Uzenet

Topics regarding the Uzebox hardware/AVCore/BaseBoard (i.e: PCB, resistors, connectors, part list, schematics, hardware issues, etc.) should go here.
ded
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About the wifi module

Post by ded » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:44 am

I read somewhere that the ESP8266 is a whopping 80Mhz with 1MB RAM! I would like the Uzebox to be as elegant and as simple as possible, however, I don't know how much is involved in the Internet protocol. Maybe that much horsepower is needed for the RF, lost signals, Wifi protocol and such.

If there was a Ethernet module that did the same job but with less advanced hardware and maybe for a less price would you guys prefer that instead? I know i would.

First result on google when you search for "AVR Ethernet module" is the ENC28J60.
Quote
ENC28J60 is a 28-pin, 10BASE-T stand alone Ethernet Controller with on board MAC & PHY, 8 Kbytes of Buffer RAM and an SPI serial interface.
It runs off a 25Mhz crystal.
Its quite a bit larger than the WiFi ESP8266.

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Re: Uzenet

Post by D3thAdd3r » Thu Feb 25, 2016 8:08 am

I understand the ideal of the minimalist approach also continuing on to the network hardware; I even have an ENC28J60 or 2 laying around for experiments(that I never did) even after ESP8266 was looking like the right device already. For ideology, there is no way an 8 bit micro at these specs having to do all it does with no hardware assist could ever heave a TCP/IP stack, or even handle the lower level real time stuff. So accepting that I just look at it like an abstract device that is, what it needs to be, to get the job done. At that point minimalism is to me, a small unobtrusive device that doesn't stick out and overtake the Uzebox PCB and dirt cheap to not jack the kit price up. I would be totally opposed to anything that runs Linux or something ridiculously over powered like that of course no matter how cheap.

So my opinion is firmly for ESP8266 for many reasons. Primarily Uzebox portable with ethernet wouldn't work, and wifi in general removes 1 extra gotcha from getting people to play. I pulled ethernet to my media center, but that is over the top for many people who don't like to cut and drill holes and patch sheetrock to play a game with slightly better bandwidth and consistent latency :lol: I see the ENC28J60 have become pretty cheap @ <$3.50, I guess if someone made a complete PCB that was designed to integrate that easily then hardware buyers can vote. I think it's better to have everyone on the same platform unless there is some amazing way I can't see where games could support either/or.

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uze6666
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Re: Uzenet

Post by uze6666 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:02 am

Lee's got it right, there's no way use the enc28j60 without other chips. Just not enough cyles and ram free. Moreover the chip, magjack, pcb and supporting hardware would cost you >10$ or more. The ESP8266-E can be bough for less than 2$ in qty 1! Since the communication is serial with the module, you can see it as some sort of external modem. Just like the old computers used work. :) The other nice thing withe esp8266 is that it's possible the use you own firmware on it. Something I would much prefer to the included AT firmware.

ded
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Re: Uzenet

Post by ded » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:17 pm


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Re: Uzenet

Post by D3thAdd3r » Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:06 am

Man that is intense. It makes sense, but didn't think I would see anyone actually do it, cool! I'd be interested to see some way we could extract audio to Uzebox from it since it should be beefy enough to stream PCM music from the internet.

I don't remember what our free pins are left at this point, but maybe it's worth thinking about having some more ESP8266 GPIO pins connected? I want to say the ESP8266 could emulate things <= NES. For things definitely not feasible on the 644 it might be fun in the future to have this path to explore...or augmented normal display capabilities in some bizarre hybrid video mode. They said the 80mhz divides exactly by NTSC rate but I don't get that part? We already should have enough pins dedicated to upload arbitrary code to the ESP8266-E, so I suppose the software for that would be important to have before experiments. If there was some way pins could be shared/tri-stated taking advantage of default behavior of the ESP8266 on start up, maybe we could get a 4bit lane to the 644. At that point, maybe something like an NES emulator would be possible. Fun to think of anyway.

ded
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Re: Uzenet

Post by ded » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:13 am

The ESP is so powerful i would not be surprised if it could run NES-like games. Instead of the atmega1284 on the Uzebox this could maybe be an alternative?
Personally im happy with the limitations of the Uzebox and its whats makes Uzebox, Uzebox. You could always slam on a ARM if you would that but you would now spend a lot of time trying to make the game look retro, it should be the other way around: trying to make games fun and look good on limited hardware.
D3thAdd3r wrote: They said the 80mhz divides exactly by NTSC rate but I don't get that part?
I don't get that either.

There is a new version of the ESP-12 out, the F-version. http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Esp8266- ... 24806.html
$2 with shipping.

Supposedly it has improved range (new antenna) and qoute
this esp-12f need the same connectors than the esp-12 for the flash but for power it, for a normal use, we need to connect only the vcc and the grd(so no GPIO15 an CH_PD) !
If they keep pushing new ESP versions, changing pin outs and functionality, wouldn't it be a problem? We should decide on a version to stick to.

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Re: Uzenet

Post by D3thAdd3r » Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:24 pm

Alec seemed to arrive at the ESP-E version and he is doing the work on the next gen version of the PCB that has the expansion built in. Though, if the pinout is the same and we eventually get a working firmware upgrade program on Uzebox, I don't think it matters too much whether E or F then?

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Re: Uzenet

Post by uze6666 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:53 am

That's what I dislike of proprietary modules, they can change footprint or be superseded relatively quickly. I shall order ESP-12F to see if it 100% compatible.

Speaking of which...Uzenet module V2.0 is out! :mrgreen: It implements the exact same design as PCB rev 1.3.1 with the onboard Uzenet interface. It includes the line to enter programming mode. It a bit taller due to the use of SMT header underneath. It fits really tight in the official enclosure.
modulev2.jpg
modulev2.jpg (78.78 KiB) Viewed 2797 times
I have 50 pbs. I think I will include free ones in the last batch of 25 Uzebox kits with the V1.2 PCB. That should help promote it a bit. :)

I'm thinking of putting it on sale in the store also. I'll see. In the mean time, those who wan't one, can PM me as usual. A full module kit is 8$+shipping.

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Re: Uzenet

Post by D3thAdd3r » Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:17 pm

Way to go Alec :D The hardware barrier seems squashed at this point, even have a standardized module and base firmware programs can rely on. We really need to get an Uzebox program that can upload firmware sometime soon since this is everything needed to develop ESP-E firmware.

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Re: Uzenet

Post by D3thAdd3r » Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:31 am

Some interesting things going on, they simply do not stop making new revisions but already I see the end point for us. The 12-F seems drop in compatible with the 12-E, seems that the antenna is improved by some margin. I will get a few for testing and see if they are interchangeable. I think the 12-F is the end of the line for our purposes.

The ESP-13 exists and isn't pin compatible, maybe it's a little smaller? Best thing I can see about it is that it has no LEDs to drain power.

The ESP-14 is very incompatible as it hides the module pins behind a STM-8. As far as I can tell, you do not have direct access to UART but must tell the STM-8 to do things. Custom firmware for the 12 sounds better.

There is the NL6621 also now, but I think we already have too much invested in ESP8266 to waste thoughts on it. Documentation sounds like it's in bad shape.

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