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sixersfan105

New TI Owner; What Am I Missing?

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So I've got a "new to me" TI-99/4A computer scheduled to arrive on my doorstep tomorrow, purchased through Facebook Marketplace; I'm very excited! This will be my first TI computer. It's been successfully power tested (red light comes on) but is otherwise untested for functionality due to the owner being unable to hook it up to his modern TV. Fingers crossed it works. I've read through the "New to the Group" thread and it's been extremely helpful. Thought I would list everything that my incoming bundle comes with, along with everything I've purchased over the past few days in anticipation of its arrival, and you all could let me know if I'm missing any must-haves, in terms of hardware add-ons, accessories and games. I attached some pictures of the bundle, too - it comes in a nifty carrying case/suitcase seemingly designed for it!

 

Part of Bundle:

 

TI-99/4A Computer (Black and Silver version)

Two original joysticks

Power Supply

RF Modulator

Speech Synthesizer

Early Learning Fun

Addition and Subtraction 1

A-MAZE-ING

The Attack

Beginning Grammar

Munch Man

Parsec

Blasto

Hunt the Wumpus

2 Teach Yourself BASIC audio cassettes

Manuals and reference guides for most of the above

 

Items Purchased in Anticipation:

 

TI-99/4a to Atari 2600 Joystick Adapter (by TexElec)

TI 99/4A 32K Sidecar Memory Expansion Card with 3d-printed Case (by COREi64)

NTSC Composite Video Cable (from Arcade Shopper)

Borzork (from Arcade Shopper)

Power Supply for 32K Sidecar - when used in conjunction with speech synthesizer (from Arcade Shopper)

Burgertime

Moon Mine

Chisholm Trail

Car Wars

Tombstone City

 

I suppose in time I should consider purchasing an SD cart so I can easily play homebrew ROMs. Beyond that, any other original games you recommend I purchase, and/or hardware add-ons or accessories that are must-haves?

 

Thanks for any and all insight!

 

TI 1.jpg

TI2.jpg

TI3.jpg

TI4.jpg

TI5.jpg

TI6.jpg

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A FinalGROM (flash cart) would definitely be the next thing.  Original era first party TI-99/4A carts are really not the bulk of the TI-99/4A experience, at this point in history.  So much of the very best of development for the system is found in all that came afterward and elsewhere.  And to that extent, a flashcart that gives you access to almost all of that is key. 

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Perhaps down the road, as you dive more into the TI, you may consider a TIPI (TI to Raspberry Pi connection), which will basically allow you to have a virtual disk system.

Very neat looking case, i like that.

 

Edited by jrhodes
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That case is killer!

 

Welcome to the TI...stay a while....stay FOREVER!   Oh crap...wrong platform.  lol

 

Seriously, the TI scene is very vibrant.  I also recommend putting your name on the MK2 list for when it's ready.  Having a sharp VGA signal for the TI is amazing.

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2 hours ago, cbmeeks said:

That case is killer!

 

Welcome to the TI...stay a while....stay FOREVER!   Oh crap...wrong platform.  lol

 

Seriously, the TI scene is very vibrant.  I also recommend putting your name on the MK2 list for when it's ready.  Having a sharp VGA signal for the TI is amazing.

Ha thanks! MK2, the new version of the F18A, right? When is that supposed to come out?

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19 hours ago, cbmeeks said:

That case is killer!

 

Welcome to the TI...stay a while....stay FOREVER!   Oh crap...wrong platform.  lol

 

Seriously, the TI scene is very vibrant.  I also recommend putting your name on the MK2 list for when it's ready.  Having a sharp VGA signal for the TI is amazing.

what list?

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3 minutes ago, Asmusr said:

Where did he request that?

On his site. Here's a screenshot for ya with the relevant portion highlighted...

D15C294F-20FF-4C3A-8ABD-54A84C2CBF8D.jpeg

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3 hours ago, sixersfan105 said:

On his site. Here's a screenshot for ya with the relevant portion highlighted...

Your interpretation of that page is different from mine, but instead of guessing we should ask @matthew180.

Edited by Asmusr

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Random q: does it matter if the computer is on or off before putting in a game cartridge? Some game manuals specify that the computer should already be on before putting in the cart, while others state to insert the cartridge and then turn on the computer. What gives?

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Generally, it does not matter if the computer is on when you insert a cartridge.  The cartridges will almost (but not always) cause the computer to automatically reset to the title screen when you plug it in.  There are a couple of exceptions.  Mini Memory is a battery backed cartridge that contains some RAM that you can store programs in.  It definitely does not like to have the computer on when you plug it in.  I also would not do that with a FinalGROM99 cartridge if you get one, since it has a rewriteable ROM in it.  Better to be safe than sorry.

 

Most of the manuals also tell you to remove the cartridge while the computer is on, after returning to the title screen.  My experience is that sometimes works ok, but sometimes locks the computer up.  All that being said, I have never damaged a console or a cartridge by removing it or inserting it while the computer is on.  Take that with a grain of salt. 

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48 minutes ago, Casey said:

Generally, it does not matter if the computer is on when you insert a cartridge.  The cartridges will almost (but not always) cause the computer to automatically reset to the title screen when you plug it in.  There are a couple of exceptions.  Mini Memory is a battery backed cartridge that contains some RAM that you can store programs in.  It definitely does not like to have the computer on when you plug it in.  I also would not do that with a FinalGROM99 cartridge if you get one, since it has a rewriteable ROM in it.  Better to be safe than sorry.

 

Most of the manuals also tell you to remove the cartridge while the computer is on, after returning to the title screen.  My experience is that sometimes works ok, but sometimes locks the computer up.  All that being said, I have never damaged a console or a cartridge by removing it or inserting it while the computer is on.  Take that with a grain of salt. 

Thank you, that's very helpful stuff. 

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12 hours ago, Casey said:

All that being said, I have never damaged a console or a cartridge by removing it or inserting it while the computer is on.  Take that with a grain of salt. 

I have. I killed my first Extended BASIC cart by inserting it with the computer on. I've never trusted that reset system since. ;)

 

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1 hour ago, GDMike said:

I always turn off any power to any device before plugging/unplugging another device.

Yeah I was just referring to inserting and removing cartridges, though. 

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I've long turned the system off to change cartridges. You're SUPPOSED to be able to hotswap them(which would make the Disk Manager\Extended Basic\Editor/Assembler shuffle less annoying), but it seems highly dubious in practice.

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7 minutes ago, --- Ω --- said:

With a FinalGROM who needs to change cartridges anymore, with the exception of Dragon's Lair.

Ha! I do plan on getting a FinalGROM soon (already got a case for it) but I primarily intend to use that for the super hard to find and homebrew games. I love physical cartridges, what can I say?

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34 minutes ago, sixersfan105 said:

Ha! I do plan on getting a FinalGROM soon (already got a case for it) but I primarily intend to use that for the super hard to find and homebrew games. I love physical cartridges, what can I say?

I just picked up a huge lot of TI stuff, which includes a ton of cartridges. What games do you already have?

 

I see your list on the first post of what cartridges you have and are getting... Here's what I have that wasn't on your list:

 

Hangman

TI Invaders

Blackjack and Poker

Yahtzee

Sneggit

Football

Indoor Soccer

Tunnels of Doom (cart only)

Adventure (cart only)

Protector

Pacman

Jungle Hunt

Centipede

Popeye

Edited by adamantyr
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26 minutes ago, adamantyr said:

I just picked up a huge lot of TI stuff, which includes a ton of cartridges. What games do you already have?

Sweet! I've actually got another thread in the Marketplace where I'm looking for carts. Here it is:

 

 

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Thought I'd add that the Paez3D case/shell for @TexElec's stellar TI-99/4A to Atari Joystick Adapter is fantastic! Paez3D is always able to make more if you don't see any at any given time on his eBay store. Having that adapter sit flush against the side of the computer is so much better than an annoying dongle imo. In terms of the Adapter board itself, you can save a dollar and sales tax if you purchase directly through TexElec's website. 

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One note on cartridge insertion under power: cartridges from TI generally have the reset circuit, as already noted, but that protection isn't perfect. GROM only cartridges generally have no issues with removal under power, but once you add ROMs to that mix, it becomes a bit more problematic (as Tursi noted). That said, with third party TI cartridges, insertion/removal under power is not advised, as most of them are ROM only and may or may not have the reset circuit present. I just turn power off for every change of modules, as that keeps it to a single process safe for all of my cartridges (and I do have a lot of them).

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A "reset circuit" in a cartridge is new to me. As far as I know, the cartridge port produces a reset by connecting the reset pin to ground (permanently), i.e. when you plug in a cartridge, you short-circuit the reset line with ground. This signal is fed into a capacitor/resistor setup, leading to a short pull down of pin 5 of the TIM9904, which produces a RESET out signal for the CPU and other circuits.

 

See console schematics, C506 (22 µF) and R514 (47K) connected in parallel, located left from the CPU.

 

When the cartridge is removed, the capacitor is discharged via R514; then you can plug in the next cartridge.

 

Also see http://www.unige.ch/medecine/nouspikel/ti99/tim9904.htm

 

Edited by mizapf
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