Author Topic: USIfAC II:Convert a PC or USB stick to Amstrad HDD,access dsk's,and many more!  (Read 7338 times)

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Offline ikonsgr

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Great. Have you tried with the Phortem and Phx demo too?  :)
I've tried both and they load just fine from usb stick using the FDC emulation.And also transfer to a 3.5" disk works too!  ;)
« Last Edit: 11:15, 02 February 21 by ikonsgr »

Offline JimQML

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Thank you for this nice device, I received it this january ! I've just tested it this evening but I can't manage to copy a file from a CPC disk to an USB key!
I tried this:
|USB
|2PC
then when I select a file and press return, the message:
Transfering myfile... appears at the bottom of the screen, but everything is frozen and then the file is created on the USB key but the file is empty (0 bytes)...
I tried with different USB keys from 16Gb to 1Gb... I tried to create smaller partitions from 250Mb to 10Mb (FAT) but none of these tries is working, the result is always the same: the file is created but everything freezes and the result file is empty !
Any clues to help me ?
« Last Edit: 23:49, 09 February 21 by JimQML »

Offline vasilisk

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I tried the same as you and it succesfully copied the selected files in the usb stick

Offline JimQML

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ah ok  :o
What do you suggest ? Is it because I'm using a CPC 6128+ or because I'm not lucky with my USB keys and I should try others ?


Offline vasilisk

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ah ok  :o
What do you suggest ? Is it because I'm using a CPC 6128+ or because I'm not lucky with my USB keys and I should try others ?


I dont know. Only ikonsgr can answer that  ;D

Offline Skunkfish

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I've not had much of a chance to play with my USIfAC II much - but I'm also having issues on my 6128 Plus with some random crashing....
An expanding array of hardware available at www.cpcstore.co.uk (and issue 3 of CPC Fanzine!)

Offline ikonsgr

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Unfortunately i don't own a 6128+ so no testing was made on that machine. Moreover, i don't know much about hardware/firmware differences and "peculiarities"  of "plus" machines, so, i'm afraid i can't provide any help with problems on "plus" machines...  ::)
BUT, what i DO know though, is that, at least "basic" functionality of loading games (either directly or form dsk images) seems to work on 6128+ too.  ;)

p.s: If you haven't done it, try to update the firmware (check 1st post of this thread), maybe this will help resolve the problem on 6128 plus.
« Last Edit: 21:30, 12 February 21 by ikonsgr »

Offline vasilisk

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I tried something today, out of curiocity. I exported the files of random games (with managedsk) that consist of more than one 1 dsk. I put them all in a folder and run the game. To my surprise, I had partial success. When the game required to insert disc2 or side2, it bypassed it and continue. Needs testing though because games with hidden sectors or loaders etc are not read well by managedsk
« Last Edit: 23:05, 12 February 21 by vasilisk »

Offline ikonsgr

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For that, i use CPCLOADER included in CPCGamesCD, as you can "Batch" extract 1000's of dsk images into separate folders in a few seconds!  :)
Unfortunately some multi dsk image games, are using custom sector/track loaders so there are no files to be extracted,thus you can't use the direct file loading method. Also, it's better to use separate folders for each multi dsk game to avoid conflicts in names etc.
Anyway, in then near future,i'm planing of Resolving the problem of how to load multi dsk image games, by adding on the board, a "hot dsk swap" button (similar to the reset button), and also, add multiple |MG commands (|MG2, |MG3 etc) in order to mount multiple dsk images (up to four). These images would  be "round" selected, "on the fly", by pressing the swap button! I've already test this, using a prototype board and seems to work very well! And using this method, you should be able to load multi dsk games that use sector loaders too! ;-)



« Last Edit: 02:07, 13 February 21 by ikonsgr »

Offline vasilisk

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Also, it's better to use separate folders for each multi dsk game to avoid conflicts in names etc.

Even if we do that, I dont think we "change" discs during game. Correct?

Offline ikonsgr

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Changing actual disk images will be "literrally" done, using the swap button i mentined before.
But, in direct file loading method, there is no meaning of "change disks" ,since you get rid of the disk images and access files directly!  ;)
So, for now, you can try to extract all files from all dsk images of a multi-image game, into a single folder. Then you can try to run game as usual.
Of course this method has some restrictions:
- Game must use Amsdos FILE routines and not sector/track loaders
- File names in different dsk images should have different names (otherwise you will have conflicts when extracted on the same folder)
If game fulfills the above conditions, then it should run without problem, since game code will be able to find all required files directly from the folder!
If you are in a mood, you can try some and give us the results  ;)

Offline XeNoMoRPH

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Any new firmware uptades maybe ? hehe  :D
your amstrad news source in spanish language : https://auamstrad.es

Offline ikonsgr

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Ok,i just upload a new firmware (_2b) which contains the updated |DSK command for writing any kind of image using custom floppy drive routines instead of Amsdos.
Also, this is how the new boards will be:
 

* new_usifacii.JPG
(223.65 kB, 692x546 - viewed 83 times)

As you can see,the usb host module is now soldered on the main board, which saves the need for extra wires and making the interface a neater, compact single board!  ;)
I'm also working on adding the ability to load snapshot files (|SNA command). As there are now more than 200 snapshots in the cpcwiki snapshot archive , these can proove useful for CPC 464 users, as many games from dsk images, can't load on a CPC 464, so you can use a snapshot instead. Of course, there is another option to use directly files (like most games in this list), but it's good to have another alternative :-)


Btw, i'm still waitng for the new batches of usb host modules, but i believe i will have them pretty soon...
« Last Edit: 10:52, 01 March 21 by ikonsgr »

Offline issalig

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While I am waiting for my USIFAC, I am trying to understand how it works from the hardware side.It would be nice to have  a wiki on simple port expansion communication (but I have not found it, if I manage to get a clear idea, I can write an simple expansion card wiki)

Following explanations for expansion port communications from http://magic-cookie.co.uk/CPC/expport.html
I have seen that IOREQ, WR, RD lines are used to  communicate with the Z80.
Thus, writing on data port OUT &FBD0,x  should activate IOREQ and WR and place the bits in D0-D7?For the way back, INP(&FBD0) will check if RD activated from MCU and read D0-D7 ?

Maybe all these questions are solved in usifac code, don't know if it is available or not.

Sorry if this is not the appropriate thread for these questions, but I guess, here are the main experts.


Offline ikonsgr

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Check here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/amstrad-cpc-hardware/universal-serial-interface-for-amstrad-cpc/msg169466/#msg169466
here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/amstrad-cpc-hardware/universal-serial-interface-for-amstrad-cpc/msg170045/#msg170045
and here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/amstrad-cpc-hardware/universal-serial-interface-for-amstrad-cpc/msg190714/#msg190714
It's from the previous usifac project thread, but the principles are the same, and you will get a lot of "inner workings"  ;)
The 2 major hardware differences with USIfAC II is ,first that i use CLC's (Configurable Logic Cells, a feature of the 18F47Q10 PIC mcu) instead of discrete logic chips for all address/signal decoding, and  with the procedure of unlatching the data bus, the new PIC is fast enough to do it "on the fly" without needing to have a "pause/unpause" procedure and "sample&hold" circuit of READY signal i described above!  ;)

Now,i have uploaded another firmware update, this time for all CPC 464 users: It ELIMINATES the need for the "Start up" procedure of giving "|464" and then pressing "Reset" button!  ;)
The only "side effect" is that, at "cold start", your CPC 464 will reset automatically a couple of times...  :D
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 21:57 by ikonsgr »