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Strider

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Everything posted by Strider

  1. My memories are pretty similar, games like Space Invaders, Asteroids, Defender, Donkey Kong, and on up the line. I was reading an article recently on how they made games for classic consoles (like the NES) with the technology limitations of the time, and it reminded me of something, about a favorite classic we all know and love! I was curious if anyone else happened to notice it back when they first played it, circa 1985, or whenever you first played Super Mario Bros.? I sure didn't, I was too much in awe at the time, but MANY years later ... What got me going down that rabbit hole was watching David figure out how to cram as much into PETSCii Robots as he could within the constraints of the various hardware, and his reuse of textures. A common practice, but one we rarely notice when done properly, unless you're looking for it. haha
  2. Well, just got done putting together the "Spirit Box" (radio freq sweeper) prototype. Got the code all sorted out, working really good. Just have to add a powered speaker, giving it both headphone and speaker output, and build an enclosure for it. Oh, and design a PCB to clean it all up. :P
  3. I seen that as well. It's something I will be checking out with all my orders. Great advice!
  4. The common minimum quantity seems to be 5 PCB's, at least from the Chinese manufacturers I'm looking at. I looked into getting boards made closer to me here in the US, but it's vastly more expensive, so I dropped that idea pretty quick. From the looks of it, I will be sticking with either PCBWay (Thanks @Perifractic !), and JLCPCB. You can easily get low quantities of boards, considerably cheaper than here in the US, even considering shipping can be in the $10 to $20+ range, depending on how fast you need it. In both cases, I can get my first set of boards for $5 or less. Can't beat it!
  5. I like it! Very nice projects! Love the arcade setup! Looks nice and fun to play. Those are the kinds of projects I wish I had the time and space for. I spent some time "cleaning up" some of my designs, just because other people have asked me to make them some as well. When it's just for me, I tend to leave it in a "well, it's working, no need to mess with it" state. So I totally understand. haha I have seriously been considering messing around with the ATtiny85. Seen some really cool projects with them, they are so cheap and easy to use, and pretty darn versatile. I have been spending so much time on my Arduino and Pi projects lately, I haven't had time for much else, but it's so much fun, and relaxing. At least, it is for me. * Edit * I will post my final results here. The software is not hard to use, I have tried a few different ones, and I seem to be leaning toward EasyEDA right now, that's where I designed the EMF Detector PCB. I just like how it takes a "common sense" approach to it's toolkit, at least for the most part. I am also messing around with ZentiPCB, XOD IDE, and TinyCAD. Not very good with those yet. Once you're done and have your PCB exported as a Gerber file, basically a zip that has all the design specs in it, you can upload that to your manufacturer of choice for fabrication.
  6. Well... I have been teaching myself how to design custom PCB's, and having a blast! I have etched and drilled my own simple boards in the past, but never designed anything in software and sent off to be professionally manufactured. So, this has been a learning experience. Starting with my "EMF Detector" project for my wife, nice and simple so I can get used to the design software. Got it all done, ready to order, I think. haha Used my prototype as a reference, all the same dimensions as the boards I use, 5x7 cm in this case. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072Z7Y19F/ Now I just hope I got it all right.
  7. Personally, I would mod it, becasue I would want to use it. So I see no problem adding some "modern" conveniences to make that easier and/or prolong the working life of the system. Like others have said, they are not so rare that it belongs behind glass in a museum. Since there is really not much to restore, just upgrade, that would make it all the more exciting for me. For me in general, unless it's an ultra rare unit that's simply too old and valuable to use, I am all about restoring and modding to actually use classic machines. I want to see them live and be enjoyed for as long as possible!
  8. Nice! I like that, a functional useful project. Very handy! I miss the days when I would try and build what I needed instead of just buying it when it came to my basic electronics needs. Trying to get back to that to some degree. :)
  9. I am working on several different Arduino based projects and having a blast learning the platform. It's a lot of fun for an old electronics geek like me. I wanted to share some of my projects and see what others may be working on. So feel free to share your Arduino projects if you mess around with them as well. I am willing to post the code or anything else about my projects if anyone may want it. Two of the projects I am working on at the moment are for my wife. She's really into all things "paranormal". So I thought I would build her some of her own custom "ghost hunting tools", like the ones you see on TV. I decided to start with what seems to be two of the most common, an EMF meter and "Spirit Box". The EMF Meter is exactly what it says it is, but configurable since it uses a micro-controller, the Arduino Nano in this case. I wanted to be able to program it's behavior and have adjustable sensitivity. That project is almost complete, I have it on a prototyping PCB already, testing antenna types, and I need to find or build a housing for it. It uses 330ohm resistors on the LED array, a potentiometer to adjust sensitivity, and currently two antenna connections. One is isolated using a diode, one is not. Still testing antennas. Overall a simple project and it works amazingly well. The Spirit Box is basically a radio frequency sweeper, going from 76.0MHz to 108.0MHz in .1MHz increments. I wanted to be able to omit local radio stations from the sweep, adjust the sweeping speed, and display the station numbers. I have it prototyped out on a breadboard, got a little help with the coding from the official Arduino forums, and it works great. Now, I am thinking about adding the ability to switch between two modes, full sweep and omitted sweep. So full range 76 to 108 with no local active stations being skipped, and the original omitted sweep with local active stations being skipped. It's using an Arduino Nano as well, a 4 digit 7 segment i2c display for the stations, potentiometer to adjust sweep speed, and a TEA5767 Radio Module. This is a fun one, learning a lot more coding on this project. I have more in the pipeline I will share later, once I have more done with them, but if you mess around with Arduino or other micro-controllers, feel free to share it!
  10. Yeah, I really enjoyed his "Can we fix bad chips ... in the oven?" video. Well, I enjoy all his videos, but that dead chips bin. Why am I jealous over vintage DEAD chips?
  11. I love these sorts of projects! I still have some of my Intel and AMD processors from the 80's and 90's, thought about doing something with one of the 486's since I spent a LOT of time on that as well, and early Pentium. My first build was a 386, but my move to "IBM PC" really started to take hold in the late 486 era.
  12. Thanks for the offer! That's very kind! That sounds like a cool project as well. Great minds think alike! lol I don't need the MOS logo, it's nice, but not necessary. So the other two were made in 1983, perfect! I could also add some sort of stand with a "black light" LED light to the front to make the text "glow", making it more visible. I will shoot a message to you.
  13. I had mentioned this in another thread, but figured I would move it to it's own topic in the hopes of having a bit more luck finding what I am looking for. Basically, I am looking for a non-working MOS 6502 to use in a small personal project. The reason I want a dead one is I plan on encasing it resin and I don't want to destroy a working chip. I had originally also wanted a TMS9900, the CPU from the TI-99/4A, the computer that got me started down this path. However I decided to just go with the MOS 6502 becasue even though the TMS9900 was where I started, the MOS 6502 is what dominated my childhood and teen years. The overall idea is I want to encase the chip in resin, with a small plaque that reads something like "The chip that powered the 1980's" or "The chip that powered my childhood.", you get the idea. Then I want to use an Arduino Nano controlled LED array behind it for some nice visual effects. I have almost everything I need, I have the idea mapped out, but I don't have a dead chip. If it comes right down to it, I can buy a modern 6502, but I really wanted an original MOS chip. Any ideas where I might find one would he helpful. I have done a lot of searching around, but it's proving much more difficult than I had hoped. Yes, I will share the project when I am done with it. Thank you!
  14. I have found a lot of cool older computers at my local GW stores over the years, more so in the past than recently. I know there are more online but the prices on so many just keep climbing. I think that's why I don't see many locally anymore, people find out they are worth a fair amount of money and put them on eBay rather than donate. I know I keep saying I don't have any room in my home to keep much retro tech, but if I ever found a decently priced C64 or Amiga 500 sitting on a local store shelf or yard sale, I would pick it up and bring it home. I mean, if I am willing to buy a C64 Maxi, then I should be able to talk my wife into at least one actual retro system. Even locally though, the prices I have seen on the few systems I ran across at resale shops or yard sales is crazy. Hence why I am so willing to get a C64 Maxi and stick with emulation.
  15. I tried to get my 4 kids into technology when they were young, trying to pass on my experience and knowledge, and it sort of worked, with my two boys. :P The two girls didn't get into it much, however my youngest (19) is a "gamer", but that's where her interest stops. She just wants it all to work, and that's all left up to me. The two boys (30 & 28), I started them playing Amiga 500 games early on, then moved to DOS games, and on up from there, including consoles from the NES on up. They loved it, and both think it's cool, but neither of them really mess with it these days. They both play games, but only on modern hardware, they are not really into retro. Though one of my sons did spend a few years in the Air Force working in cyber security. So he is still very much into tech, just not retro tech. I agree, I think it's difficult to get people to really dive into the older tech becasue they don't have the nostalgia we have. They didn't grow up with it. Back then it was all we had and we were blown away by it. These days, you can't help but compare it to modern hardware and I think that's were we lose a lot of people. Still, I think the Commander X16 has a chance to bring more people to the retro side. The fact it's not an emulator, like just about everything else out there, that's it's real "modern" hardware, makes it a portal to the 80's that people may be more willing to go through. Especially since original 80's hardware is getting so hard to find and hard to maintain unless you know what you're doing and actually want to do it. Not to mention the cost. I know a lot of people that look at the price for some of these older systems like the C64, Amiga's, Tandy 1000's, etc. and think people are crazy for spending that much on old hardware they see as obsolete.
  16. I can't seem to find this answered anywhere, but I may have just overlooked it. I played around with David's shareware release of PETSCII Robots on the X16 Emulator and absolutely loved it! Still missing a secret on level 1.... haha Now, I want to pick up digital copies of this, and Planet X2 and X3. I will play X3 via my emulated DOS PC or DOSBox. Since I don't own original hardware anymore, and will have to play X2 and PETSCII via emulation, has anyone tried playing X2 and PETSCII on the C64 Mini? I could have sworn I seen X2 being played in the Mini, but I can't find it. I was wondering is anyone here has tried both games on a C64 Mini and how well they worked. Thank you in advance! EDIT....10 hours later.... If I had payed attention to what I was reading, RIGHT on the Planet X2 product page... "Includes game in .D64 (compatible with The C64 Mini, emulators, 1541Ultimate, or SD-2-IEC)" And... While PETSCII does not specifically mention it like X2, it does say "“TheC64” products such as the mini or maxi, however SNES controller is not supported on these." under the C64 System Requirements. So I assume it will work. So I think I answered my own questions... It's been one of those weeks... haha Still, if anyone has played either game on Mini, or even a Maxi (that I want, badly), feel free to share the experience.
  17. Nice! That sounds like a cool project. Would not mind seeing it. :) I never owned a Falcon, friends did, cool system. :) The Jaguar, highly underrated system in my humble opinion. I loved mine back then. It had so much potential... I played many hours of Hard Drivin', Club Drive, Cannon Fodder, Tempest 2000, Doom, Wolf 3D, Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story, and many others. I often thought about tracking down a dead unit to gut and put a Pi in. I really liked the case and aesthetic of the Jaguar and think it would make a cool home for a RetroPie build. Good times.
  18. Talking about all this "retro" hardware gave me an idea for a project I want to do for myself. I just need to find all the parts. I want to build a simple display, preferably encased in resin, that basically contains the two processors what shaped my childhood and love of these machines. The catch is, I would prefer to have non-working processors since the process of putting them in resin will end their functionality anyway. But of course, they are both rare, and finding dead ones... not sure how I am going to do that. haha I need the Texas Instruments TMS9900 out of the TI-99/4A, my very first computer. Without it I may not have even developed a liking for computers in general. Then I need the daddy of them all, an MOS 6502. I can buy modern reproductions of both, but I really would like an original of each, in a non-functional state. I don't want to ruin good vintage processors. If I have to get reproductions, I will, but if anyone happens to know were I can find a either one of these two processors, non-working, that would be great!
  19. I never really got all that "aggressive" with modding my old systems back when I had them, I pretty much used them as is, except for the occasional recapping or part replacement. Most of the "modding" I did was in the electronics space, designing, modifying, or building items or "tools" I needed or wanted, attempting things I had heard about or seen printed somewhere. Some more obscure things such as lineman's phones, a "blue box", radio jamming or boosting devices, were on my list. Mostly I like to see what I could make with what I had, I built a lot of failed circuits, and also ended up making some neat little devices, but it was all learning experience. No internet back then, there were bulletin board systems (BBS), but they are stone-age compared to what we have at our fingertips today, and you could really run up a killer phone bill if you were not careful. By "killer", I mean your parents killed you when they saw the bill. So you mostly learned from others, books, and/or trial and error. Honestly, I did more repairing than modding back then. However, later in the 90's and early 2000's, I did do quite a bit of modding on PC's, trying to squeeze every bit of performance out of them I could (before it was cool!), getting them to outwardly look and operate just how I wanted them. I don't do much in terms of modding anymore, no real reason, you can buy just about all you need and most of the work is done in software. A close friend and I also made a lot of "props", like you seen in the TV and films of the era. Often taking toys of said items and modding them to look more like the actual prop used on the shows. One of my favorites was a Star Trek TNG Tricorder toy from Playmates I had purchased, it had a few sounds and 2 lights inside, that was it, so a lot of empty space to add things. It looked neat, but I thought it could be better. So I ripped it apart, put some real LED's in it that flashed in a pattern to the sounds, added a "panic button" that made the "red alert" sound, and modified the little fake screen to have a more realistic backlight by using a diffuser and an LED light off to the side. I bought it for like $10 on clearance and ended up selling it for $75, nice profit for the 1990's. haha These days, I am playing a lot with Raspberry Pi and Arduino, but not much outside of that.
  20. There is a Linux version of the X16 available on the downloads page, and since Emulation Station is really just the "front-end" that the RetroPie team uses, it "should" be possible. In fact, they have it documented how to add a system. https://retropie.org.uk/docs/Add-a-New-System-in-EmulationStation/ :)
  21. I have actually thought about this before... What if the companies I loved in the 80's had made different decisions, would they still be around. The main two being Tandy and Commodore. The short of it is, I think they would, if they had only managed to successfully navigate the 90's. I am a firm believer that competition drives innovation, and we need that in the PC space, especially today. It would be nice to have a few more PC "powerhouses".
  22. I had a lot of copies back then, mainly from friends. If one of us got a game, we all got it, if we could figure out how to copy it. It's just what we did back then, we even shared some at school. That being said, it was rarely ever more than a few of us, and we did buy a LOT of games. lol
  23. I repaired a lot of tapes back then, or at least tried, with varying levels of success. From splicing, to trying to flatten out crinkled tape, to trying to copy it in various recorders. Even had a dual-deck unit you could change the playback speed on. Had some success copying damaged tape at a lower speed. I tried a LOT. lol Oh yeah, there was a lot of cassette and disk copying going on back then among friends. :P Technically, making a mix tape was piracy, but everyone did it. lol
  24. Or trying to repair it after it gets mangled or snaps ... splicing a section out with scissors, tweezers, and clear tape, hoping for the best. The copying it to a new cassette as quickly as possible. Data recovery, 80's style! haha Good times! My dad got me an actual splicing/repair kit back then, not sure where he got it, but it had a proper block, tape, and tools.
  25. I sold mine off over the years as well. Regret it now, but I also just don't have the space for it all. I didn't like CoCo's when the first came out, it wasn't until many years later that I rediscovered them. I wish I had given them more of a chance, they are indeed really nice systems. Yeah, prices these days are crazy.... was a time not long ago nobody wanted these old computers and they were dirt cheap, now they are in such high demand... Makes me wonder how many made it into trash bins... Kind of sad really. That's why I am excited about the X16, new "old" hardware!
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