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Everything posted by EMwhite

  1. The WDCs, since they are 'modern', can easily tolerate a stopped clock or diff clock speeds, of course. The pic above is of the development board which is (I believe) a proof-of-concept that she is putting into the hands of a few developers that will be piecing together the operating environment/kernel, etc. Not sure what form a prod release will take or what the timeframe will be but if successfully released with even 3/4 of the features on that board, it will be compelling.
  2. With the Flagship A2560K (keyboard model) now shipping and the GEN X near pre-production completion and about to ship in the next month or two, Stefany Allaire announced a new low-cost single-board computer that checks all the boxes. She took a step back from the WDC 65C816 which has been known to scare classical 6502 bods, and is using the WDC 65C02 running at 6.2x Mhz. The pic of the dev board was just released; Based on the capabilities of prior Foenix efforts, I'm guessing this is a capable platform, and employs enough 'standards' to host the X16 with a minimum of arm-twisting. Stefany has her own Pick & Place machine and is pretty good at parts procurement / supply so I don't see the typical cast of issues getting in her way. I heard it will be < $200 for the SBC (bring your own power supply and PS/2 kbd/mouse ... but also it has a 20 pin Commodore Keyboard header and other gifts; see pic).
  3. Some discussion here ... Didn't seem to land anywhere useful (a year ago); whomever owns this part of the dev SHOULD (my opinion only) implement this functionality. Commodore squeezed it into a few 8K ROMs back when, shouldn't be too difficult to emulate or rewrite, clean-room. Of course, the Commander, if it ever materializes in hardware, is NOT meant to be 100% Commodore compatible; but as a platform that might invite some porting of old software, it would be nice : )
  4. Pricing will never be the same. Hate to be Debbie downer but I just had this conversation (argument) w/my wife that Gasoline prices will never get below $4 (for super) again. Opportunism, market adjustment, greed. W/regard to ICs and any crap (or good thing) made in China... The way allies and adversaries are lining up, I can't see trade relations improving anytime soon. Once Intel opens their Columbus Ohio plant (in 5 years) we should have some relief. Until then (for those of us in the states), it's back to erector sets and fuzzy pumper barber shop for creative outlets. : )
  5. @SlithyMatt, you may be beyond your *blaster troubles by now but I can tell you with certainty that the cheap-arse USB Blasters such as the on pictured (which is probably counterfeit) has caused problems for many as they attempted to push to Altera via Quartus; I know this because Stefany bases her C256 Foenix products on Cyclone family and many of us have been maintaining (updating) VICKY II FPGA code with some finding that the lower cost USB Blasters just will not work. The Digikey sold (expensive) Terasic Blaster (P0302) is creeping up in cost but is known to work reliably, I've used it a few times already without incident. Perhaps you found out that this was due to a Linux serial driver or maybe this is a back-burner project by now? curious to see/hear an update if you have one.
  6. You can indeed buy SN76477, just don't buy them from China (as I did); the cockroach style are either fake or faulty; I blew about $60 on qty. 4 and they were all garbage. Instead, check synth-houses. As for the schematic, I'll get you the one I used later tonight when I'm home but had this in my laptop; it's quite similar. I think this was from a cocktail schematic; the standup version depending on revision is slightly different. The line heading East from pins 12 & 13 is the audio output which is mixed with the other discrete circuits... the southbound line hits an inverter cell (on a 7404 between pins 1 & 2). This one uses 5V in to pin 15; some use the built in 9V input on ping 14 which outputs 5V on 14 (confusing, I know). I much rather send regulated +5V into pin 15 as they do here though I recall mine had/has a resistor in line. On this pic, lines 1, 19, and 22 are held 'high'. The inverted pin 9 is simply the 'start' / 'stop' sound which is autonomous and free running at a given frequency otherwise (built in low-free LFO drives the pitch). I can put up a 1 minute video of mine running if interesting to anybody. Alternate revision:
  7. Speaking of SOUND... just for fun, I worked up the aforementioned "UFO Sound" in the foreground on a SN76477 that I had kicking around. It was a masterpiece until I screwed up the layout not realizing that this protoboard had a grid within, but it works now. I also have the schematic above (Space Invaders STEP sound) implemented in the background of the pic (the four buttons) and yes, Ben Eater's clock and 65C02 that you also see in this pic will drive this shortly. Between the UFO and discreet transistor STEP sound circuit is the AMP circuit built up according to the 1980 Williams FirePower Pinball sound board.
  8. Two thoughts (one was yours so I'd like to 2nd it). Thought #1: as you suggested, a forum where we can discuss retro-tubers; not a place to bash them however I see nothing wrong with spirited debate, but a place to call out good pieces of work by said *tuber (LGR for instance, or Robin from 8 Bit Show and Tell; two of my favorites). Not a place to mirror what they produce but if somebody sees something interesting/applicable that will gen discussion, this type of forum would be a good place to point to it with editorial comments, relating info, etc. Thought #2: An 'Events' forum which can be used to announce then chronicle VCF East/West and CRX type meet-ups. Maybe someday some of us can even meet in person (crazy, I know). Point is, "Vintage" or "Retro" is too generic of a topic and sometimes relevant and connected history gets lost over time.
  9. Neglected to answer the question: ... but my dream chip is probably the YM2151 due to it's use in Marble Madness.
  10. My dream sound chip is the 556 timing chip that is used in Taito Space Invaders (below) and was responsible for the dun... dun... dun... dun (step) tones. Another classic circuit was made possibly by the defective transistor that made the TR-808 drum machine famous. "Did you know" that all of the sounds in the original Space Invaders were derived from discreet transistors and other TTL and analog circuits with the exception of the UFO sound (made famous by the TI SN76477). Later, Thomas Henry and others built entire Euro synth modules out of this IC. It was very much the birth of the audio IC (the SN76477, not the 556). If you are interested in Chiptunes or Arcade sound in general, Chris Abbott's book is great. He spoke during CRX 2021 this past year.
  11. Pg. 4 of the attached mentions the diff between their custom BASIC and the others. Further in the doc is info on the Monitor, the DOS wedge, etc. Much of the doc discusses build info and part details which are no longer applicable to the latest Mini PET, but still interesting to see where the project came from and it's a well written doc with lots of detail including hardware interfacing detail. Mini PET A Build Instructions v1.45a.pdf
  12. I have the pdf for the 'build-it-your-f'ing-self' through hole version from Summer of 2019/2020 that I'll dig up and post. It offered a number of versions of BASIC/Kernal, etc. The current product on offer is a superset of that so I think you get it all, and it's fully built and mostly surface mount. I have a Pet 4032 which this is meant to fit within if bought in green-board-only form. You will be getting the integrated and complete version but in any case, it supports an RCA or orig Pet monitor connection. Some time ago, TFW8Bit offered a piggy back ROM product which allowed for diff version of Kernal and BASIC via dip switches, then they offered the Mini Pet and separately, the IEEE SD card bit, then an integrated keyboard, then an enhanced keyboard (though only slightly... the TexElec is superior and pin compatible). The current product is a superset of all of what they've offered over the prior 3-4 years. Be sure to get your hands on Dungeon, Weather, Invaders, all of the classics.
  13. Tom, unless you are adept at SMT, beg Kevin to bake in the tiny components associated with the caps lock circuit. I built two of these: the first is a miracle (that it works). I’m an experienced through-hole bod but pushing 60 and my eyes are crap. The second kbd came prepopulated because I asked and because Kevin is accommodating.
  14. They (somebody) funded a few thousand keyboards of a specific model so why not just get working code for THAT and call it a day? I bought the WASD Commander kbd (natively USB) that had to be flashed to work as a PS/2 kbd and it works on my Foenix C256 U+ but not on my vintage DEC VT510 Terminal. Meanwhile, I have a Cherry small form kbd which is USB, also supports PS/2 and it works without fuss in both. No doubt there are challenges with PS/2, but if the platform/code can be written to support the WASD Commander and the cheap-as-chips (crisps, not ICs) Periboard, isn’t that easier?
  15. Getting back to on-topic of this thread, why is supporting PS/2 so difficult? Is it that the rest of the architecture of the orig. X16 does not play well with PS/2? It seems peculiar that others have implanted PS/2 kbd. and mouse with zero fanfare or difficulty and X16 is awaiting the return [to the project] of one person (I don’t know the name is the person, somebody that wrote the kernel I believe).
  16. The same Stephen Edwards (Columbia University Professor) also interviewed Bill at VCF East this past Autumn in New Jersey. Watch both, and also, Stephen has some lectures about Nintendo and Sprites, and a few very well produced videos about the Apple II that are good to add to your list to watch later. Bill attended VCF with his wife and they were both super-nice. I spoke with him for some time, he’s got tons of stories about the old days and the older (Motorola) days. Even autographed this for me: Of course he knew Chuck Peddle well. The rest is history and in no small way the reason why we congregate on this forum. if you are interested in ‘modern’ WDC products, have a look for the “Mensch” board which you can buy on Amazon. Amazing that a single board dev system is available for such little money considering the competition. It’s not ARM or Pi or Arduino, they are all cool too, but if it were not for MOS (and in some way, Jack), this tech would not be as accessible as it became.
  17. After 5 bad drives, I had a feeling he was going to resort to an SD card solution sitting behind the CBM controller; no less impressive though. Sometimes you just have to throw in the towel. I doubt highly that there will be a 'take' on that challenge. Probably the Zimmer guy has some info, docs, HW and a good working knowledge of these and probably David Murray is busy with other things; besides, Garage-Dave did a pretty smashing, fast-talkin' job. Very thorough. Thank you for point to that, I never even heard of him. Big world out there...
  18. Speaking of which (Christmas Demo ref'd above)... Robin, from 8-bit-show-and-tell did a Commodore Christmas round-up feature and spends the first 5 mins talking about and, well... demo'ing the demo. In his monologue, he confirmed my understanding; that this was among the first (if not the first) demo (1982) distributed which of course lead to bigger and better things. Robin also gets into the code (briefly). In my mind, this demo was a 10,000 line basic program but the combination of SID music, a static character based screen of PETSCII graphics, and a touch of sprite animation, fills a few minutes of this demo from just a screen or two of BASIC and the supporting machine language code. Such a high quality production considering it produced in the early introductory period of the C64 release. Any way you slice it, it's nostalgic and well produced. I missed being able to buy the Tindie release earlier this year; this guy sold really cool tree shaped carts containing this code on ROM. Have a look, it's worth the click. I'm on the mailing list but probably will continue to wait.
  19. The Apple program depicted above is still a demo. But no audio. It's entertaining despite being low-res. Take your laptop and put it across the house, then stand back 30 feet and you'll see Woz and the rest. Amazing!!! The 1541 head-destroyer "bicycle built for two" song is also demo. (no video) If you don't know what that is, you'll need to rewind the clock to the mid-80's and download (from a BBS), a .PRG for the C64 that pushes code into your 1541 and blasts the stepper motor to vibrate the head at given frequencies for a mono rendition of the song. And when it's done, you can't shake that tune from your minds-eye or whatever; also, you no longer have a working 1541 disk drive but hey, you can't have it all !! Of course, the earliest demos created for commercial computers by manufacturers demonstrated capabilities and many of them were created to be left running, unattended at retailers, not much different than 'attract mode' of a given commercial arcade game. Osborne had a nifty demo that graphed a 3D parabola; Commodore had them (the famous Christmas Demo was a 'late' version of this) but the PET had them also. In 1979, the Apple II shipped with a series of cassettes (but no cassette player) and included demos and other programs. Even the act of printing out Snoopy on 132 column green bar paper was a demo of sorts (the printing part of it). We were spoiled back then and we still are.
  20. ... also, some amount of retro is the 'nostalgia' of sights, sounds, and occasionally, burnt/blown electrolytic capacitors. And there is nothing more nostalgic (with the possible exception of a 300 or 1200 baud Hayes Smartmodem connection sounds) than the tick/tocking of a floppy drive. As an Apple II person, I've contemplated buying this. @ $18, worth every penny.
  21. (only a year later, the forum reminded me) sort of progress, but not really: External kbd is done, at least it's fully built and works; this is based on Kevin's w/Cherry MX in a 'custom' metal case; (it's rough but complete) Case is 1/2 done, bottom clamshell is complete with standoff holes punched; I blew through an entire tank of MAP-P gas (3,000+ degrees) brazing the edges before my tank ran out PCB was however pushed; my PET 4032 died and I ended up buying a new mother board project that distracted me, meanwhile my original MiniPet (shown in cardboard above) has been serving my daughter and I well while mounted to the wall. We play Weather (old school) and PetScii robots on a tiny JVC monitor. What's next? Need: A new MiniPet or to remove my original from my 'wall' More Map-p gas Time Typical me. Distracted by blockers and onto-the-next syndrome. Will post some pics in the coming week as I limp towards end-of year vacation. This email inquiry is probably what I needed in order to bring focus back. Thank you !!
  22. Probably the fancy and perfectly die cut printed box; creased to fit whatever foam inserts (also custom) will help the device survive the rigors of Kris Kringle.
  23. Sort of, yes. Rebranded so-to-speak, for the Canadian designed and manufactured platform stylized to match the integrated version discussed here. When I originally bought the WASD, I immediately pulled the Cmdr. keys and replace them with CBM keys, vowing to put them back on once I received the platform. A few clicks later, I'm still wedded to my vintage Commodore collection of machines but have otherwise, moved on. Currently doing 65816 on 64TASS and looking fwd to getting my 68040 based machine (linked above) in January.
  24. Not sure of compatibility (all is probably made in China) but I’m giving away an original WASD case, and a set of ‘special’ keys including the pair of Commander keys and the case split tool to anybody in North America; I’ll cover shipping. First person that is a regular forum participant gets it. I’m heading West to the AWS Re:Invent conference for a week but will ship when I return. Please PM me and thank you.
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