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Quantel DPB-7001 Paintbox MAME Emulator

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During many of the videos i have made  about my DPB-7001 Quantel Paintbox i have been asked several times if there is an emulator for one and of course the answer is always no. However i was contacted by a MAME developer recently about starting work on an implementation. This is a hobby project for both of us and Ryan (Holtz) will be doing 99.99% of the work so it is dependant on his free time to work on it.

Ryan has been working through the service manual and has made great progress so far, the CPU1, 2 and Disk Sequencer cards have largely been implemented enough that the software is beginning to boot. There is still a huge amount of work he needs to do and i'll be very soon needing to go through my hardware and make dumps of various PROMs and also truth tables for any PAL/GAL devices we find on the large number of cards in the system.

We have also learned that there could be the possibility of a dump of an old DPB hard disk that is held at a museum which could solve the issue of not having a working Brush Master disk which contains the master brush files that are loaded during system initialisation.

If we do complete this and get a working emulation then of course it will help me get my physical DPB working also, which has always been my goal.

I am going to use this thread as a news area so as things progress i'll post up here!

Always nice to hear about new emulation ventures, especially within the realm of more niche hardware. I'll keep an eye on this one.

Progress so far....

The Computer 1 and Computer 2 cards are done as is some of the Disk Sequencer and Store Address cards. We are getting console messages so it is beginning to boot.

Ryan is working on the floppy drive at the moment which is actually accessed through the SMD bus with an interface board which is also being included in the emulator.

I am working through all the programmed devices which are mostly OTP PROMs with a few PAL logic devices. They are mostly small 512 byte in either 8 or 4 bit arrangements so i have been making adaptors to read them in my TL866.

Status as of 17th June

Ryan has made great progress on the emulator now so there are parts of the CPU, Disk Sequencer, Store Address and Output Timing cards working, this gets us as far as the machine attempting to initialise cards and also look for the brush master files off the hard disk (although there is no emulated storage at the moment). It's still very early days but it's good solid progress IMO. There's a few snapshots of the console output attached if you are interested in seeing them. During his work the disk sequencer code was disassembled and has been placed on github:

I am continuing to dump images of the PROMs and the combinatorial PALs within the system without too much issue. Though we have spotted a few PALs with registered outputs so i really don't know yet how we're going to work out their internal programming.

Status at July 22nd

work continued slowly since the last update though i had held things up a bit after it took me a while to deal with a PAL20L10 device. I have been imaging more of the PALs and PROMs contained in the Paintbox so far i have dumps for 35 of them and a little collection of hard wired adaptors and a re-wireable one to allow me to read them as EPROMs like the 2716 or 27C512.

Hopefully as these get incorporated into the emulator i will have more to show...


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