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I think a name change for this forum is needing to change from F18 MK2 to, Dont order F18 MK2 here, just a topic!!

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2 hours ago, patb1au said:

I went to every page at that website could not find anything that would allow me to either preorder or get on a waiting list - I suspect it used to be on the store before he migrated websites?

The old site had a contact form to get me your email address, but it got so spammy that I had to take it down.  F-ing bots.  The store is down too, for now while I get things situated on the new site.  Just send me a P.M. with your email, or you can email me directly (pretty easy to figure out: my first name @ the website domain), or as Greg mentioned, you can watch the forum since I will announce here as well.

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14 hours ago, arcadeshopper said:

I guess he's still working on it. When it's available it will be there.. not here    This is just for updates and q/a..  there is no preorder and there is no waiting list... it was just "put your name on the contact list to be notified when it is ready".. watching this forum will do the same thing   (if I sound frustrated, it's because this is very much not the first time this has come up in this forum)

 

Greg 

Thats what I figured, but some recent posts confused me a little bit.  Either way, I've shot a note through to Matthew.

 

Thanks,

 

Pat

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18 hours ago, technojunkie said:

I'd also love to see a base release and future firmware updates so long as you're reasonably confident that the hardware is final.

Well, that's the real rub.  I have done initial testing on each new feature on the MK2: the SRAM, the digital output, the ADC and DAC audio, etc., but without doing all the HDL work before releasing the hardware, there is no way for me to test everything all together.

 

Also, things like USB and digital video are complicated, despite that they are ubiquitous these days, so I cannot make any guarantees about compatibility with anything.  For example, I have tested the MK2 digital video on 4 monitors, 2 TVs, and a video-signal tester that I have, and it works on 6 out of 7.  One of my ASUS 4K monitors does not like the video, despite the signal passing 100% on the video-tester.  The TVs (both are Samsung) over-scan the hell out of the signal, cutting off 16-pixel on all four sides, despite properly detecting the 720x480p signal!  I'm not sure what that is all about.  Maybe since the MK2 does not perform EDID, the TVs are just being stubborn about it?  IDK.  However, the three monitors (and video-tester) that accept the signal show exactly the correct image and all pixels are accounted for.

 

Video is hard.  Anyone who says or believes otherwise is lying or does not know what they are talking about.  I cannot, and will not, make any guarantees or claims about compatibility with any monitor, TV, or computer system.  The engineering and testing cost to build such a device, with such a limited market, is just not practical.

 

Having said that, of course I am doing everything I can, and know how to do, to make the MK2 work as expected and produce video signals that will work with as many devices as possible.

 

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I'm a pretty good Beta tester.   I can't can put it through it's paces on my stock TI with nanoPEB and Tipi32k.  🙂

 

(As well as an assortment of DVI/VGA monitors as well as H$$I TV's.   (No 4K 😞 )

 

Edited by dgrissom
Left out monitors. Correct for lack of sleep!
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48 minutes ago, dgrissom said:

I'm a pretty good Beta tester.   I can't put it through it's paces on my stock TI with nanoPEB and Tipi32k.  🙂

 

(As well as an assortment of DVI/VGA monitors as well as H$$I TV's.   (No 4K 😞 )

 

Can't is too strong.. maybe, you'd defer

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6 minutes ago, GDMike said:

Can't is too strong.. maybe, you'd defer

 

6 minutes ago, GDMike said:

Can't is too strong.. maybe, you'd defer

Guess I blew it!   ... should have said "can", "will", etc.  😞

Still,  I have the time, and have saved cash!

 

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On 9/5/2020 at 11:27 PM, matthew180 said:

Life and job due to the pandemic have caused me to not have as much time as I planned the last few months, so the MK2 is not where I anticipated it would be by now.  I hate to keep apologizing, but that's all I can do for now, and I suppose I'll keep doing so until I get the MK2 done.

 

I'm waiting on one to build an AppleTI card.. no pressure though. 😄

 

I'm kidding of course, looking forward to a release. I would be happy with a VGA only release.

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On 9/7/2020 at 2:15 PM, matthew180 said:

Having said that, of course I am doing everything I can, and know how to do, to make the MK2 work as expected and produce video signals that will work with as many devices as possible.

 

 

Please correct me if I'm misspeaking, but I thought I had read that you intend to open up the design and HDL once you were satisfied that the bulk of the work was complete. I realize that there aren't as many hardware/HDL savvy contributors as there are software, but would even a half dozen new contributors help with ironing out compatibility and performance?

 

Either way, I am grateful to you for your work on this and look forward to an eventual release. I'm just now delving into my own first embedded projects and am not now anywhere near able to take on a project of this scale, it's inspiring to know that it is possible.

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I can't believe you even got as far as you have, I, like most couldn't do that. Lots are coding, and fewer in hardware, but very few work with video.

Great accomplishment indeed

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On 9/8/2020 at 11:09 PM, technojunkie said:

Please correct me if I'm misspeaking, but I thought I had read that you intend to open up the design and HDL once you were satisfied that the bulk of the work was complete.

Ultimately I would love to find a way to make a living doing hardware like this, similar to the AdaFruit or SparkFun business model, only smaller (much smaller, just enough to support myself, and maybe 1 or 2 other people).  The amount of time I spend working on this is unbelievable to me, and I either have to scale back so my hobby does not interfere with life and work, or I need to make it support me 100%.

 

I do plan to release the schematics and HDL once things are wrapped up.  Since this is still very much a hobby project, I just don't have time to create and manage all the information, support, and people that come along with having open hardware, so it stays on the back-burner for now.  I'm prioritizing getting something working over releasing the information.

 

It is also a lot of work, and the F18A is 8+ years of almost non-stop effort and learning.  It is kind of hard to just "give it all away".  But I use open source software/hardware all the time, and I support the general idea, so that's what I will do when I have the time to focus on it.

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Yes, something like this has to be a "made for profit" since there's no help available for what aspect you really need, and it's become a personal investment.

Hopefully, you can get something off the ground and paid for and that may be able to satisfy some of your loss, hobby or not, even NASA is a hobby, but someone has to pay to keep it going!

 

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On 9/7/2020 at 3:15 PM, matthew180 said:

For example, I have tested the MK2 digital video on 4 monitors, 2 TVs, and a video-signal tester that I have, and it works on 6 out of 7.  One of my ASUS 4K monitors does not like the video, despite the signal passing 100% on the video-tester.  The TVs (both are Samsung) over-scan the hell out of the signal, cutting off 16-pixel on all four sides, despite properly detecting the 720x480p signal!  I'm not sure what that is all about.  Maybe since the MK2 does not perform EDID, the TVs are just being stubborn about it?  IDK.  However, the three monitors (and video-tester) that accept the signal show exactly the correct image and all pixels are accounted for.

 

I'm in the dark, but one thing that often gets forgotten is the +5V (DVI pin 14, HDMI pin 18).

The +5V has to be capable of supplying minimum 55 mA. (but also should be reasonably current limited, don't just connect to Vcc).

If it does not supply the 5 Volts, the device can refuse to display the image as it doesn't meet the spec.

Ground return path is DVI pin 15, HDMI pin 17.

 

As for the cut off picture, that's a "feature" of HDMI.

Certain TVs have have procedures like:

 

Fixing HDMI overscan on a Samsung TV
  1. Press Source on your remote.
  2. Move down to your HDMI source and press Tools.
  3. Select Edit name Scroll down to PC and select that one.

Each TV will have a different procedure for going from TV mode to Monitor mode:

https://www.howtogeek.com/252193/hdtv-overscan-what-it-is-and-why-you-should-probably-turn-it-off/

Or, just don't put critical info there as some TVs can cut off that area (sounds awfully familiar to the TI's programming recommendations, doesn't it?)

Edited by whicker
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8 hours ago, whicker said:

I'm hoping PDF attachments work.

I can read any attachments with my cell and my pc Firefox. I'm able to even dl and upload TI files as well with this attachment option. Yay

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On 9/19/2020 at 10:03 PM, whicker said:

I'm in the dark, but one thing that often gets forgotten is the +5V (DVI pin 14, HDMI pin 18).

The +5V has to be capable of supplying minimum 55 mA. (but also should be reasonably current limited, don't just connect to Vcc).

Yup, been down that path about 3 different ways now.  Thanks for the suggestions though, I know of a few open-hardware devboards that missed that little detail.  I am currently using the MIC2090 (5V, 50mA, reverse current protection) on the MK2 for the required 5V output on the digital video interface.

 

On 9/19/2020 at 10:03 PM, whicker said:

Each TV will have a different procedure for going from TV mode to Monitor mode:

Tried that, unfortunately it did not correct the situation.

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I have to say, I am impressed you have digital video working at all.  Having personally built a 24-bit color VGA interface using a soldering iron and resistors, it really wasn't bad.  Having read the DisplayPort and HDMI specs, HOLY [email protected]#! MAN!  It's a data stream.  Why did they make it so complicated?!?

 

From a making money perspective, it might not hurt to talk to someone like Lady Ada about the project.  I highly doubt they would try to beat you to the punch, and might have good insight into the marketability.  I know Adafruit has in-house production capabilities and they are, of course, a distributor.

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22 hours ago, UrQuan3 said:

I have to say, I am impressed you have digital video working at all.  Having personally built a 24-bit color VGA interface using a soldering iron and resistors, it really wasn't bad.  Having read the DisplayPort and HDMI specs, HOLY [email protected]#! MAN!  It's a data stream.

Yup, "CRT" video formats are really very straight forward, just a pair of counters and some logic.  I was very excited when I discovered how simple driving the raster CRT really was.  Now, generating the pixel data, that's a different story.  There are some very clever circuits to be found in the early arcade computers.

 

DVI and its successor keep the data in a digital format and do some encoding to minimize the transitions on the video cable (to keep a 0V DC bias), but other than that it is really just a variation on the same signaling used to drive a CRT.  It can certainly be complicated at times, and the documentation is like the E/A manual (the information is in there, but you better know WTF you are doing and looking at).

 

DisplayPort, that is a totally different ball-game; it truly is a totally different format, not even remotely related to anything before it.  It is probably not as complicated as it seems, once you understand what is going on, but needless to say, I did not get very far into the specifications before I was pretty much lost.  It is also one of those deals where the *MINIMUM* data stream is a single 1.6Gbps channel, which immediately puts you into the realm of very complicated (and more expensive) ICs and PCB layout.  Display Port was never really an option for the MK2.

 

22 hours ago, UrQuan3 said:

Why did they make it so complicated?!?

Hmm, seems to be a human condition, especially when it comes to technology.  For some reason, people like to make things way more complicated than necessary, and I find ideas and protocols that come from academia (i.e. most of the Internet, languages, data formats, etc.) tend to be overly complicated for the sake of completeness.  Too complicated to understand, not practical to fully implement, and full of capability that is not necessary the majority of the time.

 

There is a certain amount of complexity you will have to deal with to obtain the video being generated these days, and it blows me away that even a display like 1920x1080 can be updated at 60 FPS.  That is a *lot* of data to move, and without any kind of jitter in the image, just amazing.  But, it is common place that people take it for granted and assume it must be "easy" (just all software is simple and anyone can do it).

 

23 hours ago, UrQuan3 said:

From a making money perspective, it might not hurt to talk to someone like Lady Ada about the project.

Maybe, but I need to get it done first. ;)  Personally I think things like documentation and consistent availability again will help more in the short term.

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I know this is the MK2 forum, though I just wanted to mention that I just put a spare F18A into my Adam and then used a VGA to HDMI convertor, the finest-cheapest one on Amazon. The image is of course spectacular, but I wonder if I am adding so much latency that I am fooling myself? I was never one to notice such effects, although watching RetroRGB makes me think I am missing something important.

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VGA to HDMI is available as a single IC solution, and I have to believe this is what the cheap converters are using.  If that is the case, then there would not be any buffering going on, as that would be more complex and cost more money.  I would be surprised if there was any latency at all.

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