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fabrice montupet

TI(ny)-99/4A Computer

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1 hour ago, fabrice montupet said:

Thank you for your interest.
The development of the TIny-99/4A v2 is completed, the computer is fully working. For testings, it became the most used 99/4A system used among my 99/x computers.  I made some modifications on the design of the PCB for a futur production. These modifications have no incidence on the operations of the computer, they are just optimization on some traces routing.
Here, no low cost FPGA or no other low cost modern components. Here, all is original, the TIny-99/4A computer could have been produced in 1983.
My wishes: All component have to be new, years 80 dated (new old stock), not low cost Chinese copies, not fakes. Brands have to be known for their quality.
I only problem is that is is impossible to find a component supplier that could supply in one order all the components that I need because of a lack of available stocks. So, I will have to order components to several worldwide suppliers resulting to grow up the product price of the computer.  I tried to find different suppliers during some months to reduce costs but in all cases, the price of the computer is very high.  At this time, we can estimate that the TIny-99/4A v2.6 (including its extended keyboard and SAMS RAM) will be sold at a price about 650$ US. An arm and a leg.

That said, this project was not designed to be a commercial product.   All Price and sells never came into consideration, this purpose of this project was my entertainment and fun.

 

Hello Fabrice,

I recall at one point you said you didn't want to sell the TIny-99/4A v2 as a kit or a bare PCB, since you enjoy putting them together, but since the parts are hard to get in bulk, would you reconsider selling bare boards (maybe along with assembly instructions).  I believe there are many in this community that would also enjoy building their own TIny-99/4A. It would then be up to each of us to locate and purchase the components. Your design is so elegant that it is a shame not to share it with the community!

 

Just a thought!

Edited by mglafond
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Thank you all 🙂

mglafond: A Shame? I don't appreciate your comment. As you can read in this thread, I happy to share my work, but in the way I have chosen. Please accept that.

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54 minutes ago, fabrice montupet said:

Thank you all 🙂

mglafond: A Shame? I don't appreciate your comment. As you can read in this thread, I happy to share my work, but in the way I have chosen. Please accept that

 

I read Shame as C'est dommage

 

My two cents if there is a misunderstanding 😉

Screenshot_20200104-220620__01.png

Edited by ti99iuc

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4 hours ago, fabrice montupet said:

At this time, we can estimate that the TIny-99/4A v2.6 (including its extended keyboard and SAMS RAM) will be sold at a price about 650$ US. An arm and a leg.

That's what I've been waiting to hear, and it's lower than I was expecting. ;) I'm in at that price, when you are ready.

 

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So cool!

Would you mind making a tour of your TIny-99/4A, a Youtube showing of your New TI for the ones who can only "slobber" on the screen 😛 hehehe

Would love to see the different features in use, and probably someone else will stop "slobbering" and just have to get one from you hehehe

From what I have seen, you deserve all the admiration you can get for this work. The little I have seen, I just love your "all in one - old memory!" put into a cool design. So cool that I want one, but can only slobber on my screen :(

But it makes me happy to see your cool design!

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3 hours ago, ti99iuc said:

I read Shame as "C'est dommage"

If mglafond wanted to  say in french "c'est dommage" , I think that the better way was to say "it's a pity" than "It's a shame" (which is a too strong word for me). But I am french and, sure, my english is far from perfect, I don't know all the subtleties of this language, maybe I misunderstood the real sense of his message 🙂

 

@oddemann: It's a good idea! I will made a video introducing the computer and its features 🙂

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3 hours ago, Tursi said:

That's what I've been waiting to hear, and it's lower than I was expecting. ;) I'm in at that price, when you are ready.

 

I have done my best to reduce the price. Happy to read that it suits you 🙂

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1 hour ago, fabrice montupet said:

If mglafond wanted to  say in french "c'est dommage" , I think that the better way was to say "it's a pity" than "It's a shame" (which is a too strong word for me). But I am french and, sure, my english is far from perfect, I don't know all the subtleties of this language, maybe I misunderstood the real sense of his message 🙂

 

Nuances of idioms of a language that is not one’s native tongue can certainly be difficult, but there can be difficult regional differences in the same language, as well. Rest assured in this case, however, that “It’s a pity”, “it’s a shame”, “it’s unfortunate” and “it’s too bad” all mean precisely the same thing in the American English I speak. And, that meaning is not profound or heavy—only mild regret.

 

...lee

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3 hours ago, Lee Stewart said:

 

Nuances of idioms of a language that is not one’s native tongue can certainly be difficult, but there can be difficult regional differences in the same language, as well. Rest assured in this case, however, that “It’s a pity”, “it’s a shame”, “it’s unfortunate” and “it’s too bad” all mean precisely the same thing in the American English I speak. And, that meaning is not profound or heavy—only mild regret.

 

...lee

Thank you, Lee, for that clarification. As you suggested,  "It's unfortunate" is maybe a better way to say it. 

 

Fabrice: My apologies if my wording offended you... certainly not what I intended. I very much admire your work.

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Fabrice, for a price of roundabout $650 I am in for a pre-built system. 

This will be so cool and am very much looking forward to it.

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No worry mglafond, I understand 🙂

French language is full of nuances, there a word for each thought to prevent confusion. It's why it is one of the hardest language to learn. And restricting the  number of words in a language goes to some misunderstand. But the most important is the dialogue that always permits to understand one another ^^

 

I must bring some precision about the content of the set.
What it will include: A Tiny-99/4A v2.6 motherboard, an extended Keyboard, a 1Mb SAMS Memory board, a 90° cartridge port adaptor (but a cartrige can be directly inserted into the cartride port of the computer)
What it will not include: GROM0, GROM1 and GROM2 (not produced anymore), TMS-5200 Speech Synth IC, TMS6100 Speech Library ICs (so hard to find other than vampirise a Speech Synthesizer). So you'll have to use your own components.

Of course, to get all information about the way to acquire the computer, this long thread is not the better way. So, I am writing a page on my website (in french, in English) that will resume and add all information you want to know.

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I think $650 is extremely reasonable given the kind of work that went into this project and the level of integration of the final product. Starting from scratch, I estimate that it would cost at least as much to build a conventional TI system with all the features of the Tiny.

That said, while my first instinct is to jump and purchase one when they become available, upon further reflection it might not be the best use of my hobby funds since I already have an expanded TI with most of the features being offered on the Tiny-99/4A accounted for. Of course the latter is heaps more aesthetically pleasing than the haphazard collection of expansions my current TI system has, but in a way such is the charm of older machines :) 

I might still succumb to the temptation nonetheless if history is any guide!

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Yeah, if it helps you to know how many people would be interested, count me in at that price or if you can get it lower, great.

 

Will be very cool to have a new/old machine.

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@fabrice montupet

 

Sorry, I haven't read every response so maybe you've already addressed this.  I did read you said you weren't looking to make a commercial product.  This was just for fun.

 

So, have you thought about just open sourcing the gerbers?  Maybe release the schematics, etc.?

 

That way, we can take on the cost of making our own boards, sourcing our own parts, etc.

 

Just a suggestion.  🙂

 

Thanks

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Of course, I´m in with one :lust: Great authentic work

 

( And as you you can see, I also only use the "Legacy Icons" from AA here. Same Same :-D )

 

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16 hours ago, cbmeeks said:

@fabrice montupet

Sorry, I haven't read every response so maybe you've already addressed this.  I did read you said you weren't looking to make a commercial product.  This was just for fun.

So, have you thought about just open sourcing the gerbers?  Maybe release the schematics, etc.? That way, we can take on the cost of making our own boards, sourcing our own parts, etc.

Just a suggestion.  🙂 Thanks

This question of publicly providing Gerber files and electronic schematics of the microcomputer has already been asked to me. But I don't remember if it was on this forums so I answer here:
I am present and active in the retro-computing community since more than twenty years and I could see that, unfortunately, the wish of the authors of non-commercial projects has never been respected: Their projects shared for free on the Internet have systematically taken up by unscrupulous people who offered them for sale to enrich themselves. It's not acceptable. This project has taken so many days and night to me, a project for which I am not trying to earn money,  I don't want it to be stolen.  For this reason, I indicated from the start that the files allowing the production of the TIny-99/4A will not be publicly released. I hope that you will understand my position on this subject. I am sorry about this situation, driven by a sad fact of life in our society.

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19 hours ago, LASooner said:

Yeah, if it helps you to know how many people would be interested, count me in at that price or if you can get it lower, great.

Will be very cool to have a new/old machine.

Thank you 🙂

I think that it will be impossible to propose the computer for a lower price.  I fought so much to get good and serious IC suppliers proposing less expensive price. And I hope they will keep their pricing  and stock promises when I will be ready for the production.

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41 minutes ago, fabrice montupet said:

This question of publicly providing Gerber files and electronic schematics of the microcomputer has already been asked to me. But I don't remember if it was on this forums so I answer here:
I am present and active in the retro-computing community since more than twenty years and I could see that, unfortunately, the wish of the authors of non-commercial projects has never been respected: Their projects shared for free on the Internet have systematically taken up by unscrupulous people who offered them for sale to enrich themselves. It's not acceptable. This project has taken so many days and night to me, a project for which I am not trying to earn money,  I don't want it to be stolen.  For this reason, I indicated from the start that the files allowing the production of the TIny-99/4A will not be publicly released. I hope that you will understand my position on this subject. I am sorry about this situation, driven by a sad fact of life in our society.

 

Fair enough.  I respect your decision.  🙂

 

On the flip side, and this is just my opinion, I have seen many great projects become abandoned or never finished and the author has either died or cannot be contacted.  Your project is up there with some of the best I've seen.  Would be a shame if you lost interest, moved on and the world was deprived of it.  😁

 

 

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I understand you worry and apreciate your kind words. You know, I am a TI-99 computer fan since 1982, It would be surprising that I loose interest about it after so many years.

OK, I'll do my best to keep me alive until the production, after that, I can rest in peace ^_^

Edited by fabrice montupet
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1 hour ago, fabrice montupet said:

OK, I'll do my best to keep me alive until the production, after that, I can rest in peace ^_^

 

Well, let's hope we all stay alive much longer than that!  🙂

 

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On 1/5/2020 at 1:31 PM, fabrice montupet said:

I must bring some precision about the content of the set.
What it will include: A Tiny-99/4A v2.6 motherboard, an extended Keyboard, a 1Mb SAMS Memory board, a 90° cartridge port adaptor (but a cartrige can be directly inserted into the cartride port of the computer)
What it will not include: GROM0, GROM1 and GROM2 (not produced anymore), TMS-5200 Speech Synth IC, TMS6100 Speech Library ICs (so hard to find other than vampirise a Speech Synthesizer). So you'll have to use your own components.

Of course, to get all information about the way to acquire the computer, this long thread is not the better way. So, I am writing a page on my website (in french, in English) that will resume and add all information you want to know.

 

Fabrice, didn't one of your previous prototype boards have a V9938 VDP instead of the TMS9918 VDP ?

Just asking (because of the possible 80 columns mode). Guess that for best compatibility you reverted back to the TMS9918 ?

What video output options will there be with the Tiny 99/4a?

 

Thinking about the F18a here. But again keeping the spirit of the Tiny, it would be cool if there is some kind of 80-column, 80's era VDP solution. 😎

Either way, I'm very much looking forward to the Tiny 99/4a as it stands.

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Since the beginning of the Tiny-99/4A project, the embedded VDP was the TMS9918A/28A/29A.
Aside my so lovely Geneve9640 computers, I didn't have the joy to use the 80 columns text mode. I didn't  have a graphic expansion for the 99/4A. Until the november last year, where I received a Mechatronic 80 columns (a so great expansion) . During its cleaning, I studied it and thought that a v3 Tiny-99/4A will surely have this feature. It seemed to me that the best step is to already propose the finalized Tiny-99/4A v2 computer. Unless people prefer to get a V9938 base system.

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Fabrice,

 

You have a beautiful system already developed.  I'm sure people would love a V9938 system, however with the hopefully F18 release, that would be an expansion option individuals would likely end up pursuing wanting if so desired versus waiting on a 9938 option which I guess would push things out at least another year.

 

You quoted a price a couple weeks ago for a system, but was having an issue with arranging parts to build systems from a single supplier.  The way you phrased your summary lead me to believe acquiring parts was not satisfactory to you so you may not end up building units for individuals?  Did I understand that correctly, or did I misunderstand your statement.  Just trying to get clarification as I had one understanding, but yet others were "ready to order". 

 

I'm ready to order as well, but from what you wrote, I interpreted your comments to reflect others may not see the benefit of your work as you did not like your chip ordering options.

 

If you do build, you had a photo of your system perhaps 6 months ago that was in a computer case.  I did not specifically see the case mentioned when you indicated what you thought the price tag would end up being with the configuration/setup.  If you do sell, would the computer case be part of the setup as well, or will that be up to the buyer to install in a case of their choice?

 

Respectfully, just trying to make get clear confirmation one way or the other on where you see the project going.

 

Beery

 

 

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Before all, thanks for the compliment.

Your questions are interesting, they give the opportunity to resume things I already said but scattered in my previous messages and also to give some precisions :
The motherbard will be available with a SAMS card (1Mb), a cartridge extender connector, power cables and the keyboard, but without a case.  

The difficulty to find components with the lessest suppliers as possible and at the best price has delayed the start up of the availability. I now have to plan the moment where I will have some time to build motherboards and keyboards.  Not currently, I have to much work. But I will tell you as soon as I can.

I Hope that I have answered to all your wonderings.

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Thank you Fabrice for your response.  That clears up a few things.

 

The case you had on your system, was that a custom case you built, or one someone can order from Amazon or another 3rd party?

 

Beery

 

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