[NTLK] Modern Wifi for Newton ?

Matthias Melcher m.melcher at robowerk.de
Thu Sep 6 06:13:20 EDT 2018

> On Sep 6, 2018, at 00:13, j <thej at shaw.ca> wrote:
> Has anyone (electronically inclined) considered using a ESP8266 or ESP32 to build a modern Wifi card for the Newton?
> Both versions could also double as a Flash/SRAM card too !
> Both provide:
> -Ultra Low power operation
> -on board processor(s) with RAM
>   -ESP8266: single L106  @ 80MHz w/ 32KB & 32KB & 80KB & 16 KB RAM onboard (each has different purpose)
>   -ESP32: Dual core LX6  @ 160/240MHz (600 DMIPS) w/520KB RAM)
> -802.11 b/g/n
> -Up to 16MB of QSPI external Flash
> -Up to 4MB of QSPI external SRAM
> -among other things…
> The ESP32 adds many other niceties:
> -Bluetooth 4.2
> -Many Peripheral interfaces
>   -SPI
> -Ethernet MAC
> -Cryptographic hardware acceleration
>   -AES, SHA-2, RSA, elliptical curve, random number generator
> -Flash or SRAM (via QSPI interface)
> -(ESP32-D2WD) has 2MB of flash on board in addition to the QSPI interface for more externally
> -and a lot more….
> The ESP32 is about $10 individually.
> It could also be used as a coprocessor!
> This board could replace several PCMCIA cards and substantially reduce power.
> This would be a really useful add-on for the Newton!
> -Wifi with WEP2
> -Bluetooth
> -Wired Ethernet
> -Flash or SRAM (via QSPI interface)
> -and more in ONE card !!
> What do you think?
> Is there anyone willing to give this a go !?!

Yes, it has been discussed. It does sound like a great addition. I have a breadboard setup with a CPLD, an ESP32, and a MicroSD slot that connects to the internal modem port, and yes, that works very well. The main issue with this is simply time. I did not have the time to make this into a circuit board, an even less time to write software for the ESP, the CPLD, or the Newton itself.

But thanks to a certain movie (wink, wink) it seems tat we have all hands on deck again, and I will restart my efforts.

Oh, and of course there is Jake's version of just that: https://hackaday.com/2016/02/09/giving-wifi-to-an-apple-newton/ . Unfortunately Jake built his card just before the ESP's became popular. The card he used is not only a magnitude more expensive, but also comes with export restrictions that we as non-commercial developers can not handle.

 - Matthias

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