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Author Topic: Real Time Clock Board  (Read 27995 times)

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Offline dxs

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Real Time Clock Board
« on: 20:14, 10 February 15 »
Hi there!

Like I said on a previous topic, I started a reproduction of the Dobbertin SmartWatch. If you don't know it see here: Dobbertin Smart Watch - CPCWiki

This is a board plugged on the expansion port, which brings RTC to the CPC. You can easily retrieve day, month, year, time from Basic, and use it as the RTC for FutureOS!

The prototype board working:


Original boot screen:


5 lines of basic can display time and date in real time:


FutureOS Desk:



The final production board:






The board is made of the RTC module itself which has a backup lithium battery, and an EPROM containing the original SmartWatch ROM which provides RSX access to the watch from basic (TIME ROM+).
There are 2 ways of using this board, selected by jumpers.

First as a standalone.
The TIME ROM+ and RTC module are both located at position 2, allowing Parados in position 6 and being usable on a 464 as is. The whole board is usable as a standalone on any CPC 464-6128- + range.

Second in parallel with a MegaFlash or X-MEM, as the board is MX4 format compatible.
In this case the onboard EPROM is no longer used, you need to populate one slot of your X-MEM with a provided patched TIMEROM version and select a few jumpers. Otherwise if using FutureOS you don't need the TIMEROM at all.

A 20 pieces batch with "pro" PCB is planned, first come, first serve.

Q&A

Q: What will be the price?
A: Price INCLUDING TRACKED SHIPPING is 33.90e (36.90e) within France (Europe) for the first board. Each additional board is 30e.

Q: Is it MX4 compatible?
A: Yes it fully complies to IEC-MX4 standard :D !

Q: Is it compatible with other expansions?
A: MegaFlash: yes. X-MEM: yes. MFII: yes. The address is fully decoded so as long as other expansions do the same it should be fine.

Q: Is it FutureOS compatible?
A: Yes. Thank you TFM.

Q: Is it 6128+ compatible?
A: Yes I tested it with a 6128 and a 6128+.

Q: What is the battery life?
A: I calculated >10 years, anyway the battery is a standard 12mm lithium button cell, user replaceable for cheap.

Q: Does it come with an edge connector?
A: No, I have no time to make them. It comes with a male 50pin header like the Megaflash for example or any MX4 card. You can use your MX4 or Megaflash edge connector to 50pin female to run the RTC as a standalone. Connecting to the passthrough of the MX4 is also possible however you'll have to provide your own 50pin female-female cable.

Q: Is the software complete?
A: Yes, since I made the above screenshots I corrected the Y2K bug and translated the days and some text to english and french. I'm also making a small user manual since no information is available ATM on the Wiki.

Q: Why is this better than other RTC solutions on the CPC?
A: It's not. It provides compatibility with existing software like TIME ROM+, FutureOS. You can replace the battery easily. It brings the good old feeling of old electronic stuff which you can actually understand ;D . If you don't like it, then don't buy it I'm not making money here anyway.

Q: I would like to have one, but in a shiny box and with a 2 year warranty?
A: ...

Included in this post is a RAR file containing the User Manual, along with the English and French ROM files.
« Last Edit: 21:12, 13 July 15 by dxs »

Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #1 on: 21:31, 10 February 15 »
That's pretty cool! I would take one!


Now I have to update the FutureOS installation for being able to comfortable change the ROM number of the SmartWatch.  :)


EDIT: I would post a screenshot with the !BIGWATCH command too.  :laugh:
TFM of FutureSoft
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Offline steve

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #2 on: 21:40, 10 February 15 »
 8)
« Last Edit: 21:59, 10 February 15 by steve »

Offline gerald

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #3 on: 21:56, 10 February 15 »
One single question :
Is this a ROM extension ?
If so, I suspect it will not work with either the XMEM (an maybe the SymbifaceII) which populate the whole ROM range from 0 to 31, even if the ROM slot is not active.

Actually, a second question :
The slot connectors on the MX4 are female, while the passtrough and cable connector are male.
You say that one can use
   - either the cable provided with the MX4 or Megaflash -> your card connector should be male.
   - or use the passthrough connector on the MX4 -> your card connector should be female.
So : is the card connector male or female  ???

Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #4 on: 22:50, 10 February 15 »

You say that one can use
   - either the cable provided with the MX4 or Megaflash -> your card connector should be male.

Right, look at picture. Card is male.


   - or use the passthrough connector on the MX4 -> your card connector should be female.
You need a cable with two female connectors for the pass through connector.

TFM of FutureSoft
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Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #5 on: 22:53, 10 February 15 »
When using the great ROM-RAM-Box, then you can put the RTC directly in the provided single EPROM socket, as I did with the original RTC from Dobbertin back the day.  :)


I can test the board with the X-MEM for compatibility as soon as I got one unit of both of them.  8)


And who cares about the SF2? It already got an RTC.  :laugh:
TFM of FutureSoft
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Offline gerald

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #6 on: 22:59, 10 February 15 »
Right, look at picture. Card is male.
Look at the picture, this is the prototype, not the final product  ;)

Now, why the question :
The wording is misleading as it says you either use the cable provided with the MX4 OR connect it to the passthrough connector. Each solution requires a different connector.
It is not mentioned that you can plug it in one MX4 slot.
It is not mentioned that you need a cable to plug it on the passthrough.

Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #7 on: 00:13, 11 February 15 »
*English* is the compromise ;-) Not what sounds the best or what we could speak the best.  :laugh:
TFM of FutureSoft
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Offline dxs

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #8 on: 11:52, 11 February 15 »
Hi!
I just updated the FAQ in the first post.


@Gerald
Yes this is basically a single fixed position romboard. Regarding X-MEM compatibility I'm waiting for the MX4 to show up to run tests (I do have the X-MEM and Megaflash). I recognize this would be a huge problem. I checked the MegaROM schematic and yes it would need to be hacked to allow the RTC module to run in parallel.
« Last Edit: 12:12, 11 February 15 by dxs »

Offline Bryce

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #9 on: 12:05, 11 February 15 »
What ROM position does it occupy?

Bryce.

Offline dxs

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #10 on: 12:21, 11 February 15 »
Position 5.
Definitely paralleling this with the MegaFlash or MegaROM will cause bus contention. A jumper would be needed to disable the specific ROM location.

Offline Bryce

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #11 on: 14:04, 11 February 15 »
Hmm, 5 isn't easy to disable without a lot of logic.

Bryce.

Offline dxs

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #12 on: 15:16, 11 February 15 »
Well I could change that of course but anyway the MegaFlash would need modifications people won't want / be able to perform. Too bad.
Easiest solution would be using the /OE from my board as input to logic on the MegaFlash which would prevent it from activating it's own ROM. Doesn't seem to be any free wire on the expansion port which would have made this cleaner.
Sure enough without a romboard you can't use F-OS or any custom disc system which removes a lot of interest to the RTC. Remains access from basic but...

Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #13 on: 19:32, 11 February 15 »
Ok... just an idea!


Would the RTC itself be compatible with the X-MEM or MegaFlash? In this case the TimeROM software could be loaded into the X-MEM / MF without any trouble.


If not? Can the RTC itself get a high ROM number and we patch the TimeROM software to look there?


Just ideas.  :)
TFM of FutureSoft
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Offline dxs

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #14 on: 20:48, 11 February 15 »
Well trouble is the way the RTC socket works (or at least I understand it works). Say it's at position 5 with an EPROM on top (containing TIMEROM+ for example), then the socket is totally transparent and the EPROM is accessed from the computer just like if the RTC module wasn't there.
However when the RTC receives the recognition pattern which turns it on, the socket is no longer a pass-through and the EPROM  on top of it gets disabled, but the RTC remains enabled, allowing it to send data on the bus.


Meaning that the EPROM responding at the same position as the RTC has to be on top of it, no matter what. Be it a physical EPROM or an X-MEM or MegaFlash. If you load TIMEROM+ file in a MegaFlash, have the RTC without EPROM connected on another board in parallel, then both the RTC and the MegaFlash will answer when the RTC is accessed, causing failure.


However working with ROM numbers above 31 might be the solution, at least for F-OS. I'll look at MegaFlash schematics. A skillfull ASM coder will be needed to patch the TIMEROM+ however for basic operation, ideally below 7.
All updates regarding compatibility and design changes will be reflected in the first post I'll update.


@TFM  as requested  ;)

Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #15 on: 21:02, 11 February 15 »
IIRC: The RTC and TimeROM don't have to be at the same ROM select. I remember I usually had them separated. Can somebody confirm or contradict? (I'm pretty sure though).





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Offline dxs

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #16 on: 22:47, 11 February 15 »

I think you are right.

I'll try since the prototype I made has 2x 28pins sockets, I can easily wire them for 2 different positions. Depends on how the TIMEROM+ is coded, it seems to be searching for the RTC on boot, unknown is how far (7? 15? 31?). If the RTC is at say pos 32 I doubt it will work.


What I (tried) to explain is that I believe no other ROM can be at the same position as the RTC, be it an EPROM, MegaFlash or whatever, UNLESS it's plugged on top of the RTC. Trouble is MegaFlash-like boards will respond on all empty slots with FF, what a physical romboard would not do because, well, no chip means no data :)

Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #17 on: 23:15, 11 February 15 »
Right!

Guess the TimeROM searches slots 1-15, but I have to look at the source code...Yes.


EDIT: BTW Voting: I voted for "watch to plug in EPROM board", but I would take it in any way it comes. And I would like to have too of them if possible. But of course first one watch for everybody.  :) :) :)
« Last Edit: 19:08, 13 February 15 by TFM »
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Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #18 on: 22:25, 12 February 15 »
Added support for the ROM number selection to the FutureOS installer... (not tested on real machine now, because I'm currently moving).

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Offline dxs

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #19 on: 11:17, 13 February 15 »
Turns out the TIMEROM search for the RTC starts at 15 and works downwards, so a patch is on it's way.
Physical decoding of a higher rom position will need extensive reworking of the prototype though so stay tuned. Plus the backside of the proto board is... well a sort of wild jungle  :)


Thanks TFM! In final version the RTC position will be fixed but choosing will allow users with a physical romboard to select their own 'random' RTC position.
« Last Edit: 11:22, 13 February 15 by dxs »

Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #20 on: 18:51, 20 February 15 »
Thanks dxs for your report... Now here an other little update of the FutureOS installer which automatically activated the Dobbertin RTC in the configuration bytes when altering the RTC ROM number.

EDIT: dxs could confirm it working!  :)  Thank you for testing!  :)
« Last Edit: 16:59, 23 February 15 by TFM »
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Offline dxs

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #21 on: 13:38, 24 February 15 »
Hi there!


First post updated with details and new pictures.


The board is now MegaFlash compatible, FutureOS compatible, and very soon will be tested with the X-MEM!

Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #22 on: 20:06, 24 February 15 »
Awesome!  :)  BTW: I talked to some people in the German forum, I guess some of them would be interested in the RTC too.  :)
TFM of FutureSoft
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Offline dxs

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #23 on: 02:12, 25 February 15 »
I'm planning a 10 pieces batch as a start, as I don't want to have too many left on my desk...

Offline TFM

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Re: Real Time Clock Board
« Reply #24 on: 18:48, 25 February 15 »
I'm sure you will sell very easy 20 of them IMHO.[nb]10 PCB's cost nearly as much as 20, right?[/nb]  :)
TFM of FutureSoft
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