Tag Archives: hardware

Amiga week

This week (while preparing for a mini retro party) I fixed some Amiga stuff.

I’ve bought a new gadget.

You place this PCB between the CPU IC socket and the CPU (68000) itself.

Now running a special floppy image, which loads a driver, I can use the 512MB sdcard as “harddisk”.

It at first ran into all kinds of hangups.
Checking everything, I found CIAB (8520) the culprit.
Timing errors I’ve never noticed before!

Switching this one with CIAA resolved the problem.
(I don’t use a printer anyway, but I have to remember that anything using the parallel port can have problems now.)

Meanwhile, I wanted to have a better control over the Amiga drives, so I’m planning to use a second switch to reassign drive numbers using a switch.

For switching Internal/External drive (df0/df1) I was using a Gotek boot switch. (Just press 3x ctrl-Amiga-Amiga)

See https://www.henriaanstoot.nl/2022/05/14/gotek-stuff/

But I have TWO external devices.
The Gotek virtual disk device and a real 5.24″ drive.

So I’m going to use a ON-ON double switch to toggle the external devices.

The internal switch toggles internal and external.
The secondary I’m going to build into the 5.25″ drive toggles df2 and the “df1”.
That way the internal drive can be 0 (boot) or 1.
The external drives can be 0,1 or 2.

NOTE: Switch pin 21 and 9 using the cross switch!

SO: Amiga with internal drive -> External 5.24″ which has a passthrough to the Gotek.

Another amiga thing fixed:
I re-installed Aros (on an old Laptop this time)

And third: I’ve bought the Amiga Forever cdrom.

When you get the ISO image from AmigaForever, and want to run it using Linux, do this to get it working

sudo apt install xkbfile1:i386
sudo apt install libxkbfile1:i386
mkdir -p /cdrom
sudo mount -t iso9660 ~/Downloads/AF.iso /cdrom
cd /cdrom/Private/Linux/e-uae/

If you install Wine, you can use the windows gui in linux also.

Amiga samplers

Testing the sampler (demo for Tyrone)

Sampling the sound of a C64 on an Amiga.
Started (booted) the sampling program from second external drive using switch setup as above.

Even realtime echo works!

64×64 Matrixrgb plus Conway’s Game of Life

Yesterday I got this nice led matrix I mentioned before.

I wanted to control this display using Circuit Python and a Raspberry Pico.

Pico  Matrix
GP0   R1
GP1   G1
GP2   B1
GP3   R2
GP4   G2
GP5   B2
GP6   A
GP7   B
GP8   C
GP9   D
GP10  Clock
GP11  E
GP12  Latch
GP13  Output Enable

GND   GND ( I did both )

I installed Circuit Python and the following libraries.

adafruit_imageload, adafruit_display_text.label (the rest was already in the uf2 firmware.)
(Check this link : https://circuitpython.org/board/raspberry_pi_pico/ )
I could not install the Wifi uf2 file, then I got a out of storage space when installing the adafruit libraries.

importing libaries and init display

import board, digitalio, busio, time, displayio, rgbmatrix, framebufferio
import adafruit_imageload, terminalio, random
import adafruit_display_text.label

matrix = rgbmatrix.RGBMatrix(
    width=64, bit_depth=2, height=64,
    rgb_pins=[board.GP0, board.GP1, board.GP2, board.GP3, board.GP4, board.GP5],
    addr_pins=[board.GP6, board.GP7, board.GP8, board.GP9, board.GP11],
    clock_pin=board.GP10, latch_pin=board.GP12, output_enable_pin=board.GP13)
display = framebufferio.FramebufferDisplay(matrix)

I became interested in Conway’s “Game of Life”, in 1983. Reading a article in the Dutch Magazine Kijk.

The Game of Life, also known simply as Life, is a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970. It is a zero-player game, meaning that its evolution is determined by its initial state, requiring no further input. One interacts with the Game of Life by creating an initial configuration and observing how it evolves. It is Turing complete and can simulate a universal constructor or any other Turing machine.


I found these on my server. Bad quality, I know. Scanned these many years ago.

The rules are:

  1. Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if by underpopulation.
  2. Any live cell with two or three live neighbours lives on to the next generation.
  3. Any live cell with more than three live neighbours dies, as if by overpopulation.
  4. Any dead cell with exactly three live neighbours becomes a live cell, as if by reproduction.

When playing with the Basic code as a kid, I wanted to try if it was possible to make a 3D version of this.

I came up with the following rules:

  1. Birth : 4 alive neighbours needed
  2. Survive : 5 or 6 neighbours
  3. Dead : below 4 and over 6

I think there should be a BBC Acorn basic version I wrote somewhere.

Back to the display

Greetings to my friends
Game of Life starting with my Logo plus a glider
A single Gosper‘s glider gun creating gliders

Code for the glider gun

    conway_data = [
        b'                        +           ',
        b'                      + +           ',
        b'            ++      ++            ++',
        b'           +   +    ++            ++',
        b'++        +     +   ++              ',
        b'++        +   + ++    + +           ',
        b'          +     +       +           ',
        b'           +   +                    ',
        b'            ++                      ',

Next todo:

  • Line functions
  • Design a Chip tune hardware add-on
  • Make a Game of Life start situation selector
  • Make a new Maze game!

Amiga Action Replay

A long time ago I had an Action Replay II.

I modded it and was planning to rebuild this using pluggable eurocard-prints.
Then it got lost, somewhere.

Today I went to Almelo with Tyrone.
In the morning reverse engineering a lift controller print, and afternoon going to a guy selling a lot of Retro stuff.

And there it was, an Action Replay II for Amiga just catching dust.

I had to buy it, and got a sh*tload of 27256 Eproms for free!

Action Replay Mk I

This version is compatible with the A500/A1000 version only. It also plugs into the side expansion port. It introduces the following features:

1.0 Version

  • Shows and modifies registers (even read-only ones) and memory contents.
  • Trainer maker.
  • M68000 assembler / disassembler.
  • Copper assembler / disassembler.
  • Sprite editor.
  • Virus detector.
  • Picture / music (tracker format) / sample ripper.
  • Save computer memory (freezed programs) to disk.
  • Shows computer status (disk parameters, ChipRAM, FastRAM…).

Features added to the 1.5 Version

  • Mempeeker.
  • Ability to save freezed programs to RAM.
  • RAM testing.
  • Illegal opcode – jumps to freezer mode.

Action Replay Mk II

A special A2000 version is available for this particular revision. Instead of plugging into the side expansion port it plugs into the 86 pin CPU slot.

Features added since MK 1.5 version

  • Boot selector.
  • Picture editor.
  • Sound tracker.
  • Turbo fire manager (separately for both joysticks).
  • Disk encoder.
  • Start menu.
  • Disk monitor.
  • Integrated DOS commands (Dir, Format,…).
  • Diskcopy.
  • 80 characters display with two-way scrolling.
  • Calculator.
  • Notepad.
  • Memory and drive switch (enabling / disabling).
  • Music ripper now finds all tracker formats (SoundTracker, NoiseTracker, other formats with 32 samples).
  • Ripped music / pictures are saved in IFF format.

C64Pico Follow-up

Soldering almost done, except for the space bar all tactile buttons in place.

Using my USBasp programmer I tried to program the Atmega328pb.

Same one I used for:

I first needed to implement some udev rules to get the rights for the reader correct.

SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="16c0", ATTRS{idProduct}=="05dc", GROUP="dialout"

Next I tried to burn a bootloader.

Well, not as planned, back to the drawing board.

Hopefully I compiled at least the Pico part correctly.

Home Assistant Alarm with ESP Siren

I used to have a “professional” alarm system, but it was too limited.

But when making a new alarm system using Home Assistant I thought I could reuse some sensors and the very loud alarm.

Setting up the Alarm within HA was as described on the HA website.
I made a group for door and motion sensors.
Then I made groups for lighting and switches.

Now I can “ARM” the house.

  • Motion sensors like PIR and camera sensors are being used for detection.
  • Lights and sound will be turned on when motion is detected.
  • When arming the system, the siren mode of the camera’s is also turned on.
  • When intrusion is detected I get a pushover notification on my phone and watch.

The siren is about 4-5 Euro’s on Ali

Schematic of the wemos controller

(I don’t have a Siren Fritzing part .. hence the speaker)

Used mosfet is a N-Channel 30N06L, resistor is 10K

ESPHome code

  name: bigalarm
  friendly_name: BigAlarm

  board: d1_mini

# Enable logging

# Enable Home Assistant API
    key: "1xxfIYKv6tpzt7HQKYOxxxxxxxxTBETHkmy7cwDE="

  password: "5d23a3af438fe0xxxxxxxx2ff29ab6"

  ssid: !secret wifi_ssid
  password: !secret wifi_password

  # Enable fallback hotspot (captive portal) in case wifi connection fails
    ssid: "Bigalarm Fallback Hotspot"
    password: "6muixxxxxoA"


  - platform: gpio
    pin: 0
    id: 'generic_out'
  - platform: output
    name: "BigAlarm"
    output: 'generic_out'

Started working on C64Pico with Bigred

A week ago I got the last components delivered to my doorstep.

This project was made by Silvervest and it’s f*ckin awesome.


I was afraid to start this myself, SMD is on another level for me.
But my good friend Marco said … No problem!

So I ordered components online, which was not easy.
Selecting the correct parts, sizes and options.

These things are really really small

Using tweezers to place the components was even difficult.
The slippery tiny bastard got catapulted everywhere. (Or got stuck on fingers, soldering iron and alike)
Many small components got lost into the 7th dimension. Never to be found again.

Awesome to work on this together, but Marco said that I have to try it myself.
Welllll, I got 3/4 of the ATmega328PB-A perfectly soldered, then I notished that it was crooked.
Desoldering was a mess, and I heated the PCB TOO much with the heatgun.

My messed-up PCB, and f*cked-up IC. Leave it to the professionals.

Next step for me is soldering the 75 mini buttons!

Got a Trinitron display from him, I was looking for this for a long time.

Today some lasercutting for Home Assistant Spotify RFID


Lasercutting a case and the playlist selectors.

Close-up RFID stickers I’m using.

Below is a test with different methods.
I like reading the booklets, so a CD i cool, and I don’t need a CD player.
(The RFID tag is in the case)
The little cards are for bought audio files I don’t have a physical CD for.

Wooden case with RFID reader being powered by external powerbank

What am I gonna do?
Cube as I had? Wooden playlist selectors as in above movies?
The cards I’ve printed?
Maybe a small record player with an RFID reader inside?

3D printed like this? https://makerworld.com/en/models/66671
UPDATE: 20240327 – Little Record I 3D printed with little groves.

Home Assistant code for Playlist and Album automations
(B.t.w. The method is still using an Arduino and MQTT topics, as mentioned before)

alias: SpotifyAlbum
description: ""
  - platform: mqtt
    topic: spotify/rfid/id
  - condition: template
    value_template: "{{ trigger.payload in playlistkeys.keys() }}"
  - service: media_player.play_media
      entity_id: media_player.spotify_fashice
      media_content_type: album
      media_content_id: spotify:album:{{ playlistkeys.get(trigger.payload) }}
mode: single
    "71719674": 20TANs4iXVeLp387zjgmec
    "71260666": 5325ECcBhnIysoqyENGCYi
    "71457530": 7wyOeD9HcUuMFMO8pTflap
alias: SpotifyCube
description: ""
  - platform: mqtt
    topic: spotify/rfid/id
  - condition: template
    value_template: "{{ trigger.payload in playlistkeys.keys() }}"
  - service: media_player.play_media
      entity_id: media_player.spotify_fashice
      media_content_type: playlist
      media_content_id: spotify:user:spotify:playlist:{{ playlistkeys.get(trigger.payload) }}
    "69229050": 0SOay3RkjojjevrF5lHMON
    "69491194": 5f8w3UHlD9Ozz6Y4VHs6kF
    "69753338": 0bJvpsn0TDZwIDUjz4d75S
    "70015482": 37i9dQZF1DX9HwI3Crikcm
    "70277626": 37i9dQZF1EQmK1rjZuPGDt
    "70539770": 2KeRLMmGMxI5UgzE7m0iCp

In the past, Aloha and I made a simple solution like this using barcodes in < 2000s.
Due to the many obscure recordings I have, I am thinking about creating something like this for Picore player and my local Squeezebox server.

Logitech Squeezebox / Media Server Solution

alias: squeezealbumplay
description: ""
  - platform: mqtt
    topic: spotify/rfid/id
  - condition: template
    value_template: "{{ trigger.payload in playlistkeys.keys() }}"
  - service: squeezebox.call_method
      entity_id: media_player.squeezebox
      command: playlist
        - play
        - "{{ playlistkeys.get(trigger.payload) }}"
mode: single
    "71719674": /tank/celtic/Celtic/M/Martyn Bennett/Bothy Culture/
    "71719675": /tank/celtic/Celtic/D/Davy Spillane/Atlantic Bridge/
    "2159056458": /tank/celtic/Celtic/M/Michael McGoldrick/Arc/

Adding a VGA terminal to my 6502

Using a LilyGo TTGO ESP32 VGA32, I’m connecting my breadboard 6502 to a serial vga terminal with its own keyboard.

Due to a lot of moving around, new places, new homes I dumped a lot of terminal hardware.
Also are those old terminals too big and use too much power.

I’m going to use this DIY screen.

Using the Libraries from Fabrizio Di Vittorio, named FabGL, you can transform this device into a dumb terminal, game device, VIC-20, a 8086 pc and more.
There are even some projects to turn this into a C64.

But the main thing I want to do: A simple terminal.
(I probably revisit the other options again at a later stage)

My Wozmon bios has bare minimum support for serial communication, so i have to do some bitbanging.
(6502 is using a 6551 ACIA)

Sound from the ESP32 VGA board.

  • Chipset: TTGO Micro32 (ESP32 240Mhz dual core processor)
  • Flash memory: 4MB
  • SRAM: 520KB
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Supply voltage: 3.3V DC or 5V DC
  • GPIO voltage: 3.3V*
  • USB to serial converter: CP2102 or CH9102F (drivers)
  • VGA connection
  • PS/2: keyboard connection
  • PS/2: mouse connection
  • Built-in Li-ion/Li-Po battery charging circuit: TP4054 chip can charge up to 500mA

Three channel mixer for ay-3-8910 is almost done.

At the back the 8 pin single channel lm368 amplifier.
At the front the 3 channel setup.
I still have to tweak the resistors, and potmeters.
Then I can make a permanent PCB, and figure out the connections to the 6502.

At the moment, the Arduino Nano is playing some real sound samples by using the registers of the sound chip.
The music is being played by sending the register dumps directly to the chip.

Much like i’ve been using SID register dumps to play songs in another project.

This is version 0.1 .. do not use.
If its wrong, or can do better please mail me.
Oh it needs a 1k resistor from the 20K’s to ground I think.

What to do when waiting for your ribs on the smoker. (Programming some python)

This time I used a rub with the following ingredients:
Seasalt, garlic, brown sugar, mustard seeds, paprica, cilantroseeds, black pepper, red pepper, oregano, thyme and cumin.

Doing a simple 3-2-1 smoke session, so .. what to do in dose 6 hours?

Lets make something using a Sense hat and Python.
Same HAT I used for my xmas ornament thingy in our tree.

  • Generate a large maze (80×80 for now)
  • Paint the maze using colors on the SenseHat
  • Read joystick movement and scroll the maze accordingly, keeping the player in the middle

Now I have to paint my ribs with BBQ sauce, and leave it in the smoker for yet another hour. (Nice glazing)

Next steps for the maze:

Use a better way to generate (reverse backtracking as I made for my other maze thing)

Wall collision detection is nearly completed.

Better placement “birth” of player in the maze.

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