The Mattel Aquarius seems to have a very small community of users and I was trying to work out whether a Maxduino type device would sell in that community. I asked Rafael Molina Chasserot the developer of Maxduino to add the caq file format to maxduino. I helped by retrieving the caq2wav source code. As an interim solution between me and Rafael, we have developed CAQ2WAV2TZX a tool allowing you to convert caq files in bulk to either wav format compatible with Arduino wav players like ArduiTape and DigiWavuino or convert to tzx format making it compatible with any TZX type player like Maxduino. I don’t see a mass market for such a specific device but here you can buy a Maxduino especially for the Aquarius machine. Click >HERE<
This is a nice video of TJ demonstrating the ZX-Frankenstein . Early mode and still work in progress because in the next iteration I’m moving the joystick port to the top. For those who just cannot wait to get one I now include an angle adapter so the joystick cable is pointing upwards and doesn’t trail across the keyboard. Nice video nonetheless.
Nice unboxes video by TJ Ferreira with lots of goodies from You Make Robots. We like to support retro channels. Below are a few of the other Retro Channels we have supports:
- Phil Kruman
- Retro Robbins
- Chris’s Retro Corner
- The Retro Shack
But back to TJ… Thomas makes me laugh and he is a true Speccy fan so here goes:
TJ also recorded a 2nd video using the Maxduino Ultimate to load up a game on a Timex 1000 machine:
A nice but honest review from the Retro Shack of the 48K+ ZXuitape which is an SD solution for a ZX Spectrum. If you need a solution that lets you load games into your ZX Spectrum 48K+ from an SD card this is the one. It screws into the speccy case to make it look like part of the speccy. ZXuitape comes in different models. This is the model for the ZX Spectrum 48K+. You can use it to load up games in tzx, p, o, or tap file format.
When I first started developing my own TZXduino PCB boards I was struggling to get it working with my Sharp MZ700 computer. Sometimes it worked and others not. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but then I put a scope on the output of the TZXduino device I purchased from the original guy who made them. I noticed a difference while playing around. I thought about this for a while and had read that LM386 needs to operate at 5v-18v and but really needs to operate higher than 6v to minimize drain. Most of the TZXDuino that were in the wild were driving the LM386 ( or AMP module) from the 5v pin on the Arduino thus allowing it to operate from the Arduino USB power. I noticed that with the drain of other components that only 3-4v was coming out of that pin and it occurred to me maybe that is the issue. So I factored that into the design of the PCB. Sometime later I found myself in a similar situation with certain ZX Spectrums. After digging about I found out some older models of the ULA chip can go a little deaf. In my own systems, I was fixing this issue by replacing the ULA. Fast forward and I decided to architect in the fix I had included for my Sharp MZ700 into my main PCB I use for all the other Retro Computers.. I’m calling it the Deaf Computer option. Now I cannot guarantee it will fix all your problems but Wayne over at Retro Robbins offered to test this theory out for me since he had a deaf Spectrum 128K+. Watch the first part of the video and decide for yourself.
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.
|DYNAMIC SCREEN DETECTION||N||N||N||N||Y|
|DYNAMIC SD DETECTION||Y||N||N||N||Y|
|CHANGE SD CARD WITHOUT RESET||N||N||N||N||Y|
|REMOTE JACK FOR MULTILOAD||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|MUTLILOAD GAME SUPPORT FOR ZX SPECTRUM||Y||N||N||N||N|
|ARDUINO NANO EVERY||Y||N||N||N||N|
|STORE LOGO IN EEPROM||Y||N||N||N||N|
|ENCHANCED SDFAT SUPPORT||Y||N||N||N||N|
Another new offering. Its called the Oricuitape and its based on the Maxduino firmware (Thank you Rafaefl) . It’s for sale now in the online store. I hope you love it.
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.
Nice video from Wayne Robbins who is a big-time ZX Spectrum vlogger in which he shows off multiple ZXuitape models which allow you to load games on ZX Spectrums from SD card. He had an issue with one which I later identified as a problem with the SD card Wayne was using. Also Wayne referred to them as a TZXduino which is not technically true. ZXuitape uses the MaxDuino firmware which is far superior. Wayne is awesome in the community so I’ll let him off this once 😉 If you want to buy one for yourself CLICK HERE
Nice detailed video by Chris over at Retro Corner showing how to use the Acorn Electron version of the Beebuitape. If you would like to buy one of these bad boys head over to the shop CLICK HERE