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Gauging interest in Cartridge Slot Extension Set


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#51 Van OFFLINE  

Van

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:03 PM

 

Hi Van,

 

      I am intrigued with the switch circuit you mentioned.  I would think it would have to be automatic, sense type switching circuit right....?    I'd hate to have to run more wire from the external connector to the switching board.  :(

 

      How's the clearance from the cart connector towards the middle of the board?  Height and width clearances...   The version in the photo seems to hang off the wrong side of the mainboard. :)

Hi Dropcheck. The switching circuit is manual and requires a system reset after selecting a new cart (or none). Not sure how automatic selection could work, if four carts are installed at once as the original design allows for. It maybe could be changed to a software selection but would require mapping a register, so more chips. Or an expanded TK ][ re-design but that would be asking a LOT from Michael so unless this mod is wildly popular, manual monetary buttons will work. 

 

I routed a switching board based on T0ri's circuit-

base v1.1.png

Here is the OSH Park Gerber view, but ordered from Seeed studio. IC1 is the '244 switch for the FP cart socket and IC2 is a '174 quad FF selector circuit. I was only planning for a A/B switch but went with the 4 cart option as it may be more useful. 

 

I followed your vertical mounting idea and will use RA SIP sockets (on the 30p footprint at the top of the board as pictured) to mate with the pins on my XEL but could be changed to edge fingers. The 2x5 header is for the front panel LEDs and switches and the (bottom) 30p is for the FP cart socket. The 34p header is to connect to other controlled 'carts'; I'm routing an internal SIC cart board that includes it's own control '244.

Here is the SIC board, still reviewing the layout-

SIC2XEL.png

 

Horizontal mounting would need more height (about 15 mm above the XEL board, min.) if over hanging to the right; to clear the lower PoKEY, it has stacked sockets to allow for the PIC under it. There also might be a space problem with a Rapidus installed (or the M-PBI FM sound board I'm working on). Overhanging to the left is OK in my user case but would be a problem for someone using a mini-ITX case, so vertical seems the best choice.

 

So once the boards start showing up I can start testing :)

Yogi



#52 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:09 PM

I also have an option of reworking the RA Dual cart project.  One internal/one external.  Not sure how viable it would be though.  You have four slots on the U1MB board already.  I would think the only reason to add more physical cart slots would be for a specialty cart like the SIC or something similar. 

 

But wouldn't you want that to be external as well?   Wouldn't you have let's say BASIC, a game or two and then a utility/language cart in the fourth slot.  That's internal since you would use those most frequently.  Then have the single external slot for anything new coming down the pike in cart form?  Or for a SIC/multi-program cart?

 

I'm just musing.....  :?   



#53 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:43 PM

I also have an option of reworking the RA Dual cart project.  One internal/one external.  Not sure how viable it would be though.  You have four slots on the U1MB board already.  I would think the only reason to add more physical cart slots would be for a specialty cart like the SIC or something similar. 

 

But wouldn't you want that to be external as well?   Wouldn't you have let's say BASIC, a game or two and then a utility/language cart in the fourth slot.  That's internal since you would use those most frequently.  Then have the single external slot for anything new coming down the pike in cart form?  Or for a SIC/multi-program cart?

 

I'm just musing.....  :?   

 

Just remember that the four "slots" in the U1MB are limited to standard linear 8K cart roms.  That's great for BASIC or similar small arcade game roms but bad for more complicated games or languages.



#54 Dropcheck ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:21 PM

 

Just remember that the four "slots" in the U1MB are limited to standard linear 8K cart roms.  That's great for BASIC or similar small arcade game roms but bad for more complicated games or languages.

 

   Hence the SIC/specialty cart external option. :)



#55 Van OFFLINE  

Van

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:42 PM

I also have an option of reworking the RA Dual cart project.  One internal/one external.  Not sure how viable it would be though.  You have four slots on the U1MB board already.  I would think the only reason to add more physical cart slots would be for a specialty cart like the SIC or something similar. 

 

But wouldn't you want that to be external as well?   Wouldn't you have let's say BASIC, a game or two and then a utility/language cart in the fourth slot.  That's internal since you would use those most frequently.  Then have the single external slot for anything new coming down the pike in cart form?  Or for a SIC/multi-program cart?

 

I'm just musing.....  :?   

Yes I was thinking mainly about an single internal Flash cart (or two for a sh*tload of cart images). Yes, one would REALLY have to love a single game to have it built-in :)  The SIC! cart is nice because all flashing is via the Atari but someone could also setup Electrotrains' UNO code on a STM32 Discovery board. Without having to conform to the cart dimensions, an internal 'cart' can be very flexible as to size; limited by the interior space of the case.

 

Originally I was thinking about just an external/internal A/B switch, and may set it up that way after all; don't have to use the two extra FFs on the '175 :) Without PB switches and LEDs, the un-used FFs would have no effect on the operation. When any PB closes to Vcc, a pulse is generated to clock all the FFs. The '175 (or '74) FFs captures the active high PB and in turn, pulls one of four '244 OEs (/Q FF outputs) low. So if sw 3 or 4 are never closed, not installed, we can ignore those OE lines. The 4 port option is really just for some edge cases and up to the user if the extra ports are needed. Just thought it would be better to keep it open ended.

 

For two ports only, could design it with a dual FF '74 but the board space would be about the same, just 2 Rs and 2 diodes difference. Could reduce the IDC cable to 32p but 34p is very common so could be sourced from ye ol' junk box.

 

The U1MB may well be enough ROM space for most but with a Flash cart like the SIC! you have space for 32 16K carts images (or 64 8K carts) on a 512K flash chip. Of course a Flash cart is somewhat redundant with S-Drive, SIO2SD, XEL-I3, SIO2PC options but boot time is better and operation seems simpler for an 'arcade' style game box. Bottom line is I had the parts from way back when St®yker introduced the SIC! and thought this would be a good use of them :)

 

External vs Internal Flash Cart? Well, there is merit for both but again, for myself, the question is how much do I need to share one cart between systems or do I have SO many game images that I need more then one Flash Cart? With the switching system, I can still use an external Flash Cart; the added internal 'cart' just makes the system more self contained. Just a preference.

Yogi



#56 917k OFFLINE  

917k

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:49 PM

Update:

 

Test boards came in some time ago.  Since then I've been fighting with myself it seems.  Couldn't get the dumb board to work.  I knew I had a footprint error on the resistor network chip, but I didn't realize it was as bad as it was.  Tried everything I could to fix it.  Finally stubbornly I decided to build up a new board instead of messing with the current board any longer.  This time I made sure the resistor network chip was firmly seated and soldered onto the board.  That seemed to be where my problem was.  Every cartridge I've inserted has booted normally since.  I then lengthened the ribbon cable to a full 18 inches.  Still going strong.  I haven't finished testing yet, but it looks to be a go project now.

 

Here's a couple pics.

 

DSC_2400.jpg

 

DSC_2403.jpg

 

Just exactly what I need!  My EclaireXL already loads cartridge images from a menu. 



#57 Dropcheck ONLINE  

Dropcheck

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Posted Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:56 AM

Okay I think I'm about ready to offer this.

 

A few observations:

 

  I think I will only offer the XL extension version fully populated and assembled.  That seems to have the most viability.  The XL version also works for a 600/800XL computer re-homed in another case.  There is a dearth of XE/ECI devices that very few people would want to connect to the 1088XEL and hang off an external connector on a mini-ITX or microATX case.   But just in case you do I will offer the 130XE bare board option and a BOM listing.  

 

   I have sent an email to Bradley at Best Electronics to see what pricing he can offer on the 600/800XL Bus Covers.   I'm waiting to hear back.  But I don't think it would be more than 3-4 dollars max per with shipping.  It wouldn't be required, but it does sure make it easier to insert the Atari Brown cartridges.  :)  For most I would think you could scavenge from a 600/800XL hanger queen.  

 

  Van seems to be going the multi-cart switching version and seems to be well on the way to testing and finalizing his design.  If you want that option stay tuned to his posts on his progress.  :)

 

   This would bring to a total of four/five 1088XEL related accessories/boards. 

 

    SDriveXEL

    XF551 BasicXEL

    XF551 Advanced/SDriveXEL

    Cartridge Slot Extension Set

 

DSC_2403.jpg



#58 917k OFFLINE  

917k

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Posted Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:12 AM

 

 

I have sent an email to Bradley at Best Electronics to see what pricing he can offer on the 600/800XL Bus Covers.   I'm waiting to hear back.  But I don't think it would be more than 3-4 dollars max per with shipping.

 

He refers to these as "cartridge guides". I just bought  a couple from him for $4.95 each before shipping. I think he said he only has the 800xl style left in stock.



#59 Dropcheck ONLINE  

Dropcheck

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Posted Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:11 AM

 

He refers to these as "cartridge guides". I just bought  a couple from him for $4.95 each before shipping. I think he said he only has the 800xl style left in stock.

 

 

Hmmmm......   Higher than I expected.  :(



#60 mytekcontrols OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:13 AM

3D printer time  ;)

 

- Michael






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