Practical Robotics Magazine 1984

In the September/October 1984 issue of Practical Robotics there is an article on the Texas Instruments TMS1000 processor used in the
BigTrak.
Where can I find a copy of this article?
Charlie
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snipped-for-privacy@tech-j.biz (Charlie) writes:

A search of journals in Worldcat, a worldwide effort by many libraries to provide access to their catalogs in one place, turned up zero hits for Practical Robotics. That can't be good if you are looking for something. Google for Worldcat library catalog home page to help you find Worldcat.
Similar searches in regional pooled library catalogs and large local library catalogs also turned up zero hits.
sorry
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Perhaps you could contact the public relations dept at Texas Instruments. Some companies maintain an archive of articles about themselves.
On 24 Jan 2004 00:08:43 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@tech-j.biz (Charlie) wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@tech-j.biz (Charlie) wrote in message

There were only a few issues of Practical Robotics published. I have both the sept/oct and nov/dec issues.
The project is actually based on the Z8671 tiny basic microcontroller. The TMS chip is the chip that is inside the Big Trak and as the memory is mask programmed you can't change it. The Z8671 actually interfaces to the TMS via the keypad lines. The sept/oct issue raves on about how cool this will be and all the amazing add-ons that "could" be part of the project.
In the nov/dec issue a veroboard layout is detailed. In essence, they take a remote control toy and turn it into, well, a more expensive remote control toy.
It was an exciting time for personal robots back then but unfortunately it didn't lead to anything. Practical Robotics had only just started and it could have become a great magazine, but the field was more juvenile than electronics, which is what PR wanted to be, a practical magazine for hobbyists. Even now you won't find much advancement in current hobbyist robot magazines. Sure we have better micros and access to cheaper more reliable sensors, but the really important stuff still eludes us.
If you are looking for other stuff on converting Big Trak, try Mark Robillard's "Microprocessor Based Robotics". This is a very old work (1983) so you'll probably have to find it at a library.
Dave Everett
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Some information here:
http://www.robotprojects.com/bigtrak/bigotrak.htm
I consider myself fortunate enough to have a fully functional Big Trak and Transport from my childhood, but if you don't have one I see them pretty regularly on ebay. Regards,
-Dave

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Hey what a great response for me.
Thanks Dave E. for the information on the magazine article. I would like to know more on what they were doing with the interface between the Zxxx and the TMS1000. Were they extending the range of instructions of the TMS ?
Dave I can send you some $ to post me some photocopies of the articles.
The reason I am enquiring re the TMS1000 is that I have a model railroad controller, the Hornby Zero One, and I would like to add one small improvement, that is to increase the number of locomotive addresses. As the TMS is masked, I thought there maybe another way. My searches came across the above article in the Practical Robotics mag.
Charlie downunder in New Zealand
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Charlie,
I'm sorry but I don't have the actual article you're looking for. The link I sent to you isn't my project, I just thought it might give you a little scrap of information that might be helpful, but you might try emailing the people who did the project for more info on the TMS1000. Regards,
-Dave

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I have a copy of that article somewhere (if I can find it)
But as I recall the article was using the Zxxx to interface to the TMS via the Bigtrak keypad. Basically it just tapped in the required commands and pressed go. Then waited until the TMS flagged that it had completed that operation(s). I think the Zxxx only monitored one line on the TMS and keypad input was via a few 4066 ICs. The article was promising to take things a lot further, but I don't think there were (m)any more editions after that - Shame really, I thought it was an excellent magazine at the time. It certainly helped to get me started (that and Gordon McCombs first edition). If I can find my copies tonight I'll check it out.
ATB. Jon.
Charlie wrote:

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Unless you have a Big Trak then you'll probably find this more useful: http://www.nyx.net/~lturner/public_html/TMS1000.html Now all you need do is figure out networking on your train controller. Got o'scope? The only other publicly available book on the TMS1000 was 'Understanding Microprocessors' by TI. NOT real informative. Someone else will have to dig that one up:P. Not willing to brave my storage. As for Mark J. Robillard's book ('Microprocessor Based Robotics' isbn#0-672-22050-4) it went more towards the 8748 then Z8671(w /Z6132- 4kdram w/refresh built in). The TMS1000 was only block diagramed and a not so complete schematic of the BigTrak. The book goes over an interface for the Big Trak using 4051's for the keyboard interface to the big-trak and 4013's as inputs(via 4n26 opto-couplers on the fire and home-made bump switch) to interface with the z8671(Basic Interpreter) . The Z8 was then connected to a TRS-CoCo via 6821. Unfortunately the entire implementation could have been done better. I don't believe the program provided (BASIC for CoCo) was complete either. Further the CoCo had an rs-232 interface which would have been a better choice IMO for hooking to Z8. Given the offerings to the hobbyists at the time it was pretty good. I wouldn't suggest it now due to most of the specialty IC's discussed (very briefly at that) are no longer available and have long since been EOP. You can still find 8748/9 tho'. However if you feel the need: (Amazon.com product link shortened) ef=dp_pb_a/104-7195007-7588750 There was a nice bit on using 4116's dram for vision, but again not complete. This one should probably be scheduled for prj. Gutenburg.
Have fun damnit.

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So I put on the miners' cap and went spelunking. Some corrections are due. The 'Understanding Microprocessors' is similar to TI's training course of the time, but lacking on details of the TMS1000. A subset programming example is given (SAM-Simplified Architecture Microprocessor) using TMS1000 opcodes. Doubtful that'll give you any help tho'. Not too shabby a book for $2.95 and 288 pages (1979), goes through basics. The hook-ups were: CoCo >> 6821 >> BigTrak - keyboard interface/I CoCo >> Z8 >> Big Trak - keyboard interface /I Mark did use the serial interface on the Z8 - just didn't show how to hook it up. Connecting the Tx/Rx lines of Z8 to an RS-232 would have killed Z8671's serial. Going with the 6821 (timers often used for serial communication) would have been better than suggesting a terminal interface or at least a brief intro to 1488/89s(232 level converters). 6850 would have been cool too. Book is more for inspiration on certain topics. Again most of the book was dedicated to the 8748- Mark probably should have stuck with it throughout. Given the reference to the Armatron, Big Trak and his 8748 based RCL (robot control language) I was fully expecting integration of the three but, oh well. Not that any of this helps ya Charlie; it still happens that we get folks asking about the TMS1000, Big Trak, 8748, and the Armatron from time to time. The CoCo was the TRS-80 Color Computer (models I-III and (mc-10?)) a 6809E based PC- FWIW. Ok enough babbling. Have to go re-install winslow$, niece turned on the auto update - PCHealth my ass - more like PCInvasion.
Have fun damnit.

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replying to Charlie, Dave Everett wrote: I have 2 issues of the 4 produced. I will find them and scan the articles next week
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replying to Dave Everett, Dave Everett wrote: This is pretty late in the piece I know, but I thought I should reply as you had asked about scans. I would happily scan them but the magazines were stolen about a year ago along with some other robotic items. However you might try contacting David Buckley in England, I know he has all 4 issues. You can find information about him here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-buckley-20387912/?originalSubdomain=uk
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replying to Dave Everett, Dave Everett wrote: This is pretty late in the piece I know, but I thought I should reply as you had asked about scans. I would happily scan them but the magazines were stolen about a year ago along with some other robotic items. However you might try contacting David Buckley in England, I know he has all 4 issues. You can find information about him here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-buckley-20387912/?originalSubdomain=uk
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