Atari 2600 Video Mod

This week I was given an old Atari 2600 but of course there is no composite video or any way of attaching it to a modern TV. So after a digging about I found a few good blogs to help with the modification to change remove the RF module and replace it with a composite video option.

The first blog is good as it shows you how to make the mod board which consists of a transistor and 2 resistors > https://www.instructables.com/id/ATARI-2600-Video-Composite-mod/

However if you want to get all the steps from this site you have to register.. Then I found an instruction manual showing how to fit the modification >

http://www.coolretroprojects.com/Atari_2600_AV_Mod_Installation_Guide.pdf

But these instructions do not show how to create the modification board. So you see you need both blogs.

So Now I have a working 2600!

Play MZF files from ArduiTape into Sharp MZ700

Myself, Duncan Edwards (ArduiTape) and Jeroen Laros (MZF2WAV) have collaborated to make it easy to Load MZ700 games stored on an ArduiTape into you Retro Sharp MZ700 computer. The ArduiTape expects audio WAV files to be encoded at a maximum of 22Khz as this is a limitation of the Arduino boards used by ArduiTape. Jeroen added a feature in MZF2WAV to allow for MZF files to be converted to WAV files at this bitrate, and I reflected that in the GUI (MZF2WAVGUI). Watch this video to see how it works:

 

DigiWavuino the ultimate Retro Computer Cassette alternative Part2

So in Part 2 I show off the Nano-ARM version of DigiWavuino.

DigiWavuino is an Arduino wav player designed for playing back Retro Computers games and app files that come in wav file format. It differs from other similar projects like ArduiTape or CASDuino in that it was developed with Arduino boards that have a DAC port like Arduino DUE or Arduino Zero. This is a must for those Retro Computers that are sensitive about audio quality. The previous projects played audio through a PWM port instead of a DAC. Retro Computers like the Sharp MZ700 will not load games that have been played through a PWM port.. So enter DigiWavuino.


I got all parts from https://www.youmakerobots.com

Here is the parts list for the DUE version:
https://tinyurl.com/y9jv5b7h
https://tinyurl.com/ybw7ovo2
https://tinyurl.com/y7gllja5 this one doesn’t have the IC2 jacket but best get one with

Here is the parts list for the Nano-ARM version:
https://tinyurl.com/yb9q87w6
https://tinyurl.com/ybw7ovo2
https://tinyurl.com/yc6sa5x6
Code can be found here https://github.com/rickyelqasem/DigiWavuino

DigiWavuino the ultimate Retro Computer Cassette alternative Part1

I’ve been a busy bee. I developed an alternative solution for those wanting to keep Retro Computers alive by playing games and apps digitally through the audio ports originally designed for a tape deck.

DigiWavuino is an Arduino wav player designed for playing back Retro Computers games and app files that come in wav file format. It differs from other similar projects like ArduiTape or CASDuino in that it was developed with Arduino boards that have a DAC port like Arduino DUE or Arduino Zero. This is a must for those Retro Computers that are sensitive about audio quality. The previous projects played audio through a PWM port instead of a DAC. Retro Computers like the Sharp MZ700 will not load games that have been played through a PWM port.. So enter DigiWavuino.

Here is the parts list for the DUE version:
https://tinyurl.com/y9jv5b7h
https://tinyurl.com/ybw7ovo2
https://tinyurl.com/y7gllja5 this one doesn’t have the IC2 jacket but best get one with

Here is the parts list for the Nano-ARM version:
https://tinyurl.com/yb9q87w6
https://tinyurl.com/ybw7ovo2
https://tinyurl.com/yc6sa5x6
Code can be found here https://github.com/rickyelqasem/DigiWavuino

Retr0brite gone wrong

So after some success in poor sunlight and UV lamps, today went very wrong. We had some unusually warm weather in the UK yesterday and today and I thought I would take advantage of the Suns UV and Retr0Brite one of my ST cases…. I got carried away with work and forgot to check on it at Lunchtime and reapply Hydrogen Peroxide. And unfortunately, my top half of the case is badly scarred.  I’m now resorting to spraying the case to fix the problem…  I never wanted to do this as reading on the interest I hear Retr0Brite is the best option and paint eventually wears off and might flake… I think I found a good match in colour though…

Here is the mess and I will post a picture of the spray later..

Actually, the spray result doesn’t look so bad.  Need to tidy up that badge a little but hey hoy..

 

My experience with Retr0Brighting

I have several Atari 8 bit and Atari ST models all with some level of yellowing plastic cases.. So I decided to give the retr0Brite process a whirl… The idea is to use Salon Strength Hydrogen Peroxide to beach the plastic to a earlier color.. The problem I have where I live is a lack of sun… so I went for the UV light option… where people on youtube had reported improvement of colour in hours… it took me weeks.. But I did get the results I wanted…

When there was a glimpse of sunshine I did turn off the UV but we got hardly any..

But the results are worth it as seen next >

The only problem I had with my Atari 130xe is that the process also stripped the red colour from the logo badge.. still looks nice though…

Its always worth recapping!

A few months back I purchased a ZX81 .. I could never get it working through the RF Modulator except once when I hooked it up to an old video… I noticed that it would only work when the 16K ram pack was not plugged in..

First thing First…. that video… I found a nice article showing to create a simple mod to bypass RF for composite video found >HERE< … the difference for me was I ripped out the inside of the RF module and inserted the composite mod which consisted of 2 components and a couple of wires… that’s it.. job done, I now can hook this ZX81 to a modern TV…

Now that pesky 16K ram pack… I ended up buying another one which was no better, even though the add said fully working…  I noticed that the expansion port on the ZX81 was corroded… I tinned the connectors and did some continuity checks but still no joy..

On the off chance I decided to change the capacitors and bingo that worked with the original unit… but not with the second one that was advertised as “working” … I know now my ZX81 + ram pack works.. so those naughty people selling on eBay were telling porkies…

Sharp MZ700 MZF files back to WAV

My first home computer was a Sharp MZ700 and I recently acquired one again. When I got it home I realised apart from the S-Basic tape that came with the purchase I had nothing else to load on it.. and plus… ITS TAPE ONLY… it got me thinking that I have a tape emulator built on a Arduino Nano for the ZX81 I have and thought there must be a way to get more apps on this MZ. I knew that there is a backup of most of the old tapes in the interest in MZF format.. I also found a command-line tool to convert MZF files back to WAV >HERE< and it gave me an idea… what if I developed a tool with a GUI that contained most of the MZF files, allowed you to convert them to WAV but play them from the same tool through your PC audio using a mono audio cable into the MZ700… And that is exactly what I did.. Watch this video to see it in action, its pretty cool >

 

If you want to try the tool you can find it >here<

The story doesn’t end here… I have a new idea to build this concept into the MZ itself… watch this space…