Lego 1093 Interface A

This is another project. I purchased this kit from Ebay and it dates around 1986 and would be used with an original BBC Microcomputer to interface it with Lego motors and sensors. The kits are fairly easy to get hold of and Ebay still sells sensors and motors but the kit has no software and/or instructions.

I have a BBC Micro but need to get hold of the software. There are some Lego fan sites with at least one selling the software but for £400+.

I spoke with Lego who cant help me and have just emailed someone at the Centre for Computing History who apparently have a complete kit in storage box 130. I’m hoping they can help me with copies/code examples/instructions etc as it would be nice to get this old kit working again.

Once working with the BBC, I would also like to see if its possible to get it working with something more modern like a raspberry Pi.

Lets see what their response is……

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Arcade Machine Project Part 1

This is the start of another arcade machine project inspired by something similar I saw being sold on Ebay. It was an arcade system using Jamma or Raspberry Pi made using recycled wood.

I found someone selling old pallets on Ebay for a £1 in Slough and bought 3 thinking this should be more than enough wood for the job. The intention is to break up the pallets into strips of wood, remove any nails and then sand and varnish. I will then cut the wood to make a table top arcade machine big enough for a at least a 19″ TFT monitor or whatever else I can scrounge. I will buy some arcade joystick, buttons, speakers and then I haven’t yet decided whether I go down the usual Raspberry Pi route or with some sort of Jamma/MAME system, perhaps even one of the Pandora boxes that come with hundreds of game ROM’s already built in and can be bought cheaply from Ebay sellers?

Total cost to date £3 for pallets

More to follow…

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Sunfounder DIY Arcade Kit

I first saw these online some time ago but they have been out of stock or quite expensive to get hold of in the company. Finally, Ali Express had a fantastic deal on and it was actually cheaper for me to buy from them with shipping from the US.

Bought this in January for $35.99. Cheaper than I can get in the U.K. Delivery was quoted as up to 40 days but I think I had to wait for about 10 days so was very happy with this.

This is a kit to make an arcade machine using a Raspberry Pi computer. It comes with everything you need except the Raspberry Pi and the software including:

1 x Arcade Joystick Kit (screws and fixing plates included)

6 x Arcade Buttons

1 x Paper Box

1 x 8G Micro SD Card

1 x Raspberry Pi GPIO Reference Card

1 x Guide Brochure

Several Wires

The box arrived well packaged and already looked funky from the outside. I decided to take this into work and get my students to help build it and learn some maker skills. Beow is what the kit looks like when taken out of the outer packaging. You can see the precut holes for buttons and joystick with the colourful artwork. Although this is just a printed cardboard box it still felt fairly rigid and like it will take a reasonable amount of abuse.

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Once opened there is some foam packing to keep everything in place and momentarily hide the goodies underneath.

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This quickly gives way to the goodies inside. Everything seemed well packaged and in separate compartments to make it easier to identify everything.

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Here’s the contents:

The buttons just push fit into the precut holes in the box.

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You then need to take the four screws out that secure the top plate of joystick so it can be fitted into the top of the box:

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The kit even includes a little GPIO reference board that slips over the pins to help ensure you connect the wires correctly – a nice little touch.

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After this, its time to connect the buttons and joystick together. The Raspberry Pi just sit sin the bottom of the box although we plan to secure it better using some sticky pads of some kind.

 

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And the finished hardware setup..

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Follow this guide for downloading and installing RetroPie onto the free SD card supplied with the kit. Don’t forget you will need an SD card reader/writer and Etcher installed on a PC to write the RetroPie image to the SD card.

The kit comes with full instructions to help set up the Raspberry Pi and the controls..

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I will update the post later this week when we finish the setup and copy some game ROM’s (legalley owned of course) onto the RetroPie setup. More to follow….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kickstarter – Raspad

I think this might be my 10th crowdfunded purchase from Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I have bought a couple of different Sunfounder products in the past to make Raspberry Pi based projects and usually find them excellent although not always easily available in the U.K – see previous blog posts.

Saw this advertised some time ago and as soon as they launched I had backed them within a couple of hours. Considering how many Pi based projects I make in a year, I think this will help me to complete projects in some sort of all-in-one development environment that’s also portable. Cant wait for mine to arrive. I will post an update to this post when mine arrives with my first impressions.

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Gakken WorldEye Globe Display

I bought this on Amazon as a Japanese import with some vouchers I received for my birthday. Its is a spherical HDMI display with built in speaker that I plan to use with a Raspberry Pi based project. It comes with a number of videos supplied on a USB stick for demonstration. These unfortunately are in Japanese.

It cost about £150 in February and is quite large and comes supplied with a 2 pin adapter. I had a 2 pin to 3 pin UK adapter lying around and used this to convert the voltages. It has a built-in speaker and comes with a round remote for navigating its menus. The display is quite readable in normal lighting but looks better in a dim room.

The globe fits into a stand that lets you adjust the display angle.

I will make an update to this blog post when I find time to connect it to one of my Raspberry Pi projects.