VIAtronics v.1.0

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VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von Sleeπ »

VIAtronics - non commercial, easy and cheap interface which can print on any EPSON/IBM standard based printer.

Beitrag zum Hardwarewettbewerb 2021

von pancio


Introduction
Inspiration for this mode was nightly discussion with some friends and request to make device which will be capable to connect ant EPSON/IBM printer to Atari. We had MicroPrint on the market in the past but nowadays it’s rather not possible to find it and use with any printer. In case I developed VIAtronics – it’s combination of VIAtari (presented years ago) and Centronics (actually only cable from it). Idea is very simple: connect VIAtronics to CART/ECI with cable LPT (DB25) -Centronics (C36) and any printer which can emulated EPSON or IBM codes.

Hardware
PCB based on standard CART/ECI slot contains VIA6522 two 8-bits parallel ports with control signals. Additional IC 74HCT138 is use as address decoder. All required by printer signals are connected to DB25 female port. On the PCB you may find selector for device address which can be selected from $D100-$D1E0 or $D500-$D5E0 with $20 step.Additional four pin header are connected to PA/PB/CA/CB signals and might be use for other task depend of your idea :-)If you are using cartridge e.g. Koala Illustrator or some text editor, you may use it together with VIAtronics but you need to check addresses used by cartridge to avoid conflict with VIAtronics.Project is made as Free Hardware - full documentation will be available on my page: https://systemembedded.eu

VIAtronics-13.png
VIAtronics-17.png

Software
At this moment I use very simple program written in Turbo Basic XL which can send text/graphics to printer from memory. This is nothing spectacularly and anybody might write “driver” for any printer if you have instruction with steering codes. I checked EPSON standard on Star LC-20 whichwas very popular in ‘80-’90 last century...

prog2.png
prog2.png (8.86 KiB) 1680 mal betrachtet

P. S.
I might say you some interesting information regarding software... Some very interesting program will be released soon... see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yzea2HfhkM&t=27s

It’s developed by my colleague Atari Fan and should support both Micro Print and VIAtronics interfaces for graphics printing.

Manual:
VIAtronics_manual3.pdf
(5.09 MiB) 38-mal heruntergeladen
Regards,

pancio.net
Sleeπ

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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

Today I received PCBs... I will assembly first piece today or tomorrow. I hope no issue on that!
VIApcbv10.jpg


Newest version of User Manual:
VIAtronics_manual4.pdf
User Manual
(5.09 MiB) 36-mal heruntergeladen
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

Good Evening,

I did it. First PCB was assembled...
viatronics-pcb1.jpg
viatronics-pcb2.jpg
viatronics-pcb3.jpg
...and I found one issue with ports description:
wrongports.jpg
it hasn't influence on parallel port and will be corrected with new PCBs order.

Well, time to print.... (t.b.c.)
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von Mathy »

Hello pancio

Does the VIAtronics v.1.0 have a printer buffer?

Sincerely

Mathy
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

No,

VIAtronics in complete dummy device. Data to print (e.g. character code, byte for graphics, command code) should be written to PA - in case called data register. PB is using as control register and covering all printer signals e.g. /STROBE or /BUSY. So, during print, Atari sending data to VIAtronics all the time...

Regards,
pancio
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von Mathy »

Hello pancio

That's a pitty. Printer buffers don't have to be smart as far as I know. Other wise, nice device.

Sincerely

Mathy
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

Hi Mathy,

There is designed as Centronics and for any other user experiments so it should be simplest :-). I've plan to add buffer dedicated only for printers maybe next major release.

Regards,
pancio

-------

Newest version of User Manual:
VIAtronics_manual5.pdf
(3.06 MiB) 33-mal heruntergeladen
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von Mathy »

Hello pancio

pancio hat geschrieben:
2. Sep 2021, 14:17
I've plan to add buffer dedicated only for printers maybe next major release.
Sounds good.
BTW is the Centronics one-directional, as in "for printers only" or is it bi-directional?

Sincerely

Mathy
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

This one is bi-directional :-)
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von Mathy »

.
Hello pancio

pancio hat geschrieben:
2. Sep 2021, 19:14
This one is bi-directional :-)
Cool!

Now all I need is to find a webcam that has a Centronics interface and somebody who can rewrite a piece of software for the Lionel Richie computer into Atari Assembler. :mrgreen:

Sincerely

Mathy
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

Actually it's possible to grab video directly by this interface.... thanks for good idea! :-) I'll try to do it!
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von JAC! »

Very nice and clean design with good configuration options. I first thought it was a PBI device (which I always wanted to do back then), that contains the driver. Good to see the cartridge port is exported.
Visit https://www.wudsn.com the home of WUDSN IDE.

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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von Sleeπ »

Noch ein Nachtrag: Die aktuelle Version ist auf den XE zugeschnitten. Pancio plant auch eine XL-Version: "I planed to build version for XL and XE using Cart only."
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

JAC! hat geschrieben:
5. Sep 2021, 02:20
Very nice and clean design with good configuration options. I first thought it was a PBI device (which I always wanted to do back then), that contains the driver. Good to see the cartridge port is exported.
Thanks for interesting. On the beginning I planned to add ECI port as well but regarding lack of time (ABBUC deadline for competition ). I drop this idea because PCB must be rebuild. After some discussion with colleagues we're planning to use full pass-through CART/ECI and probably in vertical orientation. It will be very helpfully for other existing interfaces and avoiding any mechanical conflict. I'll update any interested in on this topic soon :-) Version for PBI is possible too but A800XL hasn't power on edge, so additional source for 5V is necessary (e.g. from joystick port) but we will see.
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von Mathy »

Hello pancio

If you add a wire to power the PCB via the joystick port, please attach it in such a way that the wire can be removed and added easily. Adding power to the PBI of the 800XL is easy. If somebody does so, (s)he might not want the wire hanging from the PCB. But there's always a chance that you'd want to use the PCB with an 800XL that isn't upgraded (+5VDC added), in which case it would be nice if adding the wire back in would be plug and play.

Sincerely

Mathy
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von nortobor »

Hallo,
isr ja eine interessante Entwicklung, bisher nur alles engl.
Mich würde ja weniger der Centronic-Anschluss interessiren (Gib es ja im ABBUC-Shop über SIO) ,sondern eher die Erweiterungsmöglichkeiten über den VIA 6522.
Wie kann man den verwenden----- kann man ein ev. vohandenen EPROM ausschalten um den VIA frei zu verwenden? oder liege ich da völlig falsch ? :shock:

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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von Mathy »

Hallo Ralf

Die Centronics-Schnittstelle an der VIAtronics V1.0. ist bi-directional. Man kann also nicht nur schreiben, wie bei allen bisherigen Centronics-Schnittstellen für den Atari, sondern auch lesen. Und das ist neu (für den Atari 8 bit Rechner).

Wahrscheinlich schreibt pancio in Englisch weil er kein Deutsch schreiben kann. Da währe es ziemlich unproduktiv um Fragen zu stellen auf Deutsch.

Aber Ich werde gleich mal auf Englisch fragen ob pancio mehr kan sagen zur VIA.

Tschüß

Mathy

PS Ich sehe auf der Platine nur die VIA (der große eckige Chip) und den genannten 74HCT138 (der rechteckige Tausendfüßler). Kein ((E)P)ROM.
Zuletzt geändert von Mathy am 8. Sep 2021, 01:45, insgesamt 3-mal geändert.
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von Mathy »

Hello pancio

Nortobor would like to know more about how the VIA can be used.

Sincerely

Mathy
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

nortobor hat geschrieben:
7. Sep 2021, 22:54
Hallo,
isr ja eine interessante Entwicklung, bisher nur alles engl.
Mich würde ja weniger der Centronic-Anschluss interessiren (Gib es ja im ABBUC-Shop über SIO) ,sondern eher die Erweiterungsmöglichkeiten über den VIA 6522.
Wie kann man den verwenden----- kann man ein ev. vohandenen EPROM ausschalten um den VIA frei zu verwenden? oder liege ich da völlig falsch ? :shock:
Hi nortobor,

I translated your question, hope I understood good :-). VIAtronics is only codename for this interface but actually it's independent device which can be using not only for printing. VIA is connected directly to CPU bus using a few bytes from addresses area (can be changed by jumpers). Of course you may switch off EEPROM but I don't see any reason why? There is no conflict between cartridge and VIA if cartridge was designed with proper address decoder.. if not you may use different based on D1XX address. Moreover, as Mathy said, there is no EEPROM on the PCB, so anything what you plan to do with VIAtronics you should do by hand e.g. read data from ports is similar to read data from joystick ports - only register's addresses are different. Regarding examples... on my page you may find VIAtari (based on the same idea) which can be use with GLCD screen.


Regards,
pancio
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von nortobor »

Vielen Dank für die schnelle Antwort :)

Thanks for the quick reply

übers. mit Deepl

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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

Hello, today I almost finished CART version for XE without ECI and for XL. Differences between CART/ECI version:
- lack of signals /IRQ and /RESET
- only D5XX addresses might be use.

I decided to leave CART slot but probably for XL models it will be little difficult to use it :-)

VIAtronicsCART-01.png
signal-2021-09-10-095057_001.jpeg
signal-2021-09-10-101642.jpeg
If any doubts or advices, please let me know :-)
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von JAC! »

I think a regular PBI version would be the best fit for the XL. No limitations and right position. For the TurboFreezer, we had created a "gender changer" so, the actual PBI board was the same.
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

Hi JAC!

You have totally right but... CART version is cheapest, ready to use with all Atari 8 computers and is designed rather for print only (of course is possible to use signals thru DB25 with other stuff than printer).
PBI version (with gender charger) will be probably the best option and I planned to do it soon. Could you please advise me where I may find correct gender charger? It will speed up working on PBI version...
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von JAC! »

This is how it looks. A board with XE on one and XL on the other side. The actual board is plugged in there with a standard connector.
Dateianhänge
gallery_23371_1628_696397.jpg
Visit https://www.wudsn.com the home of WUDSN IDE.

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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

Very practical and good design for both kind of edges... As I understand, we need female - female slot in order to connect it to A800XL? Is this PCB available to buy or gerbers to make it own hands?
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

Has anyone footprint (module) for ECI (or CART/ECI) slot for KiCAD? I need it for newest VIAtrocics version with CART/ECI passtrue.
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

Hi Guys,

Today I received PCBs for CART version of VIAtronics:
VIAtari CART version PCB
VIAtari CART version PCB
I'll try to assembly it immediately and confirm work as ECI version soon :-) (I hope).
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

It's work! :-)

https://youtu.be/57TVK9HEm9g


VIAtronicsCART
VIAtronicsCART
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

Hi Guys,

A few days ago I prepared little bit another version of Centronics for Atari. It's based on most popular, still available peripheral IC: 8255. It's more cheaper than VIA and very similar, so I propose to use it as alternative. Now I'm during tests. Software depends a few cosmetic changes, like set registers only. Rest procedures for printing will be the same...
INTari
INTari
Major differences in comparison with VIAtronics:
- 3 eight bit Input/Output ports,
- full CART/ECI pastrue
- configurable Centronics pins

I'll add full documentation to my page soon.

Have FUN!
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Re: VIAtronics v.1.0

Beitrag von pancio »

According to someone needs, full pass thru version VIAtronics with vertical PCB was designed. I'm waiting for prototype to confirm it's working too as whole family.
VIAtronics2004.png
viatronics2005.png
cart-eci-passthru.png
It should be ready to test at the end of November.
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