 boards to the "DT Series" design, but it must be done with a view to incorporating the Scenix chips as well, not only as a dual application target board, but also as "In Circuit Programming" for Scenix devices as well.

This isn't just to find out what you want, it's also to get circuit ideas from you. If you have played around with both PICmicro and Scenix chips for instance, and see a clear way of how it should be done, then we would love to hear from you.

As a schematic is build up in detail, it can be posted and viewed by everyone.

Ideas can be sent directly to Don, or preferably, openly discussed on the SimmStick Users group. See chat.html for joining instructions.

As new suggested SimmSticks are allocated a "DT Series" number, a Double "**" will appear with the name to indicate that it is only a suggested design at this stage.  (** Suggested Design)

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