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Networking two Ataris using Atari 850s for MIDI Maze

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The story behind the creation of the SIO2MIDI had to do with a suggestion from @Brentarian who wanted to setup 16 Atari 8-bit computers playing MidiMaze at a Vintage Computer Festival event he was planning to attend. The idea was to set these up with Midimaze carts, so that they essentially became dedicated MidiMaze machines. So the board was quickly designed, and 16 of the first run PCBs went out to Brent. Unfortunately not everything came together in time for the actual event, and the 16 machine MidiMaze battle never took place.

 

This all predated FujiNet, and it's added ability to play MidiMaze over WiFi. But as @mozzwald so aptly pointed out, the FujiNet version of MidiMaze is presently not ready for prime time usage, thus it wouldn't have been able to play a role in that 16 machine event even if this were being done in the present day. And as @DrVenkman also stated, it would likely be more expensive to do so with FujiNet devices required on each and every machine, even taking into consideration the cost of a MidiMaze cart added to the mix if FujiNet was not used. Other possible options would be to have a 320K base level machine (64K+256K memory upgrade) with any SD/CF cart solution containing the MidiMaze binary (available at this LINK in .rom, .car, and .xex formats - scroll down to bottom of page). Could even use an SIO2PC cable and a single PC laptop carried around to preload all 16 systems before use.

 

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10 hours ago, dash_rendar said:

Sounds great - if it works 🙂

 

I'm just looking for a variant that could even be built in internally, where no MIDI sockets are soldered on, so that the circuit board can be installed in one place and the sockets in another place (above all, I would rather use the mini-midi sockets, already in terms of space consumption). And no, an external solution is not something I would be interested in, because i don't like to have so much "stuff" floating around on the table.

Have a look at the MIDIXELII by Mytek https://ataribits.weebly.com/midi.html  (about half way down the page) fits all of your requirements, even has the ability to plug a MIDI module into it for MIDI playback.

 

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1 hour ago, mytek said:

The story behind the creation of the SIO2MIDI ...

Michael, I was digging around my parts bin and found a version 1.0 of your SIO2MIDI interface. I think I have all the pieces around the house to build it but I see you have a version 1.1 on your site. Any significant differences between the two? And is there an archived BOM for the 1.0 version somewhere?

 

 

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48 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

Michael, I was digging around my parts bin and found a version 1.0 of your SIO2MIDI interface. I think I have all the pieces around the house to build it but I see you have a version 1.1 on your site. Any significant differences between the two? And is there an archived BOM for the 1.0 version somewhere?

The only electrical difference between V1.0 and V1.1 is the addition of a 1K resistor to the bottom side of the board. So go ahead and use the BOM which is part of the schematic for V1.1 and you should be good to go since that extra resistor is already accounted for as R6. In fact all the component IDs will match up between the V1.1 schematic and the V1.0 PCB - you're just missing R6.

 

SIO2MIDI_V1_top.thumb.JPG.f38e63c51e87dafc37cef3b83b07e41d.JPG

 

Resistor mod - adds pull-up to cassette motor line.

SIO2MIDI_V1_bot.thumb.JPG.94be2ba458e17d5c057324a6a3ecec93.JPG

 

Edit: To make it even simpler and cheaper, leave out the pin header and solder the SIO cable leads directly to the PCB.

 

Edited by mytek
added note
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Cool, thanks Michael! Now I only need to decide if I’m cutting one of my vintage SIO cables in half or just ordering a few new half-cables. I know I have the rest of the parts in the parts bins. :) 

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On 12/4/2020 at 3:05 PM, Mr Robot said:

I was thinking of making a small batch of SIO2MIDI's for sale, is there any interest?

I would be very interested in a few depending on cost.

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23 hours ago, djglish said:

Interesting.  I didn't know that MidiMaze worked with the 8-bit Ataris.  Our computer club used to run two MidiMazes using Atari STs at GenCon when it was located in Milwaukee.  We were lucky that Atari would ship us a bunch of STs to use.  At our peak we had two full rings of 16 running every hour of the convention.  After Atari quit sending us computers we stayed at the convention using our own machines.  

 

Some of our members spent almost the entire run of the convention working there.  Those really were the days.

Those must have been before my years of going. :(  Maybe someday it can happen again.

 

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6 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

Why? Just because not everyone needs or wants a FujiNet isn’t a reason to publicly announce you’re walking away from a discussion. Jeez, Tom - it’s not personal. 

 

Besides, if all someone wants is to play MIDI Maze, a couple of Michael’s MIDI Mate clone boards and parts will run you a lot less than the cost of a FujiNet. Yes, FujiNet can do a lot of great stuff but maybe that’s not what everyone wants, at least not all the time. And that’s a-okay. 

 

Besides which, so far as I know, FujiNet doesn’t actually support physical MIDI networking. In other words, I can’t wire up my 1088XLD’s MIDI ports to my FujiNet - even if I could jury-rig up a USB-A to micro USB adapter, then plug in a MIDI-to-USB adapter into that, FujiNet is not a USB Host device and so cannot “talk” to the MIDI adapter. This may be a question for @mozzwald but if I’m wrong, please let me know and I’ll cobble together a bunch of adapters in the next week or two and give it a try. :) 

... and there is that whole "FujiNet has major issues that he wants to leave to his customers to fix...."

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6 minutes ago, Tillek said:

... and there is that whole "FujiNet has major issues that he wants to leave to his customers to fix...."

What? I don’t get that vibe at all. First of all, no one is Tom’s “customer” - the project is his baby and he’s worked incredibly hard to put together a team and make it happen. Second, by and large, at this point, far more people have bought FujiNet hardware from other vendors than directly from the team. I know of at least two sellers in the U.S. and another in Europe selling these by the dozen. Third, he’s not “leaving to his customers to fix” anything that I’ve seen - he’s asked, IMPLORED , even - people with coding skills to contribute to the project. That’s why it’s all all open-source and up on Github, and why the hardware is too. 

 

Now having said that, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with stand-alone single-purpose devices, especially nice little inexpensive projects like Michael’s SIO2MIDI board. They do one thing and do it just fine. 

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1 hour ago, mytek said:

Resistor mod - adds pull-up to cassette motor line.

SIO2MIDI_V1_bot.thumb.JPG.94be2ba458e17d5c057324a6a3ecec93.JPG

@mytek, thanks for posting that pic as I still need to do the resistor mod on my v1.0 boards.  Now I just need to decide whether to buy 16 SIO2MIDI cases from somebody or buy a 3d printer and print them myself.

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Well I costed out a single device I got $23.03 That includes shipping from two different suppliers (digi-key and Jameco) (the third Aliexpress was free) Includes the cost for printing the two printed parts (case + sio plug) but doesn't include any cost for time or markup.

 

Ordering in bulk will reduce the shipping cost per unit but even then I don't think it's going to work out. I'd have to charge for all the labour to make it worth my while and that will bring the cost up to more than I think most people would be willing to pay.

 

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17 minutes ago, Mr Robot said:

Well I costed out a single device I got $23.03 That includes shipping from two different suppliers (digi-key and Jameco) (the third Aliexpress was free) Includes the cost for printing the two printed parts (case + sio plug) but doesn't include any cost for time or markup.

 

Ordering in bulk will reduce the shipping cost per unit but even then I don't think it's going to work out. I'd have to charge for all the labour to make it worth my while and that will bring the cost up to more than I think most people would be willing to pay.

 

If you had to estimate it, what do you think if you could get say... 50?

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45 minutes ago, Mr Robot said:

Well I costed out a single device I got $23.03 That includes shipping from two different suppliers (digi-key and Jameco) (the third Aliexpress was free) Includes the cost for printing the two printed parts (case + sio plug) but doesn't include any cost for time or markup.

 

Ordering in bulk will reduce the shipping cost per unit but even then I don't think it's going to work out. I'd have to charge for all the labour to make it worth my while and that will bring the cost up to more than I think most people would be willing to pay.

 

Yeah what price would make sense?  Also what about selling a KIT with instructions, to reduce labor?  At a certain price point it could make more sense to go the FujiNet route, depending on what other stuff a user might want to do.

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On 12/4/2020 at 5:09 PM, tschak909 said:

There is MidiMate/Midimaze support in #FujiNet. You put in the addresses of each participant in a ring, last person uses first person's address.

 

image.thumb.png.1b7523fe1bc0ad8f4e8991dcb8a3e9d6.png

 

And a video with @mozzwald

 

-Thom

 

FujiNet seems like Magic to me! :D  Do you still get the ERROR: I/O timeout when playing on a local network?

 

Thanks!

Ben 

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Hello guys

 

Why not modify the PCB in such a way, that we could either use cut-in-half SIO cables or one (or maybe even two) of Sikor's newly injection moulded SIO plugs.  SIO2MIDI with a SIO connector would be so much easier to pack in a box/crate you would take along to an Atari 8 bit meeting than such a smal device with a cable hanging from it.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

 

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24 minutes ago, legeek said:

FujiNet seems like Magic to me! :D  Do you still get the ERROR: I/O timeout when playing on a local network?

 

Thanks!

Ben 

Yes, we need help to try and work out the bugs.

-Thom

 

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Hello guys

 

R: Fujinet vs. MIDI when it comes to playing MIDI Maze.

 

And if you're at an Atari 8 bit meeting, it usually makes more sense to connect the computers present via MIDI than it does connecting them via Wifi.

 

BTW at one of the locations we have these meetings, we "found" an electric organ.  With MIDI.  Used some long MIDI cables.  :-D

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

 

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6 minutes ago, Mathy said:

Why not modify the PCB in such a way, that we could either use cut-in-half SIO cables

You can do that with Michael's existing SIO2MIDI boards. MIDI over SIO doesn't require all 15 wires of the SIO bus. Just solder the necessary wires or crimp some Dupont connectors on the ends of the needed SIO wires and plug that Dupont connector onto headers soldered to the board. 

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19 minutes ago, Mathy said:

SIO2MIDI with a SIO connector would be so much easier to pack in a box/crate you would take along to an Atari 8 bit meeting than such a small device with a cable hanging from it.

I think I'll pass on that suggestion, since I considered this project done almost two years ago, and have since moved on to other things. But nobody is stopping you or someone else from putting their own personal twist on it :) . The schematics and the necessary firmware for the PIC are in the public domain, and available as a download on my website. Just be a matter of using something like Eagle or Kicad to layout a new board based on those docs.

 

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42 minutes ago, mytek said:

But nobody is stopping you or someone else from putting their own personal twist on it :) . The schematics and the necessary firmware for the PIC are in the public domain, and available as a download on my website.

 

1 hour ago, Mathy said:

SIO2MIDI with a SIO connector would be so much easier to pack in a box/crate you would take along to an Atari 8 bit meeting than such a smal device with a cable hanging from it.

The FujiNet SIO connector designs are available. You could add that to a fancy new SIO2MIDI PCB, no need for tangled cables ;) (except those MIDI cables :P )

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4 hours ago, mozzwald said:

The FujiNet SIO connector designs are available. You could add that to a fancy new SIO2MIDI PCB, no need for tangled cables ;) (except those MIDI cables :P )

Thanks for the suggestion, which is a good one, but it'll have to be someone else besides me that will do it. I just got too much other stuff going on to even think about revisiting the MIDI stuff right now.

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13 hours ago, mozzwald said:

 

The FujiNet SIO connector designs are available. You could add that to a fancy new SIO2MIDI PCB, no need for tangled cables ;) (except those MIDI cables :P )

I was just thinking along the same lines, that it would be cheaper/easier to have an SIO cable plug into the top of the board/case instead of behind it, like Lotharek's SIO splitter.  Just have the pins soldered onto the board, and then have an SIO-shaped cutout on the top of the case.  It kind of means that you require a case now for easy plug alignment and to keep the pins from getting bent up, so that would offset the cost savings, but you could do just an acrylic standoff like he did.

SPLITTERA.jpg

 

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2 hours ago, StickJock said:

I was just thinking along the same lines, that it would be cheaper/easier to have an SIO cable plug into the top of the board/case instead of behind it, like Lotharek's SIO splitter.  Just have the pins soldered onto the board, and then have an SIO-shaped cutout on the top of the case.  It kind of means that you require a case now for easy plug alignment and to keep the pins from getting bent up, so that would offset the cost savings, but you could do just an acrylic standoff like he did.

I was thinking something like the old fujinet prototype with edge mounted SIO plug on one side and the MIDI connectors on the opposite

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Given that the fujinet has an SIO through, why not add the sio2midi components to the fujinet board and just have a couple or three midi sockets poking out of the back of the fujinet?

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