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Talker/80 - New Voice Synthesizer in the Making

Talker/80 - New Voice Synthesizer in the Making

  • Add speaker + amplifier to board - for cassette output sound + speak

    Votes: 9 69.2%
  • Add more features - for example, PCM sound, Real Time Clock, ...

    Votes: 4 30.8%
  • Make it a cartridge that plugs into a back plane extender board

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • Make it compatible with the Model 3 / Model 4

    Votes: 12 92.3%
  • Make a case / enclosure for it (3D printed)

    Votes: 6 46.2%

  • Total voters
    13

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
More advice: get a cheaper PCB supplier. My largest board, the MIRE, costs less than $6 including delivery from PCBway, with immersion gold. It's about 7" x 6.5".

Edit
----
Just realized you meant the daughter board. Yeah those can be expensive. The Ethernet on MISE/M3SE runs $20 and the FPGA module around $15.

Yes, I do prototypes with OshPark - they are expensive but use real coppy. You get 3 PCBs ~70 $. At the same price I am getting about 50 from Seeed - they are ok too, but tin only.

Using OshPark I wouldn't be able to sell it for 80.80 $. I have sold the extra OshPark PCBs as well, but at + 10 $. I leave it up to the builders which one to use. Cheap and China and Tin, or Expansive and USA and Copper.
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
Yes, I do prototypes with OshPark - they are expensive but use real coppy. You get 3 PCBs ~70 $. At the same price I am getting about 50 from Seeed - they are ok too, but tin only.

Using OshPark I wouldn't be able to sell it for 80.80 $. I have sold the extra OshPark PCBs as well, but at + 10 $. I leave it up to the builders which one to use. Cheap and China and Tin, or Expansive and USA and Copper.

PS PCB Way sounds good... I might consider that too at some point. For now, I still have a lot of Seeed PCBs that I need to use first.
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
Thanks to the long weekend in the US, I was able to crank out another set of three. First come, first serve!

PS You will notice that these do not have the 22 pF crystal capacitors... this is intended and it works without them.
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
A word of advice: buy more components than you think you're going to need. Purchased in volume, a hundred resistors or capacitors don't cost much.
There's clearly a strong demand for Talker/80, and you'll be surprised how quickly you go through parts and PCBs.
MISE and M3SE started out slowly too, but there are now hundreds of each "in the wild". It wasn't planned that way.

It seems we already reached market "saturation" - this is understandable, a voice synthesizer is a rather specialized piece of equipment, and it's kind of "optional". Not as essential as an Expansion Interface or storage device. The three on eBay still available - for a week by now ;) So I am glad that I didn't stock up on components.

Maybe people are starting to make their own from the Github, which is highly recommended!

Seems I need to start working on the Model 3 and Model 4 versions soon in order to reach more customers.
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
Arrived in one piece, will be testing tomorrow!

Good to hear - eBay international shipping procedures are always a little bit obscure when it comes to tracking.
(Still doesn't show as delivered for me).

EDIT: OK, there is a second link... going to Hermes... and that shows delivered today.
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
So, given that Talker/80 sales have stalled by now (-> market saturation, hint: there are still 3 available on eBay ;)), I am going to work on the Model 3 / 4 version.

There are a few changes required it seems:

- no TRS Voice Synthesizer Mode (RAM snooping not possible)
- the address decoder needs to signal back the ADDRESS_DECODED signal (one more line)
- 50 pin socket instead of 40 of course
- will people still want the expansion port passthrough? I guess though

Question: is IO address 11 still a good one for the VS100 and the Epson / DECtalk modes?
Question: will this also work with the Model 4p? (I don't have one)

Also, does anybody have a pinout of the Model 3 / 4 expansion port? I am assuming they are exactly identical? I have the Model 4 TechRef somehwere, I believe the pinout is there.
 
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LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
The Model 3 / Model 4 version is coming along. I will skip breadboard prototyping this time. Curious to see if it will work. Given that I do not have to support video RAM snooping this time, the address decoder is simpler, I can do full address decoding this time, and still have 3 pins left.

talker80-m3&4.jpg
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
I wanted to clarify something about eBay auctions. I just had eBay remove one piece of positive (well, really negative) feedback that implied that the buyer had not gotten what he ordered. This happens because at the time when the buyer is ready to leave feedback, they are presented a potentially REVISED / UPDATED view of the auction. See, I had 2 Seeed green PCBs, and 1 OshPark PCB version to sell. First I sold the 2 Seeed ones. Every time I sold something, I used the old auction as a template and made changes. When I was ready to sell the OshPark PCB, the "DELUXE VERSION", I changed that acution more drastically, by also changing the picture and the heading. And the price is higher of course (90.90 $ instead of 80.80 $). Now THIS has the effect that folks that bought the Seeed version, at feedback time, were presented with a picture and title of the "DELUXE VERSION". Leading them to believe that they had not gotten what the ordered (the 80.80$ version instead of the 90.90$ version!) This is not the case, but a bug in the eBay feedback / auction revision / managment system. So please be aware of that when leaving feedback... check your original "Item Won" message to remind you what you bought, even if the auction has changed in the meantime. Thanks. Only one person got a OshPark PCB for the 80.80 $ price - and that was the first buyer. All subsequent OshPark DELUXE version had to pay 90.90 $.

So, that is a hint for all eBay sellers: CAREFUL with after-sale auction revisions, if you are using them as templates as I did! Don't do it... your buyers will get confused if they haven't kept the original record.
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
Update - the OshPark PCBs for the Model 3 / 4 version have been fabricated, and are on the way. I should get them by Friday and will hopefully have a first version running this Sunday... fingers crossed!

4f9cd6b1bb0df042b1320e12cf3e7e93 (Small).png
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
... and last one for a bit - VS-100 emulation demo on the Model 3 / 4:

https://youtu.be/CJTMGtvuIlQ

I have ordered a small batch of PCBs, and fully assembled and kit versions should be available on Ebay in August latest.

Until then, take care!
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
Excellent! I look forward to purchasing one.

Great! Actually, I could make one already, since I still have 2 OshPark PCBs left.
And you wouldn't have to purchase another Epson daughter board (unless you want to of course), so it could be cheaper.
 

dittman

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
662
Location
Plano, TX
Great! Actually, I could make one already, since I still have 2 OshPark PCBs left.
And you wouldn't have to purchase another Epson daughter board (unless you want to of course), so it could be cheaper.

I'd want the daughtercard so I wouldn't have to move it back and forth.
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
Apologies for this shameless self-promotion post, but I wanted to mention that the last 3 Talker/80 Model 1 Voice Synthesizers (ever) are on sale now on Ebay... they are all fitted with the little amplifier board and come with a small speaker as well as the ribbon and audio cable.

Unless you are planning on making one yourself, this might be your last chance of getting one for the Model 1, cause I am moving on to the Model 3 / Model 4 version. Since everything is in the GitHub repo, you can in principle make one yourself, but it won't be cheaper, I can promise that ;)

Thanks!

DSC00092 (Small).jpg
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
Apologies for this shameless self-promotion post, but I wanted to mention that the last 3 Talker/80 Model 1 Voice Synthesizers (ever) are on sale now on Ebay... they are all fitted with the little amplifier board and come with a small speaker as well as the ribbon and audio cable.
View attachment 61932

All gone - thanks guys! Now I can focus on making the Model 3 / Model 4 versions. Soon! :)
 

LambdaMikel

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
260
The first batch of 3 Talker/80 for the Model 3 & 4 has been assembled.
Unfortunately, I am no longer getting the discount for small batch sizes for the Epson board, so I'll have to increase the prices a bit.

From left to right:
- Basic Talker/80 with basic speaker: 87.79 $
- Basic Talker/80 with DELUXE speaker: 94.99 $
- DELUXE Talker/80 with DELUXE speaker: 99.99 $

As usual, + 15 $ for shipping. I am also no longer including the little stereo 3.5 mm patch cable; people will have to source them themselves.

The PAM 8403 amplifier board is still fitted in all models.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072TYZ89H/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

They are up on Ebay starting now!

talker.jpg
 
Last edited:

dittman

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
662
Location
Plano, TX
The first batch of 3 Talker/80 for the Model 3 & 4 has been assembled.
Unfortunately, I am no longer getting the discount for small batch sizes for the Epson board, so I'll have to increase the prices a bit.

From left to right:
- Basic Talker/80 with basic speaker: 87.79 $
- Basic Talker/80 with DELUXE speaker: 94.99 $
- DELUXE Talker/80 with DELUXE speaker: 99.99 $

As usual, + 15 $ for shipping. I am also no longer including the little stereo 3.5 mm patch cable; people will have to source them themselves.

The PAM 8403 amplifier board is still fitted in all models.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072TYZ89H/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

They are up on Ebay starting now!

View attachment 62073

Great! I grabbed the deluxe/deluxe.
 
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