Author Topic: MegaFlash Released!  (Read 26516 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Bryce

  • The Hardware Guy.
  • Supporter
  • 6128 Plus
  • *
  • Posts: 11.795
  • Country: wf
  • It's not broken, it just hasn't been fixed yet.
    • index.php?action=treasury
  • Liked: 4249
  • Likes Given: 446
MegaFlash Released!
« on: 20:09, 21 July 11 »
Hi All,
     I just completed the last of the tests and decided it was time to release the hardware design. You can find the initial information here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/MegaFlash but this isn't complete, there'll be more to come when I've got that far.

Just a reminder and for those who might have missed it: I intend building a batch of these for any Wiki member who's interested. The prices are as follows:

MegaFlash with 512K Flash (32 ROMs): €75
Centronics Cable: €7
Edge Connector Cable: €10
Postage: €5

If you're interested and haven't said so yet, then send me a PM and let me know. The Batch will be made with professionally produced double-sided PCBs and will be a lot smaller (approx. 70mm x 55mm) than the prototype seen on the Wiki page.

Bryce.

« Last Edit: 20:12, 21 July 11 by Bryce »

norecess

  • Guest
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #1 on: 21:57, 21 July 11 »
Wow, it's really great and sounds awesome.


I'm currently not having too much $$$ to spend on another Amstrad CPC device  :(  but I may eventually consider that in the following weeks..

Offline SyX

  • 6128 Plus
  • ******
  • Posts: 1.129
  • Country: br
  • Liked: 1121
  • Likes Given: 1871
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #2 on: 23:17, 21 July 11 »
Come on people!!! This is the EXPANSION that your CPC dream!!! ;)

norecess

  • Guest
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #3 on: 23:50, 21 July 11 »
Yeah don't get me wrong, 512Kb is pretty great and I definitively NEED one. But 97 Euros converted to $CAD is about 130$CAD, which is unfortunately quite a big deal actually to me (= the exact cost of sending my little daughter 3 weeks at the nursery).

Offline qbert

  • CPC664
  • ***
  • Posts: 73
  • Country: fr
  • CPC 464 FR Qwerty
  • Liked: 7
  • Likes Given: 37
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #4 on: 00:08, 22 July 11 »
Too bad Bryce does not have a manufacturing facility to provide low-cost hardware  :D

I'm ok to contribute to the war effort.

 For comparison, Let me say I precisely bought an EASYFLASH cartrigde for Commodore 64 a few weeks ago and it only cost me $24, brand new from ebay (still in massive availability).

  "EasyFlash is a 1 MByte Flash EPROM card with multiple configurations and banks possible. It does not use traditional UV-EPROMs, but Flash memory. This makes it possible to "burn" the cartridge using your C64, no EPROM programmer is needed."
 

  the link: http://skoe.de/easyflash/index.php?page=the-hardware
« Last Edit: 00:16, 22 July 11 by qbert »

Offline Ynot.zer0

  • CPC6128
  • ****
  • Posts: 293
  • Country: gb
  • Liked: 23
  • Likes Given: 63
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #5 on: 00:35, 22 July 11 »
for Commodore 64 a few weeks ago and it only cost me $24


might also be related to the user base / consumers. (Am I about to say this?) With a bigger C64 audience the price can be lower but with the CPC there is a smaller audience so prices will be higher.


I'll admit the price is high, but it is a balance..... I have 2 original ROMboxes but I'll buy a Bryce version (partly to fund Bryce contributing further to the CPC cause and partly as a thank you to Bryce for the dedication of doing this task - he didn't have to do it).


If Bryce were in the UK, I'd buy him a Cider (I'm in the west country  ;D )... and none of that (alleged) Belgian Cidre rubbish

Offline Bryce

  • The Hardware Guy.
  • Supporter
  • 6128 Plus
  • *
  • Posts: 11.795
  • Country: wf
  • It's not broken, it just hasn't been fixed yet.
    • index.php?action=treasury
  • Liked: 4249
  • Likes Given: 446
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #6 on: 01:16, 22 July 11 »
@Qbert: At the moment I haven't even 15 orders. You get me 1000+ orders, like I'd get for C64 hardware and you can have the MegaFlash a lot cheaper. As well as that, the C64 extension is a lot less complex than the MegaFlash, the C64 does the address decoding (just like Ataris cartridge port), whereas the MegaFlash has to do all that for the CPC. So even with 1000 orders it still wouldn't be quite as cheap as the C64 device. But the great thing is, unlike those C64 devices, I release all the schematics, layouts and instructions, so you don't have to buy it from me, you can make one yourself for less.

@ynot.zero: I'm in the UK quite often. I'll take you up on that offer some time :)

@norecess: Wow, nuseries are cheap in Aus. Here in Germany that would just barely pay for a week. Also, the €97 is if you want absolutely everything including connection cables for all types of CPCs. The MegaFlash cost €75-€5 postage, if you decide to install it internally (Yes it's small enough and I will be supplying instructions later) or you want to make up the cables yourself, then it's a lot cheaper.

Bryce.
« Last Edit: 10:30, 22 July 11 by Bryce »

Offline archcosmo

  • CPC664
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
  • Country: au
  • Liked: 17
  • Likes Given: 7
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #7 on: 03:21, 22 July 11 »
Hi Bryce

its 5euros the right amount for postage to Australia?

still 90euros = about 120Aust Dollars - not that bad for us ppl down here due to the favourable exchange rate  8) considering what this device can do (even the original Rombo ROMBOX sold on ebay for a few hundred euros earlier this year)

I've already indicated my interest via PM, so will send my payment when the time comes

cheers

Offline TFM

  • Visit the mysteries of the CPC at www.futureos.de
  • Supporter
  • 6128 Plus
  • *
  • Posts: 9.899
  • Country: aq
  • Space Chicken for FutureOS is free!
    • index.php?action=treasury
    • FutureOS - The revolution on CPC!
  • Liked: 1981
  • Likes Given: 4650
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #8 on: 07:07, 22 July 11 »
For comparison, Let me say I precisely bought an EASYFLASH cartrigde for Commodore 64 a few weeks ago and it only cost me $24

Well, imagine... for the PC you will get it even cheaper... fresh from Taiwan...  ;)
 
Who cares that the quality control is left to the customer.  :P
 
 
BTW: The "Check Flash" function in the FlashROManager was not developped as a joke. It is intended to provide a product that really works. Not like that c64 crap. (Have I ever mentioned, that I hate c64...no? Well, I should... I will do it one day... :P ). :laugh:
TFM of FutureSoft
Also visit the CPC and Plus users favorite OS: FutureOS - The Revolution on CPC6128 and 6128Plus

Offline Gryzor

  • Administrator
  • 6128 Plus
  • *****
  • Posts: 16.020
  • Country: gr
  • CPC-Wiki maintainer
    • CPCWiki
  • Liked: 3454
  • Likes Given: 6212
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #9 on: 12:20, 22 July 11 »
Yes, they're expensive, but they're also really, really cool. I've ordered one even though I can hardly afford it ATM, not only because it's a dream device for the CPC (and, as such, €75 is *not* too much) but because I really want to support the effort...

So, come on guys, this is an once-a-lifetime opportunity, imagine the price this will fetch in a few years' time! I bet Jesus will pay good money ;D

Offline emuola

  • CPC6128
  • ****
  • Posts: 180
  • Country: fi
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 18
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #10 on: 23:51, 22 July 11 »
This might win the "most idiotic question of the year" -price, but hey, I know I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed...

I have the Hxc2001 floppy emulator and a CPC6128 and the combination works great! Is there any point of ordering a MegaFlash?

Please, be gentle ;)
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

norecess

  • Guest
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #11 on: 05:10, 23 July 11 »
Good news  :) I finally decided to support this project too  ;D  and I will buy one (@Bryce: PM done).


@emuola : MegaFlash allows to get 16 ROMs on your CPC (at least, ROMs considered as "programs" - the ones numbered from 0 to 15). A ROM is a program that can be called instantly, cf. you just have to type |HXC or |QCMD to get into the program, without having program to load (RUN command).


Lots of ROMs exists to this day, the most interesting ones (to me at least !) are the Arnor's ones (Protext, Maxam, Utopia), Parados (you could use 800Kb per disc natively with it thanks to your HxC Floppy Emulator), HxC (the manager has a ROM version). And eventually QuickCMD, but people will start to think I want to promote my own work ahaha  ;)


Also, if you are a programmer, ROM programming is a very interesting topic. I sometimes criticize what Amstrad has been doing with its machine, but I recognize the ROM mechanism is really well done, extremely powerful.


 

Offline emuola

  • CPC6128
  • ****
  • Posts: 180
  • Country: fi
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 18
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #12 on: 09:21, 23 July 11 »
Ok, thanks norecess for the clarification :) I just might order one... ;)
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline mr_lou

  • 6128 Plus
  • ******
  • Posts: 3.138
  • Country: dk
    • index.php?action=treasury
    • 8-bit Memoirs - a Blu-ray diskmag-like eBook about the 8-bit era
  • Liked: 1300
  • Likes Given: 2600
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #13 on: 09:42, 23 July 11 »
Does it work on my CPC464 which already have 64kb ram expansion + floppy?

Offline Kris

  • 6128 Plus
  • ******
  • Posts: 557
  • Country: fr
  • Team Impact
  • Liked: 220
  • Likes Given: 844
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #14 on: 09:45, 23 July 11 »
I will take one for sure !!!
@Bryce: MP done !

Offline Cpcmaniaco

  • Supreme Wiki Contributor
  • CPC6128
  • ****
  • Posts: 160
  • Country: es
  • Liked: 39
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #15 on: 11:18, 23 July 11 »
I want one for me too.
 
I send you a PM, Bryce.
 
And thanks for these new hardware.

Offline MaV

  • Supporter
  • 6128 Plus
  • *
  • Posts: 1.103
  • Country: at
  • Ius summum saepe summa est malitia.
  • Liked: 400
  • Likes Given: 828
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #16 on: 11:39, 23 July 11 »
And eventually QuickCMD, but people will start to think I want to promote my own work ahaha  ;)

Don't be modest. QuickCMD will definitely have its place in my MegaFlash.


@bryce: I know I'm exaggerating here, but how many write cycles does the Flash memory last before it'll be a case for the bins? And can it be replaced easily? Will it outlast my grandgrandchildren? ;)
Black Mesa Transit Announcement System:
"Work safe, work smart. Your future depends on it."

Offline Bryce

  • The Hardware Guy.
  • Supporter
  • 6128 Plus
  • *
  • Posts: 11.795
  • Country: wf
  • It's not broken, it just hasn't been fixed yet.
    • index.php?action=treasury
  • Liked: 4249
  • Likes Given: 446
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #17 on: 14:19, 23 July 11 »
@Emuola: One of the advantages of ROM Software, which norecess didn't mention is the fact that the ROM programs use up almost no RAM, so programs like MAXAM (assembler) or Protext (Word Processor) still had most of the RAM free for the actual program/document you are working on.

@Mrlou: I always found it strange that the DDI-1 didn't have a through-connector, which messes up adding further extensions and would be a problem with the MegaFlash adapter (not the electronics, that would technically work fine). However, all is not lost, leave it with me and if you really want one, I will come up with a special adapter for your system.

@MaV: The Flash chip is a standard CMOS Flash. They are rated at 10,000 erase/write cycles, so each ROM position could be re-used 10.000 times (ie: will most likely outlive your CPC, and possibly even you) and the data on the IC will stay there for at least 10 years. It's also in a socket, so you can easily just pop it out and replace it with a new one, however, the Flash is write-protected when you buy them, so you will need a good EPROM Burner to turn off the write protection to use it. Although I might talk with TFM about writing a small program to do this on the MegaFlash if people need it.

If 10,000 times doesn't seem much, work it out: You could erase/re-program every single ROM position every day for over 27 years before it would start to show any errors.


Bryce.
« Last Edit: 14:31, 23 July 11 by Bryce »

norecess

  • Guest
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #18 on: 14:53, 23 July 11 »
Quote
You could erase/re-program every single ROM position every day for over 27 years before it would start to show any errors.


Prove it !

Offline mr_lou

  • 6128 Plus
  • ******
  • Posts: 3.138
  • Country: dk
    • index.php?action=treasury
    • 8-bit Memoirs - a Blu-ray diskmag-like eBook about the 8-bit era
  • Liked: 1300
  • Likes Given: 2600
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #19 on: 15:08, 23 July 11 »
I'd like to hear from all of you your plans on what you'll use your MegaFlash board for. :-)

@Mrlou: I always found it strange that the DDI-1 didn't have a through-connector, which messes up adding further extensions and would be a problem with the MegaFlash adapter (not the electronics, that would technically work fine). However, all is not lost, leave it with me and if you really want one, I will come up with a special adapter for your system.

It does sound interesting and all, although I probably need someone to give me some examples of what I could use it for. Being a musician, I imagine I could of course have the STarKos ROM in one of the slots. But that's about as far as my imagination goes.
Stupid question: There's no RAM on the board, right?
So I have to have my 64k RAM expansion plugged in as well, and the DDI on top of that. So as far as I can see, I'd need some special Y-cable for the MegaFlash? Will everything still work fine then?

Offline Bryce

  • The Hardware Guy.
  • Supporter
  • 6128 Plus
  • *
  • Posts: 11.795
  • Country: wf
  • It's not broken, it just hasn't been fixed yet.
    • index.php?action=treasury
  • Liked: 4249
  • Likes Given: 446
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #20 on: 15:27, 23 July 11 »
@norecess: No problem, expect an E-Mail from me around January 2039. :D

@Mrlou: No, the MegaFlash has no RAM, so you could still use the 64K expansion if you need it. The "Y-cable" you need would actually be an edge connector / flat-cable to a 50 connector for the MegaFlash, but also continue on and end with an edge connector PCB, where you could plug in the 64K and/or the DDI-1.
As far as music is concerned, at the moment as you say, only StarKos would really be of interest to you, and if you already have it on ROM, then there's no real advantage for you. But I hope that when some of the programmers out there have a MegaFlash, that they'll either adapt existing programs or write new ones that take advantage of the Flash memory. For example, you can save 256K of samples in the "hidden area" (ROMs 16 to 31) which can be written to in milliseconds, read back even faster and don't loose their content when you turn it off. The same for graphic programs or games, that could use this area to store screens etc.

Bryce. 

Offline Terje_Norway

  • CPC664
  • ***
  • Posts: 102
  • Country: no
  • Liked: 22
  • Likes Given: 12
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #21 on: 20:28, 23 July 11 »
Hi,


Just some questions before I places my order.


1. How have You planned payment of the boards ? ? ?
     PayPal, bank transfer, money in envelope (sent as registered letter) or sent as COD ? ? ?
2. When should we pay for it, and when will it be shipped from You ? ? ?
     (It took some time when we bought the Symbiface II years ago ! ! ! It was absolutely worth waiting for ! ! !)


Hope You understand my concern considering the practical details, if NOT You'll understand it when I places my order ! ! ! Planning to do so tomorrow (I hope ;) )


Yours


Terje Grind
Norway

(520 km north of OSLO ! ! !)

Offline TFM

  • Visit the mysteries of the CPC at www.futureos.de
  • Supporter
  • 6128 Plus
  • *
  • Posts: 9.899
  • Country: aq
  • Space Chicken for FutureOS is free!
    • index.php?action=treasury
    • FutureOS - The revolution on CPC!
  • Liked: 1981
  • Likes Given: 4650
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #22 on: 21:38, 23 July 11 »
... MegaFlash allows to get 16 ROMs on your CPC (at least, ROMs considered as "programs" - the ones numbered from 0 to 15).

Well, right. But if you install the ROM-Booster ROM at position 15 then you can use all 32 ROMs for the usual ROM software!!! This leaves you space for nearly everything! And if you don't use ROMs (in case they disturb you) then you just park them and the OS will not "see" them any longer :-)
 
Also BASIC and BINARY programs can be converted, to be started with an RSX directly from the ROM!
 
And eventually QuickCMD, but people will start to think I want to promote my own work ahaha  ;)

I know you are joking here. But since you mention it... The MegaFlash is constructed very open minded, and it was not made to promote something. (But hey, if you like to install a well know OS you can do it.) Further it's not called SymbiFlash nor FutureFlash, it's just called MegaFlash. Nomen est omen. And any kind of software is very welcome, you are free to install what ever you want.
 
Actually we thought of a set of standard ROMs for the MegaFlash, just to fill it up before it get's shipped to the customer. And I think about Maxam and Protext... and others...

Does it work on my CPC464 which already have 64kb ram expansion + floppy?

The MegaFlash is compatible with all other expansions like RAM, floppy or HxC. And it runs without problems with a CPC464. But like Bryce mentioned you must have a carry-through cable.
However, I must admit, that the MegaFlashROManager software for the 464 is not finished now. The work on this is currently in preparation of being started. The reason for the delay is, that I want to know the CPC6128 version running well first Then I start to convert the software. And this will be a major change, since it has 25 KB on CPC6128 and I have to press it into less than 10 KB on the CPC464, because we do need 2 * 16 KB RAM for buffering ROMs.
 
« Last Edit: 21:53, 23 July 11 by TFM/FS »
TFM of FutureSoft
Also visit the CPC and Plus users favorite OS: FutureOS - The Revolution on CPC6128 and 6128Plus

Offline TFM

  • Visit the mysteries of the CPC at www.futureos.de
  • Supporter
  • 6128 Plus
  • *
  • Posts: 9.899
  • Country: aq
  • Space Chicken for FutureOS is free!
    • index.php?action=treasury
    • FutureOS - The revolution on CPC!
  • Liked: 1981
  • Likes Given: 4650
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #23 on: 22:00, 23 July 11 »
... Although I might talk with TFM about writing a small program to do this on the MegaFlash if people need it.

Sure, yes we can add such kind of functionality to the existing software. Just let me know what to do. Well, ok, I move my butt and start to study the Flash documentation now ... ;-)

If 10,000 times doesn't seem much, work it out: You could erase/re-program every single ROM position every day for over 27 years before it would start to show any errors.

And if you flash a ROM only once a week you can use it for... ... ... 192 years. Happy grandgrandgrandgrandgrandgrandgrandgrandgrandchildren
 
 

Prove it !

Well if you want to prove the 10.000 cycles then request software from me. But you have to know that it will run for six and a half hours. After that time the Flash was flashed for 10.000 times and also checked for errors that often. But if you have bad luck then the Flash is able to to more erase/write cycles and then you have to wait a whole day for the result  ;D
 
What's about a "How long does my Flash last" contest? Maybe some spare Flash chips should be ordered first ;-)  8)
 
 
It does sound interesting and all, although I probably need someone to give me some examples of what I could use it for. Being a musician, I imagine I could of course have the STarKos ROM in one of the slots. But that's about as far as my imagination goes.

Well, you can imagine the MegaFlash also as a kind of ROM disc already. Any kind of Basic or Binary program can be put into a ROM - as long as the program is not longer than 31 KB! Instead of load"xzx" you will type !xzx - the same way you use an RSX command.
 
If you want me to compile such ROMs for you just send me the programs and I create such ROMs. This offer is open for everyone. Any kind of help will be there  :)
« Last Edit: 22:13, 23 July 11 by TFM/FS »
TFM of FutureSoft
Also visit the CPC and Plus users favorite OS: FutureOS - The Revolution on CPC6128 and 6128Plus

Offline Bryce

  • The Hardware Guy.
  • Supporter
  • 6128 Plus
  • *
  • Posts: 11.795
  • Country: wf
  • It's not broken, it just hasn't been fixed yet.
    • index.php?action=treasury
  • Liked: 4249
  • Likes Given: 446
Re: MegaFlash Released!
« Reply #24 on: 23:54, 23 July 11 »
@TFM, maybe when you've finished all the software you could release some standard assembly routines for saving to the MegaFlash, that other people could implement in their software to add MegaFlash functionality? Or would that be a lot of work?

Bryce.