Vintage PCB stock found!

I can’t believe it!

Working on various vintage reproduction projects, an irritant has been the look of the modern PCB stock we have available today.  Modern PCB stock is made with a different process compared to decades ago and as a result both the color and texture are different enough to make it a dead giveaway that your reproduction is just that.   Not that we should try to deceive – we do have a responsibility to ensure that future collectors are not fooled.  But for my own purposes, especially for projects where the boards will be visible, that modern stock just ruins the whole aesthetic.  Here’s what I’m talking about:

On the left is a new Mark-8 PCB produced using current PCB material.  On the right is an original Mark-8 board fabbed using the old process.  You can see there is a distinct difference in color – a kind of ‘fluorescence’ to the vintage board on the right.  Further, when you get up close and look at the new board, the product is very smooth – vintage stock had a grain to it that was very apparent.   No amount of dye or other tricks can correct this.  Further, vintage PCB stock often has manufacturer ‘stamping’ on it that identifies where it was produced.  My Mark-8 boards have NVF or Tc stamped all over them – indicating in the latter case that they were made by New Jersey fabhouse Techniques.

Unfortunately for years, the stuff on the left was the best I could do.  Until two weeks ago, that is.  I had been constantly searching ebay for ‘vintage PCB’ or ‘vintage copper clad’, the former yielding nothing and the latter yielding pots and pans.  However, one day I decided to try searching via Google.  I don’t know why but Google often finds things ebay itself can’t find.  To my amazement, up came an auction for vintage PCB stock!  And not just unknown vintage either!  Actual dated stock from 1973!!!!!

I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I know this seems like a trivial thing but to me this is huge.  With actual 1973 board stock, I can make something that is virtually indistinguishable from the original!  Naturally I ordered everything the guy had.  Two weeks later, here it was:

Incredible!  I mean, I’d expected to find something vintage-ish with enough searching.  But actual new-in-bag with verifiable date of production?  Crazy!!  These boards have survived untouched since the days of President Nixon.  They were around for the last days of the Vietnam War, Watergate, the fall of the Soviet Union.. wow!  There can’t be too many of these still lying around out there, but I’m glad I kept the faith that there had to be at least some!

The boards are 0.03″ thick, rather than the usual 0.06″.  But actually, that’s okay.  Because they are single sided, if I wanted to make a Mark-8 board, which is double-sided, I can just make the two sides separately and then laminate them together.  I’ve made boards from double sided 0.06″ stock.. it’s tricky.

I am currently working on building a SWTPC PPG joystick.  I had already made one from the modern PCB stock – let’s see what it looks like with vintage!  I almost feel kinda guilty opening these packages that have been untouched for four decades…

I used the usual toner transfer process to get my resist pattern onto the board.  It went down pretty much the same as with modern – however, perhaps owing to the thinness of the substrate, the iron did manage to melt a sort of checkerboard pattern into part of it.   Whoops!  Anyway, next I cut it (easy, since it’s only 0.03″ thick!) and etch.  Here are the results.  First, we’ll compare it to my modern board stock:

Note: I etched a second piece of the vintage stock completely so I could sandwich it to the first piece, to give an idea of the color with the board at 0.06″ thickness.  Above is the result, below is a TVT board I made using modern stock.  Interestingly the scanner kind of distorts the color a bit, but you can still see a difference.  In real life, the modern board is a more brown/yellow color and stands out pretty dramatically vs. the vintage board stock.

Here is a scan of the joystick board next to an original Mark-8 board:

Bit of a difference in darkness for sure.  In person, the Mark-8 board doesn’t look that dark and in fact looks much closer to the NOS vintage stock.  And it should, since they both were made by Techniques.  Know how I know?  Check it out:

That, my friends, is Techniques’ mark.  Same marks that appear on my original Mark-8 boards!  Different color — the ones on my Mark-8 boards are kind of red, but still.. very cool!  I can make brand new Mark-8 boards that nonetheless have the old Tc stampings on them!!

Anyway, the lesson here is patience and persistence pay off.  I knew it had to be out there and just kept looking, for years.  There is probably more, maybe even some double-sided or 0.06″ thickness.  It’s definitely out there!  Now I’m in a pickle.. do I leave my TVT as it is or go the last mile and remake the boards from vintage stock?  Hmmmm… 🙂

 

 

Printing Silkscreen Layer with Ghost White Toner!

Well it finally arrived:

As you know, printers do not print white typically, they work subtractively and simply don’t put toner where white is required. Essentially with this Ghost White Toner, you remove the black toner and install the white. You continue to print whatever you’re printing as ‘black’, the printer thinks its black but really it comes out white. The toners are made by a company called Ghost White Toner in Germany. They claim to offer white remanned toner for several models, however I found in practice they really only had one available for the HP Color LaserJet Pro 200.

I went this route because for my TV Typewriter boards,  I wanted them to look as close to the originals as possible. I could have just printed in black for the silkscreen side, but that didn’t look prototypical to me. I also looked into actual silkscreening, and there is a company that will take your design and make it into a silkscreen. But then ya gotta buy the screen, the paint, deal with the mess.. blah. I just wanted to print it off and transfer. That’s it – not mess around with paint.  I knew, peripherally, that there were printers out there that printed white – used for transfers to tshirts, etc. But they were $3000! I thought about using my toner remanufacturing skills to just buy the white toner powder and refill a black cart with it, but even a bag of the powder was at least $300. Then I found these guys.

So let’s see how it prints to my magazine paper transfer medium:

Looking at it, it looks kinda thin. But that could also be because it’s white and maybe not as opaque as other colors. Let’s fire up the iron and one of my TVT spare boards and see what happens.

I didn’t try very hard – this board is a scrap unit I can’t use because it was etched wrong.. so I didn’t really work it with the iron. But, you get the idea. It’s not bad. But it is thin. I’m reading the instructions and it appears there are some adjustments to print settings you can make to print it darker. I’m going to try some of those next and see how they work out. It may also be partly the magazine paper I’m using.. perhaps I need to use actual transfer paper?

But yeah, a lot easier than actual silkscreening, and in white, no less! The toner itself cost $115USD + shipping – not completely out of line for a toner. Ghost White will sell you a complete kit with appropriate printer for a few hundred bucks. I bought my LaserJet 200 on ebay for $49. Works great, although I had to do some repairs because the shipping monkeys broke it.

Anyway, pretty pleased. Will keep trying different settings and let you know how close I can get.

Nearing completion

This week I put in my order to Signal Tranformer for a new 24-1A transformer.  Believe it or not, despite the passage of 40 years, Signal will still custom make just about anything they previously made, for a price.  The cost of the transformer itself is about $103USD – not cheap, but according to Signal it will be identical in every way to the originals used in the 70s, which would be handy since the TVT instructions call for a 24-1A as the preferred unit.

The boards meanwhile are pretty much done.  Here they are (please forgive the lighting:

And stacked together:

TV Typewriter

Now I just have to hope that when I apply power, it works.  I should note that I kind of failed to follow the instructions – the instructions have you build the unit in a particular order in order to safely test things as you go.  For example, the instructions for the mainframe have you build and test the power supply before installing other components like the RF modulator.  This is to minimize the risk of serious damage if something is wired wrong.    I could help myself perhaps by dismantling those parts.. but I think with a good, thorough checkover (several times) I’ll feel pretty confident about plugging in the mainframe at least and working my way up.  Cannot believe I’m so close to being finished!  What a fun ‘little’ project!

Assembling the case

The final pieces are on order and now I’m moving to assembling the TVT’s case.  For trial purposes, I built the first case out of fir and plywood.  I had initially thought plywood was correct – in pictures of the original it appeared to be plywood peeking out from the left side where the vinyl covering had peeled away.  I was wrong.  It was metal.  And indeed, if I’d read the manual all the way though I would have known that all along – the article strongly recommended using a metal case to prevent RF interference from the device, which is a no-no!

For the side pieces I went with red oak.  I kept looking at photos of the original and that seemed to be, in terms of grain, as close as I could get.   I even got a bit cheeky and made sure the right side had a knothole, similar to the prototype!

I then routered out the insides.  This wasn’t quite as hard the second time around, although I did accidentally cut a notch through the front of the right side.  Argh!  I’ll have to figure out a way to fix that.

The case is assembled with a piece of 5/4″ wood (yes, that’s what it’s called) for the front ‘palmrest’, and then the back is a piece of sheet metal from Canadian Tire.  One thing I learned for bending metal – you need a brake!  I thought it’d be easy enough to fashion the metal into a box shape with nice crisp corners.  Nope!  Turns out metal really resists corner shapes!  No matter how much force I put on it, I couldn’t do it.  I ended up using a ballpeen hammer and an edge to bang it more or less into shape.  Thank goodness it’ll be covered with vinyl!

 

Looking alright.  To hold it all together, I ended up using No More Nails.  That stuff is quite strong and was able to hold the metal in place.  To bond the vinyl to the metal top, I initially used the same but as you can see in the pictures, it developed serious wrinkles.  So, I ripped it off (I had lots of vinyl; a square yard can cover a lot of TVTs!), sanded down, and did it with contact cement.  Much better, no wrinkles!

The really tricky part of assembly was getting the keyboard to fit – when I first put it together, the return and space keys were binding on the case.  I had to router things out a bit more (hence the accidental notch).  I realized later my case dimensions were out by about 1/4″ of an inch.  Not noticeable visually, but enough to cause these sorts of assembly headaches.

Anyway, after the glue has set, we have a pretty good facsimile of the original.  Check it out – mine is up top (obviously) and the original is pictured at the museum below:

Not bad if I do say so myself!  So yeah, basically I need to find a way to fix that accidental notch, because I am not messing with the router again.  And then I need to get the legends and nameplate made up.  Probably Front Panel Express will be where I go to do that.  But for now, on to getting the main unit actually working!

The Memory Board (Page A)

Things are rolling along smoothly on my TV Typewriter build.  At last, I have reached the summit of this device – the Memory board.  This is the board – easily the most intricate and complex, and important.

The Memory board is where the magic happens.  It is host to the Signetics 2513 character generator ROM:

Chances are if you had any involvement with 8 bit computing back in the day, you’ve had or used this ROM.  It was used in the Apple I, the Apple II, the SWTPC CT-1024, early Atari games and so on for generating (upper case) text.   In fact, if you’re typing on an original Apple II, you’re producing exactly the same characters this TVT device does.

The memory board also hosts the all important ‘memory’, in the form of 6 Signetics 2524v shift registers.

These tiny (and rare) 8 pin chips can each handle 512 bits of information.  If my calculations are correct, 6 of them together produces the equivalent of about 384 bytes of memory.  Oooooooh!

Now, the TVT was a modular design, so you could add additional ‘pages’ of memory to handle more.  But to get to just 1KB you’d need three of these things, and because my prototype case is only about 4.5″ tall, it wouldn’t fit.  So I’m sticking with just the one – that’s good enough for a full page of characters.  Plus, it’s not like Page B will do you much good.  The two pages do not exist seamlessly for the user – ie, you can’t just type two pages worth of data on the screen, scrolling down as you go.  You have to manually flip a switch to go between pages.  When you reach the bottom of either page, the whole thing blanks and begins fresh.  Anything you typed before is gone!  As a terminal, this is pretty useless.  Don was questioned back in the day on the design by Lee Felsenstein, and his response was essentially ‘hey buddy, it’s for putting words on a TV screen!’.

And at any rate, supposing you did make use of both pages, dutifully typing out your 2 page essay on your TVT.  You had no way to back it up, unless you knew how to wire up a cassette recorder.  Or here’s another recommended method from the article:

LOL

Well, I guess technically it is a hard copy..

Again, Don Lancaster’s TV Typewriter is not an entirely practical device out of the box, really.  It was about the concept.  Further development was up to you (or him), depending on who got to it first.

Anyway, the Page A board is distinct from any subsequent boards you build – Page B etc don’t need to have their own character generator or associated circuitry, so a whole bunch of resistors, etc are left out.  But for Page A, it’s all on, and this board is a blizzard of ICs, resistors, diodes, caps and my least favourite thing in the universe next to mint-flavoured-anything: jumper wires.  Lots.  And lots.  (And lots).  Lots of jumper wires.  You need to be in a Zen mode to handle that.

And you need to pay very close attention.  Because the traces are tightly packed, there’s a lot of holes, and it’s easy enough to accidentally bridge something with solder or install into the wrong holes.  Definitely do not do this while tired!

The drilling was the worst though – it took me about an hour with a Dremel to get it all and even my poor eyes, which were crossing, missed a couple.  And let me tell you about drilling PCBs: it stinks.  Do not do this in a small room.  You should also wear a respirator.  Drilling PCBs produces a nasty, smelly, very fine glass dust.  It’ll stink up your room for an hour.  Trust me.  Do this in a garage.

Anyway, after that and about about five hours of soldering, here’s what we have so far:

Looking pretty good!   I received and am using those little Bakelite 100uf caps.  They definitely look period correct!  I’m also mixing and matching the other IC sockets as I suspect any hobbyist/prototype maker reaching into his parts bin would have back in the day.

I am waiting for a correct-looking 24 pin socket for the character generator and some blue 8 pin sockets I found for the shift registers to finish that end of it off.  In the meantime, I’ll Zen-out and install jumpers everywhere else it’s needed.

Regarding connecting all four boards together,  I’m relieved to report that they all can be snapped together, with a fair bit of finagling.  In this pic I haven’t pressed them in all the way – I really hate Molex connectors and the amount of force required to install or separate things with them.  It flexes the hell out of the boards and makes me cringe every time.  I’m amazed the pins are breaking off!

Anyway, here’s a beauty shot.  Beneath it is a shot of Don’s original.  We’re getting there!

The RF modulator

Probably the most important circuit on this whole device is its RF modulator.  The RF modulator takes is essentially a ‘converter’ that takes a pure video signal and emits it at a frequency a television receiver can pick up.   As has been explained to me by folks more knowledgeable than I, the RF modulator is essentially a  Hartley LC circuit.

In the TV Typewriter, a coil of solid wire is fed current to produce oscillations at a frequency your television set can intercept and interpret.  There is a 33pf trimmer capacitor installed alongside that allows you to precisely trim the signal.  For example, if I wanted the system to use channel 2, I’d need to adjust until I was putting out signal at 55.25mhz.

Setting out on the project, I had been advised by both contemporary and historical sources not to bother with the modulator and instead just pipe video direct to composite monitor to make it easy on myself.

However to me, the whole point of a ‘TV Typewriter’ is its interface with a TV.  Sure, you could have bought a monitor back in the day, but monitors were expensive.  The genius behind the TV Typewriter was the realization that most people already had a perfectly good ‘monitor’ in their home – their TV!  To build the TVT without a TV interface just seemed pointless.  After all, I already have a TVT-2 that does direct composite output.

Probably I will come to regret this decision later.  I did run into some snags trying to make my coil.  The article advised I needed to take a 4″ piece of solid 14 gauge wire, and twist it 6 turns on a 3/8″ mandrill, spacing the turns so that the whole coil is about 1″ long.  Well, here’s how many twists I was able to get with 4″:

Hmm.  I decided to write Don directly about this.  This wouldn’t be the first error encountered in the directions.  I asked him if I could go longer and what the implications would be.  He said no problem (‘shouldn’t be critical’ were his words) and gave me some pointers on what I was shooting for frequency wise.

I ended up taking a 7″ long piece of wire and got my 6 turns out of that.  With that all shaped up properly, I then turned my attention to how to fix it to the mainframe.  Obviously I can’t direct solder the ends as they have to pass through to the copper traces on the opposite side of where the coil is mounted.  I couldn’t see clearly enough in any pictures of originals I had if they had used special mounts, so for the ends I just soldered in two solid wire ‘posts’ and then soldered the coil ends to that.

That seemed straightforward enough, but I was at a loss as to what to do about a third connection implied by the drill pattern on the PCB:

The instructions, being written for people who actually knew what they were doing, did not explain.  Was that another mount point?  If so, why?

This is where it helps to read schematics.  The schematic is specific that you must ‘tap’ (attach) a third point to the coil on the first turn:

Why?  Not being an electronics expert (yet), I can only hazard a guess that current is passed from one end of the coil to the other, and the third ‘tap’ is placed at a point where sufficient signal/oscillation is generated to be usable.

The trace the third tap is on leads directly to the 300ohm twinlead, which is a flat ribbon-like cable those of us over a certain age might call ‘antenna cable’.  You can see it on Roy’s unit here – it’s long and flat and has two little ‘Y’ connectors that screw into the TV’s VHF antenna terminals at the back:

 

This is more or less the TVT’s antenna, carrying signal from the unit to the TV to intercept at your chosen channel.  As I said before, a lot of TVT builders ran aground on this particular rock.  Bob Rethemeyer ran into this particular problem when he built his – the output was apparently terrible.  Apparently it requires a lot of fidgeting to get working properly, and that’s why so many chose to just direct the feed to composite monitors or gave up entirely.

Anyway, here’s the circuit more or less completely installed:

Personally I think RF output will be the least of my problems getting this thing to actually run.  But, we shall see!

Mainframe and Cursor Board Progress

Progress continues on my TV Typewriter Redux project.  After encountering disaster in the form of weak traces, I cleaned up and readied my second TVT mainframe board (there were three, thankfully I got one right!).  It looks great – the dye isn’t quite as blue as on the last one and it looks about as vintage as I think one can make modern PCB stock look.

I don’t yet have the transformer, fuse clips, or self test posts.  I’m also missing two momentary return DPDT switches.  But I’ve installed pretty much everything else.  The mainframe is easy to work on – everything is spaced out nicely.

Moving up the unit I started work on the Cursor board.  I had run out of old 14 pin sockets from my parts bin, so I hunted ebay and found these blue Cambion wire wrap sockets.  I don’t know what year they’re from but to me they look a lot like the ones my new friend Roy used on his TVT:

You can see Roy installed them only for certain ICs.  I suspect this was a decision based on what was likely to fail, and what components were too expensive to risk when doing self-tests and/or diagnostics.  But where he used sockets, they are those nice, tall blue ones.  I don’t know if they’re wirewrap — doubt it — but I can just install my wirewraps and trim the legs and get the same look.   Here they are installed with ICs in place.

I didn’t exist yet in 1973 but I think that looks pretty authentic if I do say so myself!

You’ll note I also did a test fitment, plugging the Cursor into the Timing board and then the Mainframe underneath.  It had occurred to me that if the Mainframe scan was skewed there was every likelihood the others were as well.  But I had hoped because I made sure to compare the three smaller boards before etching them that they would work.

I can’t say they fit perfectly, but they can be made to fit, and continuity is perfect between boards.  I can easily trace connections from a pin up top to where it ends up on the mainframe.  Excellent!  One small beef – although the first board plugs nicely and snug into the mainboard, the others sit up about a quarter inch from the molex connectors beneath.  I figured out this was because I had soldered the pins in such a way that they were actually pressing against the bottom of the molex connectors, restricting how far the pins from above could penetrate.  I’m not sure if I’ll attempt to remedy this at all, or just trim the pins on each board to compensate.  Hmm…

About Caps

One of the unantipicated tricky parts of trying to make my prototype look authentically oldschool is finding components that look correct for the period.  As we know, as technology advances things tend to get smaller, and indeed, capacitors in particular are much, much smaller for the same capacitance than they were 40+ years ago.

One cap that has really annoyed me from the beginning is the 100uf.  These are used all over the place in the TVT.  If you recall my ASCII encoder side project, you’ll recall just how tiny those 100uf caps were relative to the originals.  Here’s a pic of one for a refresher.  They are absolutely puny:

I realize my artist’s OCD is at play here, but still.  I want this thing to look right. These do not look right.  I mean, the ‘metal sausage’ look could be authentic.  Shortly after Christmas, an auction for an original TVT appeared (sadly, I lost it, but more on that in a future post).  The owner/builder, Roy, was kind enough to send me some photos of it.  It’s amazing to have some quality photos of an original.  This shot of the memory board shows that indeed, metal sausage caps were around back in the day:

But again, they are quite a bit larger, and they are not what Don used in the prototype.  For perspective, here is what the originals should look like:

They’re basically a mini can.  They have a very nice, flat top, cylindrical look.  The cap pictured is a vintage Siemens 100uf 16V.  These are all over my SWTPC equipment and appear to be similar to what Don used on the TVT.

I hunted and hunted for months.  Finally, I had some luck.  Somebody had these lovely ruby red Bakelite-style caps that were the exact same size and style as the Siemens I was looking for!

I couldn’t find any in any color other than red, but that was fine with me.  I’ve accepted from the outset that I was never going to get an exact copy of Don’s prototype internally.  There’s just too many unknowns and long discontinued parts.  But these will do!  I’ve ordered a whole bunch and will install them wherever 100uf are required, and also use them to replace the ones on my ASCII encoder to remove that bit of modernity.  Hopefully they work!

Oh no!

So I’ve got my TV Typewriter ‘mainframe’ parts install underway.  I’ve got molex connectors, caps, diodes, resistors — the whole nine yards.  I decide to put the board up against a light to check for any trace ‘bleeding’ or accidental solder bridges and then:

Not good.   Not good at all!

This is something any homebrew PCB maker should check before proceeding.  I had been fooled — from topside, the copper obscures the tiny pinholes visible here.  Since these pinholes look like the pattern of pixels in a magazine photograph, I’m guessing not enough toner was deposited to fully protect them from the etchant.

Interestingly, the traces all test good on the ohmmeter.  I’m tempted to carry on – but this state of affairs really bothers me.  More experienced hands warn it will eventually fail.  So I decide to switch to the second mainframe board I made — that one passes the backlight test handily.  I’ll wipe the black silksreening off it, clean it up, check it, and transfer everything over.  Thankfully the mainframe doesn’t have too many parts installed!

The ‘Mainframe’

Just for clarity, what Radio Electronics refers to as ‘the Mainframe’ is what you and I today would call the ‘motherboard’.  Just to clear that up in case it causes confusion among those who think of mainframes as something else entirely.

I ended up making three motherboards.  The first was my first-ever homemade PCB; and it showed.  I rejected it outright for overetching and bad cutting.  The second was much better, but had a few spots of copper remaining where I didn’t want it.  I decided to use that one to try doing ‘silkscreening’ on the backside using laser toner.  The third board is the one I’m starting with.  It benefitted greatly from my newly acquired knowledge about etching, cutting and so on, and looks really clean.  Let’s get started.

I should note I decided late in the game to forgo silkscreening altogether on my prototype.  I don’t know why I was so fixated on it.  As we can deduce from this photograph, the prototype does not have it:

So that lets me off the hook.  And anyway, the original silkscreening on the SWTPC kit boards was white, and since I don’t have a (expensive) printer that can print with white toner and I’m not willing to shell out to make an actual silkscreen, I’m going to leave the silkscreen off.

Again before embarking, I decided to check the appendix at the end of the construction guide for any last minute warnings about the mainframe.  Sure enough, there was one.  Diode D6 is shown backwards on the parts overlay!  Luckily, the overlay I borrowed from SWTPC.com had it corrected already:

I’m glad they caught that 40 years ago and that I didn’t have to spend a week or two puzzling over schematics.

Oh and did I mention the schematics themselves have errors?  Yikes!  Several corrections are made in the construction guide appendix.

Per the guide, I want to get molex connectors installed first and check fitment.  It takes minimal time to drill these out on the PCB and then solder them in:

The Dremel does a decent job, although it does have a tendency to wander.  Once you get used to this though it’s easy enough to adjust your entry point to get your holes where you want them.

In the event, I decided to drill out the entire board, carefully looking at the photos from that ebay auction I missed to make sure I drilled the right size holes (more or less).  I then couldn’t resist installing some of the capacitors:

Originally I was going to use these vintage looking blue Rubycons for the twin 1000uf caps, but along the way to getting here I found these mint condition Temple units.  They look much closer to the prototype’s design and are shorter than the Rubycons, so they fit better on the board.  In the end I decided to stack them just as Don did on the prototype.  There’s a practical reason for this – the 5000uf cap is huge and cuts uncomfortably into the space you need for the first 1000uf cap.  Stacking them frees up room.

I also switched from a modern 4700uf cap to a Mallory 5000uf unit.  These tall metal caps are way more authentic looking to the early 70s than the modern ‘sausage’ ones.  Unfortunately these caps are the ‘slot terminal’ type.  They have three contacts around the outside (for negative) and a fourth on the inside (for positive).  I had to jury rig it with 14 gauge wire to make it work with my board.

This prompted some tut-tutting online, as it’s not the way these bladed units are intended to be installed.  The soldered on wire terminals are weaker than the mounting plate it’s meant to use.  However, I did wiggle it a bit and found it to be fairly solid.  This could all be moot anyway – caps do not store for long periods well and even though these are all NOS, there’s a good chance they may be all dried up and will have to be replaced with modern.  Fingers crossed!

After the molex connectors were installed, I decided to try installing the Timing board to see how it fit:

Okay so it looks good, but unfortunately it turns out I was indeed a victim of scan skewing.  One of the molex connectors is skewed just slightly off to the right, so it is not straight in line with the others and requires an uncomfortable twisting of the back end of the Timing board to get it to mate.  I ended up removing the Timing board and adjusting the pins as I had them pointing outward somewhat rather than straight down.  This helped, and the Timing board now snaps much better into place!

That’s all we’re doing today!  Looking good so far!