Nowind Interface Ready

by Sky_hawk on 03-06-2008, 09:57
Topic: Hardware
Languages:

Jan Wilmans and Aaldert Dekker have launched a new website on which they announce the completion of the first batch of Nowind Interfaces. Development of the interface started almost three years ago. After having developed several prototypes development slowed down to a point where it almost stopped. Last weekend the first batch was finally assembled.

The Nowind Interface is an MSX cartridge that allows you to connect your Windows, Mac or Linux based PC to an MSX computer using a USB connection. The cartridge has a built-in 512kB flashrom with a modified diskrom. This allows you to do the following:

  • use disk images on your PC harddisk as disks on your MSX
  • access files on your PC harddisk directly on your MSX
  • access any media connected to you PC on your MSX
  • FAT16 support for accessing MSX harddisk images
  • load 16/32/48kB ROM into your MSX
  • BASIC device to access files on PC ( open#1, print#1, load "now:autoexec.bas" )
  • fast datarate (similar to MSXIDE)
  • develop your own applications with access to the PC

Nowind has been tested on several MSX1- and MSX2 machines. 7MHz and turbo-R configurations have not been tested as the team did not have access to this hardware. The flashrom contains both MSXDOS1 and MSXDOS2. The unused memory in the flashrom can be configured as a romdisk. The price of the interface, not including shipping, is €70. The firmware is upgradeable and fully open-source. All sources are available at sourceforce.

Future plans for firmware extentions are:

  • Turbo-R support (now untested)
  • internet support on MSX like
  • _disk( "http://some.server.fi/pub/MSX/nicedisk.dsk" )
  • _download( "http://some.server.fi/pub/MSX/nicepic.ge5" )
  • redirect PC keyboard to MSX and vice versa
  • compression for romdisk

Relevant link: Nowind

Comments (27)

By Manuel

Ascended (15528)

Manuel's picture

03-06-2008, 10:18

Cooool! Smile

By Sama

Ambassador (2060)

Sama's picture

03-06-2008, 11:32

I guess it has to be "use disk images on your PC harddisk as disks on your MSX"? Smile. Anyway, congratulations!

By ro

Guardian (4093)

ro's picture

03-06-2008, 12:09

Very nifty!
now, I'd be glad to take a test run on my tR Smile

By Sky_hawk

Champion (267)

Sky_hawk's picture

03-06-2008, 13:52

You're quite right rikusu, could you correct it? Smile I can't...

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9762)

wolf_'s picture

03-06-2008, 13:58

*fixed* Hannibal

By jltursan

Prophet (2129)

jltursan's picture

03-06-2008, 14:25

Nice! Smile

Do you have plans to sell a second batch outside the netherlands?, if so, when?

One more question, about the load of ROM images, is as easy as to copy files from command line or you need some kind of GUI assisted software?

Btw, is the case a Sunrise one?, seems too big for such a small PCB... Sad.

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5389)

JohnHassink's picture

03-06-2008, 15:44

access any media connected to you PC on your MSX

I'm not a PC. What to do? Tongue

By PingPong

Prophet (3328)

PingPong's picture

03-06-2008, 19:39

A BIG YAY!

By djh1697

Paragon (1397)

djh1697's picture

03-06-2008, 21:26

Looks good! I will probably purchase one when the problem about 720k disk images and fitting them into a 512k FlashROM is resolved. Is it more useful then the MegaFlashROM who knows, the latter does have the SCC though Wink

By Sama

Ambassador (2060)

Sama's picture

04-06-2008, 01:38

Sky_hawk: I'm a little bit disappointed that you didn't visit me to test the device on a Turbo R WinkTongue.

By RobertVroemisse

Paragon (1232)

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04-06-2008, 10:14

Me too... Eek!

By Sky_hawk

Champion (267)

Sky_hawk's picture

04-06-2008, 18:32

Hehe, sorry guys, I don't know if you would be so eager to risk your Turbo-R's if you'd have seen what previous experiments did to my 8250 Smile
BUT, I hope to make it up to you by organizing a (msx?) bbq in august when my new home is finshed Smile

By Sky_hawk

Champion (267)

Sky_hawk's picture

04-06-2008, 18:34

Hey djh1697, maybe we can fix you up with a custom nowind interface with 1024 Kb flashrom?
I don't know what they cost but let me know if you are interested?

By RobertVroemisse

Paragon (1232)

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05-06-2008, 08:59

Yeah!!!!!! Let there be burned meat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9762)

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05-06-2008, 16:35

Just a thought: would it also be possible to just send any kind of signal from a PC to an MSX?

Something to consider: make an enhanced tracker with outstanding navigation on PC, send trackerdata to an MSX using nowind, and the MSX does the playback/player bit by having some kinda receiver running alongside the PC with tracker.

By hap

Paragon (2020)

hap's picture

05-06-2008, 17:13

That should already be possible, with a (slow?) workaround, by communicating via files on the disk.
How can we order/preorder? I sent a mail a few minutes ago through the "Contact" section on the site, is that the correct way?

*edit* woops, my eyes ignored the "Order" section on the site Tongue

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9762)

wolf_'s picture

05-06-2008, 17:23

you don't want to test a song from a PC tracker using disks Tongue

By hap

Paragon (2020)

hap's picture

05-06-2008, 18:57

something like this:
- MSX constantly polls for specific file on virtual nowind disk (eg. message.txt)
- PC saves song in MSX format to disk image
- PC sets message in disk image
- MSX loads message, deletes it as acknowledgement, and plays song
- if playing stops, goto 10

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9762)

wolf_'s picture

05-06-2008, 20:09

Would it be fast enough for instrument-designing and keypress/note auditioning without 'latency'? Besides, while use files, is it really not possible to send some event-kinda thing over nowind to some receiver app? Could just be a 2 bytes per event, one to tell us there's an event, and one data byte.

By Manuel

Ascended (15528)

Manuel's picture

05-06-2008, 20:59

For years I've been wanting to make a backup of my 1GB SCSI disk of my MSX. What would be the best way to do that with this beast? I'm using a Novaxis SCSI interface on my turboR.

By HansO

Paladin (672)

HansO's picture

06-06-2008, 20:50

This is a fantastic device! What it is now is a replacement for a floppy disk and a hard disk interface! Your PC becomes the disk drive for the MSX. The perfect way to exchange files.

And with some additionial programming it can be a lot more! Being opensource it is possible for everyone.

Get one, this is the best thing in years for MSX!

By MicroTech

Champion (384)

MicroTech's picture

12-06-2008, 10:38

This interface is a real "must" for cross-developers who must use real hardware (e.g. for 1chipMSX)... I find extremely interesting the idea of controlling MSX as a target board.
Just a question: is it possible on a Windows host to use HyperTerminal (but also any other terminal program) as a "serial com port" redirected to MSX AUX device Question
(as an RS232 substitute)

By Kwik

Expert (127)

Kwik's picture

16-06-2008, 21:49

I'm one of the developers. We already have hooks in place to redirect aux input and output. Right now when you copy someting to AUX in msxdos, it appears in the logfile on the pc. We will probably hook it to the stdin/stdout of the host application.

By MicroTech

Champion (384)

MicroTech's picture

17-06-2008, 09:44

Hi Kwik, thanks for your reply.
I'm working on the next version of GHIBLI which actually uses stdin for input and a custom "serial device" for output.
Redirecting GHIBLI's I/O to "AUX:" and so to HOST stdin/out seems to be an easily feasible application.
Just wondering: a developer could transfer files and debug programs "all in one" through Nowind... if you are interested I may send you an "adhoc" version to give it a try

By luppie

Paladin (854)

luppie's picture

03-06-2013, 19:28

5 years Nowind. Congratz.

Time for a new batch Wink

By syn

Paragon (1916)

syn's picture

03-06-2013, 21:58

damn you luppie i thought the new batch was ready :evil:

By o.geerdink

Hero (526)

o.geerdink's picture

05-06-2013, 09:31

grrrr me too LOL!