Son of R-Kade update

October 31, 2015

After five or so prototypes, I’ve finally arrived at a mini cabinet shape I’m happy with. The last few prototypes were made to experiment with the optimum viewing angle for the display, but I think I’ve got that right now.

R-Kade Proto5_4buttons

R-Kade Prototypes
Full size arcade joystick and buttons are a little too big for the mini cabinet so I’ve decided to go with a mini joystick and 16mm push buttons.

One of the design features I’m going for, is to have swappable control plates. I’ve mocked up a couple of control plates with various button combinations as well as a control plate with full size arcade joysticks and buttons.

R-Kade Control Plates
The next step is to cut the cabinet design from 6mm plywood and see how that looks.

R-Kade getting a upgrade

February 27, 2015

The wiring in my Raspberry Pi mini arcade cabinet is getting a much needed upgrade.

I originally build R-Kade for Maker Faire 2013 and its been at various other Faire’s around the country and at eDay for the last two years. It was quickly build out of a bookshelves, old VGA monitor, WII arcade controller and a raspberry pi. The control board was removed from the WII arcade controller and the joystick and buttons wired directly to a prototyping board on the Pi. Unfortunately, it’s this wiring which is becoming a problem and needs redoing.

Rather than just strip out the wires and rewire new, I decided to make myself a better solution and have designed a Pi ArcadeIO board. The ArcadeIO board has screw terminals for connecting the wires to the Pi’s GPIO signals. In addition the GPIO signals have in-line resistors to limited the effects of any short circuits. There are addition screw terminal positions for connecting common grounds for the arcade switches and joystick.

An update to “List of Homebrew Video Games Consoles”

January 31, 2011

I’ve neglected my list of homebrew video game consoles, so here’s a update:

  • www.xcores.orgMy friend Yvo’s site related to the awesome Xmos chip.
  • mikronauts.comPropCade is a self-contained and affordable Propeller platform for emulating old computers (Z80, 6809, etc) and old game consoles.
  • www.retrode.orgNot a console as such but a handy way feeding games to your SNES or Mega Drive / Genesis emulator from your original cartridges.
  •, a Portable Game Development console looking a lot like a SNES controller.
  • www.chameleon-dev.comChameleon PIC 16-Bit and the Chameleon AVR 8-Bit are yet another Propeller based systems this time with the addition of a standard Microchip PIC or Atmel AVR microcontroller.
  • www.fpgaarcade.comA site dedicate to recreating gaming hardware from the past in modern programmable FPGA devices.
  • www.lucidscience.comA beautifully documented insight to designing and building your own classic console
  • www.microvga.coma design offering a low-cost Microcontroller to VGA interface
  • www.ladyada.netA new system from LadyAda offering a 320×240 TFT color display with resistive touch screen.
  • rossum.posterous.comRBox: A diy 32 bit game console for the price of a latte
  • linusakesson “craft”

the original list is still here:

The ZX Spectrum ULA: How to design a microcomputer

December 29, 2010

I’ve been following Chris Smith’s web site for a number of years. His redesign of a ZX Spectrum ULA using only logic IC’s was an awesome achievement.

In addition he’s wrote a wonderful account “The ZX Spectrum ULA: How to design a microcomputer” on the forerunner of programmable logic – the Uncommitted Logic Array (ULA). I was lucky enough to get his book as an early Christmas present and I found it a great read.

Super VDP2 !?

August 29, 2010

I’m pleased to say our good friend Yvo is back. You may remember his brilliant VDP1 (Video Display Processor) video engine for the Xmos and his great Mario demo video. Yvo has said he’s working the specs for VDP2 and promises some great new features. In the meantime check out his VDP1 video engine on the Xcore Exchange.

Maker Faire @ Newcastle 2010

March 19, 2010

We had a great time at this years Maker Faire in Newcastle over the weekend of 13th and 14th March 2010.

My kids, who are almost teenagers, were dragging their heels as we left our parked car, totally sure they weren’t going to have a good time as we walked towards the Centre of Life.

Walking up the foot bridge to mezzanine level of the maker faire, you could hear the crackling of the musical tesla coil, then as you reached the mezzanine level you were hit by a wall of sound from the various gadgets and things beeping and booping, the musically exhibits being played and of course the Tesla coil. Their faces slowly changed as they realised there was fun stuff here and after a couple of nervous minutes getting their bearings off they went and for the rest of the day it was like trying to herd cats. :D

I don’t think I saw a single kid, young or old who wasn’t enjoying themselves.

I was finally able to meet up, put a face to a name, with Baggers, Coley, TonyF and Leon from the Parallax and Xmos forums. Leon was being provocative in wearing his Xmos t-shirt whilst on the Parallax Propeller stand with Baggers and Coley. Coley got his own back by having on display a Xmos XC-1 board with a “powered by propeller” label stuck over the Xmos chip. Good nature ribbing :)

I had a great chat with John Honniball about his UK101’s he was displaying (I wish I had one for my collection of retro computers ;) ) and his Arduino music synthesiser.

We met up with Jim and Kat from Sonodrome who were showing off their PSOC (pocket oscillator) and Tubby amps. On Sunday Jim help Sid build his own PSOC. He took it to school for a show and tell and his teacher and class loved it. His teacher was especially impressed that Haydn had soldered it all himself (with a little help).

Abs, not to be left out, spent the afternoon building a mignonette handheld LED game at the Maker table with a little help from me.

Leon has posted some pictures from the faire:

Jim and Kat from sonodrome have also posted some pictures:

and Jonathan Street has a nice write up here:

X-DTV – Preliminary schematic and PCB v0.42

January 7, 2010

X-DTV is a project I’ve been working on with Yvo of The idea is to make a XS1-L1 64 based retro-minimalist homebrew game console similar in concept to the Uzebox and Zuzebox.

Like the X-One before it, X-DTV will use Yvo’s VDP video engine but instead of driving a VGA output it will drive a NTSC TV output. We hope to get PAL TV as well but the 35.46895MHz oscillators have proven difficult to get a hold off (If anyone know where we can get them off the shelve without a large MOQ then drop me a comment).

The X-DTV’s specification is:

  • XS1-L1 64 internally clocked to 400MHz with 64K RAM.
  • 5-bit R-2R Video DAC for driving NTSC
  • 2x NES or SNES D-PAD connectors
  • SD Card interface
  • Stereo PWM audio
  • XTAG-2 Interface
  • 2x 5-way XLINK for expansion

The latest (not quite complete) PCB is below:

A PDF of the schematic is here.


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