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RetroN 77


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#2576 stephena OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:23 AM

Upgrading to the latest community build, while recommended, will not improve compatibility with real carts.  This is true for the current builds, and may remain true for the entire lifetime of this product.  There are different functionalities for this hardware, handled by different blocks of code and maintained by different people.  I (occasionally) release an update for Stella, the emulator that this device uses.  That will definitely fix ROMs in certain cases.

 

The cart reader code (ie, the part the interprets what is on a cart, and dumps it for Stella to use) is outside my area of expertise, and this seems to be true for everyone else as well, since nobody has upgraded that part.  Without improvements in that area, certain carts will never be able to be read.  That is just a fact of the way the cart/reader works; no coding can work around it on this device.

 

Similarly, the paddle issues are in yet another block of code that I have no involvement with.  This could be improved, if someone is willing to look into it and do the work.

 

Just want to be clear on what advantages the community builds can bring, and help manage peoples expectations.

 

And to be absolutely clear: Yes, I am being somewhat selfish and clarifying this since some people (not so much you guys on AtariAge, but the general public) are seeing some issues with the product and saying that Stella is crap because of it.  That is not the case, and I can explain (in excruciating detail if required) why Stella can only do so much on this device.  Improvements can be made, but the emulation is only part of the equation.



#2577 ColecoJoe OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:30 AM

A solid well refurbed/maintained 2600jr is a better choice than any of this rom-dumping stuff. 

After all the nonsense with this product that's exactly what I did. You shouldn't have to request, wait, expect software/hardware fixes after a product is released to get it to work RIGHT out of the box. People supporting this product allow companies like Hyperkin and AtGames to release half ass hardware every year as they move on to the next batch of shit they are going to sell you.



#2578 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:24 AM

After all the nonsense with this product that's exactly what I did. You shouldn't have to request, wait, expect software/hardware fixes after a product is released to get it to work RIGHT out of the box. People supporting this product allow companies like Hyperkin and AtGames to release half ass hardware every year as they move on to the next batch of shit they are going to sell you.

 

I never had that problem with old vintage machines ranging from Kim-1, Apple II, Atari & Commodore, TRS-80, and more, through my old 486. They pretty much worked as advertised and expected. Straight out of the box. And while we got irregular updates to software back then, it was more for feature addition.

 

As far as modern-day stuff goes I must say I was rather impressed with how well my iPhone has worked. Worked correctly OOTB and received several "security" and "feature" updates. I was again impressed at how smoothly OTA updates happened too. A one-button trouble-free procedure.



#2579 cybercylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:10 PM

After reading the posts on this and a couple of sour experience with Hyperkin products... do they make anything correctly or is it all just crap?

 

On the one hand, you can ask "Why are people dumb enough to buy this?", but if they don't come to forums like here and just have fuzzy Atari memories, how would they know in the first place. I guess AtGames, Hyperkin, etc count on that.

 

Too bad Stella is getting a bad rap, but again, but I think some of those people don't know how limited and crappy the hardware is.



#2580 Greendude OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:23 PM

Its all more hype than anything. At least the nes has the avs. Atari has a special place for me since I grew around it.

#2581 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:07 AM

I hear that Hyperkin makes more crap than good stuff. And people buy it all because they are blinded by the oohs and ahhs of "cartridges" and physical hardware. Too bad that Stella got a bad rep from being saddled with weird hardware combos.

People also don't know they can get a better experience by purchasing real hardware and fixing it up or by doing 100% emulation on a proper PC.

#2582 DirtyHairy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:38 PM

The cart reader code (ie, the part the interprets what is on a cart, and dumps it for Stella to use) is outside my area of expertise, and this seems to be true for everyone else as well, since nobody has upgraded that part.  Without improvements in that area, certain carts will never be able to be read.  That is just a fact of the way the cart/reader works; no coding can work around it on this device.

 

Similarly, the paddle issues are in yet another block of code that I have no involvement with.  This could be improved, if someone is willing to look into it and do the work.

 

To add to this: the cartridge reader and the joystick / paddle ports are driven by two microcontrollers. While Hyperkin has released the source for the software running on those, it is totally unclear if and how they could be reprogrammed. Unless Hyperkin steps in and clarifies the situation, nothing can be done to improve cartridge and I/O compatibility, even if someone were willing to spend time on this.


Edited by DirtyHairy, Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:38 PM.


#2583 Tifany OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:42 PM

Anyone figured out a way to just add usb input to this thing so we could just go with 2600-daptors and be done with it?



#2584 DirtyHairy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:50 PM

Anyone figured out a way to just add usb input to this thing so we could just go with 2600-daptors and be done with it?

 

 

The micro USB port is power-only, it cannot transfer data. The only known way to connect to the device is a UART (= serial port) header on the board.



#2585 jim1174 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:34 AM

I have had my retron since it came out And I have had no problems with it. I haven't used the controller yet because I use best electronics controllers.

#2586 GoldLeader OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:57 PM

I hear that Hyperkin makes more crap than good stuff. And people buy it all because they are blinded by the oohs and ahhs of "cartridges" and physical hardware. Too bad that Stella got a bad rep from being saddled with weird hardware combos.

People also don't know they can get a better experience by purchasing real hardware and fixing it up or by doing 100% emulation on a proper PC.

 

After reading the posts on this and a couple of sour experience with Hyperkin products... do they make anything correctly or is it all just crap?

 

On the one hand, you can ask "Why are people dumb enough to buy this?", but if they don't come to forums like here and just have fuzzy Atari memories, how would they know in the first place. I guess AtGames, Hyperkin, etc count on that.

 

Too bad Stella is getting a bad rap, but again, but I think some of those people don't know how limited and crappy the hardware is.

 

 

For those wondering or who have had no experience with Hyperkin, it seems like there's a lot of Hyperkin hate here and I would totally disagree with that (Most of it anyway).    (To be fair, I still haven't tried my RetroN 77 so right now I'm just talking about their stuff in general).

 

 

IMHO, Unless you're comparing the Atari Flashback 2 which was Stellar,  I wouldn't compare ATGames stuff to Hyperkin.   Hyperkin is Way Better!   (ATGames is like  a Star Wars prequel.  At best it is Good when it should have been Great!)...And I like ATGames stuff, but I have to be honest.

 

And need I remind anyone that Retro-Bit is Absolute Crap?    It IS!

 

Let's analyze:

 

Retro Bit made the Retro Duo....I'd never seen a SNES look worse in S-Video than A/V until this came out haa...I liked the controllers, though.  So I bought some Retro-Bit Controllers.   One Retro-Bit Genesis controller is the Worst Controller I've ever seen/owned...If you want to go right, you have to push right and a little bit down to get it to work, and every direction is equally fucked up...Man this thing is chintzy!   I've seen better response on a famiclone controller that weighs half an ounce!   And of the 2 additional SNES controllers I bought, one has a direction that doesn't work at all, and one needs a very heavy hand, plus going up requires (yet more) additional strength.   Cool colors available though;   My favorite one is shiny, metallic orange/red with gold buttons,...Too bad it doesn't really work.   Retro Bit makes good cable extensions, though...So they have that I guess.

 

Now Hyperkin.   I have a Hyperkin portable NES that was the bomb when it came out!   It may be a little weird having the full cart sticking out the top, but it's still cool.   There was  a time I bought an extra Dr. Mario cart just to take the PCB out and duct tape it a bit so it could just stay in my handheld NES.   I also have a Hyperkin portable Famicom,   Roughly the same but takes Fami Carts which are easier to deal with since they're smaller...Mine has a speaker that slightly distorts, but I bought it used and it's always been that way.   Then I bought a Hyperkin clone system that plays SEGA and NES (on a chip).  It was nice, as it had decent controllers, output A/V and it played my Pulseman Mega Drive cart at the flick of a switch (Japan/US).   Nothing mind blowing but did what it was supposed to do.

 

Then the RetroN 5!  Unlike the Retro Freak I bought which was Broken right out of the box,   The RetroN 5 has always worked like  a champ.  Yes it's like an emulator for your TV.  But also like an emu, I found out it can play ROMs (no need for a cart) so it rocks!   And unlike a PC emu, you're not sitting 12 inches away from your screen playing with a mouse and keyboard;   You're playing on a nice TV with actual console controllers, or arcade sticks and the thing can be blasting out of your stereo!    Maybe it depends on your tastes but I like it.   And Hyperkin Genesis controllers are brand new, but play almost exactly like original SEGA controllers.   Excluding maybe SEGA themselves,  they're the Best!

 

So, Yes Hyperkin Is worthwhile to me, but your experience may be different than mine. 



#2587 cybercylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:02 PM

I had the opposite experience. The Retrofreak worked out of the box, while I had issues with the Retron 5. I certainly did not have the greatest of experience with it's predecessor, the Retron 3.

 

While I never have tried retro-bit products, something screams cheap to me.



#2588 Atariboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:19 PM

The Retro Duo impressed me years ago on a CRT.

 

The NES side was terrible as expected, the system felt cheap, and the controllers were poor. But it played all my SNES games well (I didn't own any SA-1 games back then, which I believe had issues) and other than once when I got static out of one of the audio channels (Solved after cycling the power), I had no issues.

 

Would've stayed hooked up had I not owned a real SNES. But since it got bought as a curiosity, it didn't take up a long-term spot on my entertainment center. 


Edited by Atariboy, Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:20 PM.


#2589 fluxit OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:14 PM

JP1 on the main pcb is a usb data port.  I added a jack to my Retron 77 today after checking the 4 obvious "JP" choices with my scope to find out which was USB.  USB hubs work.  Keyboard and mouse work, but there is no visible mouse pointer. 

 

Unfortunately, my 2600-daptor II was not recognized, neither was a generic USB nes styled pad AFAICT.  I was hoping to be able to use paddles plugged into the 2600-daptor to get around the jittery(and single) paddle issue.

 

I may still be able to use my custom(formerly optical mouse) spinner, if I convert it to USB from PS2.


Edited by fluxit, Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:48 PM.


#2590 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:02 AM

I don't hate Hyperkin. But I strongly dislike cartridge dumpers using emulators.


Edited by Keatah, Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:03 AM.


#2591 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 21, 2019 6:37 AM

 

 

And need I remind anyone that Retro-Bit is Absolute Crap?    It IS!

 

Let's analyze:

 

Retro Bit made the Retro Duo....I'd never seen a SNES look worse in S-Video than A/V until this came out haa...I liked the controllers, though.  

Did you try using a third party Svideo cable? The one that came with my Super Retro Trio was horse shit. Also the NES side won't work through Svideo except in grayscale.



#2592 stephena OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:12 AM

JP1 on the main pcb is a usb data port.  I added a jack to my Retron 77 today after checking the 4 obvious "JP" choices with my scope to find out which was USB.  USB hubs work.  Keyboard and mouse work, but there is no visible mouse pointer. 

 

Unfortunately, my 2600-daptor II was not recognized, neither was a generic USB nes styled pad AFAICT.  I was hoping to be able to use paddles plugged into the 2600-daptor to get around the jittery(and single) paddle issue.

 

I may still be able to use my custom(formerly optical mouse) spinner, if I convert it to USB from PS2.

 

Likely that the kernel doesn't include the required drivers for your device(s).  It seems the kernel was compiled to support only the included hardware, and nothing else.  Makes sense, since this is a fairly constrained platform, and having unneeded drivers around would just waste memory.

 

And there's no mouse cursor since the FBDEV video drivers in Linux don't support it.  This is all normal on such a device.



#2593 DirtyHairy OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:53 PM

JP1 on the main pcb is a usb data port.  I added a jack to my Retron 77 today after checking the 4 obvious "JP" choices with my scope to find out which was USB.  USB hubs work.  Keyboard and mouse work, but there is no visible mouse pointer. 

 

Unfortunately, my 2600-daptor II was not recognized, neither was a generic USB nes styled pad AFAICT.  I was hoping to be able to use paddles plugged into the 2600-daptor to get around the jittery(and single) paddle issue.

 

I may still be able to use my custom(formerly optical mouse) spinner, if I convert it to USB from PS2.

 

 

Would you mind sharing the pinout? I'll add to the Stella wiki page that describes the R77 hard- and firmware. As Stephen said, I guess the kernel is compiled without gamepad support. It shouldn't be difficult to recompile it and rebuild the firmware with the necessary modules. Did you find any other interesting signals on the headers with your scope?



#2594 GoldLeader OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:54 PM

Did you try using a third party Svideo cable? The one that came with my Super Retro Trio was horse shit. Also the NES side won't work through Svideo except in grayscale.

 

Yeah I tried a better cable for sure...It's been a while, but what I remember was I had a rolling humbar of static going up the screen in S-Video mode (May have been intermittent.   I don't recall fully).   I liked the Retro-Duo at first and at the time clone consoles were cool novelties, but in hindsight I could see their problems...

 

Although others have had different experiences, my past with Hyperkin has been largely positive :)



#2595 fluxit OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:30 PM

 

 

Would you mind sharing the pinout? I'll add to the Stella wiki page that describes the R77 hard- and firmware. As Stephen said, I guess the kernel is compiled without gamepad support. It shouldn't be difficult to recompile it and rebuild the firmware with the necessary modules. Did you find any other interesting signals on the headers with your scope?

No, other than the previously explored debug TTY, I didn't see anything else interesting, although I was focused on finding the USB.

 

Here's the USB pinout:

retron77-usb-pinout.png



#2596 stephena OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:44 AM

Hmm, I might be interested in doing this USB upgrade at some point.  Would be nice to see if I can get the Stelladaptor to work.  I would guess it's very easy, once the drivers are compiled into the kernel.

 

Now I just need to find time to do it ...



#2597 fluxit OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:10 PM

I was thinking of  using the existing 'power only' micro usb port for data, rerouting my existing data wires when what did I find?  That it isn't a power only port.  The data lines are connected.  No hardware modification of the Retron 77 is needed for it to support USB peripherals, just a 'USB OTG cable with power.'

 

otg-microusb-with-power.jpg

 

I didn't have one of these on hand so I did a quick bodge of one for testing, and it works fine.



#2598 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:01 PM

I was thinking of  using the existing 'power only' micro usb port for data, rerouting my existing data wires when what did I find?  That it isn't a power only port.  The data lines are connected.  No hardware modification of the Retron 77 is needed for it to support USB peripherals, just a 'USB OTG cable with power.'

 

attachicon.gifotg-microusb-with-power.jpg

 

I didn't have one of these on hand so I did a quick bodge of one for testing, and it works fine.

USB isn't just a dummy port, just like the NES Classic...

 

Giggity, giggity, giggitty! :grin: :grin: :grin:

a_1b1eeebd.jpga_1b1eeebd.jpga_1b1eeebd.jpg



#2599 Tifany OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:45 PM

OK, so we know that the usb port is connected to the data lines... will it recognize a usb joystick or 2600-daptor? I just ordered the above adapter OTG cable to play with, should be here by next week!


Edited by Tifany, Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:45 PM.


#2600 fluxit OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:19 PM

OK, so we know that the usb port is connected to the data lines... will it recognize a usb joystick or 2600-daptor? I just ordered the above adapter OTG cable to play with, should be here by next week!

 

I should have better emphasized that no hardware modification is required.

 

The Linux kernel included on the Retron 77 does not support those devices.  At some point in the future that may(probably will) change, and if it does only a new firmware on the sdcard will be required in addition to the above mentioned cable.


Edited by fluxit, Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:20 PM.





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