What retro computer activity did you get up to today?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by adz, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Grant

    Grant Member

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    I haven't been playing with retro computers or games/software recently, basically soon after I posted this it became a worm in my brain.

    A few months' worth of limited spare time, and some futzing around with FreeCAD and KiCad, and I have my first self-designed PCBs on the way from China for this:

    minisynth32-preview.jpg

    I call it the "MiniSynth 32" so as not to annoy any trademark holders, but it's 50% scale of the MT-32.

    I can't release the 3D models or PCB designs yet because I need to run it past my employer (even if it's released as open-source they have the option of retaining copyright), so it's at least a few weeks out for that, plus it needs some more fine-tuning, possibly another revision of PCBs, hours of swearing at 3D printers etc...

    The piece of paper over the GPIO pins is a printout of the rear PCB, it will sit at the level of the top of the case with the power/switch/DAC hanging upside down from it. The other PCB is to mount the buttons and OLED to the face plate, I've currently got a handmade one there made of protoboard. The rotary encoder for the volume dial is a tight fit so it's held in with a printed backplate, and the wires are soldered directly to its legs.

    The mt32-pi project says they plan a full 10-button control system, but it would be a fair bit trickier to get the buttons down to 50% scale.
     
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  2. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    You dun went and did it. Nice!!
     
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  3. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Just noted that that MT90s i took apart is Sound Source (Conforms to GM2/GS)> ● Max. Polyphony 64 voices ● Tones 369 variations (incl.8 drum sets,1 SFX set) compliant.. thats pretty awesome!! el cheapo midi2.0 playback device.
     
  4. greencamel65

    greencamel65 Member

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    That MiniSynth 32 looks sweet. It would be a shame for your employer to lock it up from the rest of the world!
     
  5. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Thats massivly AWESOME Grant!! any idea what these will go at in assembled format?

    Love it, beaut work man!
     
  6. Grant

    Grant Member

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    For the case, it's a similar situation to the MiSTer wedge case (smaller scale though, about 12-16 hours to print I think). If you don't have a 3D printer and a love of print failures, you'll probably get a cheaper, faster, and better result from a service like Shapeways. Doing a quick search for Australian services shows https://www.kad3d.com.au, but I may need to venture into the other OCAU hobby forums to get more recommendations.
     
  7. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Because I haven't found a definitive list of games that support the CMS and actually work with the SB2.0 CMS upgrade, I've started going through the Mobygames list and testing them myself. I can't promise I'll finish it, but hopefully I'll get it far enough to turn into a Google sheet / Vogons thread and get others contributing.

    upload_2021-5-13_21-49-29.png

    Not a bad hit rate from what I've tested so far. Predictably, Sierra and Lucasarts make great use of the hardware and Ultima VI sounds excellent as well. Most amusing result so far is Test Drive III; it lacks any CMS character and just sounds like you have a 3 channel PC speaker. There's something strangely impressive about it.
     
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  8. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    I just got a message out of the blue asking if I'd be interested in an XGI Volari Duo V8 Ultra, apparently complete in box. (Generic pic attached). It's sitting in someone's collection in northern NSW. My suggestion of $100 (with a mobo thrown in) was not in their ballpark. If anyone is interested in paying collector dollars for such a unicorn, I can pass your details on.
     

    Attached Files:

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  9. mwd

    mwd Member

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    I’m interested!
     
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  10. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    PM'd :thumbup:
     
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  11. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    51 games (or 51%) through the list now. 35 working, and 19 I have declared "Good."

    The fun part outside the CMS testing is firing up games you've never played before.
    • Altered Destiny and Ultima VI both drew me in, and are now in the backlog / pile of shame.
    • Airball and Night Shift are cute quickplay titles.
    • Hoverforce is an interesting early FPS. Quite simplistic, but runs nicely.
    • Operation Wolf I had played, but never found it as funny as I do now.
    There's a common thread with Accolade games. They did some decent Adlib work, but clearly had no interest in the CMS and possibly handed off those conversions to the janitor.
     
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  12. mwd

    mwd Member

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    New video today. 486 DX2/66 with Windows NT 4

     
  13. rugger

    rugger Member

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    I already know I'm going to enjoy this, being one who has run Windows NT 4.0 on a 486 class computer back in the day :)
     
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  14. mwd

    mwd Member

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    Thanks, not too much NT in this video but I will need to do a part 2 once cleaned up a bit.
     
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  15. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Lol never did it on a 486, but dragged the whole of NT4 (floppy version) down the phone line from a bloke in Para, (took 3 days @28.8k) then installed on my brother's p90 Toshiba satellite..lolol.. worked fine..
     
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  16. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    That's pretty brave.

    I remember NT3.51 machines on late model 486s at work, but NT4 on anything less than a Pentium would have been terrible to work with.
     
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  17. GumbyNoTalent

    GumbyNoTalent Member

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    NT4 Workstation on 486 with 16MB RAM hello this is 1996-97 calling, just to remind us that MS always sucked at driver support and was focused on the plug and pray OS ALPHA release that was Win95! Are we all so old now we only have rose colored glasses remembering a time when we had hair and hope. ;)

    PS - 8Bit art fans lots of awesome gifs, Japanese life as 8bit
    https://1041uuu.tumblr.com/
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
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  18. rugger

    rugger Member

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    I'm trying to remember which PC I specifically used NT4 on. It's all gone a bit fuzzy I'm afraid, but I do think it was the 486-133mhz I had back in the day ... so wasn't that slow a computer.
     
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  19. pfrcom

    pfrcom Member

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    Been revisiting some older motherboards from storage - 1st an Intel D845GVAD2

    But couldn’t remember why I’d removed its jumpers and HSF before storing :confused:

    Anyway, fitted Celeron 1.7 Willamette (wanted slow S478 to test game), connected peripherals & PSU, and tried firing up – nothing, wouldn’t even power-on

    Old one measured 0V, so fitted used CR2032 ~2.8V – now powered on, but no boot

    After reviewing jumpers, DOH – one in particular omitted = BIOS recovery, so jumper installed, still no boot

    Connected up diskette, sure enough, drive activity but nothing else – regardless whether BIOS jumper was set Normal, Configure, or Recovery

    In between, tried various DIMMs which -should- work, made no difference – at least it beeped without DIMM, so some intelligence remaining (motherboard, not me)

    Rustled up an actual diskette containing BIOS update files – started reading the diskette, but activity light stayed on, no matter how long I left it

    At this stage I’d decided to reflash BIOS chip externally - easier said than done seeing it’s soldered direct to PCB - so started making plans

    One last try – by this time I’d removed CR2032 to use elsewhere, so fitted brand newie straight from packet

    Had also written another BIOS diskette, using same drive I was trying for recovery - to be sure, to be sure

    Why do I even bother? – BIOS jumper Normal, power on, diskette activity, turned away to something else, shortly after heard trill of successful BIOS recovery

    After days of frustration, it’s now been working for some days – persistence pays off :)
     
  20. FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    finally got around to bleaching the rest of my Celeron.

    There once was an ugly beige case
    with panels all yellow and worn
    and all the other nerds in so many words said:
    pfft get out A new black era's bourne
    pfft get out
    pfft pfft get out
    A new black era's bourne.
    DSCF0289.JPG
    The poor little ugly beige case
    got dumped and stored far and near
    but at every single place they needed to make space
    so Pfft get out of here
    Pfft get out
    pfft pfft get out of here
    it got covered with dust and the early signs of rust
    And was forgotten for years.

    All through the ages, owners hid it away
    Ashamed of the looks and what other nerds might say.
    All through the ages in closets, sheds and piles
    till I came and spied it, the bleaching was worthwhile:
    DSCF0350.JPG
    You're a very fine Swan with style!
    Beige a SWAN? Oh, go on!
    And I said yes, it's a swan.
    Take a look at my desk and you'll see.
    And it sat, and it matched, and I said
    IT'S A SWAN.. WHEE!
    DSCF0351.JPG
    It's not such an ugly beige case.
    No panels all yellow and worn.
    So keep your RGB fans and tempered glass
    to me it looks like ass!
    Beige the best.
    Beige Beige the best.
    beige THE BEST AROUND!

    The bleach bath actually makes the rest of it all look shit, because once again it was neglected.
    I put it in 50/50 bleach/water but instead of taking it out after 5 days like the other panels, i forgot about it for 2 weeks. and I was happy with them till this came up so nice. so the other bits will get some 2 week vacations too.
    specs are still:
    Celeron 433
    Intel CA810 Motherboard
    10.2GB Quantum Fireball
    Panasonic JU257A896P
    AM1 64MB PC-100

    But in the one full year year since I've cleaned it up, the HDD has died. (it shows up and appears to work but refuses to write anything) also the replacement optical drive has died as well, but adz has kindly been holding some for me for a million years, so I'll get that working too soon.

    Next up for a retro resto is another Aopen case: DSCF0352.JPG DSCF0353.JPG

    It's got a melted side, but I don't care, it was free and I've always liked these cases. Not for today, but when I get around to it, it will be nice to have this as a reference. (it takes me a whole year to bleach a case, so this might be finished by the end of the decade)
     
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