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Byte Knight

The Ultimate Atari Flashback!

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Hey guys,

 
In my ongoing effort to play my favorite old video games with original controllers on my modern living room TV, instead of being banished to the CRT in my cold, dark basement, I've come up with the Ultimate Atari FB!  Here's the software in action:
 
[youtube]https://youtu.be/3ugCj9JINag[/youtube]
 
Why trash a perfectly good Flashback?
• Crisp full-screen HDMI output.
• The ability to add any 2600 game.
• Upgraded menu selection screen with woodgrain goodness!
• The FB's make great Raspberry Pi cases!
 
[attachment=457603:UAFB3.png]
 
What you'll need:
• Any Atari FB with front facing ports (FB's 3-7)
• Raspberry Pi 3
• Two 2600-daptor II's sans cases
• Two USB A-B cables, on 6" and the other 12"
• Four 4-40 by 3/4" machine screws
• Wires and soldering skills
• Custom RetroPie software (see link below)
 
With the custom software, the console buttons all work, and holding down Select and Start (Reset) will get you back to the game menu.  See the attached manual below.
 
[attachment=457619:IMG_1922.JPG] [attachment=457620:IMG_1923.JPG]
[attachment=465788:IMG_2006 2.JPG] [attachment=465789:IMG_2012.JPG] 
[attachment=477270:IMG_2258.JPG]
 
Console Button Wiring (Starting closest to power button):
1.  5V Power at GPIO 2
2.  Ground at GPIO 6 (or any other GPIO ground)
3.  GPIO 20
4.  GPIO 16
5.  GPIO 26
6.  GPIO 21
 
Suggestions:
• Remove the capacitor on the console PCB and solder in a jumper wire or you won't have enough power to the Pi.
• I suggest pairing a Bluetooth keyboard with the Pi or running a USB extension cable out the back.  You'll need this for adding box art, editing file names, transferring roms via USB, etc.
 
Software Manual (thanks to timdu!):
[attachment=477268:Ultimate Atari FB Manual.pdf]
 
Micro-SD Card Image:  
• Contains several great homebrews that have been publicly released in rom form!
 
Credits:
Thanks to fdr4pres, Tom Hafner, pimpmaul69, timdu, and intvdave for all the help!

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Woah. That looks Epic. I bet you could even make it smaller with a project box or something. Hidden behind the TV even like a DirecTV box.

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Tim from 2600connection has offered to host my modified RetroPie microSD card image (which includes the Stella mappings file) and it can be downloaded here.  Thanks Tim!  The first post has been updated with the link as well.  No commercial roms are on this microSD card image, but there are some excellent homebrews that have been publicly released in rom form on there.  Other roms can be added via wifi or a USB thumb drive as described here.

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Something is going wrong with the transmission of the file from my web site where I am hosting it. I also have tried to download it 3 times today and it fails every time. It does not complete . I will contact my hosting provider and report this. 

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I called my hosting provider ( godaddy ) and they informed me that the hosting service that I have is not intended for such large files ( over 1 gigabyte) . They recommended that I move the file to a different server, or to a different type of service such as dropbox. So I am doing that now and I will post the new link to the files once I have transferred them to the new location. I will then post the new file download information here.

 

 

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Thanks to fdr4pres, I've got the console buttons working through the GPIO port.  So, there's no need to mess around with the 2600daptor ports, and 4-player paddles now work!  I'm still doing some testing, so give me a little time to update the image.

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The Atari Flashback software for the Raspberry Pi 3 with modified RetroPie software can be downloaded from the following dropbox site:

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5veuzm5pwc0wx0j/UAFB.img.zip?dl=0

 

Thank you VERY much.  :-)

 

 

Thanks to fdr4pres, I've got the console buttons working through the GPIO port.  So, there's no need to mess around with the 2600daptor ports, and 4-player paddles now work!  I'm still doing some testing, so give me a little time to update the image.

 

Sounds very interesting.  I'm looking forward to it.  Will the GPIO port config also work with a Raspberry Pi 1B+?  Any idea if it's even fast enough to run this full speed?  I still have an older Raspberry Pi that needs a good purpose.  :-)

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Sounds very interesting.  I'm looking forward to it.  Will the GPIO port config also work with a Raspberry Pi 1B+?  Any idea if it's even fast enough to run this full speed?  I still have an older Raspberry Pi that needs a good purpose.  :-)

 

The microSD card image will only work with an RPi2 or 3.

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I'm definitely going to have to give this project a go!  A few Qs... which GPIO pins are attached to which console buttons? Since you are using the 2600 daptor IIs, Im assuming you would use them set up for the 2600... but then you couldnt use the touch pads for Star Raiders or the Booster Grip for Omega Race without opening the thing back up again right?

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I'm definitely going to have to give this project a go!  A few Qs... which GPIO pins are attached to which console buttons? Since you are using the 2600 daptor IIs, Im assuming you would use them set up for the 2600... but then you couldnt use the touch pads for Star Raiders or the Booster Grip for Omega Race without opening the thing back up again right?

 

See Console Button Wiring in the first post.  And correct about the 2600-daptors, although you could wire up some external switches if you really wanted to switch between controllers frequently.

 

Good luck with the project!

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This is great!  I've always wanted to make an Ultimate Flashback using a RPi but was worried about how to use the front console buttons for 2600 games.

 

Can any other emulators be added as well?

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Can any other emulators be added as well?

 

They can, but you're limited by the 2600-daptors which only accept 2600 and 7800 joysticks.  Although I suppose you could pair a Bluetooth controller with the Pi3 or attach a USB controller to a USB dongle coming out the back to play more modern systems.  Another option would be to use one of my Ultimate Flashback Interface boards which lets you use just about any DB9 controller, but the downside is that you couldn't use paddles since those aren't supported.

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Has anyone tried this with a pi zero? I just picked up a couple along with usb hats for them.

 

It is doable with a Pi Zero, but the posted image of the SD card is only compatible with Pi2 and Pi3.

 

The Pi Zero, and the Pi1, use a different version of RetroPie, so you can download the correct version of RetroPie for the Pi Zero and setup the emulator yourself.  While I am not very familiar with setting up the emulator, I can help out with the script needed for the console buttons.

 

I am currently working on a Pi Zero project similar to this, but it will be a while before it is completed.  At that time I will create a new thread for my project, and I will post that SD card image when I've completed the project, so if you want to wait a month, or two, then you can grab it.

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Thanks fdr4prez! Ill ve looking forward to seeing your project! It'll be at least til after the first of the year before ill have time to do much with this anyways.

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Has anyone tried this with a pi zero? I just picked up a couple along with usb hats for them.

 

As fdr said it's doable, but wifi really comes in handy when transferring roms and box art to the Pi.

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Although the black background is stunning, my next idea was to subtly add this horizontal VCS pattern as the background.

 

Attached is a starting point picture. It needs cropped, straightened, and work to make it seamlessly tile.

 

[attachment=477915:image.jpg]

 

I like the cart pictures, and also the box art pictures.

I wish all Art could be presented, like the box front, flip to the box back if you choose, then the cart image, then the game starts, but I don't think the front end can do that.

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