Development Progress Log
- Note: this list is terribly out of date and does not include any
information about the MkII player development. Sorry!
- April, 2001 - Presently working on MkII player design. It will feature
USB, improved playback capabilities, smaller physical size, and much more!
- March, 2001 - Designed and manufactured the color head unit PC board.
- February-March 2001 - Schematic capture and PCB design for color head
unit controller PCB.
- December 2000-January 2001 - Took a break from Development.
- November 15-30, 2000 - On vacation. Rented a car with a NeverLost GPS
system. Took some pictures of the unit for mounting ideas, etc.
- November 5, 2000 - Built an adapter socket to add 32KB of SRAM to the
prototype head unit PCB.
- November 4, 2000 - Re-connected the development system and brought the
old firmware up-to-date with the color display drivers. Only infrared
control is available at present (need to build the touch screen
- September 25-November 3, 2000 - Took a break from development.
- September 18-24, 2000 - Working on mechanical design for the player.
Produced a rendering showing the drive being removed and another
rendering with the drive installed.
- September 16, 2000 - Mocked up touch screen keypad to verify size of
on-screen keys. Seems to be reasonably
sized to have a full QWERTY keyboard implemented on the touch screen. This
will be used for searching for artists/albums/tracks.
- September 10, 2000 - Successfully rewrote proportionally-spaced font
rendering routines. Most of the elements are now in place to re-build the
head unit with the color display for actual operation. Until now it has
been used standalone to develop code for the display.
- September 9, 2000 - Experimented with album cover thumbnail display.
Results are very encouraging.
- September 7, 2000 - Received the color displays for the head unit today.
I connected one onto the prototype board
I was using for the head unit (after removing the old monochrome display).
With a little bit of code I was able to get some simple graphics to work. I
then wrote a simple font rendering routine to
display 6x8 fixed-width fonts with adjustable foreground and background
colors. Once the simple font rendering
routine worked, I moved on to graphics.
- September 3, 2000 - Progress is good on the schematics for the first
real board design. The intent is to produce five boards to test out the
design and work out any remaining bugs. Once these five have been produced
and debugged, additional boards may be made depending on the level of
interest from friends. The first boards will support both the MAS3507D and
the STA013 MP3 decoder ICs.
- August 28, 2000 - Tested 60GB Maxtor disk with only half-success. Must
investigate power supply issues.
Constructed interface circuit for Sony RMX-4S wired "stick" remote controller.
Connected to micro in head
unit, wrote code. Controller is working as expected, returning unique codes
for each stick position. Head unit can now be controlled from stick
controller, an infrared remote, and the front-panel softkeys.
- August 27, 2000 - Infrared remote control support added, working with
existing head unit and software in a primitive fashion. Advanced features
will come with protocol and code re-design. At this time only Sony remotes
- August 26, 2000 - Demo Car with MkI player and MkI head unit demoed at
Purgatory Chasm for the GweepNet community. Everyone who saw it enjoyed the
demo and provided lots of encouragement.
- August 25, 2000 - New power supply prototype with tighter parts
placement solves some problems with the MkI player. PCB with ground
plane on entire rear of board helps to keep noise down.
- August 14, 2000 - Road testing player during commute to/from work.
Dropout problems in playback. After much diagnosis and investigation
it seems to relate to power supply noise on the 12V-12V DC-DC converter
corrupting the data stream to the MP3 decoder.
- August 22, 2000 - Ran CAVE off of two 6V 10Ah lead acid batteries for
over an hour. Conservatively it should run for at least 6-8 hours on these
batteries. MP3 boom box anyone?
- August 21, 2000 - Implemented a prototype protocol for head unit to
player communication. It's now possible to navigate the directory structure
and play individual songs or playlists using the head unit.
- August 14, 2000 - Removed command-line debug interface in favor of a
VT100 single-key-driven interface. Much easier to use from the Pilot.
- August 9, 2000 - Implemented C stdio library functions for fopen(),
fclose(), fread() and fgets(). Wrote code to read and play Sonique
playlists using these routines. This makes it easier to use the Pilot as an
input device since it reduces the amount of interaction necessary.
- August 8, 2000 - Many bug fixes to FAT32 code fixing issues with
deleted files, returning to root directory, etc.
- August 6, 2000 - First mobile test in the demo car using a Palm Pilot
Successfully played two songs on trip from home to a gas station and back.
Command line interface is very cumbersome to use via the Pilot in the car.
- August 5, 2000 - Automotive power supply connected to prototype and
tested in the lab.
- August 4, 2000 - Constructed first automotive power supply prototype.
- August 2, 2000 - Power supply prototyping components ordered from Digikey.
- July 31, 2000 - Samples of switcher IC finally received.
- July 16, 2000 - Put MkI player into enclosure. The front of the unit
has a removable 3.5" IDE drive bracket. The rear of the unit has power
input, audio output, a connection to the head unit, and two fans.
Also, the original CAVE web site went online.
- June 30, 2000 - Ordered samples of switching power supply controller IC.
- Late May/Early June - Took a break from development
- May 13, 2000 - Wrote
proportionally spaced font rendering routines for a
nice 240x64 monochrome LCD. This will be similar
to the display I end up using in the head unit.
- May 2, 2000 - Sony "rotary commander" stick controller received and
reverse engineered. Interface to the unit is not an intelligent protocol as
had been expected, but rather a much simpler scheme.
- May 1, 2000 - I2C communications from microprocessor to MP3 decoder
chip and DAC working. FM tuner now connected through DAC's auxiliary inputs.
- April 30, 2000 - Prototyped the FM tuner module using an evaluation
board. The tuner receives many radio stations with no antenna or shielding.
It receives many more with proper shielding and an antenna. In the future,
an external tuner module may be offered for folks who have no existing radio
in their car.
- April 28, 2000 - Optimizations to the interface for the MP3 chipset
allows for 320kbit audio playback from contiguous files on FAT32 disk.
- April 26, 2000 - 128kbit audio working from IDE disk (FAT32, but
playback not following FAT - assumed contiguous files)
- April 25, 2000 - Constructed new IDE interface on a
new evaluation board. Ported old code to new board.
- April 18, 2000 - First sputtering bits of audio (Toad The Wet Sprocket's
Amnesia encoded at 56kbit) from MIDIbrick/IDE kludge.
- March 29, 2000 - Kludged an IDE disk onto the
development board. Able to read/write raw sectors.
- August 1999 - Received eval board for Micronas MAS3507D &
DAC3550A. Runs bit-banged from PC parallel port.