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jaybird3rd

The MBX Expansion System

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That pic is all wrong! I'm pretty sure the person putting the grab on ain't equipped with no stick!

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I had an MBX back in the day, and all the games too. It's all gone now though. I never programmed for it, but I did use it quite a bit. I seem to remember the analog joystick working for normal TI games. Am I right?

 

Darryl

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I had an MBX back in the day, and all the games too. It's all gone now though. I never programmed for it, but I did use it quite a bit. I seem to remember the analog joystick working for normal TI games. Am I right?

 

Darryl

While I guess anything is possible in 2017 (maybe the file attached earlier to this thread will help), but no, the MBX joystick will only work with MBX games.

 

It was one of my chief disappointments with the device when I bought one back in the day. I only had two MBX cartridges at the time (Terry Turtle came with the unit (for some reason Baseball wasn't included in the one I got) and I picked-up Sewermania) and I remember being annoyed that I couldn't use the joystick on anything else.

 

If there were more units out there, I'm sure one of the AtariAge TI-wizards would have a whole slew of compatible programs for us, but alas, the MBX doesn't show up often, and when it does, it is usually "collector" priced (and IMHO $150-$200 US is just too much for a gadget that only supports 10 cartridges - 4 of which are pre-school games, and all but 2 of which work perfectly well without the unit...)

 

If Starship Pegasus (aka Space Zap), Mail Drop, Green Muck, Football and Tennis had been released as planned, there might be a bit more value in an MBX, but the way I see it, the only reason to buy one nowadays is the bragging rights of owning one.

 

Sure would love to play Baseball though!

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While I guess anything is possible in 2017 (maybe the file attached earlier to this thread will help), but no, the MBX joystick will only work with MBX games.

 

It was one of my chief disappointments with the device when I bought one back in the day. I only had two MBX cartridges at the time (Terry Turtle came with the unit (for some reason Baseball wasn't included in the one I got) and I picked-up Sewermania) and I remember being annoyed that I couldn't use the joystick on anything else.

 

If there were more units out there, I'm sure one of the AtariAge TI-wizards would have a whole slew of compatible programs for us, but alas, the MBX doesn't show up often, and when it does, it is usually "collector" priced (and IMHO $150-$200 US is just too much for a gadget that only supports 10 cartridges - 4 of which are pre-school games, and all but 2 of which work perfectly well without the unit...)

 

If Starship Pegasus (aka Space Zap), Mail Drop, Green Muck, Football and Tennis had been released as planned, there might be a bit more value in an MBX, but the way I see it, the only reason to buy one nowadays is the bragging rights of owning one.

 

Sure would love to play Baseball though!

Well, I'm going to brag... I own one :)

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Well, I'm going to brag... I own one :)

OK, I admit it, I suffer from brag envy (for the reason Opry99er stated as well as being able to use the dial (or whatever the rotating thingy at the top of the stick is called) for Superfly)

 

AND in case MBX Tennis and Football ever make a surprise appearance (don't laugh, none of us ever expected to be playing Tutankham or Robotron 2048 on real iron until recently, now they're a staple in nearly everyone's collection)

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..., none of us ever expected to be playing Tutankham or Robotron 2048 on real iron until recently...

 

Currently Tutankham requires an UberGROM with an Atmel1284P and an AT49F040 at a cost of around $40.00 per cartridge.

It will be interesting to see if it can be converted for the FinalGROM 99 in the future. If possible, anyone will be able to download it and run it nearly instantly.

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Championship Baseball makes it worth the $$$.

Amen to that! After drooling over the MBX and Championship Baseball in the Triton and Tenex flyers BITD, finally landed a system a few years ago and can honestly say it exceeded my expectations. What a great combination to be sure and such a blast to play! Paid $150 for mine and was worth every penny. :love:

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Currently Tutankham requires an UberGROM with an Atmel1284P and an AT49F040 at a cost of around $40.00 per cartridge.

It will be interesting to see if it can be converted for the FinalGROM 99 in the future. If possible, anyone will be able to download it and run it nearly instantly.

 

 

5 GROM Banks and 1 ROM bank is what is required. Should work in the UberGROM as well as the FinalGROM99.

 

From the best understanding that I have of the two (and if I'm wrong, someone please call me out):

 

FinalGROM99:

  • has 512K of RAM for 64 banks or 56 banks + 5 GROMs

UberGROM:

  • has 512K of ROM for 64 banks of ROM + 120K of GROM (5 GROMs per GROM base in the GROMLOAD program, I believe, so 40K with 8K ROMs or 30K with 6K ROMs with all five full in one base. Someone else will have to explain "the idiot's guide to multiple GROM Bases", because I've never really dug into it.)
  • Full specs:
  • 120k of GROM (re-writable in system with GROMCFG or custom user code, 256 bytes at a time)

    15k of GRAM

    4k of "G"EEPROM (or Non-volatile GRAM if you like, writable by single bytes, though 260 bytes are used for configuration.)

    4 General Purpose 5v Input/output pins, user-configurable

    4 8-bit analog to digital inputs

    1 high speed UART with 256 byte read and write buffers

    1 continuously running 16-bit 7.8KHz timer

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Multiple GROM bases is analogous to bank switching, except all the banks are available all the time. Just pretend you have 16 cartridge ports, each accessed at a different address in the CPU's memory. That's exactly what it is, except there's only one cartridge port and the cartridge itself is responsible for figuring out which one you really wanted.

 

I guess the only other datapoint worth noting is the UberGROM was intended for new cartridge production, while the FinalGROM99 is intended to be a multicart. :)

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I keep hunting around for an MBX system but they're hard to find!

 

My dad had one when i was a kid. We had Championship Baseball, Bigfoot, I'm Hiding, and maybe one or two other games.

 

As an aside, Bigfoot runs super even without the MBX if you have sticks and a speech synthesizer. :)

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You'll need ask Ralph for specific technical data since he's the genius behind this, but AFAIK with my limited knowledge, there are two normal modes to the FinalGROM. In the first mode it behaves more like a 1K ROM cartridge with 1028 banks of 8K. In the second mode, for GROM or mixed images, the top 8 upper banks (64K) are reserved for GROM code leaving 960K for ROM code, so out of the 8 only 5 are normally used. Now I guess there is also a RAM mode that loses contents when powered down, that might be similar to an early non-battery backed Super Cartridge.

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Luckily, I own one too but have never yet found the time to try it out. Maybe I should re-organize my priorities! :lolblue:

It came with all the games also!

 

Unfortunately it did not come with its awesome looking joystick controller. Maybe someday I will find one!

Edited by Diecrusher

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Luckily, I own one too but have never yet found the time to try it out. Maybe I should re-organize my priorities! :lolblue:

It came with all the games also!

 

Unfortunately it did not come with its awesome looking joystick controller. Maybe someday I will find one!

whaaaat, you OWN one but never used it? :_( ;)

 

hehehe- really cool. hope you find time!

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I had the opportunity to buy an MBX system all the way back in 1993, at a computer show in Salt Lake City....I think the guy selling it wanted too much (I offered $100, he wanted $300 or thereabouts...) Oh well.

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While I guess anything is possible in 2017 (maybe the file attached earlier to this thread will help), but no, the MBX joystick will only work with MBX games.

 

It was one of my chief disappointments with the device when I bought one back in the day. I only had two MBX cartridges at the time (Terry Turtle came with the unit (for some reason Baseball wasn't included in the one I got) and I picked-up Sewermania) and I remember being annoyed that I couldn't use the joystick on anything else.

 

If there were more units out there, I'm sure one of the AtariAge TI-wizards would have a whole slew of compatible programs for us, but alas, the MBX doesn't show up often, and when it does, it is usually "collector" priced (and IMHO $150-$200 US is just too much for a gadget that only supports 10 cartridges - 4 of which are pre-school games, and all but 2 of which work perfectly well without the unit...)

 

If Starship Pegasus (aka Space Zap), Mail Drop, Green Muck, Football and Tennis had been released as planned, there might be a bit more value in an MBX, but the way I see it, the only reason to buy one nowadays is the bragging rights of owning one.

 

Sure would love to play Baseball though!

 

 

Check out post 15 on this very thread! (Just a page back...)

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/172843-the-mbx-expansion-system/

to see the work Barry Boone did to enable programmers in Extended Basic to use the facilities of the MBX Games Unit.

Never forget: Only plug the MBX unit into your console when the console is powered off. It is not hot pluggable.

regards

Stephen

Edited by blackbox
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since its easier to search for a thread than start a new one- i had a random thought in the airport while waiting for my flight.

 

I wonder, given the specs on the first page, if it'd be possible to reverse-engineer the MBX console itself and make an 'after market' MBX new folks could buy without waiting for one on ebay.

 

Full disclosure, this is more a talking point than anything as i am *not* electronically capable for the most part other than novice soldering.

Edited by digdugnate

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I always wanted to play Championship Baseball on one of these. Someday, when a bunch of NOS are discovered in South America maybe icon_smile.gif

 

As far as programming homebrews for it... yeah, that would be all fine and dandy. FOR THE THREE FRIGGIN' PEOPLE THAT OWN AN MBX! icon_rolling.gif

 

four

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four

sure, sure, gloat :P (i kid)

 

i've been watching them on ebay- theres been a couple of really nice looking ones for $300 but im just not sure if i'd be willing to commit for that.

 

plus... if my wife saw that i might be sleeping with the MBX for the forseeable future.

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