View Full Version : 8800 kit status?

04-11-2008, 01:58 AM
Grant, seems like you're probably in "680-mode" lately but am curious what the
status is for 8800 kits. Are you taking reservations? do you have kits in stock? Are
you planning another run? If a guy wanted to order one today, how would that work?



Grant Stockly
07-23-2008, 12:54 AM
I'm not happy with the PCBs. I will be ordering more to replace these, and I can only hope they give me at least 50% off. I didn't catch the problem and since I ordered them last November it doesn't look good for me to complain now!

I was packing the PCBs into padded envelopes and on the 15th set I noticed problems with both the 1k memory PCB and CPU board. These kits are (to me) more "art" than useful. Don't get me wrong here, you can do everything with them now that you could in the 70s...but at $1499 they had better look good, right? :)

I have handled quality control with these kits based on if -I- would buy the parts. I don't like these PCBs, I wouldn't want to pay $1500 to get them from someone else, so I won't ship them to you guys!

This last batch of 8800s has hurt. I bought 20 extra front panels for $800, and now it looks like 20 CPU and 20 1k memory cards (about $1200) are bad. Now I'm hoping to get my $800 back, and I'm hoping to get half or more back on the PCBs... That doesn't matter to you guys though, as long as you get good parts.

The kit and all of its parts need to look perfect, regardless if the parts are displayed individually under glass or not. :)

IF they do not take the PCBs back, who would be interested in them at $20-$30 a piece?

Keep in mind that these bad PCBs were from a reorder. In other words, I did NOT resubmit any files!!! :confused: :eek: :( Here are the problem images:


I pay an extra $8 per PCB to get gold fingers. The latest batch doesn't have any gold on the power traces. Not too bad, but looks bad and considering the extra money I paid for the gold...


The card edge on the CPU card...there is a long story with this one, it anyone is interested then ask. :)


Regardless of which one is "good" and which one is "bad", I don't understand why they have to mess with my CAD files!

I will keep you guys updated. This will delay by 1.5 to 2 weeks. I hope you understand...

Grant Stockly
09-02-2008, 12:52 AM
Once upon a time, 2 years ago, I bought a batch of 10 1k memory boards. They were the first boards that I'd ever had made with a solder mask and silk screen, so I was very nervous. These boards did NOT have gold fingers and they turned out GREAT!

On the second batch of PCBs I decided to add gold plating to the fingers and a beveled edge to the card edge. I created a "mask" to go over the area that I wanted to be exposed to gold. This mask was larger than it needed to be, but it didn't bother me since it hung over the edge of the PCB. The tops of the fingers on the boards without gold fingers are covered up with green solder mask.


They sent me $3500 worth of PCBs in that first order, and about $3000 of them were wrong. All of the boards looked like the top board in the above picture, some worse. They thought that the entire gold finger should be exposed, so they bumped my mask up. Since my mask was too large, it made the board look bad. They also modified the solder mask/silk screen in quite a few areas.

Because of this costly error on their part, they set it up so that they would send me a check plot on every order before it went to manufacturing. This is basically them e-mailing me my gerber files back to myself. I don't understand why they need this process, as far as I'm concerned they should just stop editing my files!

When I went to reorder the PCBs, they assured me that they would be using the latest batch of engineering files, but they didn't. They used the old files, and modified them AGAIN...

The reason I want to reorder the PCBs from the same part number is I want to save $200 or so in "engineering" fees. Regardless of saving money, there is also no guarantee that a new part number wouldn't be edited either...

The thing that surprises me is that the CPU card (shown above) had the bad gold fingers AND at least one area of modified silkscreen. The bad gold finger area was actually in the check plot that they e-mailed me, but NOT the silkscreen modification! So what good are the check plots if they are going to modify the files further after sending them to me!

I may try to get them to discount the CPU boards because of the modification made after the check plots, but I'm doubting they will do it. I am at fault for not catching the gold finger issue.

I will let you guys know as soon as the new boards arrive. Every part of the kits are ready to ship. I would have taken pictures but I left my memory card at work!

Grant Stockly
09-15-2008, 11:35 PM
Neither of the two gerber file checkplots are for the orders I02969A21-1 and I029569A21-2. Those two orders were produced twice because we had the same issues with gold fingers before.

Do you want me to resubmit my gerber files? I don't want to repay for engineering since it was done once already.


Hi Grant,

These were the same files that you sent us the second time around to get the boards remade. Please send me the gerbers and I will have the engineers compare the files.

I didn't resubmit files for the second run. You guys edited them for me. I have the physical boards from those orders and its obvious that they do not match the gerbers.

If I send you files, it will be the first time I've resubmitted files since 12/25/2006.

Would you like me to submit gerber files that represent the physical PCBs?


Hi Grant,

I believe this time we got the right files. Please review them and let me know if these are approved or not.

If any questions please feel free to contact me.

Those files do not represent physical boards from job I029569A21-1 or -2. Do you want gerber files that represent those physical boards? What information can I give you that may be written on the PCBs that would help you find the files/materials used to produce them?


Hey Grant,

The files I sent you are the ones from job I029569A21-1 or -2. If you have the files go ahead and send them to me and I will have my
engineer compare them.

If you have the packing slip saved from last time we ran these board let me
know what B# is on that packing slip because that will help as well.

The saga continues...

Grant Stockly
10-03-2008, 05:32 PM
Well, I am getting pretty frustrated. All I want is them to be able to send me a check plot file which represents the PCBs I will receive.

They went as far as to actually PRODUCE a PCB to show me that the gold fingers look OK. Great, you can make the PCBs correctly...why can't you e-mail me a proper looking gerber file? The gerber files they send me DO NOT represent what they produce. Someone is modifying the boards, there are production files after whatever gerber files they've been sending me.

Its been 1 month since I placed an order with a 1.5 week lead time. They are now going to produce 2 of each PCB and mail them to me. I will then approve them and then they can produce the boards.

If they can't send me working check plots, then I guess they will have to send me proofs!

You may wonder why its so important that I buy PCBs from these guys. I would consider it important since their PCBs all look identical. The color and gloss of the finished PCBs are all identical. I have hundreds of PCBs (good by the way) of peripheral cards for the Altair kit, including the front panel. Other companies I've ordered from in the past have different looking PCBs, and also deliver PCBs in batches days apart that don't look the same.

I hope that the proof PCBs will arrive early next week so that I can move on!!!

10-15-2008, 05:08 AM
I'd like to get a kit, but I'm a 21 year old college student with bills, loans, and a need to get a "new" car. spending $1.5k to me for something that while really nifty on the geek scale, but has no TRUE practical function.

I could get a fully functional desktop that emulates the fully assembled kit. But that option lacks the hard physical experience.

While I understand the artistry and novelty aspect of this device; a scratched case, and a bad (but functional) PCB mask is NOT a bad price to pay for a discounted machine. especially if the cosmetic defects are unnoticeable once fully assembled.

So if they were functionally ok, but cosmetically defective, than why not rid yourself of them by selling, especially if they refuse to take them back.

10-16-2008, 01:54 AM
Hi Grant,

Add me to the current Altair 8800 want list and please let me know pricing of other available items and estimated ship dates...


10-31-2008, 02:29 AM
Please add me to you wait list for the Altair 8800 kit. Are there any still available in your recent batch or are they all spoken for?

Thanks in advance,

11-24-2008, 07:08 PM

If and when a Altair 8800 kit becomes available, I would like to purchase one. I've been following your site and it seems like a great time to request one - if not a current unit but a future order is fine too!

Allen :D

11-27-2008, 03:29 AM
The last email I got was a year ago to the day (11/26/2007). That's a coincidence.

01-09-2009, 02:32 AM
Hi Grant,

My alarm went off this morning: it's been six months since my last request to get on the waiting list for an 8800.

This is my new request.

Any openings?

Best regards,

Grant Stockly
01-10-2009, 08:12 PM
Hi Grant,

My alarm went off this morning: it's been six months since my last request to get on the waiting list for an 8800.

This is my new request.

Any openings?

Best regards,

There are always openings, but I have a limited number of cases at any given point in time to sell. I am working down the list of people right now. As soon as next weekend I will be contacting people again. The people who have received kits recently have been on the list for about a year. Not something I wanted to happen, but life didn't give me a choice. :(

I am trying to buy 20 more cases, but I haven't received a response yet. There are approximately 10 kits with cases left and I am working down the list of reservations and then I will get to the waiting list.

02-07-2009, 09:02 PM

Just wanted you to know I received my kit today. Thank you. Unfortunately it will be a bit of time before I can turn my attention to it. I am still in the midst of so many other projects that need to be completed first.

You have done a first-rate job.


03-15-2009, 03:27 AM

I just wanted to make sure I was on a waiting list and if I need to place a deposit or anything to make sure, if/when, they become available?

I'm really excited to get my hand on one of your kits.




03-19-2009, 03:47 AM

Just looking for an update. How far down the list am I, and will I make this batch's cutoff?


Oh, BTW, I love my 680!


08-03-2009, 04:46 PM
Hi Grant:

Please place me on the waiting list for Altair 8800 Kit.



09-18-2009, 01:12 PM
I would love a Altair 8800 Kit.

Please add me to the waiting list.

The last one I saw up close was at my fathers office in St. Elizabeths Hospital Washington DC. He actually had 2 of them.

I sure wish I could go back in time and grab one. Great memories there of playing with those first computers and building heathkits.

I sure hope its not too late for a chance at a kit.

Thanks so much!

Eric Weiner
household AT eweiner DOT com