Ouya console test

I bought my OUYA console from Game shorty after it was launched successfully on Kickstarter back in 2012 I think. Its an android powered console that allows users to sideload apps. This means you can purchase apps from the OUYA store or other android app providers.

Some apps are free but most require payment straight away or after playing one level of a game. Commercially this console was a failure and I used it for 10 minutes after buying it and its stayed in its box ever since.

The apps and games are ok but I came across a site with guides on how to get apps like XBMC and various emulators onto it. This makes the console more interesting as I can now play games from other retro console like the Sega Megadrive, Commodore 64, Nintendo consoles etc.

Using the Ouya controller can make it difficult to use all the emulators. I found the C64.emu a little difficult at first but after mapping some of the Commodore 64 keys to the Ouya controller buttons helped.

So, step 1, was connecting the OUYA to my TV using the HDMI cable, connect the power adapter and turn on by pushing the small round button. After a few seconds the main menu appeared but the controller did not work. I pushed the small button between the two thumb pads/joysticks on the controller and some LEDS began blinking and shortly after this the controller worked and allowed me to start navigating menus.

Step 2 was configuring the wifi on the OUYA so I can get on the Internet and browse the OUYA store for available apps. The date/time updated soon after this so all good. I already had some apps/games loaded. I checked for available updates but apparently there were none.

Step 3. I came across a site with suggestions on how to make the OUYA more useful. I decided to download and install some retro emulators. This was easy enough.

After this, you need to get some ROM images onto the OUYA and into the right locations for the emulators to pick them up. I had most problems with the C64.emu. I decided to use a USB flash drive which once inserted into OUYA is picked up straight away. You then need to go to http://www.explusalpha.com/home/c64-emu.

Download the BIOS file and put into the root directory of the flash drive and within this folder you need to download the ROM files (as long as you own the original or they are copyright free). I went to https://wowroms.com/en/roms/commodore-64/daley-thompsons-decathlon/127202.html

OUYA c64.emu bios file

Once this is done, you can run the C64.emu emulator, use LOAD GAME and browse to this location on the flash drive and the game will start to run. At first I couldn’t get much to happen but I soon  realised that I would need to set up the Commodore 64 button to OUYA controller key mapping. You can see me doing this in the video:

I’ll do an update to the post when I get some more emulators and games running as well as XBMC.

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Testing the Philips Videopac G7000 Computer

Another computer from my collection for testing. This one has a tatty box and comes with 2 hard wired joystick controllers. One of mine has a broken button which someone has modified with a red switch.

Plugged this into a small TV for testing today and nothing happened. There doesn’t appear to be a power button for these. After tuning in Channel 36 on the TV I managed to get a picture and test one of the game cartridges, 38, Munchkin, a kind of Pacman game.

This console has no serial number that I could find.

Terrible sound and graphics but still great fun and not bad considering it was released in 1978. just need to find my other cartridges for some more retro 8 bit fun.

Blaze Atari Retro TV Handheld

Got home on Saturday morning to find my Atari retro console had arrived. I initially preordered this in March and after at least two manufacturers delays it finally arrived from Funstockretro.co.uk.

It costs £34.99 plus postage and includes some artwork cards and a gold Atari coin.

It takes 4 x AAA batteries. Switch it on and you are presented with a menu of the 50 Atari games that are built in. The screen is small and can only just be seen. Sound is not good but I still enjoyed playing the retro Atari games.

The build of the console is perhaps a little cheaper than I was expecting and disappointing, although this is advertised as a TV console there is no 3.5mm AV cable supplied. I used my own and at the moment can’t get it to display a picture on my TV. I am going to try another cable just in case but it might be heading back to Funstockretro for a refund! Using it with the small screen would not be very practical in the long term. Overall I have mixed reactions at this stage. I will hopefully something more positive to say if I can get it working on the big TV screen.

Update 2/11/18

Have now tried 4 different TV’s and 3 different AV cables that are known good. Cannot get the unit to output onto TV screen. Finally tried pulling the AV cable out of the socket slightly on the handheld and managed to get a picture but no sound. A quick wiggle again and picture and sound but if I push the jack all the way into the socket it doesn’t work. Not sure if these need a particular type of AV cable or this is a fault. I am going to email funstockretro and see what they say. There website doesn’t seem to have the recommended AV cable in stock yet to purchase.

Update 19/11/18

Since my last post, I contacted Funstockretro’s customer support and they got back to me very quickly saying that they did have the right AV cable, it is different to a standard cable and this would fix my problem. I wasn’t convinced but ordered the cable and it arrived a few days later. Plugged it in and it worked straight away. I think they said the polarity of the cable is different to other cables? Happy I can confirm the cable works great and I am now playing the games on a big screen TV.

Vtech Pre Computer 1000

 

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This was a car boot purchase, a Pre Computer 1000 than can run off batteries or a mains adapter. It didn’t come boxed and as usual with car boot purchases is always a gamble.

When tested, it worked. Originally this was sold in the late 80’s to early 90’s for children wanting to learn and use a simple computer. It has a slot in the left hand side for additional cartridges although these seem to be quite hard to come by.

The full qwerty keyboard lets you input answers to questions on a simple LCD screen with various beeping noises indicating activity on the computer.

 

 

Raspberry Pi 3B with new DVB TV µHAT

Saturday morning, we got home and found my new µHAT waiting for me on the door mat from The Pi Hut at £22.99 including delivery.

I grabbed the nearest Raspberry Pi 3B that wasn’t already being used for a project.

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Unboxing the Hat… Not much in there.

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The hat, some standoffs/spacers, an ariel socket, a header extension and some screws for the standoffs.

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Fir the header extension.

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Push the Hat onto the GPIO pins on your Pi. Screw the spacers into place. I couldn’t use the third spacer on my model of Pi as there is no hole to attach. Push the ariel socket into place on the end of the Hat until it clicks and locks in place.

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The guide says use the latest the version of Raspbian. My Pi already had a fairly recent o/s, so I decided to boot it up and do the updates.

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Wanted to find the unique serial number for my Pi..

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Started doing the updates…

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Updates all done, ran the command to install the TV software.

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And it failed.

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So started again from scratch but this time started with a fresh copy of the latest Raspbian image. It worked this time.

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Omce installed, a wizard starts and asks you to create login credentials for the administrator.

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Once the TV software is installed on the Pi, it acts as a streaming TV server which you can access from other computers. You are asked to go to a PC and enter a URL to access the server remotely but this didn’t work. Tried again but using the Pi’s IP address and you receive a login request for the administrator credentials you set up earlier.

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Then the wizard starts for configuring the TV software and channels. I found it fairly intuitive but here is the full guide.

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After the software finds the channels, you click on a TV icon next to one of them and here I am watching BBC One on my Laptop being streamed from the Raspberry Pi.

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Testing a Sega Master System Console

Another console for testing. This was a car boot purchase and you never know if they will actually work or not. You have to take chance that the seller is being honest when they say it works.

As I haven’t dug out any games yet, I could only test this with the built in game, Super Hang On. It is also missing its RF lead so had to borrow one from an Intellivision temporarily.

Below is me not playing Super Hang On very well:

BBC B Microcomputer, Cub Monitor & Cumana Dual Disk Drive

This is another retro console i’m testing from my collection. Its a bit rough but still works. It has a missile command games ROM fitted. The Microvitec Cub monitor still works well but the Cumana disk drive doesn’t seem to want to read disks at the moment. It shows Fault 18 at 0/0 when trying to read a 5.25″ disk.

In the video below, you can see me testing the Missing Command game really badly. Think I need a joystick. Using the cursor keys is fiddly.