Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

General discussions or ideas about hardware.
Aeberbach
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Re: Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

Post by Aeberbach »

Has anyone looked at Trion from a company called Efinix? I saw some retro project using one of their boards and it seems they are available and not _too_ expensive.
ijor
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Re: Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

Post by ijor »

Hi Smonson,
Smonson wrote: Mon May 01, 2023 2:47 pm It's been a rough three years for the hobby, that's for sure! I've been holding onto my last few Max-Vs like they were made of gold. I wonder if the shortage will actually end, or Intel will just go the way of Zilog. All empires fall eventually - and I've read some fairly pessimistic news articles about the company's internal structure.
I'm not sure this has anything to do with Intel specifically. Xilinx parts availability is not much better. Probably the only reason that Lattice parts are more available to the general public is because Lattice doesn't have so many big customers as Intel/Altera and Xilinx/Amd.

Anyway, sounds fun (re) starting the project on a different device family! :) Keep us updated, good luck!
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Smonson
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Re: Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

Post by Smonson »

Aeberbach wrote: Mon May 01, 2023 9:48 pm Has anyone looked at Trion from a company called Efinix? I saw some retro project using one of their boards and it seems they are available and not _too_ expensive.
They are a bit overpowered for a project like this, though. Might be useful for other designs? I'd never even heard of them until now.
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Smonson
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Re: Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

Post by Smonson »

ijor wrote: Mon May 01, 2023 10:44 pm I'm not sure this has anything to do with Intel specifically. Xilinx parts availability is not much better. Probably the only reason that Lattice parts are more available to the general public is because Lattice doesn't have so many big customers as Intel/Altera and Xilinx/Amd.
Probably true. I just checked Mouser and it seems there are now plenty of Intel devices at the bigger, expensive end of the market now, over AUD$50 or so. Even more amazingly, they are stocking some MAX-Vs again (not the ones I need, but close). That must have happened very recently. Maybe they saw my post and leapt into action! :D
ijor
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Re: Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

Post by ijor »

Smonson wrote: Tue May 02, 2023 4:40 pm Probably true. I just checked Mouser and it seems there are now plenty of Intel devices at the bigger, expensive end of the market now, over AUD$50 or so. Even more amazingly, they are stocking some MAX-Vs again (not the ones I need, but close). That must have happened very recently. Maybe they saw my post and leapt into action! :D
Woooow ! Yeah, they surely read your post :)
http://github.com/ijor/fx68k 68000 cycle exact FPGA core
FX CAST Cycle Accurate Atari ST core
http://pasti.fxatari.com
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Smonson
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Re: Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

Post by Smonson »

I've got the dev board and played around with it a bit over the weekend.

From testing it seems that each LC can hold somewhere around 4 bits of data in the form of registers, so with more than 800 excess LCs on the chip, I could easily put a little startup message in there, which would be cool.

(adding this 256-bit bitmap, plus logic to decode it onto the scanline, increased the LC count by about 70)

hello.png
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Smonson
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Re: Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

Post by Smonson »

Haha, just messing around, but it's technically possible to fit the FPGA under the shifter. The real problem would be what would I do when it turns out one of the pins isn't quite soldered. Hot air isn't very good for IC sockets...

Screenshot from 2023-05-22 22-57-25.png
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exxos
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Re: Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

Post by exxos »

Smonson wrote: Mon May 22, 2023 2:02 pm The real problem would be what would I do when it turns out one of the pins isn't quite soldered. Hot air isn't very good for IC sockets...
Video it, and put it on youtube :D
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Re: Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

Post by Icky »

Smonson wrote: Mon May 22, 2023 2:02 pm Haha, just messing around, but it's technically possible to fit the FPGA under the shifter. The real problem would be what would I do when it turns out one of the pins isn't quite soldered. Hot air isn't very good for IC sockets...
Screenshot from 2023-05-22 22-57-25.png
Looking awesome @Smonson
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Smonson
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Re: Sidequest: VGA scan doubler

Post by Smonson »

Just reporting progress on this task... I received my boards from Seeed during the week, and made one of them up over this weekend.

Managed to stick the FPGA on the board without too much trouble (surprisingly)

ice40-soldered.jpg
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The finished board is a little smaller than the previous revision of the mod. I didn't risk making the extra-tiny version yet. The Shifter is sitting a bit weirdly in there because I cut a 40-pin DIP socket in half and rotated one line of pins 180 degrees so it would fit. Next time I'll just stick with the usual "turned pin" sockets.

v06-1.jpg
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v06-2.jpg
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Luckily, no major issues with the board design even though it's my first attempt with this architecture. I got a picture out of it on the first boot-up and I have it working normally now after a couple of evenings of debugging. The picture quality is comparable with the last version with the MAX-V CLPD, bearing in mind my test machine's noisy video output.

v06-3.jpg
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(with scanline mode active)

v06-4.jpg
v06-4.jpg (329.79 KiB) Viewed 1178 times

So I guess this show's back on the road again.
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