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Bluetooth Features for the 2600

2600 Bluetooth/USB Adapter Poll  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of he following features would you most like to see supported by a Bluetooth/USB adapter for the Atari 2600

    • Game Saves
      2
    • Rare 2600/5200/7800 Controller Types
      9
    • Keyboard/Mouse Input
      0
    • Modern VCS Controllers
      4
    • Modern Intellivision Amico Controllers
      0
    • Modern PS/XBox/Logitech Controllers
      3
    • Extended Console Support if Possible (Jaguar, Intellivision, ColecoVision)
      0
    • iPhone/Android App Interface
      1


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Posted (edited)

 

All - I've edited this posting because not everyone could see the videos.

 

Please view the list of demos on my YouTube channel.

YouTube Demo Playlist Link

I'm developing a Bluetooth/USB hub for the 2600.

 

 

What features would people like to see in it?

 

For way too much technical info, please check out my AA blog and my posts in the Hardware forum.

 

Thanks!

 

-A

 

MrBoehm-3D-2020-07-02.png

Edited by flickertail
Swapped out videos attached to my Atari Age account with a YouTube playlist.
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He mentioned USB in the poll title, and I think in some of his blog posts, so I think that's on the agenda. The nice thing about this project, is it's based on an open architecture, and should be adaptable in ways that the current 8bitdo->genesis adapter can't manage.

 

Going purely what should be possible from the platform as designed, rather than what he's necessarily looking to implement... twin stick games using one bluetooth controller, should be doable. Emulating rotational controls like driving wheels, mice, trackballs, etc., should just be doable. Controlling a modded console's switches from your bluetooth controller, should be doable. This thing is capable of being much more than a simple bluetooth controller adapter.

 

@flickertail will the software be modifiable and/or open? I have experience doing mouse conversion to emulated line encoding for driving wheel, trakball, st mice, amiga mice, in the A7800 emulator. I'd be glad to either point the way at the drivers (very simple) or lend code.

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I wasn't aware of a bluetooth adapter. This is kind of an all-in-one thing. I've tested it with the 2600, 5200 four-port, and the 7800. And it's possible work with other non-Atari consoles.

 

There is a lot of development left to do.

 

Check out the demos.

 

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1 minute ago, RevEng said:

He mentioned USB in poll, so I think that's on the agenda. The nice thing about this project, is it's based on an open architecture, and should be adaptable in ways that the current 8bitdo->genesis adapter can't manage.

 

Going purely what should be possible from the platform as designed, rather than what he's necessarily looking to implement... twin stick games using one bluetooth controller, should be doable. Emulating rotational controls like driving wheels, mice, trackballs, etc., should just be a matter of software. Controlling a modded console's switches from your bluetooth controller, should be doable too.

 

@flickertail will the software be modifiable and/or open? I have experience doing mouse conversion to emulated line encoding for driving wheel, trakball, st mice, amiga mice, in the A7800 emulator. I'd be glad to either point the way at the drivers (very simple) or lend code.

@RevEng - Yes, the software will be open source. David and I have been giving the design some thought before we've sent the prototype board off to manufacturing. To be honest, I should probably create GitHub site for the project. Right now, all the code is sitting in my google drive. I was kind of waiting for a prototype board before cleaning up the code and posting for everyone to see. But yes, you should be able to emulate alot of different controller types, and communicate with the switches of a modded console.

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Very nice! 👍 

 

I have an unused Zero on the table next to me and another Zero W on the way. I'm in, and patiently waiting. :D

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8 minutes ago, 0078265317 said:

 

I think the main difference, is that the adapter I'm working on let's the user select the joystick configuration. The current design has an LCD screen and push buttons to select the joystick configuration the player wants. For instance, you could configure your controller to map the both the left port joystick and the right port keypad to your usb gamepad... allowing you to do something like play Star Raiders with the joystick, the js fire button, and 5 keyboard buttons all mapped to one controller.

 

However, the more I talk with @RevEng about it, the more I think it would be a better idea to provide an iPhone/Android app that will allow you to configure the adapter from your couch. Certainly, I think a phone app would be a much more user-friendly way of doing it.

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5 minutes ago, flickertail said:

I think the main difference, is that the adapter I'm working on let's the user select the joystick configuration. The current design has an LCD screen and push buttons to select the joystick configuration the player wants. For instance, you could configure your controller to map the both the left port joystick and the right port keypad to your usb gamepad... allowing you to do something like play Star Raiders with the joystick, the js fire button, and 5 keyboard buttons all mapped to one controller.

 

However, the more I talk with @RevEng about it, the more I think it would be a better idea to provide an iPhone/Android app that will allow you to configure the adapter from your couch. Certainly, I think a phone app would be a much more user-friendly way of doing it.

Probably would be cheaper too.

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I posted this on my blog, but I thought I would repost here... where more people would see it.

 

The MrBoehm is basically an adapter so that you can use modern Bluetooth and USB game controllers with your Atari. It has the ability to emulate common and rare Atari controller types.

 

It even is flexible and configurable enough that you can do Atari controller mashups.

 

For instance:

  • You could use it to map multiple Atari controllers to a single BT/USB controller, so you can do things like play Star Raiders and have all your buttons on one controller.
  • You could use it to map the left and right joysticks to a single BT/USB controller, and make it super easy to play Robotron: 2084 for the 2600.
  • You could use it to design your own Atari controller that doesn't actually exist, aka my "hypothetical controller" idea (see one of my recent blog posts)... but you'll still have to program a game to support your controller design.

You could also use the MrBoehm BT/USB Adapter to control a modded console. For instance you could:

  • Mod the "Pause", "Select", and "Reset" switches on your 7800
  • Tie the modded switches into one of the ports on the MrBoehm adapter
  • And then pause, reset, and select all day long without having to leave your couch... at least until you want to change carts, or turn it off.

 

And it is probably flexible enough to offer some of these features to other non-Atari classic consoles such as the Intellivision and ColecoVision.

 

So that's the purpose of the project. I hope that helps clear things up.

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8 hours ago, flickertail said:

I posted this on my blog, but I thought I would repost here... where more people would see it.

 

The MrBoehm is basically an adapter so that you can use modern Bluetooth and USB game controllers with your Atari. It has the ability to emulate common and rare Atari controller types.

 

It even is flexible and configurable enough that you can do Atari controller mashups.

 

For instance:

  • You could use it to map multiple Atari controllers to a single BT/USB controller, so you can do things like play Star Raiders and have all your buttons on one controller.
  • You could use it to map the left and right joysticks to a single BT/USB controller, and make it super easy to play Robotron: 2084 for the 2600.
  • You could use it to design your own Atari controller that doesn't actually exist, aka my "hypothetical controller" idea (see one of my recent blog posts)... but you'll still have to program a game to support your controller design.

You could also use the MrBoehm BT/USB Adapter to control a modded console. For instance you could:

  • Mod the "Pause", "Select", and "Reset" switches on your 7800
  • Tie the modded switches into one of the ports on the MrBoehm adapter
  • And then pause, reset, and select all day long without having to leave your couch... at least until you want to change carts, or turn it off.

 

And it is probably flexible enough to offer some of these features to other non-Atari classic consoles such as the Intellivision and ColecoVision.

 

So that's the purpose of the project. I hope that helps clear things up.

Nice so approximately what will this adapter cost?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, 0078265317 said:

Nice so approximately what will this adapter cost?

Based on my out-of-pocket expenses (and the manufacturing quote for the 4-port Boehm board) the development/prototype environment will roughly run about $100 (includes shipping costs).

  • $20 - 4 port Boehm Board
  • $15 - RPi Zero
  • $5 - SD Card
  • $10 - Development (ugly) Case
  • $50 - cables and power supply
  • Free - OS and software

I'm hoping that we can get the 2-port production version of that (targeting the 2600) down to around $50 including everything, but this is the first time I've tried to manufacturing anything... so maybe less, probably not much less... maybe more, hopefully not a lot more.

 

But the short answer is, $50-$100 depending on what you have already, which version you want, and at what scale these are produced.

Edited by flickertail
Forgot about the SD Cart card cost - so that was added

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This is the final version of the development-prototype BT/USB adapter board for retro consoles that will go to the manufacturer this week.

 

In the attachment you can see that we added a 16 pin expansion header for adding up to 4 x more controller ports or other custom I2C chips for console modding.

PCB.PNG

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On 7/19/2020 at 6:19 PM, flickertail said:

Based on my out-of-pocket expenses (and the manufacturing quote for the 4-port Boehm board) the development/prototype environment will roughly run about $100 (includes shipping costs).

  • $20 - 4 port Boehm Board
  • $15 - RPi Zero
  • $5 - SD Card
  • $10 - Development (ugly) Case
  • $50 - cables and power supply
  • Free - OS and software

I'm hoping that we can get the 2-port production version of that (targeting the 2600) down to around $50 including everything, but this is the first time I've tried to manufacturing anything... so maybe less, probably not much less... maybe more, hopefully not a lot more.

 

But the short answer is, $50-$100 depending on what you have already, which version you want, and at what scale these are produced.

Have you ever thought about using an ESP32 and it's internal BT instead of an RPI Zero + SD-Card + power supply + external BT?

 

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1 hour ago, Al_Nafuur said:

Have you ever thought about using an ESP32 and it's internal BT instead of an RPI Zero + SD-Card + power supply + external BT?

Do you mean this device?

https://www.espressif.com/en/products/socs/esp32/overview

 

I have not, as I have no experience with it. To be honest, this is the first I've heard of it, though it does look like a very interesting board.

 

The only issue I immediately see is that it doesn't provide USB or 5V support, but depending on how it is utilized, I'm not sure it matters.

 

I chose the Pi and Python simply because it's what I have experience with. I will say though that I'm using the Pi Zero WH, which has BT and Wifi onboard.

 

We have also done successful tests back-powering the Pi off the 7800 power pins, so we're hoping to eventually make a 2-port production version specifically for the 2600/7800 and the 2-port 5200 that doesn't require a power supply.

 

Do you know what the ESP32 development environment is like? I would just be worried that I'd have to learn a whole new programming language and deal with ASM or OS level programming. Though I do like the idea of embedded flash and I'm not afraid of C,C++, or Java coding.

 

Of course, I don't have a problem with parallel development either, if someone else was motivated to do that.

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3 hours ago, flickertail said:

yes, you can find devKits at AliExpress:
https://de.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20200721070634&SearchText=esp32

3 hours ago, flickertail said:

The only issue I immediately see is that it doesn't provide USB or 5V support, but depending on how it is utilized, I'm not sure it matters.

Yes the GPIOs are not 5V tolerant (so you would need a level-shifter). And USB host support is only low-speed and experimental afaik, this might be the ESP32 show stopper for your purposes...

I did some experiments with the particle Photon which has 5V tolerant GPIO, WiFi and a very nice WebIDE and online docs, but no Bluetooth. For Bluetooth you would need the particle Argon. But the Particle.io stuff is unfortunately very expensive, so no big gain (only more work) compared to a RPi zero.

 

4 hours ago, flickertail said:

Do you know what the ESP32 development environment is like? I would just be worried that I'd have to learn a whole new programming language and deal with ASM or OS level programming. Though I do like the idea of embedded flash and I'm not afraid of C,C++, or Java coding.

There are some SDKs from espressif (C code), there is also a arduino core, if you familiar with the arduino IDE:
https://github.com/espressif

 

Or if you like LUA you can use nodeMCU, which was for the ESP8266 but now has an ESP32 port too:
http://www.nodemcu.com/index_en.html

docs: https://nodemcu.readthedocs.io/en/master/

custom online firmware build tool: https://nodemcu-build.com/

 

4 hours ago, flickertail said:

Of course, I don't have a problem with parallel development either, if someone else was motivated to do that.

It is a very interesting project, but i am busy enough with the PlusCart 😉

 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Al_Nafuur said:

It is a very interesting project, but i am busy enough with the PlusCart 😉

 

PlusCart is a very interesting project as well. :D

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If anyone has advice on where to have your PCB's assembled, I'd live to hear it.

 

David and I requested PCBA quotes from several different companies today, but seeing that this was the first time either of us had done that, we found the 4-hour endeavor confusing and less than enjoyable.

 

Well, David had tried it out previously to get a rough quote, but needless today, he didn't go through the whole process. My guess is that the development boards are going to be more expensive that he originally thought.

 

We submitted to get quotes form Ocean Smile (formerly LocoPCB), PCBWay, and NextPCB. 

 

Any other suggestions?

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52 minutes ago, flickertail said:

If anyone has advice on where to have your PCB's assembled, I'd live to hear it.

 

David and I requested PCBA quotes from several different companies today, but seeing that this was the first time either of us had done that, we found the 4-hour endeavor confusing and less than enjoyable.

 

Well, David had tried it out previously to get a rough quote, but needless today, he didn't go through the whole process. My guess is that the development boards are going to be more expensive that he originally thought.

 

We submitted to get quotes form Ocean Smile (formerly LocoPCB), PCBWay, and NextPCB. 

 

Any other suggestions?

I sourced my PCBs from https://jlcpcb.com/, and i was satisfied with the service and the results. But i haven't used their SMT assembly service so far.

 

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9 hours ago, Al_Nafuur said:

I sourced my PCBs from https://jlcpcb.com/, and i was satisfied with the service and the results. But i haven't used their SMT assembly service so far.

Thanks for the recommendation!

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After pricing the board builds we relized we needed to get the cost down. So we held of on having boards made while we look for cheaper options.

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