Wozblaster, the Moonsound compatible cartridge

Wozblaster, the Moonsound compatible cartridge

by PAC on 16-02-2013, 18:46
Topic: Hardware
Tags: DIY, Moonsound
Languages:

The Argentinian MSX fan Gustavo Iriarte, aka Ciro at MRC and member of the Retrocomputación forum, brings us the Wozblaster, an incredible homemade piece of hardware.

After several unsuccessful attempts to get a Moonsound, first from eBay and later from Sunrise he finally considered the possibility to acquire a clone such as Ricardo Oazem's Shockwave or Jun's Dal So Ri but was unable to get one due to different reasons.

Shortly after, Gustavo noticed that he had the main components on an old sound PC board. So why not make your own OPL4 compatible cartridge? Said and done, with the help of the user Pablo Roldán (aka The Woz), from whom the board receives its name, the aforementioned Retrocomputación forum and datasheets, the first prototype was finished. Later a second version was made in order to get a cheaper board. You can see and hear the Wozblaster in action here.

Thanks to Gustavo who provides all the documentation of the project (in Spanish), you will also be able to make your own Moonsound! You can find more information about the the beginning of this challenge and at the Wozblaster blog.

What it makes this more interesting, is that Gustavo studied film and doesn't know a lot about electronics. That means anybody can create a Wozblaster themselves, so what are you waiting for?

Relevant link: Wozblaster blog
Relevant link: Wozblaster documentation

Comments (37)

By KdL

Paragon (1221)

KdL's picture

16-02-2013, 19:05

like+1 Smile

By Colemu

Hero (531)

Colemu's picture

16-02-2013, 19:10

Excellent!! Big smile
Drat, I only have a OPL3 chip oO

By MsxKun

Paladin (918)

MsxKun's picture

16-02-2013, 19:12

It looks much better than mine Big smile (an old 1.0)

By MsxKun

Paladin (918)

MsxKun's picture

16-02-2013, 19:19

Frak! I just saw the prototype images too... Tons of patience!!

By PAC

Guardian (5229)

PAC's picture

16-02-2013, 19:31

Yes, simply great. I really would like to make my own board... I see that OPL4 IC is still available but where to buy? (recommended site)

By Sky_hawk

Champion (267)

Sky_hawk's picture

16-02-2013, 21:59

Very cool project!

By WORP3

Paladin (804)

WORP3's picture

17-02-2013, 00:02

Dos anyone know if those OPL4 chips are still easy to get by ?

By msd

Paragon (1372)

msd's picture

17-02-2013, 02:14

Is there any ram on this cartridge?

By Retrofan

Paragon (1214)

Retrofan's picture

17-02-2013, 09:42

msd wrote:

Is there any ram on this cartridge?

Yes, it can hold 512kB or 1MB SRAM.

By Retrofan

Paragon (1214)

Retrofan's picture

17-02-2013, 09:52

How much will this cartridge cost? How much boards are made? Can we order as well?
And what about the 27C160 eprom? Does it hold the new MSX-AUDIO BIOS v1.3 which has OPL4 support?
Does it fit a Konami or Sunrise/Pazos case?

Great project! Well done!

By Meits

Scribe (5480)

Meits's picture

17-02-2013, 09:58

Retrofan wrote:
msd wrote:

Is there any ram on this cartridge?

Yes, it can hold 512kB or 1MB SRAM.

And this one has 512kB (see mbwave startup screen in the clip)...

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9767)

wolf_'s picture

17-02-2013, 10:14

I thought the OPL4 has 4 MB o' addressing space? Like, 2 MB ROM and a maximum of 2 MB RAM..

By msd

Paragon (1372)

msd's picture

17-02-2013, 10:15

I guess it holds the 2MB samples, otherwise available in the yrw801m

By msd

Paragon (1372)

msd's picture

17-02-2013, 10:20

You could connect 4MB ram if you wanted too

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9767)

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17-02-2013, 10:31

Yes, which is why I raise my eyebrows with Retrofan's "Yes, it can hold 512kB or 1MB SRAM. "

Afaik, with 2 MB ROM installed it should be able to have an additional 2 MB SRAM, and without the 2 MB ROM that figure would be 4 MB SRAM.

By msd

Paragon (1372)

msd's picture

17-02-2013, 10:55

How much ram you connect also depends on the PCM design . You could still at more but you would have to add some wires and maybe break some traces

By Retrofan

Paragon (1214)

Retrofan's picture

17-02-2013, 10:56

wolf_ wrote:

Yes, which is why I raise my eyebrows with Retrofan's "Yes, it can hold 512kB or 1MB SRAM. "

Afaik, with 2 MB ROM installed it should be able to have an additional 2 MB SRAM, and without the 2 MB ROM that figure would be 4 MB SRAM.

Maybe the OPL4 can address more, but the videoclip shows 512kB/1MB for custom samples besides the 2MB ROM samples on board. Maybe you can piggyback those chips to get more RAM.

By msd

Paragon (1372)

msd's picture

17-02-2013, 11:02

Autocorrect changed PCB into PCM

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1294)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

17-02-2013, 12:51

soldering would not be that hard

but making such a PCb is.......

NICE work!!

By Ciro

Supporter (11)

Ciro's picture

17-02-2013, 19:05

Hello!!!.

The PCB can hold two 512Kb SRAMs (1MB tolal). The PCB can be modified to hold a 2MB SRAM. I didn´t do it because this type of SRAM is hard to find, more expensive, and I thought that 1MB was sufficient, at least for me (even 512Kb).

I bought OPL4s and YAC513s here: Link (Shanna is a nice person, protect this contact).

You can order a batch of PCBs sending gerber files here: Link
I bought 10 pcs twice without any problem.

27c160 holds the 2MB of samples of YRW801 Yamaha ROM. I recommend using only NEW EPROMs (Old stock), I had trouble in the programming of used roms, specially those who has 8 cells (there are roms with 8 and 4 cells).

The PCB has a special design to fit Talent/Daewoo 50 pin expansion bus. So unfortunatly does not fit in a Konami or Sunrise/Pazos case.

I have components to make a total of 20. 10, where delivered between local MSX users at almost production cost . Right now I am making last batch, with the intention to deliver them in next Argentinian MSX meeting on april.

If you are organized, you can make your own local production. A cost of a batch of 20 should be about 33US each board.
All the information you need is in aforementioned link.

:D

By PAC

Guardian (5229)

PAC's picture

17-02-2013, 19:55

Thank you again Ciro for the info.

Quote:

If you are organized, you can make your own local production. A cost of a batch of 20 should be about 33US each board.

Agree, we should think-organize about making a batch, there are a lot of people interested.

By syn

Paragon (1920)

syn's picture

17-02-2013, 21:35

I wouldnt mind a moonsound if its not too expensive.

Would it be possible to redesign the pcb to fit into a sunrise/konami cartridge?

like that korean clone, but I dont know how much sram that one had.

By msd

Paragon (1372)

msd's picture

18-02-2013, 00:36

It also might be interesting to try one of Yamahas newer dacs. Like the yac516. It is a real 16bit Dac with 8x over sampling . Don't know if its pin compatible.

By Retrofan

Paragon (1214)

Retrofan's picture

18-02-2013, 09:08

syn wrote:

I wouldnt mind a moonsound if its not too expensive.

Would it be possible to redesign the pcb to fit into a sunrise/konami cartridge?

like that korean clone, but I dont know how much sram that one had.

The Dal-So-Ri has 1MB SRAM for custom samples.
And yes, I also prefer it will fit a Pazos cartridge just like other expansions do: MIDI-PAC, MP3 player, MegaFlashROM and Dal-So-Ri.

@Ciro: Is it possible to use the 27C160 for MSX-AUDIO v1.3 BIOS besides the 2MB ROM samples? Then the WozBlaster can also be used as stereo MSX-AUDIO Wink

By Ciro

Supporter (11)

Ciro's picture

18-02-2013, 16:24

Retrofan][quote=syn wrote:

I wouldnt mind a moonsound if its not too expensive.
@Ciro: Is it possible to use the 27C160 for MSX-AUDIO v1.3 BIOS besides the 2MB ROM samples? Then the WozBlaster can also be used as stereo MSX-AUDIO Wink

After programming there is no free space in 27c160, and is accessed directly by te OPL not the MSX. That is an issue beyond my knowledge.

Smile

By Retrofan

Paragon (1214)

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19-02-2013, 18:46

@Ciro: that's really a pity. Can't you redesign so it's possible to hold the MSX-AUDIO BIOS 1.3 as well? It would be great it will be 100% MSX-AUDIO compatible. Maybe you can convert ADPCM to PCM samples with hardware as well and add a effectchip if not too expensive. If possible it would be nice if it fits a Konami/Pazos cartridge. But, anyway, you did a great job so far, but maybe it can have even more features Big smile

By Retrofan

Paragon (1214)

Retrofan's picture

20-02-2013, 19:22

The WozBlaster looks great, but another alternative could be the MP3 player of Sunrise which is still available and cheap, around 50 euros. It fits the Konami/Pazos cartridge and it can stream MP3, so it easily can play files of 5 MB. Then you don't have the samplememory limitation of the OPL4 and you also can play MOD, MID, WMA, OPL4, S3M whatsoever if it's recorded in MP3. You only need a mass storage medium to hold the MP3 files. It even can be used as background music in demo's or games! Maybe I'm wrong, but I like the MP3 player device as well. It's already supported with SymBOS.
Don't get me wrong, I also like this project, but maybe this alternative is cheaper and easier.

By Meits

Scribe (5480)

Meits's picture

20-02-2013, 19:23

You can't create anything with an mp3 player... So it's comparing apples and pears...

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9767)

wolf_'s picture

20-02-2013, 19:34

afaik: the MP3-player isn't very suitable for a gaming context, or other things that are heavy and/or unpredictable. It's due to the way MP3-data is sent from the MSX to the cartridge. If the cartridge would have sufficient RAM to store an amount of tunes (say, 64 MB or something) then it'd be probably way more practical.

By Manuel

Ascended (15680)

Manuel's picture

20-02-2013, 19:54

Well, in SymbOS the MP3 player works fine, while SymbOS is also running other programs just fine.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9767)

wolf_'s picture

20-02-2013, 20:23

Question remains what these programs do. Desktop applications won't suffer from a hickup of a few ints, but games should be fluent, smooth, they should feel 'n play natural and constant. Anyway, iirc it had to do with DOS or DOS2 (don't remember anymore), as that does the file streaming, which isn't very constant per interrupt iirc. But all this has already been years ago for me. Ask a game coder.. ^^

By Manuel

Ascended (15680)

Manuel's picture

20-02-2013, 20:48

In Nijmegen, the MP3 player was playing with a WinAmp like symbos app, whilst at the same time, videos were playing, Pac-Man was running, etc. Quite impressive. Apparently, it can be driven without too much overhead, when running from hard disk.

By roadfighter

Champion (388)

roadfighter's picture

21-02-2013, 19:58

How can i get the files from mediafire Question
Do i need to create a account on mediafire before i can get them Question

By Edi-73

Rookie (24)

Edi-73's picture

25-03-2013, 11:48

Hello!

What version gerber-files it is ? and how many layers of PCB is ?
If i understand right, card doesn't need YRW801 chip. 27c160 replaced that chip.
What kind eprom programming-device is support for this chip ?
I want to make own card, but i don't want orders 10 pieces PCB.
Can you sell 1 PCB for me ? Smile

Regards

EDI-73

By msd

Paragon (1372)

msd's picture

25-03-2013, 18:58

YRW801 is just a factory programmed rom. Put the contains in another rom and you are done Wink

By JamesBurton

Resident (37)

JamesBurton's picture

25-03-2013, 20:38

Edi-73 wrote:

What version gerber-files it is ? and how many layers of PCB is ?

I don't know what version of the Gerber standard are the files but any PCB manufacturer will accept and understand them. The PCB has only 2 layers, one layer on the top and the other on the back.

Edi-73 wrote:

If i understand right, card doesn't need YRW801 chip. 27c160 replaced that chip.

You're right, the 27C160 EPROM is used to replace the original YRW801 ROM from Yamaha.

Edi-73 wrote:

What kind eprom programming-device is support for this chip ?

Any EPROM programmer that can write to 16 bit EPROMs will do the trick. The programmer that can be seen in the photos of the 2nd prototipe is the Willem programmer with the 16 bit 27Cxxxx adapter.

By Edi-73

Rookie (24)

Edi-73's picture

26-03-2013, 09:11

Thank's