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Introducing

Inty ECS GPS

https://youtu.be/_8zZaOlPb58

post-37124-0-84846800-1552790190.gif

Have you ever wanted to hook up your Intellivision to GPS? Now you can!


The hardware setup for the Inty ECS GPS software is:

  • Intellivision
  • ECS
  • GPS unit that outputs Garmin TextOut serial data, set to 1200 baud, 8N1
  • Cable that adapts ECS AUX to serial (Tx/Rx version)

Cable wiring:

ECS     ECS     DE-9
Signal  Plug    pin
------  ------  ----
Tx      Tip     2 (optional, not used by Inty ECS GPS)
Rx      Ring    3
GND     Sleeve  5

Note: the cable in the video also has internal loopback on the DE-9 for when it
is plugged into a PC, but this is not relevant to connecting to the GPS hardware.


This project grew out of my studying of the ECS's UART registers, which were poorly understood. As far as I know, this program demonstrates the first time in decades that anyone has read data from the AUX port into the ECS (writing out the AUX port previously known from the ECS's printer code in ROM). I eventually plan to present more formal register documentation later. For eager/curious developers, the source code here contains preliminary definitions of the registers and bit-fields. Since further research is still being done, expect some of the bit-field names to change in the future. For example, one unnamed bit field has recently been observed to change values but is still not fully understood at this time.

ROM and source code provided below.

Inty_ECS_GPS.zip

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Very interesting!

 

(This is a slight aside, but this seems to indicate that there are differences between the printer ports on the ECS and on the Aquarius, which I had always understood to be the same. On the Aquarius port, the tip, ring, and sleeve are wired to Tx, CTS, and GND, respectively; an Rx signal is not provided.)

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Very interesting! This seems to indicate that there are differences between the printer ports on the ECS and on the Aquarius, which I had always understood to be the same. On the Aquarius port, the tip, ring, and sleeve are wired to Tx, CTS, and GND, respectively; an Rx signal is not provided.

 

Short answer: things are a little complicated but you were originally partly right

 

Long answer: Here's a number of items regarding the ECS and serial ports in general.

  1. The ECS's UART can be put into 3 data flow modes (signals names based on ECS taking the role of the host/computer)
    1. Transmit data (tip), ignore the input (ring) - Used with tapes
    2. Transmit data (tip), input flow control (CTS or DSR depends on the remote device) - Used with printers
    3. Receive data (ring), no output change (tip) - Used with GPSes ;-)
    4. Note1: the bit values allow for a 4th data flow mode where UART can't send or receive
    5. Note2: the UART appears to be half-duplex since it can't send and receive simultaneously
  2. The ECS's UART can be put into set to 1 of 2 ports
    1. AUX - RS-232
    2. TAPE IN / TAPE OUT - tape cassette interface
  3. When the UART is set to "transmit out with flow control in", the flow control input pin can be wired to 1 of 2 signals on the DE-9 connector:
    1. CTS - Clear To Send means that the device can accept more bytes.
    2. DSR - Data Set Ready. Wikipedia says it means "device can send and receive data". Other sources say it means "device is on and functioning".
    3. Some serial printers use CTS for flow control while others use DSR for flow control. This inconsistency causes confusion since users have to read documentation on which one to use with their particular printer.
    4. Many UARTs have hardware to prevent transmission if CTS is deasserted on input (or auto-deassert CTS on output if roles are reversed). It is less common to see this in DSR (left to software to handle).

 

Side note: It looks like Mattel did intend for AUX to be used as input since they mention modems

 

post-37124-0-37869100-1552801056.png

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Thank you for that! The ECS UART is definitely more versatile than the Aquarius printer port, then, since the Aquarius provides no means of reconfiguring it or using it for anything other than printers. A pity, but I'm glad to see that other possibilities for the ECS are being explored.

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Here's a photo of the DE-9 cable I made for the video. The switch controls whether the ECS's ring pin is routed to the Rx or CTS on the DE-9 female connector end.

 

The original intention was to have 1 cable that would work for both the ECS and the Cuttle Cart 3 to connect to a PC, which is why the label says "ECS CTS" and "CC3 Rx". Inside, there are some pins on the DE-9 that loop back to other pins to fool the PC into that hardware flow control is fully implemented when it really is only half present, similar to how some null modems cables work.

 

However, I consider the current cable to be a prototype. I'm debating on changing the design to also support DTR/DSR flow control (some old serial printers use it). I'd also like to use a slider switch since the current metal stick accidentally flipped several times to the wrong setting, messing up some of the video shoots in car. Additionally, using the female connector makes sense when hooking up to a PC but the male connector is better for hooking up the ECS to devices (printers, modems, etc). Also, I want to cable to be easy to use... so it's a little hard to support these all these items at the same time (ex: One cable with proprietary gender-changer? Two different cables that differ by gender?)

 

Side note: yes, the Cuttle Cart 3 uses a 2.5mm jack instead of the more common 3.5mm but an off-the-shelf adapter fixes that. On my own CC3, I just build the adapter into the cartridge case.

 

post-37124-0-24415300-1552803007.jpg

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Now we need Intellivision navigation software.

Intellivision style with the graphics of Auto Racing.

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Inty ECS GPS

 

Kudos! This is a wonderfully original and cool way of demonstrating the ECS serial functionality. :thumbsup:

 

I can see I'm going to have to turn the insane dial up a notch or two on future projects ;)

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Now we need Intellivision navigation software.

Intellivision style with the graphics of Auto Racing.

 

- "Hey, Siri!"

 

- "Hello Commander, computer reporting."

 

- "Get me directions to the department store, I need to buy some healthy grains ..."

 

- "Target's on sight! Watch out ... for flaks."

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Kudos! This is a wonderfully original and cool way of demonstrating the ECS serial functionality. :thumbsup:

 

I can see I'm going to have to turn the insane dial up a notch or two on future projects ;)

Cool. Does that mean you're going to make a game? 😜

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This should go great with the Inty in my RV! Now we need a moving map to go with it for 1980s style "here's where you are" Concorde screen!

Or Pokemon Go - giant system edition. (Hrm, I have an old Sony Watchman, now I'll have to feed an Inty in to it, and figure out a battery system for the Inty+ECS...

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