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manterola

Parrot Hardware: Any information?

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Posted (edited)

Yesterday I was bidding for a Alpha Systems Parrot interface with software and manuals.

My main interest was to see what was inside the Paddle interface, but unfortunately (for me) I did not win the auction.

I was not able to find information about the interface either, since I was thinking it may be a nice little project to create a parrot clone interface.

So here I am, writing in the forum in the hope of someone sharing information about this super cool product (at least is sounded super cool in 1988 or so, when I first heard about it).

Thanks

 

Edit: added picture

image.thumb.png.9fe98f8b3071c5c829df5cf26a754078.png

Edited by manterola

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Posted (edited)

Yep, they resused a paddle controller, added a jack input and used the potentiometer for gain, to record few seconds of audio.

Edited by manterola

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2 hours ago, manterola said:

Yesterday I was bidding for a Alpha Systems Parrot interface with software and manuals.

My main interest was to see what was inside the Paddle interface, but unfortunately (for me) I did not win the auction.

I was not able to find information about the interface either, since I was thinking it may be a nice little project to create a parrot clone interface.

So here I am, writing in the forum in the hope of someone sharing information about this super cool product (at least is sounded super cool in 1988 or so, when I first heard about it).

Thanks

 

Edit: added picture

image.thumb.png.9fe98f8b3071c5c829df5cf26a754078.png

I do have one from back in the day. I need to dig through all my really old stuff and find that.  I ran across the manual the other day.  If I recall correctly, the one I had used a paddle-type of device with a dial BUT it was NOT  based on the atari paddle controller, at least not cosmetically.  The one I had looked completely different than an atari paddle. 

 

Will look for it and report back.

Eric 

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My friend had one BITD,  it was basically just a sound digitizer, but  those were new and not so common back then so it was kind of exciting at the time.

 

The "paddle" was used to change the sampling rate,  but even at the highest quality rate, it wasn't so good.   Nowhere near CD-quality sound,  I'm thinking highest quality was less than 12Khz,  maybe even somewhere around 6..   It telephone-quality sound, basically.

 

I don't recall his "paddle" looking so much like an Atari paddle though, maybe they used different parts?

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, erichenneke said:

The one I had looked completely different than an atari paddle.

Does it look like the one on the attached image?

 

Kind regards,

 

Luis.

20220103_235046.jpg

Edited by lbaeza
Clarification
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Does it look like the one on the attached image?
 
Kind regards,
 
Luis.
20220103_235046.thumb.jpg.af235f715b990a18887f4e4d51748dae.jpg
Yes, that's what I remember. Haven't had a chance to dig it out yet though.



Sent from my KB2005 using Tapatalk

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Thanks all. I will be waiting for any hardware information. It looks like Alpha Ssystems started to reduce production costs by reusing a Paddle controller. From the picture, you can notice that one of the pairs of paddles was removed from the connector.  So, I was thinking in try to reproduce the same idea and add the necessary electronic components to this super common and readily available paddle controllers.

 

 

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3 hours ago, MrFish said:

Here's some pictures that I downloaded from some thread about a year ago.

 

outside.jpg.fd76bdca34dc4a4c9f2e57f7b54059c8.jpg

 

inside.thumb.jpg.903dacad619882d707136999e49268c6.jpg

 

Those are mine. I still have it and have easy access to it. I can take more/better pictures if some wants them.

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7 hours ago, Allan said:

Those are mine. I still have it and have easy access to it. I can take more/better pictures if some wants them.

That would be great. I am curious about everything but especially about the metallic piece/component where the center pin of the transistor (?) Is connected, and of course any label that might help to understand the circuit

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Hello guys

 

IIRC I should have a schematic on my computer somewhere, if only I could find it...

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

 

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21 hours ago, Allan said:

Here are some more pics. @manterola

Thanks for the pictures, now almost everything is clear... Except the transistor and controller pins. This is fantastic.

On 1/3/2022 at 1:17 PM, Fierodoug5 said:

It's based on talk is cheap

You were totally right!  This is circuit I draw based on the pictures. And using the talk is cheap circuits we should conclude that most cheap transistors can make it, like 2n2222 or 2n4401 and that controller port pins used should be +5V and PotA.

Thanks... I will try to build this and see how it works using and old paddle controller.

@Mathy, still the schematics would be great if you can find them. Thanks again to all.

 

0202022103252.jpg

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Funny I looked at this thread and noted the cheesy cases they reused for this - I went looking because I picked up a couple of similar enclosures and assumed they were from some old pong clone system...

Aaaaand - I found that one I picked up was a Parrot without the label!  (The other two I'm convinced are old pong controllers that must have connected via an RCA cable)

 

To fill in the schematic above:

Yes, they are pins 7 and 9

My transistor is a kn2222

 

 

JPEG image.jpg

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On 2/3/2022 at 9:10 PM, cbelcher said:

(The other two I'm convinced are old pong controllers that must have connected via an RCA cable)

You are correct: those are the controls of some Coleco Telstar models. Hence, now that RCA connector in the back make sense: it was used in the Telstar pong clone to attach the controller to the console. That is why there no mention in the Parrot manual of that RCA connector.

So basically it looks like Alpha Systems used those Coleco Controllers for their product, and maybe later the run out of those particular controllers and started using regular Atari Paddle controllers.

I built mine and the quality of the sound is awful, so I am going to review the circuit and try another transistor and report back.

Are you selling one of those controllers with RCA connector, by the way?

Edited by manterola

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I always wanted one of theese BITD, and had recently started thinking about getting one, if I can find it, for some digitizing of my own. I think I'll just build my own though, and see if I can get the software and manual from Atarimania or somewhere. Though I think I'll see where @manterola goes with his project, maybe he'll come up with a higher quality device that I can copy instead of doing it myself (I already have tons of DIY projects planned). I picked up a Stylophone Gen-X1 that I wanted to digitize the sounds it makes to use on the Atari.

 

Where there any other (similar, maybe better quality) digitizers released in the U.S. or Europe? I seem to remember some, but those might have been ST ones I recall.

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I just found this thread, and I had a flashback!

 

In the 80's I got two similar home made boxes to play with and develope utilities to capture audio (like in Parrot) and images (like in Computer Eyes).

 

I still have one of the boxes, but I don't remember which one it is. As the box was reachable, I opened it to see what was inside. It happens to be much more complex than the Parrot. These are some pictures of it:

 

digi01.thumb.jpg.7702fc01305f140b00b2fb784d9cde1e.jpg

digi02.thumb.jpg.e9f509b756e7df98e03a0094a1f54b12.jpg

digi03.thumb.jpg.78ed69e8bb42497df4c350d38f32407d.jpg

 

The pins in the Atari port were 7 and 9 (POT A), so I guess it's more like an analogic device to slowly process still video images, but as the schematics in this thread also uses the POT for audio, I'd probably wrong.

 

If I can recall well, the audio device used 4 bits from PORTA register, so it was easy to develope a capture routine and also to process audio in realtime (add echo, change the pitch, ...). I have to search in my old diskettes for the developed software to be sure, but that won't be as easy as to find and open this box.

 

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I recall making some sort of audio capture device back in the 80s.  I'm sure I've still got it somewhere.  It was a pretty simple circuit, and I plugged a microphone into it and it into the joystick port.  I don't remember at the moment if it used the paddle or stick input, but I remember writing a tight loop to read it (don't recall if it was in Basic or Assembly), and I think that I had to add delays to the playback loop to get it to have it play back at the same speed.  It may have played back using the internal console speaker, so maybe it was the stick (or even button?) digital input.  I probably got the design from a magazine (Byte, Antic or Analog would be good candidates).

 

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3 hours ago, vitoco said:

I just found this thread, and I had a flashback!

 

In the 80's I got two similar home made boxes to play with and develope utilities to capture audio (like in Parrot) and images (like in Computer Eyes).

 

I still have one of the boxes, but I don't remember which one it is. As the box was reachable, I opened it to see what was inside. It happens to be much more complex than the Parrot. These are some pictures of it:

 

digi01.thumb.jpg.7702fc01305f140b00b2fb784d9cde1e.jpg

digi02.thumb.jpg.e9f509b756e7df98e03a0094a1f54b12.jpg

digi03.thumb.jpg.78ed69e8bb42497df4c350d38f32407d.jpg

 

The pins in the Atari port were 7 and 9 (POT A), so I guess it's more like an analogic device to slowly process still video images, but as the schematics in this thread also uses the POT for audio, I'd probably wrong.

 

If I can recall well, the audio device used 4 bits from PORTA register, so it was easy to develope a capture routine and also to process audio in realtime (add echo, change the pitch, ...). I have to search in my old diskettes for the developed software to be sure, but that won't be as easy as to find and open this box.

 

I download the first pic with the chip as it wouldn't zoom in enough online for me to see, but I'm sure I make out the letters "LM" on the IC, and possibly a 3 and 7 or 2 after that and the TI logo...if I remember correctly, I have a few LM chips of my own and IIRC off the top of my head, they are amplifying IC's. But maybe it's a 6 or 8-bit DAC chip? Because I believe my amp chips are only 6-8 pin and not 14 like that chip. I'll due some research, but someone else may reply with a positive answer before I do. I'll also look into some Analog and Antic magazines and see what I find there. There might actually be something about a digitizing box in an issue of Analog I have that has connecting a robot arm to your Atari in it that I plan on doing. I also have an issue of Antic set aside that has the WEFAX decoder and software project in it for using with short wave radio that I'm going to build. So I should have thought of browsing more of my old Analog and Antic mags for such a project.

Edited by Gunstar

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I have some 8 pin LM's that are in fact amplifier IC's and I have some 14-pin LM374 which are BUCK control IC's. I also have some LM2917's which are frequency to voltage converters. It doesn't appear any manufacturer uses LM designation for their DAC chips, so I doubt that's what it is now. I found an LM324N in my collection which is a 14-pin amplifier IC, if that's what that is...

 

So what is the actual IC designation on there @vitoco ?

Edited by Gunstar

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