I made myself a Colour Maximite 2 from a PCB I ordered from JLC PCB, and bought components.
The Colour Maximite 2 is 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 in under a second 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 concept is borrowed from computers of the 80’s the technology used is very much up to date. The CPU that powers the Colour Maximite 2 is an ARM Cortex-M7 32-bit RISC processor running at up to 480MHz with 2MB flash memory and 1MB RAM. This processor includes its own video controller and generates a VGA output at resolutions up to 800×600 pixels and with up to 16-bit colour.
The Colour Maximite is designed to be simple to use, and will guarantee endless fun.
The basic features of the Colour Maximite 2 are:
- Low cost affordable fun. The firmware (including the BASIC interpreter) is completely free.
- Instant startup into the BASIC interpreter. Program space is 516KB, enough for huge and complex programs (typically 25,000 lines or more) while general RAM used for arrays and buffers is over 5MB (enough for enormous arrays).
- Full featured BASIC interpreter with double precision floating point, 64-bit integers and string variables, long variable names, arrays of floats, integers or strings with multiple dimensions, extensive string handling and user defined subroutines and functions. Typically it will execute a program at 270,000 lines per second.
- Rock solid VGA output (or HDMI with an inexpensive converter). With five program selectable video resolutions from 800×600 pixels to 240×216 pixels and up to 16-bit colour (65536 colours).
- USB Keyboard support. The keyboard can be wireless (with a USB dongle) or wired and have US or UK key mappings.
- Stereo audio output can play WAV, FLAC and MP3 files, computer generated music (MOD format) and robot speech and sound effects as well as generate precise sine wave tones.
- A full screen editor is built into the firmware. It includes advanced features such as colour coded syntax,search and copy, cut and paste to and from a clipboard. With one key press the program can be saved and run. If an error occurs another key press will return to the editor with the cursor placed on the line that caused the error.
- Full support for SD cards including editing and running programs on the SD card as well as opening files for reading, writing or random access. Cards up to 128GB formatted in FAT16, FAT32 or exFAT are supported and the files can also be read and written on personal computers running Windows, Linux or the Mac operating system. A graphical file manager is included in MMBasic.
- Programs can be easily transferred from another computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) using the SD card, XModem protocol or by streaming the program over the serial console input.
- Extensive features for creating computer games. These include multiple video planes, support for Blits and Sprites, the ability to create computer generated music, sound effects and computer generated speech. The Colour Maximite 2 includes full support for the Nunchuk a game controller.
- Battery backed clock will keep the correct time, even with the power disconnected.
- Twenty eight input/output pins with 12 capable of analog input. Built in support for an IR remote control and temperature and humidity sensors. Communications protocols include I2C, asynchronous serial, RS232, IEEE 485, SPI and 1-Wire. These can be used to communicate with many sensors (temperature, humidity, acceleration, etc) as well as for sending data to test equipment.
- Power is 5 volts at 220mA typical from an USB port or charger.