Introducing the Colour Maximite 2

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Joined: 06/06/2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 2754
Posted: 09:57am 03 May 2020      

This is a preliminary announcement of the Colour Maximite 2 which is a modern take on the original Maximite series published over eight years ago.  It runs the latest version of MMBasic, uses a 32-bit ARM Cortex CPU running at up to 480MHz and does everything the original Maximite did plus a lot more at 10 times the speed and with 10 times the memory.  It is also low cost and easy to build.

It is the result of a six month project involving eight people on this forum lead by Peter Mather who did a huge effort including coming up with the original idea, porting MMBasic, writing the other parts of the firmware, designing the PCB and much more.  Others involved in the project are myself, Phil Boyce, Jim Hiley, Graeme Rixon, Robert Severson, Mauro Xavier and Martin Round.  

The Colour Maximite 2 will be published in the July issue of Silicon Chip magazine but we are making this announcement now so that members of this forum have the chance to get in early and hopefully help us find any remaining issues with the firmware and documentation.

The design is simple, it uses a motherboard which is a straight forward double sided PCB with mostly thru hole components that can be built in an hour.  The complex part is a plug in module manufactured by Waveshare  which costs just US$30 fully assembled.  It holds the 176-pin ARM Cortex-M7 32-bit RISC processor plus supporting components.  This design has the best of all worlds; it is low cost, easy to build but delivers enormous performance.

The features of the Colour Maximite 2 are too numerous to completely list here but these are some of the highlights:
- Extremely fast with 516KB of program memory and 5MB general purpose RAM.
- Rock solid VGA output with five resolutions from 800x600 pixels to 240x216 pixels with up to 16-bit colour (65536 colours).
- USB Keyboard (can be wireless with a USB dongle).
- Support for SD cards up to 128GB formatted in FAT16, FAT32 or exFAT.
- Extensive features for creating computer games.  These include multiple video planes, support for Blits and Sprites and full support for the Nunchuk a game controller.
- Stereo audio output can play WAV, FLAC and MP3 files, computer generated music (MOD format) and robot speech and sound effects.
- Twenty eight input/output pins with 12 capable of analog input.  Connector is compatible with Raspberry Pi Hats.
- Power is 5 volts at 170mA typical (ie, from an USB port or charger).

There are a number of alternative designs created by Peter and others in the development team including some fully assembled.  They will present them here in this thread but, in the meantime, these are the files related to the standard design:

Colour Maximite 2 User Manual:

Tutorial: Programming with the Colour Maximite 2:

Construction pack includes parts list, PCB design files, firmware, etc:

So please jump in, build the Colour Maximite 2 and have some fun.