HardMPU, anyone?

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby DigitalBrains » 2017-9-24 @ 18:42

gdjacobs wrote:I like those jumpers. Where'd you find them?


Right? That's what I thought! They're from Mouser: 855-M7681-05. They might just hit the next ISA card, though. I haven't actually tried, but it looks close. The obvious fix for that would be to put the card in an IBM 5150.
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby the Goat » 2017-9-24 @ 20:18

DigitalBrains wrote:
gdjacobs wrote:I like those jumpers. Where'd you find them?


Right? That's what I thought! They're from Mouser: 855-M7681-05. They might just hit the next ISA card, though. I haven't actually tried, but it looks close. The obvious fix for that would be to put the card in an IBM 5150.


Ha! The "obvious fix" for an extended jumper rubbing the back of an adjacent card is to install it into a different computer.

"Hey wife, the shifter knob I bought for my 2015 Ford Fiesta doesn't fit. The 'obvious fix' is to buy a 1970 Boss 429 Mustang for me to install it into!"
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby ab0tj » 2017-9-25 @ 14:56

DigitalBrains wrote:Regarding those parts from Mouser, here's some more comments:
  • I count 11 100 nF capacitors, but the Mouser cart has 12.
  • The 33 µF capacitor in the Mouser cart has a lead spacing of 5 mm, but the PCB has a 0.1" lead spacing. Looking at the capacitor, probably the only difference is the way the leads are bent; I just straightened them. A Mouser alternative part would be, e.g., 581-TAP336K010SCS.

Furthermore, some parts were out of stock. Instead of the picoPower ATmega1284P, I got the non-picoPower ATmega1284. The only difference is that the ATmega1284P uses less power. Completely irrelevant for this application.

Glad to hear your board is up and running! I'm happy that this project has been helpful to so many users on the forum.

I had already updated the project to 11 capacitors, but not before you go to it, I guess :)
As far as the 33uF cap goes, I kind of like the lead spacing the way it is because pushing it into the board makes it "snap" into place for easy soldering. One with straight leads could be used as well.
And yes, the 1284 and 1284P chips are interchangeable for this board, I just order whatever is in stock at the time.

Enjoy!
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby mdfrankaudio » 2017-10-04 @ 00:04

Are there game compatibility and/or CPU usage improvements with using HardMPU over SoftMPU? Planning to use either one with a Sound Blaster 16 CT2290 card.
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby ab0tj » 2017-10-04 @ 01:06

The main advantage HardMPU has over SoftMPU is that it doesn't require EMM386. SoftMPU doesn't use all that much CPU so that probably isn't much of a factor on a machine that can run EMM386. Some Sound Blaster cards may suffer from the "hanging notes" bug whereas this is not a problem with HardMPU. Compatibility should be nearly the same since they share most of the same source code. The only difference I've noticed so far is the SysEx delay in SoftMPU makes X-Wing stutter a bit, and that is not a problem with HardMPU. Hard to beat the price of SoftMPU, too :D
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-10-04 @ 01:26

Also, SMBaker ran his HardMPU with an 8088 build. 286s and below are, of course, not viable with SoftMPU.
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby ThunderSqueak » 2017-10-04 @ 07:37

ab0tj wrote:The parts to make kits and assembled units should be here this weekend. I'm going to get one soldered together and test before I start taking orders, so keep an eye out here early next week if you're interested.

DigitalBrains wrote:Could you please post your Mouser saved cart, by way of detailed BoM? I can get parts cheaper than usual, with the downside that it takes a lot more time before I get them. So I'd like to order them.

Ok, the project is saved here: http://www.mouser.com/ProjectManager/Pr ... b6acb4ad1b
Note that the saved project contains everything needed except a MIDI cable to chop up and solder a cable together with, and obviously the PCB.


I am curious, are the kits for this still able to be purchased?
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby derSammler » 2017-10-04 @ 07:43

ab0tj wrote:The main advantage HardMPU has over SoftMPU is that it doesn't require EMM386.

I completely missed that. Now I need one for my Schneider AT Tower (286). Can these be purchased assembled?
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby ab0tj » 2017-10-04 @ 13:43

ThunderSqueak wrote:
ab0tj wrote:I am curious, are the kits for this still able to be purchased?


Yes, boards, kits, and assembled boards are still available, PM me to put in an order. Prices are $15 USD for a PCB, $60 for a kit (everything you need is included, even the MIDI cable, but you solder it together) or $100 for a fully built and tested HardMPU with cable. Shipping to the US is $7.20, PM me to discuss international shipping. Please remember I am not a business so I may not be able to ship your stuff immediately.

I have also been listing assembled boards on eBay because some prefer the buyer protection offered there. Unfortunately I have to charge more there because if you consider labor, this is pretty much the break-even price for me as it is, and eBay charges a lot of fees. I'm just "selling a bit of my time", so to speak :)
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby derSammler » 2017-10-05 @ 09:11

Does the kit require soldering only or is there also some programming needed?
Last edited by derSammler on 2017-10-05 @ 13:14, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby the Goat » 2017-10-05 @ 11:45

derSammler wrote:The kit requires soldering only? Does the kit come with the midi cable, too?


If you scan backwards in this thread, you will find a post with a link to the assembly instructions for the kit. There is a minimal but non-zero amount of non-soldering work required -- cutting the midi cable, stripping wires, screwing on the mounting bracket, etc.

ab0tj's post directly above yours clearly states that a midi cable is included with the kit.
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby ab0tj » 2017-10-05 @ 15:21

derSammler wrote:Does the kit require soldering only or is there also some programming needed?

The microcontroller comes pre-programmed. The kit just involves soldering everything together and attaching the card bracket.
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-05 @ 15:52

Would there be a Wavetable header on there in the future? Out of curiosity. Also, I looked at the diagram and schematics of the card, and it looks awesome, especially the red PCB. Excellent project as well.
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby ab0tj » 2017-10-05 @ 17:52

bjwil1991 wrote:Would there be a Wavetable header on there in the future? Out of curiosity. Also, I looked at the diagram and schematics of the card, and it looks awesome, especially the red PCB. Excellent project as well.

There are no immediate plans for that, but it may be possible in a future version.
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-10-05 @ 18:28

ab0tj wrote:
bjwil1991 wrote:Would there be a Wavetable header on there in the future? Out of curiosity. Also, I looked at the diagram and schematics of the card, and it looks awesome, especially the red PCB. Excellent project as well.

There are no immediate plans for that, but it may be possible in a future version.

Cool. Just want to say, that is a terrific design of the card. I might get one for my K6-2 300 PC since the sound card I have requires SoftMPU to be loaded for DOS games, but they never work in Windows 98SE in the DOS Prompt, only pure DOS. I'm planning on making drivers for Windows 98 for the SoftMPU to be embedded into the OS to play games with Windows, but, I need to find a copy of Visual Studio 97 (version 5) and figure out the correct code to put in for the driver to be installed (Windows 9X uses VxD files for drivers).
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby eltair » 2017-10-08 @ 22:43

I've been using mine for a few days now and it works great. Thank you!
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby ThunderSqueak » 2017-10-11 @ 06:28

I got my new card in the mail the other day, it looks absolutely fantastic :D I should get some time to get it fired up within the next week to give it a good test. Thank you for the quick turnaround :)
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby Ariakos » 2017-10-15 @ 19:45

I just received my kit today. And since I had some free time I soldered it immediately. Not the best craftmanship I must admit but the result seems okay to me. I'll do a proper testing for the card and cable tomorrow when I have more time.

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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-10-15 @ 21:03

Quick question: Is the flood fill around the DB9 jack for the ground plane on both sides of the card? I might end up re-drilling to fit a gameport jack, but obviously not if it will short out a power plane.
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Re: HardMPU, anyone?

Postby the Goat » 2017-10-15 @ 21:13

gdjacobs wrote:Quick question: Is the flood fill around the DB9 jack for the ground plane on both sides of the card? I might end up re-drilling to fit a gameport jack, but obviously not if it will short out a power plane.


I assume you want to use an existing DA15 terminated MIDI cable. If I were you, I would make an an external DE9 to DA15 dongle instead of trying to modify the PCB.
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