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RCA Studio II GOLD MINE! An interview with the Studio 2 Production Manager!

RCA Studio II Interview

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#626 mckafka99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:49 PM

I'm in for one as well!

#627 spaceman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:04 PM

yeah the clones can be av modded, I think slydc modded his conic, I know he modded his visicom. Maybe try to contact him for how to do so.

I know the clone games don't fit in the rca s2 without taking the cart shell off.

I think the rca s2 carts fit in the clone models though....but cant remember for sure now offhand.

All the games are cart slot compatible except for the visicom...just the rca s2 cart shells are a bit different shape from all the other clone carts shells.

 

Thanks Stupus! I'll try and contact him and see. I guess as long as the multicart could be fitted in a empty shell of whichever clone you want to use, then there would be no problems for sure. Thanks for the info, really excited to have picked this up.



#628 spaceman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:05 PM

I woudl definetely be in for 1 as long as it include all the main games (and some homebrews would be fantastic)! Don't care much for test cart and the likes, I am all about gaming!



#629 toymailman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:05 AM

I would be very interested in a multi-cart.  I am mainly interested in the non-US games and homebrews so I could play them on my Sutdio II with real hardware (no emulation), but if everything fits anyway then that is awesome.

 

Also, my offer to donate RCA Studio carts for such a project is still good.  I have about 40 or so available.  :)



#630 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:23 PM


Also, my offer to donate RCA Studio carts for such a project is still good.  I have about 40 or so available.  :)

 

I've no idea what the maximum size of the PCB can be for it to fit a case. I only have one cart and am reluctant to crack it open to see... Can I PM you to see whether we can swap a multicart against a case or two? That would allow me to see how everything fits together?

 

Cheers,

 

flip



#631 toymailman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:35 PM

 

I've no idea what the maximum size of the PCB can be for it to fit a case. I only have one cart and am reluctant to crack it open to see... Can I PM you to see whether we can swap a multicart against a case or two? That would allow me to see how everything fits together?

 

Cheers,

 

flip

Yes, PM is welcome.  :-D



#632 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:32 PM

Has anyone tried the programming cart mentioned in this post?

 

I've typed in the code in the article, but there's either a bug or something else goes wrong, as the screen seems corrupt for the first few digits appearing...

 
screendump prog cart

 

I guess it makes sense to include it in a multicart, since there's enough slots, but it would be nice to know it's working correctly....

 

flip


Edited by flip, Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:57 PM.


#633 etxmato OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:12 PM

Hi Flip,

 

Try the one attached; I think that should work.

 

Cheers, Marcel.

Attached Files


Edited by etxmato, Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:17 PM.


#634 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:18 PM

Hi Flip,

 

Try the one attached; I think that should work.

 

Cheers, Marcel.

 

Brilliant - thanks. Seems that I had a B0 somewhere instead of BC...

 

flip



#635 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 4:03 PM

Hi all,

 

Proud to present the pcb prototype of a multicart for the Studio II: it has 16 slots, selected by the rotary hex switch. The device works as expected, but there's some unexpected glitches in some of the titles - not sure whether it's my Studio II that has issues or whether something else is wrong...

 

Prototype 1
Protoype 1
 

The design for a 128 slot version using 2 switches is as good as ready. The intention is that the PCB will fit in an original shell (thanks to toymailman!), meaning i'll probably need to use a PLCC chip rather than a conventional DIP version (unless I solder it without a socket, but then it would be hard to update).

 

Can't give you a date for a final version, but it shouldn't be too long.

 

flip



#636 Blazing Lazers OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 4:34 PM

Hi all,
 
Proud to present the pcb prototype of a multicart for the Studio II: it has 16 slots, selected by the rotary hex switch. The device works as expected, but there's some unexpected glitches in some of the titles - not sure whether it's my Studio II that has issues or whether something else is wrong...
 

 
The design for a 128 slot version using 2 switches is as good as ready. The intention is that the PCB will fit in an original shell (thanks to toymailman!), meaning i'll probably need to use a PLCC chip rather than a conventional DIP version (unless I solder it without a socket, but then it would be hard to update).
 
Can't give you a date for a final version, but it shouldn't be too long.
 
flip


Pure awesomeness :) You know I'm down for a copy or three :)

#637 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 4:47 PM

Amazing, quick work!
Nice job! :)
Sign me up!!!!

#638 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 6:24 PM

Well, I've just been through the worst computer repair fiasco of my life—random computer crashes, backup software that doesn't work, replaced motherboard followed by replaced graphics card-apparently the graphics card killed the motherboard in a bizarre murder-suicide. Anyway, I think I've finally got everything working, so I could finish up the newsletter scanning task.

 

y-bot sent me seven issues of Micro Studio News—issues 0-6. It ran from July 1979 to May 1980. Issue 0 was an original newsletter, and was a short, free issue to promote the newsletter. The others were available with a paid subscription. I only got photocopies of these (probably copied long ago). For the most part, these are easily readable. Issue 6 does mention some material prepared for the next issue, which would have been the first issue of the second volume. But they also discuss the struggle to get subscribers, so I suspect these are the only issues ever released.

 

The newsletter tends to be quite technical. Most of it is user-submitted programs. These had to be typed in hexadecimal using a homebrew cart. There was also no way to save the programs. I'm not surprised that this didn't catch on. Computers and even some consoles, like the Astrocade, had official support for languages like BASIC and could load and save using external media like cassette tapes. I'm impressed by the people who did program under these constraints, though. If anyone uses these to make ROM files, please let us know.

 

Most people will probably want the black and white scans, which only total 9MB. I've also uploaded my original grayscale scans—185MB total. The only real problem I noticed is page 4 of Issue 3, which is difficult to read in the lower left corner. It looks just as bad on the photocopy, though.

 

Black and White: http://www.mediafire...dio_News_bw.zip

 

Grayscale: http://www.mediafire...dio_News_bw.zip

 

I hope someone finds these interesting. If anyone sees problems with the scans, let me know soon, since I don't want to hang onto the paper version much longer. Thanks y-bot for the loan and for your patience!

Wow this is cool - a development board to turn the Studio II into a programmable microcomputer existed. Liked the discussion of building a cassette interface and expanding the onboard RAM, wonder if anything ever came of that. The grass roots programming newsletter is reminiscent of the one for the Bally.



#639 Blazing Lazers OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 2, 2015 11:58 PM

Wow this is cool - a development board to turn the Studio II into a programmable microcomputer existed. Liked the discussion of building a cassette interface and expanding the onboard RAM, wonder if anything ever came of that. The grass roots programming newsletter is reminiscent of the one for the Bally.


I actually called the guy who was the original newsletters. Suffice to say, Mr. Samek was very surprised to be asked about them after so many years. He recalled very little about the programming.

I never did manage to make contact with Terry Laudereau, either. She would be another goldmine of contemporary information if she could be reached.

I only looked into half the names found among the newsletters, too. I had no successful hits, but It seems a safe assumption that one or two might recall some interesting information, and possibly possess more hardware. It's well worth looking into...

#640 Atari2008 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 5, 2015 1:26 AM

I'd like a Multi-Cart! Time to acquire another RCA Studio II console. :)



#641 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 5, 2015 12:00 PM

Given how popular the Elf single board computers were in some circles, it isn't that far-fetched to expand or convert a Studio II into a similar system, perhaps even make it binary compatible.



#642 fabrizio_s OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 6, 2015 9:26 AM

Hi to everybody,

I have TREVI M-1200 console, the Italian version of M-1200 Sheen or Conic.

You can see some more pics of Trevi console at this link:

 

http://fabrizios.pix...om/trevim-1200/

 

Some weeks ago, I phoned Trevi's company in order to get some more information about this item, but nobody remembers it, because the employees are too young. Only the president of the company remembers it and he has got the same console, but he doesn't find it anymore, since he moved to a new house.

 

I'd like to sell it. So, if you are interested in it....let me know.

 

Bye

 

Fabrizio


Edited by fabrizio_s, Sun Dec 6, 2015 9:38 AM.


#643 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 6, 2015 9:28 AM

 

Hi to everybody,

I have this console, the italian version of M-1200 Sheen or Conic.

You can see some more images of Trevi console at this link:

 

http://fabrizios.pix...om/trevim-1200/

 

I'd like to sell it so if you are interested in it....let me know.

 

Bye

 

Fabrizio

 

Hi Fabrizio,

 

I would be very interested in buying this - I will contact you via messaging.

 

flip



#644 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:02 AM

Hi again everyone,

 

Just an update on the multicart: there appears to be an odd problem with newer consoles. Unfortunately, that seems to be the majority of machines... The cart as it's currently designed works fine on an old machine. The handwritten number on the PCB is below 10,000. On newer machines, some games work. Most notably, the RCA games work as do some of the homebrews. Others simply refuse to initialise and/or crash the system... There's either a subtle hardware change (the older machine doesn't use a 4042 latch/4001 NOR combination, but has a flip/flop and NAND gate to address the different address banks) or RCA updated the system ROM... Since all coding I understand was done on emulators, it's possible they all use an early system ROM dump... I might have to dump the system ROMs from a newer system to compare, but not looking forward to that...

 

If anyone has any idea as to what could cause this, feel free to make suggestions.

 

flip



#645 Blazing Lazers OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:29 AM

Hi again everyone,
 
Just an update on the multicart: there appears to be an odd problem with newer consoles. Unfortunately, that seems to be the majority of machines... The cart as it's currently designed works fine on an old machine. The handwritten number on the PCB is below 10,000. On newer machines, some games work. Most notably, the RCA games work as do some of the homebrews. Others simply refuse to initialise and/or crash the system... There's either a subtle hardware change (the older machine doesn't use a 4042 latch/4001 NOR combination, but has a flip/flop and NAND gate to address the different address banks) or RCA updated the system ROM... Since all coding I understand was done on emulators, it's possible they all use an early system ROM dump... I might have to dump the system ROMs from a newer system to compare, but not looking forward to that...
 
If anyone has any idea as to what could cause this, feel free to make suggestions.
 
flip


How odd... Fauxscot is the one to ask on this. I'll email him about it. There's also a Cosmac/1802/Studio II Yahoo Group where an answer might be found, in addition to our collective knowledge here on AA.

#646 toymailman OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2015 7:19 PM

FYI.  I'm selling my Toshiba Visicom system in the Marketplace thread.



#647 slydc OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:52 PM

Hi toymailman,

 

Could you scan the flyer and also the installation manual for archival purpose ?

This would be a great add-on for the RCA Studio II archive. =)



#648 toymailman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:40 AM

Hi toymailman,

 

Could you scan the flyer and also the installation manual for archival purpose ?

This would be a great add-on for the RCA Studio II archive. =)

Will do!



#649 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:14 AM

I've found the source of the problem with the multicart on 'newer' Studio IIs. As indicated, my original Studio II is an earlier version. The PCB is identified (in the left bottom corner) by a number, ending in 'D'.

RCA Stucio II - Lower serial PCB
 

On newer systems, this is an 'E' at the end. To the right of this are two ICs which are used to select banks of the RAMs and ROMs. On the 'D' revision, these are a CD4011 (4 NAND gates) and a CD4013 (2 D-type flip-flops). On the 'E' revisions, they were replaced by a CD4001 (4 NOR gates) and a CD4042 (quad clocked D latch).

RCA Studio II - higher serial PCB

 

The older logic doesn't mix MRD and TPA signals to what is refered to as 'TPA Buffered' in ekeefe's excellent schematic: the CPU's TPA is simply inverted and used as the flip-flop clock signal. It is also directly fed to the cartridge slot. This is what it looks like in a logic analyser:

Logic analyser output of 'D' version PCB of the RCA Studio II

 

On newer models, the inverted TPA is fed into the 4042's clock before it's NOR'd with the MRD signal. But it's this mixed signal that is fed to the cartridge slot. As it is used as a clock signal for a 4042 latch on the cartridge, it messes up the addressing of the EPROM on the cartridge in some way.

Logic analyser output of 'E' version PCB of the RCA Studio II

 
If I feed the cartridge slot with the clean TPA signal, things work again! The problem is now that in its present form, the newer Studio II needs a small modification to get the TPA signal to the cart. Not ideal, as not everyone may feel comfortable with that and it probably affects most machines. I am not sure there's an easy way around this... It would probably need a change to the latching circuit on the multicart, but it's not obvious how at the moment. Suggestions, as always are welcome!

 

flip


Edited by flip, Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:16 AM.


#650 toymailman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:17 AM

Hi toymailman,

 

Could you scan the flyer and also the installation manual for archival purpose ?

This would be a great add-on for the RCA Studio II archive. =)

Scans of the registration card are below.  I'm having troubles uploading the flyer for some reason.

Visicom_Registration-1.jpg

Visicom_Registration-2.jpg






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