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   Author  Topic: 2-Bit encoder review  (Read 230 times)
Trimoor
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2-Bit encoder review
« on: October 01, 2004, 01:31:10 AM »
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I bought the 2-Bit keyboard encoder a month and a half ago, and I just now got it working.

I ordered it directly from the guy who was selling it on ebay (he no longer is) for about $40.
After a week or so it arrived.

I plugged it in, loaded up ghostkey, and it didn't work.
The keypresses were erratic, only occasionally working, and it eventually quit working altogether.

I emailed the seller, and he said he would send a new PIC chip.
(He explained that there were 3 slightly different chips with slightly different timeing, and the new one might work better with my bios.)

I got the new chip in about a week, installed it and....
It didn't work.  No change.
I tried it on 3 different computers, each with a different bios type and different OS.

I sent another email, and he replied telling me to send it back.
He would check it, and send me a new one just in case.
So, I paid for shipping again, and sent it back where it came from.

A few days later, I got an email saying that one of the controller chips on the board was in fact bad, and I would be getting the new encoder shortly.

I waited nine days.  Longer than any of the other shippings took.
Finally I tell him I never recieved it.
He promptly replied he would send me a different one, and claim the insurance on the other.

A few days later, the new one arrived.
I cautiously plug it in, load up ghostkey, and press a few buttons.....
They seem to work.
I try a few more, but one set of inputs doesn't work.  They do nothing.

Nervously, I systematically try every input.
For the most part it works, but another set of inputs wasn't behaving properly.
I press a key, and it registers nearly a dozen presses.
What the hell?

AAAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!!!
The damn thing still wont work!!!

Frustrated, I send yet another email, and the reply says to check some traces along the data line of the chip. (he explained it better than I did)

Well, I fire up the iron and the multimeter and start hunting for gaps.
I found one, exactly where he said it would be.
I run a jumper wire to fix it, then plug it in for another test.

It works!!!
Hazza!!
All 64 buttons work perfectly!!
Now I can finally finish my 4 player control panel.


The seller was very prompt and professional with his replies, but personally I would not buy another one.
It just wasn't worth all the time and effort to get an encoder that doesn't have remappable keys.

Its just that an ipac that can handle 44 inputs is too expensive.

He says he still has a few left if anyone wants to buy one.
Here is his email:
WarriorWolfSpike@aol.com
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Bgnome
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Re:2-Bit encoder review
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2004, 10:49:44 AM »
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i havent been able to keep mine consistently working when plugged in.  it may be a problem with my particular setup but this has got me wondering about the board.  i will be playing around with it some more..
where did you have to solder the jumper wire?  were you using an AT>PS/2 adapter?
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Trimoor
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Re:2-Bit encoder review
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2004, 05:25:04 PM »
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I just poked around with the meter until I found a broken trace.  Then I ran a wire directly to the two endpoints and used it instead of the trace.

I was using an AT>PS/2 adapter.
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Jakobud
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Re:2-Bit encoder review
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2004, 05:42:38 PM »
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Quote from: Trimoor on October 01, 2004, 01:31:10 AM
Its just that an ipac that can handle 44 inputs is too expensive.


Not having to bust out a multimeter, trace a circuit, and solder in a new wire is worth the extra bit of cash in my opinion.  You get what you pay for.
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TOK
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Re:2-Bit encoder review
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2004, 06:16:22 PM »
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Quote from: Jakobud on October 01, 2004, 05:42:38 PM
Quote from: Trimoor on October 01, 2004, 01:31:10 AM
Its just that an ipac that can handle 44 inputs is too expensive.


Not having to bust out a multimeter, trace a circuit, and solder in a new wire is worth the extra bit of cash in my opinion.  You get what you pay for.

No kidding. My free time is precious, and to spend a month and a half corresponding with the seller, swapping parts, trying it on different machines and having to personally repair the thing is at least $500 worth of aggravation.

That makes the IPAC sound like a bargain (and I agree that it is). That 2 bit encoder is aptly named.

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Trimoor
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Re:2-Bit encoder review
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2004, 07:47:06 PM »
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Quote:
No kidding. My free time is precious, and to spend a month and a half corresponding with the seller, swapping parts, trying it on different machines and having to personally repair the thing is at least $500 worth of aggravation.

That makes the IPAC sound like a bargain (and I agree that it is). That 2 bit encoder is aptly named.

Well, since I am making this thing for a friend, I'll make sure he covers the cost of my time and effort.
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TOK
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Re:2-Bit encoder review
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2004, 12:33:52 PM »
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Ah, billable hours! That's 50 per hour times, uh, just how many hours are in a month and a half? 
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Bgnome
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Re:2-Bit encoder review
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2004, 01:17:19 PM »
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i agree that the price difference does not justify the effort that went into getting this thing to work.  however, i do not believe the coder, wolfmanspike, is at fault.  the product is old, out of production, and not originally intended for this application.  i personally think its a well designed product and does what it was meant to do, however trimoor was unlucky enough to run into several problems that relate to the age of this product.  this guy knows about mame and has some good info at http://www.lupinesystems.com/
people have problems all the time with the ipac interfaces.  that doesnt mean that andy is a bad guy.  i think this info says something about wolfmanspike's willingness and support despite quality of product.  once again, trimoor was unlucky.  hopefully others that purchased this product wont be as unlucky.
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Trimoor
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Re:2-Bit encoder review
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2004, 01:47:36 PM »
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I never said he was a bad guy.  I don't even blame him. (mostly I blame usps. damn you government.)
In fact, I explicitly stated that he
Quote:
was very prompt and professional with his replies
and that he was nice enough to help me through this.
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Bgnome
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Re:2-Bit encoder review
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2004, 06:03:34 PM »
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i dont think you blamed him either.  it just looks to me that people are getting the wrong impression and i dont want to see that happen.  i am glad that you finally got things working though.
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