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TI-99/4a Newbie, advice on essential items to have


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#1 agmadama OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:06 PM

Hi everyone,

I am a relative newbie to the TI-99/4a computers. Back when I was a kid I had Commodore computers and that was the focus of my computing world.

When TI was clearing out their inventory my uncle bought me a white TI-99/4a which I still have. I didn't use it much because I didn't even have the cassette cable so there was no way for me to load or save any programs. Needless to say the TI spent most of its life in the box. Over the years I purchased additional TI items and last month I finally got a NanoPEB.

I'd like to start using the TI but I'm not sure what else I should get to really have a good experience.

I've gone over many of the posts here and elsewhere and see that there are a lot of things available for the venerable old TI-99/4a (HDX modded RS-232, F18a, flash carts, ram expansions, XB suite, etc...)

What would you guys recommend I get to have fun with my TI? I'm looking to program (any language with graphics capability), play games and do 80's style retro-computer use (this means to use the computer for general purpose tasks just like it was 1983).

 

Currently I have the following:

1) A few TI-99/4a computers

2) A PEB with disk controller, 32k ram, single disk drive (unknown working status of the entire PEB)

3) A NanoPEB (no power supply yet)

4) Speech Synthesizer

5) Some random game cartridges and joysticks

6) Cassette cable

 

Thanks in advance!

Alex

 



#2 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:17 PM

Many will have excellent advice for you. Here are my 2 cents.

The nano is nice, but your PEB is expandable. I suggest getting an rs232 card. Arcadeshopper.com has them for sale with the HDX mod from time to time. Also get a FlashROM99 cart. Critical these days. These are also available at arcadeshopper.com.

Get a cassette deck. I have it on good authority that some really neat stuff will be released on tape in the near future. ;)


You need an XB2.7 cartridge. This is almost not optional. Easily one of the most important cartridges ever produced for the TI.


Welcome to the group. You have entered an excellent community here with some unbelievable people. Glad to have you!

:)

#3 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:49 PM

Welcome and be sure to check in with us for help or advice.



#4 Shift838 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:29 PM

Welcome to the TI!

 

Opry99er suggestions are dead on.  

 

The Nano, hopefully you scored version 1 with the 9902.  If so you will be able to use it to dial out to BBS via telnet and a UDS device or if you have a Raspberry Pi you can use it as a modem emulator.

 

The XB2.7 is a must have cartridge.  If you can score a RS232 card with an HDX upgrade that would be great for your storage device.  It acts as a hard drive but connects to the PC and stores and retrieves files on your PC.

 

there are many hardware upgrades and new software that has come out in the last few years.

 

Of course we post it all here on AtariAge, so keep your eyes open.



#5 agmadama OFFLINE  

agmadama

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:39 PM

Opry99er,

It looks like my list is becoming the following:

1) XB 2.7 (which one though? I see several options on the arcadeshopper.com site. Not sure which to get.)

2) RS-232 with HDX from arcadeshopper.com (out of stock at the moment though)

3) flashrom99 (or wait for finalgrom99?)

4) a cassette deck

 

Thanks for the welcome RXB, I am sure I will be checking in often here.

Shift838, I took a look at the NanoPEB and it has the TMS9902 chip.

 

Thanks again

Alex



#6 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:00 PM

XB2.7, doesn't matter the version...

Go with the FlashROM99... No sense in waiting. :D

#7 Shift838 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:16 PM

Opry99er,

It looks like my list is becoming the following:

1) XB 2.7 (which one though? I see several options on the arcadeshopper.com site. Not sure which to get.)

2) RS-232 with HDX from arcadeshopper.com (out of stock at the moment though)

3) flashrom99 (or wait for finalgrom99?)

4) a cassette deck

 

Thanks for the welcome RXB, I am sure I will be checking in often here.

Shift838, I took a look at the NanoPEB and it has the TMS9902 chip.

 

Thanks again

Alex

 

Alex,

 

I would go with the suite.  HERE

 

You get quite a few utilities not to mention quite a few games including in the XB 2.7 Suite cartridge.

 

No ETA on the FinalGrom99 yet.  Go ahead and get the FlashRom99, you can always get the FG99 when it comes out.  I love my FR99..

 

As for the HDX Rs232.  If you can get an actual TI Branded RS232 card (not corcomp, or Myarc) then you can have the HDX upgraded for you.  ArcadeShopper does great work.  He did mine and the turn around was fairly quick.

 

There are always TI branded Cassette itnerfaces on ebay for fairly cheap.  I have seen quite a few of them in the last few months.  A few NIB and never used.

 

The NanoV1 with the 9901 is a great little unit.  And now TIMXT will support it and you can dial out up to 38400 bps!

 

Also if you have not thought of it yet, you will want to get the F18A upgrade (it's a requirement for TIMXT).  It's HERE

 

It's 100 times better graphics, 80 column text mode and will let you use a VGA monitor.



#8 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

--- Ω ---

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:24 PM

 

I would go with the suite.  HERE

 

Sound advice Chris.  Since he already has a NanoPEB, for starters I'd suggest he go...

 

#1 Power supply for the Nano

#2 XB2.7s then he can run most things with this combination.

 

Those two items will get him started, then without a doubt I'd suggest...

 

#3 F18A

 

That should keep him occupied for a while.  Once he outgrows the Nano, then it's the P-Box items... for which there are many.



#9 Arnuphis OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:28 PM

Welcome! I would say get the F18a and then be amazed at the video output.



#10 agmadama OFFLINE  

agmadama

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:43 PM

Thanks guys,

I have ordered the XB 2.7 suite cartridge, a FlashROM99 and a power supply for the NanoPEB.

Will look into the F18a board now.

Thanks!

Alex



#11 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:02 PM

Fantastic!!! You're well on your way!

#12 Shift838 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:59 AM

Thanks guys,

I have ordered the XB 2.7 suite cartridge, a FlashROM99 and a power supply for the NanoPEB.

Will look into the F18a board now.

Thanks!

Alex

 

FYI.  If you find you the TI Branded RS232 you can get the PCB's from arcadeshopper to do the modification yourself if you feel comfortable with it or find someone to do it for you.  Of course you will need to get all the parts.

 

PCB is HERE






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