Looking back at 2015

03 Jan 2016

I decided to spend a while reminiscencing about last year, wondering what we have achieved and what we could have done better.

Considering the limited resources we had (both in terms of time and money), I could say that it was a tremendous success - we did a lot of solid work! However, I am not completely satisfied, since we only managed to bring one product to the market in 2015.

Sakura IT GitHub organization now has 7 members (you might not see everyone, since showing organization affiliation is voluntary).

Lets have a quick summary of the current state of our projects.

Decelerator 4030

This is our most complex and prestigious hardware project so far. We're already working on it for over a year.

First prototype was build and assembled recently. The CPU is working, minimal CPLD core is implemented. The card does boot successfully to AmigaOS. No peripherals present on the card are working yet. I'm waiting for the delivery of logic analyser probes.

AMIV

AMIV was originally created by StaringLizard as a replacement for A520, but quickly evolved into external HDMI scandoubler for all classic Amigas. The device is tailored towards retro usage and currently supports only PAL modes. However it is based on an FPGA and ARM technology, which means it will be user upgradeable.

The first prototype built by us (rev 3.0) turned out to be a failure so bad that is needed a new PCB production. This resulted in new revision of the board (3.1). StaringLizard had assembled it recently and did the first successful tests.

SonnetAmiga

Dennis van der Boon's ambitious project to create WarpOS implementaion for the Sonnet Crescendo 7200. Check the project's Dennis blog and GitHub repository if you didn't yet!

Dennis was also recently interviewed for AmiCast podcast.

Sakura is providing CVS, continuous integration server and various misc services for the project. And... possibly, maybe... hardware in the future.

PCMCIA SRAM 4MB

When the card was originally released in 2014, the market demand was rather limited. Now I am receiving emails from interested people almost every week. This has prompted us to produce a second batch. For the second batch, we have changed the SRAM IC (more about that here). This change seemed trivial, but introduced a mysterious problem, that hasn't been solved so far.

External Floppy Drive

These high quality DD external floppy drives were the only product actually delivered in 2015. First production run sold out already, but there are still case + interface kits available at RetroAmi.

Akuhei I2C controller for clockport

Akuhei is a recent small project that I designed from the frustration, that everything is so complex and takes so much time. I longed for something simple that could be delivered to the market in a reasonable amount of time. We've recently completed the first prototype, which should undergo testing within next few weeks.

Marcus Gerards (of boards.library fame) will be implementing software interacting with the I2C sensors.

What else...

What I hope to do in the future, is to turn Sakura into a company that helps to bring open hardware projects to the retro market.

We're not trying to pretend that we are an enterprise company. We are a bunch of hobbyists, all with jobs and families outside of this. But we are all enthusiastic about what we are doing.

Here I wanted to thank everyone who worked on Sakura projects, especially: Jarosław Bieliński, StaringLizard, Dennis van der Boon, RomanWorkshop, asman, Cahir, and everyone else I forgot here.

Stay tuned for more updates -- Radosław.