Developer_Release


You've found the first resource - this wiki. We also have a mailing list/forum outlink - register at this page outlink or send an email to pitrex-dev+subscribe@groups.io to subscribe. Please wait for your request to join to be manually approved.

We'll use the mailing list to send out details of where to go to order your PiTrex board. (Supplied by Kevin/OmberTech outlink from Australia, so expect shipping delays outlink). For the developer release, you'll be using just the bare board as our custom encapsulation is not yet ready; if we can magic up some modified Sean Kelly cases as a stopgap, we'll let you know on the mailing list. Unfortunately given the current extreme hassles with (and cost of) international mail, if this happens it will be for US developers only (As will be the case for any other parts shipped by Graham from Texas). A 3D printable cartridge case design is also available for download outlink.

Quick-Start


This is a quick guide to getting your PiTrex cart set up and using the development environment. There's plenty of more detailed information burried deeper in this Wiki (see links in the left menu for starters), and if you don't find sufficient information here, ask on the forum.

Hardware Set-Up

What's Needed

  • PiTrex Cartridge
  • Raspberry Pi Zero or Zero W with GPIO headers installed (eg. Raspberry Pi Zero WH)
  • MicroSD card - Between 4GB and 256GB for running Rasberry Pi OS. Any size should be fine for running only Bare-Metal. Cards larger than 256GB do not work outlink with the Raspberry Pi Zero or Zero W.
  • Vectrex

Optional

  • Bluetooth wireless speaker (Pi0w) or USB audio adapter (note limited USB port access) for sampled audio output direct from the Pi0.

After you receive your PiTrex cart, you'll attach the Pi Zero and decide on how to power the board. It can be powered either from the Vectrex or separately with a 5V supply via the barrel-jack connector on the side. A jumper will have to be set appropriately.

The Pi Zero requires a male header to mate with the female header on the PiTrex cart. If you do not have a header, let us know on the mailing list - Graham has around 100 "hammer headers" that can be fitted solderlessly. (US only)

The Pi Zero does not require wireless but due to the mechanics of installing the board and general inaccessibility of the USB and HDMI interfaces, remote access over Wifi is the easiest way to use the Pi Zero as a development environment (other options are explained in the hardware guide).

At a pinch we may be able to supply a few Pi Zeros from our personal collection to people who are having difficulty finding them at the moment (US only), but remember we paid shipping and tax on those and will have to charge you shipping on top of our actual costs.

Instructions


See Developer_Release_HW_Guide.

Software Set-Up

What's Needed

  • MicroSD Card Reader for your PC, or full-size SD Card reader and a MicroSD-SD adapter
  • WiFi, 3.3V serial interface, Bluetooth/USB keyboard and HDMI monitor, or USB Gadget cable (note difficulty accessing the ports on the Pi)

Next you'll need a Micro SD with our development environment on it. We'll document how to get started using the standard Raspberry Pi OS distribution. Since PiTrex software can be built to run either in Linux or Bare-Metal, a multi-boot environment can be installed that can switch between Bare-Metal applications (each graphical application is effectively a bootable kernel image) and Linux.

For accessing Linux running on the Raspberry Pi, a terminal interface is required. Built-in WiFi on the Pi Zero W can be used to connect via ssh (or telnet etc.) from another computer, or you can wire up to the serial port pins on the Pi's GPIO. To use the Pi directly, not via another computer, you can connect a USB/Bluetooth keyboard and a HDMI monitor to the corresponding miniature ports, however the standard orientation of the Pi when installed in the Vectrex impedes this unless special FFC cables are used. Debugging in the Bare-Metal environment requires a serial connection.

We may later supply info on how to cross-compile from an x86 system (Windows or Linux) or a Mac, for a faster development loop; but for now developing on the Pi Zero itself is the simplest option.

Once you are up and running, it's time to start developing. We supply a few short "hello_world" programs plus our work-in-progress emulators. Some of you may already have projects of your own planned, but if anyone wants to help with some of our goals, have a look at some of our ideas.

Instructions


See Developer_Release_SW_Guide.

Also, an example of headless installation on a Pi0w from a Linux PC.