Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Topics regarding the Uzebox hardware/AVCore/BaseBoard (i.e: PCB, resistors, connectors, part list, schematics, hardware issues, etc.) should go here.
havok1919
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Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Post by havok1919 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:06 am

So here's the little "bare bones" PCB prototypes of the "Gamer" baseboard for the AVCore.

It has a lot of build options-- the one pictured here just has enough parts on it to work. ;-) There's options for an audio output filter, 'soft' power control, SNES, NES, or PSX controller connectors, svideo, composite, power LED (or CPU controlled), pushbuttons for power/reset, ISP header, and a little 20-pin expansion bus with 'most' interesting signals from the AVCore.

For scale I put it in a couple shots with a SNES controller... The NES connectors are just out of an old NES 4-play adapter, but that's how they mount if we ever get another source for them.

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-Clay

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uze6666
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Re: Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Post by uze6666 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:24 pm

It's awesome! You crammed almost everything most would ever want in such a small PCB. Layout is cool, size is cool, features are cool ...seriously, I mean, we have a winner here!

Now, you have to give us a shipping date! :D

Cheers,

Uze

nubie
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Re: Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Post by nubie » Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:07 pm

havok1919 wrote:So here's the little "bare bones" PCB prototypes of the "Gamer" baseboard for the AVCore.

It has a lot of build options-- the one pictured here just has enough parts on it to work. ;-) There's options for an audio output filter, 'soft' power control, SNES, NES, or PSX controller connectors, svideo, composite, power LED (or CPU controlled), pushbuttons for power/reset, ISP header, and a little 20-pin expansion bus with 'most' interesting signals from the AVCore.

For scale I put it in a couple shots with a SNES controller... The NES connectors are just out of an old NES 4-play adapter, but that's how they mount if we ever get another source for them.

Wowser, that is TINY! .. :) :) Very cool board, now we just need a "TV games" case and an upright SD slot (so we can paint the SD like a cart :) ) and it will be the smallest game system ever :) (not really, but a first in many ways).

uze6666 wrote:It's awesome! You crammed almost everything most would ever want in such a small PCB. Layout is cool, size is cool, features are cool ...seriously, I mean, we have a winner here!
Except RGB, but we can take it out to our own connector anyway ;) (I am thinking of adding a third cinch jack and relegating audio to a 2.5mm jack for RGB support :), might as well support it all)
uze6666 wrote:Now, you have to give us a shipping date! :D
Yes, yes, yes!! Do tell. :D

This is such a cool project, I am happy that there are forums available for it.

havok1919
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Re: Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Post by havok1919 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:30 pm

I made sure that there's enough room along the back edge to accomodate a triple RCA (for a component video version) connector and a single RCA for audio. Thinking about it more though, I might put down a 1/8" miniplug (headphone) type jack instead for audio-- then just use one of those 'computer' style 1/8"->dual RCA cables. It'd be "dual mono" audio. But then there's a little voice in the back of my head saying that if I do component video, I really *need* optical audio out... (But that turns into like ~$20 in parts.) ;-)

This is the advantage of the 'module' part (AVCore) though-- we can move it around to different baseboards depending on what you want to play with. :-)

I need to test the audio filter and my little 'hardware' based soft-power controller circuit, but other than that there's not much to verify on the PCB. I'm going to make a couple footprint tweaks on the layout now that I see how everything lines up. I'll probably order another prototype run (this time with soldermask and silkscreen) this week. Assuming I don't screw anything up they'll be ready before the AVCores are. (just 'cause the AVCore needs solder paste screens, and programming on the pick-n-place, etc.)

-Clay

nubie
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Re: Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Post by nubie » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:06 pm

havok1919 wrote:I made sure that there's enough room along the back edge to accomodate a triple RCA (for a component video version) connector and a single RCA for audio. Thinking about it more though, I might put down a 1/8" miniplug (headphone) type jack instead for audio-- then just use one of those 'computer' style 1/8"->dual RCA cables. It'd be "dual mono" audio. But then there's a little voice in the back of my head saying that if I do component video, I really *need* optical audio out... (But that turns into like ~$20 in parts.) ;-)

This is the advantage of the 'module' part (AVCore) though-- we can move it around to different baseboards depending on what you want to play with. :-)

I need to test the audio filter and my little 'hardware' based soft-power controller circuit, but other than that there's not much to verify on the PCB. I'm going to make a couple footprint tweaks on the layout now that I see how everything lines up. I'll probably order another prototype run (this time with soldermask and silkscreen) this week. Assuming I don't screw anything up they'll be ready before the AVCores are. (just 'cause the AVCore needs solder paste screens, and programming on the pick-n-place, etc.)

-Clay
Haha, feature creep is a joy to behold ;) (off-topic I was wondering if we could use a pair of these and some 1.5" screens to make a VirtualBoy style 3D console :), although if we wanted it to be in grayscale or 4-bit color we wouldn't need 2 :), I guess the hard part would be syncing the two, or building the HMD, the software would be simple enough, just move x number of pixels to the left or right for the object you want to be in front :), pre-render the backrounds and use 2D sprites)

Thanks for putting RGB room, that is cool, be sure and test it on your DLP projector so I know if RGB does work (IE without the extra sync line, just RGB and ground).

havok1919
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Re: Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Post by havok1919 » Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:32 am

nubie wrote: (off-topic I was wondering if we could use a pair of these and some 1.5" screens to make a VirtualBoy style 3D console :), although if we wanted it to be in grayscale or 4-bit color we wouldn't need 2 :), I guess the hard part would be syncing the two, or building the HMD, the software would be simple enough, just move x number of pixels to the left or right for the object you want to be in front :), pre-render the backrounds and use 2D sprites)
Heheh, yeah, I wouldn't see why not. Could always just build/buy a little clock oscillator at the appropriate ~28.636MHz frequency and use that to clock both chips (that way you won't have any weird clock drift). Just run everything else in parallel, have one chip clock the controllers and both chips read 'em. ;-) Could always sync the code in both during Vblank or something. (Have one halt and wait for a 'go' from the other.)
Thanks for putting RGB room, that is cool, be sure and test it on your DLP projector so I know if RGB does work (IE without the extra sync line, just RGB and ground).
It should-- I'll pipe it into an arcade game monitor just to be sure first. It looks like my projector supports SCART style RGB input on the VGA connector, so I'll try to hack up a cable and try that out. Should be interesting.

-Clay

CompMan
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Re: Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Post by CompMan » Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:38 am

Looks great, I will have to get me one of these.

Compman

ravyne
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Re: Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Post by ravyne » Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:15 pm

This is all great! I'll be anxiously awaiting for you to start selling these. I'll gladly give you my money for a combo gamerboard/AVCore as soon as you make them available.

By the way CompMan, Kent isn't too far off from me (I'm living in Kenmore), and I just noticed that havok is from Washington too... Maybe we need to start the first Uzebox Uzer's group (yes, that's a terrible pun) or collaborate on something :)

havok1919
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Re: Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Post by havok1919 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:08 pm

ravyne wrote:This is all great! I'll be anxiously awaiting for you to start selling these. I'll gladly give you my money for a combo gamerboard/AVCore as soon as you make them available.
I think I should be good to order production runs of the AVCore at this point. I found one pinout 'oops', so I'm going to do one last pass over things to be sure, but those should be good to go. I still haven't really decided if it's best to do it for 3.3V or 5.0V. 3.3V has been running great on mine-- and it makes interfacing to the SD easier and less power overall. I might just do both. I had one spare pin leftover on the connector... I could use that as a "key". Prevent plugging a 3.3V AVCore into a 5V socket, but allow the other way around since that would be non-destructive.

I got a supply of the SNES connectors now, so there's nothing really holding my back on the Gamer Baseboard either. I still need to test the audio low pass filter though-- hopefully this weekend.
By the way CompMan, Kent isn't too far off from me (I'm living in Kenmore), and I just noticed that havok is from Washington too... Maybe we need to start the first Uzebox Uzer's group (yes, that's a terrible pun) or collaborate on something :)
Uzer's group... Heheheh... Now that's funny! Yeah, WA state seems to be making up about 70% of the posts here. ;-) (Uze being the rest!)

-Clay

ravyne
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Re: Uzebox AVCore "Gamer" Baseboard

Post by ravyne » Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:04 am

Sounds great man, Let me know as soon as they're ready and I'll be first in line.

Another baseboard that might be kinda fun would be a JAMMA baseboard with the golden fingers"edge connector. Straight RGB like you say, some shift registers on the input to maintain software compatibility. I don't know if there are any extra pins available to hook up the coin mech / service buttons...

It would also be cool if your baseboards had a card-edge connector and the core stuff was on a cartridge of sorts. Then we could have the AVR-based Uzebox cartridge to start and maybe someone designs a PIC-based cartridge, or even an ARM-based cartridge. Cartridges would probably have the Micro, the crystal, possibly the SD card (depending on whether the SD card should be dedicated per cartridge or shared) and would be responsible for providing the clock to feed the NTSC encoder (so that its free to change the clock-rate on the micro). There could be different carrier boards for different video outs, but it would have all the common I/O stuff, power supply and any other basic plumbing. I know this is basically what you have now, but I think a more cartridge-like (or even IDC connectors) would make swapping the guts super easy and make the console even more open to hacking and playing with other micros, while removing the cost of parts that would otherwise have to be duplicated, such as the NTSC encoder. Maybe even leave the base-boards a little more open than what the UzeCart would need, for future expansion... Stereo sound, additional color resolution wired to the NTSC encoder, maybe even some SRAM. Just some thoughts I had.

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