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Everything posted by EMwhite

  1. Been on hold for a few weeks waiting on parts from the UK and mouser etc. but have some some news on the keyboard front. The internal keyboard will be the 'new' deluxe keyboard offered by Tfw8bit seen here (not the terrible contact buttons demo'd by 8bitGuy on his review of the MiniPet. Black 'keycaps' pictured below attach to the plunger similar to the way keycaps do to Cherry mechanical switches. A Pet-look key insert (supplied via paper that you must cut out) is sandwiched between the black cap and the clear cover that you see below. It should be better than the contact mini switches but not quite as good as a true mechanical keyboard, when done. As for the external keyboard, I painstakingly soldered the surface mount components for the caps-lock circuit and all 74 switches (see below); also painted the undersides of the double-shot keycaps as to obscure the key names. (see the Pet "Z" with lovely CBM ASCII(122) applied to the Cherry switch). The other news is that I also received a set of hinges from Amazon, and a new SD2PET IEEE interface which I will now dissect in order to mount within the laptop case. I'll also be cutting about 1.5" of width from the prototype cardboard. Hoping to make some progress on the actual case next weekend.
  2. The first 3 are in chronological order: Invaders on South Ocean Ave. Middle School's single Pet computer Choplifter (original on Apple II) Piryana on my C64, probably the first game I bought (just because it was so early; a rip of of PACMAN, loaded from cassette tape) The rest (next 7) are C64 games that I spent a fair amount of time with, not necessarily ranked: Spelunker Mancopter Summer Games Winter Games Space Taxi Jumpman Bruce Lee Anything Electronic Arts or Epyx or Synapse or Broderbund made were super high quality. EA developers were rock stars of the day; Today's College kids playing EA Sports games have no idea where the company started with titles such as Pinball (or was it Racing) Construction/Destruction set and non-game titles such as Print Shop. They really made amazing and mature software.
  3. My daughter (11) is hyped up and excited about the 6502 revival but mostly, she just likes the novelty of play on my 4032 (Weather War) with her dad. Also I'm giving her STEM classes, beginning with basics of... um... Basic. Spend about 45 minutes once a week talking about it and doing little exercises. Last week we printed to my vintage 4022 dot matrix. I've opened the hood to show her the CPU, memory, connections to input/output and discussed the external connectivity (everything in the context of what she knows; iPad, USB, etc.) This next week we get into PetASCII, she will like that. Sometime over holiday break, I'll present her with a graduation present... SunFounder Mega kit that I bought in part (fully) for my Ben Eater 6502 build and I'll move on from there to teach her JavaScript. I do believe the most basic foundation of computers is still the most basic computer; CPU, input/output, memory, storage so this is time well spent. But I don't expect that she will remember the specifics when she goes off to College in 8 years or so but I do firmly believe that as an educational tool, the early machines give a good grounding the many miss; where students in High School today start with Robotics and Arduino. Console? Not a terrible idea but content is going to be a problem. It's taken about 10 years for Arduino to find it's way into commodity education that you can buy on Amazon for $20. I can't see something that costs even as little as $100 being viable without either a pile of content like the entire catalog of C64 education programs or a time machine to go back in time and remove all iProducts from the map. The Leap company pretty much bridged us from home the home computer to the iProducts. Between, CompUSA (in the states) and Toys 'R Us have perished. It's been a blur. But I'd be interested to have a view of anything you come up with, more is always good, I just don't see a viable platform without content and so much has already been done.
  4. I can't believe that I never heard of this chap but I just took the plunge and bought his Timer and 6502 kits and I can't wait to get started. (thanks for the link). He truly has a gift in the way that he walks through and builds up the concepts and theory of operation. As soon as I get it working as prescribed, #1 for me is to procure the famous YM2151 that I've been hearing so much about and see what I can conjure up. If you have not yet seen it, have a look at the 'worlds worst video card' (non-card) and be amazed.
  5. Thanks for that feedback, I don't even know what an HEIC file is (converted to .jpg and reposted)
  6. Some pics of prototype cardboard form with mock panel applied. Call it "The shape of things to come..." if anybody here remembers the old TR-7 campaign. The wedge shape is not just style, it's necessary in order to sandwich multiple PCBs (one for power handling, one for inversion of the component video, one for LCD driver) Centered on the front edge will be an external keyboard DB25 port which, when fitted with an adapter will reduce down to a 9 pin joystick mapped to specific Pet keys. At least that's the plan. Still trying to work out whether I"ll get my hands on TFW8bit's 'deluxe' kbd (just released) or stick with the dreadful buttons that 8bitguy''s build showed (this is standard on the Minipet). In other news, I received a Cherry switch set from Mouser and all of the surface mount parts for the shift lock circuit. That will be 'together' by next week with any luck; if I don't have luck, I'll build using through-hole on breadboard and wire into the pads on the back of the Petskey. Eyes, age, experience (three excuses) I can solder through-hole all day long, surface mount hasn't been for me but I'll give it a go. More later...
  7. She has another video which delves into the build details, FPGA use, how the SID chip is wired in (no, this is not a full working C64); have a look for that (it may have come up in the 'recommended'). As with some of the stringed instrument to Midi converters and even some of the analog octave pedals, tracking is a challenge especially at lower frequencies. For those that don't know, Jeri developed the HW platform for that retro joystick housed emulator/game player that Mammoth Toys sold on QVC sold some years ago (2005 I think). I met her in San Rafael across numerous Pacific Pinball Expos a few years back. If you are into Make'ing, I recommend following her.
  8. It will be a 'one-off' but once done, I'll be happy to share the FPE and design details; In short, it's a MiniPet repackaged in a braked aluminum and sheet metal enclosure with an external 12" monitor (repurposed from a '82 Northstar Advantage; see below), optional external Petskey Keyboard, 10" LCD screen from China, internal SD, and a few surprises. Will not be battery powered (currently running off an 8 lb. linear differential power supply : ) Though depicted as a rounded corner traditional laptop (see FPD mock-up below), I plan on honoring the circa late 70's office furniture/vintage Pet look; call it, Tesla Cybertruck meets Atari Battlezone styling (said another way, I have a garage full of sheet metal brake, punch, shear tooling so outside of a wood enclosure, this is my only option - be prepared for something that looks more like a piece of aircraft than a computer) The good news is that I procured the monitor (below) and the LCD panel and controller for next to nothing (about $60 each) from eBay/Amazon. The bad news is that you get what you pay for and it looks about as good as what LCD technology offered in 1979-1982. Will post pics and info to this thread as I make progress. IMG_2052.HEIC IMG_2284.HEIC
  9. An off-topic but applicable example; an outfit called "Thonk" sells kits for just about everything DIY-synth these days and I was in on a number of group buys in early days and some less polished DIY 5-10 yrs ago. Point is they offer 'partial-kits' which may include the eurorack machined or dye-sub ink'd 'panel', pcb and most importantly, some of the more difficult to find parts. Sometimes this is an unusual part that the project leads have moulded, sometimes it's or rare NOS transistors that synth manufacturers used in the mid-80s. Have a quick look a one here: https://www.thonk.co.uk/shop/prok-snare-panel-pcb/ Docs are typically very good and they have videos etc. Also, most of the build forums in places like Muffwiggler in the DIY section have support areas but the point is that indeed, a Mouser list for standard parts and a direct sourcing or hard to find or specialized might be a way to go. I just bought a set of Cherry switches and the shift-lock components for the Petskey kit. Can be shared (small use-case, but still); https://www.mouser.com/ProjectManager/ProjectDetail.aspx?AccessID=f484f09934 Will let you know in a week if I bought the correct parts : )
  10. Minipet's IC arrangement on foam definitely assisted build, orientation, and even contributed to the sturdiness for transport. As much as I've corresponded with Dave, I don't know what volume or what means were leveraged but my sense is that everything was arranged by hand. If you look closely at the MiniPet board, you'll notice very very few components other than the ICs and none of the resistors or diodes or caps were labeled but it was an easy build as long as you don't mind near 1000 solder points. This looks to be about 25%-50% larger but trades some amount of tedium (in all of the little key switches) for more sockets and variation of unique parts in some of the more interesting sections of the board. Logistics of procuring and stocking parts for an output qty of hundred or more x16s is probably worth it but at small scale, I can't say it would be (my opinion; and saying this without a good view of the board) I'm pretty big in the vintage synth DIY world and have built some monsters (discreet / non-IC) projects such as the CrOwBX. Mouser carts are often the way although maintaining an updated list of materials pending availability, especially in other regions of the world is a challenge in itself but if this project has legs (and I think it does), somebody might pop up and 'own' the lifecycle of maintaining an up to date BOM. Having said this, I'll echo others comments which includes the sentiment that a community of builders will pop-up and help those in need. People will also offer build or troubleshooting (board fixes) services. But I'm all in on a kit form for myself in whatever format it is made available. TFW8b has been very good helping me interface an old Northstar CRT, mess with a joystick adapter for the MiniPet, and has offered (at some point) to address a timing issue that I have with composite output. I see many many many more people collaborating here. Most of us do it for the love of 8 bit.
  11. Hello. I'm new here. Excited about this project (just stumbled upon it after tripping over 8-Bit guy's YouTube channel). Thanks.
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