My TI-99/4A clone implemented with a TMS99105 CPU and FPGA
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README.md

EP994A

My TI-99/4A clone implemented with a TMS99105 CPU and FPGA (master branch). Another version of the clone (the latest development in soft-cpu branch) includes my own TMS9900 CPU core written in VHDL.

See the file LICENSE for license terms. At least for now (without contributors from others) the source code is made available under the LGPL license terms. You need to retain copyright notices in the source code.

Latest changes

Commit 2018-09-22:

  • After a long while worked on the project. This was pretty much trying to remember where I was in the project.

  • I synthesized again the master branch and also worked on the soft-cpu-tms9902 branch. The master branch is the branch which supports the TMS99105 CPU on the daughterboard / shield that I designed two years ago. Still works.

  • There was some actual progress on the aforementioned soft-cpu-tms9902 branch. I clarified the naming and processing of reset signals. Thanks to this now two bugs are fixed:

    • Sound works (again?) now that the audio DAC is not constantly being reset.

    • The serloader component (handling communication from the host PC over USB serial port to the memory of the TMS9900 via DMA) was being reset by mistake while the CPU was placed to reset. Now if the host PC put the CPU to reset, that reset would also the serloader, effectively preventing any furhter communication with the system. This of course sucks big time, as the main use case for putting the CPU to reset in the first place is to load software to the memory of the TMS9900 system.

    • I know that my FPGA CPU core has bugs, and I found a repeatable one: running BASIC and doing a simple multiplication with PRINT 1*-1 yields always 1 (plus one) with my FPGA CPU, while an actual TI-99/4A or my TMS99105 FPGA system (i.e. the master branch using real CPU silicon) yields -1 as they should. So this bug can be observed with high level software... There we go. It is a miracle BASIC runs in the first place. The bug is probably related to CPU flag handling. I also have been reported by pnr that my divider implementation does not work properly in all cases, so need to check that too.

Good to be back with the project.

Commit 2018-01-03:

  • So I have been very lazy at updating this README file. There has been a ton of changes. Note that there are two branches, master branch contains the TMS99105 version and soft-cpu contains the FPGA CPU version.

Commit 2016-11-13:

  • Added firmware/diskdsr.asm which is a Device Service Routine for disk I/O support. It currently registers DSK1 and DSK2. It support LOAD and SAVE opcodes. Support means that it will pass the PAB to the PC host to read by copying it to system RAM at address 0x8020. There is a command buffer at address 0x800A..0x8013 which is used for communication between the TMS99105 system and the host PC.

  • Refactored memloader code:

    • Added disk io support. Now if memloader is started with the command "-k" it will not only poll keyboard but also poll memory location updated by the DSR when disk I/O requests happen.

    • Memloader now parses command line arguments better. Output is less verbose.

  • FPGA code now supports SAMS memory extension, currently configured to 256Kbytes. This required a bunch of other changes, as the scratchpad area needs to be unpaged. This is done by remapping the scratchpad above the 256K area used by SAMS.

Hackaday

Project is documented to an extent at Hackaday and AtariAge TI-99/4A forums.

https://hackaday.io/project/15430-rc201699-ti-994a-clone-using-tms99105-cpu

AtariAge

The AtariAge forum thread talks about my other FPGA project as well, but contains information about http://atariage.com/forums/topic/255855-ti-994a-with-a-pipistrello-fpga-board/page-8

About the directories

firmware test software I used to debug the hardware. Written in assembler. Also some loading scripts.

  • 2016-11-13 now here is also the diskdsr.asm assembly module, which implements a starting point for disk access. Currently it relies on support by the PC program "memloader".

fpga the VHDL code implementing the TI-99/4A (except the CPU).

memloader a program for Windows (compiled with Cygwin) to transfer data from PC to the FPGA. This program is used for a few purposes:

  • load software from PC to the memory of the EP994A
  • reset the EP994A
  • pass keypresses from host PC to the EP994A
  • 2016-11-13: poll certain memory locations to enable disk access, i.e. saving and loading
  • 2016-11-13: Now there are project files for Visual Studio 2015 community edition. This is just a great IDE and speeds up programming.

schematics the schematics of the protoboard (incl. CPU, clock, a buffer chip) connected to the FPGA board. Note: the schematics are in a need of an update, the current version lacks to wires:

  • CPU reset from FPGA to buffer to CPU
  • VDP interrupt signal from FPGA to buffer to CPU