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My Pet Project - MMDC Retro Player

Atari 2600 VCS FPGA

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#51 Crispy OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:01 PM

Do you have a Harmony Cart? If so it'd be interesting to see if this can handle the Bus Stuffing Demos.

 

I do have a Harmony cart. In fact, I have three now.

 

My current FPGA code will not handle bus stuffing. It's a relatively simple addition though. I'll make the changes and try out the demos probably either this weekend or next. I'll let you know how it goes.



#52 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:26 PM

The idea of a replacement VCS mainboard could be interesting.

 

Over this spring/summer I repaired and refurbished 5 VCS units for neighbors. And there always seems to be some sort of rust or corrosion that has to be dealt with. It's like soda or water inevitably, somehow, make their way through the cart slot and into the works.

 

And while troubleshooting and replacement of the faulty parts takes maybe a half-hour or so, the cleanup and repair of the corrosion-damaged traces and stuff takes several hours. And it seems as time goes on I have to pull out more and more tools and tricks from my workbench.

 

So yes a replacement board could be a useful thing provided it is 100% compatible and works with everything. No exceptions, no corner cases. 100% functionality.



#53 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:30 PM

 

Unfortunately the manufacturing cost for the plastic enclosure is really what determines the price. I've been toying with the idea of designing an FPGA based drop-in replacement for the Atari 2600 circuit board. Something like that could probably be sold for about $150 or so, and it retains the Atari 2600 styling since you are using the original 2600 enclosure.

 

I started this project not to sell a product and make money, but rather to create something that I wanted. I think that the Walkman motif works very well. It's compact, and it's something I can set on my coffee table, and play Atari 2600 games on my big screen TV from the comfort of my couch. Plus I think that the "PLAY" button is a cute pun. The connector placement is not an issue since the game console is right in front of me. The only long cable I need is the HDMI cable that connects to the TV.

 

To answer your other questions, I used some styling cues from my Sony Walkman Pro, and that's where the tiny switches came from. The PLAY and STOP buttons simply turn the power on and off. I had thought about adding an eject function to the STOP button, but that made the mechanical design a bit too complex. And finally, I still want to add some kind of logo, and some lettering around the buttons that indicate their functions. I'm leaning towards dry transfer, but I'm not sure how well that will work on 3D printed material. It's on my to do list.

 

 

The 2600 core timing is always running at the exact rate of the original Atari hardware. I'm using a triple buffer to frame sync the 2600 video timing to the output video timing, and the horinzontal scaling is always an integer multiple of the 2600 horizontal resolution. The vertical scaling, on the other hand, uses what's called a polyphase interpolating filter to scale from 208 or 224 lines, user selectable, up to the output resolution which can be 480, 600, 720, 768, 1080, or 1200 lines.

 

One day I might experiment with trying to V lock the output timing to the 2600 timing, but for right now the delay through the triple buffer doesn't bother me.

208p * 5 would output 1040p with a thin black area on the top and bottom for 1080p displays. 160h * 9 would provide 1440 horizontal resolution with very close to a 4x3 frame size and ideal 1.8 pixel aspect. This would be an ideal display setting (with black borders) for NTSC games @ 1920x1080p60. Scanlines at 5x would also look great if you used 50%-100%-100%-50%-0% for the relative intensity.

 

As much as I love the look of the "Walkman" enclosure, if the enclosure is adding considerable cost to the project, ie contributing more than 30-40% of the BOM (bill of materials), then maybe consider redesigning the PCB and cart socket to use an off-the-shelf project enclosure. Some companies may even be able laser cut a rectangle slot for the Atari carts so you don't have to "Dremel" it out yourself.

 

I know that a "black box" styling isn't your vision for the Atari FPGA, but if it represents a significant reduction in price, I would be all for it. Currently at upper $300+ range, it's out of my budget, however I would quickly change my tune if you could offer something like a bare board kit for around $200 or less that let's DIY people fabricate their own enclosure. I could even see myself cramming the FPGA Atari in a cigar box or something.



#54 Crispy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:05 PM

Do you have a Harmony Cart? If so it'd be interesting to see if this can handle the Bus Stuffing Demos.

 

I changed my cartridge port MUXing so that it does the correct thing for bus stuffing, and this is what I see when I run the demo.

 

bus_stuff.jpg



#55 SpiceWare ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:52 PM

 

I changed my cartridge port MUXing so that it does the correct thing for bus stuffing, and this is what I see when I run the demo.

 

attachicon.gifbus_stuff.jpg

 

 

 

Awesome!  Wonder why the background isn't black.  



#56 Crispy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:53 PM

 

 

 

Awesome!  Wonder why the background isn't black.  

I think I know why. In my haste I only included writes to COLUP0 AND COLUP1 as triggers for bus stuffing. Are you bus stuffing COLUBK as well?



#57 SpiceWare ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:07 PM

I think I know why. In my haste I only included writes to COLUP0 AND COLUP1 as triggers for bus stuffing. Are you bus stuffing COLUBK as well?


In that demo only GRP0, GRP1, COLUP0 and COLUP1 are BUS stuffed. COLUBK is only zeroed out during the init process that zeroes out all TIA registers and RAM.

Bus Stuffing occurs during STY zp writes to $00-$24 and $80-$A4. Bus stuffing can also be turned on or off.

#58 Metal Jesus OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:20 AM

Here is the Atari Walkman prototype up and running with beautiful new cover art!

 

 

And here are more photos:

 

Atari_FPGA-Circuitboard.jpg?w=640

 

AtariWalkman_Sticker.jpg?w=640

 

Thanks to Chris for sending it to me!!


Edited by Metal Jesus, Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:21 AM.


#59 Gray Defender OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:32 AM

Great video!  I am sooo jealous.  I would pay good money to own one of these devices.



#60 iCach0 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:34 AM

I just saw the video on the Metal Jesus Rocks channel. Incredible. I hope this generates enough interest to make at least a batch or two of them. I'd be definitively interested!



#61 MegaManFan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:01 PM

Well this just hit my subscriber feed as I've been following MetalJesusRocks ever since he found the US Nintendo 64 DD prototype and...

 

:-o :-o

 

So freaking cool!! Well done Crispy, and thanks MJ for sharing!

 

PS: If these were mass produced I might get one but I also imagine it would be cost prohibitive. (Still if it wasn't more than a SD2SNES, I'd at least consider it.)

 

PPS: I love how AtariAge keeps coming up on YouTube videos now. Pat the NES Punk routinely mentions the website.


Edited by MegaManFan, Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:03 PM.


#62 Metal Jesus OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:02 PM

PPS: I love how AtariAge keeps coming up on YouTube videos now. 

 

 

I love promoting this website...it's one of the few forums on the internet where most people engage in civil and intelligent discussions about the tech I care about.



#63 Jinroh ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:10 PM

Man, I need to check this thread more often, but I'm definitely wanting one. :D So jealous.


Edited by Jinroh, Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:11 PM.


#64 Everett1954 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:47 PM

I would be interested in this in any form. I do like the compact  form style of the Walkman. What makes me the most excited is seeing that beautiful HDMI output!

 

Do you have any extra blank  PCB's available? I can purchase my own parts and stuff the board myself as well as  worry about  an enclosure.

 

If no extra PCB's how about sharing files so and individual could have a board made? How many layers is the board?

 

I would also need the core files if you are able to share (sell?) them. I did not see an SD card slot or a header on the board for loading the cores, how did you load them?

 

Going the full manufacturing route can get expensive but maybe offering a PCB and files would allow others (with electronics skills) to enjoy the the hard work you've already put into this!  



#65 hizzy ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 1:41 PM

Great video, amazing console!!

 

I need an HDMI 2600 in my life!



#66 helmsm OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:10 PM

Big fan/subscriber of Metal Jesus! Watched the video this morning...awesome 2600/Walkman mashup!


Edited by helmsm, Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:12 PM.


#67 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:17 PM

I would be interested in this in any form. I do like the compact  form style of the Walkman. What makes me the most excited is seeing that beautiful HDMI output!

 

I think it's great, absolutely fantastic, that people are becoming more impressed with emulation and the sharpness achieved when working entirely in the digital domain. Totally disposing of Analog/RF/Composite/CRT altogether.



#68 ComputerSpaceFan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:32 PM

Awesome video and awesome project!

 

MJR asked in his video what similar projects we'd like to see? Personally I'd pay serious cash for something similar that played Sega Saturn burned discs from all regions. Yes yes yes I know I know, buy the originals blah-di-blah but do you know how expensive all that stuff is now?

 

Gimme a Sega Saturn in a box that I can put burned CDs into and you have my money.

 

Let the flames begin. I'm ready!



#69 Jin ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:10 PM

Wow is that ever an amazing piece of hardware, and the label that Metal Jesus and friends came up with for it looks spectator. It's a darn shame that these aren't going to be mass produced, since I'm sure there are several hundred people here (myself included) who would buy one in an instant.

#70 MegaManFan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:53 PM

Wow is that ever an amazing piece of hardware, and the label that Metal Jesus and friends came up with for it looks spectator. It's a darn shame that these aren't going to be mass produced, since I'm sure there are several hundred people here (myself included) who would buy one in an instant.

Of course, but the production numbers Crispy outlined can't be justified by several hundred. He'd need to make a thousand or more to break even, and charge more than you'd pay for an XBox One or PlayStation 4 in stores right now, and as exciting as this project is I can't think of anything more niche than that. You're not going to convince people to spend that kind of money to play almost 40 year old technology when they can play it in less authentic ways than FPGA and less clear video than HDMI for next to nothing. :(



#71 Metal Jesus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:41 AM

Of course, but the production numbers Crispy outlined can't be justified by several hundred.

 

 

Right now, this thing is 3D printed in several pieces over several hours. It would be cool to meet up with somebody who could fashion it in aluminum or plastic to help speed up the process and cut the cost.



#72 Crispy OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:35 PM

Do you have any extra blank  PCB's available? I can purchase my own parts and stuff the board myself as well as  worry about  an enclosure.

 

If no extra PCB's how about sharing files so and individual could have a board made? How many layers is the board?

 

 

 

I have a couple of spare fully assembled boards, but no blanks. I had the PCB fab house assemble the boards after fabrication since I didn't really want to have to solder on the one hundred plus parts myself. Besides, I don't have the equipment to solder on the two BGA parts. I've read about how to use a toaster oven to solder BGAs, but have never been inclined to try it.

 

I just finished adding a post to my blog that covers some of the technical aspects of my design. Take a look at it. http://thehippiecampus.com/blog/


Edited by Crispy, Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:45 PM.


#73 Crispy OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:43 PM

 

 

Right now, this thing is 3D printed in several pieces over several hours. It would be cool to meet up with somebody who could fashion it in aluminum or plastic to help speed up the process and cut the cost.

 

 

I had thought that maybe going the aluminum route would be cheaper, but a mechanical engineer friend of mine told me that it would probably be more expensive than plastic. In any case, I sure would like to find a solution that would allow me to produce an enclosure for a cost of under $20.



#74 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:25 PM

 
 
I had thought that maybe going the aluminum route would be cheaper, but a mechanical engineer friend of mine told me that it would probably be more expensive than plastic. In any case, I sure would like to find a solution that would allow me to produce an enclosure for a cost of under $20.

Injection molding for cheap casing (per piece), but that requires a five figure investment... :P

#75 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:11 PM

Why not 3d printing?







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