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Andrew Henderson
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I haven't used G+ to post anything lately, but I should probably dust it off and post some details on the various projects that I am working on!
Beagle Entertainment System Cartridge Console
https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/11/beagle-entertainment-system-cartridge-console/

Fresh off his PhD dissertation, Andrew Henderson decided turn his Beagle Entertainment System (BES) into a tiny SNES cartridge console!

I started with a design using some Adafruit component boards I had sitting around: the ILI9340 320×240 TFT LCD, a four-channel BSS138 FET line-level converter, and a DS1307 RTC breakout board. I spent some time breadboarding the setup, using Fritzing for planning. The plan was to provide a status screen for the console using the LCD, native SNES gamepad interfacing with GPIOs running through the BSS138 board, and a battery-backed RTC for games that had one in their original carts.

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https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/01/11/beagle-entertainment-system-cartridge-console/

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This past weekend, I dusted off and improved an old cape design that I had for the Beagle Entertainment System. This BES cape was created to provide a battery-backed RTC and direct interfacing with the original SNES controllers for use with BeagleSNES. I will upload the design (in Eagle PCB format) to a github repo as soon as I perform another review pass on the schematic and generate an updated BOM. The current design passes the layout rules for http://www.dirtypcbs.com (a board house recommended to me by +Kumar Abhishek). When I get some time, I'll send out for a batch of these boards for prototype construction and testing. Time to fire up my SMD hot air station!
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2015-07-21
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It has been a while since I've mentioned anything about BeagleSNES. With the addition of the emulators for NES, GBA, and GBC in the v0.7 release, BeagleSNES was taking its first step towards the next gen Beagle Entertainment System (BES). This emulator suite is more flexible than the original BeagleSNES, and it also makes some components more modular to address OSS licensing issues where needed. The OpenGL ES rendering in BES allows for arbitrary scaling to any resolution, leading to solid support for all sorts of LCD/DVI/HDMI displays. I'm still working with the newest 3.14 and 4.1 kernels to find the right kernel to support all of the features that BES will need. In the meantime, I've been fixing bugs and cleaning up the BES codebase in those five free minutes that I have each week.

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I cleaned out another Radio Shack store that is in the final stages of closing down and selling all of its inventory on clearance. The "maker" inventory was already sold out, but there was still a large selection of parts available. My receipt shows that I bought 171 items, including 20 7-segment LED displays, a variety of 7400-series ICs, bunches of NPN and PNP transistors, lots of diodes, and even 5 Arduino XBee v2.0 shields from Seeed Studios. I spent $85 and ended up with a 70% overall discount. Now I just need to free up some time to actually build something!
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BeagleSNES v0.7 (beaglesnes.org) is now released, and it brings support for the Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. This is a BeagleBone Black-only release, since it is my first stab at a system using the TI BSP 3.14 kernel and full OpenGL ES support. GLES handles all of the scaling and blending in hardware, allowing you to play your favorite classics on a wide variety of HDMI displays and DVI monitors. Rather than having me keep holding onto the software as feature after feature gets added, I decided to release what I had as-is for people to try.  Because of this, I haven't trimmed down the kernel or replaced the init process for a faster boot.  It will take about 20 seconds or so to boot until I optimize the system startup. The filesystems have been expanded to store more ROMs, so you'll also need an 8GB microSD card to use the system. 

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Our new book, "Android for the BeagleBone Black" (ISBN 9781784392161), was just released by Packt Publishing. Over the past two years, I have received thousands of mails from students, engineers, and hobbyists asking for help with creating Android apps that interface with the hardware of the BBB.  Our goal with this book was to provide a reference that answers these questions by providing example scripts and code that loads device tree overlays under Android, uses JNI to talk to the Linux device drivers, and uses background threads to talk to hardware.  Packt has made a sample chapter available for viewing, so go check it out!

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I have been in crunch-time for the past six weeks, so I have had zero time as of late to work on getting the BeagleSNES cape together.  I've had this pipe-dream for a while to make a cape that turns the BBB into a complete and polished retrogaming console. I have the pieces here... I just need the time to put everything together!

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Since Radio Shack is going out of business, I wandered into the local store to see what the clearance sales were like. The clerk informed me that everything in the "maker section" was 80% or more off. I told him that I'd take it. He asked me, "Uh, take what?", and I replied, "the entire 'maker section'!" I grabbed everything left, including every LED, IC, transistor, and diode left in the parts drawers. I actually bought the entire remaining electronics component and maker inventory of the store for less than $100. Considering that a single "Make" component kit was going for $120 before, it was quite the deal.  With the liquidation discount stacked on top of the ongoing promo sales, I ended up with about an 87% discount... and a fully-stocked electronics lab!
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As #BeagleSNES works its way towards its v0.7 release, the transition of the project to the 3.14 kernel and OpenGL ES support is looking very good!  Because the scaling is being performed in hardware via GLES textures, I am seeing big performance improvements across the board in all of the emulators by removing their software scaling logic.  I also am no longer bound to the single 720x480 resolution, since I can hardware scale to whatever resolution and aspect ratio is appropriate.  v0.7 will allow you to use LCD capes and DVI displays without audio support, if you like, but you can also plug in a USB audio device to get audio support if you aren't running in a CEA mode that supports audio via the HDMI cable.

Aside from the dramatic shift in how graphics are rendered, there is also the inclusion of three new emulators (for the NES, GBA, and original Game Boy), much faster save state and SRAM saves, tons of bug fixes, better gamepad mapping, and all-around better performance.  I've had all of this development 90% done and sitting around for about two months, but I just haven't had time to get it all together.  I don't know when the v0.7 release will be along, but BeagleSNES's development is still going strong!

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Support for the original #Nintendo Entertainment System is making its way into #BeagleSNES for the #BeagleBoneBlack ...
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