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Microvision replacement screen project - pre-order & purchase here

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does a flash cart exist for it yet or did the screen problem cripple interest in development on that?  emulators are fine but i always prefer original hardware, the controls are usually better for one thing

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1 hour ago, tg517 said:

I remember clearing the blockbuster screen maybe three or four times back in the day. (not an easy task)

 

If I recall correctly, if you hit the last block as the ball is coming down, it bounces up as the new wall appears,

so the ball goes bananas until it breaks itself out from the top. Man, that's as good as 1979 got if you could pull it off.

 

Wow!  I have to try that.  Even with 9 balls served.   I already noticed the earlier BB game cartridges run a little slower.  The ball speed is not as fast.  Not sure why,  maybe the different processors used??

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1 hour ago, nickle241 said:

does a flash cart exist for it yet or did the screen problem cripple interest in development on that?  emulators are fine but i always prefer original hardware, the controls are usually better for one thing

You mean like a cartridge with all of the games?  If so, I haven't seen one as of yet.  There is certainly plenty of talent out there to make it happen though.

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3 minutes ago, [email protected] said:

You mean like a cartridge with all of the games?  If so, I haven't seen one as of yet.  There is certainly plenty of talent out there to make it happen though.

i mean something that you could load different homebrew games onto, or copies of the original, but thats a side concern, i dont see it being too complicated since the cartridges are the processor anyway so making a small computer that outputs to the microvision screen and powered off the internal voltage is all it would be, maybe a small extra display for rom selection, but thats not really needed, the real trick would be in how to set up the button and screen overlays

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36 minutes ago, nickle241 said:

i mean something that you could load different homebrew games onto, or copies of the original, but thats a side concern, i dont see it being too complicated since the cartridges are the processor anyway so making a small computer that outputs to the microvision screen and powered off the internal voltage is all it would be, maybe a small extra display for rom selection, but thats not really needed, the real trick would be in how to set up the button and screen overlays

Like this guy did.  Did you see this yet?  https://habr.com/ru/post/416865/

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18 minutes ago, [email protected] said:

Like this guy did.  Did you see this yet?  https://habr.com/ru/post/416865/

not quite but that is most of the way there, i wouldnt have found that since its in the russian domains, but regardless that does appear to handle most of the hard steps to making a proper flash cart, mv is one of the few retro consoles not to have something like that in circulation, though with the maintenance issues its not surprising.  i guess since all the hard research has been done its just a matter of someone with the technical savy getting all the details put together into a final product

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11 hours ago, nickle241 said:

not quite but that is most of the way there, i wouldnt have found that since its in the russian domains, but regardless that does appear to handle most of the hard steps to making a proper flash cart, mv is one of the few retro consoles not to have something like that in circulation, though with the maintenance issues its not surprising.  i guess since all the hard research has been done its just a matter of someone with the technical savy getting all the details put together into a final product

The cartridges are not just a game rom. Each one has a processor. There were two different processors used so a multicart to play all original games would have to deal with that.

 

I built the beginnings of a game using an 8 bit PIC microcontroller so it doesn't take a ton of horsepower. So it may be possible to put is something that can emulate the original processors. Or the games could be ported to a single processor.

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2 hours ago, BigO said:

The cartridges are not just a game rom. Each one has a processor. There were two different processors used so a multicart to play all original games would have to deal with that.

 

I built the beginnings of a game using an 8 bit PIC microcontroller so it doesn't take a ton of horsepower. So it may be possible to put is something that can emulate the original processors. Or the games could be ported to a single processor.

This guy made created a couple of emulators and custom tetris and flappy bird games.   https://habr.com/ru/post/416865/   If you download the github file it includes tetris files for MVEM.  It has a new version of MVEM.exe needed to run the tetris game.   It seems to be back compatible with the existing bin files of the already released MV games. https://www.raphkoster.com/2017/05/07/microvision-emulator-release/

 

Here's another take from that post on the 1 9V battery and 2 9V batteries MV units.  UWP

 

"The bulk of the cartridges worked on TMS1100, because Signetics, which released the 8021 under Intel license, could not supply MB's required chip supply. Even some games that were already written for the 8021 had to be ported to the TMS1100. This, by the way, made it possible to abandon the dangerous bundle of two batteries, because the consumption of the microcontroller from TI was only 0.1W versus 1W from Intel. I have only one of 6 cartridges with 8021, this is the Connect Four game, it was taken as a basis."

 

So, which game cartridges had the 8021 installed.   If you installed that in a MV unit with only 1 battery connections, does the battery drain much faster.   I'm going to heat gun the label off that covers the screw and check.  So, far I've seen the BB cartridge with both.  Maybe plug in the power supply to check current differences.

Edited by [email protected]

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I believe all of the games were released on the TMS1100 though.  The ones that were on the 8021 originally were re-programmed for the TMS1100, so any kind of 'multi-cart' would only have to deal with emulating a TMS1100 to at least get one version of every game.

 

I like that cartridge that Russian guy made with the ROM-less TMS1098 (a TMS1100 that can read the ROM data from an external EPROM), that would be pretty easy to put a DIP-switchable ROM in it...  But that chip is nearly impossible to find.

 

The other issue is the control panel, since that's usually blocked off except for the keys you'd use.  Maybe just leave them all exposed with printable overlays or something...

(Oh, and then there's the screen overlay, which is needed for many of the games....)  It gets difficult quickly...

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On 9/24/2020 at 7:51 AM, [email protected] said:

So, sample money has been dropped 🤑, the LCD spec has been created,  drawings made, 2 sample types are being build.   They will drop the sample LCD's into the 2 working MV's electronics for testing.  Then, send some videos.  If everything is acceptable,  samples will be shipped for further testing.

 

Have them turn the contrast all the up and all the way down to make sure the LCD works in the same range...

I think it should go from very hard to see, to way too dark with 'just right' right about in the middle...

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6 hours ago, Rik1138 said:

Have them turn the contrast all the up and all the way down to make sure the LCD works in the same range...

I think it should go from very hard to see, to way too dark with 'just right' right about in the middle...

I remember with new batteries I would have to turn the contrast down and then increase it as the batteries drained. 

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Slightly off-topic, but following up on the TMS1100/8021 comments, does this mean that, for early Microvisions that have two battery connections, you can run it with only one battery (and connecting the other two terminals together)?

 

I am asking because, in one of my Microvisions (a two-battery connection model), one of the battery prongs snapped off, and I was trying to figure out the easiest way to fix it (given my rather limited repair skill set).

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10 minutes ago, MaazFench said:

Slightly off-topic, but following up on the TMS1100/8021 comments, does this mean that, for early Microvisions that have two battery connections, you can run it with only one battery (and connecting the other two terminals together)?

 

I am asking because, in one of my Microvisions (a two-battery connection model), one of the battery prongs snapped off, and I was trying to figure out the easiest way to fix it (given my rather limited repair skill set).

it might run, but it would do so poorly if it does and more relevant to your problem, any way of bypassing the second battery would use the same skills and tools as fixing the broken terminal, connect wire to busted terminal via preferred method, route wire to where its supposed to be

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7 hours ago, MaazFench said:

Slightly off-topic, but following up on the TMS1100/8021 comments, does this mean that, for early Microvisions that have two battery connections, you can run it with only one battery (and connecting the other two terminals together)?

 

I am asking because, in one of my Microvisions (a two-battery connection model), one of the battery prongs snapped off, and I was trying to figure out the easiest way to fix it (given my rather limited repair skill set).

That was something I was curious of myself.   You can remove the sticker with a heat gun.   I'm sure a low serial number BB cartridge would have the 8021 chip installed.  I'm curious on what order the game were released??  Then I was going to try it in a single batt unit and check drain.   There is also the issue of today's batteries have a higher MaH rating than long ago.  Maybe you wouldn't notice.  Something to try though.

Edited by [email protected]

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38 minutes ago, MaazFench said:

Slightly off-topic, but following up on the TMS1100/8021 comments, does this mean that, for early Microvisions that have two battery connections, you can run it with only one battery (and connecting the other two terminals together)?

 

I am asking because, in one of my Microvisions (a two-battery connection model), one of the battery prongs snapped off, and I was trying to figure out the easiest way to fix it (given my rather limited repair skill set).

I remember doing this when I was young and it worked fine!

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3 hours ago, nickle241 said:

it might run, but it would do so poorly if it does and more relevant to your problem, any way of bypassing the second battery would use the same skills and tools as fixing the broken terminal, connect wire to busted terminal via preferred method, route wire to where its supposed to be

?x

Why would it run poorly? Clearly this is not my area, but I would think it would be equivalent to how the one-battery model is wired. How would it be different?

 

But I agree that this would generally take the same skills as a proper fix, but, in this case, I think there is enough of the metal left that I could attach the two together with alligator clips. Not an elegant solution, but it would hopefully be enough to see if this particular Microvision works at all (or if more was broken in shipping than just the one connector).

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13 minutes ago, MaazFench said:

?x

Why would it run poorly? Clearly this is not my area, but I would think it would be equivalent to how the one-battery model is wired. How would it be different?

 

But I agree that this would generally take the same skills as a proper fix, but, in this case, I think there is enough of the metal left that I could attach the two together with alligator clips. Not an elegant solution, but it would hopefully be enough to see if this particular Microvision works at all (or if more was broken in shipping than just the one connector).

i dont claim to be an expert and i could be wrong, particularly with the difference in batteries over the decades, but ive tried using other types of things with insufficient power supplies and while some of them might look to behave initially they end up with various glitches or things not working at all, as an example of this someone got a nes to run off a 9v battery and it just kept going till the battery was dead but the graphics portion of the cpu got progressively less and less coherent till power failed, if im being honest it looked kinda cool so it could be worth seeing how low i could dial down a psu with it still turning on

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7 hours ago, MaazFench said:

Slightly off-topic, but following up on the TMS1100/8021 comments, does this mean that, for early Microvisions that have two battery connections, you can run it with only one battery (and connecting the other two terminals together)?

 

I am asking because, in one of my Microvisions (a two-battery connection model), one of the battery prongs snapped off, and I was trying to figure out the easiest way to fix it (given my rather limited repair skill set).

Which battery prong came off.  In the earlier models these were clipped onto the boards.  The single batt units had the clips soldered onto the board.   Do you still have the loose batt clip?  Open it and you'll see how easy it clips back into place.  A super slight squeezing of the area where it clips to the board will keep it secure.   

Edited by [email protected]

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3 hours ago, MaazFench said:

?x

Why would it run poorly? Clearly this is not my area, but I would think it would be equivalent to how the one-battery model is wired. How would it be different?

 

But I agree that this would generally take the same skills as a proper fix, but, in this case, I think there is enough of the metal left that I could attach the two together with alligator clips. Not an elegant solution, but it would hopefully be enough to see if this particular Microvision works at all (or if more was broken in shipping than just the one connector).

Both units are wired that same as far as I noticed.  I've opened 2 units of each.   The extra battery gave it the current boost it needed for the cartridge games with the 8021 processor.  

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6 minutes ago, [email protected] said:

Both units are wired that same as far as I noticed.  I've opened 2 units of each.   The extra battery gave it the current boost it needed for the cartridge games with the 8021 processor.  

huh, if it really is only a current issue and not one of voltage then it will probably work fine, as previously mentioned modern batteries are much better than they were thirty years ago so a single battery now might be able to do what took two back then, heck, it might even be damaging to use two now with the larger battery capacity depending on how the system links them and actually draws from them, over amping isnt an issue that happens in a properly designed circuit but who knows how these were engineered back then, the first try at a technology tends to have a few bad design choices

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1 minute ago, nickle241 said:

huh, if it really is only a current issue and not one of voltage then it will probably work fine, as previously mentioned modern batteries are much better than they were thirty years ago so a single battery now might be able to do what took two back then, heck, it might even be damaging to use two now with the larger battery capacity depending on how the system links them and actually draws from them, over amping isnt an issue that happens in a properly designed circuit but who knows how these were engineered back then, the first try at a technology tends to have a few bad design choices

Good thoughts.   I've used the lower powered TI cartridge games in a dual batt unit and both batts installed with no issues.

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1 hour ago, [email protected] said:

Good thoughts.   I've used the lower powered TI cartridge games in a dual batt unit and both batts installed with no issues.

i hadnt realized it was the actual cartridge that got the chip change that made for the model swap, how do you tell which ones you have?

also, dont these things have a noticeable failure rate, maybe the static discharge issue isnt the only thing plaguing them nowadays and they could be running a bit hot in some cases, just look at what hot running has done to the commodore 64

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10 hours ago, nickle241 said:

i hadnt realized it was the actual cartridge that got the chip change that made for the model swap, how do you tell which ones you have?

also, dont these things have a noticeable failure rate, maybe the static discharge issue isnt the only thing plaguing them nowadays and they could be running a bit hot in some cases, just look at what hot running has done to the commodore 64

That's a good thought. I'm not sure how you notice what chip you have externally. If you use hot air gun over the label it covers the screw.

 

Does the commodore 64 have a cooling fan in the case?

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2 minutes ago, [email protected] said:

That's a good thought. I'm not sure how you notice what chip you have externally. If you use hot air gun over the label it covers the screw.

 

Does the commodore 64 have a cooling fan in the case?

nope, the problem chips commonly get a heatsink added to help cope, but fans arent stock and are almost never added

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19 hours ago, [email protected] said:

Which battery prong came off.  In the earlier models these were clipped onto the boards.  The single batt units had the clips soldered onto the board.   Do you still have the loose batt clip?  Open it and you'll see how easy it clips back into place.  A super slight squeezing of the area where it clips to the board will keep it secure.   

Thanks--that is an excellent idea. I had assumed that it was soldered, so I did not even look. I will give this a shot.

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