29 December 2017



(Pronounced tip-ee)

A File system and network access device for TI-99/4A

TIPI is a device for the TI-99-4A that allows communication between service scripts on a Raspberry PI and the TI-99/4A with DSR support to act as a filesystem, expose TCP and HTTP access through the Raspberry PI, and enable extensible PI services to the TI such as a mouse, or network gaming protocols.

TIPI is currently in limited closed beta.

TIPI Features

Role of the Raspberry PI

The Raspberry PI is a linux system, that should be up and running before your TI is powered on. Linux systems are not something you should just pull theh power on. There is no power switch on a Raspberry PI. You shouuld consider leaving the Raspberry PI always on. If you do need to turn it off, there is a shutdown feature in the web admin interface provided by TIPI. After issuing a shutdown, wait for the PI's sd-card activity light to stay off for 10 seconds, then pull the power.

Hookup to Raspberry PI 3

A 2x5 cable is supplied with TIPI, for cables with black wires on one side, and blue wires on the other, connect to the boards as illustrated below:

Hookup to Raspberry PI Zero W

An example picture (Photo by PeteE):

Here you can see the shrouded IDC connector had to be cut at the top to let the full span GPIO header fit.

However, the second picture shows 2x5 right angle female header in the GPIO. Then plugin it in vertically.

Installation and Setup

Download the SD Card Image for your Raspberry PI. The image should work on both a Raspberry PI 3, and a PI Zero W. It is based on the raspbian image, with the TIPI services pre-installed, along with optimized use of ramdisk to extend SD card life.

The SD Card Image is on my Downloads page in the TIPI section.

Flash the SD Card Image to a 2GB or greater micro-sd card. (TODO: add recommended windows tool, or linux dd commands)

Power up the PI with micro-sd card inserted.

Setup WiFi with TIPICFG

The image contains a configuration tool, in the form of an EA5 program image:


Load this program by going to TI BASIC and entering:


Upon load, it will read the PI.STATUS file, and PI.CONFIG file, and present some interesting bits. Initially you won't have an IP address unless you used ethernet. The drive mappings will be blank, as well as the wifi settings.

If you are to use WiFi, set the SSID, and PSK by pressing 'S' and entering the SSID value, and then press enter. Then press 'P', enter the pre-shared-key for your wifi ( this is usually your 'wifi-password' ) and press enter. Editing is limited. If you press enter, want to under what you typed, you can press 'R' to reload, or just press 'P' or 'S' again and re-enter the value.

Once you have what you want on the screen, you can press 'W' and the configuration will be written. The Raspberry PI will reboot. Wait about 10 seconds, then press 'R' to reload the information. Reading will block until the TIPI services are all back up and running. When it is done, you should see an IP address.

'Q' exits without saving any changes.

Grow your sd-card partition

If your sd-card is larger than 2GB, you can ssh into the Raspberry PI, and use raspi-config to extend the partion to enable all of your space. ( TODO: add explicit instructions for that. ) The PI user password is 'raspberry'

Transfering files

There is an early web administration interface at:


Open it up, and you can browse the files hosted on your TIPI, as well as upload files. The TIPI.TIPICFG tool should already be visible.

TIPI expects all files to be in TIFILES format. You can use programs like Ti99Dir, or TiImageTool or xdm99 to convert whatever format you have into TIFILES.

Disk Access

TIPI supports the following device names for general disk i/o:

And special handling of paths under the device PI. for the following:

DSK1, DSK2, DSK3, DSK mapping

You can directly edit the PI.CONFIG on the TI, or use TIPICFG to set drive mappings for DSK1-3 devices. The value should be expressed as subdirectories of the base TIPI. device, using TI directory separator '.', such as: GAMES.EA5 if you have folders for TIPI.GAMES.EA5.

Note, DSK0. cannot be mapped. It is an alias for TIPI. to help with some future features.

URI1, URI2, URI3 mapping

Set mappings in PI.CONFIG, or from TIPICFG tool:


Then you can access files with paths like: URI1.AMBULANCE or URI1.more/path/MYFILE

Windows File Share

By default there is a windows file share called \Tipi\tipi or \\tipi. This shares the same folder that is seen by the TI-99/4A as 'TIPI.' and can be used to push more data files over.


Raspberry PI

TIPI has an update mechanism that can be triggered from the TI-99/4A to upgrade the TIPI services on the raspberry PI. To perform an upgrade, run TIPICFG (CALL TIPI). If an upgrade is available the new version is presented, and the 'U' command will perform the upgrade. After about 30 seconds, the TIPI services should be up and running again, using the latest available version. Quit TIPICFG, and reload it, to see any changes to TIPICFG.

TI DSR ( Device Driver )

The TI side is in an EPROM. The latest version of the EPROM binary is available in the downloads section, and the eprom must be erased, and then reprogrammed. Some effort will be made to communicate if an EPROM update is necessary for an upgrade of the Raspberry PI services.