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rj1307

"Dragonfly" my version of the Atari 7800 SD cartridge

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Posted (edited)

Hi Rafal,

I received my Dragonfly early this week and it's working very well with A7800 roms.

I just wanted to ask you about the way I'm pluggin Atari 2600 cartridge, by removing the Dragonfly when 7800 power is off,  keeping the Dragonfly external power supply plugged to the 7800.

I then put my A2600 cartridge, here an Harmony, in the 7800 cartridge port, then I power on the 7800.

 

Do you think I can keep the DragonFly external powersupply plugged to the 7800 and use A2600 this way for a long time?

It enable me to avoid changing of power supply, but I wanted to know If I'm not damaging the Dragonfly by doing so.

 

Dragon_unplugged2.thumb.jpg.ed9d54a8739650fd1b605783183daaac.jpg

 

By the way, I know this is not the Dragonfly purpose to be used as power supply  😉 but it render easier switch between cartridge.

Edited by Avenger75
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You can use the dragonfly like this, nothing bad will happen. ;) 

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cartridge arrived fine and played some commando and donkey kong,tomorrow working and then 2 days off and then weekend,time enough to play with dragonfly,thx rj1307 for this wonderfull device.

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I got mine in the mail about 2 weeks ago and finally got some time to play with it.  I have one of the 1st gen 7800 NTSC consoles (with the expansion port--manufactured in 1984).  It has the Composite A/V Mod from vintagegamingandmore.com.  When I use the Dragonfly cart, TIA sound can barely be heard.  However, POKEY and YM2151 are near perfect.  When I plug in a 7800 Cart, TIA sound is spot-on.  The Dragonfly's firmware is up to date, BTW.

 

Is there something wrong with my console or Dragonfly?  What am I missing?  What could I look at?  Thanks in advance!

 

Matt

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15 hours ago, seattlematt1976 said:

I got mine in the mail about 2 weeks ago and finally got some time to play with it.  I have one of the 1st gen 7800 NTSC consoles (with the expansion port--manufactured in 1984).  It has the Composite A/V Mod from vintagegamingandmore.com.  When I use the Dragonfly cart, TIA sound can barely be heard.  However, POKEY and YM2151 are near perfect.  When I plug in a 7800 Cart, TIA sound is spot-on.  The Dragonfly's firmware is up to date, BTW.

 

Is there something wrong with my console or Dragonfly?  What am I missing?  What could I look at?  Thanks in advance!

 

Matt

This is a known issue in the way the audio was done on your AV mod. All the basic composite mods seem to tap audio the same way and the way they are doing it is fine for normal carts and concerto but deviates from the proper mixing that the original circuit on the mainboard was doing. As a result the TIA audio is cancelled out when the DF cart is used. Current fix is to have the audio redone in a similar fashion as I do with the UAV installs. Essentially restore the audio components that were removed as part of the original AV mod and redo it in a manner that works with the DF cart and all other carts as well. 

 

It is unknown if stereo mods from the TIA that have been wired in will work properly with the DF cart since I personally don't offer stereo mods on the 7800 and therefore unable to test that.

 

@seattlematt1976 I assume you are located in the US given your username?

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Just curious, it seems everyone here is talking of Pokey and Yamaha, including me... can you say how many carts were sold that were NOT fully loaded? Seems like everyone here opted for that.

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6 hours ago, Hastor said:

Just curious, it seems everyone here is talking of Pokey and Yamaha, including me... can you say how many carts were sold that were NOT fully loaded? Seems like everyone here opted for that.

Well, I only went with Pokey for now.

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On 5/25/2021 at 9:08 AM, Hastor said:

Just curious, it seems everyone here is talking of Pokey and Yamaha, including me... can you say how many carts were sold that were NOT fully loaded? Seems like everyone here opted for that.

I'm not keeping exact statistics, but I estimate about 10% of the cartridges without a Pokey Max (but the vast majority of people wrote that they have their own Pokey chip) and about 15% without a Yamaha. I produced 206 cartridges. 

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Nice, I have a spare pokey, but every time I think I'm gonna use it, an alternative pops up so It hang onto it for when I really need it! I'd rather use the more newly made one, as I understand it only does the audio parts. I might need to replace a Pokey in a 5200 or something that needs a real one some day!

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We got a couple with Yamaha but without the PokeyMAX, as we dropped in our own pulled Pokeys (I've been picking up Ballblazers for sensible money for some time...).

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ATTENTION!

Due to the difficulties with buying Altera chips for Pokey Max (their price has quadrupled), I would like to inform you that I have a supply of Pokey Max for about 20 cartridges. When they are over, my Pokey Max offer will no longer be valid. Unfortunately, no one knows until when this will continue. :( 
Basic cartridges and Yamaha modules are not endangered. 

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3 hours ago, badolepuddytat said:

Hello, 

 

Are your dragonfly cartridges still available to order please? 

 

Many thanks 

Mark. 

 

I think you can order them here still : 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/5/2021 at 9:10 PM, rj1307 said:

In the attachment I include everything that is needed to make such a modification. :)  

I've made a small PCB of this to keep this Mod shiny :) If anything goes well I'll publish this here.

But a small question: I've never programmed an ATTiny, Prommer is on it's way. The software I'll use (AVR Burn-O-Mat and/or Fuseeditor) are offering two options of files, Flash and EEPROM, but your ZIP contains only one HEX file. Which option shall I use?

 

 

pcb.jpg

Edited by larryleffaovell
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Posted (edited)
On 7/14/2021 at 3:20 AM, rj1307 said:

EEPROM does not need to be programmed, only FLASH. 

Thanks for the information. Works. Great! Will rework the pcb a very lil' bit and publish the gerber files.

Piję za twoje zdrowie! 

 

EDIT: Gerbers enclosed. No witchcraft, but nice and proper :)

 

Atari7800-Autostart.jpg

Atari7800-Autostart.zip

Edited by larryleffaovell

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@rj1307 I've been studying 7800 programming and I was wondering if you've exposed any hooks so that software running on the 7800 could send commands to the Dragonfly directly, such as getting it to load a game?  Just wondering if it is possible, as that would allow someone to build an on-screen UI for the cart, or maybe a game using DragonFly-specific support. (Not sure what form that would take, just spit-balling ideas)

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1 hour ago, Rastamafugg said:

@rj1307 I've been studying 7800 programming and I was wondering if you've exposed any hooks so that software running on the 7800 could send commands to the Dragonfly directly, such as getting it to load a game?  Just wondering if it is possible, as that would allow someone to build an on-screen UI for the cart, or maybe a game using DragonFly-specific support. (Not sure what form that would take, just spit-balling ideas)

I'm not sure how you would create an onscreen UI for the DF? In a nutshell what the DF is doing is loading itself up to mimic the actual cartridge you are selecting to load. That is why the cart loads up the rom data and then has you power on the console. What you are asking is for the 7800 to already be up and running and somehow select the rom from the DF, DF loads, and then the 7800 would have to be rebooted/reset in some way? But currently when the DF loads up something, it will power off the 7800 in the process and then ask you to turn it back on.

 

To me the menu navigation on the cartridge is very easy and takes me just as much or even less time than it would to select from a series of on screen options.

 

 

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20 hours ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

I'm not sure how you would create an onscreen UI for the DF? In a nutshell what the DF is doing is loading itself up to mimic the actual cartridge you are selecting to load. That is why the cart loads up the rom data and then has you power on the console. What you are asking is for the 7800 to already be up and running and somehow select the rom from the DF, DF loads, and then the 7800 would have to be rebooted/reset in some way? But currently when the DF loads up something, it will power off the 7800 in the process and then ask you to turn it back on.

 

To me the menu navigation on the cartridge is very easy and takes me just as much or even less time than it would to select from a series of on screen options.

 

 

The UI was actually just a chance thought following from my initial thought.  The idea that made me ask the question was on the potential game/software side.  Just wondering if there was some way to push data to the DragonFly cart so it could be shared between rom images and 7800 power cycling.  I was thinking this could make for some unique mechanics, seeing as the Dragonfly stays on when the console is powered off.

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Well, given that the 7800 doesn't have power applied to it until the rom image is loaded into the DF as the active cart to simulate, the only UI you could create would require having to use the buttons on the DF cart to navigate and select from an onscreen menu?

 

The DF does currently show a DF logo if you power on the 7800 without loading up a rom image. So there is at least that possiblity. But I don't know if you can break out of that using the 7800 controls to navigate the DF rom images and then select to have it load up without killing that power to the 7800 in the process?

 

@rj1307 will have to chime in on this of course, as I'm not the designer, but based on what I've seen on how it works. I think the only option would be to setup an on screen UI that uses the DF navigation buttons to load from a menu instead of using the onboard LCD.

 

 

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17 hours ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

Well, given that the 7800 doesn't have power applied to it until the rom image is loaded into the DF as the active cart to simulate, the only UI you could create would require having to use the buttons on the DF cart to navigate and select from an onscreen menu?

 

The DF does currently show a DF logo if you power on the 7800 without loading up a rom image. So there is at least that possiblity. But I don't know if you can break out of that using the 7800 controls to navigate the DF rom images and then select to have it load up without killing that power to the 7800 in the process?

 

@rj1307 will have to chime in on this of course, as I'm not the designer, but based on what I've seen on how it works. I think the only option would be to setup an on screen UI that uses the DF navigation buttons to load from a menu instead of using the onboard LCD.

 

 

 

That would be awesome if such an on TV screen menu was possible as you describe it.

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6 hours ago, Shawn said:

 

That would be awesome if such an on TV screen menu was possible as you describe it.

Well, to be clear, it would still require you to power on the 7800 to even see anything on the screen. The way his logo graphic works now, is that if you turn on the DF cart and then power on the 7800 you see his DF logo. But once you select a rom image to be loaded, it will power off the 7800 so that the cart can load itself up to be the game/program you have selected. Then ask you to power on the 7800.

 

So if this were possible the process would look like this:

 

- Power on DF cart

- Power on 7800 - would see menu selection screen

- Use buttons on the DF to navigate the screen in the same manner you do on the LCD display

- Select the ROM you want to load and the DF then powers off the 7800 and begins to load itself up with the ROM

- DF will instruct to power on the 7800

- Power on 7800 and play the game/program you chose.

 

That seems like more steps but it just one more than what we do now really:

- Power on the DF

- use button on the DF to navigate on the LCD

- Select the ROM/Program to use and the DF will load itself up

- DF will instruct you to power on the 7800

- Power on the 7800 and play game/program you chose.

 

My concern here is that you are making the 7800 work harder here with the added switching on/off. If the DF could somehow load itself up and then issue a reset that would work similar to the Concerto does, then that would help. But this is just how I would imagine it could work assuming the DF is able to do something like this. Again, @rj1307 needs to look into this as only he would know if something like this is even possible.

 

Again, I don't see much difference in using the built in LCD vs having to do the same thing on my TV screen. In both cases, I'm using the cartridge to select what I want it to load up and simulate itself as for the game/program to use. The 7800 for all intents and purposes, doesn't know that a DF cart is even there due to how the entire thing works. It just loads up and sees what it believes is the actual game cartridge you inserted into the system. The Matoes does the same think just much more limited on storage since it used a built in flash chip for storing its rom images in this case and was limited to 144k ROM sizes in its firmware.

 

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On 9/8/2021 at 11:56 AM, Rastamafugg said:

@rj1307 I've been studying 7800 programming and I was wondering if you've exposed any hooks so that software running on the 7800 could send commands to the Dragonfly directly, such as getting it to load a game?  Just wondering if it is possible, as that would allow someone to build an on-screen UI for the cart, or maybe a game using DragonFly-specific support. (Not sure what form that would take, just spit-balling ideas)

The idea was brought up before..

Quote

...allow someone else to write a menu launcher rom...

..and responded to..

Quote

...I designed the cartridge according to my knowledge and skills, I do not want to be dependent on anyone...

..but maybe he has since changed his mind, or will change his mind. 🤷‍♂️

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On 9/10/2021 at 11:28 AM, -^CrossBow^- said:

Well, to be clear, it would still require you to power on the 7800 to even see anything on the screen. The way his logo graphic works now, is that if you turn on the DF cart and then power on the 7800 you see his DF logo. But once you select a rom image to be loaded, it will power off the 7800 so that the cart can load itself up to be the game/program you have selected. Then ask you to power on the 7800.

 

So if this were possible the process would look like this:

 

- Power on DF cart

- Power on 7800 - would see menu selection screen

- Use buttons on the DF to navigate the screen in the same manner you do on the LCD display

- Select the ROM you want to load and the DF then powers off the 7800 and begins to load itself up with the ROM

- DF will instruct to power on the 7800

- Power on 7800 and play the game/program you chose.

 

That seems like more steps but it just one more than what we do now really:

- Power on the DF

- use button on the DF to navigate on the LCD

- Select the ROM/Program to use and the DF will load itself up

- DF will instruct you to power on the 7800

- Power on the 7800 and play game/program you chose.

 

My concern here is that you are making the 7800 work harder here with the added switching on/off. If the DF could somehow load itself up and then issue a reset that would work similar to the Concerto does, then that would help. But this is just how I would imagine it could work assuming the DF is able to do something like this. Again, @rj1307 needs to look into this as only he would know if something like this is even possible.

 

Again, I don't see much difference in using the built in LCD vs having to do the same thing on my TV screen. In both cases, I'm using the cartridge to select what I want it to load up and simulate itself as for the game/program to use. The 7800 for all intents and purposes, doesn't know that a DF cart is even there due to how the entire thing works. It just loads up and sees what it believes is the actual game cartridge you inserted into the system. The Matoes does the same think just much more limited on storage since it used a built in flash chip for storing its rom images in this case and was limited to 144k ROM sizes in its firmware.

 

Any UI would be an imperfect solution, given what you point out.  Still, I'd be curious to see if there was a way to persist information and make it retrievable between cartridge images.  My original thought was creating a series of carts that could lock/unlock areas or provide new functionality or abilities to the user based on actions they took on another cart (kind of similar to the use of a code to transfer your character to a sequel game back in the day, just automated).  I haven't seen @rj1307 directly address this detail, so I was just wondering if it is possible.

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4 hours ago, Rastamafugg said:

Still, I'd be curious to see if there was a way to persist information and make it retrievable between cartridge images.  My original thought was creating a series of carts that could lock/unlock areas or provide new functionality or abilities to the user based on actions they took on another cart (kind of similar to the use of a code to transfer your character to a sequel game back in the day, just automated).  I haven't seen @rj1307 directly address this detail, so I was just wondering if it is possible.

This sounds like what the AtariVox+ already does. As far as I know, nobody has yet to make a game that transfers information to a sequel but there's talk of it and completely possible to do with the AtariVox.

 

- James

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