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Tell us What New Hardware Projects you are Working on for 2017

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#1 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 5, 2016 3:39 PM

Now is your chance to tell everyone about what Atari hardware projects you have planned for next year. Think of this as a New Year's resolution of sorts. Feel free to think entirely out of the box, and share even those project ideas that seem like so much of a stretch that maybe you feel they are beyond your abilities alone. With all of the talent that exists on AA someone is sure to be able to help you make it into a reality. These projects can be either commercial ventures or purely for personal use. Basically anything goes! And let's try to be respectful of other peoples ideas and visions. 

 

So I'll start things off with what I have in mind for next year...

 

Industrial Re-Cased XEGS

 

I want to make my anodized aluminum clad 1088XEGS project actually come to life.

 

Front Panel Concept

uB5s01F.png

Rear Panel Concept

g7WhSde.png

I talked about this for a bit earlier this year (link). But I was waiting for some of the things I and others are working on to make it fully possible.

 

Under the hood

  1. XEGS MotherBoard
  2. U1MB
  3. Side2
  4. UAV
  5. TK-II-STEREO
  6. V-Gate
  7. S-Video-to-HDMI Up-Converter
  8. SIO2PC-USB

Stuff that I will possibly add to the spec: S-Video output, built-in flip-up display screen

 

And yes there is no cartridge or PBI port envisioned (I intend to rely on the Side2 or the SIO2PC-USB for mass storage and cart images).

 

Now it's turn for you guys to share or comment  :)

 

- Michael

 

 

EDIT: Yes I was getting bored today  ;-)

 



#2 Mathy OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 5, 2016 5:07 PM

Hello Michael

 

Nice idea (both the XEGS and this thread)!

 

Here's my idea.  Been thinking about this for a couple of years and I think I've found the solution.  But I need somebody to turn this into reality:

 

The hardware would plug between the video cable and the thing that shows the picture.  The video signal as it comes out of the computer contains information about when/where a new screen starts and (if I am informed correctly) when/where each horizontal line starts.  That would mean that we know 50 or 60 times per second, depending on your TV system, where the electrons are fired at screen of the television or monitor.  In a CRT television this information is used to guid the electronic beam.  But flatscreens and beamers don't have an electronic beam.  Making it impossible to use a lightgun.

 

Unless you emulate the beam.  By adding a white dot to the picture, that moves across the screen just like an electronic beam would.  At the exact same speed and time.  As I said, this information is in the video signal.  It should even be possible to switch off the picture comming from the Atari and only displaying the white dot, the moment you press the trigger switch.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy 



#3 Irgendwer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 5, 2016 5:27 PM

Unless you emulate the beam.  By adding a white dot to the picture, that moves across the screen just like an electronic beam would.  At the exact same speed and time.  As I said, this information is in the video signal.  It should even be possible to switch off the picture comming from the Atari and only displaying the white dot, the moment you press the trigger switch.

 

Won't work (de-interlacer, latency and how do you dim the remaining display so that only white dot is visible for the gun and not other white areas, without being noticed by the user? Beside this, the luminance most likely is to low compared to classic CRTs (result of my own experiments)).

But we had that already...

 

Edit: Current displays are not able to display a 15 kHz movement in real-time. Output of rows & columns may be totally different.


Edited by Irgendwer, Wed Oct 5, 2016 5:33 PM.


#4 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 5, 2016 6:16 PM

Great idea for a topic, but your opening leaves a lot to be desired with the "now is your chance" like your thread is a limited time offer and the end-all-be-all for project announcements and they can't announce in their own threads or something? :-o Were you appointed or elected? :P

 

That bit aside, I have a project as grand or even grander (subjective of course) to your XEGS that I'm doing with a 1200XL motherboard, similarly upgraded, but I'm only doing it for myself, a one-of-a-kind prototype. I'm designing a new case but out of fine wood, like cherry or some other fine, dark, hard-wood, with gold-leaf trim, etc,. My juxtaposition to JFC's "Poor man's 1400XL" blog, mine will be the "Rich man's 1200XL." But that's all I'll say since I think you are referring to projects that will be come available at least in limited edition, to the community.


Edited by Gunstar, Wed Oct 5, 2016 6:24 PM.


#5 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 5, 2016 6:51 PM

Here's my idea.  Been thinking about this for a couple of years and I think I've found the solution.  But I need somebody to turn this into reality:

 

The hardware would plug between the video cable and the thing that shows the picture.  The video signal as it comes out of the computer contains information about when/where a new screen starts and (if I am informed correctly) when/where each horizontal line starts.  That would mean that we know 50 or 60 times per second, depending on your TV system, where the electrons are fired at screen of the television or monitor.  In a CRT television this information is used to guid the electronic beam.  But flatscreens and beamers don't have an electronic beam.  Making it impossible to use a lightgun.

 

Unless you emulate the beam.  By adding a white dot to the picture, that moves across the screen just like an electronic beam would.  At the exact same speed and time.  As I said, this information is in the video signal.  It should even be possible to switch off the picture comming from the Atari and only displaying the white dot, the moment you press the trigger switch.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy 

 

Pretty cool idea, but might need something a bit more complicated to make it work (as Irgendwer pointed out). I'm thinking maybe do something similar to a Wii's remote where it's position in space is sensed, and then translate that data into what the A8 expects on a trigger input. Might be possible, but it will be involved. I wonder if some of this tech is now available off the shelf from some place like SparkFun  :? .  Now that you got me thinking about this, I'll have to keep this in mind when I'm searching around the web to see in which ways this could be accomplished  :) .

 

 

Great idea for a topic, but your opening leaves a lot to be desired with the "now is your chance" like your thread is a limited time offer and the end-all-be-all for project announcements and they can't announce in their own threads or something? :-o Were you appointed or elected? :P

 

That bit aside, I have a project as grand or even grander (subjective of course) to your XEGS that I'm doing with a 1200XL motherboard, similarly upgraded, but I'm only doing it for myself, a one-of-a-kind prototype. I'm designing a new case but out of fine wood, like cherry or some other fine, dark, hard-wood, with gold-leaf trim, etc,. My juxtaposition to JFC's "Poor man's 1400XL" blog, mine will be the "Rich man's 1200XL." But that's all I'll say since I think you are referring to projects that will be come available at least in limited edition, to the community.

 

Geeze I didn't mean to make it sound like what you suggested in your first sentence. Of course everyone and anyone can start their own 'specific' topic about their project, and completely ignore this one as well  :) . Think of this more as a 'preview' of what people are working on, with details to come later in their own project thread if they so desire.

 

Your "Rich man's 1200XL" sounds like it will be a thing of beauty  :thumbsup:  I sure hope we get to see a photo or two of it when you get it done ;-) .  And no this topic isn't intended to be just about things that will be made available to the community (my project is personal as well, although I'll probably put the manufacturer files up for the enclosure when I'm all done). So please do feel free to share anything you wish about what you are working on. The sky is the limit  :grin:

 

- Michael


Edited by mytekcontrols, Wed Oct 5, 2016 7:04 PM.


#6 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 5, 2016 11:53 PM

Getting back to Mathy's idea. The more I thought about it, the more the Wii remote (Wiimote) really seems to have all that would be needed to pull this off, assuming that some kind of Wii-2-Atari decoder could be put together. And it would not only serve as a light gun (with a suitable gun holder), but it would also be usable as a joystick, and/or any number of other cool things (bat, tennis racket, golf club, steering wheel). And I saved the best part for last... IT'S WIRELESS!!!!
 
5C28AAF0.jpg   7fAf5VD.jpg
This could certainly be a game changer (please excuse the pun ;) ).
 
Although the Wiimote can be used by itself for joystick like controls and basic motion sensing, for pointer accuracy you also need to pair it up with the Wii sensor bar.
 
Wii_Sensor_Bar_Silver_less_Zff1.jpg
The good part is that due to the popularity of the Wii, and how long it has been around, the cost of buying both the Wiimote and the Sensor Bar will only set you back $20. 
 
I think this idea is worth pursuing and I for one will definitely be researching this idea further to see where it can possibly go. Thank you Mathy for planting the seed that might eventually grow into a very exciting new controller for use on our A8's  :thumbsup: I think this project deserves its own topic, so I'll start one up tomorrow and we can start discussing the possibilities of how this can be applied.
 

 
Please keep the project ideas coming  ;-)
 
- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols, Thu Oct 6, 2016 12:21 AM.


#7 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 6, 2016 1:26 AM

Cool XEGS rebox... but I think you need the joysticks away from everything else and preferable on the side or front.



#8 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 6, 2016 8:45 AM

Cool XEGS rebox... but I think you need the joysticks away from everything else and preferable on the side or front.


Originally I was toying with the idea of putting them in the front, but then I decided that I really wanted a clean minimalistic front panel so that idea got scratched. And although the side would certainly have been a good alternative, the enclosure provided by FrontPanel Express doesn't lend itself to doing that unless I were to machine that aspect myself, which I would rather avoid. So it's joystick extension cables or a Wii-2-Joy interface adapter, giving me wireless joystick emulation. And then there is that USB-2-ST mouse adapter that will give me a wireless mouse. Throw in the SIO2BT and a wireless PS2 keyboard and I'll be virtually cordless, with all the adapters conveniently hidden away. Of course the only problem is that some of that hardware has yet to be developed.

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols, Thu Oct 6, 2016 9:18 AM.


#9 Irgendwer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 6, 2016 9:01 AM

Getting back to Mathy's idea. The more I thought about it, the more the Wii remote (Wiimote) really seems to have all that would be needed to pull this off, assuming that some kind of Wii-2-Atari decoder could be put together. And it would not only serve as a light gun (with a suitable gun holder), but it would also be usable as a joystick, and/or any number of other cool things (bat, tennis racket, golf club, steering wheel). And I saved the best part for last... IT'S WIRELESS!!!!

 

Maybe you missed that, here are parts of my explanations:

http://atariage.com/...i/#entry2711876

http://atariage.com/...dpost&p=3251872

 

Mathy won't be happy with a solution needed a "new" pointing device as he once wrote:

 

...

I don't want to change the light gun, the computer or the software.  I just want to add some hardware (in whatever way, shape or form) so the light gun can be used on non-CRTs.

...

 

I also thought about something like a Wii-mote as a substitute (like you may read in my first linked post). Unfortunately they are not good as an absolute pointing device. Aiming is nearly impossible and calibration is useless, if you change your position in relation to the IR bar.

I think a system with eg. three ultra sonic receivers at the screen corners and one emitter in a handle would be much more precise and better for absolute aiming.


Edited by Irgendwer, Thu Oct 6, 2016 9:02 AM.


#10 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 6, 2016 9:16 AM

Yes Irgendwer you are correct, I did miss those links you posted earlier. And now that I reviewed that info I see the problems with going that route. And yes even if it worked it wouldn't be the solution Mathy was seeking. However a Wiimote still has value as a wireless joystick solution and a possible paddle alternative, so I may still pursue that aspect as a separate project.

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols, Thu Oct 6, 2016 9:20 AM.


#11 Brentarian ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 6, 2016 11:10 AM

If you want one less wire on the outside you could always wire in a Bluetooth audio transmitter. Not sure if that would interfere with an SIO2BT or not.

#12 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 7, 2016 12:19 AM

If you want one less wire on the outside you could always wire in a Bluetooth audio transmitter. Not sure if that would interfere with an SIO2BT or not.

 

That is an intriguing idea  :ponder:  :idea:

 

So my project list for 2017 has grown, due in part to starting this topic (which was also kinda the secondary point of creating it ;) ). So here's what I have on my plate thus far...

 

  1. Re-Cased XEGS.
  2. Wiimote-2-JOY adapter (emulate Joystick and paddle controllers wirelessly) --- assuming my brain doesn't explode  :skull: trying to figure out the bluetooth protocol requirements.
  3. New firmware and slight hardware mod to TK-II-PIGGYBACK board to re-purpose it as an Atari-2-PS2 adapter (the reverse of what it is now) --- basically turning your Atari into a PS2 keyboard, while seamlessly still being usable as an A8 keyboard (would give you a more authentic experience when running an emulator in a PC). Thank you Yorgle for the inspiration and your blessing (Link: 1200XL keyboard question).

 

And once again thank you Mathy for tickling my brain so that I could come up with item 2  :grin: , and thank you Irgendwer for enlightening me as to how far I should take this (i.e., probably not a good light gun substitute). And to anyone that is worried about who put me in charge of this topic, I will have to plead the 5th since I don't have the mental capacity to really know better  ;-)  Anyway keep those ideas flowing, because I promise I won't steal every idea that strikes my fancy  ;-) , but I most certainly will try to help in any way that I can to encourage someone to make their idea into a reality. That's what a forum is for... right  :?

 

So now it's time for me to shut-up and kick back :music:

- Michael



#13 suspicious_milk OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 7, 2016 9:59 AM

Here's one I've thought about doing, it's kinda weird (and closer to 3017 rather than 2017 the way I procrastinate)

 

Tandy Radio Shack Model 100's were well beloved for their keyboards and other manufacturers have compatibles (Olivetti, NEC, Kyrocera, Epson, etc?).

 

With its instant on, and a nice little BASIC program to translate key presses to and blast out the cassette port (or RS232C?) ... then one would only need a cable to go to the A8 ribbon connector (or DSub on XEGS), if such a cable would be possible from a hardware pov without additional circuitry ...  I think I'm capable of all this.  Lost my model 102 awhile back ... and lack time.  Eventually though

 

then of course these: 

http://www.4keyboard...d-stickers.html

 

Now, out of my abilities, but integrating SIO2SD (thru NadsBox or gutting an existing SIO2SD) so that the LCD on the 100 would be it's display; and plenty of FKeys of course (while simultaneously using the keyboard as an A8 keyboard of course).

 

Anyways, really goofy, but maybe fun.  Please don't laugh :)

 

If someone builds that industrial XEGS, I may have to hunt you down and swipe it!!!!  Looks *-_Amazing_-*

 

EDIT:  looks like something similar was done for a Kaypro http://classic-compu...00-keyboard.htm


Edited by suspicious_milk, Fri Oct 7, 2016 10:16 AM.


#14 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 7, 2016 10:23 AM

Here's one I've thought about doing, it's kinda weird (and closer to 3017 rather than 2017 the way I procrastinate)

 

Tandy Radio Shack Model 100's were well beloved for their keyboards and other manufacturers have compatibles (Olivetti, NEC, Kyrocera, Epson, etc?).

 

With its instant on, and a nice little BASIC program to translate key presses to and blast out the cassette port (or RS232C?) ... then one would only need a cable to go to the A8 ribbon connector (or DSub on XEGS), if such a cable would be possible from a hardware pov without additional circuitry ...  I think I'm capable of all this.  Lost my model 102 awhile back ... and lack time.  Eventually though

 

then of course these: 

http://www.4keyboard...d-stickers.html

 

Now, out of my abilities, but integrating SIO2SD (thru NadsBox or gutting an existing SIO2SD) so that the LCD on the 100 would be it's display; and plenty of FKeys of course (while simultaneously using the keyboard as an A8 keyboard of course).

 

Anyways, really goofy, but maybe fun.  Please don't laugh :)

 

If someone builds that industrial XEGS, I may have to hunt you down and swipe it!!!!  Looks *-_Amazing_-*

 

EDIT:  looks like something similar was done for a Kaypro http://classic-compu...00-keyboard.htm

 

I always wanted to get one of those when they first appeared at my local Radio Shack, but wasn't able to due to a serious lack of funds. If I recall correctly, they have a very long battery life, and I could certainly see them making a good terminal for the A8 just like that Kaypro application (thanks for the link, I'll be reading the whole article later today :) ).  I'm not familiar with the insides of one of these, but is there enough room to put the SIO2SD inside it's case?

 

- Michael

 

P.S. I'll eventually be putting the FrontPanel Express build files for the Industrial XEGS case online, once I've had the real thing manufactured and checked for errors.


Edited by mytekcontrols, Fri Oct 7, 2016 10:26 AM.


#15 suspicious_milk OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 7, 2016 10:37 AM

I think the PCB from the SIO2SD could fit in/around the AAA battery compartment; which if re-purposing for a desktop keyboard, the batteries/compartment wouldn't be needed.



#16 bob1200xl OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 7, 2016 10:38 AM

You probably don't need to sync the white dot with the scan clocks, really. The dot needs to exist only long enough to satisfy the response time of the photo detector. Anyway, 'moving' the dot all over the screen is not very efficient. Scan by row and then column to locate the target. Turn on a row at a time and record where it 'hits'. (this gives you the row number, right?) Then, turn on a column at a time until you get the second 'hit'. The intersection of those two values is your result.

 

Once you locate the target, all you need to do is scan the adjacent dots (rows and columns) to update target movement. If it leaves the screen, go back to search mode.

 

?

 

Bob

 

 

Hello Michael

 

Nice idea (both the XEGS and this thread)!

 

Here's my idea.  Been thinking about this for a couple of years and I think I've found the solution.  But I need somebody to turn this into reality:

 

The hardware would plug between the video cable and the thing that shows the picture.  The video signal as it comes out of the computer contains information about when/where a new screen starts and (if I am informed correctly) when/where each horizontal line starts.  That would mean that we know 50 or 60 times per second, depending on your TV system, where the electrons are fired at screen of the television or monitor.  In a CRT television this information is used to guid the electronic beam.  But flatscreens and beamers don't have an electronic beam.  Making it impossible to use a lightgun.

 

Unless you emulate the beam.  By adding a white dot to the picture, that moves across the screen just like an electronic beam would.  At the exact same speed and time.  As I said, this information is in the video signal.  It should even be possible to switch off the picture comming from the Atari and only displaying the white dot, the moment you press the trigger switch.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy 



#17 fujidude OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 7, 2016 10:59 AM

My next one is a pretty simple one... I need to interface a 12VDC "trigger" signal from my AVR, to the "sleep" pins on my Crown amp.  The amp "sleeps" when two pins are shorted.  So, I need those pins shorted while the AVR is powered down, and need them opened when the AVR is powered on.  The heart of this circuit will be a 12VDC type C relay.



#18 orpheuswaking OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 7, 2016 1:53 PM

All I can say is that I want one of those XEGS units... But there is no way in hell I could get everything together internally without messing it up... Maybe I'll just buy the aluminium ends and pretend :D



#19 Mathy OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 7, 2016 4:48 PM

Hello guys

 

My intention is to change/upgrade as little as possible.  Existing software should be able to run as is.  All hardware should be easy to add/plug in.  Everything else is "not my idea".

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy



#20 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 7, 2016 11:03 PM

It's just like working on old cars. Some like it totally stock, and some like it totally modified. I guess you could say I belong to the later. Certainly nothing wrong with either extreme. And of course there are those that like it somewhere in-between, going for that happy medium.

But then I've always been more of a hardware guy, so my creativity gets expressed in the physical realm, whereas the software guys get to wow us with their amazing games and apps. I also agree with the notion that hardware upgrades should try to be as compatible as possible with older software, with transparency being the target. Understandably this rule does need to be bent from time to time, otherwise we wouldn't have some of the great stuff that now exists. So I think the best compromise is one where old software still works, but simply lacks the extra features that the hardware upgrade makes possible.

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols, Fri Oct 7, 2016 11:12 PM.


#21 Mathy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 8, 2016 4:36 PM

Hello Michael

 

Pro©-Atari's latest issue is a Lightgun special.  I counted 27 games, although the article itself mentions 24.  I do not believe, we'll get to 40 games anytime soon.  If new software uses a different way to detect where someone is pointing the lightgun, 27 games would not be able to use this new technique.  Unless somebody modifies these games.  Which would result in two different versions of the same game.  Which "look and smell" the same, making it hard to distinguish between them.   I never liked that.

 

With "display devices" (TV's, monitors, beamers, etc.) it's a different story.  CRT's are getting old and LCD's are lighter and take up less space, so many of us have moved to those.  Beamers are nice at meetings.  And all these devices can still be connected to the Atari using the methodes we used in the 80's and 90's.

 

What I want/am searching for, is a solution that works for all non-CRT display devices.  Expanding the possibilities for existing software, not creating a niche that might work better than what we have now, but that only a couple of people are prepared to use.  I'ld prefer to use the methode I mentioned above, in message #2, as it would not need a calibration between "the emulated beam" and the computer, but if this would be absolutely impossible, some kind of laser that would overlay the beam into a picture comming from the computer might be the way to go.  But that would require calibration and extra wires, which I'ld like to avoid.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy



#22 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 8, 2016 11:49 PM

My next one is a pretty simple one... I need to interface a 12VDC "trigger" signal from my AVR, to the "sleep" pins on my Crown amp.  The amp "sleeps" when two pins are shorted.  So, I need those pins shorted while the AVR is powered down, and need them opened when the AVR is powered on.  The heart of this circuit will be a 12VDC type C relay.

Use a Normally Closed relay. I don't know the specs of your AVR, but you may need a simple transistor driver for the relay.  You may be able to use a small reed relay or possibly one of those (expensive) solid state ones.

 

Edit: This is assuming you have a "power on" line you can use to activate the relay.


Edited by Kyle22, Sat Oct 8, 2016 11:51 PM.


#23 fujidude OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 9, 2016 1:42 AM

Use a Normally Closed relay. I don't know the specs of your AVR, but you may need a simple transistor driver for the relay.  You may be able to use a small reed relay or possibly one of those (expensive) solid state ones.

 

Edit: This is assuming you have a "power on" line you can use to activate the relay.

 

I would need a normally closed relay since I need to have the "sleep" circuit closed when the amp's 12VDC trigger is inactive.  I am looking to use this one.  Do you think it would need a resistor?  I don't see a reason, but then I'm far from a pro in this realm for sure.



#24 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 9, 2016 1:55 PM

Why is it 12V?  I thought most of those little AVR boards were 3.3 or 5 Volts.  You could use this 3V one here: http://www.mouser.co...rqGRkMBi/F1Wmc=

 

and drive it with a transistor capable of the ~70mA relay current.  I don't know exactly how much current the GPIO pins can handle, but it can't be anywhere enough for that relay without using a transistor.

 

You may need to put a small value resistor in series with it as well.



#25 fujidude OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 9, 2016 2:08 PM

Why is it 12V?  I thought most of those little AVR boards were 3.3 or 5 Volts.  You could use this 3V one here: http://www.mouser.co...rqGRkMBi/F1Wmc=

 

and drive it with a transistor capable of the ~70mA relay current.  I don't know exactly how much current the GPIO pins can handle, but it can't be anywhere enough for that relay without using a transistor.

 

You may need to put a small value resistor in series with it as well.

 

Ahhh, now it makes sense.  You and I were not talking about the same thing.  The source of my trigger is an "AVR" (this one), which is to say a audio-video-receiver.  It has a standard 12VDC "trigger" output jack, but the amplifier I want to control with it doesn't use that kind of signaling.  Instead it has a header of which two of the pins put the unit in standby (or "sleep") if shorted (closed).


Edited by fujidude, Sun Oct 9, 2016 2:16 PM.





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