Posts with «atari 2600» label

Turn an Atari 2600 into a MIDI drum machine

While not known for its musical prowess, John Sutley decided to turn an Atari 2600 into a simple four-note drum machine dubbed “SYNDRUM.”

While an interesting exercise in creating a custom cartridge out of repurposed components, pushing buttons to activate four tones and an onscreen VU meter can only keep one’s attention for so long.

To turn this project’s musical entertainment level up to 11, he programmed an Arduino Nano to take MIDI signals and translate them into the equivalent electrical signals that would normally come from a controller. 

The results, as seen in the video below, are spectacular. If you’d like to try something similar yourself, code for the SYNDRUM can be found here.

Racing the Beam and Dropping Some Beats

The heart of the Atari 2600 wasn’t the 6502 (or the 6507 for the pedants), it was the TIA chip. This is the chip responsible for drawing graphics on the display, racing the beam, and extremely limited support for sound generation. We haven’t seen many attempts of using the Atari 2600 for chiptunes, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. [John Sutley]’s Syndrum, a take on an Atari 2600 drum machine is nearly a work of art. It’s a custom cartridge for the wood-paneled Atari, and an impressive input device that turns this classic console into a beat machine

Did the Atari 2600 ever come with a drum machine cartridge? Maybe. Probably not. [John] originally built this project to experiment with the TIA chip, but found it was less tonal than a kazoo. That struck ‘Atari synthesizer’ off the list and replaced it with an ‘Atari drum machine’. There are two key parts of the build here, the first being a repurposed Asteroids cartridge that had the PROM replaced with a ZIF socket. This allows [John] to easily burn new code to an EEPROM, stuff it in the socket, and run it on the Atari. All the code was developed with batari Basic, a BASIC-inspired language that spits out .bin files for the Atari.

But running code on the Atari is just one half of this build. To do a drum machine, you somehow need to tell the Atari when to play each sound. Given the lack of expansion capabilities for the Atari, [John] turned to the controller port. The Syndrum uses Arduino Nano to bridge the DE9 controller connector to a MIDI port. Yes, it’s real MIDI, on a machine that could probably never do MIDI natively (although we’d love to see someone try).

Need a video of this mind-blowing hack in action? Here you go:

Turn an Atari 20600 into an electronic drink racer and timer

The next time you and your friends want to see who can chug beer (or a non-alcoholic beverage for the younger crowd) the fastest, you may want to try building your own Cider Racer 2600–an electronic racing platform and timer for competitive drinking.

Created by YouTuber “MonkeyBOX Entertainment” for an annual Christmas party, the project consists of a broken Atari 2600 retrofitted with an Arduino Mega, two 4-digit 7-segment displays, some LEDs, wires, and other miscellaneous parts. A pair of custom coasters were constructed using force-sensitive resistors, soft springs, rubber actuators, and three layers of CNC-cut materials: acrylic bottom plate, brushed aluminum center, and acrylic spacer to make it level with top of the old gaming console.

In drag race mode, two drinks are placed on the Cider Racer 2600’s pressure-sensing coasters. When ready to get things underway, both competitors press a red button on the side, prompting LEDs begin to countdown from red to green as if they were cars waiting at the starting line. Time is shown on a 7-segment display above each coaster, which stops as soon as someone puts down their empty glass. The winner’s time will then flash.

The clock can be cleared using the Atari’s old ‘game reset’ switch. But that’s not all. The Cider Racer 2600 is capable of detecting false starts and if a drink is placed back prematurely. You can read more about the project in the video’s description below, and check out its popular reddit thread here.

Turn an Atari 2600 into an electronic drink racer and timer

The next time you and your friends want to see who can chug beer (or a non-alcoholic beverage for the younger crowd) the fastest, you may want to try building your own Cider Racer 2600–an electronic racing platform and timer for competitive drinking.

Created by YouTuber “MonkeyBOX Entertainment” for an annual Christmas party, the project consists of a broken Atari 2600 retrofitted with an Arduino Mega, two 4-digit 7-segment displays, some LEDs, wires, and other miscellaneous parts. A pair of custom coasters were constructed using force-sensitive resistors, soft springs, rubber actuators, and three layers of CNC-cut materials: acrylic bottom plate, brushed aluminum center, and acrylic spacer to make it level with top of the old gaming console.

In drag race mode, two drinks are placed on the Cider Racer 2600’s pressure-sensing coasters. When ready to get things underway, both competitors press a red button on the side, prompting LEDs begin to countdown from red to green as if they were cars waiting at the starting line. Time is shown on a 7-segment display above each coaster, which stops as soon as someone puts down their empty glass. The winner’s time will then flash.

The clock can be cleared using the Atari’s old ‘game reset’ switch. But that’s not all. The Cider Racer 2600 is capable of detecting false starts and if a drink is placed back prematurely. You can read more about the project in the video’s description below, and check out its popular reddit thread here.