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  1. I like collecting systems and accessories for them. So when I heard about the Intellivision ESC, I started to look for one, and.. I may be able to get one. Tho, I try to collect things I can enjoy and play, and not having "dust catcher" pieces of hardware that would make the joy of someone else. I heard there is 6 games that use the ECS; of these, were all 6 released in Europe? Just wondering. And more important; since the ECS got a standard "tape data" interface, is there homebrew games using the ECS capabilities? Or maybe, homebrew games for regular Intellivision available in MP3 format to feed to the ECS? If not, does some community or developer plan to make some ECS games? If not, what do you consider being a fair price for an ECS with the keyboard (not the music one) and boxed?
  2. Introduction The ECS has two different keyboards you can connect to it: The alphanumeric keyboard and the synthesizer keyboard. This topic intends to describe the process of reading both, as well as to provide useful code for reading each. If you just want to use the code, you can skip most of this post and just download the code. You don't need the low level detail to use the code. I'm providing the low-level detail so that you can understand the code if you want to, or write your own routines if you want to. Hardware Background The ECS provides a second sound chip to the Intellivision (AY-3-8917), which is similar to the AY-3-8914 in the Master Component, only mapped at $00Fx rather than $01Fx. Like the Master Component's sound chip, the ECS's provides two 8-bit I/O ports. (Side note: David "Papa Intellivision" Chandler's recently released documentation indicates that the AY-3-8914 was modified at some point to make its I/O ports input-only, unlike every other variant of the device with I/O ports. That is not relevant to this discussion; the AY-3-8917's I/O ports are bidirectional. It is an interesting historical footnote, though.) Introduction to Matrix Scanning Both keyboards connect to the AY-3-8917's 8-bit I/O ports. Both keyboards employ a basic technique called matrix scanning. The basic idea is simple. Making a matrix-scanned keyboard takes four steps: Construct a grid of "row lines" and "column lines". Connect your keyboard switches so that each one connects one "row line" to one "column line" when closed. Connect an output port to the "rows", so that you can selectively drive one row at a time. Connect an input port to the "columns", so that you can see what switches are closed on any given row when that row is driven. That gives you a basic matrix-scanned keyboard. Here's a simple example of a 3x3 keyboard with the keys A through I. (Note: This is just meant to be an example; it is not the actual ECS keyboard matrix.) When you press 'A' in this example keyboard, it connects Row 0 to Col 0. When you press 'I', it connects Row 2 to Col 2. To read such a keyboard, you need to scan each of the rows, one at a time, reading the columns after each. To start, you drive Row 0, and then read the columns. If one of the switches is closed in that row, then the signal on the Row 0 line will show up on the appropriate column. For example, if you press "B", then you'll see a signal on column 1. Next, you switch to driving Row 1 (and stop driving Row 0), and read the columns. And so forth. Now, the observant will notice I left out a couple details in the diagram and description above. Now to add those back in. In the Intellivision, the keyboards use an "active low" scheme to scan the keyboard. That is, each row and column have pull-up resistors on them that cause them to read as 1 by default. So, to drive a row, you need to set that row's bit to 0. To detect a driven column, you need to look for a 0 in that column's bit. Problems (and Solutions) with Matrix Scanning Refer back to the example matrix above. What happens when you press multiple keys at the same time? Let's say you press A and E at the same time. When you scan Row 0, you'll see Col 0 light up, and when you scan Row 1, you'll see Col 1 light up, as in the following diagrams. So far, so good. Now what happens when you also press B in addition to A and E? Let's scan Row 0: We light up Row 0, and both Col 0 and Col 1 light up as we expect. But, the fuschia line above shows another line that gets lit up... Row 1! So far, that hasn't caused a problem. But if your Spidey Sense is tingling, telling you that things are about to go horribly wrong, you'd do well to listen to it. Let's scan Row 1 and watch it go pear shaped: Since we've only pressed E in Row 1, we only want to see Col 1 light up. But, because the switches at B and A are also closed, we also have a complete circuit to Col 0, so both Col 0 and Col 1 light up. It looks to us as if both D and E are pressed at the same time. Oops! This is sometimes called "ghosting," and can happen whenever you press keys on three corners of a rectangle in the keyboard matrix. It turns out that there's an easy fix for this: Diodes! Now, partly because I'm lazy, partly because I'm still learning Inkscape and partly because I want to keep the diagram general, I'm just going to represent the diodes as rectangles below. The direction they face depends on whether you use an active-low scheme, like the Intellivision, or an active-high scheme. And, it depends on whether you scan by row (as we have so far) or scan by column. (More on this in a moment.) With diodes, the keyboard matrix looks like this: Now if we press A, B and E, everything works like you expect, because the diodes block the ghost paths: Even though B lights up when we light up Row 1, the diode prevents that from inadvertently lighting up Row 0 and flowing (via the switch at A) to Col 0. What's in the Intellivision's ECS Keyboards? Both ECS keyboards are basic matrix scanned keyboards. The alphanumeric keyboard is a simple 48-key matrix with no diodes. There are 49 actual keys, but the "Shift" keys are wired to the same row/column in the matrix. If you press the wrong keys at the same time, you will see ghosting. The following diagram gives the matrix for this keyboard: You'll notice Row 6 only has the shift key, and Row 7 is empty. Also, there's no key associated with Row 0/Col 7. The synthesizer keyboard, on the other hand, is a diode-filled 49-key matrix. This allows you to press whatever keys you like, without restrictions, and without ghost paths. The piano keys are mapped to matrix points in a very straight forward manner, so I won't bother with a matrix diagram. The lowest note on the keyboard corresponds to Col 0, Row 0, and the highest note is in Col 0, Row 6. [TO BE CONTINUED: Since this post is getting fairly lengthy, I am going to save what I have, and then resume with an edit.]
  3. Hello all, I'm relatively new to this forum so hope this hasn't already been answered somewhere else. I acquired two Intellivision ECS synthesizers over the course of the last year or so over eBay (one U.S. white version and the other the European brown version). I only have the white U.S. ECS console to play with them both (for now; some day hope to have the European console as well). All of the keys on both synthesizers work and appear to depress normally. The white synthesizer works 100% perfectly where you push down the key once and hold it plays one continuous note; no problem. When I push down any of the brown synthesizer keys about half of the time the note plays like the white version I have. The other half of the time, however (doesn't matter which key I push), the brown synthesizer will quickly play the same note two or three times in succession with only one key depression where you hold it, so the keys appear to be much more sensitive. Also, if you hold down a key on the brown synthesizer and subtly "wobble" your finger back and forth on the key it will play multiple notes, whereas this does not happen with the white one at all. Is this normal for the brown one to be so much more "sensitive" when depressing keys than the white version or does it probably need some degree of maintenance to have the keys become less sensitive like the white one? Could I be missing or need replacement of some sort of part in the brown synthesizer to help not make the keys so sensitive to play? Is there anywhere we can send a synthesizer to in order to have it repaired if it needs to be assessed by a technician? I assume that this is not due to the fact I am using a white ECS with a brown synthesizer as the different ECS versions should not work differently than the other? Any thoughts you have would be most appreciated.
  4. Introducing Inty ECS GPS https://youtu.be/_8zZaOlPb58 Have you ever wanted to hook up your Intellivision to GPS? Now you can! The hardware setup for the Inty ECS GPS software is: Intellivision ECS GPS unit that outputs Garmin TextOut serial data, set to 1200 baud, 8N1 Cable that adapts ECS AUX to serial (Tx/Rx version) Cable wiring: ECS ECS DE-9 Signal Plug pin ------ ------ ---- Tx Tip 2 (optional, not used by Inty ECS GPS) Rx Ring 3 GND Sleeve 5 Note: the cable in the video also has internal loopback on the DE-9 for when it is plugged into a PC, but this is not relevant to connecting to the GPS hardware. This project grew out of my studying of the ECS's UART registers, which were poorly understood. As far as I know, this program demonstrates the first time in decades that anyone has read data from the AUX port into the ECS (writing out the AUX port previously known from the ECS's printer code in ROM). I eventually plan to present more formal register documentation later. For eager/curious developers, the source code here contains preliminary definitions of the registers and bit-fields. Since further research is still being done, expect some of the bit-field names to change in the future. For example, one unnamed bit field has recently been observed to change values but is still not fully understood at this time. ROM and source code provided below. Inty_ECS_GPS.zip
  5. Well, I spotted an ECS on Ebay, and since I like the Intelli quite a bit, I decided to buy it, for the joy of collectionning. Now, I just wonder if there is homebrews planned to use the ECS features? Either fully ECS-only games or game featuring enhanced sound or something else (I don't think it's possible to have better graphisms à la Vidéopac+, but who knows?) like 4 players games?
  6. Hello! I’m starting a BRAND-NEW COLLECTION of archival materials (overlays, rules booklets, ancilliary items, and game cartridge boxes) for the INTELLIVISION video game computer system. This new project will take me quite some time, so—I’ll set up my 1st relevant post. I uploaded a .SVG template for an INTELLIVISION game overlay on Google Drive; please click on this link: https://drive.google.com/drive/#folders/0B126UWeG-OsRN0Zlc0UtNXo4T2M/0B126UWeG-OsRSnFrNlBtdjVqeFU/0B126UWeG-OsROTJFQkE5c3NtTkU/0B126UWeG-OsRfmRibU9VTXZSWUhZSl9lWU4ycVpiR0F6enV2WHEzNU4zeE9tcDY0TVktdDQ Intellivision Overlay Template—.SVG When you do use it in your graphics application, please select the whole overlay template, and select UNGROUP to break apart the separate elements to make editing easier. After doing your overlay design, select ALL the separate elements, and select GROUP to reconnect them into a SINGLE item. Choose SAVE AS, and enter an appropriate filename ([GAMENAME]_overlay.SVG) Thank You!
  7. Looking for an Intellivision ECS in good working order. No box needed. A good working power supply would be a bonus, but apparently I can get by with an Atari 1050 power supply.
  8. Time for another Cmart mini-collection. This time we'll look at all the ECS games, including all variations, as well as all the hardware. Let's start with an overview of everything. (Except the bloody ECS Synths, which I forgot about and had to include later). This includes all the variations of the 6 games, 13 in total, plus the two new Intelligentvision games just for fun (and completeness ). There are also two versions of the ECS Computer Module, the more common white version (the North American release), and the less common brown version (for PAL land). There are also white and brown versions of the ECS Music Synth, but strangely they both come in the box with the white Synth on the front. For reasons I'm not clear on, I now seem to be able to only post one picture per post, so I'm going to take up the next nine posts to fill in the details. And now for the usual disclaimer....if anyone finds something ECS related that I don't have, you know what to do. I'll make it worth your while. (In trade Rev, and by that I mean games.)
  9. Hello, y’all! I recently started doing mock-ups with Elektronite’s new Intellivision Graphics Tile Editor (INTV GTE); so far, I did several title screens and playfield screens. I’d like to learn how to create animated sprites (the moving objects in the video games)—how do I go about it?! I do know about the 8 animated sprites limit per video game. Thank You!
  10. Looking to purchase an ECS Computer Module with Keyboard and Power Adapter for the Intellivision. Hope you can help.
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