NP-41 Emulator (may be)
03-09-2016, 11:40 PM
Post: #181
 Kinma Junior Member Posts: 11 Joined: Oct 2014
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
I own a NP-25 and would love to own a NP-41.
So here is another committed first buyer.

39 left.
03-12-2016, 03:39 AM
Post: #182
 sc05027 Junior Member Posts: 3 Joined: Feb 2015
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
+1 for me,

SC
03-12-2016, 08:38 PM
Post: #183
 vk6ti Member Posts: 92 Joined: Sep 2014
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
Count me in for one as well
03-14-2016, 12:42 PM (This post was last modified: 03-14-2016 04:11 PM by Chris Chung.)
Post: #184
 Chris Chung Member Posts: 218 Joined: Aug 2014
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(03-09-2016 07:03 PM)Harald Wrote:  Ahh, now I get it! Thanks for the explaination, that is a very clever Idea.
That way with n lines you can scan n*(n-1)/2 keys.
The conventional way it would be (n/2)^2.

The MSP430FR6989 has a lot of IO pins, the main reason to use this kind of key scan scheme is to lower the number of pins in the connector between the "brain" board and the keypad board.

As for the NP41S, the MSP430G2955 has 32 GPIO. I use the key scan scheme to reduce the key scanning pins from 14 (9+5) to 10 pins. I want to maximize the free GPIO pins I can use for expansion. The new PCB had provisions for 1) 2 pin LED backlight, 2) 1pin buzzer, 3) 4 additional SPI memory devices, 2 smd + 2 dip.

The new NP41S board came in late last week and I had assembled one quite easily, took me about an hour. I went on to print a new case (actually 2 as 1 failed) before posting here.

Again, I found it easier for me to operate the thing w/ no 3D printed keytop and keys, mainly because I can used the printed key legends. This half case is "head heavy" to protect the LCD module.

In terms of dimension, the PCB measured 68 x 120. With the 3D printed case, it's 70 x 128mm.
So it's a tad smaller than it's big brother.

Here is the unit outside of the case. This case is more secure as it slide / slot in and fits on the top side.

The back of both the case and the PCB. Most components are at the top. I had an open bottom right now so I can print fast for this prototype.

And a side view. The NP41S looks thinner than the NP41, the battery is placed on top side. The LCD module do adds the thickness. I may adopt a non-back-lighted version to make it slimmer in the future. The current LED backlight is very weak and mostly useless when the coin battery is run down.
03-14-2016, 02:39 PM
Post: #185
 sans Junior Member Posts: 5 Joined: Apr 2014
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
Congratulation for this project, I'm also interested if you decided to sell it. Thanks
03-14-2016, 04:56 PM
Post: #186
 Chris Chung Member Posts: 218 Joined: Aug 2014
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
With my left hand (NP41) competing w/ my right hand (NP41S). My plan is to finish the easy NP41S 1st.

I had used the monetary gains from the previous NP25 sales to fuel this project. Especially the high setup cost for the custom LCD glass. I plan to use the same strategy to support on-going projects. I will finish the NP41S (to some extend) and offer them for sale. The income (when accumulated enough sells) will be used to batch order the 41 segment custom glass, plus some SMD tool. And until then will the NP41 be offered.

I had seen enough support for both projects and there is no need to wait for 50 intended takers.

tl;dr NP41 (14 segment version) will be offered after NP41S gains track (2 or 3 dozen units).

And progress since last update, mainly on NP41S
• can now load one rom 4/8k via RealTerm.
• program mode has dynamic user code decoder
• alpha mode show up to 24 characters

The more important features that I need to work on is to allow firmware upgrade. Currently the firmware can only be upgraded via a TI Launchpad G2 development board ($10). I intended to work on a bootloader scheme so that we can use a USB-Serial cable to upgrade the firmware. Same cable is used to download ROM images. This, however will mean another version of PCB, or two jumper traces on this version. I think that most would want the firmware upgrade capability as there are many additional features that one can add. So I think it is a must for a general offer. OTOH, I am still planning to offer up to 4 pre-release units. They will have the same functionality as what I have now. These units will be bundled w/ a Launchpad G2 for firmware upgrade (if you do not have one). I still do not have these ready yet. I am still waiting for the LCD modules from China. When they came it. I can delivery these in a few days. These units I am selling for US$55 assembled and tested. Add $10 if you need the LaunchPad programmer$10. Add another $10 if you want a similar case that I got. The case I am printing will not be perfect and there will be some slight warping on the top side, and they are functional. I hope these will be available in 2 weeks time (all I need are the LCD modules). Shipping will be US$10 as now we need a box.

You can reply and state NP41S B0 (for batch 0) order + options (LaunchPad, 3D case).

I do not want to guess if and how many takers are in for the B0 units (things are not matured yet), and if there are more than 4 takers in 2 days, I want to offer priority to those who had indicated that they want one of these since the beginning of this thread.

If there is no takers, I will be continuing to work on the "general" version and get them ready w/ the needed bootloader scheme.
03-14-2016, 05:27 PM (This post was last modified: 03-14-2016 07:58 PM by Massimo Gnerucci.)
Post: #187
 Massimo Gnerucci Senior Member Posts: 1,753 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
Hello Chris,
I'd rather get an USB bootloader version (together with a case, probably).
So I'll gladly leave any priority I might have got to anyone interested.

(Eagerly waiting for a NP41)

Greetings,
Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
03-14-2016, 06:33 PM
Post: #188
 Sylvain Cote Senior Member Posts: 1,092 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(03-14-2016 04:56 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  You can reply and state NP41S B0 (for batch 0) order + options (LaunchPad, 3D case).

Hello Chris,

You are doing a fantastic job and I am happy to support you.
I will take one (1) NP41S B0 + options for 85$USD (if I have understood correctly). (55$ calc. + 10$options + 10$ case + 10$shipping) Sylvain PS: since we are both located in Canada, 85$ USD is currently a little less than 115$CAD. I could send you the money in CAD and save on exchange rates. Let me known if you are interested. 03-14-2016, 08:24 PM (This post was last modified: 03-14-2016 08:34 PM by Etienne Victoria.) Post: #189  Etienne Victoria Member Posts: 73 Joined: Apr 2014 RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be) Hello Chris, Great project and very interesting prototype/b0 unit. I'll happily buy one (1) NP41S B0 + options for 85$ USD.
(55$calc. + 10$ options + 10$case + 10$ shipping)

Congratulations for the already amazing work !

My Np-25 permanently hangs on my car keychain... That is...when I drive :-)

Etienne
(03-14-2016 04:56 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  With my left hand (NP41) competing w/ my right hand (NP41S). My plan is to finish the easy NP41S 1st.

I had used the monetary gains from the previous NP25 sales to fuel this project. Especially the high setup cost for the custom LCD glass. I plan to use the same strategy to support on-going projects. I will finish the NP41S (to some extend) and offer them for sale. The income (when accumulated enough sells) will be used to batch order the 41 segment custom glass, plus some SMD tool. And until then will the NP41 be offered.

I had seen enough support for both projects and there is no need to wait for 50 intended takers.

tl;dr NP41 (14 segment version) will be offered after NP41S gains track (2 or 3 dozen units).

And progress since last update, mainly on NP41S
• can now load one rom 4/8k via RealTerm.
• program mode has dynamic user code decoder
• alpha mode show up to 24 characters

The more important features that I need to work on is to allow firmware upgrade. Currently the firmware can only be upgraded via a TI Launchpad G2 development board ($10). I intended to work on a bootloader scheme so that we can use a USB-Serial cable to upgrade the firmware. Same cable is used to download ROM images. This, however will mean another version of PCB, or two jumper traces on this version. I think that most would want the firmware upgrade capability as there are many additional features that one can add. So I think it is a must for a general offer. OTOH, I am still planning to offer up to 4 pre-release units. They will have the same functionality as what I have now. These units will be bundled w/ a Launchpad G2 for firmware upgrade (if you do not have one). I still do not have these ready yet. I am still waiting for the LCD modules from China. When they came it. I can delivery these in a few days. These units I am selling for US$55 assembled and tested. Add $10 if you need the LaunchPad programmer$10. Add another $10 if you want a similar case that I got. The case I am printing will not be perfect and there will be some slight warping on the top side, and they are functional. I hope these will be available in 2 weeks time (all I need are the LCD modules). Shipping will be US$10 as now we need a box.

You can reply and state NP41S B0 (for batch 0) order + options (LaunchPad, 3D case).

I do not want to guess if and how many takers are in for the B0 units (things are not matured yet), and if there are more than 4 takers in 2 days, I want to offer priority to those who had indicated that they want one of these since the beginning of this thread.

If there is no takers, I will be continuing to work on the "general" version and get them ready w/ the needed bootloader scheme.
03-14-2016, 09:22 PM
Post: #190
 Harald Senior Member Posts: 651 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(03-14-2016 04:56 PM)Chris Chung Wrote:  OTOH, I am still planning to offer up to 4 pre-release units. They will have the same functionality as what I have now. These units will be bundled w/ a Launchpad G2 for firmware upgrade (if you do not have one). I still do not have these ready yet. I am still waiting for the LCD modules from China. When they came it. I can delivery these in a few days. These units I am selling for US$55 assembled and tested. Add$10 if you need the LaunchPad programmer $10. Add another$10 if you want a similar case that I got. The case I am printing will not be perfect and there will be some slight warping on the top side, and they are functional. I hope these will be available in 2 weeks time (all I need are the LCD modules). Shipping will be US\$10 as now we need a box.

You can reply and state NP41S B0 (for batch 0) order + options (LaunchPad, 3D case).

I do not want to guess if and how many takers are in for the B0 units (things are not matured yet), and if there are more than 4 takers in 2 days, I want to offer priority to those who had indicated that they want one of these since the beginning of this thread.

If there is no takers, I will be continuing to work on the "general" version and get them ready w/ the needed bootloader scheme.

Since I will already get the np41, somebody else should get prority for the np41s.
But if you don't get the four orders, I might be tempted.
03-15-2016, 07:59 AM
Post: #191
 PANAMATIK Senior Member Posts: 886 Joined: Oct 2014
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
I still emphasize your doing great work.

Let me notice, that the NP41S with the battery in front disturbs my aesthetics. I would have liked to use it without case as I'm used with the NP25. Did you consider placing the battery in the back like in NP41?

Bernhard

That's one small step for a man - one giant leap for mankind.
03-15-2016, 11:45 AM
Post: #192
 Chris Chung Member Posts: 218 Joined: Aug 2014
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(03-14-2016 09:22 PM)Harald Wrote:  Since I will already get the np41, somebody else should get priority for the np41s.
But if you don't get the four orders, I might be tempted.
Thanks for taking the 1st unit. And also Sylvian and Etienne. It is working out like the NP-25. With Harald taking on the 1st unit and Sylvian taking one of the 1st batch unit.

These early units are not so much about volume, just 1 or 2 takers is enough as what I need in this phase is to have beta testers to try them so that I can make corrections / adjustment for the volume batch. OTOH if you are adventurous, you got to play w/ the "toy" before everyone else. The initial batch will always be inferior to later batches (as we seem w/ the NP25) as a project goes. So thanks to the early takers.

(03-15-2016 07:59 AM)PANAMATIK Wrote:  I still emphasize your doing great work.

Let me notice, that the NP41S with the battery in front disturbs my aesthetics. I would have liked to use it without case as I'm used with the NP25. Did you consider placing the battery in the back like in NP41?

Bernhard
I was planning to move the coin cell toward the center as it is obstructing my printed case.
I had placed the coin cell on top to try to make the whole unit thinner. Moving it to the bottom will add 2mm to the thickness.

The current PCB has thru-holes for the battery holders, so one can solder a thru-hole CR2032 holder on either side, though the thru-hole battery holder is even thicker. I will at least add solder pads to the opposite side in future PCB so that we can mount smd holders from either side (at the same position). May be also add alternate ON button position on the original top side battery position.

The battery was placed there kind of intentionally, along w/ the 2 x 8 pin DIP socket (not yet populated). I like to exposed parts to make it look geeky.

Might as well as the community.

1) color for PCB, white? green? black? red? blue? yellow?
2) how does the top side battery design bothers you? a lot? a little?
3) should I combine the 2 "enter" keys into one?
03-15-2016, 11:53 AM (This post was last modified: 03-15-2016 11:54 AM by smp.)
Post: #193
 smp Senior Member Posts: 390 Joined: Jul 2015
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(03-15-2016 11:45 AM)Chris Chung Wrote:  1) color for PCB, white? green? black? red? blue? yellow?
2) how does the top side battery design bothers you? a lot? a little?
3) should I combine the 2 "enter" keys into one?

In your latest photos, I like the white NP-41 *much* better than your latest. The size, the key layout and spacing, no battery on top, everything. I would like to have the physical white NP-41 (with either display) with all the sexy programming and update enhancements that you have been talking about.

smp
03-15-2016, 12:09 PM
Post: #194
 Massimo Gnerucci Senior Member Posts: 1,753 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(03-15-2016 11:53 AM)smp Wrote:
(03-15-2016 11:45 AM)Chris Chung Wrote:  1) color for PCB, white? green? black? red? blue? yellow?
2) how does the top side battery design bothers you? a lot? a little?
3) should I combine the 2 "enter" keys into one?

In your latest photos, I like the white NP-41 *much* better than your latest. The size, the key layout and spacing, no battery on top, everything. I would like to have the physical white NP-41 (with either display) with all the sexy programming and update enhancements that you have been talking about.

smp

I too like the "NP-41 Keyboard Unit V1" very much.

Greetings,
Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
03-15-2016, 02:15 PM
Post: #195
 rprosperi Senior Member Posts: 3,497 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(03-15-2016 11:45 AM)Chris Chung Wrote:  1) color for PCB, white? green? black? red? blue? yellow?
2) how does the top side battery design bothers you? a lot? a little?
3) should I combine the 2 "enter" keys into one?

Chris - Nice progress on this cool project (or these projects)!

1) White PCB
2) Battery on bottom (maybe case has cut-out to surround battery to minimize thickness)
3) One Enter key

--Bob Prosperi
03-15-2016, 03:07 PM
Post: #196
 Thomas_Sch Senior Member Posts: 300 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(03-15-2016 02:15 PM)rprosperi Wrote:
(03-15-2016 11:45 AM)Chris Chung Wrote:  1) color for PCB, white? green? black? red? blue? yellow?
2) how does the top side battery design bothers you? a lot? a little?
3) should I combine the 2 "enter" keys into one?

Chris - Nice progress on this cool project (or these projects)!

1) White PCB
2) Battery on bottom (maybe case has cut-out to surround battery to minimize thickness)
3) One Enter key

same for me,
i would like to have the alphanumeric display (left one on the photo).
Thomas
03-15-2016, 05:19 PM
Post: #197
 Chris Chung Member Posts: 218 Joined: Aug 2014
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
I guess the consensus leans to a white PCB resembling the NP41 layout.

I had the NP41S board in green just to save a few bucks (green does not cost extra) and I actually like to see a white board.

Will re-work the layout, show it here. My main concern is the bottom side, will be re-arranging some of the components and see.

The NP41 keyboard feels right when handling. And I don't think I can adopt it for the NP41S as the LCD module on the 41S is narrower. Will try several layouts and see.
03-15-2016, 08:44 PM
Post: #198
 jch Member Posts: 93 Joined: Dec 2014
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
Hello Chris,

Amazing project !
1) White PCB, like the NP-41, but I prefer the lettering silkscreen placed on the left of the keys.
2) Battery on the bottom / optionally 4 pins header for external battery ?
3) Same layout as NP-41

Unlike the NP-41, you're not planning to have head + keyboard unit ?

Jean-Christophe.
03-15-2016, 11:11 PM (This post was last modified: 03-15-2016 11:28 PM by Helix.)
Post: #199
 Helix Member Posts: 188 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
I will definitely by a NP-41S, but not necessarily in the very first batch, because I prefer a mature product.

1) White PCB. It will nicely complement my NP-25.
2) The battery on the top side seems a bit weird at first glance, but it doesn't bother me a lot. One advantage I can see with this design is the ability to use the NP-41S without a case. If the battery is on the bottom, the case is almost necessary.
3) Two Enter keys, for aesthetical reasons, because I like when the keys are perfectly aligned in a keyboard. Since there will be two versions, NP-41S and NP-41, you can make two different layouts. The NP-41 layout is perfect for the NP-41!

- The "E-" "E+" and "CLE" writing should be replaced by "Σ-" "Σ-" and "CLΣ", like in the last versions of the NP-25: http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/attachment.php?aid=2702
- Also, the "R v" writing to simulate the "R↓" key is not very pleasing. In the NP-25 of the link above, the writing is much better.
- "x<y?" should be replaced by "x<=y?". I understand that space was limited on the NP-25 PCB, but there is plenty of room in the NP-41.

Jean-Charles
03-16-2016, 11:36 AM
Post: #200
 Chris Chung Member Posts: 218 Joined: Aug 2014
RE: NP-41 Emulator (may be)
(03-15-2016 08:44 PM)jch Wrote:  Hello Chris,

Amazing project !
1) White PCB, like the NP-41, but I prefer the lettering silkscreen placed on the left of the keys.
2) Battery on the bottom / optionally 4 pins header for external battery ?
3) Same layout as NP-41

Unlike the NP-41, you're not planning to have head + keyboard unit ?

Jean-Christophe.

I am actually planning to take away the 2 pcb design from NP-41. Having 2 PCBs is due to cost , as before I switch fabricator, PCBs above 10x10cm increase the cost 5 fold. My new fabricator is more flexible on larger PCBs so there is no need. My experience is that it is more reliable when it is more simplistic. There will be less solder points and source of trouble. If there are needs to have the single head unit (so one can play w/ their own keyboard diy) I am happy to release the PCB design. But my plan is to further simplify both designs and reduce to single PCB.

When there is PCB estate, I will put in "cut-out" line and key pin connector positions so that one can chop the keyboard off and attach a new one. Look closely on the current NP41S PCB, you will see 10 via holes in the middle right under the LCD module to serve this purpose. So once you are bore w/ the unit, you can guillotine out the head unit and play w/ another keyboard. Cherry keys may be?

(03-15-2016 11:11 PM)Helix Wrote:  I will definitely by a NP-41S, but not necessarily in the very first batch, because I prefer a mature product.

1) White PCB. It will nicely complement my NP-25.
2) The battery on the top side seems a bit weird at first glance, but it doesn't bother me a lot. One advantage I can see with this design is the ability to use the NP-41S without a case. If the battery is on the bottom, the case is almost necessary.
3) Two Enter keys, for aesthetical reasons, because I like when the keys are perfectly aligned in a keyboard. Since there will be two versions, NP-41S and NP-41, you can make two different layouts. The NP-41 layout is perfect for the NP-41!

- The "E-" "E+" and "CLE" writing should be replaced by "Σ-" "Σ-" and "CLΣ", like in the last versions of the NP-25: http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/attachment.php?aid=2702
- Also, the "R v" writing to simulate the "R↓" key is not very pleasing. In the NP-25 of the link above, the writing is much better.
- "x<y?" should be replaced by "x<=y?". I understand that space was limited on the NP-25 PCB, but there is plenty of room in the NP-41.

2) I will actually try to have multiple solder points so that one can solder the battery holder on either side. Just need to play w/ various layouts.
3) I agree w/ you. It will probably stay the same (I got to choose) but one can always choose to not solder the second enter key.

Good catch on key legends. There are certain limitations w/ Fritzing, those characters are hi-asciis and I will make the adjustment for the new PCBs.
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