P.A.C.E. Prototype Hardware
(Last Update: 22/08/07)
- Took delivery of PACE-P3M - as 'payment' for
porting DOOM to it!
- I did some more layout on the PACE-P2 JAMMA adapter board. It's
getting closer now - although Chris is adamant I'll need 4 layers as
power is going to be tricky! Also time to order some parts and check
the footprints before I send it out. I should also implement the CPLD
logic just in case.
- Chris started implementing & simulating the CPLD logic he needs
on his 6809/68k adapter board.
- Work continues on the JAMMA I/O board. I'm half-way through layout,
but the audio circuitry is causing grief and needs revisiting. I'm
certainly no analogue engineer, but getting line-level output and
sufficient power for speaker output seemingly requires ridiculous
amounts of passive components and a handful of power rails for a
supposedly quick'n'dirty I/O board design - arrgghh!
- Chris has completed layout of
his DE2 6809/68k I/O board.
- I have completed schematic capture and component placement of my
JAMMA I/O board. As well as a standard JAMMA connector for use
in an arcade cabinet, the board also has a DC jack, audio DAC with
stereo line-level and amplified speaker outputs, PS/2 input and VGA
output to enable desk-top development without a cabinet. In fact, it
has everything PACE-P2 has except the composite video chip! I'll also
add some 5V I/O for things like Chris's MapleBus (Dreamcast) interface
as well as PS/2 & Gamecube controller interfaces. I'm ready to
start laying down tracks so Chris & I can get our boards
manufactured ASAP on the same panel.
- Chris is laying out an add-on PCB for his DE2 with sockets for a
6809 and 68000 to aid CPU core development and I am laying out a new
PACE-P2 PCB with a JAMMA connector so I can hook PACE-P2 directly to
my arcade cabinet(s). Hopefully these will go out first thing in the
New Year for manufacture.
- The ADV724 PAL/NTSC video encoder appears to be operational. Only
composite video (as opposed to S-VIDEO) output has been tested so far,
and the results are satisfactory if not spectacular. More care in
layout and proper termination of RGB inputs to ADV724 may have
produced better results.
- Chris is hooking up a Dreamcast controller (Maple Bus) to his DE2
(to avoid working on his 6809) and has made some progress in
communicating with it.
- I've managed to load some game ROMs into SRAM from the compact flash
and have the game boot! This has opened up a whole new range of games
that can potentially be supported with 1MB (not 2 as I first thought)
- PACE-P2 is up
and running! VGA output and PS/2 input verified working.
I've managed to port Space Invaders, Pacman and Frogger so far. The
EP2C35 allows me to debug the Frogger sound now (even though the sound
circuit hasn't been assembled on the board as yet).
#1 - The Altium NanoBoard
is a cross-vendor FPGA development platform sold by Altium
producers of DXP (formerly Protel) circuit designer software.
In late 2003 I had
the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time, and had
the opportunity to do some development using Altium's Nexar platform as part of Altium's beta test program. Shipped with the platform is an FPGA prototyping board called the NanoBoard
which comprises plug-in modules for various FPGA silicon on a PCB with
SRAM, LCD, numeric keypad, PS/2 ports and a VGA connector, as well as
other various I/O modules such as serial, ADC, DAC and digital I/O. The
development environment also comes bundled with IP such as PS/2 &
VGA controllers for the on-board modules, as well as a couple of CPU
cores, including a Z80!
It was immediately obvious, of course, that the
NanoBoard was the perfect prototype platform for PACE! With on-board
PS/2 controllers for input, VGA controller for output to a standard
monitor, some SRAM, the Z80 core and Altera Cyclone FPGA module - I had
exactly what I needed to start work on PACE without the effort &
cost that goes with designing, manufacturing and debugging a prototype
PCB! And with the experience we had in the beta program, I had a
head-start on the firmware design as well!
The bulk of my PACE firmware prototyping to date has
been done on the NanoBoard. Emulated platforms include arcade games like
Pacman, Space Invaders, Galaxian and Frogger; 8-bit micro computers such as
the TRS-80, Apple II, VIC-20 and C-64; and TV game consoles such as Bally
Astrocade and Colecovision.
#2 - Celoxica RC-10
In August 2006 I was lucky
enough to receive a Celoxica RC-10
Celoxica specialise in C based FPGA design and synthesis.
I'm yet to port any of my designs to the RC-10, but am
interested to get into Handel-C and see what it has to offer!
#3 - PACE-P2
The third prototype platform comprises some 'donated'
hardware and an add-on board to facilitate PACE IP development.
The hardware in question houses an EP2C35, 64MB SDRAM,
2MB SRAM, Compact Flash adapter and 10/100 Ethernet. Very, very nice because
my designs were outgrowing the Nanoboard and I particularly needed more RAM
and Compact Flash for emulated floppy and hard disk systems. I'm in the layout
stages of a plug-in PCB which has the PACE-P2 power supply, video (VGA +
composite + SVIDEO) output, PS/2 input and stereo RC filters for simple sound
PACE-P2 should allow multi-CPU games (adding the
AY-3-8910 sound core on a 2nd Z80 to Frogger, for example), games with much
larger ROMs (like 1942!), vector games which require a frame buffer
(Asteroids!) and the addition of proper floppy/hard disk image support for
various 8/16-bit computer platforms.
#4 - Altera DE2 Development & Education Board
Chris is the proud new owner of an Altera
EP2C35, 8MB SDRAM, 512KB SRAM, 4MB Flash, SD adapter, 10/100
Ethernet, 30-bit VGA and a QVGA (320x240) LCD.
#5 - PACE-P3M
This was designed as a
multi-purpose platform - amongst other uses, to run DOOM.
A very nice, neat little
board with an EP2C35, SDRAM, FLASH, USB, SD/MMC adapter, RS-232, CAN. It has
an integrated 240x320 60Hz 18-bit colour LCD with touch-screen and runs off
battery, USB power or DC plug pak.