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MiniWriter 3 cart (with novel, integrated parallel interface)


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#1 blakespot OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 8:07 AM

This thing is pretty interesting.

http://www.hexbus.co...ictures.html#16

Does anyone have a photo of this cracked open? Id love to see how its pit together. Can the TI write (output) to the cart port? Hmmm....trying to recall if MiniMemory is a command module or a side attach cart. Maybe the whole bus is exposed on that cart connector.

Im intrigued.

#2 mizapf OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 8:33 AM

No, there is only A3-A15 of the address bus, limiting the addressable space to 8K. And the ROMG line is set when the address is between 6000 and 7fff. However, there is no restriction for writing; you can put whatever you want inside that space. Unless you are using a QI console, you even have ports via CRU.

#3 acadiel ONLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 9:19 AM

I know of the following versions:

 

Miniwriter

Miniwriter II

Miniwriter III

Miniwriter III+

 

I'd love to know:

1) Differences between these

2) Specs on the cable that was used to hook up to them

 

I'll see if I can split mine apart to give you some pictures.



#4 sparkdrummer OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 9:32 AM

I've got a couple of those carts as well - I'd like to know what the pin outs are for a printer as well.  



#5 Schmitzi OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 3:16 PM

IIRC, once I saw a " Miniwriter II + " (with PIO-header) on eBay, it went for $13,50



#6 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 5:03 PM

The "+" variants were supposed to be the ones with the integral printer port, but DataBioTics didn't always use the labels that way (I have seen a lot of the ones without the PIO ports labeled as Miniwriter III+ or Miniwriter II+. I have to double check, but I think I have all four types. The original Miniwriter was a tape/disk for the Mini Memory, not a cartridge. Later iterations from this code base were the Wordwriter, Wordwriter Xtra, and Beyond Wordwriter cartridges. Further development was planned and announced, but never came to pass.



#7 InsaneMultitasker OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 5:21 PM

I am pretty sure I have the source code to one or more versions of this cartridge.  I'll poke around for the disk images and post them (if I find them) when I have time.



#8 acadiel ONLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 9:03 PM

Here’s my Miniwriter III. Label is falling off. :(

194dada8eec04f9aebf83e30483ac9d1.jpg
7ab8beac008a9f8c1718c8bd2737a8c5.jpg

#9 acadiel ONLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 9:07 PM

Here’s my III plus

af7324ab8b88b1b879dcdc48e55ff46e.jpg
02102e926aec09e4460128c0cdd6cbd3.jpg

#10 acadiel ONLINE  

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Posted Thu May 10, 2018 10:10 PM

16 pins connected out of the 20. Probably pretty close to a PBox PIO cable, but need someone to dig out a cable so we can pin out it.

#11 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 11, 2018 12:57 AM

Wow. I have seen pictures of these carts, but never in this much detail. Thanks for the pics!!

#12 Count9929A ONLINE  

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Posted Fri May 11, 2018 4:44 PM

Hi, I have MiniWriter I on tape (original), but I don't have the manual. I have a pdf of the MiniWriterII manual.

 Does anyone know the differences between the two versions?



#13 Ed in SoDak OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 12, 2018 12:21 AM

What format are the files? Standard DV/80 such that TI-Writer could load/save them? Or is it some cassette-only format? Still, oughta be a BASIC loader for that. Does the printer only accept output created by Miniwriter or can other programs access the printer through the cart?

 

In other words, is there any usefullness to them other than the original intended purpose of printing what you just wrote? It would just be a collector cart for most of us unless it had broader uses.

 

Jes' curious.

-Ed



#14 OLD CS1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 12, 2018 8:33 AM

My guess is the printer port is memory-mapped in the cartridge space, something simple.  DBT used CRU bank switching in its cartridges but, with the exception of later models, the circuitry does not look complex enough for that.



#15 blakespot OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 13, 2018 10:32 AM

My guess is the printer port is memory-mapped in the cartridge space, something simple.  DBT used CRU bank switching in its cartridges but, with the exception of later models, the circuitry does not look complex enough for that.

 

Do you imagine that outputting to the printer was writing to that address space and that data was the datastream for the printer? Or do you think somehow reading a certain section of data was what caused the data stream -- where a read access is handled as a signal to output data. Doesn't looks complex enough for me. I guess I'm just coming from the notion that you can't write to the cartridge port. But then, I guess there's MiniMemory, though, right?

 

 

bp



#16 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 13, 2018 12:42 PM

You can definitely write to the cartridge port space. Every single bank-switched cartridge from Extended BASIC on relies on it to initiate a bank switch. It is part of the original hardware specification for the TI.



#17 InsaneMultitasker OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 13, 2018 2:25 PM

If this is indeed the same code, it looks like there is both a read and a write address on the cartridge.

 

The folder that -should- have contained WordWriter/MiniWriter source is empty but I found a nearly complete set of code from which this excerpt was copied.  I'll have a look through my disks another day, on the off-chance I still have the originals.

 

Edit:  Read from port:  7ffc;  write to port 7ffe.

 

Spoiler


Edited by InsaneMultitasker, Sun May 13, 2018 2:26 PM.


#18 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 13, 2018 2:40 PM

Isn't this the way to re-flash/update the XB2.7 cartridge?




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