You Make Robots Blog

Keeping Retro Computers Alive!

Arduino

Someone gave me an idea to document the firmware feature differences that the TZX_Tools firmware tool supports. TBH It is a good idea so we can dispel the myths and views on the different firmware as they all do something a little different. From this table, you can see why I prefer MaxDuino. Even more than my own firmware Digiwavuino. I’m sure over time I’ll have to update it and I’m sure there will be 1 or 2 incorrect entries but this is my view on the features.

FYI TZX_Tools is a tool that allows for simple updating of devices running the below firmware.

FeatureMaxDuinoTZXduinoCASDuinoArduiTapeDigiwavuino
OLEDYYYYY
LCDYYYYY
8544 SCREENYYYYY
RGB LCDNYYYN
ROTATE OLEDYNNNN
DYNAMIC SCREEN DETECTIONNNNNY
DYNAMIC SD DETECTIONYNNNY
CHANGE SD CARD WITHOUT RESETNNNNY
TAP FILEYYNNN
O FILEYYNNN
P FILEYYNNN
TZX FILEYYNNN
TSX FILEYNNNN
CDT FILEYYNNN
UEF FILEYYNNN
CAS FILEYNYNN
WAV FILENNNYY
REMOTE JACK FOR MULTILOADYYYYY
MUTLILOAD GAME SUPPORT FOR ZX SPECTRUMYNNNN
ARDUINO NANOYYYYY
ARDUINO UNOYYYYY
ARDUINO MEGAYNNNN
ARDUINO NANO EVERYYNNNN
THINARY EVERYYNNNN
STM32YNNNN
STORE LOGO IN EEPROMYNNNN
ENCHANCED SDFAT SUPPORTYNNNN

I realized very early on, that people wanting to update their TZXduino, MaxDuino, CASduino, or ArduiTape would struggle if they had no experience with the Arduino programming tool. So I built a FREE tool to do that for you in a way to give back to the Retro Community. Watch the video below and CLICK HERE if you want to download the tool.

We developed an Arduino Board Tester. We quality test Arduino boards before sale, and the old test rig was a bit boring so we developed something with a little bit more fun. We figured clients might want this too so we sell them through the store. Watch the video below. If you want to purchase one click >HERE< if you want to download the software click >HERE<

Below is a short video showing how to set up an LCD displaying using an IC2 serial module to an Arduino. Mentioned in the video is a sketch for using the LCD panel which is displayed below this text and a sketch to find the address of the IC2 adapter you can find by click here.

#include <Wire.h>
#include <LiquidCrystal_I2C.h>

#define I2C_ADDR 0x3F

LiquidCrystal_I2C lcd(I2C_ADDR, 2, 1, 0, 4, 5, 6, 7);

int led = 13;

void setup () {
  lcd.begin(16, 2);//16 columns 2 rows for 1602A

  lcd.setBacklightPin(3, POSITIVE);
  //lcd.setBacklight(HIGH); // NOTE: You can turn the backlight off by setting it to LOW instead of HIGH
  lcd.setBacklight(LOW);
  lcd.clear(); // clean screen and sets cursor to (0,0)
  // initialize the digital pin as an output.
  // will not blink without it
  pinMode(led, OUTPUT);
}
void loop() {
  lcd.setCursor(0, 0);
  lcd.print("YouMakeRobots");
  digitalWrite(led, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
  lcd.setBacklight(LOW);   //turn off backlight
  delay(1000);             // wait for a second
  digitalWrite(led, LOW);  // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  lcd.setBacklight(HIGH);  //turn on backlight
  delay(1000);    
}

You can find all the components needed by clicking here.

We’ve been busy bees and 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