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I have a Japanese MSX computer with a busted VDP to be a loving home for a Mk2. It's with a friend who fixes retro computers, he's having some difficulty procuring the VDP. I'll have to check the pinout, I think there are variants with different pinouts, is that right?

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Bulk reply, sorry for being impersonal:

 

The MK2 is still my priority hobby project and I am giving it as much time as I can spare. It will happen, but usually never as fast as I, or anyone else, would like. I hope to ramp it up soon, and I will be posting here for sure when I have progress to report. I know my website has not been updated in a long time either, and my contact form and emails are backing up too. So if you have sent me a message recently, please know that I have received it and I will get back to you.

 

 

I have a Japanese MSX computer with a busted VDP to be a loving home for a Mk2. It's with a friend who fixes retro computers, he's having some difficulty procuring the VDP. I'll have to check the pinout, I think there are variants with different pinouts, is that right?

 

There are a few variations of the 9918A with the main differences being in the video and oscillator outputs. The F18A supports every variation that I am aware of. Due to the total lack of F18A documentation (also on my TODO list), here are the variation details:

   -- User header.  Pull-up in the FPGA, a jumper in place will pull to ground.
   --
   --  User Jumper          |  On  | Off
   -- --------------------------------------
   --  1 Sprite max default |  32  | 4
   --  2 Scan lines         |  No  | Yes
   --  3 CPUCLK pin         | P38  | P37
   --  4 CPUCLK en          | HI-Z | CPUCLK

   -- USR3 CPUCLK pin.  Provides support for the 9128/9129 that output CPUCLK on pin37.
   -- USR3 and USR4 - CPUCLK pin and CPUCLK Enable.
   --        _________
   -- RAS  =|1   U  40|= XTAL1    9918A   9928A/29A  9118   9128/29 F18A
   -- CAS  =|2      39|= XTAL2   ======== ========= ======= ======= ====
   -- AD7  =|3      38|= ....... CPUCLK   R-Y       CPUCLK  R-Y     HI-Z / CPUCLK
   -- AD6  =|4      37|= ....... GROMCLK  GROMCLK   NC      CPUCLK  GROMCLK / CPUCLK
   -- AD5  =|5      36|= ....... COMVID   Y         COMVID  Y       NC
   -- AD4  =|6      35|= ....... EXTVDP   B-Y       EXTVDP  B-Y     NC
   --

   -- Basically:
   --             USR3 USR4
   -- TI-99/4A     on   on    -- The 99/4A does not use the CPUCLK, but this is NOT the default of the 9918A
   -- 9928/29      on   on    -- CPUCLK on pin38 disabled so it does not cram 3.5MHz into the R-Y circuit
   -- 9918A/9118   on  off    -- CPUCLK output, GROMCLK output (pin37 is not connected on the 9118)
   -- 9128/29     off   on    -- CPUCLK on pin37 enabled, CPUCLK output on pin38 disabled
   -- not used    off  off    -- CPUCLK output on both pin37 and pin38

Basically the differences in the 9918A family are pins 35, 36, 37, and 38. If you have or know of some other variation, please let me know. The MSX1 spec used the 9918A for NTSC and 9929 for PAL (I don't think the 9928 was used, but it could have been in some MSX1 systems). The MSX2 uses the 9938, which the F18A does not replace (although the MK2 might develop that capability in the future (do not read into that, do not hold your breath)).

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Posted (edited)

Bulk reply, sorry for being impersonal:

 

The MK2 is still my priority hobby project and I am giving it as much time as I can spare. It will happen, but usually never as fast as I, or anyone else, would like. I hope to ramp it up soon, and I will be posting here for sure when I have progress to report. I know my website has not been updated in a long time either, and my contact form and emails are backing up too. So if you have sent me a message recently, please know that I have received it and I will get back to you.

 

 

Thx for the update - looking fwd to this!

Edited by patrickmcmichael
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I ordered one of these "Micro HDMI Male to HDMI Female Extension Cables" to install in my ColecoVision with the new MK2 board


51svOoo+FbL._SL1500_.jpg

 

https://www.amazon.com/ShineBear-Plated-Speed-Female-Extension/dp/B07NPGXQY9/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=Micro+HDMI+Male+to+HDMI+Female+Extension+Cable+Screw+Panel+Mount&qid=1560987149&s=gateway&sr=8-4

 

I hope this helps

 

Seeya

 

Joe

 

 

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The MK2 will *not* have an HDMI connector on the board.  HDMI is a licensed technology, and connectors are covered by the patents.  As a hobbyist I cannot afford the $5K/yr to license HDMI.  The MK2 will produce Transition Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDS) output via a standard 19-pin FFC connector.  It will be up to the user to acquire the final output connector of their choice.  For example, do an image search for "ffc hdmi".

 

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17 minutes ago, matthew180 said:

 For example, do an image search for "ffc hdmi".

Interesting, looks like other people came up against the same problem.  I'm guessing the manufacturer of the cable(s) are paying the licensing fees considering the prices.

FFC HDMI Adapter.png

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I have no idea if the people making these boards have licenses, some probably do, many probably don't.  I think they are popular now because of cameras like the GoPro, and SoC boards like the Rpi, BeagleBoard, and many others.  Lots of devices output HDMI now (legally and illegally), and small form factor is always important.  I think some of these are as cheap as $8 (quality ones are probably more), but still way cheaper than I could ever hope to make them for.  The MK2 *might* have a DVI header board, but I'm not sure about that.  I suspect most people will probably just go directly to HDMI.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, matthew180 said:

The MK2 will *not* have an HDMI connector on the board.  HDMI is a licensed technology, and connectors are covered by the patents.  As a hobbyist I cannot afford the $5K/yr to license HDMI.  The MK2 will produce Transition Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDS) output via a standard 19-pin FFC connector.  It will be up to the user to acquire the final output connector of their choice.  For example, do an image search for "ffc hdmi".

 

 

Hi Matthew, 

 

Thanks for the guidance... I saw the micro HDMI on your prototype and got excited..

 

This is my new plan still using the panel mount extension cable in conjunction with an FFC cable with a female micro HDMI connector... (I photo-shopped an FFC on your PCB)

 

FFC.jpg

Please let me know if I am still in error in my assumptions

 

Seeya

 

Joe

Edited by a2dconverter
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By the time this hits the market, I have a suspicion that a BOM of the most suitable parts will be available for us all to easily obtain, possibly by a simple click of a link.

My hope is to swap out the VGA connector on the back of my TI with an HDMI one (using the adapter cable).  I know a quite a few of us mounted our F18A's the same way...

  

F18A Modification.JPG

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Posted (edited)

This is kinda like a video card upgrade for a modern computer when you think about it.  I think it would be pretty awesome to have something similar to a sound card upgrade as well (maybe MK3...?).  IDK just thinking out loud.  This type of stuff is really cool to me.

Edited by boggystudios

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9 hours ago, matthew180 said:

I have no idea if the people making these boards have licenses, some probably do, many probably don't.  I think they are popular now because of cameras like the GoPro, and SoC boards like the Rpi, BeagleBoard, and many others.  Lots of devices output HDMI now (legally and illegally), and small form factor is always important.  I think some of these are as cheap as $8 (quality ones are probably more), but still way cheaper than I could ever hope to make them for.  The MK2 *might* have a DVI header board, but I'm not sure about that.  I suspect most people will probably just go directly to HDMI.

 

Sounds like you are getting closer!  i know I will buy a few boards.

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1 hour ago, boggystudios said:

This is kinda like a video card upgrade for a modern computer when you think about it.  I think it would be pretty awesome to have something similar to a sound card upgrade as well (maybe MK3...?).  IDK just thinking out loud.  This type of stuff is really cool to me.

 

For the TI, this would be a sound CHIP upgrade. :D Which you wouldn't have to do much to improve it. There has been expansion cards for the P.E. Box to add a better sound system as well, such as the ForTI card.

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2 hours ago, adamantyr said:

 

For the TI, this would be a sound CHIP upgrade. :D Which you wouldn't have to do much to improve it. There has been expansion cards for the P.E. Box to add a better sound system as well, such as the ForTI card.

I populated the 2nd prototype PCB of FORTI-2 a week ago.

I have not made a thread for that yet.

 

 

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2 hours ago, FarmerPotato said:

I populated the 2nd prototype PCB of FORTI-2 a week ago.

I have not made a thread for that yet.

 

 

Looking forward to seeing the FORTI-2..

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8 hours ago, a2dconverter said:

...

Please let me know if I am still in error in my assumptions

...

 

Your assumptions are accurate for what I'm planning as of right now.  However, I'm sure you can get the panel-mount HDMI connector on the FFC board directly, so you could eliminate the Type-D to Type-A cable.

8 hours ago, a2dconverter said:

 

...

Thanks for the guidance... I saw the micro HDMI on your prototype and got excited..

...

 

Yeah, it was going to work out well, it is even smaller than USB-C.  However, the connector is one of the main pieces covered by the patents, and the Type-D connector is relatively new.  If I were making 10,000 units I could get a license and not worry about it, but I'm not confident that there will ever be that many MK2 boards in existence.  Now, if someone wants to put up the money to make 10,000 boards, please send me a PM ASAP!

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, FarmerPotato said:

I populated the 2nd prototype PCB of FORTI-2 a week ago.

I have not made a thread for that yet.

 

 

Now that we have the answer, what was the question? I'll have to go back and read the books I guess.(bad Douglas Adams reference)   I am really looking forward to the Forti-2.

Edited by DuaneAL
Incomplete.

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On 6/20/2019 at 7:03 AM, --- Ω --- said:

My hope is to swap out the VGA connector on the back of my TI with an HDMI one (using the adapter cable).  I know a quite a few of us mounted our F18A's the same way...

  

One of the reasons I've decided to do no more case hacking, I did the dirty deed to my TI for the F18A, but when it came time to decide where to mount a DVI to a 1200XL I decided there was a good chance that the Sophia chip was probably not a "forever" solution and that I'd find a way to snake it through an existing opening. Not as neat, but not as destructive.

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On ‎5‎/‎17‎/‎2019 at 12:02 AM, matthew180 said:

Bulk reply, sorry for being impersonal:

 

The MK2 is still my priority hobby project and I am giving it as much time as I can spare. It will happen, but usually never as fast as I, or anyone else, would like. I hope to ramp it up soon, and I will be posting here for sure when I have progress to report. I know my website has not been updated in a long time either, and my contact form and emails are backing up too. So if you have sent me a message recently, please know that I have received it and I will get back to you.

 

 

 

There are a few variations of the 9918A with the main differences being in the video and oscillator outputs. The F18A supports every variation that I am aware of. Due to the total lack of F18A documentation (also on my TODO list), here are the variation details:

   -- User header.  Pull-up in the FPGA, a jumper in place will pull to ground.
   --
   --  User Jumper          |  On  | Off
   -- --------------------------------------
   --  1 Sprite max default |  32  | 4
   --  2 Scan lines         |  No  | Yes
   --  3 CPUCLK pin         | P38  | P37
   --  4 CPUCLK en          | HI-Z | CPUCLK

   -- USR3 CPUCLK pin.  Provides support for the 9128/9129 that output CPUCLK on pin37.
   -- USR3 and USR4 - CPUCLK pin and CPUCLK Enable.
   --        _________
   -- RAS  =|1   U  40|= XTAL1    9918A   9928A/29A  9118   9128/29 F18A
   -- CAS  =|2      39|= XTAL2   ======== ========= ======= ======= ====
   -- AD7  =|3      38|= ....... CPUCLK   R-Y       CPUCLK  R-Y     HI-Z / CPUCLK
   -- AD6  =|4      37|= ....... GROMCLK  GROMCLK   NC      CPUCLK  GROMCLK / CPUCLK
   -- AD5  =|5      36|= ....... COMVID   Y         COMVID  Y       NC
   -- AD4  =|6      35|= ....... EXTVDP   B-Y       EXTVDP  B-Y     NC
   --

   -- Basically:
   --             USR3 USR4
   -- TI-99/4A     on   on    -- The 99/4A does not use the CPUCLK, but this is NOT the default of the 9918A
   -- 9928/29      on   on    -- CPUCLK on pin38 disabled so it does not cram 3.5MHz into the R-Y circuit
   -- 9918A/9118   on  off    -- CPUCLK output, GROMCLK output (pin37 is not connected on the 9118)
   -- 9128/29     off   on    -- CPUCLK on pin37 enabled, CPUCLK output on pin38 disabled
   -- not used    off  off    -- CPUCLK output on both pin37 and pin38

Basically the differences in the 9918A family are pins 35, 36, 37, and 38. If you have or know of some other variation, please let me know. The MSX1 spec used the 9918A for NTSC and 9929 for PAL (I don't think the 9928 was used, but it could have been in some MSX1 systems). The MSX2 uses the 9938, which the F18A does not replace (although the MK2 might develop that capability in the future (do not read into that, do not hold your breath)).

 

@matthew180  Ahh, that probably explains why the 80 Column programs

    I have tested with the Mechatronic 80 Column card are not all working as

    it is using a MSX2 V9938 Chip (I just checked it on the board).

 

   Until now I saw that fbForth 80 Column works on both F18A (MK1) and Mechatronic 80.

 

   The rest of the programs which probably do not work on F18A (MK1),  

    you can them here  in this thread.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, globeron said:

   Until now I saw that fbForth 80 Column works on both F18A (MK1) and Mechatronic 80.

Yeah, basically, 9938 applications that run 80 column mode in the first 16k of RAM and do not use any of the expanded RAM have a good chance of working on the F18A. We've hacked a couple of applications on the TI and a few have been written to work with both by just following that rule.

 

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So I bought a few FPC adapters for reference:

 

1. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D9FJNR9

2. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078J16HP9

 

But of course they use different pin-outs!  Why in the heck they can't just use a straight-through scheme I don't know, but it means the MK2 will only work with certain vendors / manufacturers of these products.  This is very unfortunate, and I can see this causing a lot of problems.

 

I'm wondering what specific FPC adapter people here would buy to use with the MK2?  Even though this would be a small sample, it might be representative enough for me to choose a pin-out scheme.  I only have two products and they are both different.  But maybe across more variations of these adapters there is a pin-out that is the most common?

 

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