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New PEB question

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I was searching eBay today and came across recently discovered PEBs from an Iowa warehouse. Question: Did the new PEBs ship with the disk drive/controller, RS-232 interface card, 32K memory expansion cards already installed.

 

I asked the seller (of the new in seal box PEBs) and he claims, "No, these PEBs are just empty." Is that possible for new PEBs? Did TI sell empty PEBs?

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No, the PEB just comes with the "Flex Card Interface", no drive controller, no RS-232, no 32K and no disk drive.

If you were going to purchase the required items, I would hold off a couple of weeks and just buy the 1 Meg SAMS card from Ksarul as it's $80.00 and not much more than the Ebay sharks are trying to get for 30+ year old 32K card.

 

Yep, TI *DID* sell empty PEB's and they charged a small fortune for each and every card. Luckily now days prices are more reasonable.

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Having bought my first two PEBs BITD when they were still readily available, I can say that the cardboard PEB box came with exactly four items in it: the PEB, the Flex Cable Interface, the manual, and the power cord. All other PEB cards had to be purchased separately, although there was a period at the end on 1983 where you could buy a PEB bundle that included the Disk Controller, RS-232, 32K, and Logo II, Multiplan, or TI Writer for a really good price (I think it was $399). That was how I got my first PEB.

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I am looking for a PEB. Missed a couple on ebay uk.

 

If anyone in the UK is selling one I'd like to know.

 

I am also looking for an internal 32kb ram expansion for the TI-99/4a that ACTUALLY EXISTS.

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I am looking for a PEB. Missed a couple on ebay uk.

 

If anyone in the UK is selling one I'd like to know.

 

I am also looking for an internal 32kb ram expansion for the TI-99/4a that ACTUALLY EXISTS.

 

The project in the hardware project for this quarter actually exists..

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I have seen this 8bit one:- http://www.harmlesslion.com/text/TI%2032k%20Mod.pdf(looks a bit fiddly, and only 8bit)

 

and this 16 bit one:- http://www.stuartconner.me.uk/ti/ti.htm

 

And this one is no longer available:- http://www.mainbyte.com/ti99/32K16/32k16.html

 

I can do a some soldering, but not up to surface mount, and I do not, as yet have an anti static workstation.

 

If someone knows of an available kit, I'd love to know about it.

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I have seen this 8bit one:- http://www.harmlesslion.com/text/TI%2032k%20Mod.pdf(looks a bit fiddly, and only 8bit)

 

and this 16 bit one:- http://www.stuartconner.me.uk/ti/ti.htm

 

And this one is no longer available:- http://www.mainbyte.com/ti99/32K16/32k16.html

 

I can do a some soldering, but not up to surface mount, and I do not, as yet have an anti static workstation.

 

If someone knows of an available kit, I'd love to know about it.

 

there is a very nice pcboard for the 8bit one that allows you to solder the ram and 74series chip to the board then the 32 wires from the board to the various motherboard locations. I have one on my list of things to build sometime will get to it.

 

Pcb http://atariage.com/forums/topic/242260-hardware-project-of-the-calendar-quarter/page-4?do=findComment&comment=3412131

project http://atariage.com/forums/topic/242260-hardware-project-of-the-calendar-quarter/page-2?do=findComment&comment=3381035

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Thank you for saving me the disappointment of purchasing an empty box for $200. Wow. I continue to have a problem.

 

TI gear seems unavailable here in Phoenix, AZ. I've searched flea markets, etc - nothing. I've recently ordered a 99/4A and I'm excited about revisiting my earliest programming days from the early 1980s.

 

Recently the nanoPEB and CF7+ solutions have evaporated - unavailable. So, I'll ask, how can I code and store on the TI without a functioning PEB and floppy disk drive?

 

Also, how did the CF7+ die? Are they available on the secondary market?

 

Thanks in advance guys...

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From what I can tell, it's just a case of the guy who made the CF7+ and nanoPEB not wanting to do them anymore. The boards are a little static sensitive and I've heard speculation that issues related to static-caused problems may have something to do with that. I guess a couple of people have asked if he doesn't want to do them anymore if he'll release the documents needed to make/program new ones, but he didn't respond.

 

I think there's enough interest that more could be made, if the necessary bits needed were released or reverse-engineered. I'm not the guy to do it as I don't understand the architecture well enough to even understand RAM expansions on the 8 vs. 16 bit bus and why anyone would want the former if the latter is possible.

 

That all said, I'm new around here, so someone may reply with a major correction to sone or all of the above. It's just what I understand, to the best of me understanding it.

Edited by iKarith

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understand RAM expansions on the 8 vs. 16 bit bus and why anyone would want the former if the latter is possible.

 

Quite simple: 8bit = expansion card, just plug in; 16bit = soldering job inside the console :)

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The boards are a little static sensitive and I've heard speculation that issues related to static-caused problems may have something to do with that.

 

That all said, I'm new around here, so someone may reply with a major correction to sone or all of the above. It's just what I understand, to the best of me understanding it.

Close, but not quite.

 

Three major problems:

 

* non-existent quality control (bad solder joints, missing solder joints, etc)

* Ancient CF-card driver that didn't work with any card made after the early 2000s

* (on the nanoPEB) A serial port that didn't work with common comms packages like Telco.

 

I'll leave for others to speculate as to why he didn't fix his production problems and the DSR, but those were the technical issues. I had one, I sold it because I had no faith in it whatsoever.

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Quite simple: 8bit = expansion card, just plug in; 16bit = soldering job inside the console :)

 

I note that I have seen in-console 8 bit RAM expansions. Presumably the amount of soldering is less? I've also heard that both have been done on carrier boards and I saw instructions for piggybacking or deadbugging (or one of each?) the chips to do the 16 bit RAM upgrade.

 

Do the RAM upgrades physically occupy the same address space, and how does that work? See, that's part of the problem, I know just enough to be confused by these things. :)

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Close, but not quite.

 

Three major problems:

 

* non-existent quality control (bad solder joints, missing solder joints, etc)

* Ancient CF-card driver that didn't work with any card made after the early 2000s

* (on the nanoPEB) A serial port that didn't work with common comms packages like Telco.

 

I'll leave for others to speculate as to why he didn't fix his production problems and the DSR, but those were the technical issues. I had one, I sold it because I had no faith in it whatsoever.

 

I'm not gonna rag on someone I don't know, and I've seen some truly ugly mods done. And his soldering is doubtless better than mine would be! I'd like to do some mods to my own console, or perhaps to a beige one as a test that can be messed up in the process of getting it right before I do it on my pristine-looking black/silver console. I really want to do them right though, because I'd like to show off the result as something I can be proud to own. But a lot of folks just want to make it work. And sometimes good enough is good enough. (Except when it isn't, as you note.)

 

I do wonder though, looking over the nanoPEB a little closer. I've seen an IDE interface circuit for the TI. I've seen RS-232 interfaces. And I've seen RAM upgrades as well. I kinda get the idea that the nanoPEB is just those things combined into as small a package as the developer could put them, with the CF7+ being the same but with a parallel port instead of serial.

 

Perhaps I'm the wrong person to be talking about this being both new and being exceedingly poor with a soldering iron unless or until I can start developing adaptive techniques for people who are blind as a bat with a temperature-controlled iron. Still, it seems like even I could put those schematics into some software and start looking at how to optimize things a bit and beginning to design an open-hardware alternative. I couldn't finish the job alone, and I don't yet understand the architecture enough to know whether I was doing much right or wrong, but it could be worth doing I think.

 

I dunno how much interest there is, or rather how much interest there is by people who could actually help do it right anyway. But it seems like it might be really cool. Get it where we want it and we could probably have a small quantity capable fab produce a group buy batch of them with their nice pick-and-place machines so all the small soldering is done by machines that are less likely to do it badly. Probably folks would still need to solder a couple things like edge connectors themselves.

 

Am I crazy? (Wait, don't answer that...)

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Careful, you're starting to tread into Omega's trademarked "I'm just an ideas guy" territory icon_smile.gif

 

Schematics for nearly everything you'd want in a open-hardware nanoPEB are available. Much of the non-TI designs would need to be reworked, due to a perverse desire in the TI community to use battery-backed RAM for hardware drivers (DSRs). That would mean Thierry's IDE card (with *two* competing and equally broken DSRs), The Project That Must Not Be Named, and so forth, would need to be reworked before build.

 

All it needs is a bored and qualified engineer to look at the TI schematics for the RS232 sidecard, reverse-engineer the Axiom (because the TI design is crap), and ask someone nicely for the TI DSDD schematics/firmware ... then turn it into VHDL, get really familiar with Eagle, and do a few hand-soldered prototypes before handing the PCB artwork off to any reasonably-priced fab.

 

Like I said, easy icon_smile.gif

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It would really be nice to see maybe an open source project for maybe 'PEB-Next Project' or 'I-PEB'. I thought of the idea a while back (just an idea - i'm not a hardware designer). But seeing all the open source projects floating around and after getting JediMatt's Open source USB Keyboard interface hooked up to the TI with almost no effort it go me thinking.

 

How about a new modular PEB that would have a much smaller form factor.

 

So small open source modules (RS232, Disk Controller, RTC, memory, etc..)that could be plugged into the new designed PEB that are much smaller than the current cards, but with complete compatibility for all programs. Is it possible.. maybe.. just a thought. All this could be achieved i thought and at the same time decreasing the amount of desk space the PEB takes up.

 

It's all about time and dedication though. If the guys that are designing new hardware today had everything they have learned about it but were teenagers again then of course we would probably have one in about 2 weeks! But family and life takes priority as it does for all of us..

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Careful, you're starting to tread into Omega's trademarked "I'm just an ideas guy" territory icon_smile.gif

 

Schematics for nearly everything you'd want in a open-hardware nanoPEB are available. Much of the non-TI designs would need to be reworked, due to a perverse desire in the TI community to use battery-backed RAM for hardware drivers (DSRs). That would mean Thierry's IDE card (with *two* competing and equally broken DSRs), The Project That Must Not Be Named, and so forth, would need to be reworked before build.

 

All it needs is a bored and qualified engineer to look at the TI schematics for the RS232 sidecard, reverse-engineer the Axiom (because the TI design is crap), and ask someone nicely for the TI DSDD schematics/firmware ... then turn it into VHDL, get really familiar with Eagle, and do a few hand-soldered prototypes before handing the PCB artwork off to any reasonably-priced fab.

 

Like I said, easy icon_smile.gif

 

Screw beomg am idea guy, I just want working stuff, and I'm both fiscally challenged and have a decided shortage of space. So I want working stuff that's small and cheap. And I can't solder my way out of a paper bag. If I get to the point that I understand it enough that I won't just invent another broken, square wheel, I'm all about learning to work with tools and just submit stuff to the people who are (or play) electrical engineer to verify that I didn't **** it up, and some daring guinea pigs willing to solder up the results.

 

For a guy who can't solder, you should hear my wishlist for my various retro computers. It's a whole pile of custom PCBs. At some point, I'm gonna have to get good with Eagle. :)

 

 

It would really be nice to see maybe an open source project for maybe 'PEB-Next Project' or 'I-PEB'. I thought of the idea a while back (just an idea - i'm not a hardware designer). But seeing all the open source projects floating around and after getting JediMatt's Open source USB Keyboard interface hooked up to the TI with almost no effort it go me thinking.

 

How about a new modular PEB that would have a much smaller form factor.

 

So small open source modules (RS232, Disk Controller, RTC, memory, etc..)that could be plugged into the new designed PEB that are much smaller than the current cards, but with complete compatibility for all programs. Is it possible.. maybe.. just a thought. All this could be achieved i thought and at the same time decreasing the amount of desk space the PEB takes up.

 

It's all about time and dedication though. If the guys that are designing new hardware today had everything they have learned about it but were teenagers again then of course we would probably have one in about 2 weeks! But family and life takes priority as it does for all of us..

 

I like the all in one approach, honestly. In fact, what I want to do with my TI is:

 

1. Replace the coffee warmer with a 100% external power supply, the power switch will become a tiny board containing just a "power OK" switch ala ATX.

2. Put the function of the nanoPEB (memory card, serial interface) in the console itself, serial port on the left.

3. Do the RAM upgrade on the 16 bit bus

4. Include the speech chip/ROM in console

5. Have the overclock/RAM delay switches installed as slide-switches just above "Solid State Software" in the vacated coffee warmer space. Slide switches installed with hidden mounting so they look like TI designed it that way.

6. Do the wiring like an art-quality video game console modchip install, superglue and colored wire, etc.

7. Clean up any oxidation.

8. Redo the RF shield so that it's part of the case and opens with it.

9. Replace the screw closure with rare earth magnets that'll keep it closed until you want to pull it open and show off.

 

and finally:

 

10. Take it with a light LCD to Starbucks and run the thing off a battery, play some Parsec, see who notices. Bring an accoustic coupler and ask to borrow a phone to check my email. And be prepared to actually do it if someone comes up with a phone. :D

 

That's slightly insane, but it would be COOL, and hot-rodding the hell out of it would be absolutely awesome given the state of the machine I'm working with. Nary a scratch on it, etc. Which means I need to do all that careful figuring out of how to mount everything on a broken down console I'm not afraid to thrash trying to get it right because I don't want so much as a pencil line on this console's shell until I figure out exactly how the result's gonna be done.

 

(The ethernet AppleTalk card for the //e and IIgs, the wifi AppleTalk for the //c, and the internal //c Echo card are amongst my other evil plottings...)

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