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Ultimate Flashback Interface Boards Available


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#26 fdr4prez ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 1, 2018 9:05 PM

I'm definitely interested, but can't get one right now. The upgrades sound great! I'd wire my unit up to do a full shutdown (and add the code for that) as well as make sure the LED works. I also want to add a USB port without a cable hanging out. Hmm, since you have a way to power it from the GPIO, I can use both Pi Zero micro USB ports for data. The "data" one for the Ultimate FB and the "power" one as an external USB port for adding roms, using a keyboard, etc. Think that should work.

 
Sorry, the Pi Zero does not have two usable USB ports.
 
It has one OTG USB port, so you need to get an OTG USB hub to expand it out.
 
The other port is only for power and has no data functions. 
 
The Pi Zero W has built in wifi and Bluetooth, so you can keep it connected to your network via wifi for new roms to be added using WinSCP (or whatever software of your choice).  A Bluetooth keyboard can be used so you don't need any USB ports except for your desired controllers/joysticks.
 
For rebuilding a Intv Flashback it is best to use a Pi3 if you want to use other emulators.   The Pi Zero is fine for Intellivision and Atari era emulators, but a more demanding emulator may run sluggish on the Pi Zero.
 
In regards to the Intv Flashback's power switch, you can use a Mausberry Circuits device to wire in the power switch. 
 
For the unit's Reset button  you can wire the button to the GPIO and you can use a Python script that is running in the background to manage the button.  I've made a Python script that for a short press will do one keyboard button that gets mapped to the emulator's game reset/restart and on a long press it will be mapped to a different keyboard button that will do an exit out of the emulator back to the ROM/game list.  This kinda mimics the Intellivision II console's power button functionality.



#27 marioxb OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 2, 2018 4:56 AM

The power button does not do a full Pi shutdown.  That can be accomplished from within EmulationStation by going to Quit -> Shutdown System.
 
And yes, the boards are still available and in fact have been revised.  There's now a button on the board to change controllers "on the fly" (previously you had to reboot) and Atari 2600 paddles are now supported along with some more controllers.  The cost is now $65 shipped.

Sorry, the Pi Zero does not have two usable USB ports.
 
It has one OTG USB port, so you need to get an OTG USB hub to expand it out.
 
The other port is only for power and has no data functions. 
 
The Pi Zero W has built in wifi and Bluetooth, so you can keep it connected to your network via wifi for new roms to be added using WinSCP (or whatever software of your choice).  A Bluetooth keyboard can be used so you don't need any USB ports except for your desired controllers/joysticks.
 
For rebuilding a Intv Flashback it is best to use a Pi3 if you want to use other emulators.   The Pi Zero is fine for Intellivision and Atari era emulators, but a more demanding emulator may run sluggish on the Pi Zero.
 
In regards to the Intv Flashback's power switch, you can use a Mausberry Circuits device to wire in the power switch. 
 
For the unit's Reset button  you can wire the button to the GPIO and you can use a Python script that is running in the background to manage the button.  I've made a Python script that for a short press will do one keyboard button that gets mapped to the emulator's game reset/restart and on a long press it will be mapped to a different keyboard button that will do an exit out of the emulator back to the ROM/game list.  This kinda mimics the Intellivision II console's power button functionality.


Is the "change controller" button on the UFB board accessible from the outside? Regarding the power button doing a full shutdown, there are also software ways to accomplish this. I've done it to my other Pi by wiring a button to the GPIO pins. I was mistaken about both micro USB ports carrying data. Got that mixed up with the fact that both ports having the ability to power the unit.

Edited by marioxb, Mon Apr 2, 2018 4:59 AM.


#28 fdr4prez ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 2, 2018 1:58 PM

Is the "change controller" button on the UFB board accessible from the outside? Regarding the power button doing a full shutdown, there are also software ways to accomplish this. I've done it to my other Pi by wiring a button to the GPIO pins. I was mistaken about both micro USB ports carrying data. Got that mixed up with the fact that both ports having the ability to power the unit.

 

ByteKnight will need to respond about the button on the adapter board to change controllers "on the fly" - I've never used this board before, but it would be silly to have it inaccessible to the user in some fashion.

 

In regards to the full shutdown, yes, you can do this with a button and the GPIO, but the Intellivision Flashback unit has a SWITCH and not a momentary pushbutton.  If you flip the switch then that can be detected using the GPIO and the Pi will shutdown and now you need to pull the power plug out AND flip the switch back before you can power on the PI again.  If you leave the switch in the "off" position, then during boot it will automatically/immediately shutdown when the GPIO script starts running during the boot process. 

 

Using the Mausberry (or one of its competitors), then the power switch functions just like an ON/OFF switch and no need to pull out the main power to get it to reboot.  These circuits also use the GPIO to signal the shutdown command, but the circuit allows for the switch to be used to control the power ON cycle, too.

 

I've not used one, but I know others that have used it, and for $20 it is a cheap enough add-on to get better user-ability to the unit.



#29 Byte Knight OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 2, 2018 8:41 PM

Is the "change controller" button on the UFB board accessible from the outside? Regarding the power button doing a full shutdown, there are also software ways to accomplish this. I've done it to my other Pi by wiring a button to the GPIO pins. I was mistaken about both micro USB ports carrying data. Got that mixed up with the fact that both ports having the ability to power the unit.

 

No, you'll have to drill a hole for it on the front of the FB.  Or you can shave the button down to fit inside the FB and just change controllers when rebooting.



#30 fdr4prez ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 2, 2018 10:16 PM

 
No, you'll have to drill a hole for it on the front of the FB.  Or you can shave the button down to fit inside the FB and just change controllers when rebooting.


That doesn't sound so bad.

If you can shave it down to fit inside without a hole for it, then I'd imagine you can still drill a small diameter (inconspicuous) hole and use a paperclip to press the button.

#31 marioxb OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 6, 2018 1:08 AM

Thanks guys. I think I'll get both the UFB interface and the power board. First I need to find me a cheap FB. I'm going with a $5 Pi Zero for a few reasons. It's $5, which means I can buy many of them and use them on multiple projects like this. I have a Zero W, which I can swap out whatever micro SD inside I need to, whenever I need to do something online or via Bluetooth. I only plan on playing pre-NES/ SMS games on this. For NES and SNES, I have the official Classic Editions. For Sega, I want to make a dedicated unit for that plays all Sega cartridge systems. For PS1/ Saturn/ N64 and newer, I'm not happy with any emulation I've seen (probably don't have powerful enough PC/ Pi whatever), so original systems modded for HDMI is my way to go. I'll probably get an N64 flashcart and use the Wii/ Wii U for offical VC releases of N64 and older systems as well.

I actually made friends similar projects. I put a Pi Zero W inside a Wii Remote. You can play with either that Wii Remote/ Classic controller via Bluetooth (or whatever other BT controller) or use the full size USB port I added to the Wiimote. Now it's not fully portable, because you need a micro HDMI cable and micro USB cable plugged in to use it. To accommodate the Pi and USB port, I relocated the Wii B button (trigger) to the front, where the speaker used to be. I also removed the Wii power button (and part of the board) and put another button in its place as a Pi full shutdown button, and drilled a hole on the opposite side for a reset (run) button. Because of these mods (cutting the Wii remote board, which I had to do to get things to fit, and which I did "blindly", meaning "Let's see what happens. This is a spare non motion plus Wii remote I don't care about anyway"; removing the speaker, motion stuff, IR port- which is where the micro SD is accessible now) the Wii remote no longer works on Wii. But it works great on the included Pi Zero as long as you have AA batteries!

For another friend, I put his Pi 3 into a shell from a broken Genesis 1 I had. I made use of the headphone port to be the AV out. The Pi is mounted close to where the Sega CD used to attach and the micro SD is magically accessable from the outside of the Genesis this way without any modifications. I also used extenders to have the HDMI, power and ethernet ports be where the AV, power and extension ports used to be on the back. For the front, also using extensions, I have two USB ports where there used to be Genesis controller ports. I bought a PC 2 port USB pci board and spliced USB extenders on them too to put that board on the side, where the Sega CD used to attach so I could have all four USB ports. I also made some crazy contraptions to where the power and reset buttons work to trigger full shutdown and reset/run.

Edited by marioxb, Fri Apr 6, 2018 1:21 AM.


#32 TMAGZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 24, 2018 3:50 PM

Do you still have any of these left?  :) I want to build a retropie out of an intellivision 2.

 



#33 Byte Knight OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 24, 2018 9:58 PM

Do you still have any of these left?  :) I want to build a retropie out of an intellivision 2.

 

Still got 'em!  PM sent with ordering info.



#34 IntelliBungo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 5, 2018 2:47 PM

I purchased all of the items already...Flashback, ultimate interface, RP3, etc.  Can we ship all these items to you to assemble?  Thanks!



#35 Byte Knight OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 6, 2018 10:15 PM

I purchased all of the items already...Flashback, ultimate interface, RP3, etc.  Can we ship all these items to you to assemble?  Thanks!

 

PM sent!



#36 intvsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 6, 2018 11:13 AM

Only a few years late to this party, I finally got around to buying Byte Knight's board ​and actually using it! He's been super patient and put up with many silly stories about my effort on this project as well as sometimes inane questions.  Thanks again, Byte Knight!

 

Maybe some pictures later but here's what I've managed so far:

  • Finally​ putting the Raspberry Pi B+ purchased in 2014 to its intended use!
  • Powered via a 5V, 3A supply (gotta be generous just in case) via the Fashback's power button assembly
  • Reset header installed on the Pi, Flashback button connected to it
  • Repaired and modded the original Flashback motherboard so it has its own headers for power and A/V.  If for some bizarre reason it ever gets used again, it can easily be swapped back in.
  • Modded case for access to the AutoSense button on Byte Knight's board
  • If you want to stop yourself from going crazy, remember to disable the joystick option in some random config file that I can't remember the name and location of any more :P -- though Emulation Station does have a UI someplace for doing it.  This was something that manifested itself in truly bizarre ways while playing games.  More below on that fun.
  • Latest RetroPie 4.4 w/ Emulation Station installed and running
  • Very latest jzintv built on this Pi, working like a champ

 

Now the TODOs:

  • Still need to work out the theme
  • Game metadata and box artwork, etc.
  • Figure out elegant HDMI panel mount
  • USB panel mount
  • Possibly expose the composite jack as a panel mount

The game metadata / artwork process is a bit of a sore spot, as the built-in scraper doesn't play nice with my ROM file names.  Tried the Sselph scraper (no custom arguments) also without success.  Haven't delved into how that one identifies games.

 

That leads me to potential rabbit hole of a project, which may or may not be of interest to anyone else.  Since many of the images over at thegamesdb.net for Intellivision are from INTV Funhouse already anyway, I'm tempted to create a "scraper" specifically for Intellivision games that would harvest the images from my site. It's already got a game database with just about all the same data in it that Emulation Station exposes via its built-in metadata editor.  A half-dozen different ways to approach this problem come to mind, but ultimately, aside from my own personal edification in doing it, would anyone else​ find such a thing useful?

 

​After copying jzintv onto the system, I tested it from the command line with the hackfile and it worked like a dream.  But launching from Emulation Station, truly strange behavior with the controller would happen.  The disc worked fine, but the keypad and action keys were another matter.  In the MTE-201 test, I observed that if you did nothing with the controllers until you got to the controller part of the test, you could get one​ good keypad input.  Then things went loopy.  For example, pressing the [3] key worked.  But if you pressed [3] again, you got [7].  Depending on what you did thereafter, you may​ have been able to get the keypad working again in your game, but it was bizarre.  Ultimately Byte Knight​ put me onto the right trail by wondering if maybe two programs were trying to use the controller input at the same time.  That proved to be the situation.  In fact, that just made me realize that it's time to go read up on how exactly those hotkey settings work...

 

Thanks again to Byte Knight for making these boards, intvdave for those "reference" RetroPie images to look at over at his site, mthompson for digging into the themes and creating artwork, and so many more of the trailblazers that made this path easier.

 

Oh - and this is post #3000!



#37 mthompson OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 6, 2018 12:00 PM

Only a few years late to this party, I finally got around to buying Byte Knight's board ​and actually using it! He's been super patient and put up with many silly stories about my effort on this project as well as sometimes inane questions.  Thanks again, Byte Knight!

...

Thanks again to Byte Knight for making these boards, intvdave for those "reference" RetroPie images to look at over at his site, mthompson for digging into the themes and creating artwork, and so many more of the trailblazers that made this path easier.

 

Oh - and this is post #3000!

Welcome to the Raspberry Pi Rabbit Hole! I made some artwork way back when, but I can't take all the credit for themes. Pimpmaul69 and others did most of that work.

 

I recently made a RetroPie v4.4 disk image to test it out, and I found that even with the latest jzIntv, the new border flag (-b) won't work. No matter what screen resolution I set, something about the video settings on the 4.4 disk image doesn't like it. If you solve that puzzle, please share.

 

I did, however, successfully change the command line with the --gfx-palette flag to accept my custom color palette. If you try that little upgrade, I think you'll be even more pleased with how the games look in emulation!


Edited by mthompson, Fri Jul 6, 2018 12:34 PM.


#38 intvsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 6, 2018 1:20 PM

Welcome to the Raspberry Pi Rabbit Hole! I made some artwork way back when, but I can't take all the credit for themes. Pimpmaul69 and others did most of that work.

 

I recently made a RetroPie v4.4 disk image to test it out, and I found that even with the latest jzIntv, the new border flag (-b) won't work. No matter what screen resolution I set, something about the video settings on the 4.4 disk image doesn't like it. If you solve that puzzle, please share.

 

I did, however, successfully change the command line with the --gfx-palette flag to accept my custom color palette. If you try that little upgrade, I think you'll be even more pleased with how the games look in emulation!

 

Nice work on the palette -- I followed that thread with some interest.  I haven't tinkered with video settings yet-- they're all at default both for jzintv and RetroPie as a whole.  Right now the Pi is connected to a super duper craptacular wonky previously disused monitor in the office that's an oddball resolution - so any artwork that's not SVG tends to look like a**.

 

The jzintv build I'm using was pulled from the master source repository yesterday.  I'll need to reeducate myself on the border flag to see what it does and how it behaves.

 

One thing I can say is that the quality of colors is so vastly different between the crufty monitor and the (admittedly ancient 2010) HD LED TV that I'm going to shy away from much tuning there for awhile.  The TV uses local dimming (not sure if that's still a thing) so for games with black backgrounds you can have noticeable effects from that.  You usually only notice it during the credits of movies -- or when playing classic low-resolution games.

 

Once the last parts arrive (and appropriate ones found!) -- and I decide whether to go for panel mount paradise -- we'll graduate the system to the master TV and settle on some more settings.  It's got a wireless keyboard / trackpad already so once the actual case modding aspects are finished it shouldn't need to be cracked open any more.






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