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Forum Index : Microcontroller and PC projects : Silly idea for a new (old) MMBasic port

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matherp
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Joined: 11/12/2012
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Posted: 06:58pm 09 Nov 2021
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The "Blackpill" has been around for some time and is a very cheap DIL module with an STM32 processor. There are a number of processors available but the interesting one is the STM32F411CEU6





Basically the same size as the Pico, a little bit dearer but a much more conventional chip (onboard flash, lots of timers, a great IDE, and I know the F4 inside-out)

I've been playing with a mock-up of things I could do with this chip




The attached image shows it running a 640x480 VGA display using one resistor and one diode

It would be possible with a relatively small amount of work, taking code from the ArmmiteF4 to create a first gen style computer but with a modern language running at a 100MHz clock speed. The Blackpill includes space on the underside for a flash chip which if fitted could be used as a file storage device with no need for a SDcard. This approach is already used on  the ArmmiteL4.

I would implement a PS2 keyboard (like the Maximite) so that you could program completely stand-alone or you could use a serial console as per the Micromite.
Due to memory limitations in order to get a nice display it would be monochrome. There would be around 64K of variable memory and the same again for a program stored in the processor

The 48-pin 411 supports 10 12-bit ADC and would probably have something like 2 or 3 uarts 2 SPI, 1 I2C 5 PWM and the usual count/frequency input/IR etc.

The video generation as displayed is created using an SPI output under DMA so has very little impact on performance.

This is my take on the sort of thing people have been discussing with the TTG-VGA but with some proper I/O available

Thoughts ?
 
JohnS
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Joined: 18/11/2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2534
Posted: 07:36pm 09 Nov 2021
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Is it this one ?

Sounds like it would be great - they're very cheap and plentiful I think.

John
 
Mixtel90

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Joined: 05/10/2019
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1200
Posted: 07:54pm 09 Nov 2021
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If you want it to be *really* silly, how about it defaulting to "green screen" and looking a bit like CP/M, "loading" MMBasic on demand?

(not really intended to be taken seriously!)

I'm guessing it's this one...
Edited 2021-11-10 06:13 by Mixtel90
-- Mick

Zilog Inside! nascom.info for Nascom & Gemini
 
thwill

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Joined: 16/09/2019
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1944
Posted: 07:59pm 09 Nov 2021
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  Mixtel90 said  (not really intended to be taken seriously!)


IMO if you are going to do this (though God knows why except for your own entertainment  ) then I would go silly: green screen, screechy binary noises for file transfers and PETSCII font. You may as well have (and provide) fun.

Best wishes,

Tom
Edited 2021-11-10 06:00 by thwill
CMM2 Welcome Tape, Creaky old text adventures
 
Mixtel90

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Posts: 1200
Posted: 08:16pm 09 Nov 2021
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hehe... Don't give us ideas, Tom. I might get even worse. :)


EDIT:

10 Fer't Tally is 1 ter 10
20 Print "Nah then lads!"
30 Next Tally
40 Whoah!





sorry...
:)

I'll make up for it. More info on board here. It looks like a nice little board. The PS/2 keyboard lovers would be happy, the VGA lovers would be 1/3 happy and the SDcard lovers might not be too happy. It would be handy having more analogue inputs than the PicoMite sometimes. A single I2C looks limiting at first, but you don't need one for a RTC in this case. Looks good. :)
Edited 2021-11-10 07:46 by Mixtel90
-- Mick

Zilog Inside! nascom.info for Nascom & Gemini
 
CaptainBoing

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Joined: 07/09/2016
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1686
Posted: 09:33pm 09 Nov 2021
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now *this* could be a replacement for the '170... the Super Mk2... dare I say a MacroMite?

non-USB console?
Hardware FPU?
double precision variables?
long string support?

interested
 
matherp
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Joined: 11/12/2012
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Posted: 10:16pm 09 Nov 2021
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non-USB console? Yes
Hardware FPU?Yes
double precision variables?Yes
long string support?Yes
 
twofingers
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Joined: 02/06/2014
Location: Germany
Posts: 957
Posted: 11:18pm 09 Nov 2021
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It is somewhat reminiscent of Hercules Graphic (but 720 x 348) ...

I like it!

Michael

EDIT:
a HercuMite!
Edited 2021-11-10 09:19 by twofingers
 
vegipete

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Joined: 29/01/2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 814
Posted: 12:00am 10 Nov 2021
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The world of "Blue Pills" suffers from fakes and semi-working copies.

I haven't heard of "Black Pill" fakes yet but it is something to keep in mind. Otherwise, sounds useful.

Is a CSub ISR sub-system possible? (To avoid MMBasic overhead.)

The TTGO-VGA is of interest because it supports PS/2 keyboard and mouse.
Visit Vegipete's *Mite Library for cool programs.
 
gadgetjack
Regular Member

Joined: 15/07/2016
Location: United States
Posts: 61
Posted: 01:55am 10 Nov 2021
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I think this is another great idea ! I might have a couple of these in a drawer somewhere. I look forward to see where this goes. I do have serious worries if you ever sleep , always coming up with these great projects.
 
jaybek
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Joined: 25/05/2020
Location: Greenland
Posts: 14
Posted: 03:03am 10 Nov 2021
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  vegipete said  The world of "Blue Pills" suffers from fakes and semi-working copies.

I haven't heard of "Black Pill" fakes yet but it is something to keep in mind.


It's a WeAct Studio board, and they do struggle with fake copies.
You can read aboute it on their GitHub page

This is a fake board

This appears to be genuine


As a rule of thumb - if the seller doesn't show a picture of the bottom of the board, it's most likely a fake.
 
lizby
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Joined: 17/05/2016
Location: United States
Posts: 1786
Posted: 03:30am 10 Nov 2021
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  jaybek said  This is a fake board


How do you conclude that? Bottom of the board is shown further down the page. (I have no idea myself whether it is genuine or fake, or what the characteristics of a fake might be.)

  Quote  This appears to be genuine


What's for sale there isn't even an F411.

~
Edited 2021-11-10 13:32 by lizby
 
jaybek
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Location: Greenland
Posts: 14
Posted: 03:51am 10 Nov 2021
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  Quote  How do you conclude that? Bottom of the board is shown further down the page.


Yes, that's right it's shown - just not with right logo

  Quote  What's for sale there isn't even an F411.


There are two different boards for sale. One of them is a F411
 
TassyJim

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Joined: 07/08/2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 4475
Posted: 04:17am 10 Nov 2021
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  jaybek said  

This appears to be genuine


As a rule of thumb - if the seller doesn't show a picture of the bottom of the board, it's most likely a fake.


I think you have the fake and genuine back to front.

The genuine should have V3.0 under the logo.
But much safer to buy direct from the WeAct aliexpress store.
That way Peter won't have to spend time chasing "special cases"

Jim
VK7JH
MMedit   MMBasic Help
 
hitsware2

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Joined: 03/08/2019
Location: United States
Posts: 416
Posted: 04:47am 10 Nov 2021
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Whatever or whichever the board.....
What the world needs is a system
where the keyboard on the host
can interact with a running process
on the board.
I.E. ...The ' up - down ' arrows
could control frequency and the
' left - right ' arrows control
the level of TONE ( or whatever )
from a running loop .
USB serial ...
Monitor , keyboard , mouse ? ...
on host machine controls the board .
Hookup like a Pico ( with attendent
simple upgrading )
http://www.hitswares.com/
 
phil99
Senior Member

Joined: 11/02/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 228
Posted: 05:06am 10 Nov 2021
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Very attractive idea. Like an MX170 and Geoff's ASCI terminal in one chip with bonus graphics. Before colour monitors arrived graphics just required a little more creativity.
 
Poppy

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Joined: 25/07/2019
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Posts: 484
Posted: 07:06am 10 Nov 2021
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  matherp said  
I would implement a PS2 keyboard (like the Maximite) so that you could program completely stand-alone

Thoughts ?


If I got this right, then this board could be perfect for starting with BASIC and MC-Electronics, as the original Maximite is not as easy available and not as cheap as well.

At least for this reason it would be a great opportunity in my opinion.

Just thinking of planning some social-work courses for naive children to start up, otherwise only the Duinomite would offer something alike but for being quite old it is not in production anymore and therefore no sustainable item.

For keeping MMBASIC alive it needs such ports for the sake of easy accessibility and sustainability.

So this is a great idea!

Andre ... such a GURU?
 
JohnS
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Joined: 18/11/2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2534
Posted: 07:13am 10 Nov 2021
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I first met it via this post

John
 
Grogster

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Joined: 31/12/2012
Location: New Zealand
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Posted: 07:35am 10 Nov 2021
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+1 from me.

I use terminals all the time, so I see this being a very nice self-contained terminal driving a VGA monitor.

Basically, an "ASCII Terminal" with built-in MMBASIC.
Smoke makes things work. When the smoke gets out, it stops!
 
Mixtel90

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Joined: 05/10/2019
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1200
Posted: 07:41am 10 Nov 2021
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Real or fake, I bet there are very few actual manufacturers of these boards. It's even possible that they might even all come out of a single factory but with slightly different build specs for different customers. The factory won't care. WeAct almost certainly aren't the manufacturer.

If the chip is genuine or a good clone then the boards will be virtually identical, no matter what WeAct Studio say, as the board is basically the chip wired out. The main thing is that WeAct don't want a whole load of complaints about any bad clones making their product look bad, which is fair enough.

The same thing has happened with the Arduino boards, you'll be hard pressed to find a Chinese clone that is any worse than an original Arduino.


@hitsaware
It's called "using interrupts". :)
However, if you are trying to interrupt a running slave from a master device over a serial link of any sort there will always be a delay before the interrupt is serviced as you need time for the message to be transmitted before it's acted upon.
-- Mick

Zilog Inside! nascom.info for Nascom & Gemini
 
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