MiSTer FPGA - Retro Console Hardware

J3RK

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A friend of mine liked my little PC Engine Pocket MiSTer, and wanted one with a Genesis theme. I'm putting one together for him. Panels just arrived:

MiSTer-Gen.jpeg
 

Nobu

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Got a 2mm pitch male IDC cable that I'm going to (attempt to) splice to a male usb cable, for two of the front usb ports.

IMG_20210611_221816302.jpg


Also got some 1/8" QC terminals and male-female jumper wires (not shown) for the rear momentary switches.

IMG_20210611_221938447.jpg


Still waiting on the ph2.0 cable to replace the cludge I have going with the fans, as well as a trim pot that I may or may not replace the wheel on my IO board with.

Got a nice little speaker that I'm going to play around with in FreeDOS on my PC, too, just to see if the PC Speaker emulation in ao486 is any good. :p
 
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Nobu

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Got a nice little speaker that I'm going to play around with in FreeDOS on my PC, too, just to see if the PC Speaker emulation in ao486 is any good.
SM570450-1 <-- That's the speaker

Managed to solder some wires to it, hook it up, and load up Monkey Island in FreeDOS on my PC. Unfortunately, modern gpus have no DOS drivers so sound only, but it did sound fantastic (and quite loud). If you have a need for a PC speaker, this'll do the job for < $3.

Otoh, was unable to get ao486 to work, either missing a rom or just need to read some more. But if the PC speaker emulation is anything like scummvm, it's just not the same imo. Those little dynamic speakers really put out the clicks and boops like no other.
 

Nobu

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And...I killed my DE10. One sloppy touch of the dmm, and everything has 1.1V (or 0)–only place I get 5V is at the power jack. Was a GPIO pin, so probably fried the cyclone chip....
 

Nobu

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IMG_20210617_101953153~2.jpg
IMG_20210617_101913167.jpg


Replaced the wheel pot with something less likely to get bent/broken. 10k, and I think the orig was 1k, so my range is going to be...a bit smaller. Also, need to ask which pin was 1—should have before I replaced it. XD

Managed to only lift one pad, and it was on the side without traces so should be fine. The bit of residue is from the noclean flux...guess it should be called "very little clean". lol
 

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J3RK

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I wish the NIC and HDMI were on the same side of the DE10 board. :D I haven't decided which way to put the top panel because of that. Either way there's a big cable sticking out of the "front"-facing side of the device.
 

Nobu

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I wish the NIC and HDMI were on the same side of the DE10 board. :D I haven't decided which way to put the top panel because of that. Either way there's a big cable sticking out of the "front"-facing side of the device.
My case is fairly "large", so I planned to run both to the rear panel, and all the USB back, under, and to the front panel (since the cables are so long). I'm leaning toward putting the mister sideways in the case, but I'm waiting to see how long the vga cable I ordered actually is.
 
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J3RK

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My case is fairly "large", so I planned to run both to the rear panel, and all the USB back, under, and to the front panel (since the cables are so long). I'm leaning toward putting the mister sideways in the case, but I'm waiting to see how long the vga cable I ordered actually is.

Yeah, that's definitely the way to go. That's what I did with the larger one underneath the two compact ones.
 

J3RK

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Well, another friend wants one. This one’s going to be SNES themed. :D

I’ll post a pic when it’s built.

Off topic: I built a Pi4 based MAME appliance. Should be pretty cool for the arcade stuff that isn’t in MiSTer. I’ll post some thoughts after I get some ROMs onto it.

Edit-Still OT: The MAME appliance is pretty amazing! I’m impressed. I had to OC the ARM/CPU/GPU just a bit, but it’s playing 90s arcade games at sync. Tried Capcom CPS, Neo Geo, Sega System 16, Namco System 2, and a few other semi-demanding ones.

It’s no MiSTer, but for the size, money, etc. I’m amazed.
 
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Nobu

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Its amazing what these FPGA programmers are doing.
Yeah. I played four-swords on a quad gb emulator, but I'd never expect such a thing to work on such a small fpga except maybe by hacking it together with save-states. It's impressive, to say the least.
 

J3RK

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Now my brother wants to use these panels with an FM Towns Marty theme. :D
 

J3RK

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That is real slick.

Thanks!

I'm having a ton of fun building these. :D I need to come up with a full case enclosure that's small like these, but protects all the pins and traces internally. I don't think the rail-style case like my larger MiSTer will work at this size, so I'll have to think of something else. I think a bit of creativity with thicker aluminum stock, and milled sections would allow for some counter-sunk holes for side panels to screw directly into the top and bottom. I'm just not sure if I can get the sides tapped for me or not. That's not something that I can't do accurately with my current set of tools at home. (no drill press or mill) I'd like to build these so they look almost like a 1990s aluminum external modem :D (but with cooler front panels) I'll have to give it a whirl once I wrap up a few of my other projects.

What would be really cool, would be to design a new PCB with the IO in the right places, and included on the main board. Unfortunately I've only done (a ton of) analog synthesizer audio-rate PCBs. I've never done anything digital with high clocks, so I have no experience designing that kind of board. The addon boards look simple enough, (quite easy actually) but redesigning the actual DE10 board is beyond my current skills I think. Memory trace lengths need the matching and zig-zaggery for example. Never worked with that sort of thing.

Maybe just a new IO board that puts all the USB on one side, then put the main board against the back panel for HDMI, then run an ethernet extension to the back or something might work.

On another note, I was very impressed that the Super Fami logo came out so well. I used a low-ish resolution bitmap. Due to the small size of the panel it came out nice and smooth. The UV printing handled the colors quite nicely too. It actually looks a bit better in person as opposed to the photo.
 
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Geronimo

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Thanks!

I'm having a ton of fun building these. :D I need to come up with a full case enclosure that's small like these, but protects all the pins and traces internally. I don't think the rail-style case like my larger MiSTer will work at this size, so I'll have to think of something else. I think a bit of creativity with thicker aluminum stock, and milled sections would allow for some counter-sunk holes for side panels to screw directly into the top and bottom. I'm just not sure if I can get the sides tapped for me or not. That's not something that I can't do accurately with my current set of tools at home. (no drill press or mill) I'd like to build these so they look almost like a 1990s aluminum external modem :D (but with cooler front panels) I'll have to give it a whirl once I wrap up a few of my other projects.

What would be really cool, would be to design a new PCB with the IO in the right places, and included on the main board. Unfortunately I've only done (a ton of) analog synthesizer audio-rate PCBs. I've never done anything digital with high clocks, so I have no experience designing that kind of board. The addon boards look simple enough, (quite easy actually) but redesigning the actual DE10 board is beyond my current skills I think. Memory trace lengths need the matching and zig-zaggery for example. Never worked with that sort of thing.

Maybe just a new IO board that puts all the USB on one side, then put the main board against the back panel for HDMI, then run an ethernet extension to the back or something might work.

On another note, I was very impressed that the Super Fami logo came out so well. I used a low-ish resolution bitmap. Due to the small size of the panel it came out nice and smooth. The UV printing handled the colors quite nicely too. It actually looks a bit better in person as opposed to the photo.
Start selling your creations. I’m sure a lot of people would buy.
 

J3RK

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Start selling your creations. I’m sure a lot of people would buy.

I’d love to do that. I need to arrive at a good reliable form factor though that doesn’t have exposed electronics. I’d feel comfortable doing it then.

I sell my synthesizer modules, but they go into racks or other enclosures, so the PCBs are fully protected.
 

bigdogchris

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Does anyone else think audio for SNES core isn't quite right? Not sure if there are known issues with it or any tweaks. I noticed it mostly when playing Zelda LTTP. I have the cartridge version too and picking up rupies on Mister doesn't sound right in comparison.
 

twonunpackmule

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Does anyone else think audio for SNES core isn't quite right? Not sure if there are known issues with it or any tweaks. I noticed it mostly when playing Zelda LTTP. I have the cartridge version too and picking up rupies on Mister doesn't sound right in comparison.
Did you try and up the volume within the core itself?

https://misterfpga.org/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2926

This thread is about audio being low and distorted. The user was able to correct the issue by adjusting the volume of the audio within the cores themselves.
 

twonunpackmule

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Very nice!

I knew it was in the pipeline, but no details about it.

Looking forward to Symphony of the Night on the MiSTer instead of some of the emulators I've played it on.
I just got a PSX on eBay for $20 and bought and installed the XStation. Now, I'm waiting on the HDretrovision cable to come in to test the RGB/Component out. It'll be nice to do side by sides with the MiSTer.
 

bigdogchris

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Looks like a new updater script was released.

https://www.retrorgb.com/new-mister-updater.html

Looking at the roadmap I see this "Configurable custom download filters" - I hope this means be able to choose which cores to download. I feel bad for my poor SD card and all the re-writes for redownloading updated cores I will never use. I'd like to tell it which cores to download and that's it.
 

twonunpackmule

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Looks like a new updater script was released.

https://www.retrorgb.com/new-mister-updater.html

Looking at the roadmap I see this "Configurable custom download filters" - I hope this means be able to choose which cores to download. I feel bad for my poor SD card and all the re-writes for redownloading updated cores I will never use. I'd like to tell it which cores to download and that's it.
Yea, my current suggestion is to buy Sandisk, and just plan to swap the card out once in awhile. Also, make a back up on a HDD.
 

J3RK

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https://twitter.com/AzumFpg/status/1461999881980194823?s=20


Can't seem to figure out how to share the link correctly. HAHAHA! Anyway, its showing the first PSX game running off of SD Card for the upcoming core. It's RIDDDDDDGE Racer!

Nice! I can think of a few games that I'd love to play using this. Mainly 2D ones. As much as I LOVE vintage games, vintage graphics, etc. this era of 2D game is really hard for me to look at. Mario 64, Zelda OoT / MM, and MK 64 are pretty much it. :D

It'll be nice to play Symphony of the Night on the MiSTer though!
 

bigdogchris

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Wow that was fast laxer3a was working on it for like a year. Is this based on his work?
 

twonunpackmule

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Nice! I can think of a few games that I'd love to play using this. Mainly 2D ones. As much as I LOVE vintage games, vintage graphics, etc. this era of 2D game is really hard for me to look at. Mario 64, Zelda OoT / MM, and MK 64 are pretty much it. :D

It'll be nice to play Symphony of the Night on the MiSTer though!
I love the vintage 3D. It's offputting at first, but you do get used to it again. There's a charm to quite a few of them.
 

Armenius

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I love the vintage 3D. It's offputting at first, but you do get used to it again. There's a charm to quite a few of them.
Me, too. They only thing is the rough gameplay mechanics that go along with early 3D games, but the graphics themselves are just fine.
 
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J3RK

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I love the vintage 3D. It's offputting at first, but you do get used to it again. There's a charm to quite a few of them.

I don’t dislike ALL vintage 3D. But it depends on the style for me. For example, I still play System Shock and love it. (System Shock 2 as well for that matter.) I love the flat shaded look of the Tobal series on PS1. For something like say, Wipeout that has a modern alternative (modern meaning past a point where the hardware was ”good enough” for the game style) I prefer that. There are many that have styles that transcend the limitations, but in general I prefer 2D art of any generation or current state of the art (or very stylized) 3D best.

Good game play is good game play though. I do agree with that.
 

XoR_

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I got Mister about month ago and it is my main toy I play with ever since. Mainly playing with Verilog/VHDL source codes to add new features.

Playing retro games with DualSense controller on 15KHz CRT is a bliss.
Cores offer extra features like more sprites, trubo CPU (especially useful on SNES) and choice of sound chips and other options.
HDMI scaler is also great with great CRT filters and only four lines of input lag. On VGA CRT with CRT simulation image looks indistinguishable from SONY PVM and even on LCD and plasma picture is absolutely fantastic.

But what I find most fascinating is that it is open source project with sources available on Github. I can open source and put my own changes. For example for Genesis core I changed sound chip in such a way to get it to sound nothing like YM2612 example making this console not only playable but sound incredible. Sure, emulators allow for the same but personally I find emulation much less appealing and especially emulators source code to not be as interesting even if at times easier to understand what it does.
 
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