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USB Peripherals for the 84+
Posted by Michael on 16 August 2005, 17:07 GMT

A few weeks ago, the ever-famous Dan Englender released a revolutionary new flash application called usb8x. Usb8x is a driver that interfaces with the On-the-Go USB port in the TI-84 Plus and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. It is designed to be used by other programmers to create drivers for a variety of USB peripherals. Dan has included demos for a USB mouse, keyboard, and a loopback test for the USB Silverlink. Theoretically this means that drivers can be written to support nearly any USB device (so long as it consumes 100 mA or less of bus power). Usb8x will open up an entirely new world of possibilities for graphing calculators. Congratulations to Dan on an extremely impressive achievement!

You may be thinking that ticalc.org is awfully slow in reporting this news, but due to the recent news drought, I thought I would hold off on this article until it could be as amazing as possible: I have been working on a driver that runs on top of Dan's to allow USB flash drives to connect to the calculator. Yesterday I finished FAT16 reading support and so I now present a demo video (4.4 MB), exclusively available on ticalc.org, of a movie playing off my 1 GB Lexar JumpDrive. You may recognize the clip as part of The Matrix's infamous lobby scene. There is no dithering or grayscale, although both are probably possible. There is still much more work to be done before we have utilities and file explorer-type programs at a level where general users can use their USB drives.

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Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Exbzurg Account Info

YAY! Now I no longer will have to deal with memory limitations when working on my greyscale DOOM port(real(well for doom at least) looking graphics and levels, not just a simple clone)

Reply to this comment    16 August 2005, 23:37 GMT


Re: Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Andy Janata  Account Info
(Web Page)

Uhhh, yes you will. For now at least. And requiring an adapter cable and a USB Mass Storage Device for your game will result in a VERY small audience.

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 03:03 GMT


Re: Re: Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Mr.Z  Account Info
(Web Page)

Probably on the TI-89 Titanium the audience would be larger because people that have them are more likely to like messing with stuff (or maybe I am wrong about that)...at least, I know I would check it out.

Reply to this comment    22 August 2005, 18:33 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Lewk Of Serthic  Account Info
(Web Page)

I'm planing on buying a flash card anyways and I'm sure an adapter can't cost terribly much.

Reply to this comment    23 August 2005, 14:40 GMT

Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Jason Malinowski  Account Info
(Web Page)

Kudos to both Dan and also ExtendeD for pulling this off. Realize that the USB hardware (at least on the 83+) is insanely complex...it requires a huge array of ports to use.

And now the best part is I don't need to bug Michael to post this anymore. :-)

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 00:12 GMT


Re: Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Andy Janata  Account Info
(Web Page)

Go use your leet admin powers to fix that typo!

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 03:02 GMT


Re: Re: Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Jason Malinowski  Account Info

I'm an archiver, not a news admin.

I'm sure Michael will see it, hate me for a moment or two, and then change it.

Reply to this comment    18 August 2005, 01:08 GMT

Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Coolv  Account Info
(Web Page)

Quite interesting indeed.

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 04:59 GMT

Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Morgan Davies  Account Info
(Web Page)

I am very impressed! Awesome job guys! One thing...how fast do the batteries go?

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 05:40 GMT


Re: Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Andy Janata  Account Info
(Web Page)

Hmm, I'd imagine if you'd somehow manage to format a USB hard drive FAT12 that they'd last quite long -- hard drive enclosures are self-powered, so it wouldn't draw much from the calculator -- you'd just have to pay for running the proc at 15MHz all the time. As for thumb drives and other devices, it's a function of how much current they draw and how many mAh your batteries store (also depending on how much the calculator draws normally).

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 13:29 GMT


Re: Re: Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Michael Vincent  Account Info
(Web Page)

15 MHz? Perhaps I should have mentioned in the article that the video is playing just fine with the CPU running at 6 MHz.

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 15:46 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: USB Peripherals for the 84+
Andy Janata  Account Info
(Web Page)

So then you should be able to easily do 4-level grayscale at 15MHz and 10fps.

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 22:38 GMT

Hubs and other stuff like that
Andy Janata  Account Info
(Web Page)

I think I'll say this to get it out in the open so you guys don't get all excited about calculator networks via USB.

While one CAN make a driver for using a hub, allowing numerous devices to be plugged in, the hardware would make this VERY cumbersome, as it's intended only for point-to-point communication. You'd have to manage all the multiple device stuff in software -- and you don't have much processing power to begin with. Take into account the bandwidth limitation on the 84+ (something around 15MHz (=mbps) divided by the number of clocks to send and recieve one byte divided by 8 (bits/byte)) and it loses most of its practicality.

Also, if you want somewhat smaller video files that only show the mouse bit you can check the link above. There's a 1.14MB and a 841KB file, so you dialupers don't have to wait an hour.

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 13:36 GMT

Re: Hubs and other stuff like that
Andy Janata  Account Info
(Web Page)

hmm actually I did that math wrong. Since you're dealint with bytes with the ports to begin with, it'd be 15MHz (=15mBps) divided by the number of clocks to send and receive one byte.

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 13:45 GMT

Re: Hubs and other stuff like that
Dan Englender Account Info
(Web Page)

Are you still talking about all the things that can't be done with the USB, Andy? Remember these posts you made, "As for watching movies, NEVER going to happen unless the file is in a calc-specific format (and even then don't hold your breath)" and "Well, we already mostly shot down video playing directly from the USB port... You'd simply not have enough CPU cycles to do it."?
With a little determination, many things are possible :)

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 15:03 GMT


Re: Re: Hubs and other stuff like that
Andy Janata  Account Info
(Web Page)

bleh. go read what i said in #wikiti... in fact, to save you (and everyone else) the trouble:

[16:30:41] <@Andy_J> To make it clear:
[16:31:16] <@Andy_J> I said I'd eat my words and go get an 84+ and adapter cable if *I* could play video on *my* calculator, which I can't since MV hasn't released his program. Therefore, the conditions have NOT ben fulfilled.

note: at least that's what i meant to say

and at any rate, i might be subliminally motivating y'all to go do this... or myself even idk

as for me going and buying one, ehh not all that likely at this point in time, i'll have to do complete math on my financial situation, taking gas and food into account. these next few months are going to be tight for me.

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 20:49 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Hubs and other stuff like that
Michael Vincent  Account Info
(Web Page)

See the URL for this post. Third and fifth boxes up from the bottom. :)

Of course, proving you wrong was such a good motivation that it significantly sped up work on the project.

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 21:17 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Hubs and other stuff like that
Andy Janata  Account Info
(Web Page)

Maybe that was my intent. :P

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 22:39 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Hubs and other stuff like that
Andy Janata  Account Info
(Web Page)

Also, never trust analysts. :P

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 22:40 GMT


Re: Hubs and other stuff like that
Snave2000  Account Info

Don't use a hub.

Set up a wireless network instead. You can get WIFI USB network adapters, so... That would be much more useful.

Just think of the possibilities: multiplayer network games (more than 2 players; I'm aware of ZTetris)

Reply to this comment    17 August 2005, 23:36 GMT


Re: Re: Hubs and other stuff like that
qbman  Account Info

Would standard wireless equipment/protocall even work? I don't know too much about it, but the slowest WI-FI connection my computer can even use is 1Mbps. You'd probably have to use the all of the calc's processor to reach that rate leaving none for actually running the game. Not only that, but over wireless you also have to check to make sure each packet arives intact requireing requests to resend any curropt/missing packets...

However, custom made equipment should make this idea possible, but the audience becomes much smaller since custom made equipment has limited availability and non competitive pricing...

Reply to this comment    23 August 2005, 15:28 GMT

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