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About this blog

Hindsight and brain farts

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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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Wii CLASSIC CONTROLLER + ARDUINO = ATARI JOYSTICK

Since I was successful getting the Wii Nunchuk hooked up to the Joystick port I thought I would try the Wii Classic Controller (WCC). The hardware was simple, unplug the nunchuk attached to the Arduino project from my last blog and plug in the WCC. It was my poor choice of internet search criterial that gave me the most trouble.     I just needed to find the function library for the WCC. The first search pointed me to “playground.arduino.cc/Main/WiiClassicController”. This is a library cre

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When is a 410 not a 410?

When it’s a camouflaged storage box.                       It took me years of careful deliberation before I could gut one of my 410 Data Cassette Recorders. I finally came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to replace the belts just so I could play "Sammy the Sea Serpent". Why not put the case to good use and have it out on display?   My original thought was to turn it into a bank. Put a coin in front of the cassette door and have a hand reach out and grab the coin. Th

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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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Type & Talk, just 3 lines of BASIC Code

How many lines of Atari BASIC is required to make the Arduino shield from the last blog post talk? 3 lines - type some text, hit return, send text to the 850 interface and repeat. The Arduino receives the text, does a little reformatting, then sends that string to the XFS5051CE chip for speech synthesis. This isn't just for the Atari8, any computer with an RS232 port can be made to chit-chat. The Shield is going to use the Serial pins 0 and 1 to talk to the Arduino. A TTL to RS232 converte

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Torpedo Projector - screen shots

The Torpedo Projector has been sitting on the shelf for a few years. The instructions were written around 2007 and that's about how long its been sitting on the shelf. I played a couple of games of Star Raiders on the 6 foot screen, but I can't believe I was overly impressed since that was the last time it was out of the box.     For playing your 1980's video game machines that have a composite output, you might be happy with one of these toys. Just keep your expectations low. After a

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Tired of the Blues

How much can you change a program before it becomes a different program? I believe I have reached that point with Computer Blues. Version 4 got rid of the base repeats and Version 5 gave each voice its own channel and different patches for the JAM() and base notes. Fixing the timing can be done but would require a major rewrite.   Here are the resulting sound and program files for Version 5. MIDI Computer Blues 5 - 3 channels.zip These are the changes made to version 4 to produce Versio

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The Voice Synthesizer - before I move on

Getting the DFRobot voice synthesis shield working was an interim project until I could justify the procurement of a Wizztronics MidiMax unit. Now that it is here I want to get the last experiments documented, in case I ever want to turn the shield into a MIDI device. The last modification to the type and talk program added the ability to re-transmit the last words typed, if just hit the return. The program is still 3 lines of BASIC. 100 DIM A$(200),B$(200):CLOSE #1:OPEN #1,8,0,"R2:":XIO

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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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The $42+$10+$7 Voice Synthesizer

Warning: This entry is about the hardware of an ongoing project. It may create more questions then answers. Please post any answers, along with the question, in the comment section.   Be careful what you put on your Amazon Wish list. You just might get it. Before the holidays I loaded mine up with Arduino shields, breakout boards, servo motors and 2n2222 transistors. The speech synthesis shield for Arduino from DFROBOT was put on list without doing much research. No ratings or reviews sho

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Soldering Arduino Shield Stackable Header Pins

The more you play around with Arduino circuits for your Atari8 the more likely it is that you will be soldering stackable header pins onto prototype boards. The better the solder job, the easier it is to stack your boards. No mater how many times I try I haven't seen an improvement in my skill set. At lease not until I built this LEGO fixture to hold the pins perpendicular to the board while soldering.   The fixture uses LEGO Technic parts. They are all standard parts. Attached is the buil

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SIO2MIDI - Home Made MIDI Interface.atr

A disk image with Chris Terpin's Home Made MIDI Interface(1991) had been downloaded at some point during the MIDI Blues project and was not examined until now. The disk contained a text file giving a brief (and somewhat incomplete) explanation of how to build the MIDI I/O circuits and hook it up to the SIO port. That was Part 1 of 2, I'm wondering what part 2 of 2 might have said.   This is a message thread in the Forum that contains a link to an FTP site in response #9. Look for "Home Ma

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Seiko RC-1000 Watch Terminal <– Atari RS232 connection

Back in the day, I started writing Atari BASIC software to edit and transmit data to a Seiko RC-1000 Wrist Terminal Watch. This may have been the only time an Atari 8Bit, 850 interface, and RC-1000 were in the same room and if it happens again, you may want the following information to write a proper editor.           The RC-1000s are being listed on eBay for around $250 to $2,500; I got mine while Seiko was liquidating their inventory at around $50. There were Apple, Comm.64, and IBM

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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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S.A.M. Word Editor v1.0

I wanted to get my collection of SAM programs organized on the PC using my new Atarimax SIO2PC. I’m not sure how large the collection was but some of the disks were unreadable. SAM worked fine with DOS 2.5 and got RECITER working after remembering to boot with a translator disk. I guess at some point while running SAYIT.BAS I decided a better phonetic word editor would be nice. Once started I just couldn’t stop.   What I did was put the phonetic spelling chart on the screen. The dictionary s

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S.A.M. RAAKS YUW

I've added a third computer to the MIDI chain. Computer #1 plays drums, and Computer #2 runs S.A.M. and Computer #3 plays the lead, . Each computer had a specific BASIC program written to read data from the joystick ports. For this example, Queen's -" We Will Rock You" was arranged for the three computers. You can listen to the MP3 file and then decide if you want to read about the how. SAM Rocks - mp3.zip   COMPUTER #0 - Control The music was entered using the MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM softwar

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RTC v2.1

I wanted the RTC project to be over but it wasn't long before daylight savings kicked in and I needed to reset the clock. All I wanted to do was be able to run a program on the Atari8 to set the time on the RTC and then have it rerun the SETCLOCK.BAS to update the clock on the Atari8.   And as long as I was going to do that I may as well reconfigure the hardware and………. . So by the time I was finished it needed to be called version 2.1.   Hardware: When I found Arduino Uno clones for $6.50

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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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Relay Boards under Atari 8bit control

Seems not so long ago if you wanted to control a relay switch through your Atari 8bit joystick port, you had to build the hardware from scratch. Not anymore. Now you can buy circuit boards with 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16 relays. A couple more parts and you've got what it takes to control your world.     Search Amazon with the key words Arduino Relay for an idea of what is readily available. I ended up with a SainSmart 4 channel relay board not because it was the best but because I wanted to get one

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Radio Controlled Mini Car = 4 Atari digital inputs

Radio controlled mini cars don’t last forever. Sometimes they get stepped on and sometimes the battery won’t charge anymore. In any case, when the radio transmitter and receiver still work, it may be an opportunity to hack a 4 output digital controller.     The receiver unit is from a Bensu Mini Racer. They all seem to have slightly different electronics under the hood but most serve the same functions; forward, reverse, right and left. IR control systems for these cars may pose unkno

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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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Nunchuk Your Way To a Better Pac-man Score

While playing Pac-man with a standard Atari Joystick, how often have you missed a turn? I may have a solution, if its due to pushing the joystick to far off the four directional axis. If its due to a slow reaction time then you're still on your own.   I noted while playing Pac-man that my granddaughter would rotate the joystick base and start pushing the joystick into the diagonal directions(and so was I to a lesser extent). When 2 directional buttons on the joystick are pressed Pac-man determ

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NUNCHUK + ARDUINO = ATARI JOYSTICK

The Arduino is an open source microprocessor system that is being used to by many hobbyist and hackers for what seems to be endless possibilities. One such possibility is to read the data from a Wii Nunchuk and send it to a computer through the USB port. This is explained very well on the Arduino web site.     What I have done is to manipulate the input from the Wii Nunchuk and send it out to the Joystick port to mimic the classic Atari Joystick.   I would rather think of this write-up

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