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About this blog

Hindsight and brain farts

Entries in this blog

 

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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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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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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Controlling the Cassette Motor Control Bit on the A8

The Cassette Motor Control(CMC) bit in the Port A Controller (PACTL ($D302)) address is going to be used as feed back from the Atari8 to the Arduino in the digital horn project. This bit controls the logic state of Pin 8 on the SIO port. This bit has been used to control the data cassette motor. If you're not using the bit to load data from the cassette it is free to be used for other purposes. Put a music tape into a 410 and play 1 audio track through the Monitor or sound system. MIDIMAX u

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DH100-->A8 MIDI Interface

I have 9 optocouplers setup to receive data from the Arduino for the SAM Rock You project. Eight for the MIDI data byte from the Arduino and 1 to signal the Trigger when new data is ready to be read by the Atari8. A tenth optocoupler needs to be added so that the A8 can let the Arduino know that it is ready for the next byte.   That 10th optocoupler can indicate the status set using the Cassette Motor Control. The Cassette Motor Control line on the SIO port (Pin8) is used to turn the casse

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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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CRUTCHFIELD Spring 1982 catalog

A co-worker gave me his copy of the Spring 1982 Crutchfield catalog knowing I was looking into buying my first computer. This catalog contained 15 pages of Atari product information (page93-107). I was impressed with the graphics capabilities but the onscreen lower case letters made the 800 my first computer. I have never regretted that decision.   Recently I was reminiscing and noticed the catalog pages yellowing. Before it turned to dust seemed like a good time to scan and share. The enti

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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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MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM and Two Synth Drums

A second Atari8 running SYNDRUM3.BAS was added to the MIDI chain without timing problems. There didn't seem to be a delay between the sounds from the two computers when playing 2 drum sounds on the same beat. Listen to the drum patterns and judge for yourself. Two Drum mp3s.zip THE SECOND DRUM Since the SYNDRUM program only allows one percussion sound, I pulled my first 130XE out of storage to be used as a second percussion sound source. The broken keyboard was replaced with a Transkey

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MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM and one Synth Drum

Last time the MIDI keyboard was talking to the Atari 8 running SYNDRUM3.BAS. This time the MIDI keyboard will be replaced by an Atari8 running MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM software(MMS). I needed to estimate the SYNDURM program's ability to respond to some faster tempos.   I have a good idea of the SYNDRUM software's capabilities but had to take a step back and organize the equipment and cords. With the addition of the mixer, the number of audio cords draped around the work area grew to the point I co

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My Ultimate Atari8 MIDI Rack

I was getting a second Atari 8bit operational to use as a MIDI SynthDrum sound module controlled by the first running the MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM and MIDIMAX, when I had to leave for a babysitting gig in Rochester. I knew I would have some free time and took a pencil and paper to sketch out a plan for my ultimate 8-bit MIDI rack. At the end of the day the sketch looked like this. The control computer with the MIDI software transmits MIDI data to several Arduino processors with MIDI shields.

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Drum Synth- Antic 2/85, MIDIfied

Drum Synth/Bass Synth by Glen Gutierrez are 2 programs featured in the Antic Feb. 1985 issue. Antic Editor: "These are the most realistic instrument simulations we've ever heard at Antic." The Drum Synth program has been MIDIfied to except data from an Arduino+MIDI shield through the joystick port. Now the drums can be beat from a MIDI keyboard(MKB) or sequencer. Software: The chart follows the data from the MIDI NOTE ON source to the Atari Computer running the Drum program. The gene

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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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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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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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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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How to play Star Raiders with a 3 year old

My wife tells me that our three year old granddaughter may be a little to young to enjoy a game of Star Raiders. To which I said, "You may be right." And then I put the cartridge in. I have to admit that the first try was not all that successful. I gave her the joystick and she found the fire button. She just kept firing till she hit something. I told her it was a rock and then everything she hit was a rock. I worked the keyboard while she fired away. She wasn't much of a pilot, the joyst

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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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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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Implementing the MIDI Implementation Chart

Playing MIDI notes has turned out to be quite easy for Atari BASIC through the RS232-Arduino-MIDI OUT (RAMO) interface (see previous posts in this blog). Most MIDI instruments have additional functions beyond receiving the note ON and note OFF commands. Each MIDI instrument should come with a MIDI Implementation Chart (MIDI-IC) that will indicate which functions are implemented. The MIDI-IC for the CASIO CTK-481 will be used to build some BASIC programs to control the CTK-481. That is to

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A8 Wind Chimes - Gentle Breeze in C minor

There is a sound recording of the first attempt to simulate wind chimes within the following .ZIP file. It was recorded using Window 10's Voice Recorder. The A8 used Atari BASIC's RND(0) function to pick note, volume, and delay values for the chime strikes. Then sent the MIDI data to the Yamaha TG33 Tone Generator, Preset 2 #87 PC*Bells. You don't need the A8 setup to hear the recording. Its in .m4a format. A8 Wind Chimes - Gentle Breeze in C minor.zip If you are interested in the A8 sid

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Better Blues - MIDI Computer Blues V3

After listening to MIDI Computer Blues V2, I decided to try to simulate some wind chimes but before that was going to happen I had to be able to transmit data at a faster rate. If the tempo of MIDI Computer Blues V2 could be improved there was a chance of making the wind chimes sound real. The Arduino Uno interface loop() was shortened to two lines. I didn't think this was going to make much of a difference and it didn't. /*RS232 to MIDI v2 - 9/14/16 * Pack007 * * This program reads bytes

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MIDI Computer Blues - V2.0

After hearing Computer Blues through a MIDI synthesizer, I can understand how some parents feel while hearing their child's first recital. Its not so much listening to the music as it is hearing the potential.   It is in this spirit that I post these zipped sound files. Atari computer blues 8.m4a - the original sound from the A8 with 8 as the speed Midicb piano.m4a - recorded the Casio CKT-481 synth at speed 1 Midich organ.m3q - Organ sound Midich organ and dr

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