The Electronic Talking Super Laptop is a primitive product made by Team Concepts to help kids learn. It features an LCD display, a colored keyboard, and a loud talking voice. This document is about my attempt at reverse engineering it, mainly to find the protocol of the expansion port so I can write my own programs for it.
Below are known hardware specs of the Super Laptop, which should help in somewhat in discovering the protocol of the expansion port.
[TODO: insert photo here]
The keyboard, along with the two yellow answer keys, is Super Laptop's only source of user input. The keyboard approximately looks like this:
|Missing letters||Spelling||Word Jumble||2 Player Word Jumble||Guess What||2 Player Guess What||Anagrams||Tense||Synonyms||Antonyms||Program|
|Addition||Subtraction||Multiplication||Division||Fractions||Number Dictation||Any Number||Music||Trivia||Data Bank||Animation|
|Space - Repeat
The top row of orange keys -- activity keys -- are used to select an activity upon boot up. These keys actually share their scancodes with other keys, and the shared key and activity key indistinquishable from each other. The activity keys share scancodes with the following keys, in order:
|1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||0||Prg or arrow|
It is safe to assume that the scancodes for the activity keys are sequential; from that we can predict a few scancodes. Of course, I could be completely wrong, but here goes:
There are a total of 64 keys excluding the activity keys, on, off, and the two answer keys. 64=26, so six bits could represent one scancode.
One bit per pixel.
(P1)=1 (P2)=1 \/ =16 \/ (time1) 188 +----------+ 188=16 (time 2) (skill- == | 24x48= | 8=7 level 6)== | 1152 | == +----------+ |||||||||| 8x5x10=400 48+1152=1600 pixels total 1600 bits=200 bytes
The screen is probably represented as a bitmap, and operated on in 8x48 sections. An individual address ranging from 0 to 1600 can be represented in x bits where 1600 = 2x. x = log(1600)/log(2) which is approximately 10.6439 bits, so one address probably does not address anywhere in the screen. It's likely to be done in four 48x8 chunks.
Another output device. Note: Super Laptop's electronic voice is very loud, and can become annoying. The speaker volume switch on my unit did not work, so I attached a PC voltage switch selector in series with the speaker. The resistance was enough to make the built-in speaker switch function. If your speaker switch doesn't work, try adding a resistor.
DISCLAIMER: I take no responsibility.
The Super Laptop has a double-sided 10-pin (giving 20 pins) male expansion slot. I interfaced to this easily via an old 5.25" floppy disk drive cable, with wires coming out of the expansion cartridge insertion area. Note that in order to fit a floppy cable in the case, you'll need to plug it in the middle of the slot.
Each wire experiences some interference when the laptop is speaking, some more than others. Some wires also receive a different wave when a key is depressed, or video changes. However, I hypothesize the expansion port is mainly used for programming the unit, rather than output; though it's possible that carts contain processors that read input.
I'll name the twenty expansion slot wires 1-20, odd being a top wire, even being bottom. Here is everything I know about all the wires:
As you can see, it's not much. I don't have any carts to test. If anyone has a cart they would like to draw a schematic for, photo, or sell, please contact me.
Modified Sun Mar 25 08:48:47 2007
generated Sun Mar 25 08:56:33 2007