Amiga: MegAChip 2000/500 Issues

megachip

DKB Software’s MegAChip 2000/500 (NTSC), which when installed will give you 2MB chip ram. I have an Amiga with the 1MB  Angus, which I thought would be a relatively easy upgrade (as long as you have PLCC pullers).

I got this as part of a bulk sale a while back. So its not new; also by the scratch on the Super Fat Angus in there.

Every time I mount this in a machine (doesn’t matter which), I get a garbage on the display when the Kickstart logo shows up. I’ve only tired in 2 A2000’s, due the fact of mounting it in a 500 would require some one way modding.

I connected the trace to either Gary or the 68000, neither works. I looked at the bottom and the connector and housing looks ok, maybeI am missing something obvious (besides it being broken…)

Fun with Turbo Chameleon 64: Minimig Core

xCards2* Update *

It’s not a matter of compatible cards by the looks of things. My TC seems to have some timing issues. I’ve had this problem before with a firmware update — but fixed in a later update.

Speaking with Alastair about what the issues could be it ended up that the latest version of the Minimig core wasn’t working — but older versions did. He mentioned a new build sometime in the future to test out the timings.

* Old News * 🙂

Well as of today, I still can’t seem to find an SD card that will run the Minimig core correctly. A while back I had one, but it got crushed. I threw the card out and started fresh (had backups), but nothing I do seems to work. So these are the cards I have tried, formatted FAT32, FAT16, exFAT, with various clsuter sizes and with smaller partitions (for the 8GB cards) or using the complete size of the SD card.

The same cards will work with MSX core, or load files for the TC64’s C64 file browser. A few other people have mentioned issues with particular cards. I’m looking around for other cards to try…

Amiga 2000: Rise from your grave, then kick ass.

Yuri-Front

It’s been a long time for this computer. I dragged her through high school and all of art school. I wrote my papers, did some video titling, played Eye of the Beholder, composed some MODS and then programmed way too many RPG tools for various paper game systems. On my last week of school she died. I started working at a PC Lab, which got me a 486 DX50 and busy with other things.. “Yuri” got put in storage until I had time to work on her.

Over the years I’ve stacked up a few Amiga parts and then ran into a cache of *many* by fluke (ask Tak). My original 2000 “Yuri”, had a Compsec SA2000 SCSI HD Controller, 2091 ram expander and two floppy drives. This Amiga was a later version, with the 1MB Angus. In the day, this machine was good for everything that I needed. But the day a group of friends upgraded, my 68000 “Yuri” was a little jealous. I always wanted her to kick a little ass 🙂

Yuri had a bad power supply, which was the only thing that was wrong. I pulled one out of a 2000 with a damaged (bashed in more like it) motherboard. So Yuri booted, the 180MB drive started into WB1.3.

So begins the project, upgrade Yuri to the best she can be. (or with what I can dig up)

Starting with :

GVP

I’ve always wanted a GVP Accelerator. G-Force 030 (Impact A2000-030 Combo Series II) is nothing to sniff at either. The problem with this card was the missing jumpers everywhere :). Also, trying to figure out which GVP it was, makes life a little difficult. I got the card working with 8megs of ram.

I knew that the old drive was not going to be an easy port over. Controllers of this era were pretty much tied to the drive and vice versa. So hooking up will not work. Having both controllers in the machine didn’t work. So Old one in, while I figure a way to get all my stuff off.

Yuri’s Old Drive: Fujitsu M2614SA (180MB) formatted 20 Megs DH0:, 40MB DH1: and 120MB DH2:

Ways to get stuff off an Amiga to another machine:

1. Serial off the mother board (slow) or off a Serial Card with a decent Speed (need a cable and/or Card)
2. Network Adapter, TCPIP Stack and some basic Networking. Need OS 2.0+ as well.
3. SCSI Controller in a PC that is physically compatible (SCSI1/2) with Amiga SCSI and Copy Disk Images. (needs a PC with SCSI controller, HD Imagining Software)
4. Throw Amiga Explorer into the mix, great tool.

Serial, motherboard, slow.

You can always fail back to basic serial. It’s nice that it works and often I would just use it to prove that communication was possible while I pulled my hair out trying to get faster methods to work.

I transferred some files off using Terminal software to my lab PC. With the rats nest of cables, trying to find a serial cable that would work was a pain. I even slapped in an HST 19.2 modem (the one I used in Art School) and a 14.4 in the PC to see how that would play out. Slow… but worked.

Transferring data using AExplorer over serial, Amiga motherboard serial was painful. The only thing worse is sneaker net. I had a few other Amigas around that needed to be backed up, so a faster method was needed.

Serial Using HyperCOM4 (has 4 High Speed Seral ports)

Well I found one of these on Ebay, ordered it and it also came with a AmigaNET Rev 1.1A Hydra 10BaseT2/AUI Network Adapter. The network adapter used BNC/AUI which would need some work to get physcially wired up to my home network, so I opted for the serial first. This seemed like a logical decision as I had basic serial working so going from 19.2 to 115.2KBaud would be 5-6x times speed boost and shouldn’t be much problems to achieve.

Wrong!

No matter how I hooked up the card, its ports which port used or driver choice I could get it to communicate. I installed the latest Driver used the DEVS:hyperCOM40.device as part of the AExplorer config. Here is what I used:

Run >NIL: <NIL: sys:AExplorer/AExplorer >NIL: <NIL: SERDEVICE DEVS:hyperCOM40.device SERBAUD 19200 SERUNIT 0

A few things to keep in mind when using other using DEVS: devices,
1. The file name is case sensitive…
2. SERUNIT is for the different ports on the card, the mainboard serial is SERUNIT 0.
3. Multiple HyperCOM’s are differentiated between hyperCOM40, hyperCOM41, hyperCOM42..etc. You can have as many as 4 or 5 in an Amiga.

I figured out what serial port was what on the card, I had all 4 ports wired up to the card and then connected one to the NULL modem cable. Then I cycled through SERUNIT 0-3. 3 out of 4 ports would throw an error on the PC side saying that there was nothing hooked up and to check the connection. The other error that popped up on the one was “COM Error”. So I guess that means that’s the active port 🙂

No setting’s combo on either side would work. I know the cable and PC config works, as the Amiga main board serial works fine. I managed to open a terminal window on the PC side and mounted AExplorer on the Amiga side. The result was some formatted, structural garbage. So something is going somewhere…

After extra gray hair, I moved on to the next option, which was based on the a trip to the basement. A basement which is like the interior of Jawa Sandcrawler. Really, the Ark of the Covenant is down there too.

Mounting an AMIGA SCSI disk in a PC

I found a PCI 2950UW Controller in the basement, dug further into the piles and found parts for a PC to host the controller.

Built a Windows 2003 Server with 2GB of ram, 80GB Drive and the 2950. Dug up a batch of SCSI cables, found three drives from a derelict HP server that were all too large for use in an Amiga but found a 2GB Baracuda that was compatible.

Most of the problems here revolved around SCSI termination, most of the Amiga HD’s are old technology wise and were designed to either be the only device in the chain or the termination was non-existent. My testbed drive was from one of the spare A2000’s which didn’t have stable termination and didn’t provide stable termination power. Besides, screwing around with the drive’s mainboard and jumpers is too much of a pain… I just used the best SCSI trick you can do.

Mount another drive on the end and make sure it has term power enabled and termination resistor packs. One of the HP server drives did the job. The drive mounted on the SCSI chain without any further problems.

I downloaded a disk imaging software that was freeware/trial ware and ripped an HDF image of my test machine (an 2000 with standard commodore controller). I think the drive was going to have a heart attack, it was never probably pushed that hard in its life.. The disk image moved over in about a few minutes. I copied the file over to my PC dev machine and mounted it in an emulator and there was the test machine running on a PC.

Well, I cracked open “Yuri” and noticed the drive was full height 5 1/4 sized drive… and thought about the last time I saw one of those.

It was huge. I pulled the drive and mounted it into the PC SCSI box and about 5 minutes later the entire drive was imaged. But when I mounted it in an emulator, the OS would not boot. A lot of goofing around yielded no results. I looked into the controller I was using, COMSPEC AS2000. It might be an insult to call it a SCSI controller, it had a non standard boot method and disk format. So I guess an image of this is useless if I can’t open it to get files out. I will have to send the specs out to someone else who might be interested in figuring out how to mount this image, but its out of my expertise. At moments like these its time to go…

Back into the Basement…

Found a Hub with a BNC port and Regular Ethernet (4 ports). You never know when these things are useful 🙂

Three Rules of BNC/10base-T2
1. New Cable Always
2. T connectors and proper 50 ohm Terminators
3. Ground one end of the network for stability.

Kickstart

Network Time…

I grabbed a test hard disk from the stack, installed WB and mounted the NIC in a test machine.

I have installed networking stacks on a lot of different machines, but doing it on the Amiga was unique. I upgraded the ROM to 2.04, then tried to get Miami DX to work. I had used WB1.3 for a long time, so moving around 2.04 involved tripping over things and totally not understanding why xyz doesn’t do 123.

Process for installing Miami

1. Install the MUI
2. Install the Network Drivers (me its the Hydra)
3. unpack both the Main and MUI drivers in one folder then install.

Yuri-Inside-AMINET

There is a lot of TCP/IP config to do once everything is installed correctly. I gave the device a fixed IP and configured things manually. I left one of the machines on my network pinging that static IP. As I messed around with settings and configs I kept an eye on the ping to make sure what I was doing was working or not. I am pretty confident with networking, I’ve wired up an entire school once with 10baseT2 and had to work in that lab for about year. So I had pulled some terminators out of the basement tool box some RG8 cable and T connectors.

The hub was working fine, I checked by hooking other devices to it and I could see them still on the network. So the problems was either a config in Miami (port filter/firewall/config) or its at the media level.

After screwing around with the cable enough, I checked one of my terminators and engraved on the end was 70 ohm. I went out the next day found an electronics store on College street that sells some weird stuff (they looked at me funny when I asked for the terminators: Sarah Conner?) and then they give me 70’s.. then I point out they are not what I want and then digging out the box I find two mismatched 50’s with grounding chains. That should have been the give away that there was no grounding chain, hey.. it’s been a while.

transciever
I hate that RG8 cable, really. Nightmares.

So this is our new friend, which means I don’t have to have mixed media types running through the network. Step on RG8 cable and forever watch that segment flap. So lets move into RJ45/CAT5 and be happy. I had a pair of these (see left) for networking  older MAC’s at the school. I knew these would come in handy 🙂

Once the transceiver was connected, I adjusted the router (DD-WRT) dns server and DHCP client to give Yuri a static lease and DNS entry.

AEyuri.sx9.local

Once the network was working, (I totally miss command prompt networking tools) and DHCP was handled correctly,  time for AExplorer.

The speed was amazing, copied the entire drive contents over in the blink of an eye (well it looks like that after sneaker net and MB serial).

I unplugged everything, mounted a CD-ROM, the Accelerator (with RAM), Serial Card, NIC and a 500 MB drive. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. But this drive was in packaging for a while, so it was as fresh as I could get in that class/age of HD.

sysinfo-yuriI re-installed everything from scratch, then copied the contents of my old drive over the network to the new Yuri. Time to see what blows up under OS 2.04 🙂

So after all that, Yuri is now on the network. Running at a decent clip. I installed (over the network!) SYSINFO V4 and checked out the stats, as seen below 🙂

(Click on the image to see the details)

 

 

I love the fact that it gives “Smell the Rubber?” as a comment. heheh.

 

 

Turbo Chameleon 64: Update Woes

*** Fixed with Update Beta 9C 🙂 ***

After a getting my TC64 back, everything was working great. The new firmware came out and I used the update.prg on small SD-Card to update the firmware. Post update, the cart isn’t responding properly. Even after multiple updates via Chaco on multiple computers.

I copied these files, over to an SD card.
Files

I noticed some garbage on boot, so I held down the space bar — this is what I saw. Notice the garbled letters on the left hand side and the 0’s showing up in the bottom area.
Loading

If left un-attended it ends looking like below. The text at the bottom is garbled and it just freezes here.
BootLoader

I didn’t record images of the actual update process, but it reported everything was good and to press a key to reboot the cart. Which I did.

I connected the cart to a PC, opened CHACO and the cart was available. Closed CHACO and I ran the update.exe from the PC. It updated without problem, reporting no errors and the device rebooted to a core (0?). But when hooked up to a 64 or to VGA with/without a docking station same images as above.

I downloaded another package, in case there was a problem with the files (maybe they got corrupted etc). The same process from the PC. Of course I can’t update from C64 mode as it doesn’t get past the boot loader.

C64: Asteroids Emulation on a C64

Link: http://members.aon.at/nkehrer/astc64.html

Well, it’s pretty awesome. A quote from the site, explains the awesomeness of this:

Since the nineties, arcade emulators like MAME can emulate the classics like Asteroids on the PC or the Mac. This program is an Asteroids emulator for the Commodore 64. The “emulation” of the arcade machine’s CPU is done natively by the 6510 processor of the C64. The video and sound hardware is simulated by the Asteroids emulator program. In this way, the original arcade game program is executed and interpreted, and the original game play is (more or less) exactly reproduced.

I can remember the disappointment in the conversions that showed up over the years of this amazing game. It was one of the first games I loaded in MAME to check out. Well Done Norbert!

PET4032: New PET, Amazing Condition…

PET4032

Really lucky, this 4032 Big Screen Model is in such good condition that I had to really look for a scratch. Opening the inside was a surprise compared to my 2001. It was clean. Close to spotless. The keyboard needed some elbow grease, which took all of 30 minutes of pushing keys to get them going.. well the space bar needs a little work.

Hooked up an SFD SD1 and tested the ports, everything works great. Miner on the PET is awesome — still amazed at the condition of the machine, its in better shape than the one I used in school years ago. I didn’t know there was a kickstand inside the case 🙂

The board is one of the FAT40 types, which means it can be bumped to a 8032. 32k of RAM is an upgrade from my 2001. I’ve always been used to metal case PET’s, this one is a plastic and I like the feel of it.

1541-II: Dirty Harry

1541-iiHeadDirty

Backing up the collection, is causing some permanent damage. Every so often the drive just starts gagging on a disk, so I stop the process and open the drive. I’ve actually started to just leave the case off and move my coffee to the other side of the desk. Majority of the disks don’t have issues, but then there are a few that strip large quantities of their magnetic surface off. I ran out of isopropyl, so I switched to booze (something high proof :)). The strange thing is the booze seems to work better. Less disks are getting trashed. might be for other reasons like stronger better made floppies — or ones that were taken better care of. The majority of these disks are from different people, maybe 1/5 are mine and the others are donations from friends and bulk purchases from other equipment buys from ebay. Does anyone have any suggestions for bulk backup of collections to D64?

I’ve written a few scripts in powershell, to handle the bulk of the work. The script does a directory of the disk, if that is successful it takes the header name, uses that as base filename. Then it copies the directory to a txt file, runs D64copy shows the progress. If I type a name after the script command, it will use that name instead of the dir header. I wonder if there is a way to save the error map from D64copy as well?

1571: The Disk Eater of Doom

TastyFloppy Wow. I pulled out the 400+ floppies, a few disk drives and the ZoomFloppy. While I do my day to day programming work, I run a script with Powershell/OPENCBM and started imaging my collection. So do some work, insert a disk, hit enter then continue.

I got through about 100 floppies and started to notice disk errors popping up. I used my newest drive, which was a 1541-II. So I popped the 1541-II’s lid and checked the head. It was filthy. Got the head cleaner, cleaned it off and continued on. The 1541-II’s are easy to clean. But then I thought.. hey the 1571 has warp mode transfers. faster transfer means done faster..

So I hooked the 1571 drive up, tested the transfer. 1571 versus 1541-II. 1571 wins speed wise.

The second disk I inserted, the copy sounded like power tools in use. Which prompted me to stop the process and check the drive. Looking at the Disk after was a shock. I have never had this happen ever.. that’s a solid groove that you can see through. I’m scared of the 1571 disk eater now..

PET 2001: My Pet Monster

Pet2001-screen
Pet2001-Back
Pet2001-mb
Click to Zoom in

This is My Pet Monster, I found him abandoned on the street — left out in the rain, sometime in 2001. He was pretty scratched up and started to rust.. which after a little scrubbing (and some beer for me) he ended up getting a paint job. There are a lot of Pet Enthusiasts out there who will cry when they see the paint job. But after a little cleaning, prodding and solder (recently) he turned on!

Now, looking at the tag on the left it says 2001-8. I live in Canada, this machine was found in Toronto. I also know after pulling out the motherboard — a sticker says : Ryerson Polytechnical College (which is now Ryerson University). But the exterior is not a PET 2001 Series, it has no tape drive and has the graphical keyboard. But all pictures I’ve seen of other pets that are the 2001 series after the Chicklet Keyboard have a different motherboard.

PET Logic Assy : 320132

Is it weird or …1023 bytes free, seem strange?

— After some chats with Mike Stein (TPUG Email List), I’ve swapped around 2114 ram chips, to find the bad one(s). I basically got it down to two chips, then he suggested switching around the video ram, one at a time. If you get garbage on the screen, then the chip is bad. In the end both chips are bad. So I get ~6k of ram working :).

— Arg as I was writing this, the PET just shut down. And its not coming back. Noo….
PetMonster

Well This is boot up…

CH(A) (TOP) is Pin 1 off of the 2114 SRAM in the first bank.
CH(B) (BOTTOM) is 6502 pin 1

Startup

Then goes this post boot.

Running

Well, it’s got a pulse.. hah.

I think it’s actually the display system itself. The monitor is not powering up or showing the signs when it’s powered off.. The Fading white dot..

I really wish this was a ROM problem, messing with CRT’s is deadly if you don’t discharge them properly. I knew a guy at a workshop who died form one of the massive TV’s that were built into furniture. So.. Hmm..

It looks like the tube doesn’t power up at all. With an induction amplifier, aiming it at ANY CRT will be noisy as hell. My 1084 monitor generates a lot of noise, and a PET monitor should be loud… not a peep. I do not want to open the back of the screen.. eek.

Well, as long as I stay away from the end of the Tube, for now I should be ok 🙂

MonitorOpen1

As you can see below, everything looks ok.. nothing obvious..

MonitorOpen2

TubeLit

This last pic is with the light off, to see that the tube is actually got something going on.. The tube is lit when the power is on, just not enough to show something.

C64NIC+: More Networking Fun on the C64

C64NICI was thinking about making a modem file, or hack part of Darkstar BBS to work as Telnet BBS. When I started working with this device, I noticed Leif Bloomquist was working on a network game for the C64. I began thinking of trying to test out burning some ROM’s for this device. I pulled out my trusty EEPROM burner and found out — my laptop doesn’t have a parallel port! Shhessh. I tried various LPT-USB adapters and nothing works. Hmm, maybe I’ll bother someone with a more modern EEPROM burner.

But the idea of a network game seems pretty awesome, I’ve noticed Vice has a networking config… hmm.

Anyways, maybe a mini-mmo type dungeon crawl game might be fun.

Zoom Floppy: CBM 8050 Test

ZoomTestZoom Floppy is a USB to Anything Commodore adapter. I can remember having a X1541, a 386 some a really old ISA LPT port adapter and hours of fiddling, copying and pain with Star Commander. After the setup got hooked up, I ended up slapping an NE2000 and a DOS based TCPIP Stack to transfer files off the disks. The Hacked up 1451 cable always had its issues too.

Move ahead to 2010+ and you have a Zoom Floppy. It was 5 minutes of setup and disk transfers were happening. It’s a great piece of equipment. One of the great other benefits is for the rest of us that have IEEE Devices. I have a SFD1001, CBM8050 and an MSD SD-2. It was pretty impressive to hookup these drives just as easily as an IEC 1541.

Backing up these IEEE devices is awesome, but accessing them without a BUS card on a PC is amazing.

I noticed some weirdness with the dual drive units, I could read off of Drive 0 but not off of 1. I am sure I just need to either update my software or I’m doing something wrong. But flipping disks between drives is not an issue.

C64 ASM: Video Test – Dr. Who Time Tunnel

This segment is from the opening of Doctor Who, (I think Tom Baker :)) and slightly tweaked to allow it to loop better. The output of GIF2C64, is generally just RAW data or a text file with a long stream of .byte(s). I’ve added some ASM output options like a mini player for animated gif’s (in this example) and scrolling code for images larger than the screen of the C64. There were a few video’s out there, in the 80’s that someone made — one of them was of HE-MAN. It was black and white pixels represented by the standard font map. Seeing that video made me a little crazy for video on the C64, even much later I was working in DPaint on the Amiga with ambitions to get the anims over to the C64. I can also remember the first digitized audio I ever heard on the C64, I think it was “stay a while, stay forever!”.. the next was “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen.

C64 ASM: Video Test with Dragon’s Lair

Dirk Dead: Down the street from my house (when I was very young), there was a Dragon’s Lair arcade game. I have always loved that game. I ended up with the real arcade laser disk and a copy of it on DVD. When I got the C64 game, it was a million disks and there were always errors on the various disks (or failed copy protection). But when the C64 game ran, I was thinking *what? this isn’t Dragons Lair!*.. then the first few sequences would run… then crash.

One of the coding projects I always wanted to try was to create a video codec (and transfer process) to bring Dragons Lair properly over to the C64. This was my first segment, which of course is without audio. I know that there are carts out there that can output higher res video with audio, but I wanted this to run on a stock C64.. maybe a little more memory wouldn’t be bad 🙂

This was created by GIF2C64 a C# application I am working on.

C64 ASM: Skull Tumbler V1-4

Skull Tumbler v1-4 [2014]: Coding, GFX and Music by Wolfgang Bochar. This is a long time coming, I’ve managed to the IRQ timing correct, 16 sprite blockers to give the window effect and no jitters. Works on NTSC and PAL machines, though PAL is a little slower on the playback. I used to have closer to 18 rows of text graphics scrolling — but when combined with the audio, sprites and x-y scrolling in the two raster areas.. it got quite jittery. There is only so much raster time to render the image, so I started running frame 0 half image then frame 1 lower half — then the Y scrolling started to look jumpy with the timing. This version has a smaller window, but I like the simple layout better (but full screen video is great too). Something to work at in the future.

I am pretty happy with this, it is the cleanest and most complex IRQ coding I’ve every done. I’d like to thank the crew at Covert Bitops for the ASM Notes and GoatTracker (which I composed the music on), The KickAss Assembler and the Kick IDE guys (makes Dev so much faster), Oliver Achten and Jens Schönfeld for the MMC Replay (makes testing on a real C64 fast and easy) and Takeshi Yano (for all the C64 chats over the years).

The Source graphic (and any video data on this site) was generated by GIF2C64 (C# application), that takes gifs (animated too) and generates custom charsets. I haven’t got all the bugs out, but after alpha is finished I’ll post a beta version for external testing.

MMC Replay: RR-NET MK3 Upgrade

MMCReplayOriginal
MMC Replay gets a powerup 🙂 I ordered a batch of equipment, from www.icomp.de: 2 RRNET3’s and a Chameleon docking station. My Chameleon, for some reason died! And after a few days of back and forth emails with Jens, it got shipped back to its maker. The other RRNET3 got installed in my MMC Replay (on the left). I’ve almost lost a few fingers in the process of cutting through the plastic to make the LED’s and NIC port accessible. I’ve had access to proper tools to make plastic molds and cart cases, but the hack method definitely is a little more pleasurable.

When I got this cart, I had one of those Back to the Future moments — where I wished I could send this guy back to myself circa ’84. Just be able to load everything you have on an SD card is awesome. I like doing dev work with it, but the SD card I was using was starting to warp a bit from continuous inserting. So, move over SD Card and use NIC/TCPIP.

It’s not an obvious process, but I’ve done a lot of networking and related hardware in the past. There is only so much resources that this device can have on board and then rest has to be played out by software. I ended up using the last slot on my MMCRR  and flashing the BIN for “The Final Replay V0.8”. Just loading the BIOS isn’t enough, you need to modify the BIN using a setup to give it an IP and the server IP. Works! As you can see below:

rrnet

PINGTEST

C64 ASM: Skull Tumbler (Gif2C64)

This is my most recent output from my GIF2C64 conversion utility. I made an image in photoshop, that would appear seemless when scrolled. 4 colour gif, converted to a custom multi-colour font, basically dividing the character into quadrants with each possible combination of patterns. The output software also handles font compression, to strip out excess unused patterns, which is how the Letters have been retained in the fontmap. Gif2C64 also can take animated gifs, which with more frames in the video the less space is available for letters. I’ll try to post an example of video later..

The ASM to scrolling code could use some work, this is my first experience with multiple raster calling. At certain points the music starts to kaak, due it fighting with the drawing routines. I’ll get there 🙂