Intro: How to Build the QuickPlayer Extreme
It provides a lot of retro gaming fun as well as provide a great way to get into game and microcontroller programming.
This Instructable will teach you how to assemble this Open Source product or build your own from scratch as all the schematics are provided each step of the way! There are many great "retro" video games which already available for the Propellerpowered Quickplayer as well as tutorials to teach you how to make your own games! There is even a forum dedicated to game creation for the Propeller.
Because the Quickplayer Extreme is based on the Parallax Propeller (It uses a Parallax Quickstart board as it's CPU) the programs are written in the Propeller's native language of Spin and more recently in C.
I'll teach you how to assemble the Quickplayer (or help you build your own DIY version) and load some games.
Trying to find this product? The Quickstart and Quickplayer are available as a kit on Tindie!
Let's get started!
Step 1: Required Parts
The required parts to build the Quickplayer are:
- 3 1.1k resistors (brown, brown, red)
- 1 560 ohm resistors (green, blue, brown)
- 1 270 ohm resistors (red, purple, brown)
- 2 4.7k resistors (yellow, purple, red)
- 1 reset switch
- 2 10uf Electrolytic capacitors
- 2 0.1uf capacitors
- 1 40pin mail pin header
- 3 RCA Jacks
- 1 QuickplayerExtreme PCB
If you are using this instructions to build your own from scratch, a Quickstart board (available at your local Radio Shack) is still a good way to start, and the RCA connections for video and audio could easily be created from three male RCA cables with the one end cut off. I'll give you the schematics for each section as we go forward so your DIY Quickplayer Extreme will work as well as the commercial version. (That's the power of Open Source!)
Step 2: Creating the Video Section
The Propeller is amazing in this regard as with it's capability to create a full color NTSC video signal from three resistors.
The Quickplayer Extreme has the resistors values marked on the board.
Insert and solder the following:
- 1.1k resistors (brown, brown, red)
- 560 ohm resistors (green, blue, brown)
- 270 ohm resistors (red, purple, brown)
Building your own? Refer to image 2 for both breadboard & schematic versions of this circuit.
Propeller I/O P12, P13,and P14 create the signal side of the video circuit to the center of the RCA jack. Ground connects to the outside.
Step 3: Creating the Audio Circuit
Building the audio circuit on the Quickplayer is as follows:
- Insert and solder the two 1.1k resistors indicated on the PCB.
- Insert and solder the 0.1uf caps at C3 and C4.
- Insert and solder the 10uf Electrolytic caps at C1 and C2.
(Important! the white stripe "negative" should face away from the + sign!)
For those of you building your own version of the Quickplayer from scratch, refer to image two, create the same circuit twice (if you want stereo sound) connecting it to Propeller I/O P10 and P11.
Step 4: Creating the Game Control Circuit
Two Wii(tm) compatible connectors are built into the PCB of the Quickplayer Extreme. Yeah, it's cheating, but in a good way.
All you need to do is add the two pull-up resistors as shown below.
- Insert and solder two 4.7k resistors to the left of the reset switch.
For those of you building your own DIY version of this product, you'll need to either cut the end off your Wii(tm) controller (really bad idea) or obtain one of those Wii breakout connectors or a Wii Nunchuck extension cable which you can cut the end off of. Player 1 uses P22 and P23. Player 2 uses P24 and P25.
I've shown the schematic from looking into the Wii(tm) controller connector. Note the U-shape of the connector is facing upward.
Step 5: Add the Reset Switch
Next, add the reset switch as shown below and solder it in.
The reset switch is a simple switch between the RESn pin on the Propeller and Ground.
Could be considered optional in a DIY version of the Quickplayer, but I've included the schematic here as well.
Step 6: Adding the Audio Connectors
Add the RCA TV and audio connectors as shown in the image. Use plenty of solder to hold them into position as they will take quite a bit of plugging and unplugging abuse over the course of using the product.
As mentioned before, those creating a DIY version of the Quickplayer could easily use RCA plugs attached to wire.
Step 7: Adding the 40pin Header
The Quickplayer Extreme plugs into the Quickstart board like a shield.
Carefully break the single row, male 40 pin header into two 20 pin pieces. Insert the short end in from the bottom of the Quickplayer and solder it in from the top. I've found it helpful to simply plug them into the Quickstart (see picture two) and the place the Quickplayer on top and carefully solder it together.
Step 8: Special Page for DIY'ers
Those of you creating your own scratch-built DIY version of the Quickplayer Extreme using the Quickstart have one more small hurtle you'll need handle.
When plugged into your computer, the Quickstart (and anything plugged into it) will get the 5v it needs for power from your computer's USB port. If you attempt to power a Quickstart from a charger or battery pack, you need to add one jumper wire to enable the Quickstart to accept power over it's USB connection without being connected to a computer. This is called /USB_PWR_EN pin. Adding a simple jumper wire to your Quickstart will enable this ability. On the Quickstart Extreme I've built this feature into the board.
Also, it's helpful to be able to find those Propeller I/O pins in that forty pin connector. Here's a link to the specifications for the connector.
Step 9: The Propeller Tool
It's time to load a game on the Quickplayer Extreme.
We'll load a game into the Quickplayer Extreme's on-board EEPROM, then connect the Quickplayer to the TV for play! (If you bought the kit, you'll find that I've already pre-loaded a game into the EEPROM which should show you that everything works.)
The Propeller Tool is the Windows based software application we'll use for loading the games and programs.
Download the latest version of Propeller Tool from: http://www.parallax.com/PropellerTool
Install the program using all of the default settings. On the Install Optional Driver step, make sure to leave the checkbox checked for the "Automatically install/update driver" feature. When you double-click the Propeller Tool software link that the installer placed on your desktop for the first time, it will ask you about file associations. Click Yes. (Detailed instructions for this install can be found here.)
Next, connect a USB cable from your Quickstart board to your computer. After a moment or two of automatically locating and installing the correct drivers, you should be ready to go. You can give your configuration a quick test by pressing F7 in the Propeller Tool. You should see the words, Propeller chip version 1 found on COM ##.
Step 10: Play Some Games!
A collection of great games are available for the Propeller and can be found in the Propellerpowered archive located here.
Open the precompiled game .binary or top .spin source code using the Propeller Tool you installed in the last step and load the game onto the EEPROM using F11. The game will stay installed into the memory of the Quickplayer Extreme until you replace it with a new game.
Depending on what games you use, I recommend the Nunchuck controller or original Nintendo Wii Classic controllers.
Always plug in your controller with the "U-side" of the connector up.
(The clone classic controllers can be a little hit and miss on a software compatibility level.)
The Quickplayer Extreme requires a common USB A-to-mini cable for programming/power and can be powered from a USB port on a PC, or directly from a 5v USB cellphone style power adapter. Both the USB cable and USB power adapter can be purchased from Propellerpowered.
There is a tutorial on spin programming and game creation which is compatible with the Quickplayer Extreme which can be found:
Finally, there is also a forum on game game creation using the Propeller which is located at: http://forums.propellerpowered.com
Happy gaming and Spin on!
Jeff / Propellerpoweredd