Well, I just recovered from the latest round of MiSTercade and aluminum kit sales. You might be wondering where I've been and why Express is taking so long. I hope to answer those questions in this post. But first, 2 commonly asked questions:
When more MiSTercades? ~2 months
When more aluminum cases / kits? ~3 months
PSX SNAC? I made some last minute changes and should have the final samples in hand next week. I try to add every possible feature to each board that I can. You’ll see what I mean :)
On to the Express...
I've created a few prototypes since I first revealed the idea. Part of the delay has been developing the new IO boards that will pair with the Express main board. I've opted to use a 40 pin FFC to connect power, and all signals between the DE10-nano, IO board, and Express main board. Testing has been very solid and I don't have any further concerns here.
Another MiSTer development is the PSX core, which is incredible. Along with the PSX core, Blue1 developed PSX SNAC allowing for 2 player SNAC. Shortly after PSX SNAC, NES 2 player SNAC was released, and there may be one more core to follow. I went back and added 2P integrated SNAC to the express (untested as currently implemented).
If you're keeping score at home, you know that there are currently 2 official peripherals that both use the User port: mt32-pi and SNAC. I plan to have the onboard microcontroller monitor the current core and enable the appropriate peripheral. Did I mention I added an internal header for mt32-pi?
Recently, I opted to add a second pcb, below the main board. I've opted to move the SATA drive to the lower board for ease of installation. This feature also remains to be tested.
I've completed power measurements that indicate I need a minimum of 5V 4A (20W) to run the LEDs, SATA drive, and all peripherals. Add to this the fact that modern controllers can draw 0.5A each while charging battery and power becomes a serious issue. For now, I'm opting to use a 12V power supply and a buck converter to get clean 5V 5A which is enough current for all peripherals.
Lastly, the theme of the case - this is what makes or breaks projects. I've been waiting on my final final final PCB sets in order to get the case just right. I hope to have some news here soon.
One question I often get is whether I'll allow for TTYOLED. To be honest, it's not my favorite peripheral as it gets into the territory of artwork which becomes an endless quest. It also further complicates the case. Some people love and and others don't care for it. I'll keep it in mind, but don't currently plan to support it.
I don't have any sexy renders to share because I'm keeping the cards close to the chest. All of this to say, I'm very much counting on the MiSTer Express being a success. I've secured a large amount of parts already so now it's down to the details and testing. It's been nearly a year in the making already but it's important not to rush development. As always, thanks for understanding :)
[ INSERT WHAT YOU IMAGINE THE EXPRESS WILL LOOK LIKE HERE ]
Ok fine, if you've read this far I'll share a new project I've been working on.
I'm calling it "Reflex" as in, "It's all in the reflexes." It's based on Sonik's Retrozord code which currently supports NES/SNES, Genesis/Saturn, and Playstation (with several modes). I spent a few days coaxing every ounce of capability I could out of the pinout. As it sits it supports 6 x NES/SNES controllers, 2 x Genesis/Saturn controllers, and 1 x PSX controller (wired to support 6 x PSX controllers but code isn't done yet so no promises). There's a switch on top to change modes. Sonik uses unique serials for each device mode so no SNES and Genesis mappings don't conflict. I need to do fresh input latency tests but it's roughly 1ms. I want to do a proper case for it but functionally it's nearly complete. I've only spent a few days on it and will make sure Express takes priority.
Ok, that's all for now. Thanks for tuning in!