Slight update to the PinDMD3 driver, it now uses a 1x8 pixel colour mask to avoid 'power of 2 texture' problems.
New cab delivered, so something else to keep me occupied on those winter nights - Crazy Climber!
The new driver for PinDMD3 has been completed and is now available for download here.
by default it works exactly the same as the 'normal' FPInterface and converts images and font data to DMD colour scales to display, however, add a decal with a special texture to the table and it proceeds to send all background image data in 24 bit RGB and uses the colours in the texture for the 5 font levels.
Instructions are included in the download file.
There is now a new version of the PinDMD available, which uses a pinball DMD sized LED panel that is capable of full colour. I have been reworking my Future Pinball driver to send background images in 24 bit RGB rather than the normal 5 shades of amber. See here for an example of it in action.
I was contacted about installation instructions for the older version of the board, and I had removed those from the site, so you can now get to the older copy here or via the new installation page.
A fellow collector, Phil, posted some code to implement attract mode when in freeplay for Galaxian on one of the forums I frequent, so I have adapted the code to work with Galaxian, Galaxian Part X and Moon Alien within the multigame. I have also fixed a long standing coin counter bug just in case any of you still have coin counters connected up in their cabs.
I have updated the Galaxian multigame assembly and installation instructions, pictures are from different versions of the boards but it should hopefully be clear on what you parts you need to fit and where to fit them.
I received an interesting email today, that I am sure several people will find useful. A fellow Xeltek user has managed to properly sign the USB driver for the 280U and 3000U programmers, so you should no longer need to put windows into 'Unsigned driver mode'. Get it here or linked from the Xeltek page.
The graphics PCBs have arrived, and you no longer have to tilt the eproms at weird angles to make them fit into the sockets, Version 3 pcb's and kits should be available soon for anyone who wants them.
As mentioned, new PCB's are smaller, which means cheaper, however some of the other parts in the complete kit have gone up in price, but overall the prices are lower than before
£25 = The set of three PCBs
£30 = The set of three PCBs with a pre-programmed GAL for the address decoding.
£60 = The set of three PCBs with the pre-programmed GAL, eproms and other components required to build it.
Prices include postage to the UK. If you would like me to send them anywhere else, then please email me for the shipping cost first.
Well it looks like the only problem with the new boards is the eproms being too close together, so will get another set of graphics PCB's made up and version 3 is finally completed. I need to re-do the cable connections at one end as I inverted one end (as you had to do with the previous connectors) - except you don't need to do that now!
I have also taken the opportunity to add one of the (many) missing pages to the web site! - The page, and PCB layout, for the sprite ram replacement board I made is now available.
Hibernation over for another year (although to be fair I have been concentrating on trying to get my project Rocky & Bullwinkle pinball finished off), so whilst I am waiting for some parts to arrive I have finally assembled one of the new Galaxian Multigames! - so far one problem jumps out at me, and that is I did not leave enough room between the two graphics roms to actually allow you to fit them - have to sort that one out and get another set made up.
On the equipment front I managed to aquire a rather decent looking surface mount rework station, still currently available so I should at least be able to get spare parts for it. It's a Chipper SMD-500, so I can hopefully have a look at the pile of Neo Geo boards sitting in the corner and see if I can get some of them working again.
I have added some 'Freebies' - if you want to make up your own Taito RGB replacement boards or a Fluke S2650 adapter, you can now download the Gerber files from the appropriate page and get your own PCB's made up. I also took the opportunity to fix some of the external links, now I just need to finish off the missing pages.
Finally, a quick couple of pictures to show how the Rocky & Bullwinkle is getting on ...
Circuit redesign two has now happened, a couple of changes this time, I added the NVRAM controller chip in, seemed easier than adding CMOS logic and then having to reverse the CS signal from the PAL, at least this way all of the code remains the same. NVRam now uses a DS1210 and matches their sample circuit, so hopefully all will work this time.
Since 6 pin IDE connectors are now widely available, I also took the opportunity to change the single in line connectors I was using to these, so they can only plug in one way around. Graphics and colour boards also changed to use the same connector, and the graphics board now only supports 27512 chips, since I never actually uses any graphic pages beyond this size anyway, and even that has some spares.
I now need to assemble and test one and make sure that everything is as it should be.
I will revisit the pricing as well, since with the redesign I also managed to make the main PCB smaller, which has bought down the cost of the PCB's - so once the testing has been completed, I hope to sell the multigame as a PCB set (so you can supply your own support chips), a kit with the GAL (in case you cannot program those yourself) and a full kit of parts. If you want one ready assembled, or fitted to your own PCB then I hope to have an option that will suit you as well.
The good news is that the problem I was experiencing with the multigames on some PCBs has been sorted - it seems to be down to the bootlegs having slightly different timing, and can now be bypassed by changing a dipswitch so it does not test video ram on startup. most boards continue to work OK with the test, and my 'normal' test board just happened to have a ram error on the same bit, so I thought it was the same problem!
The bad news is that the idea of adding a coin battery to power CMOS ram was incomplete, I 'borrowed' a part of a circuit from another board, and missed one important component - so now doing a slight re-design to include a NVRAM controller chip to handle both the power and chip select lines. Also considering changing the 6x1 connectors to 3x2 as it will be much harder to plug them the wrong way around.
The new galaxian multigame PCB's have arrived, and very good they look to! - I just hope I don't get the same weird error that I did on the previous ones. They now have space for a CR2032 battery for retaining the high scores and settings rather than using NVRAM. (you can still use an NVRAM if you wish, just add a jumper over one of the diode spaces instead - had to allow for that since I still have some left)
Hopefully be plugged in and tested 'real soon'
I will let you all know how it goes ....
Two updates in two days, whatever next! - just an extra bit on the Taito RGB page because I was asked how I wired it up to a Bubble Bobble PCB
Time to do some catching up with what projects have happened and what are still happening.
Fluke S2650 Adapter
I had a batch of these made back in 2004, but following a request for one from a site user, I have had another batch made up. For information see here. I still have some available if you would like one. PCB only is £8 posted to the UK (or download the Gerbers from the project page and get some made yourself)
Following some conversations on a forum, I decided that it should be possible to create a functionally equivalent component to replace the now breaking hybrids used on several Taito games, such as Rainbow Islands. This project uses GALs because I have quite a few around, and because it keeps the size down to something similar to the original. See the dedicated Taito RGB page for more information. These are available as PCB only for £6, or a kit of parts £15 posted in the UK. (or download the Gerbers from the project page and get some made yourself)
Future Pinball DMD driver
This was a software add on for Future Pinball that made it possible to drive a real pinball dot matrix display from your PC (and hence your virtual pinball machine) using the amazing little PinDMD board. The current version is available from the forums where Future pinball support is available, but just for completeness, there is also a copy here.
A few people have emailed me about the availability of the multigame that I used to do. Well, the original PCB manufacturers joined the EEC, put up their prices (a lot) and finally decided that they were now too busy to make PCBs for people anyhow. So I had a batch made up at another place instead.
This is where it gets weird! - although I cannot actually find anything wrong with the PCBs, they will not work reliably. However, if I plug any sort of test gear into the PCB so I can try and find out what the problem is, it then works perfectly! - now since I cannot expect people to use them with a Fluke or similar permanently connected, I've finally given in and ordered another set of PCBs from a different supplier, and have my fingers crossed that these will work more like the old ones. As a sideline, I have done a little bit of redesign to them as well, since the 2k NVRAM chips are now getting very difficult to obtain at reasonable prices. The new board, if it works, will allow you to use a CMOS 6116 ram chip and a CR2032 battery instead.
I will let you know when the PCBs arrive!
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