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Author Topic: Vectrex multicart proto  (Read 5214 times)
gertk
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« on: October 30, 2011, 05:17:29 PM »

This is a prototype of a Vectrex multicart which copies the selected game from a (large) Flash ROM to a (32k) RAM chip and then switches over to the RAM hiding the original Flash ROM. You can press the RESET button to reset the game and by pressing it longer you return to the menu. (sounds familiar Ren??)
Even programs which need external RAM  (e.q. ANIMATIC) can run as the RAM is completely accessible.
The whole board uses 5 chips, the Flash ROM, a slimline 32k (cache) RAM, two logic chips and a GAL (programmable logic) chip.
I created a rudimentary menu which you can scroll through with the joystick (my first 6809 assembler program!)
 
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gertk
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2011, 05:18:48 PM »

and some pictures of the circuitboard (the cartridge is empty)
The empty socket is now filled with a AM29F040 (512k flash)
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2011, 07:32:38 PM »

Nice work.
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2011, 09:27:45 PM »

Looks promising  Cool

Maybe it's a nice idea if you can insert an SD-Card so you can upload anything you download Grin and also very helpfull for Vectrex developers I'm sure.
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2011, 10:14:52 PM »

this has already been done, have a look under Richard Hutchinson.
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gertk
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2011, 07:10:31 AM »

I have seen this VecFlash page of Richard and it even has a price tag however it does not seem to be available, if you click on the VecFlash tab you get another page on which it says 'discontinued' (halfway down the page)

Furthermore, my card does not use a separate microcontroller nor fpga. All but the GAL are pretty simple parts. I have lots of those 32k cache rams which are more than fast enough (15 to 25 ns).

Uploading or software prototyping is still very possible with this card, I was thinking of a serial connection (with a seperate USB to serial if needed) through the second controllerport of the Vectrex and let the 6809 handle communication.
You can upload up to 32k of homebrew code and test endlessly since there is no wear on the flashrom. A simple monitor and uploading tool is not that hard to make.
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 11:41:04 AM »

Yes I have contacted him a few years ago and he said he would let me know when he would build them again.

Your idea with the serial connection sounds good too. It's like Rene's C7050.
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2011, 07:43:36 PM »

I have a VecFlash and it's awesome, just check ebay they come up on a regular basis.
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gertk
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2011, 10:40:35 PM »

Yes I have contacted him a few years ago and he said he would let me know when he would build them again.

Your idea with the serial connection sounds good too. It's like Rene's C7050.

Yes I think it is doable, only difference is that the serial port would not be connected to the cartridge but to the vectrex' controller port 2. I am not sure what baudrates are possible as every bit should be timed in software. My knowledge of interrupts and such of the vectrex are still limited. I do know the VIA 6522 a bit, I also know it has a hardware serial shift register but it also has a nasty bug and the serial in/out is not connected to the controller port(s) but to the vector hardware anyway.
Without screen generation the 6809 should be capable of steady baudrates without problems. A converter cable from the controller port to RS232 should be no more than a MAX232 and some small caps. A standard D9 connector has to be modified a bit to fit but maybe I can get some joystick extension cables to cut up.
 
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 07:30:57 AM by gertk » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2011, 10:43:47 PM »

This is a bit easier to handle...
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« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2011, 01:39:21 AM »

I have a Vecflash, and has always been urked by the fact that it won't play most homebrew games. Reason I personally am looking for something better.
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« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2011, 07:56:54 AM »

This is the list of games I have put in:

GAME001:            ; ALL_GOOD_THINGS.BIN
GAME002:            ; ANIMACT.BIN
GAME003:            ; ARMOR_ATTACK.BIN
GAME004:            ; ART_MASTER.BIN
GAME005:            ; BEDLAM.BIN
GAME006:            ; BERZERK.BIN
GAME007:            ; BLITZ.BIN
GAME008:            ; CLEAN_SWEEP.BIN
GAME009:            ; COSMIC_CHASM.BIN
GAME010:            ; DARK_TOWER.BIN
GAME011:            ; FORTRESS_OF_NARZOD.BIN
GAME012:            ; FROGGER.BIN
GAME013:            ; GRAVITREX.BIN
GAME014:            ; HEADS_UP.BIN
GAME015:            ; HYPERCHASE.BIN
GAME016:            ; MELODY_MASTER.BIN
GAME017:            ; MINESTORM.BIN
GAME018:            ; MOON_LANDER.BIN
GAME019:            ; NEBULA_COMMANDER.BIN
GAME020:            ; OMEGA_CHASE.BIN
GAME021:            ; PATRIOTS.BIN
GAME022:            ; POLAR_RESCUE.BIN
GAME023:            ; POLE_POSITION.BIN
GAME024:            ; REVECTOR.BIN
GAME025:            ; RIPOFF.BIN
GAME026:            ; ROCKS.BIN
GAME027:            ; SCRAMBLE.BIN
GAME028:            ; SOLAR_QUEST.BIN
GAME029:            ; SPACE_WARS.BIN
GAME030:            ; SPECTRUM.BIN
GAME031:            ; SPIKE.BIN
GAME032:            ; SPIKE_HOPPIN.BIN
GAME033:            ; SPINBALL.BIN
GAME034:            ; STAR_CASTLE.BIN
GAME035:            ; STARHAWK.BIN
GAME036:            ; STAR_TREK.BIN
GAME037:            ; TEST_CARTRIDGE.BIN
GAME038:            ; TOUR_DE_FRANCE.BIN
GAME039:            ; VABOOM_VECTRACE.BIN
GAME040:            ; VECMANIA1.BIN
GAME041:            ; VECMANIA2.BIN
GAME042:            ; VEC_SPORTS_BOXING.BIN
GAME043:            ; VECTOPIA.BIN
GAME044:            ; VECTOR_VADERS.BIN
GAME045:            ; VEC_VOC_XMAS.BIN
GAME046:            ; WEB_WARS.BIN
GAME047:            ; LOADER_MONITOR.BIN


All .bin files are padded upto the next 4k block. The 512k Flash rom is almost full, I left a few k's for the monitor/loader program. I found a set of two 32k files for John Dondzilla's 64k Vecmania cartridge.
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