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N.K.Chavez

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About N.K.Chavez

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  1. I come back after a long hiatus of looking for work and dealing with some money issues and see this thread still has life left in it! I am tickled to see Bruce has uploaded the 1.0 ROM BIN. I'll get that flashed to my MicroExpander ASAP. I could have assembled it (maybe?) but now I don't have to. Cheers and thank you, Bruce. I haven't really done much with code or anything yet, but maybe I'll get a chance to flesh some more out once I get back to work. I did at least learn some more Z80 ASM (usually I'm a 6502 person) so I'm getting closer. Not much else to add right now, but tickled to see there's still action going on here. I'll check back in when I've made some more progress with something.
  2. Sorry for the long wait for replies. I've left the jumpers in the position they shipped in, jltursan. They were (luckily) already set correctly. The Dupont cables are temporary, but they fit fine for now. I am going to make a proper, short IDC ribbon cable for the USB module once I finish some other things. Unfortunately I discovered I had accidentally swapped IC2 and IC3 on the audio/joystick board of the Micro-Expander set, and when trying to rework them I seriously damaged the board. "Goodbye, traces. We'll miss you! Don't forget to write!" Part of me can't believe it took me so long to uncover the problem (lots of tracing, wondering why the machine would power on to a scrambled screen with the audio board attached, even if the AY-3-8910 chip was not present) when it was obvious even in the photos I shared here. In good news however, the soldering I had done all checked out, I have plenty more of the SMT chips, and another set of the Micro-Expander boards was only $20. I've already placed the order. In the meantime, I have been using just the ROM/RAM/USB board and having a lot of fun loading images made on my PC onto the Aquarius, tinkering with some visual effects (Aquarius Demoscene anyone?) and some blocky scrolling, and keeping myself from getting discouraged. It occurs to me that games with very large and complex levels could be loaded off the USB drive and into 32K-36K of RAM. It may be a while before I have everything back together (and I am trying to get my hands on a real mini-expander as well) but I will keep you all posted. This community makes me feel great, and this project has really upped my electronics skills even if I have made a flub or two. Cheers!
  3. Ask and you shall receive, jltursan. It's as assembled as it's gonna get for now, and working so far. (even my bodged capacitor placement since I couldn't handle the tiny SMT caps) I still need to get the female header sockets to attach the AY/Joystick board, but the AY chip is also still a couple weeks from arrival. RAM, ROM, address decoding, and USB are all working though. Here's some pics so far to thank you all for being so encouraging, including a graphic I generated with the BMP2AQ tool. The BASIC generated by BMP2AQ is loaded in to an emulator, then I saved the video RAM area as a file, then loaded that file straight off my USB drive on the real Aquarius. #Success
  4. Thanks for the speedy reply and helpful info, jltursan! I'm relieved to hear the BIN is correct (compiling the code would be a big change for me, as more of a hardware person) and that the TL866 will program the GAL. I will also triple check the pinout for the CH376 PCB when it arrives. If I have to get creative and make a cable or adapter or something, that's fine. I don't even have a cartridge shell to mount this board into anyway. I've attached the SRAM, the DS1233 reset controller, and the 40 pin AY chip socket to my boards today. Waiting on some other parts, but very happy that I've done the surface mount parts so far without trashing them and that my first major project build gets to be for the Aquarius. This forum and its members seem nice so I'll be sticking around.
  5. I'm incredibly late to the party, but I've just started building one of these thanks to a board set acquired from eBay and parts coming in a few at a time from all over the world. My soldering is atrocious, but I'm inspecting all my joints for bridges and toning them out to make sure they're not cold. I've got some pictures here of my awful work, but please be kind. 🤣 I've had to improvise without SMD capacitors (will probably just span the sockets diagonally across VCC and GND for most) but am getting it done. Only one SMT IC has arrived so far, and I managed to get it attached without mangling it and/or the board, so that was my biggest fear conquered. Moving on from there it's just a couple sockets and some headers attached so far. I've got a TL866 programmer which is supposed to be able to program the ROM, and a couple Winbond EEPROM chips of the right type. I think the TL866 can do the GAL chip, as well, or at least I sure hope it can as it's all I've got. My Aquarius is NTSC (I'm in the US anyway) and I am working on cracking it open soon to do a composite video mod and see about a power supply upgrade/replacement. From the schematics I've got it looks like -12V is only used for the printer port, so I may use a regulated 12V supply and maybe something more modern than a 7805 to step down to 5V from there. Who knows what I'll end up doing! Anyway, I just dropped in to say THANK YOU to this amazing group (and Bruce) for coming up with this, and to follow any new progress. I'm not sure if the last .BIN that he posted is the final software, or if I need to figure out how to compile the source code. Guess I'll have to cross that bridge sooner than later. Cheers, Aquarians, and here's looking forward to lots of fun on this old machine once I get this completed.
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