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Hindsight and brain farts

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Rotary Encoder => A8 joystick port input

Rotary Encoder => A8 joystick port input

Of course,  after an afternoon of experimenting with an Arduino and KY-040 Rotary Encoder Board, the question of how to use a Rotary Encoder attached to an ATARI joystick port became an intriguing ponderance.  After all,  the Atari can read a trackball and mouse containing two encoders. How hard can it be to read one?   For this first experiment KISS was an objective.  The objective was to be able to read the input and determine  if the knob was being turned in a CW direction or CCW di

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microKorg - Assigning control changes

microKorg - Assigning control changes

A couple of days ago I grabbed the microKorg owner's manual to read on the throne. I happened to open to  Page 61 - Assigning control changes(CC).  It says you can assign numbers to the principal parameters. The edit menu section on the microKorg is shown with the principal parameters highlighted.   You can assign the CC# or just use the defaults that are assigned to those parameters.  These are listed in the Table on page 56.  The Control 2 values when OSC1-WAVE = DWGS are within the

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MIDI Wind Chimes - Using M: and Atari BASIC

MIDI Wind Chimes - Using M: and Atari BASIC

The last time I tried to simulate wind chimes was by outputting MIDI data through an RS-232 port on the 850 Interface(Rn:).   A8 Wind Chimes - Gentle Breeze in C minor - Out of the Pack - AtariAge Forums   Now that I have the Wizztronics MIDIMAX,  I can hook up a MIDI synthisizer to it and output MIDI data using Atari BASIC and the MIDI device handler(M:).   There were only a couple of lines in the original code that needed to be changed to open a channel to the M:

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A8 MMS - Rhythm Ukulele with CC64

A8 MMS - Rhythm Ukulele with CC64

These two MP3 files are the result  of experiments to program rhythm guitar and Ukulele tracks into the MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM software on the Atari 8bit.  The cords were programed into voice tracks and then called when needed.    The MMS files were recorded with a MIDIPLUS - miniEngine USB with reverb set to 81.  Sound 24, Acoustic Guitar(Nylon)  seemed to be the closest match to my ukulele.   "Drunken Sailor" used only down strums and both lead and rhythm tracks used Sound 24.

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Light control hardware - Spinax Part 003

The control system for the lights on LEGO’s Spinax has been prototyped and programed for a simple sequence. If your only interest is to see it in operation, check out the link to the YOUTUBE video. If you want more information read on.   {video removed}   Spinax has 8 lights along its back. I wanted to be able to program the on/off cycles for each light. This could be done using the 8 digital outputs of the joystick ports but left little room for future expansion. Inste

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Digitizing 8-bit sound with the PO-33 K.O!

Digitizing 8-bit sound with the PO-33 K.O!

Teenage Engineering's PO-33 K.O! is an 8bit sampler.    I've had mine for a few months and am just now finding the free time to play with it.  The video is a first attempt at a loop using samples from the Atari 130XE.  The MP3 is the same set of patterns looped 6 times.     atari8ko33 loop01.mp3   You may recognize where some of the samples are from. You may also want to see how many you can recognize before you read on.     *************************

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A8 MMS - Measure Counter

A8 MMS - Measure Counter

I have yet to input music into the MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM (MMS) software and have it correct the first play through.  I can hear the error as it is played but MMS gives no indication of  which measure it might be in.  One solution requires an Arduino, MIDI shield with a THRU port, and numeric display.   The plan was to program a MMS voice to out put a MIDI command once per measure on an unused channel and have the Arduino count the number of times the command was received.    I r

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A8 - MMS - Five Part Canon - MP3

A8 - MMS - Five Part Canon - MP3

Found a good example for using the JUMP command in MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM. Once the notes were entered, I started trying out the patches during playback and found one that seemed to brighten an otherwise dreary day.    Of course bells and strings can make any music sound like it was meant for the coming holiday's. This is FIVE PART CANON by Michael Praetorius(1571-1621).   Five Part Canon.mp3 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  

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Caverns of Zork - retro electronic music(ish)

Caverns of Zork - retro electronic music(ish)

Electronic music is a long standing interest that dates back to my 1970s Popular Electronic subscription.  Recently I was searching the Buffalo Library's database for the next episodes of Game of Thrones when I decided to search for electronic music.  One CD caught my eye with recordings from 9 BA(Before Atari). The list of LPs was much more extensive. That lead to the retrieval of my turn table from a friend, who was going to digitize his collection of LPs for the last 5 years.  I have bee

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A8 MMS programing drum tracks

A8 MMS programing drum tracks

I never really thought about it but a drummer has 2 hands and 2 feet; that's 4 percussion instruments that can be struck at the same time.  But are they really?   I'm no drummer so the best place to start programming drum patterns was using a book of drum patterns. I chose to start with 200 Drum Patterns by Rene-Pierre Bardet and a chart of the standard MIDI note number for the percussion instruments.   MIDI Music System was loaded up and a drum pattern was entered. Two or th

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A8 MMS Voice File Data Explanation

A8 MMS Voice File Data Explanation

Using MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM software to build music compositions seems to fit my skill set.  I'm not proficient at reading music but I can translate it.  My latest arrangement was a Celtic folk song for flute and drums.  Music was entered into MMS and a simple drum pattern was added.  It sounded terrible. Turns out that a synthesized flute doesn't need to breath and sounds very mechanical without those breaks.   Selected notes were shortened and rests were inserted to maintain timing and g

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Easy Atari Page Flipping - a tutorial

If you typed in your first BASIC "HELLO" program and  made some small modification then there's a chance you've been typing ever since.  I've had some time on my hands and read an old tutorial that begged to be inputted and modified.   COMPUTE! September 1983 contains the article  "Easy Atari Page Flipping" by Chris Allen.  It's  a program to demonstrate page flipping on the Atari with plenty of room for experimentation.   https://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue40/page_f

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Atari Monotone Synth -  software for AU2PORTA

Atari Monotone Synth - software for AU2PORTA

There were several issues left unresolved while programing the MIDI IN  interface for the ATARI8 joystick ports.  The first was to revert back to using the Cassette Motor Control pin on the SIO port for data flow control.  This was accomplished with the AU2PORTA shield design.     The second consideration was the startup default joystick pin status.  The joystick pins are set to high on startup and then grounded to zero by the joystick switches.  There is some reverse logic

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XBOX Controller With CX40 Cord mod

XBOX Controller With CX40 Cord mod

There I was, in garage sale heaven. Standing over a box of second hand XBOX controllers.  I got a little less excited when I noted how second hand they were. I thought I would salvage parts and asked, "How much?".  She said, "$2". I said, "OK."  He looked like he just lost an old friend and his wife was telling herself, "I should have said 3!"   Fast forward 16 months and I'm sorting them into a box labeled "electronic recycle" because I was to lazy to open them up for salvage.  One di

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Pocket Joystick Tester

Pocket Joystick Tester

Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you could check your joystick but your Atari game system or computer was not within reach? Maybe you’re at the flea market looking for a joystick. Maybe you’re at your work bench. Maybe you want to check out the broken joystick that your friend gave you to play with. Whatever the case, now you can build this portable pocket joystick tester to carry where ever you go. As projects go, they don’t get any simpler. The bigger you make the

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Ping)) / AU2PORTA Controls Atari pitch

Ping)) / AU2PORTA Controls Atari pitch

Back in January of 2015, I wanted of use a PING)) ultrasonic sensor to measure distance and send it to the Atari using the 850 - RS232 ports.  I initially thought that  I could move my hand in front of the sensor and the resulting change in desistance could be used to change the frequency of the sound command.  This might have worked if the SIO port could be used to make sound .AND. transmit data to the 850 interface at the same time. It doesn't. So, I forgot about the sound and just got the dis

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Ultra-sonic Range Finder -> Arduino -> RS232 -> Atari Computer

Ultra-sonic Range Finder -> Arduino -> RS232 -> Atari Computer

If capturing text from your Arduino to a terminal buffer is all you want to do, you are lucky. You may want to collect data and use it in your own programs. Unfortunately there are not a lot of example programs to learn from and the 850 interface manual can be cryptic for us mortals. Persistence does pay off. Usually the “let’s try this” style of debugging will eventually get you to the proper combination of port settings and program logic.   I wanted to hook up a sensor to the Arduino

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Arduino Shield For PORTA Input

Arduino Shield For PORTA Input

Over the years I've been using an Arduino UNO to setup data for transfer to the Atari Joystick ports.  The first attempt was to read the data from a  Wii nunchuk and translate it to joystick movements.  Lately I've been experimenting reading midi data using an Arduino Midi Shield, along with using the Cassette Motor Control pin on the SIO port as feedback to the Arduino. You may have read some of these blogs.   During the "Switched On POKEY" music experiments, there were many modificat

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A8 MIDI and the Atari Age of rediscovery

When I started the Computer Blues Project I really thought there was no way to program the MIDI MATE from BASIC and that using the RS232 port was an option. If you don't have a MIDI Mate or MIDI Max, it is an option. If you do, there are ways of programing BASIC MIDI applications for them. I am just now starting to discover those methods. That’s at the end of this blog story. Where to start? Once upon a time….. I wasn't going to replace the MIDI Mate I sold after getting the ST but whe

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SAM sings a round

There was a Korg microKorg under the Christmas tree last year; only because my wife wouldn't let me set it up in November when it was purchased. I did manage to get the manual out of the box before it was wrapped. So for a whole month I read the manual and watched youTube videos.   The microKorg has a vocoder. This suggested that the audio output from an Atari running SAM could be hooked up to the line-in on the Korg. Then the Korg could modifiy, modulate, or magically manipulate the signa

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Inside the Quick Shot II Turbo Joystick

I was surprised at the dismal condition my joysticks were in when I tested them with the Pocket Joystick Tester. When an LED did not light, I know it was broken but most of the time they would dim, blink, or change light intensity as the switches were activated. These are sure signs that the contacts need cleaning. If I’m going to clean the contacts I may as well take some pictures to share.       Quick Shot II Turbo   I’m not sure where I got this joystick or if it has ever been opened

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DH-100 - The Sound of Possible Music

Finally got the DH-100 digital horn telling the Atari8 what tones to make and when. There was a couple of times I didn't think it was going to happen. Luckily the compiled basic program runs fast enough to keep up with the filtered data from the Arduino. Some sound tests have been recorded and placed in the following ZIP file. sound checks.zip Nothing has been done to enhance the sound from the Pokey chip other then combining 2 channels to allow the use of 16 bits to define the tones.

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DH100 - Interface program / A8 - Frequency tables

I finished work on the last blog entry, unplugged the keyboard and plugged the digital horn. I was a little surprised to see how much data the breath pressure sensor(after touch) was being streamed to the Atari 8. Far more then it could keep up with. The Arduino needed to be reprogramed to reduce the number of bytes being send to the Atari8. The interface software was tested with the previous Atari 8 test program and it performed much better. The data seemed to make sense and it was diffic

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DH100 - MIDI Communication established

I was going to start writing my list of resolutions for 2018. Then I thought about writing about what I didn't accomplish in 2017. Then I decided to just work on programing the interface and get the Atari to read and print the MIDI data stream through the joystick port. I had high hopes of creating a midi monitor that would accept the data and print out the commands as they were received but all that extra code was getting in the way of finding errors. I was happy when I got the Atari8 and Ar

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The Casio DH-100 project plan

Between the time that the Casio DH-100 Digital Horn was introduced and todays prices on eBay, the price dropped to the point where it seemed to be a bargain. I was fortunate enough to have pulled the batteries (15 years ago), so there was a good chance that it would still work.   Now I want to build an Atari8 sound module to accept MIDI information from the DH-100's MIDI port(or any MIDI controller). The MIDI Implementation chart for the DH-100 is not extensive but the streaming of the ch

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