1. Not old. Vintage. :)

What's new Pussycat too?

Discussion in 'SIG: General Chat' started by M.D.Baker, May 4, 2020.

  1. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

    Andy Barr Chief Officer

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    You did well there, Paul.

    T'other guy is the ex Man United midfielder and Scottish international, Martin Buchan (not so well known as Micky Channon, I wager, but a damn good player all the same - solid as the proverbial rock).
     
  2. by M.D.Baker
    M.D.Baker

    M.D.Baker Chief Officer

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    My 'what's new pussycat' entry for today is a bit of old junk I found in a junk bin and salvaged. It's an old Karaoke machine. It's missing it's microphones and the holders for them are broken, but everything else seems to work, even the B/W CRT monitor! I'll have to tune-up the monitor as it's vertical hold needs adjusting and the exterior controls are only horizontal hold, brightness and contrast.

    I grabbed it for electronic salvage, but I have decided instead to repurpose the entire thing as the main torso of my robot. I've always envisioned a robot more like an R2-D2 droid than a C3PO robot, since even the corporations making robots still haven't perfected one that stand upright and move like a man. And I've no gyroscopes on hand anyway.:p It will certainly save a lot of time and trouble from building a torso from scratch, even if this cabinet needs some re-enforcing on the inside.

    Of course there will be plenty of structural and aesthetic changes to this karaoke cabinet, as I build a robot around it, so it will hardly be recognizable as one in the end. Much more robot/droid looking and much less electronic cabinet looking.

    Making use of the B/W monitor with the Atari 800 inside, I could make the monitor double as a graphic display for a face/mouth that moves with synthesized speach, like S.A.M, etc. as well as a "field screen" in case the robot's 800 brain crashes or something. I just thought it would be cool to have it on the robot.

    Repurpose the buttons on the machine for control or settings or whatever on the robot, and repurpose any other I/O ports or install different ones in their spots. Make/add some new places to mount sensors and cameras, etc. I won't need the big speaker at the bottom, so I may use that area to mount the robot arm I have (may decide to mount the arm elsewhere like one of the sides or top too), and tracks underneath it all. The CD player on top will probably be tossed aside and use the space for something else or area to mount other hardware (like a head or laser gun), etc. Maybe just gut the CD unit and leave the spring-loaded hatch door for access to the inside of the robot.I haven't opened the cabinet up yet, but these things are usually mostly empty space inside so it should easily house the 800 mobo and more.

    Currently, the machine stands about 20 inches tall. My robot arm will stand about 18 inches tall or long from wherever I mount it. I imagine the mobile tracks will be 6" or more tall, and then if I add anything on top of the karaoke torso, my finished robot will stand at least 26" tall with an 18" reach from wherever the arm is mounted (I might mount two arms in the end). It will probably end up being about 3-4 feet tall or about a meter, give or take.

    Anyway, the ideas on using this salvage are flying at 100 miles an hour!


    20210519_172806.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
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  3. by M.D.Baker
    M.D.Baker

    M.D.Baker Chief Officer

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    My Pokey MAX V3 arrived today, awaiting installment into my 1200XL, which won't be until after I've finished with my 800, which I haven't yet.

    20210609_172021.jpg

    I've been doing trouble shooting on the 800 as I got a black screen after installing dual-PIA board and Sophia 2. I had the issue with Sophia 2 the first time I tried too-this is a replacement, but at least the first time, reinstalling the original GTIA made the 800 work again, this time it does not! Anyway, I've temporarily reverted the 800 to stock, and I am at least back to a blue screen on power-up, frozen, with a cursor at the very top, but it's progress.

    I have a feeling a 74LSXX IC went out, it couldn't take the stress of more upgrades and all the upgrades taxing it. So I've decided to go ahead and upgrade all my 74LSXX(x) IC's with 74HC or 74F which are newer, faster, more efficient versions. Hopefully that will get things fixed and avoid future issues with timing, clock, signals, etc. that I've been sometimes having with the 800 since I started upgrading it.

    Edit: After going through the 800 Field Service Manual and trouble shooting with the multimeter, I was lead to the Pokey (Pokeymax) and swapping it out for the original Pokey worked, my 800, in stock mode, is working again. So now I have been going over wiring and connections on the Pokeymax upgrade. the last I still have to check are the two connections soldered to the CPU board.

    If after I make sure the solder job is good there, if it still doesn't work, that means that my Pokeymax that I've only had installed for about 6 months has gone bad. If that is the case, then I'll be installing my new Pokeymax V3 in the 800 while I look into getting a replacement for the V2 which I'll just install in the 1200XL instead. I hope Retronics will replace it for free (even if I have to pay shipping), but I don't know if it's been too long or not, I'll have to send a PM to Duddy, the face of Retronics.

    P.S. scratch that. I just remembered that once plugged in the socket the Pokeymax will work as a standard Pokey, so it can't be the CPU connections, I must have fried it with static electricity or something while working on my 800. It warns explicitly about handling the board and avoid static electricity as it can be easily fried (just like the Incognito and other, modern Atari boards that use programmable flash type chips and surface mount tech.

    It's my fault for not taking the proper precautions in discharging myself and the board properly before handling. It's not something that one has to worry about much with old through-board DIP tech as much, and I've grown lazy in using anit-static precautions. So I guess I'll have to order another Pokeymax for the 1200XL and install the V3 in my 800. And I might as well get a V3 for the 1200XL now too. Water under the bridge, onward and upward, at least I have the V3 just in time, and I'll have my 800 working again in short-order with even more capabilities than planned.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
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  4. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine

    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine Chief Officer

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    How is the Pokey 3, it was one I wanted to get but real life ended that, still keen to know what its like though :)
     
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  5. by M.D.Baker
    M.D.Baker

    M.D.Baker Chief Officer

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    Well, I have yet to get it fully installed, they've released no clear wiring instructions yet for it (though Duddie said he would the next day about a week ago!) all there is posted is a general pin-out, which I could figure out, but it means dragging out the old FSM and following schematics, but I've been busy again with work and haven't had time to continue things from my last post; my 800 is still showing it's guts waiting for me.

    But I can tell you about the Pokeymax V2 Quad +Covox, at least the Pokey part as I haven't had time to investigate Covox yet either. But I love the Pokeymax because with the configuration program you have quite a bit of control and my favorite part is that EVERY SINGLE ATARI GAME can have stereo sound of you set the settings for it! It will use the extra Pokey's and you can assign the 4 original Pokey voices used in games to output on the second Pokey too and choose L or R speaker for any one voice to come out of. This is actually my favorite thing so far about the Pokeymax, even though stereo games still sound even better with 8 voices. Now we just need more that use 4 Pokeys which should start happening now the Quad pokey is the standard on V3 and beyond!
     
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  6. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine

    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine Chief Officer

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    Ah, thank you for that, ignore the repeat question in the Amstrad thread.
     
  7. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

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    GREAT to see Matt's XL Command Centre going from strength to strength. Whenever I see a fellow retronaut's bootiful collection taking such great shape it always helps to kick my butt out of a sense of stasis (been seemingly making no progress at all for bloody months now) and gives me a feeling of hope and a better set-up in the future.
    If mine ends up looking half as good, I'll take that for now.
    Thing is I'm torn between a new contemporary gloss white cube type storage / display solution (with neon ambiance lighting etc) but then finding my old gear sticks out like a sore thumb style clash-wise so sticking to some old style furniture but then seriously testing Bev's wrath as she will kick off if I turn one of her new looking rooms into a 70s MDF / Habitat throwback! Oh, the dilemma, my fellow retro gear chums!!
     
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