CircuitGizmos enhanced version of the Color Maximite 2
The RetroMax is the CircuitGizmos version of the Color Maximite 2 a small self-contained computer inspired by the home computers of the early 80's such as the Tandy TRS-80, Commodore 64 and Apple II. It includes its own BASIC interpreter and powers up within seconds into the BASIC interpreter (there is no operating system to boot). The emphasis is on ease of use and, as a result, a first time user could enter a small program and have it running within minutes.
While the ease-of-use and built-in BASIC concept is borrowed from computers of the 80's the technology used is very much up to date. The CPU that powers the RetroMax is an ARM Cortex-M7 32-bit RISC processor running at up to 480MHz. This processor includes its own video controller and generates a VGA output at resolutions up to 1024 by 768 pixels and with up to 16-bit color.
Some features of the RetroMax:
- Compatibility with the Color Maximite 2 (different enclosure, board layout, but functionally the same)
- Extremely fast with 516KB of program memory (about 25,000 lines) and 5MB general purpose RAM.
- Rock solid VGA output with five resolutions from 1024x768 pixels to 240x216 pixels with up to 16-bit color (65536 colors).
- USB Keyboard (can be wireless with a USB dongle).
- Support for SD cards up to 128GB formatted in FAT16, FAT32 or exFAT.
- Extensive features for creating computer games. These include multiple video planes, support for Blits and Sprites and full support for the Nunchuk/Classic game controllers.
- Executes BASIC at 270,000 lines per second.
- Stereo audio output can play WAV, FLAC and MP3 files, computer generated music (MOD format) and robot speech and sound effects.
- Twenty eight input/output pins with 12 capable of analog input. Connector is compatible with Raspberry Pi Hats.
- Power is 5 volts at 250mA typical (ie, from an USB port or charger).
RetroMax enhanced features
The RetroMax is designed to be simple and fun. This CircuitGizmos RetroMax is functionally the same as the Color Maximite 2 version from magazine articles and sold previously here, except there are some changes and additions:
- Different board shape/size appropriate for the optional enclosure
- Board mounting holes for VESA 100mm back-of-monitor mounting
- Power button that toggles on/off
- Reset available from front panel
- IR receiver behind translucent window (on case)
- Micro SD card holder
- Firmware reflash button available on side
- Internal audio header (disabled when jack is used)
- Additional "User LED" in white
- Piezo "User Buzzer"
- Two Nunchuk connections for two game players
- Header to connect to an HC-12 wireless (433MHz) serial module as the console connection
- Header to connect to an HC05 bluetooth serial module as the console connection
- PCB sea-of-holes for user hardware, conducive to Arduino shields
- Serial and I2C connection near the sea-of-holes
- Mounting holes and orientation for Raspberry Pi HATS
- Separate RTC with two alarms, on-board temperature sensor
- ESP8266 support with separate 3.3V regulator
- USB tx/rx serial activity LEDs
- Mikrobus layout in the sea of holes
- Eight independent LEDs for user circuits
- Always-on jumper
Retromax Slim Enclosure
RetroMax on a Base
Expansion I/O Guide
RetroMax 2.3a is "Generation 2"
The RetroMax Generation 2 design is fully compatible with the first generation (RetroMax 1.4a), however, it has a few extra features:
- An additional 1920 x 1080 pixel VGA mode.
- 24-bit color output (in addition to the standard 8, 12, and 16-bit modes).
- Extra RAM for BASIC programs (24MB vs 8MB).
- Connections that support a wired PS2 mouse or a combo USB/PS2 wired mouse.
- Support for an optional high accuracy real time clock (RTC) on the PCB replacing the standard RTC.
- Inclusion of an ESP32 WiFi module on the PCB.
- A USB "C" Console/Power connection to use better and more stable USB supplies.
- Two QWIIC connectors for convenient I2C connections.
- Self shutoff feature for the RetroMax.
- Driven audio out so that headphones can be safely used with the RetroMax 2.3a.