Electronics, coding and hacking. And ADD.

C64FC carts to the beta testers!


These days a handful of brave souls will receive their C64FCs in the mail. Since the software is currently running on Mac OS X and Linux only, the Windows users will have to wait. It's currently on the to-do list, and will be prioritized once the development platforms are stable.

The one I'm soldering here is a standard 16K RC3 board, and will be shipped to a fellow Hoaxers member this weekend.

MAME arcade build II


Let's not just talk about C64 cartridges. Here's another project I'm working on these days: my second MAME arcade build. This one is based on one of the dead arcades I bought a couple of years ago, and will be powered by a standard desktop PC running Linux.

Can you see the 17" LCD through the font glass?

The MAME frontend will probably be AdvanceMame and AdvanceMenu - given that I figure out why the audio is delayed by several seconds. If that's a no-go, I'll have to reconsider several of my choices..

I have downloaded ~6000 games (not really though, just hypothetically speaking) and the emulation of the ones I've tried so far appears to be very good.

A veroboard is under construction to interface the joysticks and buttons as an USB keyboard. This is based on an ATmega8 running the MAMEPanel firmware.

This one will be put up for sale once it's done.

USB bootloader, firmware upgradeable


This weekend I attended a local "retro copy party" and met up with my partner in crime, Runar, who assisted me in the PCB design of the C64FC RC2 and out. He managed to get the USB bootloader running, and we were finally able to upgrade the firmware via USB - no special tools required. This relieves my launch anxiety dramatically.

From the consumer perspective, everything - desktop client, cartridge firmware, C64 software - can now be easily upgraded.

Oh, I realize that it has been a while since my last update, and can only promise more to come as a compensation! :)

C64FC 16K edition ready


A stack of release candidate 3 boards of the C64FC are on my desk, and a few changes have been made since RC2. We're talking 16K support, software switches to select 8K/16K cartridge, cart disable support, bugs fixed and patched.

I also want to give a good shoutout to DirtyPCBs for their excellent service on this run. 9 days (!) after the order was submitted, a set of high-quality boards were on my desk. This is by far the fastest and cheapest service I have ever used.

I found the cartridge case and cut a hole for the USB connector on the back. Looks kind of neat in a cartridge house. The downside is that you can't see the on-board LED here, a transparent housing is preferred.

Look at the cart. Just look at it.

Evidence for 16K support: here I'm running a game called Falling, from the RGCD 16K Cartridge development compo. Loads in a few seconds.

Solder time. I only have components for 5 or 6 boards yet, but will order more in the days to come.

These boards are earmarked for betatesters, and will be shipped as soon as I have fixed USB-upgradeable firmware support.

C64FC as SID jukebox


Waiting for parts gives me time to play with the C64FC, so I'm currently cleaning up some code and slowly importing it into my repository. I wrote a static library called libc64fc for controlling and transferring data to the C64, and while testing this, I needed a "demo project." I decided to turn the C64 into a SID-playing jukebox:

The SID files are selected from the High Voltage SID Collection and uploaded as-is via USB. The C64 is alerted when a new tune is available in cartridge memory, copies it and starts playing. Load, init and play addresses are parsed from the RSID/PSID header.

Oh, and as for the cartridge: 10 more PCBs are on the way. This time I'm testing out DirtyPCBs as PCB manufacturer. If DirtyPCBs and DHL China are on schedule, the boards should arrive within two weeks time.

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