Creating custom Uzebox

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Halamix2
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Creating custom Uzebox

Post by Halamix2 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:49 pm

Hi,
I want to create custom (E)Uzebox hardware (should I call it somehow? Like Muzebox? Modular Uzebox? Modern-ish Uzebox?) .
Initially I wanted to use Uzebox schematics but I ended up with some modifications:
  1. change power supply to use 5V USB phone charger directly (2A should be enough, right?)
  2. remove video output (down to the ATmega pins), and add "raw video/audio connector" instead (audio, sync, 8x digital colour, +5V, gnd, video_clk, video_ce, 14 pins in total),
    1. and then create "raw video connector"->SCART board (greetings from Poland :) )
    2. maybe raw->HDMI in the future? ;)
  3. replace SNES connector with just 5 goldpins for each player (getting SNES connectors can be hard) and
    1. think about pluggable USB HID -> SNES converter
Then I thought why not think about other interesting expansion options?
Uzebox 128+ have most (if not all) of them. (although linked wiki articles seems a little bit unfinished :p )
I want to add Uzenet access for sure, I don't know much about keyboard, SPI RAM and mouse. Is there a list of games that supports these extensions?
Are there any other neat extensions for Uzebox?

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D3thAdd3r
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Re: Creating custom Uzebox

Post by D3thAdd3r » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:26 pm

Welcome!
Halamix2 wrote:(getting SNES connectors can be hard)
Depends on the quantity maybe. If you were interested I think you can still get some SNES connectors for a good price if you PM uze6666 (Alec, Uzebox creator). There seems to be other places available to for a few dollars a piece, otherwise you can always get SNES extension cables for cheap and scrap everything but the female side. I did this to source connectors for Uzebox 128, I recommend considering it. Still like you say it would be nice for it to be modular, then you could do normal SNES pads or some USB HID->SNES protocol and use any PC game pads 8-)
Halamix2 wrote:maybe raw->HDMI in the future?
I would love that! I tried some stuff with EUzebox->SCART->HDMI converters, it worked and looked great...then I started having weird intermittent problems. It would be nice to have ultra crisp pictures on an LCD without the converter box.
Halamix2 wrote:I want to add Uzenet access for sure, I don't know much about keyboard, SPI RAM and mouse. Is there a list of games that supports these extensions?
Well, there is an existing keyboard solution like you see on the wiki using the ATtiny. Alec has been working on a better solution that supports keyboard+mouse+future expansions using an Atmega 168. So if you are interested in this I would suggest checking out Alec's latest updates, he has been posting about it in the Uzebox 128 topic on it lately. I think he basically has it finalized hardware wise so it is probably safe to run with the design shown; I plan to.

SPI ram works, but right now only CUzebox emulates it. There are no games released that use it at all, currently. There is a project already in the works that uses the SPI ram that emulates an Altair 8800. Not sure when this project will be done..but it runs BASIC right now so there will definitely be uses for it. Do you need the latest schematic for this? Not sure where it got posted for the newest "experimental" revision. There is code that shows how to read and write to the ram if you are interested.

Uzenet stuff is also specified in the new schematic. The kernel already supports UART buffered data and you can communicate with the ESP8266, connect to wifi, etc on hardware. There have been a couple real Uzebox->Uzebox experiments over the internet, and Emulator->Uzebox, etc, mostly chat stuff, the starts of game networking, and eventually we will have some networked games done and playable. There is WIP emulation that is not far off, but nothing ready to develop with right now.

Hmm, other neat extension eh? Nothing else that I know of yet. If you have ideas now is the time to suggest! Personally I think a real time clock would be neat for the retro computer side of things.

Halamix2
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Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:04 pm

Re: Creating custom Uzebox

Post by Halamix2 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:20 pm

Where I can find new schematics for newest Uzebox and extensions (all of them looks nice), is there a list of them?
  • original keyboard is easy to make, great for warm-up :D
    1. keyboard+mouse+future expansions - I've found schematic, good thing I still have PS/2 mouse and keyboard :D (is it connected to Uzebox through ext port or pad port?)
  • SPI RAM - "(...)that is integrated into the UZENET expansion card, or in newer revisions, the standard PCB itself."
    1. So Uzenet expansion card is ESP8266 + 128KB SPI RAM? I couldn't find schematics for Uzebox with SPI or Uzenet expansion card
    2. "Uzenet stuff is also specified in the new schematic" - newest revision have ESP8266 and SPI RAM integrated?

I could easily "make" Uzebox/EUzebox/version with network etc. by simply adding and swapping modules (wouldn't it be awesome for testing game compatibility? :p )

I can experiment with my RTC thingy after I build Uzebox

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D3thAdd3r
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Re: Creating custom Uzebox

Post by D3thAdd3r » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:00 am

Halamix2 wrote:So Uzenet expansion card is ESP8266 + 128KB SPI RAM?.......newest revision have ESP8266 and SPI RAM integrated?
Yes and yes.

All the previous schematics are listed here. The "experimental" one is here, and it has integrated Uzenet module(ESP12 + 128KB ram). This version has them built into the PCB, whereas the standard kits require a module to be plugged onto the expansion port. You can get the Uzenet Module 2.0 from Alec(uze6666) via PM if he still has some. At some point I guess the "experimental" version could be the official one.

Both the old keyboard only, and the new keyboard+mouse+more interfaces are designed to connect to player 2 controller port.
Halamix2 wrote: I can experiment with my RTC thingy after I build Uzebox
That is a handy module. For Uzebox SPI might not be the best for such a thing. Well, that is just my theory anyway that we might be able to use a slightly different connection, because we have SPI ram and SD card on the SPI bus, and of course 2 enable pins set aside for those. I have seen a convenient module like you have there, that uses Dallas 1 Wire instead of SPI(probably doesn't have to be fast reading the clock). The only thing I am not sure about, is if we can even reliably drive the 1 Wire bus. Or SPI to the Atmega168 on the keyboard module perhaps? Of course another option that avoid extra hardware is using network time only via the ESP8266, though then it is probably more code to fetch the time and certainly much slower.

Halamix2
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Re: Creating custom Uzebox

Post by Halamix2 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:41 pm

Just for the record and for the license:
Small pack of schematics in attachment (mirror at http://blog.halamix2.pl/wp-content/uplo ... 3_3_17.zip )
Attribution text(in Polish) (Google translated here)

Now all I have to do is to order parts :)
EDIT (2017-07-14): I've finally found 28.63636MHZ crystal near me, bought most of the parts, waiting for shipping (still need resistors and easily accessible stuff)
Attachments
Muzebox_scheme_pack_3_3_17.zip
(145.5 KiB) Downloaded 118 times

Halamix2
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Re: Creating custom Uzebox

Post by Halamix2 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:05 pm

I have working video (sort of) but I mixed up capacitors (1uF near 5v and GND instead of 10uF and I forgot about caps near voltage regulator) and soldered a little too big resistor for sound. Gamepad isn't working either, I hope changing capacitors will fix everything :)
Video of atomix floating thingy
Attachments
front.jpg
Console and SCART adapter front
front.jpg (320.39 KiB) Viewed 3177 times
back.jpg
Console and SCART adapter back
back.jpg (559.69 KiB) Viewed 3177 times
atomix.jpg
fuzzy Atomix
atomix.jpg (499.88 KiB) Viewed 3177 times

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Artcfox
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Re: Creating custom Uzebox

Post by Artcfox » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:54 pm

Congrats. That must feel satisfying after all that wiring. :) I hope you can sort out the remaining issues.

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uze6666
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Re: Creating custom Uzebox

Post by uze6666 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:15 am

Holy crap, this is shaking terribly! Is it an artifact of your camera or the picture on your tv is actually doing this?

Halamix2
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Re: Creating custom Uzebox

Post by Halamix2 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:58 pm

This is real video output (I can add this TV to EUzebox compatibility list :D ), I stabilized video by adding 1000uF near voltage stabilizer and 10uF near MCU and I'll probably change 18pF near oscillator to 20pF as its datasheet say to stabilize all shaky lines (there are too small to get captured on photo now :D )
Gamepads are now working too, I mixed up P1 and P2 data cables.
Now I only need to flash bootloader, solder extensions and format SD
Attachments
20170922_184544_HDR._1000.jpg
20170922_184544_HDR._1000.jpg (388.1 KiB) Viewed 3150 times

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Jubatian
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Re: Creating custom Uzebox

Post by Jubatian » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:13 pm

Great, that's a nice picture you have now! :)

Good luck with the bootloader & SD card! Those are a little picky, if you experience odd behavior from games uploaded using the bootloader, it is usually almost certainly some such instability. There are some remedies as explained in the FAQ, later maybe a new, more robust bootloader will also come out, but anyway if it shows problems, you definitely should try to get it stable to play some of the games using the SD card themselves such as D3thAdder's beautifully done Alter Ego or CunningFellow's Tornado 2000.

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