May 28, 2016

DDI Re-Capture Cartridge

Following up on my DDI Telengard cartridge, I decided to build another of Dale's recreated PCB projects. The Jason Ranheim Capture Cartridge. Dubbed the DDI Re-Capture cart.

This time Dale had some extra boards available, so I ordered a couple from him. They're very nice quality boards. Ordered the remaining components on eBay and Mouser and a couple of weeks later, was firing up my iron and getting to work.

The build went pretty smoothly for me. The surface mount parts were a lot easier for me this time around. It's a bit more work than the CPR3 board, but still pretty easy for anyone good with a soldering iron.


I instantly ran into issues after plugging in the finished cartridge into my Commodore 128. I was getting some odd garbled graphics(instead of the Capture menu) after I'd press the capture button.


I tried the both the V1 and Capture II ROM images("CAPTURE C0 60" & "CAPTURE II EB DF")   and also two different D4364C-15L SRAM chips. No luck. :(

I don't own a Commodore 64, so Dale was nice enough to test my cartridge for me on his C64. Well, it worked for him! Haha. So... I guess to sum this post up. The DDI Re-Capture cartridge does not work on Commodore 128 computers.

It really wasn't too disappointing. I knew it was a possibility and it was still good experience for me building this cartridge. I learned a lot about stripping the load address' from the ROM files, using DirMaster and also a couple of HEX editors.

The Capture screen should have looked like this:


For anyone interested that own C64's, here is a link to the DDI Re-Capture page with ROM's, Gerber's and a parts list: http://www.sys64738.net/ddirc/ddirc.htm

DDI Telengard - CPR3/Cartridge

Last year I scored a couple of Commodore 128 computers from a guy on Craigslist. I have wanted a C64 for about 25 years, so it was pretty exciting for me. The first game I started looking into was also something that had been on my radar and that was Telengard. It didn't take much reading to land on the DDI Telengard project. I read that the enhanced version of the game had also been put onto cartridge by Dale from Dungeon Dwellers Inc., so I ended up talking with him a bit and before I knew it, was having some PCB's fabricated...


 Some info about DDI Telengard from the CSDb.dk site:

"DDI Telengard
=============

In DDI Telengard, you'll find clues to a valuable Sceptre hidden in the Telengard depths.
I'll leave it to you as the bold adventurer you are to explore and discover what you'll
need to help you in your quest. The higher in level you are, the more equipped you'll
be to take on the task. When you have sufficient experience, you'll be able to use your
powers of perception to detect when you are within 50 moves of the Sceptre. As your
character gains further experience, your ability to detect how near the Sceptre is will
also advance. Rumor has it there are those willing to pay a high price for such a rare
artifact!

In contrast to the original version 4.18, your stats have more meaning in how encounters
will play out, and you'll find you'll be able to use your spells more effectively, still
keeping faithful to much of the original logic factors and equations. DDI Telengard
offers a bit more color both graphically and to the text in random encounters. A few
redundant spell types have been replaced, and special effects added to other spells
as well. I could go on about the number of changes, but it's more fun to explore.

If you get really adventurous, I've posted the DDI Telengard source, where you can
study the parchment and divine it's secrets .. although I would save such mage craft
for when you have all but mastered the dark arts of dungeon dwelling. And with a
bit of careful intrepidation, daring and a dash of luck, you'll find you'll soon be
well on your way. So fire up your 64, load, roll and go explore .. how low can you go?"

Dale was very helpful in answering my questions and it was an easy build with his assistance. I found out that the cartridge version was actually made using a recreated Jason Ranheim CPR3 PCB, so this board can actually work alongside the Capture Cart and Promenade C1 EPROM programmer as well if you own one of those.

Some info from the CPR3.txt file included in the DDI Telengard folder:

"The Jason Ranheim CPR3 cartridge is a PCB that supports the Jason Ranheim Capture cartridge.
The Capture cartridge provides the ability to freeze the state of the c64, dump the contents
of memory and registers to files or burn EPROM's via the Jason Ranheim Promenade programmer.

Once burned to EPROM's, the EPROM's are installed on the CPR3 cartridge, which will autoload
the original frozen state back in to memory on the c64. This means that virtually any memory
resident c64 program can be tranferred to a CPR3 cartridge. With the JR company being long
gone now, CPR3 carts are very rare to find at best.

The original JR CPR3 cart has been traced and recreated. A trace sketch has been drawn and a
new PCB layout has been drafted via Eagle PCB CAD software. The recreated CPR3 cartridge PCB
has been tested and industry standard Gerber files are included in this package that can be
sent to any commercial PCB fabricator to have new CPR3 cartridge PCB's fabricated.

The CPR3 cartrige files are included in the DDI Telengard cartridige zip package, which will
be hosted through 2018 at sys64738.net, and can be found at the lower right on the site.


Dale E. Sebenste

September 10th, 2014"

It was fun delving into the Commodore world with this as a first project. I chose wisely too, because this turned out to be a really fun game! I honestly haven't played enough of the original Avalon Hill Telengard to spot all of Dale's changes, but it feels really solid for a game of its age. I don't really want to do reviews in this blog(yet!), so if you're interested, I expect you'll do the research and check it out yourself. I highly suggest it, if you're into old dungeon crawls and roguelikes.

I think the boards took about 3 weeks to arrive from the fabricator. Assembly is easy(if you're comfortable with soldering) and the only challenge with that for myself was soldering on those surface mount parts for the UV light(which is optional). Didn't take long to get the hang of that though.

To make this cart version extra special, I made myself and Dale a custom cover and cheat sheet as well.

Here are some photos of the finished product:

 

For anyone interested in building one of these for themselves, the DDI Telengard d64 contains the 3 ROM images for CORE, DATA1 and DATA2 EPROMS. They can be extracted using a program such as DirMaster, but will need the two byte load address stripped, if using a programmer other than the Promenade. I can email the binaries, if you need them. Also, the zip should contain Gerber files for PCB fabrication.

Here's an official DDI Telengard CPR3 Cartridge parts list Dale emailed me:

DDI Telengard CPR3 Cart (2014)
==============================
1 27C64 (ebay / futurlec.com / jameco.com)
2 27C256 (ebay / futurlec.com / jameco.com)

Mouser Parts: $1.04
1 $0.52 Texas Instruments Quad Flip Flop # 595-CD74HCT175E
1 $0.52 Texas Instruments Quad NAND Gate # 595-SN74HCT00N

Optional: $0.47
1 680 SMD Resistor # 603-AF1206FR-07680RL
1 UV SMD LED # 78-VLMU3100-GS08


Also, for the case, I used one of the clear shells from RETRO Innovations. As you can see from the photo above, it looks pretty neat with the mini blacklight.

Well, it's late and I'm feeling like this post is a bit scatterbrained. If I am missing any important answers to questions that you have, feel free to email me and I'll try to help out as much as I can.

I can't thank Dale enough for doing this for everyone and honoring such an awesome treasure that Daniel Lawrence created with this enhanced version.

Cheers!

P.S.
Here is a link to Dale's DDI Telengard website with several really good links and all the info you should need to get started... The Dungeons are Calling :)

May 25, 2016

Commodore 1541 Ultimate-II Speaker

Wanted to post a quick note about this...

The Commodore 1541 Ultimate-II cartridge has a 3.5mm audio jack that can output emulated disk drive sounds. I wasn't sure what kind of speaker to use, so I took a chance and ordered this super inexpensive 3.5mm mini speaker on eBay. It was less than $1 and works! It's cool hearing the disk drive sounds and is helpful for knowing when the disk is being read. It's pretty quiet, since it's unpowered, but if you own a 1541U2 and need a speaker... This is a cheap solution!


May 24, 2016

Raspberry Pi B+ Reset Switch - RetroPie

I didn't have this blog set up when I was putting together my RetroPie machine, but there is plenty of documentation available for all of that and I'm sure mine is already outdated.

For those that don't know...

"RetroPie allows you to turn your Raspberry Pi into a retro-gaming machine. It builds upon Raspbian, EmulationStation, RetroArch and many other projects to enable you to play your favourite Arcade, home-console, and classic PC games with the minimum set-up. For power users it also provides a large variety of configuration tools to customise the system as you want." 

I really enjoy this little emulation setup. It blows away my previous MK808B Android Mini TV for gaming, works great with my Rockcandy PS3 wireless controller(worth noting is that using two Rockcandy PS3 controllers for 2 player games causes signal dropout) and I love the sleek menu for game/system selection.

One thing I didn't care for with this system, was that when I shutdown the system from the RetroPie menu, in order to turn it back on, I had to unplug the USB Power cable and plug it back in. I did some reading and found a nice solution for myself. A reset switch!

On the Raspberry Pi B+, there is a reset jumper marked RUN on the PCB. This made my task very easy.
I simply soldered on a 2 pin header, drilled the transparent acrylic case and wired in an SPST switch I picked up at Radio Shack. I had to be very careful drilling the case, because the acrylic is very prone to cracking. I somehow lucked out!


The end result works quite well for me. I can now leave my RetroPie plugged in at all times and if I want to turn it on, I just press the reset button. It also works as a regular "reset" switch as well, but that could possibly damage the MicroSD card if not shutdown properly(just like any computer). I use the Shutdown feature from within RetroPie and it works great. So, here is the end result!

 
Parts List:

1 x KF2510 2-Pin Connector with 2.54mm Pitch
1 x RadioShack SPST RED Switch (Catalog #: 2750646)
+ Some spare wire and solder