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Old 30 September 2017, 15:31   #1
Bprepared
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and another CD32 Riser!

Well this one is a little left field, so I want to take a moment to explain the reasoning and theory behind it.

The FB-32 was conceived the day after Stedy decided to permanently shelf the Hermes project.
I first read his blog shortly after I brought my CD32 out of its 20 year slumber in a garaged crate 6 months ago, and was excited at the thought of being able to acquire something resembling a SX-32...I really wanted one of these when Amiga's were my main stay computer systems back in the day.
Needless to say I was gutted at the news of the projects death, but with the birth of the TF328, the major functionality had been met, and I completely understand the "too many spinning plates" analogy, as being a design engineer myself I have so many projects of different disciplines on the go.
That said, I still wanted to squeeze as much functionality out of the sadly mis-understood console, and although Kippers Riser would enable me to use the TF328, and give me RGB/Keyboard, I wanted something that would allow me to eventually have a floppy interface, serial and parallel ports, a clockport etc.
The trouble was that I didn't (and still don't really yet) have the VHDL/Verilog skills to be able to implement the necessary logic, and with the limited real-estate on a riser, standard logic chips are not really an option unless I wanted something that was the size of the CD32 Debug board.
So I pondered how I would go about learning the language (I have previous in C, C++ and 68K Assembler from my days in Uni where I studied Avionic Systems Engineering), and figured that if I took a leaf out of Stephen's (aka Plasmab, aka TerribleFire) book and only bite off small chunks at a time I would eventually get there.
But I wanted a Riser now, so I started thinking about how to do a breakout such that I could develop my skills while still having a usable board. The result was the FireBird FB-32R below:



Named as such for several reasons; first that is born from the ashes of Hermes...Stedy I hope you don't mind, second is that provides for the rising of a TerribleFire, and finally my avatar logo (which is also associated with my company) was Phoenix inspired...but that's another story.

Fundamentally, it starts as a passive board, with 2off 2x40 2mm Female Pin Headers giving 160 of the 182 signals from the CD32's edge connector. I choose to pull as many signals as I could, but drop those that were probably never going to be used i.e. the _EXT Video signals associated with the FMV module, and a few VCC/GNDS.
The female headers were selected as they allowed me to piggy back a second board on the back which will contain the magic, while not exposing pins to potential shorting. They can take 1A of current nicely, and the height of 2mm header male and female together are the same as standard PCB stand offs, so I don't have to rely on the connectors taking all the mechanical strain and abuse loads from plugging/unplugging cables, and I can develop different riser configurations with only needing to solder 160 through-hole pins (worst case) instead of 364!

The FB-32R was sent to the Dirty PCBs earlier this week for production, but like Kipper said yesterday China has a week long holiday starting Sunday so I don't expect to have the prototype until the end of October at least.

I have 3 planned modules at the moment, the first of which is in KiCAD cooking and will be sent to Dirty for when they get back from holiday:

FB-32G - Basic gamer module
- 23 pin Std Amiga RGB port with Genlock
- 15 pin Minimig RGB port as per Stedy's design published in the main CD32 Expansion thread
- PS/2 Keyboard port
- Basic RS232 non-handshaking null modem port - Thanks for the suggestion 'kolla'

Note:- This is just to get the ball rolling beyond being a passive riser, while also adding a feature that I don't think has actually made it onto a anyone else's riser yet.

FB-32G+ - Full gamer module
- Everything from the 'G'
- Floppy Drive port - based on the venerable Aminet design from Bruce Abbott
- Clockport

Note:- this module will be my first HDL project so I need to manage expectations on this. I'm personally not expecting to have it running until at least Christmas this year, but I may need to revise this timeline based on the time I can actually spend learning HDL.

FB-32PRO - Final planned module
- All of the above, although I may drop one of the RGB ports if I run out of real estate.
- Clockport based Full Parallel and Serial
- Built-in RTC
- USB Mass Storage device port - based on Ferix's design

Other features may be added if space allows, that said I have other ideas on how to combat that problem.

Finally, I will be making everything open source, that is once I have verified each development, so the day the FB-32R is built I will post the KiCAD schematic and board files on Github, and anyone is welcome to develop their own modules as well in the meantime. Attached is the SCD I've whipped up for the critical dimensions.

Oh..and thanks should also go to 'solidcore' (Chris) for egging me on to get this finished and published.

OK, I've said my piece, let the trolling commence.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf FB-32 Module Specs.pdf (63.1 KB, 177 views)

Last edited by Bprepared; 01 October 2017 at 13:48.
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Old 30 September 2017, 17:15   #2
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That's all good, but where can you get the edge connector?
I'm interested in completing some other portslike parallel too,
and my own take on the MP3 decoder support (that has already been marketed).
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Old 30 September 2017, 17:53   #3
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Phil,

I'm glad to see the reveal mate - it's a great looking riser with so much expandability it's going to be a fricking dream come true, I wish you all the luck with this project mate.

And thanks buddy for the shoutout, I will thoroughly test this project and it's daughter boards, firmware, etc without hestitation and hope to give as much back as I can with my limited knowledge. I'll likely be meeting you in the RGB/Keyboard development areas in the coming weeks/months when we both have acquired our risers and can commit to prototyping.

Will there be any C involved in this project? I'd like to help there if there's anything to do.

I also hope to learn VHDL/Verilog towards the cold winter now that my financial affairs are steadying out well it gives me a lot of free time during the week.

Chris
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Old 30 September 2017, 18:11   #4
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Sounds cool Needing a riser myself as I sit here sadly looking at the TF328 I can't try... glad to hear there'll be another source
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Old 30 September 2017, 18:18   #5
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Built-in RTG? Mmm, interesting, can you give some more details? It does sound a bit weird, especially for a device that most of us hook up to a TV set.
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Old 30 September 2017, 19:23   #6
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Edge connectors can be purchased from mouser for about $3ea, you just need to make sure that you order using your national site so as to avoid import duties (which they will pay) I have enough parts to provide 10x kits for people to build risers.

As for the RTC, that is a technical exercise to prove Stedys clockport expander works, then we can potentially see multiple clockport devices integrated into the riser.
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Old 30 September 2017, 20:57   #7
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Bprepared, look forward to the RTC and stedy's hard work being utilized here
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Old 01 October 2017, 08:39   #8
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cool project !
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Old 02 October 2017, 14:29   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xArtx View Post
That's all good, but where can you get the edge connector?
I'm interested in completing some other portslike parallel too,
and my own take on the MP3 decoder support (that has already been marketed).
These just arrived today, as you can see I have few....but half are reserved for solidcore.



The part number you are searching for is an AMP 5650092-1

One of the main objectives of this project is to provide a means that people can prototype projects on the CD32 without having to repeatedly buy MCA-182 connectors, so I'd be delighted to see your results if you choose to use the '32 as your development platform.
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Old 02 October 2017, 16:00   #10
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Nice.
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Old 02 October 2017, 16:06   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spudje View Post
Built-in RTG? Mmm, interesting, can you give some more details? It does sound a bit weird, especially for a device that most of us hook up to a TV set.
I guess you have noticed by now that it was RTC (real time clcok) and not RTG?
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Old 02 October 2017, 17:07   #12
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Quote:
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I guess you have noticed by now that it was RTC (real time clcok) and not RTG?
Yes, sorry everyone that's a 'my bad', I did mean RTC, and corrected accordingly.
Although it would be awesome to try and get RTG running on a CD32, that is way beyond my current skill set...maybe one day!
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Old 02 October 2017, 18:35   #13
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Bprepared don't they look good! .

I'm looking forward to soldering them up on my SOLIDCORE Passive riser and your FireBird FB-32R , thanks a bunch for going through with your word - I guess there's going to be a lot of soldering ahead, good thing I bought a fume extractor and I should have enough lead-free solder lol.

Regarding the RTG what use is it other than a high-res workbench? I've not looked much into it but saying that would be awesome indeed. lol

Chris
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Old 02 October 2017, 20:14   #14
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There are a few games that make use of RTG, but mostly it would be a case of 'can it be done?' I know the answer is 'yes' just not by me, it would be future technical challenge
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Old 02 October 2017, 20:18   #15
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RTG can be done using an FPGA, like the MNT VA2000 card, but it’s beyond the current scope of CD32 projects
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Old 02 October 2017, 20:29   #16
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Bprepared,

First thing first we have to spend a lot of time reading about SPLD, CPLD, FPGA etc in as much possible detail as we can via PDF's / Book's. After reading, we must then begin to familiarise ourselves with the Software, and Developer Boards. That's where I'm going in 2018.

However, 2017 for me is familiarising myself with amiga/atari hardware. smd soldering, some small manageable projects like edge riser that open me up to the world of pcb design etc without it being too taxing on time. IF I can't do that right, go back to the drawing board and get it done properly before taking on the more advanced stuff.

Baby steps my friend and Stephen is a huge inspiration for me - accomplishing those tasks is harder without inspiration.

Chris
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Old 02 October 2017, 21:06   #17
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Easy guys....dont worry, I have no intentions of RTG anytime soon...if at all. It only came up in a faux pas typing error there's plenty to do already I know.

As a bit of an update, RGB ports, and keyboard schematics are drawn, and serial just needs a bit of polishing so routing will start shortly.
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Old 03 October 2017, 02:34   #18
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Nice you move quickly mate . Keep us updated !

What exactly are the possibility with serial anyway ? I remember serial gaming on the pc back in the day use to play quake 2 and command and conquer over serial and ipx lol.
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Old 03 October 2017, 15:43   #19
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Nice you move quickly mate . Keep us updated !

What exactly are the possibility with serial anyway ? I remember serial gaming on the pc back in the day use to play quake 2 and command and conquer over serial and ipx lol.
Networking, for example. For a long time, my CD32/SX32 has had a bluetooth-rs232 adapter plugged in there, which is connected to the bluetooth host controller of an old mac-mini running Linux. This works as a wireless null-modem connection that I can run PPP over, and download files directly onto the CD32 without shuffling around physical media. Also, using socat on the linux box, I can connect the different Amiga systems' serial ports to one another, or to emulated Amiga, so it appears for them as if they are connected through null-modem, and hence run various games that support serial connection between two machines.
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Old 03 October 2017, 20:51   #20
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@Kolla nice would love to give the cd32 a run for its money against my a1200 on some network game sweet.
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