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santosp

eclaire XL P.C.B. aka "Atari on FPGA project"

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I suppose to most of you is known the fantastic work :thumbsup: of Mark (foft) in "Atari in fpga" project.

To be honest wasn't to me... :( I actually accidentally fell in it before two weeks. Reading the most of the responds on their public thread, I see cause

this run back from 2013! At least officially, because Mark maybe work in this more years.


Visiting his website, my gaze fell upon a dedicated construction of hardware about this project. He give it the name "eclaire XL".

Ok, this is a specific PCB designed by him, in order to bypass the restrictions or even the unneeded / unused / not enough :? hardware limitations, of existing development tools. In my personal view he did it, although I believe cause a fully populated board versus three, will be a better thing. :thumbsup:

But I not forget cause for Mark wasn't a ready working project so all to have to do was a new PCB, but a "work in progress" project.


I am not fun of naked boards on a bench, even if they make wonderful things like this. Unlike, I liked the idea my lovely Atari computer to be hosted in a slim sweet box. This side by side with my laptop PC, surrounded by a today small keyboard, and connected on the same monitor via the second HDMI input.


Of course, I like to have the opportunity to connect also my ancient hardware like SIO devices, cartridges, and why not also a Atari cassette corder!!!!

But enough with this... ;-) :P


So before two weeks I contacted Mark, voicing of my interest on his PCB. Mark respond positive from the first moment, and send me some unpopulated pcb's and parts. Most important an almost fully populated PCB free of charge, to save any parts from it.

Mark for one thing to be sure! I will save "every part" from this!! ;)


Below I post some pictures from the magic parcel which came here, and from time to time any progress with it. I wait first some parts for the rest of boards plus the Cyclone FPGA to arrive, before I begin my journey... :D

Although my first priority is to complete the construction of the rest of Ultimate Cartridge preorders, maybe I work partially on this as waiting the FPGA from time to time to arrive.


post-23371-0-23587800-1477599678_thumb.jpg post-23371-0-44228600-1477599084_thumb.jpg post-23371-0-46976800-1477600104_thumb.jpg post-23371-0-43421000-1477599125_thumb.jpg post-23371-0-48752400-1477599144_thumb.jpg post-23371-0-36355200-1477599157_thumb.jpg post-23371-0-64131400-1477599171_thumb.jpg post-23371-0-71774200-1477600907_thumb.jpg


Edited by santosp
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So This FPGA will then supposely support Atari Paddles and lightgun (in 15khz mode) ? Well if its HDMI only then the lightgun wont work cause it needs 15khz RGB Scart and CRT tv to work..

 

 

Interesting Project :thumbsup:

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Hi Grevle, :)

the pcb have the option for composite video plus s-video, but I don't know if it supported by some "core" now. And as you said, someone will need a CRT monitor also!

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A more explanatory picture of main board by me, and a direct answer from Mark the inventor about the video core. :) :) :thumbsup:

 

For video out there is a dac, which is connected to the vga, svideo
and composite. The rgb pins are dual purpose.
There is a core for:
vga
svideo and composite
post-23371-0-20056700-1477642935_thumb.jpg
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I hope these will be for sale sometime soon.

 

 

Robert

Hi Robert. :)

From my side is just for fun.... for now. ;-) The goal is to work and to be placed on a micro ITX case.

But believe me, I work together with Mark for something better and more practical for anyone. Let's let time to show..... :thumbsup:

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Santos,

 

Once again, you have my interest. I will be watching developments carefully on this. Also consider adding Montezuma's Bluetooth capability to it :)

Edited by TheEditor
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Its exciting to see this. Your (de)soldering skills are so much better than mine! Incredible.

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Update.... :)

Things finally go bad trying to complete this PCB. :( Reason was the main ic of Altera. To solder BGA ic's special equipment needed and I haven't.

 

So, maybe I loose some money and time with this, but the result did me stubborn like a mule!! :P

 

Therefore after many sleepless nights, me and Mark hope and wait to arrive something better before Christmas. So for one more time "Let's let the time to show..." ;)

Edited by santosp
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Bump! Santosp. Did you have to acquirer a re-flow oven to solder the BGA to the board? Sorry if this information is else where.

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Hi Firedawg.

 

No I had tried to do with hot air and a preheating system. I believe that I burn the internal layers of pcb doing this. After -for a batch of five pieces- I decide to ask from a factory to do this and the rest of solder work for me. They have the proper tools like accurate re-flow ovens, X-RAY for optical inspection below the BGA etc.

 

Meantime this thread have a physical continuation here.

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/263044-developerstesting-required-for-mini-itx-clone-system-eclairexl/

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For the few I made I used a T962A reflow oven, fitted with an estechnical controller.

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Thanks for the information foft. I have a Re-flow Oven ControLeo2 kit arriving soon. Was interested how you guys were managing the BGA component soldering. I've completed some projects like the Amiga 500 clone Minimig which required a Xilinx Spartan-3E to be soldered. My eyes not being as sharp as they use to be required the aid of large magnification which allowed me to complete 3 of those boards. Many of these new DIY projects coming down the line have smaller components that I believe a reflow oven would be a valuable resource to have. Any way, I'm following your project with much interest.

 

Thanks, Mike

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Is it part of the design intent that the Eclaire XL will accept other (MIST) cores? Or is this a stand-alone? I'm thinking of getting a MIST for it's versatility, but if the Elaire will be able to provide similar functionality, I'll wait.

 

Thanks,

Larry

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Hi Larry.

The eclaireXL try to become the most complete and compatible Atari 8-bit computer, in an FPGA form. Regard to this I dare to say that is in good way!

Saying all the aboves, I not mean that if someone would like to compile the cores of MIST on this, will not work. But need someone to do it, and unfortunately there is not light on tunnel....

 

In this point I must to mention the great efforts of Mark on development, which look as "one man show" till today! :thumbsup:

Edited by santosp
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In most senses the EclaireXL is more powerful than the MiST. The FPGA in the Eclaire, at least the one populated in this run, has more than twice the capacity. But the overall design of the board is very different. Notably, the MiST has a discrete ARM processor that is not present in the Eclaire. For this reason porting cores from the MiST in most cases involves some rework.

 

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Given the opportunity I want to mention here, that for some days now I'm planning a new version of eclaireXL, based on MIST model.


I speak for the same Atari 8-bit project, but in a new "all in one" form PCB, smaller than the original version. In this, I try hard to limit the final cost per board, but not at the expense of the original idea.

The sure is that it will be for a standalone free form board, with some bells and whistles (useful only in developers) removed. The same apply for the obsolete VGA video output, plus the two more joystick ports.


Of course I have predicted for the footprints and an expansion connector to be available there, in case who someone will need to add them in the future.

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Given the opportunity I want to mention here, that for some days now I'm planning a new version of eclaireXL, based on MIST model.
I speak for the same Atari 8-bit project, but in a new "all in one" form PCB, smaller than the original version. In this, I try hard to limit the final cost per board, but not at the expense of the original idea.
The sure is that it will be for a standalone free form board, with some bells and whistles (useful only in developers) removed. The same apply for the obsolete VGA video output, plus the two more joystick ports.
Of course I have predicted for the footprints and an expansion connector to be available there, in case who someone will need to add them in the future.

 

 

You're going to remove VGA? So it will only have S-video? (or?)

-Larry

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You're going to remove VGA? So it will only have S-video? (or?)

-Larry

HDMI and DVI-D.

The S-Video it can be possible via the same VGA video expansion board within a specific decoder of Analog Devices, but is not in first line for now. In fact I check the options for a enclosure for this.

Edited by santosp
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Will the new "all in one" form PCB include 4 joystick ports?

Yes why not? The same thing exist many time now at the second batch of developers boards. FPGA and digital switches are there in all the cases, so isn't problem to route also the two more joy ports.

But it save me some pennies to not include the d-sub connectors on board! ;) Now if in the future someone need this, and Mark add the fire function also, :P then with some simple soldering skills this can be added.

Ending I must inform that paddle and tablet not supported from these two extra ports.

Edited by santosp
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I actually like the idea of having 4 ports very much and it was not clear for me if you want to remove or add them (I don't have the developer board, but I'm interested in the final one).

 

> But it save me some pennies to not include the d-sub connectors on board!

 

Please think it over. I wouldn't like to spoil a professionally manufactered board with additional soldering. D-sub connectors on board is a good idea.

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