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FS: New Tandy 1000 EX/HX 3-in-1 Upgrade boards. 640KB, Compactflash, RS232 Serial

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    FS: New Tandy 1000 EX/HX 3-in-1 Upgrade boards. 640KB, Compactflash, RS232 Serial

    I am announcing that my Tandy 1000 EX/HX 3-in-1 Upgrade Board as complete, and I am currently assembling boards for my production run. These boards are an all-in-one upgrade solution for people who just want to play XT/Tandy era games, and it provides the following upgrades:

    640kb System RAM
    96kb of Upper Memory for DOS and Drivers
    9-pin RS232 Serial Port for a mouse or communications
    XT-CF-Lite Interface for storage


    My price is $95 plus shipping and I offer some options, such as a preconfigured CF card and floppies with the UMB drivers.

    I currently have 8 boards fully assembled, tested, and ready to ship, with another 10 boards awaiting a shipment of Serial UARTs.

    If you would like to buy a pre-assembled board, please fill out the order form here: https://forms.gle/diCKK9neMXMyBziD9
    If you would like to buy a bare PCB with the custom connectors and CF adapter, please fill out the order form here: https://forms.gle/qpK9ENFvUWP2UTJr7


    79528109_10156647870431881_7921794507178246144_o.jpg85137943_10156809302136881_2887570525293379584_o.jpg79289846_10156651772486881_5209810877829611520_o.jpg79923119_10156647870516881_835041186799419392_o.jpg


    FAQ:

    Q: Does this have DMA?
    A: This board does not add a DMA controller, which was only included on the Tandy board to handle DRAM refresh. My use of SRAM here means that it does not need external circuitry to handle refresh. It is a common misconception that DMA "speeds up" an EX/HX system, when the speed up is actually from having more memory. The on board IO does not take advantage of the "Direct Access" portion of DMA, so it will always run at PIO speeds.

    Q: How much memory does this give me?
    A: With the memory map of the Tandy 1000 EX/HX it expands the system to the maximum of 624k Conventional RAM, and also adds 96k of Upper Memory Blocks. With the supplied drivers, loading DOS 5.0 high and the Mouse Driver high, it gives you 610kb of free Conventional RAM.

    Q: Can you include a Network Card/Adlib/5 Serial Ports/VGA/3D Accelerator/486 upgrade?
    A: My goal was always to make a single board to bring a stock Tandy 1000 EX or HX computer to be able to play as many of the of the Tandy Graphics and Sound video games as it can. I feel that the system is not fast enough to properly handle things like Ethernet Networking, and VGA and AdLib would take away from my goal of Tandy Graphics and Sound games.

    Q: Why does this not have an ISA Slot/Passthrough connector?
    A: I intended the board to be the only expansion card in the system.

    Q: Didn't I see this board on YouTube/Facebook/some other place?
    A: Indeed, you probably have! Adrian Black reviewed one of my later prototype boards, and I have been selling them on Facebook for the last few months.

    Q: Where can I see Adrian Blacks Review?
    A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yESy...igitalBasement

    Q: I think your board is crap, and I only want everything you listed you would never put on there.
    A: Please feel free to take my design and add on the functions that you wish. My design is fully open source, and I encourage you to modify it to your hearts desire.

    #2
    Now that is a beautiful piece of hardware. If only I had a 1000HX or 1000EX. Looks amazing.
    Current retro systems:
    386/486DLC, AMS NotePro Plus DSTN
    Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus
    Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT, 2x IBM ThinkPad 380D (both TFT)
    iMac G3/600 Graphite, iMac G4/800 Lampshade
    YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroPCUser

    Comment


      #3
      This board allows these systems to shine truly to the best of their abilities. RAM, Serial and Hard Drive, all you may need is RTC and a V20 CPU Upgrade.
      My Retro Computing and Vintage Gaming Blog : http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/

      Comment


        #4
        Is there any reason these wouldn't work with one of the PLUS card to ISA adapters? I've got a few of those laying around...

        Comment


          #5
          I was thinking about that, too, although the CF daughterboard might get in the way, and it might be too tall to get the cover back on. But if you built the kit with a wire-wrap connector for the PLUS bus, then you might leave enough sticking out on top to put a right angle ISA adapter on there. Hmmmm. Or perhaps the CF daughterboard could be relocated elsewhere in the case, with a ribbon cable, if it wasn't going to be changed very often.

          I think this project is extremely cool, but I need to have an IDE zip drive in my HX (or else convert all my other old PC stuff to use CF, which is probably what I ought to just do anyway, although the prospect makes my wallet squeak lol; parport zip drives are just too slow, even if one would work on the HX's peculiar parport implementation), so I still would need to be able to cram a regular XTIDE card in there somehow. Hmmm. With a will there is a way! :P

          Hmm, I wonder if I could make a right angle ISA adapter board that went *under* this card, that this card plugged into, thus moving this card up to the top PLUS slot. Hmmmmmmm...
          -- Lee
          If you get super-bored, try muh crappy YouTube channel: Old Computer Fun!
          Looking to Buy/Trade For (non-working is fine): Mac IIci hard drive sled and one bottom rubber foot, Multisync VGA CRTs, Decent NuBus video card, PC-era Tandy stuff, Weird Old Unix Stuff, Aesthetic Old Serial Terminals (HP and Data General in particular)

          Comment


            #6
            Sorry, I mean one of the official albeit fairly rare Tandy adapters that let you use PLUS cards in an ISA system.

            I happen to have a few of those laying around right now. I wouldn't mind using this card in my 1000TL build, would free up a slot or two and give me a spare RS232 port!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by keenerb View Post
              I happen to have a few of those laying around right now. I wouldn't mind using this card in my 1000TL build, would free up a slot or two and give me a spare RS232 port!
              To use this card in a TL you'd have to disable the 384K it maps from 0000h-6000h. Also, if I remember correctly how those Plus-ISA adapters oriented things it would be a problem that this board has the back-panel connectors on the "wrong" side for a standard Plus card.
              My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by bladamson View Post
                Hmm, I wonder if I could make a right angle ISA adapter board that went *under* this card, that this card plugged into, thus moving this card up to the top PLUS slot. Hmmmmmmm...
                I've done that with my DIY expansions (the ones I've blathered about on the YouTube channel in my sig.); I currently have an ISA network card sitting under my memory/ROM board which has the serial/IDE combo board stacked on top of that. It works, although getting the spacing right so the holes in the attached backplate will line up will be a trick; even the "extra tall" stacking connectors I used on the ISA board are a few millimeters too short to give you the standard plus-card separation between boards.

                (And I do also think it may contribute to a *wee* bit of instability to the bus, I kind of get the vibe from these things that having the RAM as close as possible to the motherboard is good.)

                Anyway, re:

                Q: I think your board is crap, and I only want everything you listed you would never put on there.
                A: Please feel free to take my design and add on the functions that you wish. My design is fully open source, and I encourage you to modify it to your hearts desire.
                I don't want to hijack this for-sale thread, but if anyone is really crazy about wanting to push an EX/HX to ridiculous extremes beyond what's built into this handy one-piece unit I could also share the designs for the cards I have in my systems (I've had them in github for months, I just haven't gotten around to cleaning them up for public consumption); the current state of them is the expansion system is spread across two cards instead of one but it does have the standard Plus pass-through arrangement to take a third standard Plus card *or* stick in an ISA riser either above or below the main stack. Feature set is similar except mine includes a clock-calendar, a second serial port, and has mostly extraneous options for customizing the RAM/ROM layout for your particular machine or to coexist with other peripherals that need upper memory space. TL;DR: in an EX it can do up to 128k UMB + 32k ROM @C800, in an HX you have the choice of 96k UMB + ROM @C000, or 64k UMB + ROM @C800 for the particular use case of sticking a VGA card in one of these machines. (So far as I'm concerned the network card is the killer app for the ISA riser and a VGA card is missing the point, but people have different goals.)

                But, as the OP says, if you just want all the options you need to play any game that works well on an EX/HX this board should do fine.

                (I have no plans to manufacture mine now that a board that should be good enough for most people is out there, so, again, totally not trying to derail any sales here. If a true fanatic wants a set of prototype PCBs sans any fitness-for-purpose warranty I have spares I might be talked into sticking into an envelope.)
                Last edited by Eudimorphodon; February 25, 2020, 11:34 AM.
                My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by keenerb View Post
                  Sorry, I mean one of the official albeit fairly rare Tandy adapters that let you use PLUS cards in an ISA system.

                  I happen to have a few of those laying around right now. I wouldn't mind using this card in my 1000TL build, would free up a slot or two and give me a spare RS232 port!
                  My board is hardwired for the particularly unique memory map of the EX and HX machines. It would require cutting traces and bodging on other address logic on to work in a "normal" machine. There are plenty of other solutions out there that would be more suited to your needs.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Just as an update, I assembled a few more boards, and I have also listed them on Tindie for a few dollars more than direct to take care of their fees.

                    https://www.tindie.com/products/rkre...-in-1-upgrade/

                    Comment


                      #11
                      This is the coolest thing...ordered a partial kit.

                      Thanks so much for doing this!
                      - Alex

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by rkrenicki View Post
                        Q: I think your board is crap, and I only want everything you listed you would never put on there.
                        A: Please feel free to take my design and add on the functions that you wish. My design is fully open source, and I encourage you to modify it to your hearts desire.
                        I just wish you had put the connector and riser plate on the correct side. It is meant to go downward, not up. It would have just taken 1 more spin. So you are using up two plus slots with this board an no option for a third. So unless I'm mis-understanding something, this can only ever be the only board in the system?
                        "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by eeguru View Post
                          I just wish you had put the connector and riser plate on the correct side.
                          I believe that was done so a widely available prefab off-the-shelf 40-pin-to-CF board for regular ISA slots could be plugged into it. It looks like it extends too far back to nest into the "gutter" area that's defined for downward-facing components near the backplate on plus cards so flipping it wouldn't be an option.

                          If you want a board with expansion passthroughs I have a couple left of my 5 board proto run of a similar, what, "6-in-1"? board. (Counting like they did in the old AST Six-Pack days, it has (1) system RAM, (2) serial, (1) clock-calendar, (1) XT-CF, and (1) EMS, so that's six? Does either 112k or 128k of UMB depending on if it's plugged into an EX or HX, and has DIP switch selectable options for memory map, serial, and XT-IDE addresses.) The PCB does need two bodge wires unless I do another run with the fixes. The storage connector is at the front of the board, though, so no easy memory card swapping. (Maybe not a big deal if you have a network card or whatever.) Back is taken up by the two serial ports.
                          Last edited by Eudimorphodon; June 5, 2020, 11:18 AM.
                          My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

                          Comment


                            #14
                            For some reason, VCF never sent me a notice of these replys. I just saw them now for the first time.

                            Eudimorphodon is correct. The CF adapter would not physically fit in the space allotted if it were mounted on the bottom. I always intended for the board to be the only expansion board in the system.

                            Again, if you are unhappy with my design, I encourage you to take my design and alter it to your hearts content.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              These are now no longer available. I have finished my last batch of boards and I shipped off the last one today. Thanks everyone for the support!

                              Comment

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