Sunday, 17 August 2014

My other project a podcast.

If you are interested in Retrogaming please give a listen to another project I have been working on.

 the RVG podcast: Episode 1: In the first episode, Carl & Keith from introduce themselves and start to talk about....

FIGnition DIY computer
The Raspberry Pi
BBC Micro Computer
RM Nimbus Wiki
The Doomsday Project
Laserdiscs Wiki
CRT vs. LCD screens.
Keith's Youtube Channel.
Retro North / Replay / Play
NES Bit Magazine.
Pixel Nation Mario Artwork.
Atari ST
Commodore Amiga
ZX Spectrum Divide interface.
Monkey Island
Monkey Island for the iPad
Broken Sword Wiki
Bubble Bobble
Rainbow Islands
The Sunspot Amusement Arcade, Jaywick.
Miss Bobble 2
Double Dragon.
Mr Do Prototype?
PC engine.
GEKISHA BOY (not Photo Kid!)

hope you enjoy it. 

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Extreme Home Computing a potted history of DIY computers.

A little while back I wrote a short article about the early home built system from the 70s and 80s I discovered some very interesting systems and spoke to some interesting people about their recollections of using and building the machines back in the day, including the Galaskia and Micro Kit 101.

Darren Doyle of Greyfox productions for Homebrew Heroes constructed the Layout, thank you to Georg Fuchs of Lotek64 Magazin, Scott Adams, John Honniball and David Buckley for their kind contributions.

Please zoom in to read, it has been converted to JPG @ 300 dpi.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Arduino Micro and BBC Keyboard.

My good friend  Andy Ward has managed to interface his redundant BBC Keyboard to run on his PC using the Arduino Micro. He plans to include a Raspberry PI and do some very groovy thing with it as an ongoing project, a little bit like the Commodore 314.
You can get the make file to do this yourself here from Andy's GitHub that he has kindly made available.

Of course one of my rules about this blog is that I must have built or made the blogpost myself, this is where Andy asked me to make an interface from his design. So this happily qualifies :-)

The whole keyboard works a treat, he can even cycle the three LED indicators while using it.

The interface shield that I prepared for him was very straight forward, here is the diagram and below the assembled board, top and underside.



Here is a closer look on how the Arduino and the shield meet the ribbon of the BBC keyboard.
the layout so far

the interface

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Monday, 14 July 2014

Audio Loading for the FIGniton.

Another Milestone,

Now the 1.00 Firmware for FIGnition is able to facilitate loading programs via audio!
This allows users to upgrade or file transfer with ease, as compared to loading in blocks of 512 bytes via AVR transfer.

Well done to Julian Skidmore for continuing to make the FIGnition a fun computer to use and learn from.

In this video I load up 'Crasher' via a Java Application also written by Julian, that converts '.fth' file to audio signals, then demonstrate the same with a recorded '.wav' file.

You can read how Julian managed to bootjack the atMega168 for this here...

You can get a FIGnition for yourself here....

You can load some audio files for yourself here... 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

DIY potato cannon.

I have seen many of these around the web, and a good friend of mine built one a few years back, so I decided to try my hand at building one, and I thought I should share my method here.

My design is based on waste pipe components and a gas bbq ignition unit.A tennis ball or large potato is shunted down the barrel. The gas (spray) is squirted for half a second in the chamber and then it is sealed with the inspection cover. The Ignitor combusts the gas and the spud or whatever is projected a long way out of the other end.

This blog post tells you how I did mine at my own risk, If I get burned, it's my fault. 


Access Pipe Socket/Spigot for 110mm Round Pipe Black
Screwed Access Cap 110mm
110mm Soil Eccentric Reducer 110-50mm
One length of 50mm waste pipe.
Ignition unit.
Solvent cement
el cheapo body spray.
Tennis balls and or potatoes.
Broom stick.

I purchased my parts from b&q but most large builders merchants would keep these parts.

The end cap came with an insert, this had a rubber seal on it so I glued the insert into the end cap so the seal was air tight every time, and reducing the chance of leakage.

The side spigot also had an insert with a rubber seal, so I cut a circle out of the insert to allow the ignitor to pass straight through into the chamber.

The advantage of using an access pipe boss, is that you have a nice flat surface to mount your ignition unit into, others that use a plain 110mm pip, the unit needed to be seated on a camber or on the end cap.This can result in stress at the end cap or leakage. 
I drilled a 22mm hole for the ignitor then I used a gap filling adhesive to make a good seal at the seat. 

Note the screw in the chamber, this was for the first type of ignitor that I tried, it broke, but I kept it in place I may need to use it in the future.

I used a cement to glue all the parts together, in the UK you have to ask for this stuff at the counter, man it smells goood!

This was the body spary I went for in the end, it was two for £1 and flammable. I tried at first some anti-perspirant but that was not as reliable as this stuff.

I use a broom stick to stoke the ammo down the pipe, a brief squirt of spray at the other end, not even one second is enough to send a tennis ball a long way.