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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.


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There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.


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To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
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Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
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Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.


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If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.


New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.


Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
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  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
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Universal Multi-I/O Controller & RAM Expansion

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    #16
    if you can write code to make those USB ports work in dos on the 8-bit bus, you will have some of my money
    Nothing beats the roar of a 36yr old drive coming to life after a decade in storagg

    Comment


      #17
      It's basically just an eval platform at this point to see what's possible. Essentially it's a beef stew of 64MB RAM, 8MB flash, 168 MHz ARM Cortex M4 with 2 USB OTG ports and SD card slot, a floppy interface header, and a large CPLD to tie things together. The MCU also has hold of the PLD JTAG lines so the whole firm ware can be updated via a USB stick. What's to come of it is still a bit up in the air. I have a lot of ideas, just not a lot of time. Some possibilities include:

      - PnP operation
      - Either DiscFerret inclusion or a more evolved native floppy controller alternative
      - EMS memory pool
      - ISA logic probe
      - Audio media extender (MP3/tracked music)
      - Emulation of any legacy device at a register level with backend functionality provided by USB equivalent. For example:
      * WiFi dongle -> NE2K
      * USB headset -> GUS or SB
      * USB storage stick or SD card -> IDE hard drive or Int13 hard drive
      * USB game pad -> game port
      * USB mouse -> serial port with virtual attached MS or MM mouse
      * In addition a host PC could provide a back-end for emulated legacy devices

      The basic premise is to emulate the register file of a legacy device in the PLD. Throw an interrupt to the MCU on change and allow it to provide the functional back-end meat, update the register file or on card RAM, and throw an interrupt or DMA request back to the host PC. It starts to get a bit silly if you really start to think of the possibilities. And the idea has been called an abomination by some. And I have no intention of selling it. It's really just an itch I'm scratching atm - all open source. So I'm looking for technical collaborators. I have an earlier design with a functional ISA->WB bridge, SRAM, and a few cores running in it (serial port, SPI flash, etc).

      It's actually a cut down version of a larger 16-bit design where the MCU interfaces to the PLD via eMMC and where one of the USB ports is high-speed creating a 48 MByte/s pipe between the two. Such a connection with the large RAM pool would allow for a real-time ISA bus traffic monitor in a host PC Windows GUI. Would be "interesting" to say the least. At the moment both USB ports are OTG but only full speed as the STM32F2/4 series needs an external ULPI phy. In this 8-bit design, the MCU is connected to the PLD over a single lane SPI interface (up to 30 MHz).

      -Alan
      Last edited by eeguru; April 26, 2012, 09:30 PM.
      "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


        #18
        Don't mind me, was just asking if flash drive support would be in it, but your post above explains that :P
        Last edited by SpidersWeb; April 26, 2012, 09:26 PM. Reason: Question was answered before I hit submit :P
        Twitter / YouTube

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          #19
          Seriously impressive!

          Comment


            #20
            No doubt... I can imagine one of these being very popular should even 1/3 of your listed ideas come to fruition.
            ---
            Currently seeking:
            * Roland MPU-401/AT (with daughter card header)
            * Magitronic K-156 Keyboard (5pin DIN w/ XT-AT switch)
            I also collect PC and C64 Sierra On-Line software!

            Comment


              #21
              I'm not sure about that, given it's SMT. That scares off everyone, in my experience.

              Comment


                #22
                Maybe a Kickstarter project for a medium run order with assembly would be in order if the basic development gets far enough along.
                "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


                  #23
                  Not a bad idea. Wouldn't be a bad way to seek funding for some of these projects from a more universal audience - post it around on various sites, so what kind've bites you get. Might help kick off some of Lynch's proto runs as well (the FM synth card among them)
                  ---
                  Currently seeking:
                  * Roland MPU-401/AT (with daughter card header)
                  * Magitronic K-156 Keyboard (5pin DIN w/ XT-AT switch)
                  I also collect PC and C64 Sierra On-Line software!

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Originally posted by Maverick1978 View Post
                    Not a bad idea. Wouldn't be a bad way to seek funding for some of these projects from a more universal audience - post it around on various sites, so what kind've bites you get. Might help kick off some of Lynch's proto runs as well (the FM synth card among them)


                    I would be very happy to donate 10 bucks to any of these projects(especially the Lynch (I love OPL2 synth)). Maybe create a funding account named "vintage-computer-forum-projects" ? The keeper shows some buy info, money usage, etc...

                    Comment


                      #25
                      I'd be in favor of the EMS pool, the usb gadgetry and the mp3 support, but anything and everything you could make that thing do would be a boon to the 8-bit computer, especially if the card has it's own CPU so the older comps aren't choking up.
                      Nothing beats the roar of a 36yr old drive coming to life after a decade in storagg

                      Comment


                        #26
                        @eeguru
                        I see your need a bracket for that card. I can make a prototype from Stainless Steel or Aluminum sheet metal, if you like. The only thing I would ask in return, would be that you sell me one of these cards at cost plus shipping. PM me if interested. I am a Machinist by trade and could make a really nice looking bracket especialy if you can supply a dimensioned drawing or CADD file (DXF)
                        Last edited by ibmapc; April 27, 2012, 11:32 PM.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          I tweaked the sketches in the keystone catalogue for mine. EDIT to add, some of the dimensions in the catalogue are missing, this is the drawing I used with all necessary dimensions included. Also the 1mm steel is slightly too thick for a PC/XT, the standard 0.8mm would probably be better. Note that the bend radius on the top is very tight. Just change the slot and mounting 'ears' as required and should be good
                          Last edited by pearce_jj; April 28, 2012, 01:02 AM.

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                            #28
                            Again only the physical card is a reality. However I checked a lot of the signal paths yesterday and they all look sound. Switches, LEDs, MCU USB/DFU boot loader, MCU single wire debug using GDB, JTAG chain on the PLD, SD card detect, and reaching the card over ISA (LEDs). It will be a while before I have much more time to do more.

                            Offer still stands to Chuck though.
                            "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

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