Zuzebox PCB – almost there

December 18, 2009

A quick snapshot of the Zuzebox PCB. Its almost there:

Zuzebox - almost there


Zuzebox – at last the PCB is started

November 15, 2009

I finally found some time to start the PCB for Zuzebox (a Uzebox compatible retro-minimalist homebrew game console). I’m hoping to squeeze it all into a 100mm x 100mm board so I can use Seeedstudio’s Fusion / Propaganda PCB service. The picture below only shows about half the components laid out, so I think the final PCB is going to be busy.

Zuzebox - starting PCB layout

Zuzebox v0.30 – an update

November 8, 2009

It’s taken me longer than I hoped to make this small update to Zuzebox (an Uzebox compatible retro-minimalist gaming console). What I’ve done with this update is to actually simplify the design by removing the surface mount components for the USB circuit. I still intend to have the USB interface but I’ve decided to use a plug in USB module instead of a surface mount chip.

The idea is to keep the electronics as simple as possible and to add functionality such as a USB or a Ethernet interface through plug in modules. I’ve updated the schematic to use Sparkfun’s USB module shown below:

Sparkfuns USB Module

I may added another USB module footprint in the future, possibly a FTDI module.

The updated Zuzebox v0.30 schematic (pdf) is here.

Another Anniversay for me – Uzebox

October 27, 2009

Yet another anniversary.

Its a year to the day I first join the Uzebox forums. Check out the cool retro-minimalist homebrew game console at http://belogic.com/uzebox/

I was hoping to have Zuzebox, my Uzebox compatible console, prototype finished before this day but like many things time has not been my friend. But I am still working on it and I ‘ve decided to use standard modules for the USB interface as well as the Ethernet interface.

Zuzebox – A Uzebox compatible retro-minimalist homebrew game console

October 7, 2009

September and the start of October have been a busy time for me but I’ve finally managed at a last to capture to schematic my interpretation of the Uzebox the retro-minimalist homebrew game console. I’ve extended Uze’s design to include a USB and Ethernet interface and also Atari / Commodore 64 / Sega Mega (Genesis) style joysticks / d-pads through a classic 9W D interface.

The USB interface is based on the ubiquitous FDTI FT232 USB to serial UART chip. So far I’ve only connected it to the 644’s serial Rx and Tx and RESET lines but I will investigate if the USB interface can also be used as a AVR programmer as well.

The Ethernet interface is based on WIZnets WIZ810MJ module with a W5100 hardwired TCP/IP Ethernet on a chip. It’s available as a low cost simple drop in module that can be driven either through a traditional address / data bus scheme or through a 4 pin SPI interface. The Wiznet W5100 is used by the Arduino community so AVR drivers already exist to drive the chip.

Finally the Atari/C64/Sega joystick interface is provided by a 4021 parallel to serial chip for each port. The 4021 is used in the SNES controllers so the Uzebox kernel can read them without any changes. The small downside is the Atari/C64/Sega joysticks lack the SNES “Start” or “Select” buttons so I may have to add a couple of switches/buttons to the final design to allow existing games to detect these buttons.

A pdf of the prototype schematic is here. I hope to spend some time on the PCB layout in the coming weeks.


March 26, 2009

Welcome to zuzebox. I’ve always loved building stuff. As a kid I used to love building Airfix plastic models and wonderful contraptions out of Meccano. This love for building things lead me to become an electronics engineer and I hope to write about the fun side of electronics such as the Uzebox a retro-minimalist homebrew game console and the Arduino another open-source electronics prototyping platform. One of the cool things about the Arduino is that you can add shields to it to make it do whatever you want it to do and I’ve got a ton of ideas for what I want it to do I just hope I have enough time.