Jump to content

iKarith's Photo


Member Since 23 Mar 2016
OFFLINE Last Active Feb 19 2019 2:13 AM

#4054913 NanoPEB, PEB, DM, EB, EA. Is running programs on the TI *really* this hard?

Posted by iKarith on Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:41 PM

I think what you're witnessing is the hodgepodge nature of the TI, and the fact that it was abandoned by TI before anyone had come up with a cohesive BASIC with DOS built-in that could also run EA5 programs.  It all seems to have been doable, it just didn't get done originally for cost/time cutting reasons, and later because TI had pretty well abandoned the platform because … of cost reasons.  :)

#4054084 TI-99 Photos Thread! Post your systems here!

Posted by iKarith on Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:47 PM

Schmitzi, you have too many PEBs.  You need to send a few of them to other people.  :D

#4053528 OT: Do you use Linux

Posted by iKarith on Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:07 PM


Mint (Cinnamon 64-bit)

No, but the enthusiasm you guys show for the machine makes me consider trying to get into it. I need to find a beginner's guide, because I wasn't exposed to it back in the 1980s. 


If you're interested in a beginner's guide for the TI itself, it's a bit outdated now, but I cannot recommend enough watching Vectrex Roli's video on the subject:



The first thing to know is that there's now FinalGROM/99.  (Also FinalROM/99, but you want the GROM version because it does more.)  This little cartridge will take just about every piece of software made for the TI-99/4A on cartridge.  The only exception I know of is Tursi's Dragon's Lair port, and that thing uses a cartridge that doesn't exist yet because it's 128 freakin' megabytes!

The 32k addon is still desirable.  There's several ways to get it and you can't have more than one of them installed.  It's actually possible to put the 32k in the console, but obviously that's a bad idea.  I like JediMatt's 32k because it works with TiPi.  You can read more about that elsewhere, Omega's done much evangelization on it.  :)


That's enough to do most things people are doing with their TIs these days.

#4053500 Project for a sunny day

Posted by iKarith on Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:22 PM

And I didn't even notice the one that ended up upside-down of my cleaning stuff.  :D

#4053499 Project for a sunny day

Posted by iKarith on Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:15 PM

I'm an Oregonian, so I'd probably be outside on a rainy day, but it's not raining.  No, it's sunny and it's hot enough to fry an albino on a cancer drug sitting next to a window in less than 5 minutes.  Ask me how I know from Monday…


So, project!


Attached File  IMG_1829.JPG   933.97KB   3 downloads


I dismantled my console and managed to drop a washer!  I did find it though.  Was a bit tough because it's not magnetic:


Attached File  IMG_1827.JPG   931.58KB   3 downloads


It's now in the tray with everything else.  Of course once it was apart I got to see some genuine 35+ year old thermal goop.  Crusty.


Attached File  IMG_1826.JPG   1.15MB   3 downloads


Fortunately there's alcohol, q-tips, and a pilfered Motel 6 keycard for getting that crud out of there.  Scrape off most of it, q-tip the rest, and let's apply some fresh … uh, slightly over-spec paste.  :)


Attached File  IMG_1828.JPG   968.33KB   3 downloads

Attached File  IMG_1830.JPG   1.22MB   3 downloads

Attached File  IMG_1834.JPG   1.1MB   3 downloads


While I'm here, I should clean the contacts of my side port, they look a little grubby.


Attached File  IMG_1831.JPG   1.05MB   3 downloads


There's not much I can do about this, even though it's worn down to bare copper in places.


Attached File  IMG_1832.JPG   1.02MB   3 downloads

Attached File  IMG_1833.JPG   838.78KB   3 downloads


My understanding is that the way you fix this requires a fair amount of flux, an air station with a lot of heat and a lot of volume, and some fresh solder.  And don't do it with a cheap air station because those will burn the board or melt the plastic components before they actually do anything with big planar traces like these.  I'm not an engineer/technician or anything though, so … I'll leave it be.


Y'know, if I could operate a soldering iron properly, now'd be a good time to insert a diode…


Attached File  IMG_1835.JPG   1021.51KB   4 downloads


There's one more thing for me to do.  The cartridge connector on these things has this little dust filter on it.  It's almost certainly disgusting.  I noticed gunk on a couple of my carts' edge connector and I've had a spare edge connector from Fest West 2017 … since 2017.  At the very least you should take the cover off of yours, remove that foam bit from it, and just throw it away.  That's the source of the gooey residue.  I sprayed some deoxit in there and tried to scrub the contacts as best I could without a card edge cleaner, but that probably needs a going over by someone who's got the right little tool to go in there and clean those contacts.  I assume the spare I have came from Greg who kindly reconditioned these for us.  :)  I'll have to be sure to give him this one so he can prepare it for the next person who needs one.


Attached File  IMG_1836.JPG   1.01MB   4 downloads

Attached File  IMG_1837.JPG   676.57KB   4 downloads

Attached File  IMG_1838.JPG   958.02KB   4 downloads


Eager for F18A orders to begin, having done all of this I now know exactly how to do the installation of the thing.  Hopefully this summer?


[Edit: A couple images got lost in the editing process]

#4052875 TIPI Usage and Support

Posted by iKarith on Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:03 AM

I thought it might be useful to be able to send things to the display from inside games and the like, as well as the potential to indicate statuses like new chatti messages and the like when not actively displaying stuff for the game or whatever you're running right now.

#4048715 New to the group? TI-99/4A FAQ, Hardware and software resources READ FIRST!

Posted by iKarith on Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:13 AM

This is a work in progress.. will be happy to add anything missing - Greg


    • Keyboard issues
      • The keyboard is connected directly to the TI motherboard with a pin connector. This can become loose/dirty and may need cleaning/reseating. There is no logic within the keyboard is is merely shorting the keyboard lines when you hit the keys.
      • Alpha Lock issue: With the alpha lock key on you are unable to use the up direction with the joysticks. Release alpha lock to play games OR do this fix: http://mainbyte.com/...alpha_lock.html
      • What keyboard do I have?   There were at least 5 manufacturers of keyboards for the 99/4a.  http://mainbyte.com/...d/keyboard.html has good pictures/info/schematic.
        • Mitsumi: These keyboards do not have any solder points except for the alpha-lock key connection and the ribbon cable. $_1.JPG
          • These keyboards have a membrane under the keys that tends to go bad with age and can sometimes be revived by separating the layers (CAREFULLY) 
        • Alps and others: These keyboards have solder points on the back of the PCBoard keyboard_back.jpg
          • these keyboards sometimes have dirt/corrosion in the switches that can be cleaned with contact cleaner or alcohol.


Thought in case nobody had looked recently I should note the Mitsumi keyboard picture link is presently broken so that it may be addressed in a future update.


This is really a very cool post Greg, since I've not said so before.  When I got into the TI, I wish this had been there.  Now it is.  :)

#4048185 HELP! I'm addicted to SNEK!

Posted by iKarith on Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:38 PM



Next version needs this ElectricLab!  :D

#4045965 Is some TI legacy hardware becoming redundant?

Posted by iKarith on Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:52 PM

There are a lot of landmines in this thread so I'm going to carefully not reply to anything but Omega's original post and therefore carefully avoid them all.  *KABOOM*




There's always going to be a place for original hardware.  I don't personally use floppy disks all that often anymore.  In a couple of platforms, I have and want to maintain the ability to use them, but I don't personally have the space, the need, nor the inclination to mess with them usually.  I just don't need them.  But there are also people for whom the idea of using anything but those old floppies is just strange/weird.  These older and newer technologies are redundant in that they serve the same purpose from the perspective of the TI console, but they're not the same thing in the eyes of many collectors and longtime fans of the system.


Where you're going to start running into "redundant" technology is the stuff that was not contemporary to the machine.  Do you need a nanoPEB if you have Matt's 32k/TiPi?  Do you need a FinalROM/99 if you have a FinalGROM/99?  Do you need the UDS-10 anymore?  The UDS-10 is at least itself vintage technology, but it hails from almost a decade later.  WiFi alternatives now exist, and there's TiPi.  Can TiPi give you a serial port for things that aren't telnet though?  Do you need that?

I'd like to find good uses for some of this stuff, but I'm not sure some of these things really are obsolete now if you have the things that have supplanted them.  The nanoPEB was a great thing in its day—or would've been if the QA was a little more consistent—but the number of reported problem units is said to have been high (my own required some repair before it came into my hands), and this coupled with hand-assembly by a single person just hurt availability.  A person could've been very enthusiastic about it and less so a short time later as it becomes clear that the nanoPEB wasn't living up to those expectations.

But having a nanoPEB that works well enough (it's an odd duck among nanoPEBs, doesn't properly fit the 3D printed case, etc), but TiPi is the better device to have given the choice, even for being more complex to set up and use.

#4045787 Does the TI99/4A have a "Drivewire" type of solution?

Posted by iKarith on Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:53 AM

I would second Omega's assessment of the best way to get started.  (Omega!  You're green!)  It gives you most of everything.  You still need a tape recorder simulation for some things like Adventure and Tunnels of Doom, but Matt's 32k gets you well on to a permanent solution to that problem as well.

#4035565 Portland Oregon area TI "group" meeting

Posted by iKarith on Sun May 27, 2018 12:53 PM

Sunday is TERRIBLE for public transit in Beaverton.  Since nobody lives anywhere near me really, I'd like to advocate for Saturday in the future.  It'd cut literally half an hour off the one-way travel time, which puts it theoretically in the range that my sunscreen is supposed to pretend to work.

#4035564 Portland Oregon area TI "group" meeting

Posted by iKarith on Sun May 27, 2018 12:51 PM

My plans got changed for me at the last possible minute, so I won't be there today.  Family obligations.  It's possibly for the best because it would mean an hour and a half out in the summer sun, and I can't really safely do that long out in the summer sun.

#4033482 OT - Off The Wall Items -- (For your computer hobby)

Posted by iKarith on Wed May 23, 2018 11:56 PM

I've never had much success with the things honestly.

#4033481 If you were a betting TI'er

Posted by iKarith on Wed May 23, 2018 11:51 PM

Stuart's browser doesn't actually use "proper" HTML for what it supports.  That could be fixed I suppose.  The issue is that Lynx is not small and a lot of web browsers REQUIRE encryption today the TI is going to have a hard time doing quickly.  It could be done I suppose, but you'd want a proxy to handle HTTPS.  The question's really going to be ultimately how much do you want to do on the TI and how much off of it?

#4033465 Portland Oregon area TI "group" meeting

Posted by iKarith on Wed May 23, 2018 11:12 PM

I'm pretty interested in gcc programming on the TI, both what it can do and can't, and maybe how it could be extended to do more.