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TinyLlama (Vortex86EX SBC)

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Reply 360 of 384, by tabm0de

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Eivind wrote on 2023-01-20, 06:10:
tabm0de wrote on 2023-01-19, 07:54:
Eivind wrote on 2023-01-19, 06:19:

The 2.1 version, but there are no changes from 1.1 -> 2.1 that should affect performance or compatibility.

I just wanted asked due to the power problem you had before 😉

Oh, yeah no that was one of the adapters not playing nice. The SM750 card seems stable enough.

Ah, are we talking about chamsys purchase that is playing nice? 😜
at least i hope you mean that one as i bought 5 of them haha

naa, nothing yet...

Reply 361 of 384, by Eivind

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I finished adding all the components to the 2.1 board, everything seems to be working nicely.
Also whipped up a case using my newly acquired Jessie filament (borrowing heavily from Aaron707's design).

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TinyLlama SBC, Github page

Reply 362 of 384, by Jarrad

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Dang that new board is looking great

My SM750’s just arrived (almost a full month since they arrived in the country… new record 🤣)

I haven’t had a chance to play with them yet, stats you guys have posted are looking good

While I was waiting patiently for the SM750’s to arrive, I made the kids a controller… well attempted too (see attached)

Long story short, I have managed to get the RP2040 to act as a USB 1.1 keyboard, mapping gpio to key press and releases fine; however the TinyLlama when it boots with 2x keyboards, seems to select the last one, and stops the first from working 🤣

I have yet to even look at the BIO’s around the USB, and with the rev2.1 board coming soon, maybe pointless to going further, but figured I’d post about and see if anyone had thoughts

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Reply 364 of 384, by Eivind

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Xargon321 wrote on 2023-01-21, 05:35:

is there a link so we can get 2.1 boards?

Here's what's left before I'm ready to release the 2.1 board:

  • Do some more testing of the hardware
  • Give Windows 98 another shot and test compatibility
  • Make a new github repo with updated documentation
Xargon321 wrote on 2023-01-21, 05:35:

is there a advantage to having 2.1 vs 1.1?

New features/improvements over 1.1:

  • USB-C connector for power
  • Soft-latching power button (press once for on, press again for off)
  • Pin headers for connecting external buttons (for panel mounting)
  • 2 extra USB Type A ports for connecting HID-compliant keyboard and mice, going through rasteri's HIDman (CH559 chip) and being presented to the system as proper PS/2 devices. This works way better than having SeaBIOS do the USB->PS/2 emulation, and increases compatibility greatly
  • All USB Type A ports have bulk capacitors on their VUSB lines, for potentially better stability of connected USB devices
  • Wemos D1 mini ESP8266 module that can be used either as a Hayes-compatible modem over WiFi, or as a SLIP device for Ethernet over WiFi

Bug fixes:

  • Serial TX LED is now properly off when inactive
  • The MAX3243 (UART-to-RS232) has its auto-powerdown feature turned off, making certain serial mice not crap out anymore

Schematics, layout and gerbers will be made available for people wanting to modify or make their own board - but this time I'll also be making and selling some boards ready to go (no assembly required) instead of DIY-kits as I did for version 1.1.

TinyLlama SBC, Github page

Reply 365 of 384, by Eivind

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...forgot to post a photo of the backside of the assembled board:

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Reply 366 of 384, by Deksor

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There's something I was thinking of doing for those who have a rev 1.1 board : some card that would sit in-between the 86duino board and the motherboard that would get the PS/2 signals and also connect to the second serial port to connect the hidman and an ESP8266. I'm very new to kicad (only made one thing with it which turned out to be a failure) but I've been wanting to learn for a while and I think it'd be a great start as it's not super hard either (the hardest part is probably making sure there's enough clearance for everything).

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit The retro web - Project's thread The Retro Web project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 367 of 384, by Eivind

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Deksor wrote on 2023-01-21, 14:03:

There's something I was thinking of doing for those who have a rev 1.1 board : some card that would sit in-between the 86duino board and the motherboard that would get the PS/2 signals and also connect to the second serial port to connect the hidman and an ESP8266. I'm very new to kicad (only made one thing with it which turned out to be a failure) but I've been wanting to learn for a while and I think it'd be a great start as it's not super hard either (the hardest part is probably making sure there's enough clearance for everything).

Don't wanna poop on your idea or anything, but what would be the motivation for this? Saving money?
I guess it could technically be done, you'd have these obstacles to overcome:

  • Finding the appropriate female connector (2 row, 64 pos, 1.27mm pitch, 1.8mm mating length)
  • Fitting the D1 Mini. I think there might be room to the "right" of the SOM connector, that would be above (z-wise) the crystal chip and below the Pi. Would be a tight fit... Alternatively "under" (y axis) the SOM connector?
  • Deciding where to put another (stacked?) USB connector on the adapter board. Would be the whole assembly a good bit taller.

In any case, like you said - a reasonable starting point for getting into PCB design, sure! 😀

TinyLlama SBC, Github page

Reply 368 of 384, by Deksor

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Saving money could be a motivation (though that may not be as cost saving as one would expect if I have to go through many revisions), but also simply not generating more ewaste and having to trash something that would be otherwise be 100% functional and that can simply (and cleanly) be improved.

I've already thought at these obstacles

For the connector, I found this : https://fr.farnell.com/en-FR/samtec/clp-132-0 … 27mm/dp/2779412

Now it's unavailable at the moment (mouser has some though), but I think I can also just buy these
https://fr.farnell.com/en-FR/samtec/clp-120-0 … 27mm/dp/2779410
https://fr.farnell.com/en-FR/samtec/clp-112-0 … 27mm/dp/2779408
and combine them together.
(not many in stock though, but there are probably other sources)

For the fit, yes that's pretty much the ideas I had, haven't started designing anything yet. I'll have to take proper measurements but to my eyes I think it could fit.

For the USB port, maybe it could be put above the I2C connector (that one will have to be swapped by a angled connector/bent inwards... Or maybe it could be used for stability and re-routed elsewhere on the new pcb ?)

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit The retro web - Project's thread The Retro Web project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 369 of 384, by Eivind

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Deksor wrote on 2023-01-21, 15:51:
Saving money could be a motivation (though that may not be as cost saving as one would expect if I have to go through many revis […]
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Saving money could be a motivation (though that may not be as cost saving as one would expect if I have to go through many revisions), but also simply not generating more ewaste and having to trash something that would be otherwise be 100% functional and that can simply (and cleanly) be improved.

I've already thought at these obstacles

For the connector, I found this : https://fr.farnell.com/en-FR/samtec/clp-132-0 … 27mm/dp/2779412

Now it's unavailable at the moment (mouser has some though), but I think I can also just buy these
https://fr.farnell.com/en-FR/samtec/clp-120-0 … 27mm/dp/2779410
https://fr.farnell.com/en-FR/samtec/clp-112-0 … 27mm/dp/2779408
and combine them together.
(not many in stock though, but there are probably other sources)

For the fit, yes that's pretty much the ideas I had, haven't started designing anything yet. I'll have to take proper measurements but to my eyes I think it could fit.

For the USB port, maybe it could be put above the I2C connector (that one will have to be swapped by a angled connector/bent inwards... Or maybe it could be used for stability and re-routed elsewhere on the new pcb ?)

Cool, looking forward to seeing what you'll be able to make! 😀
Btw, I found this female connector in stock on Digikey, I think it should also work.

TinyLlama SBC, Github page

Reply 370 of 384, by Xargon321

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ooh put me down for one of those! does 2.1 still have the oled header?

Eivind wrote on 2023-01-21, 09:35:
Here's what's left before I'm ready to release the 2.1 board: […]
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Xargon321 wrote on 2023-01-21, 05:35:

is there a link so we can get 2.1 boards?

Here's what's left before I'm ready to release the 2.1 board:

  • Do some more testing of the hardware
  • Give Windows 98 another shot and test compatibility
  • Make a new github repo with updated documentation
Xargon321 wrote on 2023-01-21, 05:35:

is there a advantage to having 2.1 vs 1.1?

New features/improvements over 1.1:

  • USB-C connector for power
  • Soft-latching power button (press once for on, press again for off)
  • Pin headers for connecting external buttons (for panel mounting)
  • 2 extra USB Type A ports for connecting HID-compliant keyboard and mice, going through rasteri's HIDman (CH559 chip) and being presented to the system as proper PS/2 devices. This works way better than having SeaBIOS do the USB->PS/2 emulation, and increases compatibility greatly
  • All USB Type A ports have bulk capacitors on their VUSB lines, for potentially better stability of connected USB devices
  • Wemos D1 mini ESP8266 module that can be used either as a Hayes-compatible modem over WiFi, or as a SLIP device for Ethernet over WiFi

Bug fixes:

  • Serial TX LED is now properly off when inactive
  • The MAX3243 (UART-to-RS232) has its auto-powerdown feature turned off, making certain serial mice not crap out anymore

Schematics, layout and gerbers will be made available for people wanting to modify or make their own board - but this time I'll also be making and selling some boards ready to go (no assembly required) instead of DIY-kits as I did for version 1.1.

Reply 371 of 384, by Eivind

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Xargon321 wrote on 2023-01-21, 16:15:

ooh put me down for one of those! does 2.1 still have the oled header?

Yes, it does. You can see it in one of the photos I posted, right above the Pi. I just didn't want to use the oled screen for my own case - it's pretty and nice and all, but for me it sort of ruins the oldskool case feel with the beige colors and everything! 😁 As we say in Norway: "smaken er som baken".

TinyLlama SBC, Github page

Reply 372 of 384, by Xargon321

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there was plenty of cases back in the day that had mhz displays 😜 next addition a turbo button 🤣

Eivind wrote on 2023-01-21, 16:20:
Xargon321 wrote on 2023-01-21, 16:15:

ooh put me down for one of those! does 2.1 still have the oled header?

Yes, it does. You can see it in one of the photos I posted, right above the Pi. I just didn't want to use the oled screen for my own case - it's pretty and nice and all, but for me it sort of ruins the oldskool case feel with the beige colors and everything! 😁 As we say in Norway: "smaken er som baken".

Reply 373 of 384, by Eivind

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Xargon321 wrote on 2023-01-21, 16:41:

there was plenty of cases back in the day that had mhz displays 😜 next addition a turbo button 🤣

7-segment LED displays, yes. Dot-matrix OLED displays, no. 😉

TinyLlama SBC, Github page

Reply 374 of 384, by Eivind

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Made a new case bottom part with mounted VGA connector - no more dangly bits! 😀

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Reply 376 of 384, by Eivind

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Xargon321 wrote on 2023-01-23, 01:25:

can you have the top half have room for a oled screen?

Yeah I believe there's plenty of room on the top right side of the case front for the oled display, if one were so inclined.

TinyLlama SBC, Github page

Reply 377 of 384, by Aaron707

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The new board and case looks great! Its the complete package now. Looking forward trying both out.

I tried out a bunch of different PCI graphics cards for fun. A few worked OK and some had the exact same freezing issue with 640x480 and above resolution in games like quake and duke3d that I saw on the ASpeed mPcie card. The PCI card that worked best was a S3 DX 4mB. Worked with everything really well. So that would be my choice if there is ever a big llama. But the main point of this PC is to be small and power efficient so I swapped back to the VortexVGA card. It matches the performance of the cpu pretty well. Question, do you think the video BIOS for the VortexVGA is at all interfering with other cards that have their own video BIOS built-in? If so would adding a disable option in the BIOS options be possible?

Reply 378 of 384, by Eivind

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Aaron707 wrote on 2023-01-25, 01:01:

The new board and case looks great! Its the complete package now. Looking forward trying both out.

I tried out a bunch of different PCI graphics cards for fun. A few worked OK and some had the exact same freezing issue with 640x480 and above resolution in games like quake and duke3d that I saw on the ASpeed mPcie card. The PCI card that worked best was a S3 DX 4mB. Worked with everything really well. So that would be my choice if there is ever a big llama. But the main point of this PC is to be small and power efficient so I swapped back to the VortexVGA card. It matches the performance of the cpu pretty well. Question, do you think the video BIOS for the VortexVGA is at all interfering with other cards that have their own video BIOS built-in? If so would adding a disable option in the BIOS options be possible?

For older games, the Vortex86VGA is pretty good! Reasonably cheap and power-efficient. For more demanding games (Quake-era stuff), SM750-based Mini PCIe cards are way faster, while keeping the tiny physical size. They're usually pretty expensive though, because they're almost always sold as industrial components.

When testing my SM750 card, I experimented with removing the Vortex86VGA VBIOS from the SOM's ROM - didn't make any difference. I think the BIOS will pick the graphics card's VBIOS if present. Also, I don't really think the graphics card would work at all if paired with the wrong VBIOS. As an aside - my SM750 card's VBIOS came with a horrible font set, but I managed to swap that out with the "standard" IBM PC font from my BIOS during boot (INT 10h, AX=1110h, for those interested).

I'll be getting my hands on a Voodoo 3 PCI card hopefully tomorrow, curious to see how that'll perform in combination with the Vortex86EX and the PI7C9X118 bridge...

TinyLlama SBC, Github page

Reply 379 of 384, by rasteri

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Eivind wrote on 2023-01-25, 09:27:

I'll be getting my hands on a Voodoo 3 PCI card hopefully tomorrow, curious to see how that'll perform in combination with the Vortex86EX and the PI7C9X118 bridge...

I am very interested to see how/if 3D accelerated games work 😀

I did manage to get Windows 98 working on my EX but I can't remember how or how long it took