Flash Game Cartridge For The VIC-20

cart

[Petri]‘s first computer was the venerable Commodore VIC-20, predecessor to the Commodore 64. With only 5kB of RAM, a very simple graphics chip, and BASIC, it’s a bare-bones system that’s perfect for a 7-year-old future programmer. [Petri] was trying to figure out something to do with this old computer, and realized the simple schematic would allow him to recreate those classic VIC-20 cartridges using modern hardware.

This project began by cracking open a few game cartridges to see what was inside. They’re very simple devices, consisting of a decoupling cap and a ROM chip wired directly to the data and address busses. [Petri] desoldered the ROM and replaced it with a ribbon cable that would give him a clean breadboard to VIC-20 expansion port interface.

Instead of finding a contemporary EEPROM chip to program, [Petri] decided on using a Flash chip. The original cartridge had a 16kB ROM chip, but the smallest parallel Flash chip he could find was 256k. No problem, then; just ignore a few address lines and everything worked out great.

After getting the VIC-20 reading the breadboarded Flash chip, [Petri] started work on a circuit that would program his Flash chip while still attached to the expansion port. With a few buffer chips and an ATMega32a loaded up with Arduino, he’s able to program the Flash chip and turn it over to the VIC-20.

A simple test that toggled the color of the screen as quickly as possible was all that was needed to test the new circuit. Now, [Petri] can finally start on programming some games for his first love.

[Read more...]

Miniaturized N64 controller fits the tiniest of hands

n64-controller-mod

The controllers that came with the Nintendo 64 don’t exactly measure up to the “Duke” of Xbox fame, but they’re not the smallest in the world either. Made by Bacteria forum member [Bungle] says that his girlfriend has incredibly tiny hands, so he thought he might try trimming some of the fat from an N64 controller by cramming its components into an N64 cartridge.

He tore down a 3rd-party N64 controller, tossing out the D-Pad, plug, and rumble motor, retaining all of the other buttons. After gutting the game cartridge, he heated the back side under a lamp and stretched the plastic over a roll of electrical tape to make room for the N64’s trademark “Z” button. Having only removed the rumble motor due to size constraints, he found a suitable replacement at Radio Shack, which fills in for the original nicely.

After a good amount of careful trimming, wiring, and mounting, he came up with the little gem you see above. We’re sure [Bungle’s] girlfriend is pleased with his work, and he seems happy with how it came out as well.

Continue reading to see a short video showing off [Bungle’s] latest creation.

[Thanks, Chris Downing]

[Read more...]

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