Uzebox 128+

From Uzebox Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The Uzebox 128+ is a hardware solution with the simple goal to be a clean and convenient integration of the existing expansion standards for: ESP8266(ESP-E/F), SPI Ram(128K), Uzebox Keyboard, and Uzebox Mouse. The intent is to promote these expansions towards exploring a full retro computer side of Uzebox by having everything "just work" out of one box. 100% compatibility with the Uzebox Standard is THE core principal, and any non-standard additions(headphone amplifier, hard power switch, etc) cannot conflict or cause software behavior that is not identical to the standard. In no way should it be confused as a fork or Uzebox derivative, it is simply a different physical user interface that is logically equivalent. The name is derived from the "Commodore 128", or "Enterprise 128", or any other machine that prominently displayed some indicator number. The '+' is simply for the fact there is, besides 128K SPI Ram, also +4K fast ram internal to the ATMega644 central processor.


Hardware

The majority of the visible hardware will be the computer case which is a modified Key Tronic keyboard(currently there are 2 models deployed). This is not practical to 3d print, and difficult to create from scratch and later adhere keyboard mechanisms to something created on a CNC router. So these are more or less hand made. The modifications integrates the physical inputs/outputs that the standard Uzebox PCB has in keeping with the core principal of 100% compatibility. Any hardware that Uzebox can use currently, or in the future, is possible due to strict adherence to standardized I/O. As a safe guard against potential incompatibilities, the keyboard and mouse circuitry can be disabled providing a P2 port that has the exact workings of a standard P2 port that has nothing inserted. Currently a standard slightly modified PCB is used, but there is no hard plan that says it will not be a smaller SMT version at a later point for easier building; at which point it could potentially be in kit form with holes precut.


Additions are free to be implemented so long as they don't change standard behavior. Currently this includes a hard power switch which is equivalent to the user pulling the AC adapter out of the standard PCB. The buttons are larger, and in some cases lighted, but still have the function of the smaller momentary buttons on standard PCBs for "Power" and "Reset". The indicator LED is implemented(in some cases) as an Electroluminescent tape where the normal 5v sent to the LED is instead sent to a transistor to close the +12v circuit the EL requires. It can be pulsed on and off fast enough that it's response cycle is not noticeably different to a human eye versus the potentially faster switching LED. For units that do implement EL, it is used an a backlight through a customized translucent cutout with the owner's forum name or event like "UCC2016". This is of course, simply an emotionally appealing thing with no logical improvement over an LED.


A headphone jack with amplified signal has been added to increase the user experience and offer more detailed audio feedback for creating sound and music on the machine. The same standard resistor values are used, but by plugging in headphones the normal output to the television audio in is diverted to a small amplifier circuit. Otherwise the sound output levels are the same as standard when headphones are not inserted.


In some cases(though stocks of these are so far very limited to find), matching black/red controllers will be provided purely for an aesthetic supplement for the user's experience. They are normal SNES controllers with a different physical color. The only known source so far is from Retron consoles, and finding them separately from the machine is difficult(I bought every single one I can find...4 total so far). They complement the black/red scheme of Uzebox 128 so much that every effort will be given to ensure each unit has these. There are currently no plans for any color scheme besides black/red, though it would be simple to change the lighting color later on.