Nowind USB Interface demonstration at Nijmegen Fair

by Sky_hawk on 06-01-2007, 23:09
Topic: Hardware

During the MSX Fair in Nijmegen - which will be held on January 20th - the Dutch MSX group Nowind (Jan Wilmans and Aaldert Dekker) are to demonstarte their upcoming USB Interface for MSX. With the interface you can connect your MSX to a PC in order to access contents on the PC hard drive. So far two working prototypes have been made with the following specifications:

  • 512kb flash ROM
  • DOS2
  • FAT16 support
  • Support for MSX1 computers
  • Support for harddisk images

MSX computers without clockchip will get the date from the PC and firmware updates will be available for download and can be flashed into the interface over USB. The interface manages to get approximately 175 Kb/s on MSX2, which is a little slower than some harddisks/flashcards, but not everything has been optimized yet. Currently the interface is being tested for compatibility with various MSX computers.

Relevant link: Nowind MSX USB interface website

Comments (9)

By Xan0ri

Master (174)

Xan0ri's picture

06-01-2007, 23:40

This device sounds interesting. Unfortunately it is impossible for me see it @ nijmegen.
Hopefully pictures and more info will be available after the party.LOL!

By syntax_error

Resident (51)

syntax_error's picture

07-01-2007, 01:38

features Nowind USB Interface at the website:

-Use your MSX keyboard as a regular keyboard for your PC (why? you might ask; well because having two keyboards on your desk can be confusing and because you can

why not Use your PC keyboard as a regular keyboard for your MSX? i want to use my pc (keyboard)as maincomputer


By HansO

Paladin (672)

HansO's picture

07-01-2007, 08:44

This is great news! New possibilities for the real MSX! And as open as one would wish for!

By msd

Paragon (1462)

msd's picture

07-01-2007, 12:36

Great piece of hardware and software Smile. Have you done any tests on turbo r or z80s with other osc frequecies?

By Bastiaan

Champion (333)

Bastiaan's picture

07-01-2007, 15:05

The Dumas project had specific reasons to use USB 1.1 iirc. Is there a special reason for chosing USB1 for nowind?

By Kwik

Expert (127)

Kwik's picture

07-01-2007, 16:16

Hi, i'm one of the developers. To answer the question above, there is no reason for using usb2 because the msx is simply not fast enough to take advantage of speeds capable with usb2.

I want to add a another comment here, because the name Nowind USB interface might be misleading. Our device is a USB slave device. This means that it turns the MSX into a USB device itself. It is not possible to connect a keyboard or usb stick to the device. The device is designed to connect the MSX with a PC (of MAC, or whatever). Right now, the main function of the device is to access (hard)disk images on the PC. But there are lots of other possibilities. A few ideas we want to implement:
- copy clipboard contents to keyboard buffer of the MSX.
- loading 16 and 32kB ROMs directly in de RAM of the MSX (e.g. Goonies.rom, Thexder.rom, etc.)
- virtual drives (access files directly on the PCs filesystem, without the use of disk images)
- access disk images from websites of ftp
- etc.

The software will be completly open source, and we encourage everyone to participate to develop more applications.

I hope this answers some questions!

By Kwik

Expert (127)

Kwik's picture

07-01-2007, 16:18

About other clockfrequencies. We have tested the device on a 7Mhz MSX2. It works fine, and roughly doubles the transfer rates. We have seen figures of about 350 Kb/s, and that's without optimization.

By msd

Paragon (1462)

msd's picture

07-01-2007, 16:40

So how about a VHDL implemention for the OCM? I know it has master USB connectors instead of slaves but that rule is broken more often.

By Kwik

Expert (127)

Kwik's picture

07-01-2007, 17:13

We have no plans for a VHDL version, be the specs are open... so be my guest! What we do plan for the near future is to emulate the device in openMSX. This would make it much easier to develop applications for the device.