Author Topic: symbiface 2 and compact flash  (Read 7889 times)

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Offline arnoldemu

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symbiface 2 and compact flash
« on: 12:05, 10 February 10 »
I want to get a compact flash interface to use with Symbiface 2.. does anyone have any suggestions to ones that work or will any work?
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Offline Bryce

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #1 on: 15:11, 10 February 10 »
Compact flash interfaces should all be IDE compatible, there shouldn't be a reason why any particular one wouldn't work as far as I know.

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Offline OCT

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #2 on: 21:31, 10 February 10 »
Been wondering for a while how (well) the SYMBiFACE II features actually work under (extended) AMSDOS rather than "just" SymbOS or FutureOS:

A few developments on IDE/FAT32 support are mentioned at http://www.symbos.de/sf2.htm and http://www.forum64.de/wbb3/board21-sonstige-computer/board245-schneider-amstrad/board22-cpc/9402-um-und-anbauten-f-r-den-cpc/#post79741 as well as http://groups.google.com/group/comp.sys.amstrad.8bit/browse_thread/thread/1a9e499610778985/f421df52ea515ee6?pli=1 but all seem to have stalled or vanished.

Similarly, http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/SYMBiFACE_II:Rewriteable_roms has some information on how ROM handling, but neither the "walk-through" sequence of commands to load a ROM image nor details on the technology (Flash EEPROM or battery-buffered? ROMDIS to override internal ROMs 0 and/or 7?) are provided.
« Last Edit: 21:34, 10 February 10 by OCT »

Offline Bryce

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #3 on: 22:37, 10 February 10 »
Are you sure FAT32 is being used? Compact flash works just as well with FAT12 and it's a little easier to implement, many CF devices take the easy way out and go with 12. Can't help you with the ROM question, no experience with the device.

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Offline OCT

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #4 on: 23:25, 10 February 10 »
Are you sure FAT32 is being used? Compact flash works just as well with FAT12 and it's a little easier to implement, many CF devices take the easy way out and go with 12. Can't help you with the ROM question, no experience with the device.
The article in German says both FAT16&32 could be used
The article in German says both FAT16&32 could be used, but it seems neither has been implemented for AMSDOS (or any flavour of CP/M) in the end.
And that thread had His Hard-Hacking Highness Prodatron himself involved...

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #5 on: 11:46, 11 February 10 »
The article in German says both FAT16&32 could be used
The article in German says both FAT16&32 could be used, but it seems neither has been implemented for AMSDOS (or any flavour of CP/M) in the end.
And that thread had His Hard-Hacking Highness Prodatron himself involved...
I was thinking about this yesterday.

BonnyDOS can be used with symbiface 2 ide and from amsdos too although it uses it's own disc format which symbos can't read (?). So you need one drive for symbos and one for bonnydos?

I asked about XDDOS 2.0 because I was thinking it may be easy to patch it to work with Symbiface IDE instead of the Vortex MFM Harddrives. This would give us AMSDOS based harddrives?

Also, then we would find out which games would not run from harddrive ;)


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Offline archcosmo

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #6 on: 12:45, 12 February 10 »
hi there,

I didn't have much luck using CF <> 2.5" IDE converters when I connected them via a USB <> laptop HD interface to my Windows XP computer (got them for Amiga 1200 CF project)

But, I was able to get some success out of CF <> 3.5" IDE converters, and Symbos will recognise one attached as an IDE Slave device to the Symbiface (My CF is formatted as FAT16). I can't give you any specific brand names, but I got them via a couple of chinese/Hong Kong based ebay sellers - search around and you'll find them offered for sale

Also, the Symbiface i believe uses EEPROMs for ROM storage - in any case, there's a ROM writer/saver included in the Apps disk that can do this. very handy having a few ROMs like DosCrime/Discology/Parados loaded up at power on...

it's just a pity that there's no virtual DSK mounter to load games via the RAM.. you can do a similar thing via the SNA snapshot loader, but it's not the same ;-)

cheers

I want to get a compact flash interface to use with Symbiface 2.. does anyone have any suggestions to ones that work or will any work?

Offline OCT

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #7 on: 20:57, 12 February 10 »
the Symbiface i believe uses EEPROMs for ROM storage - in any case, there's a ROM writer/saver included in the Apps disk that can do this. very handy having a few ROMs like DosCrime/Discology/Parados loaded up at power on...
ParaDOS sounds to me like the SYMBiFACE II does send a ROMDIS back to the CPC to disable its internal AMSDOS (for which ParaDOS is the replacement) ROM 7.
Now the interesting thing would be if you could also load, say, a CPC 464 ROM 0 on a CPC 6128 (or vice versa) to override the internal BASIC etc. (or even load both ROMs 0 and 7 into the SYMBiFACE II to use a Plus without cartridge).

Isn't the ROM writer/saver for SymbOS only, i.e. like the IDE also not supporting AMSDOS? In that case in particular, I'd be curious to see the exact sequence for loading the 4 SymbOS ROMs into the SYMBiFACE II.
« Last Edit: 21:00, 12 February 10 by OCT »

Offline archcosmo

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #8 on: 10:11, 14 February 10 »
Now the interesting thing would be if you could also load, say, a CPC 464 ROM 0 on a CPC 6128 (or vice versa) to override the internal BASIC etc. (or even load both ROMs 0 and 7 into the SYMBiFACE II to use a Plus without cartridge).

Isn't the ROM writer/saver for SymbOS only, i.e. like the IDE also not supporting AMSDOS? In that case in particular, I'd be curious to see the exact sequence for loading the 4 SymbOS ROMs into the SYMBiFACE II.

I guess doing this might work on my 6128 if I did it using the 464 ROM - but the converse is a known upgrade path for 464 owners.. covered in an Amstrad Action article at one point in their publishing run. In my case, I normally have ROM position 0 and 7 switched off on the DIP switches, as having them active and blank/empty on the Symbiface causes a conflict and the CPC doesn't power on correctly!

yes, you're right - the ROM burner is a SymbOS app - not for usage from AMSDOS.. also setting up a brand new Symbiface with the SymbOS ROMs is pretty straightforward and only requires a couple of disks (one side for SymbOS boot disk/2nd side for Apps, 2nd disk for ROM images) and just running SymbOS from the boot disk, change sides to load the ROM burner, and then load in the SymbOS ROM images. Upgrading the SymbOS ROMs is a similar process to the initial install

Offline OCT

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #9 on: 10:42, 14 February 10 »
I guess doing this might work on my 6128 if I did it using the 464 ROM - but the converse is a known upgrade path for 464 owners.. covered in an Amstrad Action article at one point in their publishing run. In my case, I normally have ROM position 0 and 7 switched off on the DIP switches, as having them active and blank/empty on the Symbiface causes a conflict and the CPC doesn't power on correctly!
Well, AFAIK the logic (electronically) is that an external ROM 0 or 7 should use the ROMDIS line to disable its internal counterpart. Hence if an external ROM 0 is active but empty, the CPC should have no firmware to start (the internal one being overridden by ROMDIS). Put a 464 ROM in there and it ought to think it's just that.
If only ROM 7 is active but empty, I'd expect the machine to launch without AMSDOS, hence RUN" should let you hear the tape relay on an old-gen 6128.

With respect to populating the EEPROMs in the first place, I understand there's a short sequence of INP and OUT commands to be issued after something like MEMORY &3FFF, which would allow you to access their contents from within a BASIC/AMSDOS environment, in place of RAM (much like what dk'tronics bank switching does via port &7Fxx).
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/SYMBiFACE_II:Rewriteable_roms could use some detail/walk-through on these steps from a proud owner of the SYMBiFACE II, just as one would wish to find what the CP/M patches mentioned in http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Standard_Memory_Expansions#Simple_64K_Expansion_.28CPC6128-style.29 are.
« Last Edit: 12:45, 14 February 10 by OCT »

Offline Cholo

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #10 on: 16:57, 15 February 10 »
About CF: Had a LOT of troubles getting a 3.5" IDE to CF to work with Symbiface 2 (me and Britnostalgic if i recall right). Kept getting "error 4"when trying to use several cheap "Hong Kong" CF-to-IDE converters. After searching the net, found that other people also had troubles with the CF/IDE interfaces in general and sometimes a fix (bending/breaking off one of the pins in the adapter) would work. In the end it just didnt work, even with "the fix" and different CF cards and formats.

Instead bought a SD adapter (a bit more expensive) and it work right away (also had automatic master/slave setting) so that what im using now. Tried several SD cards and fat16/32 and never had troubles with the SD adapter so i highly recommend using one.

About the symbos roms: If you want to use the symiface normally, then it dosnt matter what order they are in. Just make sure they dont take slot 0 or slot 7.

Some more links:
http://nilquader.net/?p=338&lang_pref=en
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/symbos8bit/
http://www.youtube.com/user/Prodatron

Offline ukmarkh

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #11 on: 17:59, 15 February 10 »
Yep my CF card reader works... thanks to CHOLO

Although powering the the bloody thing was a problem for me at first, as the power adapter I was using didn't like both the Symbiface II and CF at the same time. Just use a PC power supply these days.
« Last Edit: 18:02, 15 February 10 by ukmarkh »

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #12 on: 11:34, 17 February 10 »
Now the interesting thing would be if you could also load, say, a CPC 464 ROM 0 on a CPC 6128 (or vice versa) to override the internal BASIC etc. (or even load both ROMs 0 and 7 into the SYMBiFACE II to use a Plus without cartridge).
There is a circuit link inside the DDI-1 or on the CPC6128 main board which forces disc rom to be 0. When this happens the CPC starts up and forces a |CPM boot.
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Offline arnoldemu

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #13 on: 11:36, 17 February 10 »
About CF: Had a LOT of troubles getting a 3.5" IDE to CF to work with Symbiface 2 (me and Britnostalgic if i recall right). Kept getting "error 4"when trying to use several cheap "Hong Kong" CF-to-IDE converters. After searching the net, found that other
Great. thanks for the info. I thought there was some problem and I had to ask again to confirm it.
I was looking at one of them cheap converters.. now I'll go for something better. ;)
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Offline eliot

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #14 on: 11:45, 17 March 10 »
I want to get a compact flash interface to use with Symbiface 2.. does anyone have any suggestions to ones that work or will any work?

I've installed a CF adapter on the SF2. I need to remove the PIN 28 of the CF adapter as explained on the Nilquader's page to make it working. Fast-made page : http://amstradcpc.info/symbiface2/symbiface2

Eliot

Offline TFM

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #15 on: 21:26, 17 March 10 »
.... Isn't the ROM writer/saver for SymbOS only, i.e. like the IDE also not supporting AMSDOS? In that case in particular, I'd be curious to see the exact sequence for loading the 4 SymbOS ROMs into the SYMBiFACE II.

Well, there is the ROManager tool for FutureOS, which can deal with all 32 simulated ROMs. You can download this application at www.futureos.de. The source code is provided and can be used by everybody as long as I'm mentioned. It shouldn't be hard to adapt ROManager for Amsdos/Basic. I would do it if I would have a bit more time OR if there is serious interrest in such a tool from more than 3 users.
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Offline Ynot.zer0

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #16 on: 10:43, 23 March 10 »
Hi Eliot,


using the link to your fast page I managed to get my symbiface2 operational in about 15 minutes.  Thank you for the pointer to the web page - it really helped (especially being able to see the rom on/off switches!).


I am using a 6128 with the symbiface2 plugged into it, is it correct that I need to have a floppy disc in the drive with the SymbOS apps included on them when I boot up?


Do I really need to setup the CFCard as a IDE device everytime I power up the 6128?
Can anyone explain how I setup the CFCard to be used instead of requiring the floppy disc on boot?


[RESOLVED]
Figured it out in the end (by reading the manual in the end  :laugh:  )
You always need a floppy disc with certain files on, but once you've setup the CFCard and changed the System to point to 'c:\sym-apps' and selected 'Settings / Save', the Symbos.ini file on the floppy disc will then contain the CFCard config and will play nicely.  Am very impressed with this piece of hardware...
« Last Edit: 22:35, 23 March 10 by ynot.zer0 »

Offline Cholo

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #17 on: 00:39, 24 March 10 »
Looks like you found the solution. Indeed, need at least one disc at all times. Symbos.ini is indeed worth editing to makes things faster (or more fansy).

Offline eliot

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #18 on: 15:29, 24 March 10 »
Hi Eliot,

using the link to your fast page I managed to get my symbiface2 operational in about 15 minutes.  Thank you for the pointer to the web page - it really helped (especially being able to see the rom on/off switches!).


Hi ! Nice to see that the page is efficient ! :) Sometimes it's useful to spent 2 hours to spread our experience... 

Eliot

Offline OCT

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #19 on: 08:41, 25 March 10 »
I am using a 6128 with the symbiface2 plugged into it, is it correct that I need to have a floppy disc in the drive with the SymbOS apps included on them when I boot up?


Do I really need to setup the CFCard as a IDE device everytime I power up the 6128?
Can anyone explain how I setup the CFCard to be used instead of requiring the floppy disc on boot?


[RESOLVED]
Figured it out in the end (by reading the manual in the end  :laugh:  )
You always need a floppy disc with certain files on, but once you've setup the CFCard and changed the System to point to 'c:\sym-apps' and selected 'Settings / Save', the Symbos.ini file on the floppy disc will then contain the CFCard config and will play nicely.
Given that the "ROMs" are flashed, shouldn't it be possible to patch away the need for a floppy in them, so the machine/OS would always start up with the IDE configured?
« Last Edit: 08:47, 25 March 10 by OCT »

Offline Ynot.zer0

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #20 on: 14:24, 25 March 10 »
Given that the "ROMs" are flashed, shouldn't it be possible to patch away the need for a floppy in them, so the machine/OS would always start up with the IDE configured?


Sounds like a great idea.... unfortunately a little outside my skillset, so I'd have to rely on a 'ROM' expert to do the patching..

Offline TFM

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #21 on: 23:37, 05 April 10 »

Sounds like a great idea.... unfortunately a little outside my skillset, so I'd have to rely on a 'ROM' expert to do the patching..

Why don't you ask Prodatron, he will surely help you.
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Offline MiguelSky

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #22 on: 01:39, 13 June 10 »
Well, there is the ROManager tool for FutureOS, which can deal with all 32 simulated ROMs. You can download this application at www.futureos.de. The source code is provided and can be used by everybody as long as I'm mentioned. It shouldn't be hard to adapt ROManager for Amsdos/Basic. I would do it if I would have a bit more time OR if there is serious interrest in such a tool from more than 3 users.

I think the AMSDOS ROManager is a good idea, I think I told you this before ;)

Offline TFM

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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #23 on: 01:53, 13 June 10 »
I think the AMSDOS ROManager is a good idea, I think I told you this before ;)

Yes, but I'm always short in time ;-) But since there is still interrest, I'll try to create the Amsdos version ASAP. (Means directly after translating OP to german).
 
On the other hand... and for the moment... just run the FutureOS installer program, it does everything by itself. Then you can use the ROManager tool right now. And there is no disadvantage in having FutureOS in the SF-II :-)
 
Greets,
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Re: symbiface 2 and compact flash
« Reply #24 on: 01:47, 26 July 10 »
Now I'm currently working on a ROManager app for Amsdos/Basic, but since I relly only have few time it will still take some weeks.
 
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