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    Colour Maximite 2

     

    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 uses a USB keyboard and outputs to a standard VGA monitor.  Programs are saved on a full size SD card and it boots straight into its own sophisticated BASIC interpreter with a full screen program editor.

    The Colour Maximite 2 is designed to be simple to use, easy to program and provide endless hours of fun.



    While the concept of the Colour Maximite 2 is borrowed from the computers of the 80's the technology used is very much up to date.  Its CPU is an ARM Cortex-M7 32-bit RISC processor running at 400MHz and it generates a VGA output at resolutions up to 800x600 pixels with up to 65,536 colours.

    The assembly instructions, PCB design and the firmware are completely free.  It can be easily built by a beginner with no special skills in an hour or two. With a monitor and keyboard it makes a complete stand alone BASIC computer.

    It is perfect for learning to program, entertaining and inspiring children, creating and playing simple computer games and generally having fun discovering what you can do with this powerful low cost computer.

    The complex part, the STM32 ARM Cortex-7 processor, is mounted on a US$30 pre assembled module from Waveshare. When plugged in this gives the Colour Maximite 2 its brains.

    The free BASIC interpreter and firmware can be installed using only an ordinary desktop or laptop computer (Windows, Mac or Linux).

    There are no special components required and all parts can be purchased from multiple sources and the printed circuit board can be made by any PCB fabrication house.  If you do not want to source your own components a complete kit of parts is available. Assembled and tested versions are also available from a number of vendors (see the section Where To Get It below).

    Other WEB Pages

    This page provides an overview of the Colour Maximite 2 and includes key information such as support options and firmware downloads.  More detailed information is available on these pages:

    If you are looking for the latest firmware and manuals for the Colour Maximite 2 scroll to the bottom of this page to the Downloads Section.

    The Maximite Family

    The Colour Maximite 2 is the third in the Maximite series of computers:

    The Colour Maximite 2 is mostly compatible with these predecessors and most programs written for them will run with little or no modification.

    Design Team

    Peter Mather designed the circuit and PCB, ported the MMBasic interpreter to the STM32 ARM Cortex-7 and wrote the device drivers including the graphics sub system. Geoff Graham wrote the MMBasic interpreter and the manuals.  Phil Boyce, Jim Hiley, Graeme Rixon, Mauro Xavier and Robert Severson provided advice, testing and developed demonstration programs.

    The Colour Maximite 2 was described in the July 2020 and August 2020 issues of Silicon Chip magazine.   These web pages provide a shorter description so, if you want the full story, you are encouraged to read the magazine articles.  Back issues of the articles can be purchased from Silicon Chip or electronic access can be purchased for about the cost of the printed issue (it is worth the cost).

    Where Can I Get It?

    A number of vendors offer the Colour Maximite 2 assembled and tested and most will ship overseas.  This is by far the easiest route as you can just plug it in and go.  These are (in no particular order):

    Most fully assembled versions use a single board design (ie, the Waveshare plug-in CPU module is not required).  This is because they are machine assembled and it is far more cost efficient to place the STM32 ARM Cortex-7 processor and its support components directly on the main PCB.

    If you have some skill with soldering and electronics you can build the Colour Maximite 2 yourself (it is not hard).  You will need a soldering iron and a PC or laptop for loading the firmware.  The Construction Pack (available at the bottom of this page) contains all the information that you need and the components can be ordered online from the standard suppliers such as RS Components, Mouser and Farnel (Element14).

    If you do not want to source the parts yourself you can buy the computer as a kit of parts:

    Reviews and Other Web Sites

    Reviews of the Colour Maximite 2:

    These are some early video clips showing what the Colour Maximite 2 is capable of (all are written in BASIC):

    The Back Shed forum is a great place to hang out and discuss the Maximite and microcontrollers.  It is also the main support forum for the Colour Maximite 2: http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/Microcontrollers

    Software Libraries

    If you are new to the Colour Maximite 2 you should download the Colour Maximite 2 Welcome Tape curated by Thomas Williams.  It is a collection of programs written by the user community that includes games, demonstrations and utilities.  It has an easy to use menu system and you can always use CTRL-C to break out of a program and list its code so that you can see exactly how it works  Recommended for new users.  Download the Welcome Tape from here: https://github.com/thwill1000/cmm2-welcome

    Jiri from the Czech Republic has collected most games, utilities and useful programs written for the Colour Maximite 2 into an easy to browse library.  If you have written something useful you can also add it to his library.
    See the CMM2 LIBRARY here: https://cmm2.fun

    Andrew (aka CaptainBoing) from the UK has assembled a huge amount of information, code fragments, programming techniques for the Colour Maximite 2 and other devices that run MMBasic.  For Colour Maximite content follow this link while for general MMBasic try following this link.

    If you were around in the 1970's and playing with the computers of that era you will probably remember the book 101 BASIC Computer Games edited by David H. Ahl.  This provided simple games that you could type in yourself and inspired a generation of budding programmers.  If you are into nostalgia the book and its programs are available from this website: http://www.vintage-basic.net/games.html  Most will run on the Colour Maximite 2 with minor modifications.

    Help and Support

    The download section below includes a tutorial "Programming with the Colour Maximite 2".  This will take you through programming in BASIC, controlling the I/O pins and so on. It is recommended reading for anyone starting with the BASIC programming language and/or the Colour Maximite 2.

    Support questions should be raised on the Back Shed forum (http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/Microcontrollers) where there are many enthusiastic Maximite and Micromite users who would be only too happy to help. The developers of both the Colour Maximite 2 and MMBasic are also regulars on this forum.

    Online Manual

    The user manual and a tutorial are available for download at the bottom of this page but another option for programmers is to use an online manual created by Jim Hiley of Tasmania.  This covers all variants of MMBasic in one integrated online lookup tool.  Go to: https://www.c-com.com.au/mmhelp/

    Firmware Update

    A new versions of MMBasic (ver 5.06.00) for the Colour Maximite 2 is available and can be downloaded from the download area at bottom of this page. This is a significant update which fixes a number of bugs and adds some important functionality including a 3D graphics drawing engine.

    Source Code

    The compiled firmware (the file with the extension .bin) is available from the download section at the bottom of this page and is free for anyone to use as they wish.

    The source code for the firmware including MMBasic is available on http://mmbasic.com.  Note that this is for personal use only and cannot be reused for commercial purposes and cannot be redistributed (modified or not) by anyone without written agreement (see http://mmbasic.com for the details).

    Downloads

    Programming with the Colour Maximite 2
    A tutorial covering the Colour Maximite 2 and programming in the BASIC language.
    DOWNLOAD
    Colour Maximite 2 User Manual DOWNLOAD
    Colour Maximite 2 firmware V5.06.00
    This includes both the above manuals.
    DOWNLOAD
    Known bugs and issues DOWNLOAD

    Previous versions of the firmware can be found in the archive.

    Other Downloads

    Colour Maximite 2 Construction Pack
    Includes assembly instructions, parts list, schematic, PCB design files, etc.
    DOWNLOAD
    Colour Maximite 2 Beta Test Version of the Firmware
    This is the latest test version of the next firmware release (may include bugs).
    DOWNLOAD
    MMEdit, a full featured editor for MMBasic (it runs on your PC).  By Jim Hiley WEB SITE