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Newly made PCMCIA sound card

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Reply 100 of 125, by radiance32

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yyzkevin wrote on 2021-04-05, 20:18:
warcraft2 "your soundcard works perfectly" was one of my tests, doom and streamtracker. ST3 I was not getting the expecte […]
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Bondi wrote on 2021-04-05, 19:42:

I like this frankenstein setup!
Are you still sure you can fit all this on a pcmcia pcb? Did you try any real games?

warcraft2 "your soundcard works perfectly" was one of my tests, doom and streamtracker. ST3 I was not getting the expected sound, I think there is still an error in how I calculate the page. I mostly test with sbdiag right now just because it is much easier to start and stop which is helpful during trial and error troubleshooting. I also had one other issue where, sometimes my TSR does not update the interrupt table fast enough and I miss the first interrupt, I am thinking about how to overcome this still but I am not worried, there will be a solution.

having the dissassembled soundblaster dsp code is quite interesting as if it comes down to it I can use some of the extra pins to generate any additional signals I needed with slightly different timing.

it should fit, I am using large chips so it is easy for testing but I make sure the part has a small package. For example the biggest chip there is the soundblaster DSP, during testing I use the AT89S51-24PU which is the massive 40pin DIP, but for the actual card I use the 24-AU which is the 44pin TQFP package.

the same goes for the hardmpu I use the small package for the atmega, all the flipflop chips are soic package that is something like 2.65mm tall, and with those hirose frames there is space for components up to 3.1mm tall.

I dont know if I can route it with 2layer board, but I do not think there will be an issue fitting everything:

1. Soundblaster DSP
2. HardMPU MCU
3. Yamaha OPL3 + DAC
4. DMA Fifo
5 . 4x octal flipflop
6. cpld for address decoding / logic
7. flash for card C.I.S
8. midi chip (dream.fr most likely)
9. timer for gameport

what I do not know about is the analog side and how I will mix these together for output. i was putting that off. will also need some space for passives, and some voltage regulation for the midi chip.

certainly it will be quite busy.

Well, if you find that it's impossible to fit everything into a Type II PCMCIA card,
you can put parts of it in the LXSideCar, which, we still have to design, so there is no limit on the amount of space we can organize for all the extra ICs etc...

Another option would be, once you're setup is complete, you try to replicate it to run on a XILINX FPGA IC.
I suppose, since you're not building a complete system with CPU, RAM, and all the other logic, which would require an FPGA with 100.000 or more gates,
you'd only need a small, cheap, low power consumption FPGA with maybe only 20.000 gates or so... (I really don't know)
and, the beauty of it is that you can keep updating the design and post new "core" updates that add new functionalities, fix bugs or make everything more fast/efficient...
It would also make producing a unit a lot easier as there's only the FPGA, it's support components, and the analog output stage...

Since there's been such a large amount of development going on recently (especially in the retro gaming scene) of game systems,
I'm sure you can find ready to use "blocks" that you can connect together like a general midi synth chip, a soundblaster DSP, OPL3, etc...,
and for the blocks that aren't existing yet, you can create them, like maybe for the HardMPU...

Look at this Mister FPGA Core:
https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/ao486_MiSTer
It already contains the following FPGA cores:
* Sound Blaster 16 (DSP v4.05) and Sound Blaster Pro (DSP v3.02) with OPL3 and C/MS
* High speed UART (3Mbps) internet connection
* MIDI port (dumb and fake-smart modes)
* Extrnal MIDI device support (MT32-pi and generic MIDI)

Maybe FPGA would be the way to go, as there are thousands of ready-made blocks you can use,
and instead of ordering and receiving parcels with ICs and putting them on bread-boards,
you download them and put them into your core on your PC's FPGA editor.

Have you thought of this ?

Terrence

Reply 101 of 125, by radiance32

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There's a company that sells a PCMCIA card that can be configured as a 16bit type 2 PCMCIA card or a 32bit cardbus card,
which contains an FPGA with 400K gates:
https://comblock.com/download/com1300.pdf

So it should be possible to build something like this...

Terrence

Reply 102 of 125, by creepingnet

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I think that all could fit with careful laying out. One thing I know from building guitar pedals and making my own PCB is the actual circuit on an actual purpose made circuit board ends up being WAY smaller than the circuit on a breadboard. I learned this the hard way building a 5 transistor Fuzz - the controls take up more space than the circuit does and that thing does a lot.

I'm wondering how he's testing this on a PCMCIA port, because I'd be interested in tinkering with PCMCIA somewhat as well. This thread is kind of inspiring.

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Reply 103 of 125, by yyzkevin

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I made a breakout/dev board for the PCMCIA port, it has a flash chip and GAL to handle some of the basic logic needed and then has some ports for my logic analyzer, and a header that I can use to connect to the breadboard for testing different functions. I have a couple other pcmcia projects I am working on, this sound card portion has me off on a tangent and I am very interested in the challenge of implementing this DMA patent. Actually it started off hey let me just stick an OPL3 on a pcmcia card, then it was well why not throw an MPU-401 in there too, oh how about an onboard wavetable oh and soundblaster compatibility.

the FPGA idea is interesting, but I think it is well outside the scope of what I am trying to do right now. I looked at FPGA's early on but working in a purely 5V system creates some hassles too. something to look at one day. If you could find a place I could actually buy that fpga board it would be interesting to develop with but I do not believe it is available, I came across it last year. I also have a PCMCIA FPGA board I purchased on ebay but without documentation I could not get far.

Reply 104 of 125, by radiance32

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yyzkevin wrote on 2021-04-06, 19:23:

I made a breakout/dev board for the PCMCIA port, it has a flash chip and GAL to handle some of the basic logic needed and then has some ports for my logic analyzer, and a header that I can use to connect to the breadboard for testing different functions. I have a couple other pcmcia projects I am working on, this sound card portion has me off on a tangent and I am very interested in the challenge of implementing this DMA patent. Actually it started off hey let me just stick an OPL3 on a pcmcia card, then it was well why not throw an MPU-401 in there too, oh how about an onboard wavetable oh and soundblaster compatibility.

the FPGA idea is interesting, but I think it is well outside the scope of what I am trying to do right now. I looked at FPGA's early on but working in a purely 5V system creates some hassles too. something to look at one day. If you could find a place I could actually buy that fpga board it would be interesting to develop with but I do not believe it is available, I came across it last year. I also have a PCMCIA FPGA board I purchased on ebay but without documentation I could not get far.

Hi yyzkevin,

Regarding the whole "Actually it started off hey let me just stick an OPL3 on a pcmcia card, then it was well why not throw an MPU-401 in there too, oh how about an onboard wavetable oh and soundblaster compatibility" you mentioned,
I can understand it's getting a bit complex for you and it might put you under some pressure to get this working, also due to the fact that you're doing it all by yourself,
eg, nobody has come forward to work with you on the project (aside from some helpful posts made by various forum member here of course) so, why don't we, at this point, in order to alleviate the pressure and "unknowns",
why don't we just decide right now on a feature-freeze, how we're going to implement it physically, and we stop adding new ideas or features that keep making thing more complex and stressful for you.
I wish I had the knowledge you have, if I did, I would be working together with you on this, but alas, I'm a mere software developer, and I've no experience with hardware at this level...

I'm also a bit confused at this point if you're still wanting to implement things as originally planned, eg the LXSidecar concept with the PCMCIA card being just the IO connections,
and having most of the actual hardware inside the sidecar box that's connected to the card and makes the 200lx 10-15 centimetres "wider",
or, if you're just engineering a PCMCIA soundcard instead. (just a PCMCIA card), so as to have an affordable alternative to the Roland SCP-55 PCMCIA card which is super rare and expensive to get hold off.
Could you explain what you're current intentions are here ???

It's important that we're all on the same line and that we know exactly what each other's intentions/views are, otherwise problems could arise in the future...

So, assuming we're still doing the LXSideCar idea, Why don't we decide and finalize a complete specification-freeze right now for the LXSideCar v1.0,
and you work towards completing it, while, once you've got the final PCB design, I can step in and help you with the design of the case and the analogue output part: amplifier board, integrated speaker(s) and line out / speaker 3.5" jacks.
Once we've decided on the specifications for the LXsidecar v1.0, they will be final and we won't change anything or add anything else, unless, it's due to a technical issue (eg, you are unable to get the a certain feature working due to some brick wall technical constraint...)
Any other features or ideas to add would have to go onto another specifications list for the v2.0 LXsidecar, and we won't look at those until the v1.0 is done...

So, from my point view, the current feature freeze would be the following specifications:

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Physical device/Enclosure:

* PCMCIA Type II card, which is connected (it's all one aluminium part) to the LXSideCar box that attached itself to the left side of the 200LX through the PCMCIA card going into the 200LX's PCMCIA slot.
Similar to the original 3D renderings I made at the beginning when we created the project a few months ago.
I will try to design the enclosure so that it can be inserted and used in other systems like old laptops or other PC compatible MS-DOS Palmtops or mini-laptops of the late '80s and early '90s...
The card and all its hardware/features should work on a 8086 system, so we can't use TSRs etc for 386 CPUs, like some of serdaco's parallel port based products do (their dream.fr chip based S2P and OPL2/3LPT for example)

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Specifications / Features:

1. One PCMCIA slot, that always works, and is converted into a physical CF card socket instead, so you can only insert CF cards into it, to save space and make the enclosure smaller.
This slot is basically meant to be your system's "hard drive" slot so you can put your 1GB or 2GB CF card in it and have all your software and files at your disposal,
when using either the 2nd PCMCIA slot (see next item on the list) which accepts proper PCMCIA cards, and works when the sound hardware is disabled, or, load and play games/apps from your large CF card, while using the audio hardware in the LXSideCar.

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2. One additional/2nd PCMCIA Type II slot, that only works when the sound hardware in the LXSideCar is disabled, as explained above, this is a full Physical Type II PCMCIA Slot.

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3a: One or 2 small speakers (the kind I purchased a few of, the 1-watt modern mobile phone/tablet speakers. (bought these for about $3 per speaker on element14)
3b: A mono or stereo (depending on if we put one or two speakers in the LXSidecar case) tiny PCB mono or stereo 1 watt per channel amplifier board (found some for $2.95 each on aliexpress)
3c: 2x 3.5" jacks, one on the front of the LXSideCar enclosure, for headphones, and one on the back which is a line-out for connecting to an amp or a set of amplified speakers. To save space/complexity/cost, we could drop the line-out jack and just have people use the headphone jack on low volume instead...

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4a: A Hardware MPU401

4b: A dream.fr general midi synthesizer, that's connected to the hardware MPU-401 (or, if you can find a better solution, maybe another chip that has the same function)

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5: A Soundblaster compatible implementation: an 8bit or 16bit DAC for digital audio output, and an OPL2, 2x OPL2s or an OPL3 for the music part of the Soundblaster. (maybe you can get the Soundblaster DSP + OPL3 working together with the MPU + dream.fr,
so that people can select the MPU401+dream.fr for game music, and the Soundblaster for game sound effects through its DAC.
Several games supported this kind of setup, and there are a decent amount of those that run on the 200LX and similar machines.
I don't know what kind of Soundblaster you would want to try and implement, either one of the first ones like the Soundblaster 1.0 (mono 8-bit 22KHz out) and an OPL2 chip (which is also mono),
or, a SoundBlaster 2.0 which had a mono 8-bit 44.1KHz sound output instead.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just for your information: Here is an overview of the different Creative SoundBlaster cards that were released, prior to the later AWE32/64 ranges:

Soundblaster 1.0/1.5 DAC: mono, 8bit, up to 22KHz output | FM MUSIC: one mono OPL2 chip.
Soundblaster 2.0 DAC: mono, 8bit, up to 44.1KHz output | FM MUSIC: one mono OPL2 chip.
Soundblaster Pro DAC: 8bit, up to 22.05 kHz stereo or 44.1 kHz mono | FM MUSIC: two OPL2 chips for stereo sound.
Soundblaster Pro 2.0 DAC: 8bit, up to 22.05 kHz stereo or 44.1 kHz mono | FM MUSIC: one OPL3 stereo chip.

Soundblaster 16 DAC: 16bit, up to 44.1 kHz stereo | FM MUSIC: one OPL3 stereo chip.
Also had a connector to install a wavetable synth daughterboard.

Note that all these cards are also Adlib compatible (for games that only supported adlib)

Of course, trying to implement the latest of these cards that's possible would be best, and personally, if it's at all possible to have a Soundblaster 16 compatible like feature, where we can play good old CD-quality 44.1Khz 16-bit stereo, that would be a dream come true for me 😀
Personally, if you could manage to get a DAC that supports 44.1KHz and 16-bit sample quality, adding a $5 MP3 codec IC to the board would be awesome, as it would turn the 200LX into a useable MP3 player,
and, since the codec is doing all the work, the CPU won't have much to do while playing music, so it could run as a TSR 😉 But, I'm definitely not going to add that to the list above at this time,
as I don't want to stress you out 😉 So let's leave that for the v2.0 specifications list in the future 😉 (Unless you feel you can add it, it's up to you to decide, you have the final say on the specs list!).

Anyway, you're the person who's doing 99% of the work right now and is designing the hardware, so it's up to you to decide what to implement, my list above is just how I see the project currently and what I would love to see as the v1.0 of the LXSideCar.

So, if you look at the list of features, we kinda discussed here and there in our posts and mails on implementing already everything but the Soundblaster feature,
which is something that you've initiated during the process fairly recently...

What are your thoughts on this yyzkevin ?

* Are you still doing the LXSideCar project or are you currently refocusing on trying to produce just a PCMCIA sound card instead?

* Should we do a feature freeze and make a final list of specs for the v1.0 LXSideCar at this time?

* What would you want to have the list of features look like? Maybe make a list of your own so I can see it and I can modify the finalized feature list of the v1.0 LXSideCar.
Do you agree with my specifications list for the v1.0,
or do you want to add or remove any features ? (For example, you spoke about maybe adding your serial WIFI feature)

* Are you going to continue with trying the Soundblaster implementation? (cause I think you've hit some problems, according to some posts you made a week or so ago where you were asking for some help)

Cheers,
Terrence

PS: I'm happy to hear from the others here in this thread, please post your points of view/features you would find essential or unnecessary...

Reply 105 of 125, by Warlord

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I thought originally all it was going to be was a MPU interface with a SAM chip on it. Alternatively it could just have a sidecar that has a Wavetable header in it and the user could put any wavetable in there they wanted.

I don't think you should add sound blaster to it as it adds a lot of complexity.

Last edited by Warlord on 2021-04-08, 04:14. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 106 of 125, by radiance32

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Warlord wrote on 2021-04-08, 04:05:

I thought originally all it was going to be was a MPU interface with a SAM chip on it. Alternatively it could just have a sidecar that has a Wavetable header in it so you could put any wavetable in it you wanted with the bulk of the chips inside the sidecar to make it easier to design.

You should check out our github page for more information,
we started this project to develop the LXSideCar,
and most of our discussion initially was on the github page...

Read up on our posts there to get an idea what we initially planned and what we're working towards...
https://github.com/yyzkevin/lxsidecar/discussions

Terrence

Reply 107 of 125, by Warlord

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yyzkevin wrote on 2021-02-21, 01:31:

Sorry if this has already been repeated, but has anybody put this hardmpu into a pcmcia card? I saw it contemplated but no follow up.

I am about to do this but I do not want to reinvent the wheel. My plan is the HardMPU and the dream.dr SAM2695 on a 16bit pccard.

good to know I'm just going by the 1st post he made in this thread.
Re: Newly made PCMCIA sound card
Hard MPU with SAM/Dream chip on it.

The 1st post he made before the project started.
Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Again originally the idea was just a MPU with a sam chip on it.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-04-08, 06:08. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 108 of 125, by radiance32

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Warlord wrote on 2021-04-08, 04:18:
good to know I'm just going by the 1st post he made in this thread. Re: Newly made PCMCIA sound card Hard MPU with SAM/Dream chi […]
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yyzkevin wrote on 2021-02-21, 01:31:

Sorry if this has already been repeated, but has anybody put this hardmpu into a pcmcia card? I saw it contemplated but no follow up.

I am about to do this but I do not want to reinvent the wheel. My plan is the HardMPU and the dream.dr SAM2695 on a 16bit pccard.

good to know I'm just going by the 1st post he made in this thread.
Re: Newly made PCMCIA sound card
Hard MPU with SAM/Dream chip on it.

The 1st post he made before the project started.
Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Again originally the idea was just a MPU with a sam chip on it.

I

We started the LXSideCar project about 3 months ago (me and yyzkevin), check out our github pages...
Our original idea was to develop an extension box that allows you to connect 2 PCMCIA cards to an HP200LX which has only one slot.
then, we decided to add an OPL3 chip to it,
and then yyzkevin experimented with and was trying to add an MPU401 and dream.fr GM synth chip to it, and maybe also an wireless serial adapter.

If yyzkevin already had an MPU401 PCMCIA project going on, I don't know... he's got quite a few different projects going on...
Anyways, My big post is regarding the LXSideCar project, not about any other MPU-401 + GM synth on a PCMCIA card yyzkevin might be working on...

Terrence

Reply 109 of 125, by radiance32

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Warlord wrote on 2021-04-08, 04:05:

I thought originally all it was going to be was a MPU interface with a SAM chip on it. Alternatively it could just have a sidecar that has a Wavetable header in it and the user could put any wavetable in there they wanted.

I don't think you should add sound blaster to it as it adds a lot of complexity.

The primary feature and the whole reason why we started the LXSideCar project was to provide 2 PCMCIA ports for the 200LX,
adding the audio stuff came later (first an OPL3, then a hardMPU and dream.fr synth chip, and I'm not %100 sure what yyzkevin is currently doing regarding soundblaster stuff)

Here was the original idea / renderings i made when we started the project (these were just my imagination gone wild and I added every possible option to it I could think off, but the initial idea was just to have 2 PCMCIA slots):

lx-expander-front1.jpg
lx-expander-rear2.jpg

Terrence

EDIT: Anyway, I think at this point doing a feature-freeze and making a speclist for the LXSideCar v1.0 would be a good idea, and will lighten the stress on yyzkevin, who's doing most of the work. (make that nearly ALL of the work 😀

Reply 110 of 125, by Bondi

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Warlord wrote on 2021-04-08, 04:05:

I thought originally all it was going to be was a MPU interface with a SAM chip on it. Alternatively it could just have a sidecar that has a Wavetable header in it and the user could put any wavetable in there they wanted.
I don't think you should add sound blaster to it as it adds a lot of complexity.

I agree that SB compatibility is complex. The more valuable that someone is working on it. There is no easily available solution to add SB support to laptops. Unlike other features: OPL3 and MIDI can be added via LPT port, MIDI also works via COM port with softMPU.

Reply 111 of 125, by creepingnet

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Have not read everything, but throwing my .02 out there....just to see what people think....

I think possibly, if we are looking at reducing/easing the project, the first thing to focus on would be OPL/Adlib compatibility first, that seems like the simplest, least fiddly, and easiest to implement in SMD format so it'd fit in a PCMCIA 16-bit Type II slot. If you think about it. That's one reason I asked about the breakout box because I've toyed with looking into making my own PCMCIA cards, including maybe an Adlib card, Tandy 3-voice, or Gameblaster clone that runs off the regular PCMCIA slot (plus I'm toying with using an OPL chip in one of my guitar projects).

I'm not 100% sure but most of us who are gaming on old laptops who are using the oldest hardware possible, and most likely to benefit from PCMCIA, are most likely to be using 386SL, 486, and early Pentium laptops that either only have internal speaker, or have a WSS compatible chipset like some Compaq/Toshiba/NEC/Zenith laptops have that lacks an OPL Chip. In those cases, Adlib would be a good simple initial card to shoot for because it would fulfill the needs of the vast majority of cases and likely be the least fiddly thing to implement. It would have to be all SMD components to fit into a PCMCIA Type II Enclosure.

Features? Basically start with a basic Adlib card that has either a speaker built into it, or has the ability to output through the internal speaker ala Panasonic CF-VEW or KXL-D745, or the TDK sound cards, possibly based off the same circuit. That way were not having to battle with dongles or ports so much, and guys like me can just slap the card into an open PCMCIA slot and let it be there. The idea is people without sound entirely will have an older laptop from a period when Adlib was the most popular default. Ultima VI and VII, almost all the SCUMM games, anything SCI by Sierra, pretty much anything made between 1987-1994 is Adlib compatible, and those of us with later laptops that have WSS can use WSSXLAT or the built in WSS drivers of the game to get digital sound, while using Adlib for music. If we wanted to add external ports or add complexity, it'd be just one for headphones, and maybe another 15-pin (or less) port for a gameport/MIDI. A side benefit is - correct me if I'm wrong - people who have newer laptops that need Adlib for DOS Titles and may have spotty adlib or no synth at all - ie PII-P4 - then they can use that.

Someone I'm sure will say "why not use that LPT Adlib thing?". That's also an option, but it's not as elegant, and those like me with Docking Stations find it annoying to have to remove that every time we want to dock the machine - plus the whole "sound through internal speaker/PCMCIA card itself" sounds like a winning proposition.

Then if we find that we can cram an Adlib Compatible OPL unit inside the PCMCIA card, we can then add Soundblaster compatibility, or focus on making an ESS688 card for people without any sound capabilities in the next stage.

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Reply 112 of 125, by Warlord

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LXsidecar was never discussed here previosuly and I dare to say that probably majority of the rest of people on this forum were only interested in a PCMCIA midi card that could work on any laptop to play games on, and they wouldn't of used a 200lx for that, owned one, or otherwise wanted to. So I think that is a problem. If what I says is true than who do you plan on selling one to?

Reply 113 of 125, by radiance32

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Warlord wrote on 2021-04-08, 20:10:

LXsidecar was never discussed here previosuly and I dare to say that probably majority of the rest of people on this forum were only interested in a PCMCIA midi card that could work on any laptop to play games on, and they wouldn't of used a 200lx for that, owned one, or otherwise wanted to. So I think that is a problem. If what I says is true than who do you plan on selling one to?

Never discussed before ???

Read the whole thread on it:
*The DOS HP Palmtop discussion topic for users of HP 95LX, 100LX, 200LX and 1000CX Palmtops*

And what about the whole LXSideCar GitHub project we started several months ago,
have you read the many discussions there???

I and yyzkevin started the LXSideCar project after meeting here and making a couple of pages of posts,
then moved to GitHub to continue there. The project was to be a 2x PCMCIA expander box for the 200LX, based on the '90s extremely rare/expensive double-slot expander for the 200LX, that's why it's called the "LX"SideCar...
He even had an early prototype PCB made by PCBWay that slots into the 200LX and has an external 2x Type II PCMCIA slot.
The sound stuff was added later on, we were going to add an OPL3 chip into the box, with 3.5" headphone/line-out sockets and possibly speakers, possibly a serial WIFI interface,
then, yyzkevin started building an MPU401, and ordered some dream.fr chips to try to get MIDI music for games sorted.

There are plenty of 200LX enthusiasts out there (and similar systems) who NEED 2 PCMCIA ports, so they can use adequate compactflash storage AND something like a parallel port PCMCIA card so they can attach COVOX, OPL3 synths to it...
The original double-slot expander commercial product for the 200lx, made in the '90s is so rare and sought after that people pay $500+ for one and they are almost impossible to find...

Anyways, if you all want a PCMCIA sound card instead, I give up, I'm outta here... no point hanging around and wasting my time on the LXSideCar project that has now been changed by popular consensus (it seems) into a PCMCIA sound card I can't use, as i've no use (and many other 200lx/similar systems enthusiasts) for a 386 or 486 only PCMCIA sound card, I'm a 200LX enthusiast, hoping to, sometime in the future, have 2 PCMCIA ports on my 200LX machines, and maybe integrated sound, whatever it may be...

Let yyzkevin respond and see what he says...
But if you all want a PCMCIA soundcard built for playing Quake on your laptops instead, I'm officially resigning from the project.
I can repurpose the tiny speakers and amplifier boards I bought last month to mod my custom GBAs I'm making so that wasn't a waste of a purchase...

Have fun playing quake everyone! 😀

Cheers,
Terrence

Reply 114 of 125, by yyzkevin

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I am working on a couple things and there is overlap. I had intended to utilize this thread for discussion about the PCMCIA sound card per the title and have a few times tried to steer away from talking about the HP specific aspects as that does not have a wider interest here. The "audio" portion of that LX project for all intensive purposes is a PCMCIA card internally coupled with some other functions, so whatever is learned here can be applied there and vice versa. There is actually limited value I think to the SoundBlaster compatibility for the LX, and in fact I think it may even be unusable. I suspect at best it would need to be used in the "Direct DAC" mode which is no different than using the parallel port DAC. The reason being, the lets call it "DMA Emulation" does not offload work from the CPU it actually creates more in that there are more interrupts taking place, additional i/o reads to check registers on the card etc. I was also not sure what the DMA situation was on the HP, although this card does not use DMA for the transfer, it does use the DMA registers for compatibility purposes.

So the current state, I have a working prototype with the OPL3, MPU and wavetable that works as a regular soundcard on the expected ports no special TSR, game patches etc needed.

The soundblaster concept is working as described in the old patent, there was some noise and I was not sure if it was being introduced in the analog side or digital side so I need to clean up my breadboard to do a little bit more testing before I order test PCB.

Reply 115 of 125, by radiance32

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yyzkevin wrote on 2021-04-08, 23:35:

I am working on a couple things and there is overlap. I had intended to utilize this thread for discussion about the PCMCIA sound card per the title and have a few times tried to steer away from talking about the HP specific aspects as that does not have a wider interest here. The "audio" portion of that LX project for all intensive purposes is a PCMCIA card internally coupled with some other functions, so whatever is learned here can be applied there and vice versa. There is actually limited value I think to the SoundBlaster compatibility for the LX, and in fact I think it may even be unusable. I suspect at best it would need to be used in the "Direct DAC" mode which is no different than using the parallel port DAC. The reason being, the lets call it "DMA Emulation" does not offload work from the CPU it actually creates more in that there are more interrupts taking place, additional i/o reads to check registers on the card etc. I was also not sure what the DMA situation was on the HP, although this card does not use DMA for the transfer, it does use the DMA registers for compatibility purposes.

So the current state, I have a working prototype with the OPL3, MPU and wavetable that works as a regular soundcard on the expected ports no special TSR, game patches etc needed.

The soundblaster concept is working as described in the old patent, there was some noise and I was not sure if it was being introduced in the analog side or digital side so I need to clean up my breadboard to do a little bit more testing before I order test PCB.

I'm sorry kevin, but i'm not going to continue with the LXSideCar project,
as I've a feeling most people here are going to influence you and steer you towards developing a PCMCIA sound card instead,
so they can get a cheap MIDI GM Synth sound card instead of shelling out $700 for an SCP-55 on ebay or other auction sites...
so I'm not going to waste my time designing the LXSidecar enclosure, and doing the analogue output, amp and speakers part...
Your the hardware genius, who's at this stage doing all of the work anyway, so I don't think there will be any difference to your advancements with me out of the picture,
and i'm sure you can fully design whatever PCMCIA card it ends up to be yourself, it's not difficult...

Good luck with everything,
Terrence

PS: If you end up not having any use for your doubleslot expander in the near future, would you consider selling it to me ? I REALLY need one to make my videos and do all my 200LX specific enthusiast stuff.

Reply 116 of 125, by yyzkevin

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radiance32 wrote on 2021-04-08, 23:58:
I'm sorry kevin, but i'm not going to continue with the LXSideCar project, as I've a feeling most people here are going to influ […]
Show full quote
yyzkevin wrote on 2021-04-08, 23:35:

I am working on a couple things and there is overlap. I had intended to utilize this thread for discussion about the PCMCIA sound card per the title and have a few times tried to steer away from talking about the HP specific aspects as that does not have a wider interest here. The "audio" portion of that LX project for all intensive purposes is a PCMCIA card internally coupled with some other functions, so whatever is learned here can be applied there and vice versa. There is actually limited value I think to the SoundBlaster compatibility for the LX, and in fact I think it may even be unusable. I suspect at best it would need to be used in the "Direct DAC" mode which is no different than using the parallel port DAC. The reason being, the lets call it "DMA Emulation" does not offload work from the CPU it actually creates more in that there are more interrupts taking place, additional i/o reads to check registers on the card etc. I was also not sure what the DMA situation was on the HP, although this card does not use DMA for the transfer, it does use the DMA registers for compatibility purposes.

So the current state, I have a working prototype with the OPL3, MPU and wavetable that works as a regular soundcard on the expected ports no special TSR, game patches etc needed.

The soundblaster concept is working as described in the old patent, there was some noise and I was not sure if it was being introduced in the analog side or digital side so I need to clean up my breadboard to do a little bit more testing before I order test PCB.

I'm sorry kevin, but i'm not going to continue with the LXSideCar project,
as I've a feeling most people here are going to influence you and steer you towards developing a PCMCIA sound card instead,
so they can get a cheap MIDI GM Synth sound card instead of shelling out $700 for an SCP-55 on ebay or other auction sites...
so I'm not going to waste my time designing the LXSidecar enclosure, and doing the analogue output, amp and speakers part...
Your the hardware genius, who's at this stage doing all of the work anyway, so I don't think there will be any difference to your advancements with me out of the picture,
and i'm sure you can fully design whatever PCMCIA card it ends up to be yourself, it's not difficult...

Good luck with everything,
Terrence

PS: If you end up not having any use for your doubleslot expander in the near future, would you consider selling it to me ? I REALLY need one to make my videos and do all my 200LX specific enthusiast stuff.

well hey sorry to hear that, understood. I am not planning to sell my doubleslot but I plan to complete the replicated "sidecar" in time still, as it is something I would like to have myself and much of the work overlaps this and my other pcmcia projects.

Same as the pcmcia sound card, I started posting in this thread to get feedback and ideas from others. I myself want it, otherwise I would not be spending any time or money on it.

Reply 117 of 125, by radiance32

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yyzkevin wrote on 2021-04-09, 07:43:
radiance32 wrote on 2021-04-08, 23:58:
I'm sorry kevin, but i'm not going to continue with the LXSideCar project, as I've a feeling most people here are going to influ […]
Show full quote
yyzkevin wrote on 2021-04-08, 23:35:

I am working on a couple things and there is overlap. I had intended to utilize this thread for discussion about the PCMCIA sound card per the title and have a few times tried to steer away from talking about the HP specific aspects as that does not have a wider interest here. The "audio" portion of that LX project for all intensive purposes is a PCMCIA card internally coupled with some other functions, so whatever is learned here can be applied there and vice versa. There is actually limited value I think to the SoundBlaster compatibility for the LX, and in fact I think it may even be unusable. I suspect at best it would need to be used in the "Direct DAC" mode which is no different than using the parallel port DAC. The reason being, the lets call it "DMA Emulation" does not offload work from the CPU it actually creates more in that there are more interrupts taking place, additional i/o reads to check registers on the card etc. I was also not sure what the DMA situation was on the HP, although this card does not use DMA for the transfer, it does use the DMA registers for compatibility purposes.

So the current state, I have a working prototype with the OPL3, MPU and wavetable that works as a regular soundcard on the expected ports no special TSR, game patches etc needed.

The soundblaster concept is working as described in the old patent, there was some noise and I was not sure if it was being introduced in the analog side or digital side so I need to clean up my breadboard to do a little bit more testing before I order test PCB.

I'm sorry kevin, but i'm not going to continue with the LXSideCar project,
as I've a feeling most people here are going to influence you and steer you towards developing a PCMCIA sound card instead,
so they can get a cheap MIDI GM Synth sound card instead of shelling out $700 for an SCP-55 on ebay or other auction sites...
so I'm not going to waste my time designing the LXSidecar enclosure, and doing the analogue output, amp and speakers part...
Your the hardware genius, who's at this stage doing all of the work anyway, so I don't think there will be any difference to your advancements with me out of the picture,
and i'm sure you can fully design whatever PCMCIA card it ends up to be yourself, it's not difficult...

Good luck with everything,
Terrence

PS: If you end up not having any use for your doubleslot expander in the near future, would you consider selling it to me ? I REALLY need one to make my videos and do all my 200LX specific enthusiast stuff.

well hey sorry to hear that, understood. I am not planning to sell my doubleslot but I plan to complete the replicated "sidecar" in time still, as it is something I would like to have myself and much of the work overlaps this and my other pcmcia projects.

Same as the pcmcia sound card, I started posting in this thread to get feedback and ideas from others. I myself want it, otherwise I would not be spending any time or money on it.

Well, if you ever complete the LXSideCar as we originally planned to,
drop me an email so i can get one as I really could USE 2x pcmcia slots on my 200LX'es...

Thanks,
Terrence

Reply 118 of 125, by Bondi

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In the meanwhile Mouser has received a stock of receptacle connectors https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Hirose-C … WvkTg40eA%3D%3D
All other parts for the 25 pin plug appear to be available as well
Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Reply 119 of 125, by creepingnet

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I don't see a reason to stop with the project at all if that's what you want to do. It's just confusing because the thread starts with "New PCMCIA Sound Card" and now were talking about a "sidecar" with more stuff to it..

This thread starts with hard1k talking about cloning a MediaVision Wavejammer PCMCIA card from the 90's, so I thought that's what was still being done.

Part of why I've been looking through here the past couple of weeks is I've been thinking about making a card of my own. Nothing fancy, just a simple adlib card. And wanted to make sure I was not wasting my time if someone else was already coming up with something like that that I could just buy or build.

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