New soldering station (DSE T-2200)

DSE T-2200 Soldering Station

So DSE are having a sale on all their electronics stuff. This is in some ways a good thing, as I picked up a DSE T-2200 soldering station for a nice price (along with a couple of tips), which means I can retire my cheapie 25w soldering iron I’ve been using for years.

At the same point, it’s also sad. My understanding is that DSE are well and truly getting out of the hobbyist electronics scene – most of their electronics gear is on sale at the website as the company moves to only sell cheap consumer electronics gear (generic imports from overseas), laptops, PCs, Apple products, home electronics accessories (like RCA cables and powerboards), phones, that kind of thing. My local DSE was recently refurbished, and I was shocked to see all of the electronics were unceremoniously dropped as part of the fitout. No more switches, caps, resistors, soldering irons, LEDs, and so on.

In some ways it probably makes sense – the staff lacked electronics experience so they weren’t much help in that regard, and the margins are probably better with CE gear with faster turn-around compared to hobby electronics.

But anywho – new soldering station. I’ve been using cheap/disposable 25w soldering irons for years now. I picked up my first one from DSE back in… 1999 or 2000 when I started modding consoles, and that one did the job for a number of years until the plastic shrouding started heating up too much and made the thing difficult to handle during long soldering sessions. I replaced that one with a similar entry-level 25w iron from Jaycar and that’s done a good job over the last 3 years, but the iron and the tips aren’t offering the kind of performance I’m after. It also helped that the price on the station was amazing.

I haven’t given it a whirl yet, but I have a few mods on the to-do list (Master System II S-Video mod and A/V mods on an Atari 2600 and a Famicom), so there’s plenty of excuses to give it a whirl. Expect posts in the future showing the above mods – I also have a stack of images from a series of mods to a Mega Drive 2, as well as a mod to disable a late-model SNES security chip (the theory on that one’s not mine, I just followed another tute).

The purchase of this has also inspired me to write up a post noting some of the essentials that should be in every console modder’s toolkit, or at least what things would have been handy if I had them when I first started modding consoles over 10 years ago ;)

Oh, and for the record – that denim shirt on the guy in the above photo is a golden time capsule :)

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8-bit Assassin’s Creed 2 is awesome

I can’t say I was all that impressed with Assassin’s Creed – I have the first one, but the North American accent gave me rage because it seemed so out of place. So, because I’m quirky, I’ve ignored future titles in the franchise. Whether this is a smart decision will be debatable over time. Especially since I only spent 10 minutes playing it and didn’t give it a chance. I think the North American accent was in there because of some mind experiment or something. I wasn’t paying attention. This makes me a bad gamer, so I apologise to Ubisoft for making this knee-jerk rationalisation.

However, I found a video when browsing Retro Gaming Australia last month that would be brill if it were real. Or something.

Presenting 8-bit Assassin’s Creed, it’s amazing and you wish it was a real game. I know I do.

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Unboxing a brand new Sega 32X!

Thanks to a tip from a fellow gamer (Hi Frank!), I have recently taken possession of a brand new Japanese 32X!!

The box was actually in very good condition given the age of the hardware, with only a few creases and dents here and there. Everything inside was brand new and complete – 32X console with the spacer (required for hooking it up to a Sega Mega Drive 2), AV-out cable, AV-in cables (including the Sega Mega Drive 1 converter cable), AC adapter (not of much use since it’s Japanese and runs on 110v) and manual. Oh, and all the original cardboard inserts, too.

As much as the 32X was much-maligned, I still have a soft spot for it. There were a handful of interesting games on the console, and back in 1994 I remember being pumped about the machine. I never ended up getting one though, as I couldn’t afford it at the time. I do remember the local Big W were clearing them out for $20 a pop in 1996, but I couldn’t get a lift from someone to get me to the nearest store in order to buy one and ended up using the money to buy something more useful. Hopefully. At that stage I would have started gaming on the SNES and was possibly starting to save for a Saturn. So, let’s assume I did something useful with that $20. I might have even used it for some gaming at Timezone Meridian. Timezone is now a shell of its former self. Here’s the Wikipedia page. It fails to mention Timezone Meridian, even though it was a building full of amazement in the 90s. Even Archive.org only goes back to 2001; would love to see some earlier archives.

Anywho, to share the love I thought I’d post an unboxing (click any of the images for a larger view with comments):

32X unboxing - post box 32X unboxing - first view! 32X unboxing - top view of the box 32X unboxing - side view of the box 32X unboxing - angle view of the box 32X unboxing - another side view of the box 32X unboxing - bottom of the box 32X unboxing - opening the box 32X unboxing - cardboard insert 32X unboxing - contents 32X unboxing - 32X console, angle view 32X unboxing - 32X console, front view

:)

Now all that’s left is to grab an AC adapter to suit, an RGB cable to hook my machine up to my transcoder and some games. Can’t wait!

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Hyperbolic PUNCH!

I recently updated my About page to something with a little more meat. The updated text is so hyperbolic it equates the death of the arcade in the West with the T.S. Elliot’s The Hollow Men.

Yes, it’s that amazing and jam-packing with hyperbole. I’m sure this would make my high school English teacher very proud.

It also references pinball and tabletop gaming in the local community clubs in the 80s, complete with reference to my Dad’s Boony mo he sported in that decade.

I’ve actually been toying with the idea of doing some historical runs over my gaming past for a while now, and I’ll hopefully be able to get started in a couple of months.

In the meantime, read the updated text. It’s golden.

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Limbo arrives on PS3

Limbo promotional image

Just a quick note that Playdead’s Limbo has been out on PS3 for a couple of weeks now, which is a wonderful thing as it means I can now play this inspiring, lucid puzzle platformer that was previously available only on Xbox 360. There’s even a demo on PSN to whet your appetite.

Awesome :D

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