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TIM v9958 video upgrade for the TI-99/4A

v9958 vdp video

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#1 RickyDean OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 5:58 AM

Ladies and Gents,

            at the request of one of the members here I am posting some photos of the TIM video upgrade that was produced by OPA back in the  'day'.

I have had this in storage since 1999 and used it during the mid-90's. Also find attached a couple of photos of the SOB that was sold to go along with the TIM and if you have PC99 you can play with the included SOB console grom upgrade, in it.

 

Attached Files



#2 helocast OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 7:16 AM

Ladies and Gents,

            at the request of one of the members here I am posting some photos of the TIM video upgrade that was produced by OPA back in the  'day'.

I have had this in storage since 1999 and used it during the mid-90's. Also find attached a couple of photos of the SOB that was sold to go along with the TIM and if you have PC99 you can play with the included SOB console grom upgrade, in it.

 

Wow! Looks like there isn't much in the way of supporting the TIM upgrade on new designs. I've poured over the datasheet numerous times.

I see a V9958, the full compliment of 128KB DRAM, a counter, and the faster crystal. I thought I did read the pin spacing was changed to an odd .09" (and of course pin functions) to make it not "drop in" compatible which explains the daughter card.

Also, I have never seen a real-life picture of the SOB before. Read about it, but's about it.

Thank you!



#3 RickyDean OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 7:29 AM

Wow! Looks like there isn't much in the way of supporting the TIM upgrade on new designs. I've poured over the datasheet numerous times.

I see a V9958, the full compliment of 128KB DRAM, a counter, and the faster crystal. I thought I did read the pin spacing was changed to an odd .09" (and of course pin functions) to make it not "drop in" compatible which explains the daughter card.

Also, I have never seen a real-life picture of the SOB before. Read about it, but's about it.

Thank you!

It is a 'drop in' for a Geneve though.  :)



#4 Nick99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 9:20 AM

I remember, ordered and paid for a TIM from OPA, but never got it... Big money for a 16 year old at the time...



#5 adamantyr OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 9:35 AM

I remember, ordered and paid for a TIM from OPA, but never got it... Big money for a 16 year old at the time...

 

That sucks, I wrote a letter to them first asking for information on how it would be shipped, since it was coming out of Canada, and never got a reply. Really glad I didn't send a check with it!

 

Also, seeing the sheer size of the board, installing one in a TI would have been a major hassle. I'm looking forward to the F18A instead!



#6 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 10:02 AM

Well honestly with 11 times the VDP memory and 4 times the screens size combined with 256 colors the F18 is more of a downgrade.

 

I know it is a great upgrade to the 9918 but really does not hold a candle to the 9958 or 9938 upgrades.



#7 arcadeshopper OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 10:20 AM

Well honestly with 11 times the VDP memory and 4 times the screens size combined with 256 colors the F18 is more of a downgrade.

 

I know it is a great upgrade to the 9918 but really does not hold a candle to the 9958 or 9938 upgrades.

 

I know you enjoy beating that dead horse but comparing those is apples to oranges.. They aren't even remotely the same and there's nobody saying they are comparable but you.  A F18a is a 9918a replacement ONLY  not advertised nor even rumored to be a  9938 or a 58 compatible. It provides only the most basic 80 column mode, that again is never been said to be compatible with a 9938 video mode.  It just happens to be easy to implement. 



#8 FarmerPotato OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 10:24 AM

Wow! Looks like there isn't much in the way of supporting the TIM upgrade on new designs. I've poured over the datasheet numerous times.

I see a V9958, the full compliment of 128KB DRAM, a counter, and the faster crystal. I thought I did read the pin spacing was changed to an odd .09" (and of course pin functions) to make it not "drop in" compatible which explains the daughter card.

Also, I have never seen a real-life picture of the SOB before. Read about it, but's about it.

Thank you!

 

In 1986 I wrote to Yamaha to ask for a evaluation sample of the 9938. They sent me the chip. The pin spacing, 1.778mm or 0.07"  stumped me. How to put it into a perfboard? I had never made a PCB, only wire wrap and solder.  I called the US electronics distributors and no one had the socket for it.

 

A helpful TI engineer heard of my difficulty. He brought me a big 64 pin 0.1" machined pin socket (TMS9900 style), and a piece of balsa wood. He wire wrapped 64 little wires onto the 9938 pins, glued it onto the balsa block,  and left me to solder the wires to the socket holes. I hot glued two rows of wire wrap headers onto my perfboard, to create a socket for the 64 pin socket.

 

It almost worked, even. It passed read/write memory tests with a pair of 4464s. Unfortunately I didn't know enough about the external circuitry to make the picture stable.

 

I still have that 9938 beast in my parts box. Then I got a Geneve and just used that... Much love for that chip.


Edited by FarmerPotato, Tue May 22, 2018 10:28 AM.


#9 helocast OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 11:51 AM

 

In 1986 I wrote to Yamaha to ask for a evaluation sample of the 9938. They sent me the chip. The pin spacing, 1.778mm or 0.07"  stumped me. How to put it into a perfboard? I had never made a PCB, only wire wrap and solder.  I called the US electronics distributors and no one had the socket for it.

 

A helpful TI engineer heard of my difficulty. He brought me a big 64 pin 0.1" machined pin socket (TMS9900 style), and a piece of balsa wood. He wire wrapped 64 little wires onto the 9938 pins, glued it onto the balsa block,  and left me to solder the wires to the socket holes. I hot glued two rows of wire wrap headers onto my perfboard, to create a socket for the 64 pin socket.

Thanks, I couldn't remember the dimensions other than they were odd. :-D 

Attached Files



#10 Asmusr OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 12:10 PM

 

I know you enjoy beating that dead horse but comparing those is apples to oranges.. They aren't even remotely the same and there's nobody saying they are comparable but you.  A F18a is a 9918a replacement ONLY  not advertised nor even rumored to be a  9938 or a 58 compatible. It provides only the most basic 80 column mode, that again is never been said to be compatible with a 9938 video mode.  It just happens to be easy to implement. 

 

I completely agree. The 9938/58 and the F18A are branching from the 9918A in different directions. The F18A is branching in the direction of mid 80'es game consoles like NES and Sega Master System. It allows more sprites on a line, has smooth scrolling in all directions, multiple tile/bitmap planes, and lots of other features targeted at games. It still manages to do this with only 16K RAM. The v9938/58 are branching towards more serious use, with higher resolutions and more RAM, which may be great for text editing or drawing, but for a game developer they don't seem to offer that much - at least not without being driven by a faster processor than the TMS9900.



#11 chue ONLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 12:13 PM

What does SOB stand for?  Clearly it means something other than what I am thinking  :)



#12 helocast OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 12:21 PM

What does SOB stand for?  Clearly it means something other than what I am thinking  :)

Attached Files

  • Attached File  SOB.jpg   62.12KB   4 downloads


#13 fabrice montupet OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 12:54 PM

Thank you RickyDean!  I am very happy to see pictures of the TIM and the SOB.  I have been waiting for this for so many years!

TIM is a great TI-99 upgrade. I hope that, one day, I will be able to get one.



#14 Opry99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 2:37 PM

I'd love to see a modern integrated solution for 38/58 implementation become a reality.

Is the source available for them?

#15 InsaneMultitasker OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 4:25 PM

I'm quite the supporter of the V9938 and its capabilities but I have to say the F18A is my preference for 80 column programming.  In fact, I wish I had the F18A capabilities in my Geneve system where I could make use of a true 16-color text mode, not some 4-color V9938 afterthought or hacked-to-work graphics text mode.

 

As for the hardware itself, I'm all for a replacement chip or converter or other solutions like what Shift838 has come up with.  But an F18A will never be a V9938.  Resolution and memory do not equate to 'better' or 'successful'.  If they did, this community probably wouldn't be dredging up this same, tiresome conversation every few weeks because ya'll would be too busy using your V9938 hardware and programming your next V9938 application. 



#16 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 6:29 PM

 

I know you enjoy beating that dead horse but comparing those is apples to oranges.. They aren't even remotely the same and there's nobody saying they are comparable but you.  A F18a is a 9918a replacement ONLY  not advertised nor even rumored to be a  9938 or a 58 compatible. It provides only the most basic 80 column mode, that again is never been said to be compatible with a 9938 video mode.  It just happens to be easy to implement. 

Well as a former owner of a TIM 9958 I just made the obvious comparison, and wonder we are stuck with such a downgrade?



#17 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 6:34 PM

I'm quite the supporter of the V9938 and its capabilities but I have to say the F18A is my preference for 80 column programming.  In fact, I wish I had the F18A capabilities in my Geneve system where I could make use of a true 16-color text mode, not some 4-color V9938 afterthought or hacked-to-work graphics text mode.

 

As for the hardware itself, I'm all for a replacement chip or converter or other solutions like what Shift838 has come up with.  But an F18A will never be a V9938.  Resolution and memory do not equate to 'better' or 'successful'.  If they did, this community probably wouldn't be dredging up this same, tiresome conversation every few weeks because ya'll would be too busy using your V9938 hardware and programming your next V9938 application. 

Hmm all those applications using the F18 only became possible due to it being sold.

 

Since back when it was released the TIM was not so blessed with so many programmers, and had to deal with other products.

 

Not hard to figure out why so many F18 games and applications exist, so produce a 9938 or 9958 upgrade and watch what happens...



#18 matthew180 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 8:57 PM

 

In 1986 I wrote to Yamaha to ask for a evaluation sample of the 9938. They sent me the chip. The pin spacing, 1.778mm or 0.07"  stumped me. How to put it into a perfboard? I had never made a PCB, only wire wrap and solder.  I called the US electronics distributors and no one had the socket for it.

 

The IC package is called a Shrink DIP or SPDIP.  Mill-Max makes a socket: https://www.digikey....0234-ND/1212131



#19 adamantyr OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 12:12 AM

The F18A is (soon to be) available. The TIM is long gone. (And if OPA started offering them again, I wouldn't be rushing to send them a check...)

If someone wants to make a V9938/58 upgrade option that is doable for the average user and makes them readily available and makes sure all emulators are able to replicate the hardware, rock on, I'll be in on that.

That said, there is a limit to what you can do with the rest of the TI hardware even with a upgraded video chip. Put a V8 engine in a Chevette and it's going to fall apart on the highway pretty quick.

#20 mizapf OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 4:23 AM

I'm quite the supporter of the V9938 and its capabilities but I have to say the F18A is my preference for 80 column programming.  In fact, I wish I had the F18A capabilities in my Geneve system where I could make use of a true 16-color text mode, not some 4-color V9938 afterthought or hacked-to-work graphics text mode.

 

Still, the v9938 owners like me really appreciate your efforts to write software for both platforms. This should be best practice - where it is possible, of course.







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