Zemmix FPGA MSX by 8bits4ever

Zemmix FPGA MSX by 8bits4ever

by PAC on 10-12-2017, 18:44
Topic: Hardware
Languages:

The Spanish hardware developer 8bits4ever, increases its catalogue with the addition of a new MSX machine based on FPGA. The specifications are as follows:

  • 2048/4096 KB RAM mapper
  • SCC+ sound
  • FM sound
  • VGA output
  • RGB, composite and S-Video output
  • PS/2 keyboard connector
  • Two turbo speeds (5.37Mhz and 8.06Mhz)
  • SD card slot
  • Cassette tape input
  • New 3D case design.

If you want to get one unit, please contact them in order to estimate the units to be produced.

Relevant link: Zemmix FPGA MSX by 8bits4ever

Media browser (2)

  • Zemmix FPGA MSX by 8bits4ever
  • Zemmix FPGA MSX by 8bits4ever

Comments (139)

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

10-12-2017, 18:49

Nice design Smile. And good that these machines stay available with new batches from various sources. Really shows the power of open source & open hardware.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9667)

wolf_'s picture

10-12-2017, 19:58

Nice. So, I may have missed any discussions going on about this machine, perhaps what's below has already been asked before. Murdoch

Questions:
1) Can the FPGA (and thus the MSX-specs) be programmed/accessed from e.g. a game (on SD or cartridge)
2) If so: can the factory FPGA-code of this Zemmix be reset from the machine itself (or some boot-SD) in case it's turned into a brick due to faulty FPGA-code?

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

10-12-2017, 20:59

It’s pretty much identical to a 1chipMSX, like all Zemmix Neos.

1) In theory yes, in practice no. I wouldn’t allow such a program on my OCM, too scary that it might brick it, or even cause hardware failure, and too annoying that I would have to reprogram the firmware back to normalcy afterwards. Software developers shouldn’t nilly willy tamper with my FPGA. Besides, we’re not exactly swimming in developers with VHDL coding experience.

2) If you brick it you need a USB Blaster to recover.

By wyrdwad

Hero (617)

wyrdwad's picture

10-12-2017, 21:22

One other question that I didn't see addressed anywhere: can an external floppy drive be hooked up to it, in order to play games off of floppy disk? I know you can always emulate the floppy experience, but you can emulate cartridges and cassettes too -- there's just something oddly satisfying about using real floppy disks, and it would be nice to have the option to use the many I've got.

-Tom

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

10-12-2017, 21:31

External FDD interface should work like on any other MSX. Just like Sunrise IDE, MegaFlashROM SCC+ SD, etc. which use the same standard extension system.

By syn

Paragon (1829)

syn's picture

10-12-2017, 23:00

Great news!

By gdx

Prophet (2056)

gdx's picture

10-12-2017, 23:43

Oh, a Zemmix Neos clone from Europe! Smile
It may be nicer to round some corners at the front.

By KdL

Paragon (1089)

KdL's picture

11-12-2017, 07:36

Is there an improved noise filter or is the audio signal not so good as all the other Zemmix Neo?

https://twitter.com/ocm_pld_news/status/910502760533065730

By gdx

Prophet (2056)

gdx's picture

11-12-2017, 09:49

Neo Zemmix use a filter? I thought that all OCMs did not use filter nor mixer.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

11-12-2017, 10:23

I think the audio issue is about the noise floor (interference from non-audio signals), this can’t really be filtered I think, rather the solution is in the board layout. Might be tricky to deal with.

By Meits

Scribe (4971)

Meits's picture

11-12-2017, 11:51

I wonder if it would be a solution to cut the audio rails en put high quality shielded audio cables far away from the cause of interference in its stead. I once bought an OCM with the expectation to be rid of these audio issues. I was very disappointed Big smile

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

11-12-2017, 12:21

Seems it has joystick ports? What about USB?

By Colemu

Hero (518)

Colemu's picture

11-12-2017, 13:58

@ Kdl

Yeh, that noise looks quite bad.

I'd agree that it's down to the board design (audio traces too close to IO signals). Turbo-R has similar problem, the IO noise interference on that comes from it's FM circuit.

By KdL

Paragon (1089)

KdL's picture

11-12-2017, 14:13

For lack of time I have not yet compared the two PCB and I simply did this test using the cables of OCM on Zemmix Neo. So, yes, each of your statements could be correct.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

11-12-2017, 14:44

@Samor The hardware has USB but the FPGA does nothing with it (no free space remaining).

Well, not entirely, if you have a PS/2 compatible mouse you can connect it to the USB port without a need for an adapter plug. But USB mice and keyboards don't work.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

12-12-2017, 14:26

Thanks Grauw.

When I was reading about the video output I realized I don't even have any screen accepting VGA anymore... I've got the other ones covered though...

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

12-12-2017, 17:19

If one of your screens has a DVI-I input (not DVI-D) you should be able to feed it VGA with an adapter plug.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

13-12-2017, 01:31

no, but s-video isn't so bad either.

It should be able to boot DOS2 from an SD card, right?

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

13-12-2017, 01:32

Yes, for sure.

By syn

Paragon (1829)

syn's picture

13-12-2017, 13:13

Hmm I was interested in getting a zemmix neo clone from 8bits4ever. How big is the noise problem in reality?

By Parn

Champion (293)

Parn's picture

15-12-2017, 11:57

It is quite noisy, but I've seen worse, and all sound chips are well balanced and sound clear. There's an option for balanced audio output which should mitigate most of the problem, but I haven't been able to test it yet. I got the cable, though.

Edit: I have a Brazilian Zemmix Neo. Since it is so similar to the Korean one, I bet it sounds just as bad. I've heard OCM is also bad, but not quite. Haven't listened to it myself.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

15-12-2017, 13:46

Is it possible to record a sample?

By giuseve

Paladin (725)

giuseve's picture

15-12-2017, 18:25

Ok,
I have to stop dreaming now.
I still remember the last ZemmixNeo from Brazil. I was one of the first subscribers for it and after about 1 year I discovered they would never ship ZemmixNeo to Italy.

Now this... Yes, it is fantastic. But ...
how many months would it necessary to wait?
at which price considering that it would be made in spain?
More news about it?

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

15-12-2017, 18:50

I emailed them and they told me they expected the price to be around 130 euros (not final), and hope to have the product in their store by the end of this month.
Best email them too if interested Smile

By Haze

Expert (87)

Haze's picture

15-12-2017, 19:18

Samor, how did you contact them? I've tried using the contact form on their website, to show interest as well, but haven't heard back from them.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

15-12-2017, 19:27

That's exactly what I used as well.

By Parn

Champion (293)

Parn's picture

16-12-2017, 09:05

Samor wrote:

Is it possible to record a sample?

Yes, I intend to do that.

By Lord_Zett

Paladin (807)

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17-12-2017, 13:19

i hoped that there was a more smaller design size like a large cardrige. just one slot done

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

17-12-2017, 19:16

The case closely matches the form of the zemmix neo board.
They quite literally cut the corners on the original zemmix neo case. It's not gonna get any smaller.
Also, seems the one in the pictures was auctioned on ebay.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

17-12-2017, 20:27

The site was updated with a product listing:
https://www.8bits4ever.net/product-page/zemmix-fpga-msx

Not yet in stock. Price listed is 140 euros.

By Lord_Zett

Paladin (807)

Lord_Zett's picture

17-12-2017, 20:38

yeah i love the 3d printed case.

By Parn

Champion (293)

Parn's picture

19-12-2017, 13:06

Lord_Zett wrote:

i hoped that there was a more smaller design size like a large cardrige. just one slot done

Like the OCM? It can be a bit unwieldly when you have cartridges as big and heavy as the unit itself. Smile

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

19-12-2017, 13:35

Going by the picture with the keyboard, it seems in terms of size the zemmix sits somewhere between a dreamcast and a playstation.
Considering it was originally a console, that seems fitting Wink

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (684)

DarkSchneider's picture

20-12-2017, 12:56

Looks very well. With a price of 140€ and being within Spain the total cost could be about 150€ delivery included without the damn customs. I'll take one if available sometime.

By syn

Paragon (1829)

syn's picture

20-12-2017, 13:33

yeah price is also better than the korean and brazilian zemmix neos. I am definitely getting one.

I do hope the case is sturdy enough though because its 3D printed. (since most ppl put some pressure on the case when inserting/removing cartridges) but I have no doubt this will be tested Big smile

By 8bits4ever

Resident (34)

8bits4ever's picture

20-12-2017, 14:10

Hey guys/gals! Thanks for your interest on the project!

A small update: If everything goes as planned we will be having a few units in stock by January.
There will be uncased fully functional Zemmix boards (cheapest option) and optionally you could add a low resolution or high resolution 3D printed case to it. The high resolution case will be expensive due the printing time (20hrs for one case) so we cannot deliver many of these (maybe 3-4 a week only); the low res cases will be affordable as they print quick.
Both, low and high res cases, are sturdy enough to resist the inserting/removing of cartridges. We will provide the .stl files for people who has access to 3D printers and like to print the case themselves (so they can just buy the Zemmix board).
Also we will offer the option of including PSU and the Altera USB Blaster programmer.

If you have any questions/suggestions dont hesitate to contact us through our website. We do our best to answer all emails.

Cheers!

By Robby

Master (138)

Robby's picture

21-12-2017, 15:52

Thanks for the update!
Great that you will provide people with the available stl files. Keep up the good work.

By hamlet

Scribe (1610)

hamlet's picture

21-12-2017, 21:28

Sounds great!The first european MSX again since?

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (684)

DarkSchneider's picture

22-01-2018, 13:00

It is already available on the shop. Purchased the full pack with case, PSU and programmer. With this I have MSX for a long long time.

By syn

Paragon (1829)

syn's picture

22-01-2018, 15:29

Thats pre-order though right? Since it still mentions coming soon.

Anyway great news nevertheless Wink

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

22-01-2018, 15:56

Doesn't say "coming soon" anymore here.
Ordered one as well, ending my 10 year break from MSX hw ;-)

By syn

Paragon (1829)

syn's picture

22-01-2018, 16:37

Oh nice, probably some cached page that I was looking at.

By edmsxtrek

Supporter (1)

edmsxtrek's picture

24-01-2018, 00:21

I'm interested in the full version including PSU and the Altera USB Blaster programmer.
About the box I am especially interested in being robust and safe.
Greetings and waiting.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

24-01-2018, 01:43

there's a link in the newspost at top - you have to order the stuff from the store. but as far as i have seen today, the altera blasters are over. though blaster is not a rarity Smile

By 8bits4ever

Resident (34)

8bits4ever's picture

24-01-2018, 10:53

Hello people! We've received your (many) orders in the last two days. Now the Zemmix status in our shop is back to "Out of Stock" until we delivered the ones already sold. These units should ship within the next 10 days or so; remember we need to assemble and test them before shipping.

Cheers!

By Haze

Expert (87)

Haze's picture

26-01-2018, 15:33

Oh no! I've missed the first batch? I don't remember getting an update via de mailinglist or such! Crying

I hope there will be another batch, once you've completed the first units.

It sounds like it is already a great success! Smile

By giuseve

Paladin (725)

giuseve's picture

27-01-2018, 15:26

It must be the fate...
First ZEMMIX neo from brasil delayed for sending problems
Now ZEMMIX from 8bit4ever missed due to hospital surgery, the same 4 days of the 1st batch.
Maybe it is my destiny

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

27-01-2018, 16:43

@ guiseve it is not last chance i suppose with that high demand 8bits4ever will definitely produce more

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

30-01-2018, 18:10

I would like to know if there's any manual available for this Zemmix? Or there's no difference and it is fine to look for Zemmix manual of any revision?

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

30-01-2018, 18:34

Or 1chipMSX manual... mostly the same hardware.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

30-01-2018, 20:44

Thanks. Though i found that there were an english manual for Zemmix Neo but the link is broken (not the link itself, but the page doesn't contain any download link, looks like a page was rendered incorrectly)

UPD: With some googling i have found post on brazilian forum with direct link to the file: Manual-ZemmixNEO-EN.pdf

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

31-01-2018, 08:00

Pencioner wrote:

I would like to know if there's any manual available for this Zemmix? Or there's no difference and it is fine to look for Zemmix manual of any revision?

There is one, you get the link when you order it.
I don't think there are a lot of differences, it seems to be based on the other one.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

05-02-2018, 12:00

@Haze, @giuseve
Just got a mail that they have more machines available for order.

By hamlet

Scribe (1610)

hamlet's picture

05-02-2018, 12:23

Received a mail that the first batch has been shipped.

By pceworld

Rookie (18)

pceworld's picture

05-02-2018, 12:25

just order one from this site ^_^

By Haze

Expert (87)

Haze's picture

05-02-2018, 14:37

@Samor thanks for the heads up! I saw your message before I saw the mail.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

05-02-2018, 14:58

Yes, the first batch is on the way and people who missed it can order again Wink

By syn

Paragon (1829)

syn's picture

05-02-2018, 23:36

HAHAHA already showing sold out again for me Wink

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

07-02-2018, 20:46

Did anyone receive his/hers yet? I'd just like to know as PostNL seems to be increasingly unreliable and simply drop off packages at nearby delivery points without leaving a notification at all.

By hamlet

Scribe (1610)

hamlet's picture

07-02-2018, 21:26

Well, you can't track and trace your package. You should have received a tracking number via mail.
BTW Nice, that you get a 'real' MSX again!

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

07-02-2018, 21:38

Yes, I have the tracking number, and it's probably still in Spain if the information is correct.
I just had some bad experiences with PostNL (Dutch postal service) recently so I'm a bit more cautious than usual.... especially since this isn't some 10 euro package Wink

And thanks, normally things should work out and I'm happy to get back into MSX hardware Smile
The Goonies are good enough to be tested in a Zemmix ;-)

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

07-02-2018, 21:58

I just think that the Spanish post is kind of slowpoke.

By hamlet

Scribe (1610)

hamlet's picture

07-02-2018, 22:15

Clap hand with the German one. Lazy,arrogant and slow.
And stupid.
Bought items online last week:
Fifteen years away from Amazone: Here is what you had in your shopping cart FIFTEEN YEARS ago.
Fifteen seconds away from DHL.de. We´re sorry, we´d locked you out. Of course we´d forget everything you entered.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

07-02-2018, 22:47

Hm, had no issues with Swedish Postnord - but it's not cheap if you send the parcel Smile

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (684)

DarkSchneider's picture

09-02-2018, 08:54

Received.

Good device, PSU is powerful enough, programmer not used yet (fortunately). Firmware upgraded and no problem. The case is good. All well attached, no sound of loose pieces.

I only would make the cartridge slots a bit wider. The cartridge is attached fine, very fine indeed, so for extracting it would be good to have some horizontal room for moving it, you have to extract it in only vertical movement, pulling with force. Maybe having an extra half centimeter on each side could be good to allow some cartridge movement for extracting.

Now I have to test the joy ports and other video outputs (only used the VGA and audio L/R), but I think they will work.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

09-02-2018, 13:40

Sounds good.
So the default firmware is older, from the original OCM or something?

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (684)

DarkSchneider's picture

10-02-2018, 17:44

Samor wrote:

Sounds good.
So the default firmware is older, from the original OCM or something?

Even noticed, I directly updated the firmware with the one from the url you get on your email. Used the korean one, the non-br one, and works fine.

By hamlet

Scribe (1610)

hamlet's picture

10-02-2018, 18:36

Mine arrived today. When weather is fine I will post some photos tomorrow.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

11-02-2018, 13:15

Mine arrived as well Smile
Seems to be working just fine. I am positively surprised by the case, It's actually nicer than I expected from the images.
I agree though with DarkSchneider that the space around the slots is very tight.
For some reason my keyboard didn't work (even though it's connected through ps/2 on pc) but a spare one did.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

11-02-2018, 15:51

*edit* I was having problems booting a lot of games but it seems I have to hold RIGHT ctrl on boot, not the left one... Tongue

just to be sure though: I have partitioned an 8GB SDHC card as 2GB FAT (using DISKPART)... I wasn't able to use the HP formatter or SD Card Formatter tools as those only support a max size partition. Should this be perfectly fine or is it recommended to get a "true" 1/2GB SD card?

By syn

Paragon (1829)

syn's picture

11-02-2018, 15:43

Try Romload http://www.tni.nl/products/romload.html
or perhaps SofaROM (I never used that).

By hamlet

Scribe (1610)

hamlet's picture

11-02-2018, 18:52


By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

11-02-2018, 19:05

Does yours not have a zemmix logo on it?
Either way, nice pictures Smile

By hamlet

Scribe (1610)

hamlet's picture

11-02-2018, 19:23

There should be a logo?
I like the build very much, although I'm afraid to break it when releasing a cartridge. As DarkSchneider wrote, it is very hard to extract a cart from the slots.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

11-02-2018, 19:27

Yeah it is, but I don't think it would break easily.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

11-02-2018, 23:02

syn wrote:

Try Romload http://www.tni.nl/products/romload.html
or perhaps SofaROM (I never used that).

Thanks, with loadrom (the one I already used) I still think it's kind of weird that right now I can get, say, salamander and nemesis 2 started but f1 spirit refuses... seems a bit random.

By syn

Paragon (1829)

syn's picture

11-02-2018, 23:39

Afaik loadrom loads roms into your ram instead of the scc+ mapper and it has some problems afaik and that is the main difference between loadrom and romload.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

14-02-2018, 18:20

Grauw wrote:

I think the audio issue is about the noise floor (interference from non-audio signals), this can’t really be filtered I think, rather the solution is in the board layout. Might be tricky to deal with.

I can hear some interference with my unit as well. Without having heard the others, I bet it's the same.

I must say I quite like the device though.
It's a shame my normal keyboard doesn't work on it (it's definitely ps/2 compatible but the lights blink when I plug it into the Zemmix). Fortunately I had a spare one that does.
I found a monitor with VGA to use as well and at the Nijmegen fair I bought a joystick and mouse so I think I have a pretty complete setup this way. Smile

By Haze

Expert (87)

Haze's picture

26-02-2018, 23:03

I've got my PCBs in as well! Can't wait to test them!

I don't have any cases though, as unfortunately @8bits4ever was out at the time. But I did get the links everyone mentioned, along with the STL files, for 3D printing. Seeing as how multiple people here mentioned "tight fitting" cartridge slots, would it be possible to edit those files, before sending them off to get 3D printed? And which changes would be recommended? (wider?)

I'm kind of new to this whole world of 3D printing your own materials. oO

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

27-02-2018, 12:27

Congrats Smile

If at all possible, improvements would be a slightly wider slot opening and a slot flap.

I can't help you though, this is the first 3D printed product I've ever had too.

By hamlet

Scribe (1610)

hamlet's picture

03-03-2018, 18:35

I finally found my perfect keyboard for the Zemmix.

Although my old IBM M did work via the PS/2 connector. I was lokking for some smaller mechanical keyboard. I found this Blackwidow, witch is connected via a active USB-PS/2 adaptor. I'm happy.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

03-03-2018, 19:12

Nice! And I see you made some new pictures as well. Smile
Since I found out KdL implemented space via windows key I'm perfectly happy with the keyboard I use for it.

By stefA

Rookie (26)

stefA's picture

04-03-2018, 22:17

Mine arrived and tested: really cool!
I’m just trying to improve colors with VGA output: white is a bit yellowish... maybe tha cable, maybe the monitor but I’m still not able to get satisfactory results... I’ll try some play little more with my configuration.
Anyway nice job 8bits4ever!

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

05-03-2018, 09:46

I get yellow-ish colours (sometimes) when using the scanline generator.
Seems to be the monitor misinterpreting the signal or something (it tries to be "smart" with its brightness settings).
Resetting the Zemmix or turning the monitor off/on helps.

By rderooy

Champion (316)

rderooy's picture

05-03-2018, 11:54

8bits4ever is offering one on ebay, including psu and altera programmer. Current price stands at 25 Euro + 20 shipping

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Zemmix-Neo-FPGA-based-fully-compati...

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

08-03-2018, 19:05

Hm.. today mine suddenly won't boot from the SD card... I tried reinserting on the fly as KdL suggests, but nothing happens, it just boots to basic but dip switch 8 is really on....
when I type "FILES" I get "Illegal Function Call"
...I tried a different SD card but nothing is happening... what should I do?

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

12-03-2018, 16:08

....and now it works again, but I'm not sure why/how.

Just to be sure I flashed OCM-PLD Pack v3.5 on it (I hadn't flashed it so far). Fingers crossed that everything stays ok now Smile

Some other things I noticed while using it (not meant as criticism, just findings):

- Interference (in the video signal) can change a lot depending on the used cables (both the audio and video cables). I've found a setup that works well for me.

- I'm not sure how much this differs between MSX machines, but certain colours seem to be a little different from what I'm used to, e.g. the floor in the beginning of Metal Gear 2 looks more purple than I've seen on other MSX machines (it's normally dark grey). I have only tested VGA output on one particular monitor though, and did not try s-video and/or composite yet.

- In some instances (aside from the regular interference that was mentioned before by several people) I can hear a high-pitched noise playing alongside the PSG (PSG only, not noticeable with SCC or fmpac), kind of like a hihat on a low bitrate mp3. You actually have to listen quite closely to notice it at all.

I really like the machine though, but I was a bit worried when the SD kept failing for a while... I hope that won't happen again (or that I discover a surefire way to fix it whenever it happens).

By KdL

Paragon (1089)

KdL's picture

16-03-2018, 16:04

Hi Samor, thanks for these notes. VGA signal is intended for a CRT monitor and not for a LCD monitor, therefore the signal should be very nice with an old monitor.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

17-03-2018, 13:57

That looks nice and sharp. Smile
I haven't been able to get "perfect pixel" on my monitor but I got pretty close. The "auto" function makes a mess of it so I had to tune manually. The scanline generator actually helps "hiding" the blurry pixels a bit, it looks a lot better when it's on.

By KdL

Paragon (1089)

KdL's picture

17-03-2018, 17:58

Up to OCM-PLD v3.5 the VGA signal was not centered in the LCD screen range but it will be ok from the next release. The auto-sync does not work because the internal oscillator of OCM is at 21 MHz instead of 25 MHz.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

17-03-2018, 18:41

Looking forward to it Smile

By rderooy

Champion (316)

rderooy's picture

23-03-2018, 12:49

Someone from Spain is offering a Zemmix Neo in transparent "case" (plexiglass top and bottom only) with a white PCB on ebay.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Zemmix-Neo-MSX2-FPGA-computer/25351...

It is listed as new. The seller is "retronicuser", Is this another zemmix clone by 8bits4ever, or is someone else producing clones?

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

23-03-2018, 21:33

Seller has other FPGA stuff on sale so i suppose it is not 8bits4ever

By fubukimaru

Rookie (20)

fubukimaru's picture

27-03-2018, 12:31

They are different sellers. There is another Spain based user that makes Zemmix clones Smile.

It's in spanish, but the makers are these guys: http://retrowiki.es/viewtopic.php?t=200033116

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

28-03-2018, 18:49

got this Deltaco keyboard finally, tested, now i'm being completely satisfied and happy with it, it can keep 8 to 10 simultaneous keypresses on USB with Zemmix with no issues (and of course passes the Nemesis test flawlessly)

By hamlet

Scribe (1610)

hamlet's picture

28-03-2018, 20:07

Ahhh, that looks nice with those red keys and all the lava.

By Haze

Expert (87)

Haze's picture

28-03-2018, 21:58

Orders are currently open again, right now: https://www.8bits4ever.net/product-page/zemmix-fpga-msx

By mariocavalcanti

Rookie (32)

mariocavalcanti's picture

29-03-2018, 18:01

Haze wrote:

Orders are currently open again, right now: https://www.8bits4ever.net/product-page/zemmix-fpga-msx

Good news!

By giuseve

Paladin (725)

giuseve's picture

30-03-2018, 22:52

Yess, I finally bought one.
Now I have to find the best way to use it.
Can anyone help me?
1) I got an Samasung syncmaster S23b350. Does someone know if it works fine with zemmix? I know CRT is best....
2) I'd like to use SOFARUN with SOFAROM. Should I use 1 Mb ESE-MegaRAM or 1 Mb ESE-RAM SCC+??? What are the differences?
3) Does someone know if my Logitech Cordless desktop EX110 shoul work fine on PS2 and or USB?

Regards and thanks in advance

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

31-03-2018, 00:10

1. Zemmix Neo has VGA output, it seems that monitor has a VGA input, so that should be fine.

2. I think ESE-MegaRAM is for non-SCC mappers and ESE-RAM SCC+ is for Konami SCC games.

3. Since the keyboard specs say it supports PS/2, yes it should work.

You’re pretty lucky with the keyboard; Zemmix Neo only supports PS/2, and modern keyboards generally do not support it. The Zemmix Neo’s USB port has a built-in passive PS/2 adapter, so if the keyboard specs explicitly say it supports PS/2 you can connect it to the USB ports as well. But the Zemmix Neo’s USB port has no real USB functions (due to lack of space on the FPGA). So the options are to find an old keyboard which does or buy an active USB to PS/2 converter.

By giuseve

Paladin (725)

giuseve's picture

22-04-2018, 08:24

When I bought it only naked version was available. Now that I am looking to print STL I discover that it would be cost more than 90euros. Can someone suggest me a cheaper way to get a case for my brand new zemmix?

By rderooy

Champion (316)

rderooy's picture

22-04-2018, 11:01

You could do a top and bottom Plexiglas only like this one https://www.msx.org/wiki/Zemmix_Neo#Carmeloco_.2F_ManuFerHi_...

Or go to your local DIY store, buy some plywood and get creative :-) Or maybe you could create a case out of legos... Like a retro style MSX computer case.

By hamlet

Scribe (1610)

hamlet's picture

22-04-2018, 12:48

Ys, build your own is much more fun, than spending 90€.

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

22-04-2018, 20:49

Samor wrote:

That looks nice and sharp. Smile
I haven't been able to get "perfect pixel" on my monitor but I got pretty close. The "auto" function makes a mess of it so I had to tune manually. The scanline generator actually helps "hiding" the blurry pixels a bit, it looks a lot better when it's on.

I had this as well with just about any LCD screen. It's the pre-processing and scaling that causes this. Here is what OCM looks like over S-Video on a JVC CRT broadcast monitor:

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

28-04-2018, 22:59

Another thing I noticed is that the colours are sometimes slightly off... I don't know what the cause is (could be the monitor), maybe someone here has an idea:

This is an image from the pixel art collection; as you can see, the colours on the tires are somewhat purple whereas I'd normally expect them to be gray. Any ideas?

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

29-04-2018, 00:00

I have noticed very weird things from RGB and VGA output on my Zemmix Neo from this new batch from 8bits4ever, i'll try to find time to take photos or small videos to see if somebody else has issues like mine. Those are not palette-related. Though, currently i use s-video output because of those issues with rgb and vga but it has somehow different palette (more blueish) than rgb. rgb itself are more yellowish than regular MSX (i use Sony Trinitron tube so it is definitely not because of solor profile of LCD monitor though). So i have a gut feeling that video-output circuitry has some weaknesses. Or maybe only my one has some trouble, can't figure out yet

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

29-04-2018, 00:33

SDTV RGB uses the Rec.601 colour space, I think the one used for VGA signals is different, in other words they have a different gamma. Also your monitor may have different settings for VGA input, check its calibration menu…

Btw KdL was mentioning on twitter that he was doing something with the aspect ratio, although I haven’t understood what exactly… awaiting the update :D.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

29-04-2018, 01:36

Grauw wrote:

Also your monitor may have different settings for VGA input, check its calibration menu…

Unfortunately... this is one is from product line where were ones with RGB but it has no RGB - though it has all the PCBs for it inside. The missing components were soldered and SCART female connector was added Smile But the RGB part of service menu menu is missing of course, because for menu it will need at least to change the ROM with firmware, and i have neither stuff for flash chips nor any experience of this kind... so until i really-really badly need it, i will not touch it. Btw with its default calibration it has proper colors when i connect it to Wavy or A1WS or YIS503IIIR

But the issues are the same with RGB on Sony and VGA which i connect to the NEC EA193Mi so i suppose it is not related to the monitor, anyway.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

29-04-2018, 11:15

OK, here we go

Here's how is it with S-Video

Here's how is it with RGB...

...and with VGA (scanlines, but the same thing happens without scanlines too)

The actual videos (from where i picked up those screenshots):
S-Video, tube
RGB, tube
VGA, LCD, scanlines
VGA, LCD, no scanlines

The image doesn't depend on is it original firmware or KdL firmare. Moreover, if f.e. you don't get off the s-video cable while connect RGB/VGA - the image gets really distorted colors - lots of red (so while becomes nice pink btw). I wonder if it is something with my Zemmix or somebody else has similar problems?

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

29-04-2018, 11:54

no, I just have the colours that are somewhat different.
I have yet to try what s-video looks like.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

29-04-2018, 12:09

OK so if nobody else has those issues then i will get in contact with 8bits4ever because it looks like some issue with only my Zemmix...

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

29-04-2018, 13:47

My Zemmix is still in production so cannot give any feedback het. But it sure looks like an issue in the output circuitry on your model. I would get in touch with them.

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

29-04-2018, 15:52

Samor wrote:

Another thing I noticed is that the colours are sometimes slightly off... I don't know what the cause is (could be the monitor), maybe someone here has an idea:

This is an image from the pixel art collection; as you can see, the colours on the tires are somewhat purple whereas I'd normally expect them to be gray. Any ideas?

Which image is this? I can check how it looks on OCM over VGA/S-video...

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

29-04-2018, 18:13

I got it from here: http://frs.badcoffee.info/MSXart.html

It's in the vol.1 zip, called "BERGER.SC7" (in the folder SCR7\Authors\FLY-DUCK),
however here is a direct link to the file as well:

https://1drv.ms/u/s!At2URH9aT-e6iop3eErOFIXPB0lwew

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

29-04-2018, 21:16

Oke colors are definitely off. Here is output from OCM:

S-Video to CRT:

VGA to CRT:

Do you have another monitor to test on?? At this moment OCM is all I got to test (I have ordered a Zemmix FPGA from 8bits4ever), anyone else have this with Zemmix (Neo or FPGA)?

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

29-04-2018, 21:23

I don't have another VGA monitor, but I can test what it looks like on s-video.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

29-04-2018, 22:46

sdsnatcher73 wrote:

My Zemmix is still in production so cannot give any feedback het. But it sure looks like an issue in the output circuitry on your model. I would get in touch with them.

They kindly responded and i sent my one back for investigation, so i'm looking forward to get it back fixed Smile

SPeaking about colors - are there any trimmer resistors on R, G, and B channels in the circuit of OCM? Actually, with RGB there should be some calibration, right?

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

29-04-2018, 22:50

The RGB output levels are linear… any configurability of how those levels are displayed is up to the monitor and its settings.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

29-04-2018, 23:36

But really while most of MSX machines has some very small differences in RGB colors and look-n-feel of image, but Zemmix output is different. First of all, the pixels are more thick (at least in screen 0 at 80 column mode), and color is a somehow different. Didn't perform any scrupulous investigation for other screen modes, will do that when my Zemmix will be back (and when i have some time for that).

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

30-04-2018, 06:52

I think the ‘thickness’ of the pixels is a VGA output thing were pixels and lines are doubled to reach the required minimum 640x480 resolution. Or are you perceiving this on S-Video and RGB Scart output as well?

And as Grauw said in RGB everything is linear, the digital RGB in OCM / Zemmix need to be translated to an analog RGB through a DAC, I don’t know how this DAC is implemented in OCM and Zemmix, I have found these interesting reads:

http://www.pyroelectro.com/tutorials/vhdl_vga/hardware.html

http://www.pyroelectro.com/tutorials/fpga_vga_resistor_dac/t...

So if OCM and Zemmix work in a similar fashion to build a DAC from resistors then getting the resistance wrong somewhere might cause issues in the analog RGB output. Not sure if this is what happening but pretty sure this has to do with D/A conversion issues. I couldn’t imagine the Zemmix handling colors (bits) differently in the digital domain.

Do the Korean and Brazillian Zemmixes also have these color issues? Can anyone with such a system check?

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

30-04-2018, 12:46

They are sick on the RGB SCART too. The exact immediate feeling at first sight was "is it MSX?" Smile

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

30-04-2018, 14:28

I’ve asked them if this is a systematic issue with Zemmix FPGA or are just incidents.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

30-04-2018, 14:47

sick ==> thick (OMG typo which changes that meaning drastically, sorry)

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

30-04-2018, 15:06

That is odd... anyway they will load the berger.sc7 on the unit they are producing for me.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

30-04-2018, 15:13

On the video i posted above, RGB output on tube monitor, i get phone closer to show that pixels. Yes, i understand, video quality is not perfect, but it really looks quite different than with original MSX computers

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

30-04-2018, 17:33

It looks more like VGA output, true MSX RGB should be closer to S-Video (but a bit better).

I noticed in the RGB video the monitor reports 525/60, doesn't this mean the Zemmix is still line doubling?? Wouldn't stock MSX have 240 (+ a bit for overscan and such) lines?? My RGB screen does not report how many lines it is receiving. To check you could connect a 'regular' MSX over RGB and see what your monitor reports (it may not be input lines but display lines)...

By Grauw

Enlighted (7203)

Grauw's picture

30-04-2018, 17:39

Note you need to press one of the higher function keys or use the DIP switches to use 15 kHz RGB output instead of VGA...

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

30-04-2018, 19:28

Just got a photo from 8bits4ever from the same image on a VGA monitor through (soon to be mine) Zemmix FPGA:

Color at least looks as it should.

By 8bits4ever

Resident (34)

8bits4ever's picture

30-04-2018, 19:30

Samor wrote:

Another thing I noticed is that the colours are sometimes slightly off... I don't know what the cause is (could be the monitor), maybe someone here has an idea:

This is an image from the pixel art collection; as you can see, the colours on the tires are somewhat purple whereas I'd normally expect them to be gray. Any ideas?

Hi, thats probably a solder point gone loose. You can send the unit anytime for repair. Just contact us through our webpage/email.

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

30-04-2018, 20:44

sdsnatcher73 wrote:

I noticed in the RGB video the monitor reports 525/60, doesn't this mean the Zemmix is still line doubling??

It reports this for any NTSC signal Smile So no, that's no different from what it reports when i turn on Panasonic or Sanyo or Yamaha...

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

30-04-2018, 21:00

Oke. just wondering...

By AxelStone

Prophet (2568)

AxelStone's picture

30-04-2018, 22:23

Pencioner wrote:

got this Deltaco keyboard finally, tested, now i'm being completely satisfied and happy with it, it can keep 8 to 10 simultaneous keypresses on USB with Zemmix with no issues (and of course passes the Nemesis test flawlessly)

I have the Brazilian model of Zemmix and my USB keyboard NKRO doesn't works, I've Zemmix upgraded to last firmware. It's possible that not all USB keyboards are supported or simply is a failure of Brazilian model?

Thanks.

By 8bits4ever

Resident (34)

8bits4ever's picture

30-04-2018, 22:36

AxelStone wrote:

I have the Brazilian model of Zemmix and my USB keyboard NKRO doesn't works, I've Zemmix upgraded to last firmware. It's possible that not all USB keyboards are supported or simply is a failure of Brazilian model?

Thanks.

Only USB keyboards that also output PS/2 protocol are supported. There is no USB HID implemented on the Zemmix/OCM

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

01-05-2018, 18:39

I have tested the other video outputs as well, it's a bit curious. I used an USB capture device.

s-video:

composite:

S-video is way too bright and composite is about normal. Both do not have the purple color issue.

By sdsnatcher73

Master (132)

sdsnatcher73's picture

02-05-2018, 15:41

8bits4ever wrote:
Samor wrote:

Another thing I noticed is that the colours are sometimes slightly off... I don't know what the cause is (could be the monitor), maybe someone here has an idea:

This is an image from the pixel art collection; as you can see, the colours on the tires are somewhat purple whereas I'd normally expect them to be gray. Any ideas?

Hi, thats probably a solder point gone loose. You can send the unit anytime for repair. Just contact us through our webpage/email.

This just occurred to me: what if your VGA cable has some issues??? Might be worth it to try another VGA cable before returning your Zemmix.

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

02-05-2018, 18:23

It was the same with another cable so I can rule that out.
I've already sent it too by 8bit4ever's suggestion. They have been very helpful. Smile

By Samor

Paragon (1983)

Samor's picture

19-05-2018, 19:50

My Zemmix returned today and it's all fine now:

:)

By Pencioner

Hero (583)

Pencioner's picture

19-05-2018, 21:56

Mine is back too and the RGB and VGA is fine now as well! Smile

By giuseve

Paladin (725)

giuseve's picture

21-05-2018, 17:10

Hallo,

my zemmix works on the SM s23b350 with PINS 2&3 set ON/OFF VGA 31khz/60Hz or ON/ON VGA w/ scanlines, 31Khz/60Hz

But it shows a kind of shadow (left side, gray color) of the main screen.
Does 3.6 version of KDL?

My MSX profile