I know this is probably only so useful as most of the hardcore AKA fans will already have their boards and will have cuddled them for a bit and then fitted them by now, but for anyone still considering it here's a quick review and description of the fitting process. I bought boards to upgrade an early (#00412) Excal and a 2004 Viking to make life easier when playing UK tourneys at 10.5 bps and to allow me more setting up options, also they were new and shiny
The boards come packaged in a nice solid hard case;
which opens to reveal the board, manual, RF link, USB cable, a clear data port cover and some stickers
Build quality seems very good, with none of the wobbly sockets etc found on some boards and a nice protective coating over everything. A closer look at the board reveals a few nice touches;
You can see the USB port, and also that the sockets on the underside of the board have been marked with batt, trigg and on off legends to make installation that bit easier. The silver and black rectangle between the sockets and LED is a button that de/activates the tournament lock when held in for a few seconds, and can be reached from outside the tray via the data port. No more pin fiddling or heading onto the field hoping no one checks for rainbow LED shenanigans after changing settings in a hurry.
Installation is a drop-in process (kinda like fighting an octopus with molex connectors for tentacles but that's the price you pay for modularity), made easier by the board markings and a handy diagram for the other sockets in the manual;
If you want to use RF it's just plug in and go, although the amount of metal in the tray means you might have to get a bit creative finding a spot for the chip to sit and still transmit clearly.
Once fitted the boards recognised both markers and came online with all the necessary functions in all the right places, although once in Tengu the Viking did read as set in Excal mode until I changed it using the interface (more details below). A close look at this pic shows the tourney lock button that can be reached easily with a small probe for an easier life. The LED is the usual nice bright unit but it's worth noting there's no support for the rear LED, no great loss.
So all fitted and in place, time to check out the Tengu interface, the name always makes me think of this guy for some reason...
But anyway, it's easily downloaded and installed from the website and once in place just turn the gun off and plug it in, and the interface allows you to start wrecking your gun
with no trying to count with your hands full
and nary a flashing light in sight. You can adjust pretty much anything you might wish, with dwell adjustable in 0.5ms steps and BPS in 0.1 for getting as close to the line as possible. It's very simple and you can save up to five profiles with different settings for different rules or occasions. Tadao have also included the crucial 'return to defaults' setting but with all the info laid out in front of you on the screen it's much harder to get lost. The LED still allows changes via the classic trigger method so you don't need your laptop at the field, and while there's no screen it's still a big step up in ease of adjustment.
Ok, so that's the fitting and setup taken care of, I'm off to play on Sunday so will do some testing then but a quick backyard blatt shows a very smooth and consistent semi in the Excal and consistent 10bps ramping in the Vike, more to follow once I get them over a BPS meter etc so stay tuned...