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VidHD HDMI Board Update

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From John Brooks today:

 

The VidHD test-production boards have arrived and are now going through QA testing.


Here is a pic of 7 VidHD bus boards undergoing burn-in testing on a trusty Woz GS that was salvaged from the KFest 2017 Garage Giveaway and repaired (A2Heaven ROM & replaced PSU):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vqYpD4SybTi0No9hKotjFY4y_GpHyp99

Here are pics of the final VidHD hardware, front & back:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yu78KgsQm2Gd8BmF04PF1lFMWPT_qjUT
https://drive.google.com/file/d/17aMU68zW9uDcEfYAHMsh3cAz2EY4-Q0o

If the test-production VidHD boards pass QA testing, I'll contact everyone on the vi...@blueshiftinc.com waiting-list so they can place their order for the production run.

 

To me, this will be the ultimate HD monitor solution for slotted Apple II's.

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From John Brooks today:

 

 

To me, this will be the ultimate HD monitor solution for slotted Apple II's.

 

I'm inclined to agree.... straight to hdmi without mucking about... just got to find the readies for fork over for it :/

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The VidHD 1080 HDMI board for slotted Apple II's is now ready to order! It's $135 + shipping.

 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCi1-AJ1FmQ0fDisqPvc1cU-tlsymAHV1

 

Email vidhd at blueshiftinc.com to get yours!

 

With this, a CFFA3000 card, and an Uthernet II card, it's a good time to be an Apple II user!

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This looks awesome. Is it still available to order? I hope so. I have a IIGS that needs some of this love.

 

Yes, it's still available - haven't even gotten mine yet!

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This is a pretty cool! I found a video on YouTube that describes a bit more about it in case you don't know (like me) anything about it:

 

I have a CFFA3000, just need this and the Uthernet II card :)

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The video looks great. I emailed, but have not heard back yet. Definitely thinking about the flash card though not sure how I'd use the network card.

 

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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Where do we order them? I can't find a location for them.

 

 

You have to e-mail the creator and get on a waiting list. He has been trickling them out folks as he can build them:

 

vidhd@blueshiftinc.com

 

I have avoided pulling the trigger on it so far...

Edited by rpiguy9907

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Hmm. Yeah. I may wait too.

 

One thing I noticed was some type of add-on card with a Samsung chip. Does anyone know what that is? It appeared to have the actual HDMI connector.

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rbjdt7E.jpg

 

xrwPsPu.jpg

 

It has two microcontrollers on it. One is on the carrier board, which I assume interfaces to the Apple 2 bus. The other one is on the daughterboard, which also has the HDMI port on it, which I assume is some kind of all-in-one handyboard type unit that he just plugs into the carrier board. My assumption is that the carrier uC sends video state info to the daughterboard during vblank or something.

 

There's a 9-pin header on the daughterboard that I assume is USB, for re-flashing the daughterboard firmware. The daughterboard has both an SD card slot and a USB port, so I assume that its firmware can be updated as well.

 

I haven't messed with it much yet, but it takes about 6 seconds for the card to initialize. This is slower than the system boots with a floppy emu, although it's easy enough to hit control-OA-reset once the card comes up.

 

Since I already have an additional 5v 3a power supply in my system to power the Pi3b+/Rock64 boards (and future microcontroller projects), I am hoping that I can power the video card off of that instead of off the //e bus, so that it just stays on all the time and doesn't need time to initialize when I power up the //e PSU. I don't see any headers or jumpers for doing that, though, so I assume that my only option (aside from cutting the 5v pin on the mobo side of the connector, which I certainly will not do) is to peel the 5v pad off the card and solder a jumper wire on. I am loathe to do that to a $135 card, so I'll probably use it as-is for a while just to have a good burn-in period to uncover any issues before I start cutting on it.

 

The included documentation is rather sparse (one page, good enough to get going). There's a link to the full manual with the included quickstart doc, but following it leads to an "Under Construction" page.

 

All in all, I am very happy with the product. When I think about what it takes to interface a uC to the //e bus without any glue logic (doing it all in software), it blows my mind. The creators of this product would appear to have serious skills and really know what they are doing.

 

Now if we had a similar "smart carrier" for the A2Pi stuff, instead of doing it via serial with UARTs that are basically NLA..... Well, that would be really sweet. icon_mrgreen.gif

Edited by Lee Adamson

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Actually, that seems to be a JTAG port and not USB. Which means there should be a CPLD/FPGA on there. That might be doing some glue logic. But it's hard to tell from the pics.

 

What I'm wondering is if the daughter card is a third party card or was it designed by them?

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Got my board and it works great! There is no lag in all the games that I tested. Text mode looks awesome. This board is the way to go if you want to use a modern TV / monitor with your slotted Apple II.

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Got my board and it works great! There is no lag in all the games that I tested. Text mode looks awesome. This board is the way to go if you want to use a modern TV / monitor with your slotted Apple II.

 

That's good news! I'm only a part-time Apple II user, but it's hard for me to resist these items when they become available.

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FYI, it seems the daughter card is nothing more than an Orange Pi Zero. Or some variation of it.

 

http://www.orangepi.org/orangepizero/

 

Chris Torrence posted a video on it and you can even see Linux (or something) boot up really quick when he powered on the computer.

 

Doesn't really matter all that much but at least now I know what it is.

 

Still want one. :-D

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Ahhhhh, a wifi antenna. So that's what that thing is.

 

Still, whatever works. I think it's pretty darned impressive how it's able to sniff the apple 2 bus in real-time, regardless of whether or not the video output is handled by a Pi board.

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Ahhhhh, a wifi antenna. So that's what that thing is.

 

Still, whatever works. I think it's pretty darned impressive how it's able to sniff the apple 2 bus in real-time, regardless of whether or not the video output is handled by a Pi board.

 

 

Agreed. As someone who has dabbled in getting a Propeller (160 MIPS micro-controller) to monitor the bus speed of a 6502, I can confirm that what they did in software is nothing short of impressive.

 

Just proves my point...through enough cycles at something and you can do just about anything. :-D

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Now to start multitasking your VidHD card with networking :P Onboard file server, link to the internet? (chuckle) The OrangePi isn't meant to be working that hard. I asked about it ages ago when I first saw pictures.

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Ah, but I have a Rock64 board that needs a bus-mastering interface, rather than having to bit-bang serially through a 6551 ACIA and tie up the 6502 with driver software. :3

 

Though I expect that passively sniffing the apple 2 bus is probably a lot less difficult than actually interacting with it, at least directly with a microcontroller...

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> CFFA 3000 draws 525 mA from 5V, RamFast SCSI draws 425 mA, so if a machine has several slots with high-draw cards

> upgrading to a Universal PSU is a good option.

 

I have in mine, the VidHD, Microdrive/turbo, Computer eyes GS, and the ubiquitous 4Mb memory card, all on a stock supply with no issues so far. My bigger concern over all at the moment is heat generation. Its quite a warm little beast.

 

A

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I wish something like this would come out for the Apple IIc (no slots, but it has a 15-pin video interface in the back). I have the awesome VGA converter that plugs in there, but the newer TVs don't even have *that* any more. :(

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