Q68 Serial devices

The Thor, Aurora, Q40, Q60 & Q68 etc. are discussed here.
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bwinkel67
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Re: Q68 Serial devices

Postby bwinkel67 » Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:04 am

Derek_Stewart wrote:Send them to me in a single package which save on shipping from the USA.

I am waiting on some more Q68 PCBs, so will have wait to try the converter out.

I have a Q60 that I have built into a Shuttle case, which I will try the converter on the Q60 keyboard connection.


Will do. I just put a bid for the remaining lot of 10 at $4 a piece with total of $12.75 shipping (plus tax) which means I could get them for less than $7 each...so a pretty good deal. Waiting for acceptance though he may counter offer but I will take it. I may keep an extra one to send to a friend and forward the other 9 to you.


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Peter
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Re: Q68 Serial devices

Postby Peter » Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:59 pm

Derek: Please count me in for another two adaptors, one of which should go to Wolfgang.


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Peter
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Re: Q68 Serial devices

Postby Peter » Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:08 pm

Update: I now have the adapter working here with Q68 and Q60.
My current solution requires both an FPGA update and SMSQ/E update.
It will take some time to test with more devices, since Derek sold his own Q68 and now has nothing for himself.

Note 1: Strangely, with this adapter, the Q68 mouse pointer does not appear on the pure start screen when mouse is moved before a PE programs runs.
Can someone please confirm?

Note 2: The Q60 has of course no PS/2 mouse input, so the adapter serves just keyboard there.


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Re: Q68 Serial devices

Postby Derek_Stewart » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:08 pm

Peter wrote:It will take some time to test with more devices, since Derek sold his own Q68 and now has nothing for himself.

I have some new Q68 PCBs on order, which I will have at least one for myself.

I thought it best for more Q68 coverage, rather possibly missing out on giving someone the opportunity to use the Q68.
Peter wrote:Note 2: The Q60 has of course no PS/2 mouse input, so the adapter serves just keyboard there.

I was looking into a Serial to PS/2 Converter, do that I can use the same PS/2 mouse with the Q68 and Q60. This still in development.


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Derek
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Peter
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Re: Q68 Serial devices

Postby Peter » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:10 pm

Derek_Stewart wrote:I thought it best for more Q68 coverage, rather possibly missing out on giving someone the opportunity to use the Q68.

But that you have the opportunity to use the Q68 is important as well.
If you ask me, keeping at least your own Q68 would be something I much prefer. It is important to have a common test base and a known working system.
Derek_Stewart wrote:I was looking into a Serial to PS/2 Converter, do that I can use the same PS/2 mouse with the Q68 and Q60. This still in development.

But you'd need a PS/2 to serial mouse converter (which I never saw). Not serial to PS/2.


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bwinkel67
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Re: Q68 Serial devices

Postby bwinkel67 » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:35 pm

What's involved in testing? Just loading different software or do you need hardware to reprogram the FPGA?


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Peter
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Re: Q68 Serial devices

Postby Peter » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:40 pm

The FPGA needs to be reprogrammed, and Derek is one of the few who have a programmer.
Then a new SMSQ/E version is needed.
Then several keyboards/mice need to be tested intensively with a variety of software.
Also we need to take care that existing keyboards/mice don't stop working.

And in general, every FPGA change needs overall testing before a public release. Side effects are unlikely, but the Q68 is known as a very stable platform and I don't want to go any risk just for this specific adapter. Not a single FPGA change was needed yet, since series production started!


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bwinkel67
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Re: Q68 Serial devices

Postby bwinkel67 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 3:43 am

Oh, so not so simple. Looks like if you own a Q68 and want to use the device you will either have to send it back or find someone local with the programmer. Is there information on it? I understand this will take a while until testing is done but maybe I can find one at our school in the meantime.


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Re: Q68 Serial devices

Postby Peter » Sat Mar 28, 2020 5:30 am

bwinkel67 wrote:Looks like if you own a Q68 and want to use the device you will either have to send it back or find someone local with the programmer.

Yes. But it seems the only clean solution, and the batch is so small that only 7 persons or less would need the service. New Q68 would of course include the changes.


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Re: Q68 Serial devices

Postby Peter » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:48 pm

One more update: Although the "clean" solution requires an FPGA change, there are efforts to work around the PS/2 converter issue only in software.

The problem with these converters is, that they are not fully PS/2 standard conforming, as they don't always wait until the host signals it is free. The Q68 uses the frame interrupt to receive keycodes, 50 per second, which is not enough if the keyboard does not wait as it should.

The "clean" solution is to change the FPGA hardware to generate a specific interrupt on every keycode receive, allowing a faster response. The Q60 does this.
The "dirty" solution now worked on, is to poll the keyboard for a few miliseconds after a keycode was received, and see if there already is another one.



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