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z80 Development Kit

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#26 2018-09-27 14:23:50

munchausen
New member
Registered: 2018-09-19
Posts: 5

Re: V-Tech Genius Leader / PreComputer 1000/2000/4000

So the "Prestige" arrived and I'm a little under-whelmed. The key travel is unbelievably short, and the built in software is not keyboard driven, but requires the (terrible) mouse to be used. I opened it up and the build quality is also surprisingly poor. There is hot glue everywhere, wires running all directions over each other. The PCBs are super cheap and the CPU is a "Chip on Board" under a black blob.

Even if it is using a z80 clone and I can program it, I can't give this to my kids! I don't remember the key travel being so appalling on the "power pad" (4004) so I will perhaps look at getting one of those instead...

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#27 2018-09-27 14:33:25

hotkey
Member
Registered: 2017-09-14
Posts: 14

Re: V-Tech Genius Leader / PreComputer 1000/2000/4000

Yes, these things are unbelievably cheaply made. Especially the "newer" models. But if you get your hands on the 1000/2000/400x models, you will get full Z80 DIP goodness ;-)
The keyboards are pretty similar across all models.

Actually, the cheapness is exactly what inspired me to hack them! There is something "magical" about using a linux shell on that crappy screen with that weird "mooshy" keyboard. Totally unusable, but soooo charming!

If you have one with integrated BASIC, I would definitely give it to your kids. It is exactly that crappy BASIC that opened the world of programming to me. And look where it took me!

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#28 2018-09-27 18:04:57

munchausen
New member
Registered: 2018-09-19
Posts: 5

Re: V-Tech Genius Leader / PreComputer 1000/2000/4000

The prestige does have a keyboard but the mouse still really kills the device as a whole.

I learned to program on an amstrad CPC, which had a nice basic and a good keyboard, so maybe I'm biased.

Having said that my sister had a 400x when we were kids and I don't remember thinking anything in particular about the keyboard. I remember thinking it was a bit lame that you couldn't permanently save programs though. I think I will ebay one and see what it's like before giving anything to the children...

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#29 2019-05-29 12:00:13

munchausen
New member
Registered: 2018-09-19
Posts: 5

Re: V-Tech Genius Leader / PreComputer 1000/2000/4000

OK it took me a while, but I finally got a power pad. The keyboard is far superior to the prestige I have... Keys a little mushy but not bad travel. Now to find an excuse to give it to my son, and get cracking on an expansion!

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#30 2019-06-10 04:47:49

NewEnglandRetro
New member
Registered: 2019-06-10
Posts: 1

Re: V-Tech Genius Leader / PreComputer 1000/2000/4000

First, let just say I truly appreciate all the work youíve done with this stuff because as you said there is barely any info on this stuff out there, never mind a dedicated community. I donít mean waste your time because honestly I signed up here to specifically comment on this post. Iím only an enthusiast of obscure retro gaming stuff and I was wondering if I could ask you some questions about this. Iím no programmer so Iím sure theyíll sound dumb. Iím trying to figure out if some modification Ideas I have are even possible. Iíve been trying to figure out as much as I can regarding the Bandai Super Note Club, which based on MAME dumps available appears to just be the Japanese Version of the Vtech Super Color Whiz/Genius Leader Color all of which run on the Vtech Prestige programming. Iím trying to first figure out if itís possible to set up a virtual thermal printer that would recognize the serial port print data? Iím also a virtual pet enthusiast and the reason I want to learn as much as I can about the capabilities is the Japanese version has a rather rare and little known Tamagotchi game cartridge for it among Other unknown Vpet titles Iíd like to learn more about. There arenít any screenshots of the game even on the internet archives and itís near impossible to even take a photo of the screen with how reflective it is.

Second you may also be able to help me figure out if thereís a region lock on these when it comes to the cartridge games if youíre able to test Roms on it. The game Iím specifically talking about has been rom dumped for MAME and is among the four Japanese titles youíll find if you check that forum for the Bandai Super Note Club.

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