Papilio FPGA RetroCade MegaWing Synth

The RetroCade Synth began as a Kickstarter project by self-taught OSHW designer Jack Gassett. I was one of its very first backers, having learned about the project from Jack during an extremely positive customer service experience with my Papilio Arcade order last spring, which was my first foray into FPGA. Since my interest was based on modeling retro hardware, and due to the obvious overlaps with my music production interests, the RetroCade seemed to be a giant shortcut toward much of what I was attempting to do anyway, and I leapt at the opportunity to back as well as promote the project in any way I could. The Kickstarter experience was one of the best I have had, with excellent communication and transparency from Jack, and even a very generous upgrade when it proved that the Papilio Pro would be required for full functionality, with the 500K (which I was intending to use) only supporting a “Lite” version.

My RetroCade MegaWing arrived on New Year’s Eve, and I was anxious to get it running, but ran into trouble attempting to load the firmware. I posted my problems to the RetroCade Synth Forums, and got a reply from Jack within a day, and an updated bitfile for use with the 500K after just one more day. I still intend to upgrade to the Pro in order to take full advantage of the hardware, Read More…

Propellerpowered Pocket Mini Computer

I was bored last night, so I soldered together a fully-functional computer from discrete components…! This is not entirely true – what I really did was assemble a Propellerpowered Pocket Mini Computer, which consists of a Parallax Quickstart CPU Board, VGAplus Board, and Universal MicroSD adapter kit. Assembly is easy, even the SMD microSD socket, thanks to the helpful assembly video for that component.
A mere hour and a half or so later (and I was assembling at a leisurely pace!), I was up and running with a computer that I had assembled much of myself, and from there proceeded through the accompanying Getting Started Instructable. I had purchased the pre-loaded microSD card, which includes PMC Basic, various non-BASIC binary Propeller apps, and a collection of SID DMP files. One of the coolest Read More…

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