FDD+IDE controller and Universal Flash ROM cartridge projects + future Multi-soundcard cartridge

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Door Wierzbowsky

Guardian (3650)

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08-09-2015, 16:36

Behold, MSX fans! The Russian Bear Service Crew (RBSC) presents the FDD+IDE controller and Universal Flash ROM cartridges. As was already announced in this forum, we are currently working on 2 hardware projects with an additional project in mind.

The first project is the FDD+HDD controller with CF card slot and optional RAM. The second project is a universal flash ROM cartridge with SCC and optional RAM. The third project is a multi-sound card cartridge. For the first 2 projects we already have working prototypes that can be seen in this video:


The third project is in the planning stage. We already got some external contributions for the music cartridge firmware. When the first 2 projects are complete, we will put a serious effort into the third one. Below are the images of our 2 prototypes. Please note that there's no RAM on these boards, but in the second revision there will be.

The hardware costs for each cartridge is around 30$. Assembling the cartridges is difficult because of a very dense pin layout of the Altera chips. But with enough skill and patience that is quite possible.

I will keep you posted on the progress.

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Van Grauw

Ascended (10821)

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08-09-2015, 17:13

Nice pics & vid! Smile

Van st1mpy

Paladin (947)

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09-09-2015, 20:32

is the floppy adapter going to have direct pin compatibility with PC drives? (not MSX pin outs as MSX drives are hard to get).
also, where is the ide connector for hdd (or is it just compact flash)?
and does the cf one have the ability to emulate fdd, so .dsk files can be used for read/write and disk swap?

Van Robby

Master (219)

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10-09-2015, 13:19

Nice projects.
How many ram (expansion?) will be implemented, 512 kb, 1024 kb, or.....?
And about the CF, do you consider a dual CF mounting (with master/slave selectable by jumper)?
Or, also maybe an idea: a single CF mounting and a single (micro) SD mounting, also master/slaver configurable by jumper (for optimal integrated interoperability Smile )


Van Wierzbowsky

Guardian (3650)

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10-09-2015, 13:51

Answering to all questions in one post.

The PC floppies will work with the controller, but will support only 720kb capacity.

We are thinking about an optional connector for HDD, but there's a free space problem. We can't fit both FDD and full size HDD connectors. We are thinking of an option - you either use CF slot or install a 2.5 inch HDD connector. However, we are not sure someone needs the real IDE connector these days.

Yes, the floppy emulator mode is being considered, so that .DSK images could be used.

We are planning to have 2mb of optional RAM on every cartridge.

We are not planning to use 2 CF cards on the controller cartridge. There will be only one CF card. With a special CF-to-SD adapter you may be able to use SD cards in this slot. Installing an SD slot will require additional circuits, so this is not an option as the free space on the cartridge will be used for RAM.

Van st1mpy

Paladin (947)

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10-09-2015, 15:12

if the cartridge had an IDE connector, and let the user buy CF IDE converter (even a dual CF converter) then it will be cheaper, amd users can choose what kind of ide devices to attach? (cf, dual cf, hdd, zip, cd-rom etc)

Van djh1697

Paragon (1736)

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10-09-2015, 20:26

Nice Wink Will the cartridge have a covering when completed?

Van marcoo

Expert (112)

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10-09-2015, 20:56

What about the multi-sound cart, is this a cart with all existing sound chips on msx
(MSX-music MSX-audio SCC (+) OPL4) or a complete new sound chip or ......?

Van Wierzbowsky

Guardian (3650)

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11-09-2015, 11:10

The cartridges fit into the modern cases that are used by, for example, Wozblaster. But we are not going to sell those.

The sound cartridge is not being developed at the moment. There's no OPL4 version of the VHDL as far as we know, so it will be quite difficult to support it. We are thinking about devices to support with the cartridge at the moment. But the more sound cards we need to support, the more expensive the manufacturing and components will become (as we will need more expensive and more powerful Alteras).

Van Wierzbowsky

Guardian (3650)

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11-09-2015, 11:15

Metal Gear 2 test on new Flash ROM cartridge with SCC sound:


Van Wierzbowsky

Guardian (3650)

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14-09-2015, 16:57

Testing the flash ROM cartridge with 2 megabyte game:


As far as I know MegaflashROM does not run this game properly. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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