Categories
Emulation Hardware News

Raspberry Pi MSX Clone first Test

Today we post a first test with the Raspberry Pi MSX Clone, a HAT specially designed to make it possible to use real MSX cartridges with your Raspberry Pi.

Our test setup has the following components:

  • Raspberry Pi 3B+
  • Raspberry Pi MSX Clone (RPMC V9)
  • 16Gb MicroSD Card U1 (Only 1Gb is needed)
  • HDMI Screen
  • USB Keyboard
  • Ghost Cartridge
  • Galaga Cartridge
  • Nemesis2 Cartridge
  • Megaflashrom SD Cartridge

First we have setup a SD-Card with Blueberry MSX, that has been special prepped to be used with the RPMC HAT. This SD-Card Image can be downloaded from this site.

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Raspberry Pi MSX Clone SD Card Image 0.4 98.93 MB 232 downloads

Raspberry Pi MSX Clone SD Card Image 0.4 MSX Emulator based on Blueberry, used for Raspberry...

Then we connect the RPMC Hat to our Raspberry Pi and started testing the cartridges. First we tried Nemesis 2 and after the player select we started in the first level. Unfortunately the game crashed after a minute or so. Then we decided to give the Megaflashrom a try (all tough we already heard that it wouldn’t work). The MSX it self cam into a reboot loop.

After these 2 cartridges we tried Ghost and Galaga. Both games run smooth on the RPMC, as you can see on these video’s.

Galaga on the Raspberry Pi MSX Clone

GHOST on the Raspberry Pi MSX Clone

If your are interested in a Raspberry Pi MSX Clone HAT to use your real cartridges on a Raspberry Pi, MSX Information Network still offers a groupbuy. Please fill in the form on this page: https://www.msxinfo.net/group-order-msx-pi-extension-board/

The groupbuy will close om January 23th, what gives you 10 days to place your order.

Since the groupbuy is already open for 2 weeks, we already had some questions about the RPMC HAT.

1) Is there any known compatibility problem with specific Raspberry-PI boards?

Any RPi with 40 ways GPIO connector can be used, but Meeso Kim, the original author, recommends the Raspberry Pi 3 because the speed and CPU extra cores. So, even the Zero can be used, but maybe the emulation would not be good enough for some games.

2) I see that the project is in a very early stage, especially in terms of emulation, so I wonder if it is prudent to produce the extension board already. How do you know that unforeseen emulation constraints would not affect current hardware design, rendering produced boards useless?

Actually the board is well settled at this point. The first version of this hardware was published almost 3 years ago when Meeso Kim was satisfied with his initial tests and even “Zemmix Mini” is using the same hardware, with another form factor. From the initial version to this day a few changes were made to simplify the design, but still the same initial hardware. Talking about the “electronic side”, the hat replicate the Z80 address, data and control lines, just like the original “real” MSX slot, so, it will not change in the future.

3) I see that emulation is based on BlueMSX. How does that impact on using real cartridges/SD implementations (e.g. Carnivore2, MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD, and BEER) which are not emulated by BlueMSX)? In other words, are limitations on software emulation impacting on the use of actual hardware?

BlueMSX or OpenMSX can be used.

4) If new features come up after producing the extension board, such as integration with OpenMSX, should we only flash the update into the board or are there other implications?

There are no “upgradable” component in the hat, it’s just TTL logic ICs to make the RPi happy with the MSX voltages. 100% of the emulation runs on the Pi side and the user can always update the SD card with the last emulator, just burning the SD with an updated image.

Categories
Hardware Howto Multimedia Cartridges Music

FM-Pac English translation built-in

In the 90’s I used to have a FM-Pac, to add great sound to my MSX. The built-in menu was Japanese, and since there was no Google Translate, it was pretty useless to me.

FMPAC Japanese Menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to MSX Translations there is a patch available to patch the ROM to English. This patch can be applied at runtime, but I used it to patch the original ROM and burn the patched ROM on a new Eprom and place it inside the original FM-Pac.

To accomplish this I removed IC2 from the original FM-Pac and replaced it with a 27C512 Eprom (150nS), with the English Patched Rom.

FMPAC PCB with Original ROM

FMPAC PCB with Patched ROM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have dumped the original ROM and patched it with the English patch, they are available as download on msxinfo.net:

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FM Pana Amusement Cartridge ROMs (Japanese - English) 49.78 KB 111 downloads

This archive contains the original Japanese ROM and the translated English ROM Japanese...

 

After replacing the ROM, this is the result:

FMPAC with English Menu

Categories
Hardware

MSX Info organizing a Keyboard Membrane Group Buy

 

https://www.msxinfo.net/group-buy-keyboard-membranes/

 

Categories
Hardware

Crystal Clear Cartridge Case Use Cases ;-)

A couple of months ago msxinfo.net started a ‘Inkoopaktie’ (Collective Buy) of Crystal Clear Cartridge Cases, from Paulo Maluf.

Here are some examples of use cases for these nice Cartridge Cases:

Categories
Hardware

MSX Info Network starts ‘Inkoop Aktie’ Cartridge Cases

MSX Info Network starts ‘Inkoop Aktie’ Cartridge Cases for Dutch MSX enthusiasts:

Inkoopaktie Crystal Clear Cartridge Cases

 

Categories
Hardware Howto Music

Philips Music Module Upgrade and Capacitor Replacement

Last MSX Fair in Tilburg I’ve bought the MSX Audio Extension Expander from Bas Kornalijnslijper.

This extension comes with an online build-in instruction that can be downloaded from Supersoniqs Website
The instruction starts with a little background:

Back in 2005 Brazilian MSX users Fábio Ricardo Schmidlin (FRS) and Luciano Sturaro
(MSXPró) released an expander PCB for the Philips Music Module. This board came with
and adjusted Panasonic MSX Audio ROM and with 256KB sample memory. A while ago
FRS published his schematics so other MSX users could recreate his upgrade PCB.
Because nobody took this challenge while there was still demand SuperSoniqs jumped in.
It took us some months to gather all the necessary parts, order the PCB’s and then find a
partner to assemble the upgrade boards. After some setbacks we finally succeeded. We
would like to thank FRS and MSXPró for their great work. They can be reached through
www.MSXpro.com. Please check our site for news and information about our products.
Our place on the web can be found at supersoniqs.com. We hope you have great fun with
this upgrade!

The upgrade can be done in some easy steps, but since I had to open up my Music Module I decided to also replace all electrolytic capacitors with high-grade audio electrolytic capacitors.
So I started to identify all capacitor values to order them. The following electrolytic capacitors ar used in the Music Module:

Part.nr. Value Volt
C41 0.47uF 50V
C13 100uF 16V
C16 100uF 16V
C29 100uF 16V
C30 100uF 16V
C25 10uF 16V
C38 10uF 16V
C39 10uF 16V
C40 10uF 16V
C21 1uF 50V
C33 1uF 50V

I removed all electrolytic capacitors by cutting them out and then cleaned all holes using a desoldering pump.

Then I’ve put all new electrolytic capacitors.

After replacing all electrolytic capacitors I’ve tested the music module to see if it’s still functioning and to listen to the result. The result was not stunning, but the sound was somehow more ‘bright’.

 

 

I also replaced R41 with a 20KΩ potentiometer, so the sound output to the slotconnector can be adjusted.

After these modifications I started to build in the MSX Audio Extension Expander using the guide supplied by Supersoniqs.

 

The result:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because I have multiple Music Modules with different ROM’s I have dumped them all using my Wellon VP-280 Eprom programmer and added them to the downloads section: https://www.msxinfo.net/downloads/?did=229