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(Hardware) Project of the 'calendar quarter'

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How many of you would be interested in taking part in an online 'group hardware project'?

 

The idea would be to gather interest and settle on a project a month or so in advance, commit to purchasing parts in a 'group buy' (+1) and then when we receive our kits, we all start building our projects together.

 

This could be a learning experience for some, and just plain fun for others. In the end we'll all have something new our TI setups! :thumbsup:

 

In << THIS >> old poll, it showed a lot of us already have soldering irons! :)

post-35324-0-94110400-1441062710.jpg

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Hmmm... How about we source some arcade parts and build some Arcade-style box joys, wired up correctly for the TI?

 

Bonus goes to the best TI-related side-art. :)

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My joystick has leaf switches, but the only affordable ones I've been able to locate are these switch type. The seller as a large enough quantity that everyone could get the same type: << HERE >>

 

$_57.JPG$_57.JPG?rt=nc

 

 

If this is the route people decide to go, do you think it would be better to just make a single stick with an A/B switch?

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Small projects are perhaps best done on an individual basis as too many Cooks can spoil the broth, with the occasional input from others ?

 

Larger more complex project are probably better suited to a group build where the work load and ideas can be shared out ?

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The Obvious PROJECT is build a completely NEW TI-99/4A .. the way it should of been built .. with more RAM , better graphics etc , yet still 100% backwards compatible.

 

TMS9900 CPU (as in original)

TIM9904A

TMS9901s

TMS9902s to give serial I/O

MORE RAM

MORE ROM

possibly even using a 74LS612 Memory Mapper?

Cartridge Slot as in original

V9958 video with 192K VRAM

SN76489 PSG

YMZ284 (AY-3-8910) Sound Chip

Real Time Clock

Maths FPU (AM9511 or similar) to speed up maths functions

8255 PIO for internal PATA IDE (CF card or Hard-Drive)

etc etc

 

Have a Turbo Mode where the TMS9900 is clocked at 16MHz(4MHz internall) , done by software.

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You can now get a single chip containing 2 MB static ram, I would like to see a board using a 9900 running at one of 2 speeds selected by the clock on/off external instructions, 2 MB Ram, no cartridge port, no GPL roms, no GROMs and no storage of data in the extremely limited amount of video ram, socket for F18A, sound chip(s) PS/2 sockets for KBD and Mouse 2 DB9 sockets for joysticks, a circuit to provide 300 interrupts per second for operating system functions, 2 serial ports, 2 parallel ports and designed to fit in the PEB replacing the firehose, 32k ram and serial port cards.

A new multitasking graphical operating system with mouse control would be written for the machine, taking advantage of the fast context switching possible on the 9900.

I know "it will not be a 99/4a" but you already have several of them and choose to use emulators instead.

Also 2 PATA Disk on modules for storage.

Edited by mnbvcxz

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True, I was thinking a much smaller scale, basically something new that could easily be banged out every four months or so. My reasoning was to keep things active, get more hardware into peoples hands as well as encourage active participation and growth.

 

With a four month project window, those who are not interested in a specific project would not have to wait an extended period of time for the next project. While one project is going, I also kind of hoped at some point one or two of the 'big guns' might see this as an opportunity to let loose a project or two along the way with a group buy on boards.

 

In a future projects, I'd like to build a simple 512K cart and see some new fantastic programs developed for it... I was actually thinking this would be a great timeline exploit to get ready for that new cartridge game in development. ;) Who knows more people might even decide to buy burners after a build like that and everyone would benefit. I think Arcadeshopper carries the boards... although now that I think about it, they may be pre-built. Heck there are lot's of little projects like PS/2 keyboard adapter for example.

 

Down the road I can even envision people building their own SAMS card (or something else) and the beauty of others doing it at the same time is that the newbies will have someone to ask for help and they build along side everyone else.

 

There are many practical projects that already exist. Design and development of new stuff seems to take YEARS in this hobby environment, not too practical for quarterly projects. This is just an idea, where it goes is up to everyone else.

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Hmmm... How about we source some arcade parts and build some Arcade-style box joys, wired up correctly for the TI?

 

Bonus goes to the best TI-related side-art. :)

 

I was thinking of this exact same thing. So hard that I have ordered the parts a few days ago!

 

I am also thinking of putting some quick release suction cups on the bottom of these things so you can get them stable for some of the games that you want to get that intense with.

Edited by Cschneider

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It is possible to have a larger long term project like those mentioned above and several smaller 'Quarterly' project running simultaneously by various people / groups ?

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The Obvious PROJECT is build a completely NEW TI-99/4A .. the way it should of been built .. with more RAM , better graphics etc , yet still 100% backwards compatible.

 

TMS9900 CPU (as in original)

TIM9904A

TMS9901s

TMS9902s to give serial I/O

MORE RAM

MORE ROM

possibly even using a 74LS612 Memory Mapper?

Cartridge Slot as in original

V9958 video with 192K VRAM

SN76489 PSG

YMZ284 (AY-3-8910) Sound Chip

Real Time Clock

Maths FPU (AM9511 or similar) to speed up maths functions

8255 PIO for internal PATA IDE (CF card or Hard-Drive)

etc etc

 

Have a Turbo Mode where the TMS9900 is clocked at 16MHz(4MHz internall) , done by software.

a NEW Ti-99/4A using real hardware is well overdue, but it is a big project and can you get the people to do it ?

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I was thinking of this exact same thing. So hard that I have ordered the parts a few days ago!

 

I am also thinking of putting some quick release suction cups on the bottom of these things so you can get them stable for some of the games that you want to get that intense with.

 

Very cool... I have heard that some hyper tension velcro can be used to achieve a similar result... Only caveat being that you have to have a surface with the other side of the velcro... Not exaxtly a portable solution.

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If the group is going to pick up on the "build our own joystick" idea, I have a request: when building new joysticks, we should agree on a (standard) way to add more buttons for single player games. I would very much recommend to wire it so that the "player one" joystick has access to at least two fire buttons. For platform games, this is almost an absolute must, since it is very, very hard to be accurate when you have to push the stick up to jump.

 

I would very much like to support a two button joystick in Alex Kidd. I had planned on simply reading out the P1 and P2 fire buttons for punching and jumping respectively, but if someone has a better idea, I'm happy to support that instead.

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Before I got my PS/2 keyboard adapter, I was seriously considering building a new joystick with a 15 pin socket and tapping directly off the keyboard connectons where the keyboard cable interfaces to the keyboard.

 

MidiPower1.jpg

 

This would give you all kinds of options, like the 1, 2 and 3 buttons for the "lift" in Parsec, as well as REDO, BACK and PAUSE... or whatever else people here decide to make the standard. Considering many of those kits come with multiple buttons, why not?

 

** EDIT **

Oh, I also remember being told by someone quite a while back that not all programs can use the E, S, D and X buttons to move around, so this method would probably still require a regular 9 pin joystick connector as well. Would two connectors for a joystick be a huge problem considering all the extras?

Edited by --- Ω ---

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How about we go with 8 directions and two buttons. This seems like a nice rounded design, worked for the NES and the Atari 7800. :)

 

 

That's just my opinion. I don't see any need for 20 buttons on the thing, but two sounds just right. :)

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How about we go with 8 directions and two buttons.

 

Hmmm, I've never bothered to check if the TI could even decode an 8 position joystick.

Considering the era the TI was developed and the four position sticks it used, I knew it interpolated the intermediate position from the other two switches being active, but was unaware the firmware supported that. So, you mean the TI could actually decode the additional switches? If so, what model of joystick did you have in mind?

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You may have me there... :)

 

My WICO joys are all 8 way and work just fine... But I do not know how the TI is interpreting the non-cardinals.

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There aren't 8 "position" joysticks, they're all four switches for direction. Diagonals are X and Y pressed at the same time, just like the TI. That's true right up to the d-pads on the newest consoles (but not the analog sticks, of course, but those aren't switches).

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Indeed.

 

Omega, I remember that, but I think any solution we come up with will reach a wider audience if you don't have to open up the console. I have some spare master system controllers laying around, let me see if I can slap together a prototype over the weekend.

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Has anyone ever made an 'Accelerator board' for a TI-99 ?? Something that probably plugs into the CPU socket. A small PCB with a TMS9900 CPU + 32K SRAM + EPROM switchable between 12/16MHz with an RTC ?? & 100% backward compatible.

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Maybe we should try to build mini PEB. Something with 32k ( or 64 k) memory expansion and floppy controler to connect floppy or HxC floppy emulator.

 

What do you think?

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