The Aquarius was shipped as a pared-down system to keep costs low and to promote future sales of expansion devices, including RAM, modems, etc. While Bruce Abbott's Micro Expander was a revolution to the platform, it was difficult to source the parts, assemble it, and get it working on older S1 Aquarius systems. An improved solution was needed.
I took for granted the ability to acquire and use the Mini Expander when I got back in to Aquarius in late 2018, but I soon discovered that many of my peers in the UK and EU found it difficult and expensive to acquire the unit. It commonly comes with two Aquarius Control Pads, but even those are difficult to find outside the United States.
When I bought the Micro Expander from a collector in the UK, I found that, while it worked GREAT on my S2 system, when I tried to use it on the older S1 systems, a variety of errors cropped up.
I sought to create a system that was easier to build, had relatively easy-to-acquire parts, and which builders around the world could assemble and sell to Aquarius fans who were less technical.
Same form-factor as the Mini Expander
32kb of RAM
Custom ROM with menu and ability to drop into USB BASIC
AY-3-8910 Sound chip and Control Pad ports (as well as header for expansion)
CH376S USB Interface with either external or internal-facing USB port
Easy to source and build
Better compatibility across all Aquarius models
Overview of Build Process (Detailed process coming soon!)
Solder components to PCB
Program ROM and two GAL chips & insert into proper sockets on board
Put into enclosure