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General Category => Amstrad CPC hardware => Topic started by: Bryce on 19:04, 05 August 11

Title: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 19:04, 05 August 11
Hi all,
     after many months of development the MegaFlash is finally here. The PCBs arrived this morning and I've just built and tested the first one, which you can see below. All tests went well. It's sitting on a Maxell CF2 3" Disk in the second picture so that you can estimate its approximate size. Also many many thanks to TFM for developing the software required to program it.

I will start building the others at the weekend. I still have some additional PCBs, so anyone who hasn't ordered one yet, there's still a chance to get one, just send me a PM.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 19:35, 05 August 11
WoW! Can you influence time? That was made in LIGHTSPEED!!!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: nurgle on 19:45, 05 August 11
Sweet. Can't wait to get one.  8)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 20:00, 05 August 11
Looks so sexy!!! ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 22:06, 05 August 11
WoW! Can you influence time? That was made in LIGHTSPEED!!!

No, but I can bugger off early from work if there's something important I want to do at home :D

As you can see in the pictures, I added text in the copper for "R = Read" and "W = Write" and also "0" and "7" so that you don't need to check the documentation to know what settings are set on the device.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 22:09, 05 August 11
The second photo is seriously sexy. I could frame it as it is.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 22:10, 05 August 11
You mean it's not blurred like the first one :D

Btw, for all "collectors" out there, yes, that really is an original "still sealed" CF2 :) I have 5 of them, that I don't intend ever opening (just wanted to make you jealous) :D

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 22:14, 05 August 11
Heheh yeah, got a few myself. I don't remember if I've got any sealed Amsoft disks though...
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: MaV on 23:05, 05 August 11
WoW! Can you influence time? That was made in LIGHTSPEED!!!

The reason he can work this quickly is: he clearly is not human.

Watch what happens, everytime bryce returns from work:
Ghost in the Shell - Making of a Cyborg [HD] (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGJE82p39jI#ws)

Obviously this is no original footing. For one he's the male counterpart, but I guess you'll get the idea. ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 23:38, 05 August 11
Hmmm, that's a pity, I was looking forward to having a good fondle of those pert baps after a hard days work :D

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Cholo on 01:46, 06 August 11
Awesome  ;)

I also just realised how much easier and userfriendly it will be using one of these than the old hardware. Burning your own hardware eproms isnt that hard or expensive, but the hardware to do it keeps getting incompatible rapidly (feel like Windows gets a new version every 10 minutes). Also how many pcs even have a parallel port today .. and in 10 years who know if usb even exist. Some motherboards dont support floppy drives either anymore.
Then there is the actual use of using roms. The old hardware isnt exactly a "smooth" run. Handling the roms is one thing (aka dont want to break the chip/legs). Some roms sometimes need to placed in a correct spot for it to work or work with other roms. So sometimes you need to change roms manually .. or need to turn on/off roms .. usually flicking small switches on the rom board (all fairly timeconsuming and fairly risky).

The Megaflash however is future-proof and easy to use as well. Win+win  8)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 17:03, 06 August 11
Hmmm, shite weather, but a busy day :)

Bryce.


Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: norecess on 18:11, 06 August 11
Oh! I can see mine  :D  congrats
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: robcfg on 18:20, 06 August 11
Mein Gott!  :o
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 21:46, 06 August 11
A proper little manufacturing line :)

If you finish them all before sending them out, please do take a photo of them all together!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: MaV on 23:00, 06 August 11
Just WOW!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 23:03, 06 August 11
Thank god for german weather :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 00:15, 07 August 11
It been fuckin raining all day, what a pain in the ass, but what else can you do when the weathers like that :D

I will build 14 before I start sending them out, so I'll take a picture of those, if it's a "group photo" you want.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: norecess on 04:14, 07 August 11
Can't wait  :)


Are you going to test them all before sending ?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 05:54, 07 August 11
Are you going to test them all before sending ?

Since Bryce is currently producing MegaFlash units, let me try to give an answer.
 
As soon as you will get your MegaFlash, you can use the "Flash Check" option of the MegaFlash ROManager software. But Bryce will do some more tests anyway. Quality is very important for us here at FutureSoft  :) . And Quality Control is IMHO NOT the duty of the customer  ;)
So you can be sure, it will work 100%.  :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 10:33, 07 August 11
Hey TFM,

Can't wait for mine to arrive to use your software - it looks really sweet. Just one question, is there a manual anywhere? Also, will the ROM version be released any time soon? I guess it only makes sense for it to be the first ROM installed...

[EDIT] Oh well, I guess the wiki page (http://cpcwiki.eu/index.php/MegaFlashROManager) will have to do as a manual!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: qbert on 19:23, 07 August 11
the last run before the end ?  :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 22:22, 07 August 11
Well, Bryce has been awfully quiet. His eyes must be sore from all the soldering :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 22:54, 07 August 11
Hey TFM,

Can't wait for mine to arrive to use your software - it looks really sweet. Just one question, is there a manual anywhere? Also, will the ROM version be released any time soon? I guess it only makes sense for it to be the first ROM installed...

[EDIT] Oh well, I guess the wiki page (http://cpcwiki.eu/index.php/MegaFlashROManager) will have to do as a manual!

Well, I already told Bryce to send me my board as last one. So I hope it helps a bit. About the software, I framed the window like you mentioned it. Some other cosmetics will come up in the next days/week (I missted time this weekend, have a presentation tomorrow).
Yes, there is a munual on disc. The file is called  "-RMA.TXT". Just TYPE it in Mode 2. However, I also have to overwork the documentation of the DSK. I have to mention something about ROMs 0 and 7 and checksums, so on...
 
About the ROM version, I will start to work at it as soon as the actual ROManager software is finished and pleases everybody. Then I have to make it only once, else I would have to deal too much with updates. But this should not take more than a month or so.
 
Thanks for your interrest and motivation.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 22:57, 07 August 11
So you've done (or are doing) everything and more :) Fantastic, thanks lots indeed! And now we will be able to load the manual through a ROM-based word-processor... :D

Good luck with your presentation!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 23:00, 07 August 11
Thank's! Guess I need it :-)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 23:01, 07 August 11
What's the subject? :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 23:29, 07 August 11
What's the subject? :)

-Offtopic on!
 
It a quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis of a yeast wild strain and a lab strain. Some of their offspring strains show a dramatical increased lifespan. Now the QTL analysis allows us to assign positive effects to genes. So I found half a dozen of them and verified their beneficial function. Now, collecing all the results of month, pack it, and make a Powerpoint (they don't have CPCs here. We should transfer them in the hall of shame, then Kangaroo isn't all a lone there. Hehe!).
 
Offtopic-Off!
 
Good news are, after tomorrow I will have more time for CPC projects. So I hope to be able to present final versions of the needed software before all MegaFlash will arrive at their customers home.
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 23:37, 07 August 11
So, how long till the life elixir? Can it come in blue flasks, Prince of Persia-like?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 23:44, 07 August 11
So, how long till the life elixir? Can it come in blue flasks, Prince of Persia-like?

I like Blue, but be patient for the flasks content...  ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 11:13, 09 August 11
Hi all,
     several people have asked whether I test every single MegaFlash, what I test, or whether I test them at all!!?
So to save me from repeating the same description separately to many people, here's the actual test sequence that gets done on EVERY MegaFlash before it's sent:

1 - The Flash is initialised on a PC and installed in the MegaFlash
(all programming / deleting is done with your MegaFlash / Flash IC from here on)
2 - ROM 0 is programmed
3 - CPC restarted
4 - ROM 7 is programmed
5 - CPC restarted
6 - ROM 4 and ROM 31 are programmed
7 - CPC restarted
8 -  ROM 31 and ROM 0 are deleted
9 - CPC restarted
10 - Flash removed from MegaFlash and compared to a known good Image on the PC
11 - Flash reinstalled in the MegaFlash and turned on a last time on the CPC.
12 - Take another sip from my convieniently placed glass of beer ;)

Every MegaFlash is tested with the actual cable you will receive (if you ordered one).
The test may sound complicated, but it does ensure that absolutely every connection and component
is working correctly.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 11:37, 09 August 11
Wow, that's a lot of work. But what about water, earthquakes or volcanoes? Surely, for that price we should expect something more.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 11:44, 09 August 11
Water? Didn't you read step 12? I go one step further :)
I also forgot to mention that the CPC and MegaFlash are actually sitting on our washing machine during the spin cycle to simulate an earthquake and as far as volcanoes are concerned, I am looking into the possibility of a short trip to Siciliy, but I can't promise anything.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 11:50, 09 August 11
Man, you got to adjust your washing machine's rubber feet.

Btw, I'd love a washing machine playing that Robocop tune from the Ariston (?) commercial.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 23:00, 11 August 11
I promised Gryzor this picture, so here it is.... It's been a busy week.

Bryce.


Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: MaV on 23:18, 11 August 11
I promised Gryzor this picture, so here it is.... It's been a busy week.

Pure poetry. An assembly line full of MegaFlashes. :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 09:13, 12 August 11
Ohhhh look at them, they're so cute! Makes you wanna roll over them and play with them and toss them in the air and - erm, sorry, got carried away there for a bit.

Bryce, you da man.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 10:06, 12 August 11
That would just break them  :o Now calm down Gryzor. I'll be sending some of these out at the weekend. I had intended sending them out today, but packing and addressing takes quite a bit of time that I didn't have.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 10:21, 12 August 11
Ah, the logistics... Hurry up man, you never know who's gonna show up this weekend and then we'll have to wait for gods know when...
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: qbert on 23:07, 12 August 11
Live and Let flash...



I promised Gryzor this picture, so here it is.... It's been a busy week.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 11:08, 16 August 11
Hi all,
    as I've sent the first MegaFlashes out and haven't updated the Wiki page yet, here's a few further tips on using the device:

A) Only switch to "Write-mode" when asked to by the ROManager Software and check that it's definitely in "Read-Mode" before you start or reset the CPC. Otherwise you could corrupt the information on the Flash. (and the CPC crashes anyway).

B) When programming ROMs 0 or 7 you need to first start the CPC with the internal ROM 0/7 (ie: the disable jumper is set on the MegaFlash), so that the CPC has a valid ROM 0/7 to start with, then when the ROManager Software tells you to switch to Write-Mode, you should first move the jumper to enable the MegaFlash ROM 0/7 and then switch to write-mode as normal.

C) The PCB pins are un-protected, so don't place the PCB on a metal or any other conducting surface, it won't work.

D) The circuit is extremely robust when it comes to static discharge. None of the TTL ICs (the soldered ones) are CMOS, so they aren't effected by static discharge. The Flash IC is CMOS, but well grounded. However, if you decide to "skate" around on Grandma's deep pile carpet, while wearing polyester socks on a stormy day, then you might manage to damage the Flash, but even then it's difficult to do (I've tried). And even if you do succeed, it's socketed and easily replaceable.

E) This should be obvious to everyone, but DON'T EVER connect or disconnect the MegaFlash (or any expansion) to the CPC while the CPC is turned on.

All further instructions about programming the MegaFlash can be found on the ROManager Software page.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ythcal on 11:14, 16 August 11
Yikes! Mine arrived today! I'm out for testing  8)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 11:26, 16 August 11
Oh, one other thing for ROM developers and experimenters:

In the unlikely event that you program a ROM (in positions 0-15) with a bad image / experimental program / a picture of your cat, then there's a chance that the CPC will crash when trying to initialise the ROMs. And you can't erase the rubbish without a running CPC. For ROMs 0/7 this isn't a problem, because you can manually disable them with the jumpers, but not with the other positions.

Here's the solution to get out of this catch 22:

First disconnect the MegaFlash from the CPC and carefully remove the Flash from its socket. The socket has two slits on opposite corners of the IC, using a very small screw-driver you can slowly ease the IC out of the socket.

Now plug the Flash-less MegaFlash into the CPC and start as normal (make sure both ROMs 0 and 7 are disabled on the MegaFlash). The CPC will start as normal and you can now replace the Flash in its socket (do this at the Basic prompt, don't start any programs beforehand). It only fits in one direction, due to one corner of the IC being tapered.

You can now start the ROManager software and erase the offending image.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 11:28, 16 August 11
Yikes! Mine arrived today! I'm out for testing  8)

Wow, that was fast, let me know what you think, when you've had time to play with it :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: norecess on 14:17, 16 August 11
Thank you Bryce for the add. info ! :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Pentagon on 16:14, 16 August 11
Hello,

today i received it, thank you so much. Well the first thing i did.... i crashed it with some bad roms. Now i removed the Flash like you told and reflashed it. That worked fine, but i am working at a ROM modification and now i had to remove that poor little flashy the 21th times. I dont know if that is healty to the socket, so i got the Idea to add a power Switch or some DIP Switches like the Inicron Box?

Is it possible to modificate the Megaflash with a switch to switch on/off the power of the Flash Chip so its not necessary anymore to remove from socket?

Btw. i am using that Flash Software 1.28 for Basic and i am missing some functions inside. The ROM Park Function is not working at my card, the Rom is still active after Park / Unpark. And most of the functions in Menu are not working in that OS???

No Import / Export functions etc. i dont know how i should use that thingy without Import / Export functions or a RSX Command Viewer for the different Roms. Well flashing and erasing is working fine thats enough for a first run.

Thanks a lot for that awesome work, i am happy with it. Now i need to check out if its working with BDOS, BDOS Addon Roms and a Harddisc.

Kindly Regards
Tom

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 16:53, 16 August 11
Cool, another quick delivery. A switch for the Flash Power would be quite difficult to implement at this stage. It's pin 32 of the Flash, but it's difficult to get to and it's linked to all the other ICs, making it a very difficult mod.

There are a few other easier mods that might give you the same effect:
One could be to add a switch in series with D1 (thats the diode directly below the read/write switch). This would inhibit the ROMDIS signal, but it might then be "floating" and crash the CPC anyway, I'll need to test that.

Another "disable" point would be to disconnect/add a switch to pin 6 of the 74LS02. This would disable the /CE signal to the Flash.

21 times is a lot. I'm not sure the socket will last very long at that rate. The MegaFlash wasn't really designed with developers in mind. I thought that's usually done on emulators anyway.

As far as software is concerned, you'll have to ask TFM. But I have tested the Park feature too and it worked fine. Did you switch to write-mode when it asked?

Bryce.



Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Pentagon on 17:08, 16 August 11
Hello Bryce,

thank you again for your quick delivery and reply to my posting. Yes you are right, i should do that in an Emulator. I am used to use the real CPC but i can do the Roms in Emu too.

Btw. BDOS and BDOS Addon Roms are working fine with Harddisc and its possible to replace the Inicron Box. Everything works fine.

Quote
Another "disable" point would be to disconnect/add a switch to pin 6 of the 74LS02. This would disable the /CE signal to the Flash.

Sounds good. Does it work? Removing Jumper 1 from ROM0 doesnt help. Then the CPC doesnt start anymore. I need to switch off all roms or just the flash and then it should be possible to start the cpc. After starting Rom Manager Software i should be able to switch the flash chip on again and i can remove the Corrupt roms again.
Dont know how to do that without removing the full chip from socket.

Quote
As far as software is concerned, you'll have to ask TFM. But I have tested the Park feature too and it worked fine. Did you switch to write-mode when it asked?

I checked again with 1.28 its not parking my ROM. The Rom is still alive after reboot. Yes i switched to write mode when it asked.

Thanks again for patience i am just a stupid user ^^

Regards
Tom




Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 17:13, 16 August 11
Removing JP1 (or JP2) completely shouldn't disable just ROM0 (or 7), it should stop the MegaFlash working at all, but I'll have to check whether the CPC would be happy to restart in that state.

I'll take a proper look tonight when I'm home and come up with a proper "developer mod".

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Pentagon on 17:15, 16 August 11
YAY !!!

thanks a lot, sounds really great !!!


Kindly regards
Tom

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 19:06, 16 August 11
Ok, so here's a simpler mod, that will allow you to safely start the CPC without it initialising any MegaFlash ROMs and more importantly, without having to tear the original PCB apart.

First you need to add a push button: One side of the button goes to GND. The negative pin of the 100µf capacitor is probably the safest location to solder the wire to GND. The negative pin is the one nearest the Flash socket.
The other side of the button should go to the centre pin of the ROM7 jumper.

If you want to start the CPC with no MegaFlash ROMs enabled, just remove the ROM 7 jumper completely and hold the button pressed while you are switching the CPC on, then replace the ROM 7 jumper as soon as you get the Ready Prompt. DON'T press this button while the Jumper is still in place! In fact to make it safer, you could use a two pin jumper-header instead of a button. Then you just move the Jumper from the normal ROM 7 jumper-pins to your new pins and move it back when ready has appeared.

It's not a really great solution, but it's safe for your CPC, your MegaFlash and the PLCC socket will get to live a lot longer.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Pentagon on 19:10, 16 August 11
Thank you so much, i will report if its working at my Megaflash. I need to find a push button first.

Kindly Regards
Tom

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 19:16, 16 August 11
I've already built and tested it. It works fine here, so it should work fine for you too.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Pentagon on 19:53, 16 August 11
We got it, lets mod it !  ;D

So, i am done with that cool mod and its working fine!!! Thanks a lot, much easier to work now and no more socket murdering anymore. I still have the problem, that it is impossible to Park / Unpark the Roms with 1.28 of Basic Megaflash Version. So i have to clear the Rom Socket instead of parking the rom.

Kindly regards
Tom
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 19:57, 16 August 11
I'm sure TFM will be on to clear that problem up. To my shame, I have to admit, that I'm still using V1.27  :o

And Parking works there, so I'm sure it's just a minor glitch.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Pentagon on 20:06, 16 August 11
Here some pictures of the mod:
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 21:22, 16 August 11
Very neat :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ythcal on 22:27, 16 August 11
Same here: no parking in 1.28 BASIC-Edition.
But the device itself works very nice. Thank you for that!

@Pentagon:
What will be the difference between Import/Export and Load/Save (ROM)?

Hm, I can view the RSX commands in Basic with |help,# - even without any additional ROM in the MegaFlash... Is this normal? Is there another modification in my 6128 I didn't know before? (I got it heavily modded by GoST)
Unfortunately this doesn't work anymore when installing the ROMBooster...
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 22:30, 16 August 11
You sure the entire Flash is empty?? Otherwise it can only be one of Gosts Mods. Have you got a standard ROM 7 image, or is ParaDOS or something installed? The |Help command may be there.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Pentagon on 22:42, 16 August 11
I dont have a "Help" command inside. I am running Parados too, but i think you have installed another ROM expansion with a "Help" Command. So it would be useful to have a RSX Lister. Just select a rom and the RSX Commands could be viewed. That would be great.

Regards
Tom

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ythcal on 22:45, 16 August 11
My 6128 has a switch to select either XD-DOS or AMSDOS. So maybe the AMSDOS itself is altered in some way.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 22:45, 16 August 11
Well if you haven't deleted it, then Maxam 1.5 was on the MegaFlash when you got it. Maybe that has a Help command. What ROMs are listed when you type |Help  ?

Bryce

Edit: Just checked, Maxam 1.5 has a help command. Is it still on the MegaFlash?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 23:42, 16 August 11
Ok, I uploaded the MegaFlash ROManager version 1.29. Please check if Park/Unpark works now. I'm sorry for any inconvenience, but it's hard to code software for hardware which I don't have. All functions are supposed to work now, if you encounter any kind of problem then please let me know.
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ythcal on 23:58, 16 August 11
After deleting all ROMs for testing of the park function (see http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?topic=2561.0 (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?topic=2561.0)) |help doesn't work anymore, so it came from Maxam
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Kris on 10:57, 17 August 11
Hi,

I just received mine; it works perfectly: great manufacturing, good quality and so small !! that's perfect to be integrated in my CPC+ case.
I have been trying many roms and fucntions.... and no issues appeared; I'm about to play with it today ; I will come back here later with more details.



Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 10:59, 17 August 11
Cool. Glad you like it :) If you do manage to install it internally, make sure you post lots of pictures so that others can do the same.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Kris on 11:48, 17 August 11
1st bug appears when I tried to flash booster.rom as 01. My CPC crashed at boot (certainly in conflict with 1 other ROMs installed) and I had to shunt between central pin of ROM7 & Gnd to start normally: I will certainly add an "emergency push" to be able to boot without megaflash.
Furthermore, an option to delete 100% of the megaflash in Rom manager could be a good thing.

@Bryce: From electronic point of view, what is the best mod to boot CPC without megaflash ?
Thanks
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 12:11, 17 August 11
That's not a bug :) The Booster ROM will ONLY work in ROM Position 15 and nowhere else. This is mentioned in the Booster ROM instructions. And saving it to position 1 will certainly make the MegaFlash or any other ROMBoard crash.

A "Delete All" command would be useful, but you'll have to talk to TFM about that, it's a software request.

The ROM 7 centre pin to GND is the best mod to disable the MegaFlash completely at startup, but make sure you remove the ROM 7 jumper completely too when you do this.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Kris on 13:03, 17 August 11
About BOOSTER rom, I just find the instructions, that's fine
Thank you for you help .

@TFM: what is the difference between "clear" in process menu the "clear" in Rom management menu ?
Other question, after a test, what means a yellow border ?
Many thanks and sorry with a ll my questions.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 18:43, 17 August 11
About BOOSTER rom, I just find the instructions, that's fine
Thank you for you help .

@TFM: what is the difference between "clear" in process menu the "clear" in Rom management menu ?
Other question, after a test, what means a yellow border ?
Many thanks and sorry with a ll my questions.

Well, CLEAR and COPY are the same in both menues (You can use which ever you prefer).
 
After the "Check Flash" procedure the border should be green, then blue. In this case it's all good.
But if the Border flashed yellow and orange, then the Flash has an error. However at the moment it seems, that the software has errors and not the Flash. I'm working on it.
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Kris on 19:35, 17 August 11
I find a strange thing this afternoon: I used the clear function to delete ROM 3: process was OK and rom_manager detect this rom as "empty" but code was not fffffff so there was a checksum error at the boot.
I haven't been able to delete it correctly, I have been obliged to program a new ROM to have a proper system....

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: qbert on 23:37, 17 August 11
Not received mine yet.... I'm jealous  :-X  , considering I'm situated in France like Kris.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ynot.zer0 on 00:35, 18 August 11
received mine today  ;D   will have a play on Saturday!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 00:39, 18 August 11
Cool. Let me know how it goes. Still some minor teething problems on the software side, but we're on top of it.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ythcal on 00:42, 18 August 11
Wow, the MegaFlash prevents Arquimedes XXI from starting!? It stops right before the language selection screen. Without it, the game works... What the heck is the game doing there?
Can anyone confirm this behavior?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 00:49, 18 August 11
It's probably checking to see if a Multiface is connected to prevent freezing and copying. Several games checked for ROM expansions and wouldn't start if one was present. This is the 80's version of DRM :D , but it doesn't just effect MegaFlash, all ROMBoards will block certain games.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ythcal on 00:53, 18 August 11
Arquimedes XXI has been released for the CPC... wait... THIS YEAR ;-)
So such a copy protection would be very strange, if not silly :laugh:
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: MiguelSky on 00:55, 18 August 11
It does nothing special. What roms have you enabled?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 00:56, 18 August 11
Then you've probably just too many ROMs initialised and used up RAM that the game needs.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ythcal on 01:20, 18 August 11
OK, FutureOS was the problem. As soon as this is installed, even if it's alone, the game crashes.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: MaV on 01:42, 18 August 11
OK, FutureOS was the problem. As soon as this is installed, even if it's alone, the game crashes.

*chuckle* Does TFM know about that? :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ythcal on 01:46, 18 August 11
Just 6 ROMs are installed, and the font in Arquimedes is totally messed up. The game seems to be not very ROM-friendly...

Which would be the best way to switch the entire MegaFlash off without disconnecting it?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: MaV on 01:48, 18 August 11
I received mine today and connected it, and it works.

I'll do the flashing at the weekend.

Thanks a lot!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 09:45, 18 August 11
Well, i made the "FX" at the beginning of Arquimedes XXI, for don't make a lot of juggling with the two overscan screens, i save the memory used by the firmware before and restore after the "FX", but it looks that i didn't expect the Spanish Inquisi... ehem FutureOS
 
:laugh: , but don't worry i will fix today ;)

Just 6 ROMs are installed, and the font in Arquimedes is totally messed up. The game seems to be not very ROM-friendly...
Well, the game redefines the system font, and it looks that one of that roms mess with the font memory zone. Which roms are you using? Because i would can find the problem and notify to MiguelSky
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 10:32, 18 August 11
Which would be the best way to switch the entire MegaFlash off without disconnecting it?

I described earlier in this thread how you can disable the MegaFlash and still have it connected, but I wouldn't recommend this for general use, rather just in emergencies. If you are not using the MegaFlash, it's always better to completely disconnect it. Even when it's disabled as described above, the ICs are still running at full speed and processing everything (and using current), just their answer to the CPC is being inhibited.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 11:24, 18 August 11
Well, i have made a new version of Arquimedes XXI, that it's friendly with FutureOS 7 and 8 Beta. How i supposed, it was my "save firmware" routine :P , i hope that it will correct the problem with other roms, too ... but in other case, tell me and i will fix it  ;)   
 
 You can download it, in my last post here (http://www.amstrad.es/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2310&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=30) (because the CPCWiki don't let me to attach the file, tell me that the attachment upload directory is not writable :( )
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 11:43, 18 August 11
What does your "save firmware" routine do exactly?

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 12:13, 18 August 11
What does your "save firmware" routine do exactly?
Well, i disabled the interrupts, made a copy of the stack pointer and the int vector, and i copied to a free memory zone the ram between $A700 - $BFFF, but of course i didn't think in the extra ram reserved by other roms, now i copy all the ram between $8000-$BFFF (better too much, that said sorry again xDDDD) to an expansion ram page (the game is for CPCs with 128 KBs of RAM). Make the FX and restore everything that i saved previously ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Devilmarkus on 12:37, 18 August 11
Wow, the MegaFlash prevents Arquimedes XXI from starting!? It stops right before the language selection screen. Without it, the game works... What the heck is the game doing there?
Can anyone confirm this behavior?

Arquimedes needs almost all RAM. So it will not work well with additional ROMs.
When Miguel and me made it, we really put all bytes possible into this code.
Also don't forget that the game is in BASIC and that the font can fuck up when you move himem too much...
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 19:47, 18 August 11
I find a strange thing this afternoon: I used the clear function to delete ROM 3: process was OK and rom_manager detect this rom as "empty" but code was not fffffff so there was a checksum error at the boot.
I haven't been able to delete it correctly, I have been obliged to program a new ROM to have a proper system....

Well, may you can save the corrupted ROM to disc and make a DSK, then send it to me (FutureSoft@gmx.de), so I can analyze the error.
 
Wow, the MegaFlash prevents Arquimedes XXI from starting!? It stops right before the language selection screen. Without it, the game works... What the heck is the game doing there?
Can anyone confirm this behavior?

If you connect expansion ROMs then they use some RAM. The minimum amount of RAM a ROM will occupy is 4 bytes, but it can be some hundred bytes like in the case of Maxam or Protext.
 
Some games need all(!) bytes of the RAM, so they won't run if you have too much expansion ROMs which take too much RAM.

OK, FutureOS was the problem. As soon as this is installed, even if it's alone, the game crashes.

 
No, that's wrong. The FutureOS ROMs are the most compatible ROMs at all. They just take the 4 bytes of RAM (the firmware is actually responsible for that!). And they do nothing else. So, as mentioned, it's a RAM problem, don't blame this wonderful OS for it  8)
 
Well, i made the "FX" at the beginning of Arquimedes XXI, for don't make a lot of juggling with the two overscan screens, i save the memory used by the firmware before and restore after the "FX", but it looks that i didn't expect the Spanish Inquisi... ehem FutureOS

You didn't expect to find installed ROMs. So just save more RAM! Just lower the start of the saved RAM area. May you should start saving at &A200 or even better &A000.
 
Else only FutureOS ... eh the Spanish inquisition could save your Soul! :P
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 22:57, 18 August 11
You didn't expect to find installed ROMs. So just save more RAM! Just lower the start of the saved RAM area. May you should start saving at &A200 or even better &A000.
Well, i always expect a maximum of 256 bytes extras taken for expansion roms, but in this case  it was the mix of the expansion roms and the symbol after 32, but don't worry i fixed this morning and it works perfectly with FutureOS and it will work even if you have 256 roms in your CPC  ;D
 
Else only FutureOS ... eh the Spanish inquisition could save your Soul! :P
But i love the hell ;D , how Supernatural has showed us, it looks a really funny place xDDDD
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 02:29, 19 August 11
Now, really, FutureOS will not cause any problems, it changes nothing of the OS, just uses 4 bytes (for every ROM).
 
However 256 bytes is not enought if you use MAXAM & PROTEXT for example.
 
Damn, I missed that episode of Supernatural, will look it up at youtube though.
 
Important: The CPC-OS itself does a SYMBOL AFTER 32 after switching the machine on.
Just switch a blank CPC on, print himem, symbol after 256, print himem and you see ;-)
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 09:46, 19 August 11
Important Fix: The CPC-OS makes a SYMBOL AFTER 240, reserving 128 bytes to redefinible characters by default, instead of near 2 KBs that it would suppose a SYMBOL AFTER 32, the chaps of Locomotive always had in mind the efficiency  ;)

OT: Well, all the demons chicks always looks so interesting, that is the best clue of the hell's pleasures xDDD
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: HAL 6128 on 17:37, 19 August 11
(...after a time of vacation...) I've received my MegaFlash! Thanks to Bryce for the "delayed" shipping.
 
In the first moment I was a little bit disappointed because I expected something with the size of a SuperRom-plus. It's good than to have those shipping boxes for my old shoes. After unwrapping the envelope I was concerned, because I only found the centronic adapter, but, ...yeah, the MegaFlash was hidden behind it.
 
No, honestly. Great work, Bryce!
And it works perfectly well!!
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: MaV on 18:35, 19 August 11
After unwrapping the envelope I was concerned, because I only found the centronic adapter, but, ...yeah, the MegaFlash was hidden behind it.

That's the reason I didn't show it to my wife. She'll confiscate for the cuteness factor. ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 18:42, 19 August 11
Well, mine didn't take a second look after I showed her...

Yeah, mine arrived today as well! Superb stuff.

At first it didn't work - I was getting screenfuls of color noise and even a "Press Play then Any Key" prompt! I soon found out there was a problem with the cable connector, most probably caused in the post. Grabbing the nearest hammer I fixed that in a jiffy and am now toying with it. Ah, how I wish I had a printer so I could compile my shopping lists in Protext and print them afterwards...

Once again, thanks lots Bryce for a wonderful project, we're really in debt ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 22:36, 19 August 11
Great to hear that the general consensus is good. More and more users will receive their MegaFlash in the next few days (I posted another 10 today). I hope there will be some new and cool ROM software developed for the CPC in the near future :) I was really impressed by QuickCMD, it's these kind of utilities, that make it worth having a MegaFlash in the first place.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: CPCIak on 11:47, 20 August 11
My device just arrived today ;D I'm so excited, i'll test it tomorrow. Great job Bryce - thanks a lot!

Does anyone know which Strapubox is suitable for the device?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 13:50, 20 August 11
Cool, that was fast.

Regarding Strapuboxes, I have an SP 2029 ( http://www.reichelt.de/Etuigehaeuse/SP-2029-GR/index.html?;ACTION=3;LA=2;ARTICLE=33821;GROUPID=3356;SID=13Tk@ON38AAAIAAFzdmwk6a1e8acb319eb7d296870ca3a5e77d6c (http://www.reichelt.de/Etuigehaeuse/SP-2029-GR/index.html?;ACTION=3;LA=2;ARTICLE=33821;GROUPID=3356;SID=13Tk@ON38AAAIAAFzdmwk6a1e8acb319eb7d296870ca3a5e77d6c) ) here, and with a bit of "editing" I think I could get the MegaFlash inside. With editing I mean: Remove the two PCB fixing holes so that the PCB is deeper inside and remove one of the case screw holes, which means the box is only closed with one screw. It's a very tight fit I'll admit. If you want to use a slightly larger Strapubox with less editing required, I think the 2000 would probably be a better choice.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 14:17, 20 August 11
Which one (http://www.reichelt.de/Etuigehaeuse/SP-2000-SW/index.html?;ACTION=3;LA=444;GROUP=C715;GROUPID=3356;ARTICLE=33824;START=0;SORT=artnr;OFFSET=16;SID=13Tk@ON38AAAIAAFzdmwk6a1e8acb319eb7d296870ca3a5e77d6c) is the 2000 you're referring to?
Damn, those are sweet, I should try and find something similar in the local market...
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 14:24, 20 August 11
http://www.reichelt.de/Etuigehaeuse/SP-2000-SW/index.html?;ACTION=3;LA=2;ARTICLE=33824;GROUPID=3356;SID=13Tk@ON38AAAIAAFzdmwk6a1e8acb319eb7d296870ca3a5e77d6c (http://www.reichelt.de/Etuigehaeuse/SP-2000-SW/index.html?;ACTION=3;LA=2;ARTICLE=33824;GROUPID=3356;SID=13Tk@ON38AAAIAAFzdmwk6a1e8acb319eb7d296870ca3a5e77d6c)

It's the black one in the picture.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 14:31, 20 August 11
That *is* nice. 10x6cm, vs the 8x6cm of the 2029 one. Plus the black color is much nicer... I wonder if they ship to Greece.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ynot.zer0 on 22:22, 20 August 11
So......my MegaFlash arrived on Wed/Thur this week, but due to work I've not had a chance to test it until today.  I plugged it into the 6128+ and it had 3 ROMs onboard.  I tested Maxam, worked great.
I plugged it into the 6128 (behind my 256k Ram extension) and repeated.  Again, worked great.
I have an HxC setup as internal drive, I copied the Roms from Cholo to 4 DSK images, converted them to .hfe and using TFMs wonderful RomManager I copied the Roms to the MegaFlash.
You guys have made it sooooo simple and powerful.  I'm a very happy CPC-er  8)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 23:59, 20 August 11
Nice. Isn't that the way it should be? :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 01:33, 21 August 11
Unfortunately the Booster ROM messes up with Maxam's HELP command, so you can't even list the ROMS you got, let alone the commands... :(
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 01:56, 21 August 11
Unfortunately the Booster ROM messes up with Maxam's HELP command, so you can't even list the ROMS you got, let alone the commands... :(

Locate the BOOSTER ROM at position &0F (15), and Maxam just between 1 and 14. That way will work.
 
ROMs with smaller numbers are initialized later, later means that their commands are taken in cases two ROMs provide commands with identical names.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 01:58, 21 August 11
That's where they are. Booster in slot 15 as instructed elsewhere, Maxam in slot 7 as it came from the factory. Still no luck.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 01:59, 21 August 11
Oh, don't place MAXAM at 7. ROM 7 always must contain AMSDOS.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 02:01, 21 August 11
Um, sorry, my bad; obviously it's not 7! :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 02:03, 21 August 11
Well, just a guess.... I think the ROM that messes up MAXAMs !HELP command is located at a position that has a SMALLER ROM number than MAXAM. May you check them out? Good luck!!!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 12:04, 21 August 11
Well, I did experiment with placing and removing ROMs high and low, and when I took Booster out it worked again. But I'll try the board with nothing (except for the ROMs it came with) and then add Booster @15 to check with as clean a board as possible...
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 20:51, 21 August 11
Ok, I just confirmed, loading Booster screws with Maxam's |Help,n command :(
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Cholo on 13:56, 22 August 11
Got my Megaflash today, YAY!  ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 14:13, 22 August 11
Cool. Let me know what you think when you've had a chance to try it out.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 21:27, 22 August 11
Ok, I just confirmed, loading Booster screws with Maxam's |Help,n command :(

Well, I used Booster ROM at position 15 and MAXAM at position 4 in an Emulator. That works. It remains a mystery.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 03:19, 23 August 11
News form Bryce: ROManager Version 1.32 seems to park properly. Can somebody please confirm?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Kris on 09:48, 23 August 11
Hi TFM,

I just made some trials with the 1.32 version and the park/unpark function is working well till now.
Any chance to have a ROM version of the 1.32 rom_ manager ?


Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: redbox on 13:09, 23 August 11
Ok, I just confirmed, loading Booster screws with Maxam's |Help,n command :(


The Booster ROM code is really messy and quite buggy so expect it will cause problems.


I've disassembled the code and am working putting the code patches directly into the CPC OS ROM which of then can be flashed into position 0 on the MegaFlash.  This means you won't need the Booster ROM at all.


Will let you know how I get on.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 13:42, 23 August 11
But you'll need lots of different versions depending on the type of CPC.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 15:27, 23 August 11
My MegaFlash has arrived!!! :D :D :D

I will test it this afternoon  ;) But the first impression is GREAT, so sexy :D :D :D, very well build and even smaller that i thought  8)

Wonderful Job Bryce!!!  ;D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 16:08, 23 August 11
Glad you like it. Let us know what you think after messing about with it.

Btw: I've edited Cholos list of ROMs here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/MegaFlash#Rom_Pack_Download (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/MegaFlash#Rom_Pack_Download)
to include links to the Wiki pages with information about the ROM, Hardware devices and companies. This makes it a bit easier to decide what you want to try out. I also noticed while doing it, that a lot of ROMs are missing, so I will go through my ROM collection when I have time and add some more to the list.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: 68k-dude on 16:51, 23 August 11
Hi Bryce

In the parts list you have the card edge to cable adaptor listed as "50 flat cable connector".  My question it where can this be found.  I have looked on the RS and Farnell websites and went blind trying to find it.

Cheers

68k
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 16:57, 23 August 11
The part hasn't been manufactured for years, so it's more or less impossible to find. The only place I know where they are still available is from Eliot: http://amstradcpc.info/parts/about.php (http://amstradcpc.info/parts/about.php)
He sells these and many other hard to find CPC Parts. A great service.

(Eliot is also a CPCWiki member, so you can probably contact him through the Wiki forum too).

Bryce.

P.s. Just in case you intend building one yourself, I will upload the Layout files (brd Format) tonight. But should you want a built and tested one, I still have a few left over.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: redbox on 17:28, 23 August 11
But you'll need lots of different versions depending on the type of CPC.


Yes, but the routines are all pretty much identical, just in different memory locations.


Once you've cracked one of them, it's not hard to create other versions.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 17:32, 23 August 11
I know, I just meant that with a fixed BOOSTER ROM you have one ROM that works on all machines, whereas if you patch the BASIC ROM, you end up having several versions. This might be annoying for someone who uses the MegaFlash on several differnt CPCs (as I do).
Btw, is the routine in the BASIC ROM or the lower ROM? If it's in the lower ROM, then you can't put it in Position 0 (well you can, but it won't work :D ). ROM 0 is Basic, not the OS ROM.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: redbox on 17:33, 23 August 11
Btw, is the routine in the BASIC ROM or the lower ROM? If it's in the lower ROM, then you can't put it in Position 0 (well you can, but it won't work :D ).


Really?  I thought you could Flash position 0 and it over-rided the internal OS?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 17:38, 23 August 11
No Position 0 will over-write the BASIC ROM, not the OS ROM. The OS ROM is paged at a different address range, so the MegaFlash (and most other ROMBoards) can't replace the OS. To do that you need something like this: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/FO-DOS (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/FO-DOS)

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: redbox on 17:56, 23 August 11
Ok, at least I found that out before getting to far with it...!


Maybe I'll make a less buggy version of the Booster ROM instead.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 21:38, 23 August 11
Well, i have passed a great afternoon messing with my MegaFlash  ;D

It was a great idea to include Maxam ;), with it, it has been very easy to check that my "minirom writer" works perfectly :)

It's based in the sources that TFM put a few weeks ago, and i need it, because my diskdrive hasn't arrived yet, because that, i'm using my netbook how a cassette player  :laugh: (with my turbo loader of course  ;D ). If somebody is using the MegaFlash with a 464 or similar diskless configuration, tell me and i will polished it  ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 21:58, 23 August 11
Hi TFM,

I just made some trials with the 1.32 version and the park/unpark function is working well till now.
Any chance to have a ROM version of the 1.32 rom_ manager ?

Great news! Thanks!!
 
ROM version? Absolutely, but be patient up to (let's say...) 1.35. Because I like to add some more functionality (drive select for load & save etc....). I will start to create the ROM version as soon as BASIC and FutureOS disc versions are running well, bug free and have been tested by some people. So let's say we speak about 2 weeks maybe.
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 22:09, 23 August 11
.... i'm using my netbook how a cassette player  :laugh: (with my turbo loader of course  ;D )....

Pretty cool idea  8)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 22:36, 23 August 11
Thanks, but without your sources, it would not be possible  ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 22:43, 23 August 11
Thanks, but without your sources, it would not be possible  ;)

Well, 90% of my work I try to do in the old hacker ethics about the free flow of information. Which means the source shall be released. (But honestly, usually only very few people are interrested).
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 23:03, 23 August 11
(But honestly, usually only very few people are interrested).
I know that feeling, although i usually publish the sources, normally the people interested in them, write me to ask about them and give feedback.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 23:10, 23 August 11
Yes, feedback is always good  :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 09:26, 24 August 11
I like to add some more functionality (drive select for load & save etc....). 

Yay!

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 10:56, 24 August 11
After finally realising that the Wiki just doesn't like brd files (it doesn't give you a warning, it just ignores you :D ). I have now uploaded the layout file for the MegaFlash for those who'd like to make their own (zipped to keep the Wiki happy). But be warned, it's neither an easy board to build nor to solder.

The file is an Cadsoft Eagle 5.11 brd file.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: archcosmo on 15:06, 24 August 11
Hi Bryce

my MegaFlash was delivered today, and I've had a bit of time to set it up tonight
only played around with Maxam 1.5, but haven't loaded up any additional ROMs yet - and so far, so good!

thanks - it's great piece of work!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 21:48, 24 August 11
After finally realising that the Wiki just doesn't like brd files (it doesn't give you a warning, it just ignores you :D ). I have now uploaded the layout file for the MegaFlash for those who'd like to make their own (zipped to keep the Wiki happy). But be warned, it's neither an easy board to build nor to solder.

The file is an Cadsoft Eagle 5.11 brd file.

Bryce.

I always ask myself why these files are called "brd" files. I mean it sounds like a "bird". Is it because the soul of a PCB flies away like a brd - eh bird - when you screw it up? Or is it because you get a bird "einen Vogel bekommen" if you try to solder it by yourself?
 
However, I'm glad that Bryce produces the hardware. Real Great work!!!
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: gros_minet on 22:06, 24 August 11
Hi Brice,

I have tried also the MegaFlash properly, the MegaFlashROManager Software from TFM fits extremely fine with the hardware.

I have here two naive questions (perhaps already asked, if it is the case, sorry) :
- I can't see/use now the roms 16 to 31 from Basic, yet available in the MegaFlashROManager,
- if one rom fails and freezes the system, it seems to me you need to unplug the material with the CPC off and plug it with the CPC on when you deal with the ROManager, is there any other solution ?

Otherwise, this piece of hardware is robust, tiny and does the job !
Thanks again for this great work.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 22:19, 24 August 11
I have tried also the MegaFlash properly, the MegaFlashROManager Software from TFM fits extremely fine with the hardware.

Thanks a lot!  :)

- I can't see/use now the roms 16 to 31 from Basic, yet available in the MegaFlashROManager,

Well, usually you can see the ROMs from 1 to 15. But if you have the BOOSTER ROM installed at 15, then you will also see the ROMs from 16-31.
 
- if one rom fails and freezes the system, it seems to me you need to unplug the material with the CPC off and plug it with the CPC on when you deal with the ROManager, is there any other solution ?

Can you switch the MegaFlash off? You also can park ROMs. Bryce can help here more :-)
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 00:29, 25 August 11
Sorry, I didn't really understand the second point. Can you explain it better? In french is fine too if that's easier.

@TFM: brd stands for "board" not "bird" Doh  ::) :D   Just as well, with "gros minet" being nearby :D

Thanks,
Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 10:24, 25 August 11
Hi gros_minet,
        I re-read your post and I think I know what you mean, you're talking about having to remove the Flash IC when a corrupted image has been installed: Yes there's a solution mentioned further up in this thread here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?topic=2527.msg27867#msg27867 (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?topic=2527.msg27867#msg27867)
I wasn't expecting that many people to be installing dodgy images, only developers testing new software, but obviously I was wrong. I thought it would only be needed in rare emergency cases. If there are many people who intend installing questionable ROMs on a regular basis, I can add step-by-step mod instructions on the Wiki.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 13:30, 25 August 11
I wasn't expecting that many people to be installing dodgy images, only developers testing new software, but obviously I was wrong. I thought it would only be needed in rare emergency cases. If there are many people who intend installing questionable ROMs on a regular basis, I can add step-by-step mod instructions on the Wiki.
I'm surprised too, i'm making all the roms combinations in the emulator, before to send them to the MegaFlash ... it looks that there are more hackers in the CPC, Great!!!  ;)

Other thing that it could be helpful, it's making between everybody a chart in the wiki with the roms sorted by categories (disk, serial, copy tools, ...), telling if the rom need an special hardware or an specific rom position or is incompatible with other rom; and a rom version and checksum (MD5 or SHA1) for be sure that  the rom is correct and has been tested in the MegaFlash.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 14:12, 25 August 11
As if you read my mind... In a fleeting moment of boredom this morning, I started a page to cover exactly that:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/ROM (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Rom)

I used an edited version of my ROM description as an intro and Cholos ROM list sorted into catagories with a few additions that were missing from the list. The list is by no means complete, so add any other ROMs that you notice missing. I will also check my collection at home, to see if I have any others.

Very few of the ROM Files are actually hosted on the Wiki. I'm wondering, whether we should upload these somewhere? Are there any known copyright / licensing issues with hosting the ROM files?

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: gros_minet on 14:51, 25 August 11
Hi everyone,

Yes, Bryce, you have guessed my second issue, it was that, sorry for my poor explanation.
I re-read your post and I think I know what you mean, you're talking about having to remove the Flash IC when a corrupted image has been installed: Yes there's a solution mentioned further up in this thread here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?topic=2527.msg27867#msg27867 (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?topic=2527.msg27867#msg27867)

Concerning my first issue, thanks to TFM.
Well, usually you can see the ROMs from 1 to 15. But if you have the BOOSTER ROM installed at 15, then you will also see the ROMs from 16-31.
 

So thanks again for these two (precise and quick) answers, have a nice day.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 18:19, 25 August 11
Ok, pretty easy day today, so I've no made a table of all the ROM Software available, which you can find here:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/ROM_Table (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/ROM_Table)

This is far from finished, there's no links yet and lots of info is missing. Feel free to append any information in the table and also add any ROM software I have missed from the list.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 18:34, 25 August 11
After finally realising that the Wiki just doesn't like brd files (it doesn't give you a warning, it just ignores you :D ).

Bryce.


Well, yeah, apologies for not adding every freaking file format out there :D Alternatively, you could have upped a zip file :p

As for the ROM table: great job!!!!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 19:22, 25 August 11
I'm surprised too, i'm making all the roms combinations in the emulator, before to send them to the MegaFlash ...

Oh, that's a potential pitfall. Because the CPC works with various ROM combinations, that will not work with emulators. In addition, different emulators are able to work with different ROM combinations. My suggestion is: If a special combination will not work with one emulator, just try it with another emu (or even the real CPC)  :)
 
As if you read my mind... In a fleeting moment of boredom this morning, I started a page to cover exactly that:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/ROM (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Rom)


Good work! ;)
 
 
BTW: A table that tells more about a ROM could indeed be of interrest, but it should than have a raw that tells about ROM number limitations. For example an DOS ROMs must have a ROM number smaller than Amsdos. Or RDOS must have a ROM number samller than any other DOS / Amsdos. ... If we have such a table, if would be my pleasure to contribute. ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 21:05, 25 August 11
You obviously didn't read this post: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?topic=2527.msg28691#msg28691 (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?topic=2527.msg28691#msg28691)

Or go to this page: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/ROM_Table (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/../index.php/ROM_Table)

:D

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 21:34, 25 August 11
Well, I just clicked the wrong (first) link  :laugh:
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 22:42, 25 August 11
Great job with the Rom table Bryce!!! :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 22:49, 25 August 11
If you can fill in any of the missing data, don't hold back :D

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 23:55, 25 August 11
Of course!!!  ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 00:31, 26 August 11
Indeed  8)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: robcfg on 10:42, 26 August 11
At your command!  ;D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 10:52, 26 August 11
I see people have been busy :) I've also just updated some of the links too. A ROM list was badly missing from the Wiki. It's a good place to start for any ROMBoard owner, not just the MegaFlash.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 12:46, 26 August 11
...and we should probably promote it more prominently somewhere... but where?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 14:54, 26 August 11
Well I added a link at the top of the Serious Software page. And also a link from the MegaFlash page. I'll add one from the MegaROM too.

Maybe a link directly under the ROMBoard lists in DIY and Peripherals would be appropriate?

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: HAL 6128 on 11:29, 27 August 11
Hi,
I tried to install ParaDos into the MegaFlash Slot 7 (replace AmsDos). But the CPC doesn't boot properly. With the description of Bryce a couple of posts before I loaded the ParaDos (both 1.0 and later 1.1). The ROM list of TFMs RomManager showed me the ROM name "KD". After booting the CPC the first common informations ("Amstrad Computer.... ") came to screen until initialising Slot 8 HxC-ROM. Than the CPC reboots again and again.
Did someone had experienced this before?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 13:29, 27 August 11
What type of CPC are you using? If you have a classic CPC6128 or a CPC464 with DDI-1 attached, then you can't replace ROM 7 without physically disabling the internal ROM 7. But you can use ParaDOS on these CPCs by installing in any position between 1 and 6. ParaDOS was also already installed in position 7 when you got the MegaFlash, so you shouldn't have had to install it.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 18:08, 27 August 11
Hi all,
    I had some time to upload more ROMs to the ROM Table today, so if you are eager to try out some new stuff, head over and check out the new comers here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/ROM_Table (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/ROM_Table)

If you're not sure what to try first, allow me to recommend some interesting new additions:

DES -Desktop Environment System - A GUI for the CPC, more info and screenshots here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Des (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Des)

Microstyles Style ROM - A few interesting utilities, but also a few mini games. The only expansion ROM games released for the CPC as far as I know.

Programmers Toolbox 1.2a - Lots of utilities for programmers.

Enjoy,
Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 19:26, 27 August 11
DEStext? wow, never heard of that before. Got to try it.

Also, browsing through the links and the Better than Life article, I wish ChaRleyTroniC would give some more insight about the first issue...
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: HAL 6128 on 22:05, 27 August 11
What type of CPC are you using? If you have a classic CPC6128 or a CPC464 with DDI-1 attached, then you can't replace ROM 7 without physically disabling the internal ROM 7. But you can use ParaDOS on these CPCs by installing in any position between 1 and 6. ParaDOS was also already installed in position 7 when you got the MegaFlash, so you shouldn't have had to install it.

Bryce.
...ahh, ok! A classic CPC6128. Therefore I can't replace. Thanks for the information.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 23:54, 27 August 11
About ParaDOS: If you check it with "Test ROM" it will show you an checksum error, this is due to the fact that Parados doesn't use a checksum (so it can't be found). Just ignore it.
 
BTW: 90% of all ROMs use the same algorithm to create (and check) a checksum. You add up all bytes from addresses &C000 to &FFFE. Then you put the 1 byte result at address &FFFF. Simple, but well enough.
 
If a ROM has not a length of 16 KB (17 KB file), then it will not have a checksum. Quickcmd, Alpharom are such examples.
 
EDIT: I'm half the way through in the device (= drive) selection. But now my roommate is starting a jamming session, so I'll join them for a while :)  I love weekends :)))
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 16:51, 28 August 11
Great Job!!! And enjoy the weekend!!! ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: robcfg on 11:07, 29 August 11
Got mine and works fine!


Now, when I have some time, I'll program FutureOS and some nice roms  8)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 20:44, 29 August 11
Got mine and works fine!
Now, when I have some time, I'll program FutureOS and some nice roms  8)

Let me know if you need some help (I'm not good in writing docs..), I'll be here with all informations you need.
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 22:41, 29 August 11
@robcfg: Try TFMs FutureOS installation package, it installs everything to the MegaFlash automatically for you. It's so simple, even I managed it :D

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 23:12, 29 August 11
Expected not less from you ;-)
 
Ok, Ver. 1.34 is out, as DSK and as ROMs. Till you find an error it's the final version :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 09:55, 30 August 11
Which one is the installation package? I had to do it by hand, didn't see anything like a "setup.msi" :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 10:42, 30 August 11
Did you check for FutureOS.rpm or .deb ? :)

I'm not sure where they are, TFM sent me them to test, but I don't know where you can download them.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 19:02, 30 August 11
You guys scare the s*** out of me! I can't find all that files!  :o
 
All you need is here: http://www.colorado-boys-muenchen.de/users/futureos/files/FutureOS_System_.8_Preview!!!.zip (http://www.colorado-boys-muenchen.de/users/futureos/files/FutureOS_System_.8_Preview!!!.zip)
 
BTW: ROManager for BASIC (disc and ROM) now have updated docs (file on dsk: -RMA.TXT).
(I update the others after this day full of work).
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 20:22, 31 August 11
(Aahhhhh frak, and I was really puzzled about how many hits "colorado-boys-muenchen.de" was sending to the wiki! This explains it :D )
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 21:39, 31 August 11
(Aahhhhh frak, and I was really puzzled about how many hits "colorado-boys-muenchen.de" was sending to the wiki! This explains it :D )
Eh, well, yes, hosting my files is .... well.... at least it works  :-X
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 11:34, 06 September 11
15 days after Miracle Day  ;D ... ehem after i received my MegaFlash  :D

What are your impressions?

I haven't got so much fun with the CPC in milleniums  ;)

Have your CPC scrolled the screen with all the messages of ROMs initializing?

I'm beginning to patch roms for setting a silent mode :P

Without which roms you can not live?

In this moment, i have installed QuickCMD (2), Utopia (3), Protext (4), Maxam (5), Parados (6), FutureOS (10-13), ROManager (14-15)... and in the upper positions a backup of these roms, Head Over Heels and a few of my assembly routines.
 
Which rom programs you would like to exist?

I would like that the Arnor roms had a faster print text routine, a rom with the best mini tools that i have found (for example, i'm using the Utopia only for the disk sector editor), find a decent tape to disk copy program that works great with ParaDOS (actually i send the programs from audacity in my notebook).

Opinions, please  ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: redbox on 11:43, 06 September 11
I would like that the Arnor roms had a faster print text routine, a rom with the best mini tools that i have found (for example, i'm using the Utopia only for the disk sector editor), find a decent tape to disk copy program that works great with ParaDOS (actually i send the programs from audacity in my notebook).


I was thinking exactly this too...


- Protext with faster text output
- My own 'compilation' ROM of the most useful RSX utilities
- A ROM version of the parallel cable software


Will fire up the disassembler...  ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 13:07, 06 September 11
@Syx: Looks like you are really making the most of it. ROM Software is really a neglected area and many people have never used or even heard of some of the great programs available, so I hope the MegaFlash changes that. Unfortunately I haven't had enough time to really play around with the MegaFlash yet, but I'm getting there.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 13:27, 06 September 11
Je je je, Bryce, you have made the "Dream come true" ;) and the wonderful ROM table in the Wiki ;), and everything while your recent fatherhood... i can not imagine what you would be able to do with more free time for CPCing ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: redbox on 14:52, 06 September 11
ROM Software is really a neglected area and many people have never used or even heard of some of the great programs available, so I hope the MegaFlash changes that.


I've just spent most of the the morning playing around with mine and it's already prompted me to make a library of some good ROM software.


It's a really great device, so huge thanks to Bryce and TFM again.  :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: HAL 6128 on 23:00, 07 September 11
Hi Bryce, in your MegaFlash-Wikipage you have written about a modification for classic CPC6128 to switch or enable and external ROM on Position 7.
"CPC6128 - Classic CPC6128 can not overwrite the internal ROM 7 with an external device, to make use of the external ROM 7 the CPC must be modified to allow the internal ROM 7 to be disabled (eg: By adding a switch to the internal ROMs Chip Enable pin)"
 
Do you have a describtion of the switch where it has to be connected?
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 23:30, 07 September 11
I'm sure it's described somewhere on the Wiki, but generally, all you have to do is disconnect the CE Pin of the internal ROM IC and then add a switch that in one direction reconnects the pin to where it was and in the other direction connects the pin to the 5V supply (ideally through a 1K resistor).

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 23:42, 07 September 11
Bryce will kick me for that... but...
Have you tried to ... just Flash ROM 7 and see what happens? Maybe it works.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 10:09, 08 September 11
Head Over Heels

Hey, can you post that ROM? Why, does it even fit in a single ROM??
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 10:52, 08 September 11
@TFM: Consider yourself having been virtually kicked :D No it won't work and it can't work, the hardware is wired in such a way that it can never work! Only CPC Plus can over-write ROM 7, Hal6128s earlier test proved that already - ie: it crashes / cycles / does nasty things.

@SyX: Head over Heels on ROM, are you sure? Never heard of it, but if it exists, we NEEEED it!

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 19:50, 08 September 11
@TFM: ... the hardware is weird in such a way ....
Bryce.

Well, I wouldn't say the hardware is weird, in contrast! :laugh:
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 20:38, 08 September 11
Hey, can you post that ROM? Why, does it even fit in a single ROM??

@SyX: Head over Heels on ROM, are you sure? Never heard of it, but if it exists, we NEEEED it!


Je je je, but it's nothing more that one of my test with the MegaFlash  ;D

For example, i didn't add compression, it's a raw copy of the game, 42 KBs, 3 ROMs :P but even with compression you will need 3 roms, too... only with packfire or exomizer in backward mode, the game crunched in less than 32 KBs, but in the moment that you add the compressor, the size surpass the 32 KBs limit :P . Of course, i could polish it adding compression for include the loading screen, but how i said it's only one of my test :P

I have attached the rom files, you need to put hoh_01.rom in the position 9, hoh_02.rom in position 16 and hoh_03.rom in position 17. If somebody want to put the roms in other position, tell me, and i will send you a fixed version :P
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 00:23, 09 September 11
Great work :-)))
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 10:34, 09 September 11
Magnificent result! Now loads of questions:

- Will it be possible later, that the ROM positions are flexible: ie: ROM_1 anywhere under position 16 and the other ROMs anwhere from 16 onwards?
- Does it need BOOSTER to be intalled to work?
- Does it copy itself to RAM or run from ROM.
- Are there games that would fit on a single ROM: Harrier Attack or other more simple games?
- What method / tools do you use to convert the game?

I'd love to try and convert a few of my favourites.

Bryce.


Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 11:40, 09 September 11
Magnificent result! Now loads of questions:
Shoot me!!! xDDDD

- Will it be possible later, that the ROM positions are flexible: ie: ROM_1 anywhere under position 16 and the other ROMs anwhere from 16 onwards?
Of course, only was a fast test, i only would have to add an header at the rest of game roms to the first rom would be able to identify them.

Even it would be possible to make a "game launcher" rom that autodetects every "game" rom in the upper positions (16-32) of MegaFlash, and you can choose which game runs ;)

- Does it need BOOSTER to be intalled to work?
No, it doesn't need Booster, but it must not be incompatible, because i mark the extra game roms (the roms in the upper positions) how extension roms (the first byte need to be 2), because that the Booster and the firmware will not try to initialize them ... one advantage of extension roms is that i can use every byte of them except the first ;)

- Does it copy itself to RAM or run from ROM.
Copy to RAM, usually the game has to be ready for being executed from rom and that it doesn't happen in the CPC, mainly because it's very normal to use self-modify code and fix these things are a hell :P

But for new games, it would be a great idea to give a rom option :D

- Are there games that would fit on a single ROM: Harrier Attack or other more simple games?
Yes, every game that we can crunch to 16000 byte or less (to give some space to the decrunch routine and the RSX to launch it), i'm going to try a few ones, i think that Manic Miner (or other of the first CPC games) could be a great candidate for being in one rom only.

- What method / tools do you use to convert the game?
Well, i downloaded the original game from CPC Power (http://www.cpc-power.com/), cracked the original using WinApe to make a more intelligent ram dump that the multiface :P (although other idea could be to make a snapshot rom loader, jejeje), coded the game launcher and made a few 16 KBs chunks of the game dump for the roms.

I'd love to try and convert a few of my favourites.
Well, if you think that the procces is too complicated, tell me what games would you like to have and i will convert them for you ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 12:09, 09 September 11
Well, i downloaded the original game from CPC Power (http://www.cpc-power.com/), cracked the original using WinApe to make a more intelligent ram dump that the multiface :P (although other idea could be to make a snapshot rom loader, jejeje), coded the game launcher and made a few 16 KBs chunks of the game dump for the roms.
Well, if you think that the procces is too complicated, tell me what games would you like to have and i will convert them for you ;)

Ok, that's too complicated for me. I like solutions that go like this: "Insert game disk, choose RSX name, press the button, ROM file saved to MegaFlash" :D

No particular favourites I can think of at the moment, but I'll try out every one you convert :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: redbox on 12:36, 09 September 11
This is really great work SyX - thank you!!!


I was going to ask how you did it but Bryce beat me to it.


Would be nice to have 1 ROM with the RSXs in (in range 0-15) that then executes games stored in 16-31.  That means we could have 8 32kb games available at the BASIC prompt  :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 13:18, 09 September 11
Ok, that's too complicated for me. I like solutions that go like this: "Insert game disk, choose RSX name, press the button, ROM file saved to MegaFlash" :D
Well, i could make that for an "easy game installer" for specific games ;D and giving the roms, too, for using the wonderful ROManager  ;)

This is really great work SyX - thank you!!!
You are welcome!!! :)

Would be nice to have 1 ROM with the RSXs in (in range 0-15) that then executes games stored in 16-31.  That means we could have 8 32kb games available at the BASIC prompt  :D
MegaFlash II "The Cartridge Edition" :D , include a cartridge port for roms 16-31  :D

 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 13:44, 09 September 11
There won't be a MegaFlash II, or at least not at the moment. The next project is something completely different. I still intend working on an ACID replacement though, and if that works, there could be a MegaCart sometime in the future. For now however, free time has been reduced to an absolute minimum, due to my "Latest Project".

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 13:53, 09 September 11
Je je je, we know, it's only wishful thinking  ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 19:49, 09 September 11
There won't be a MegaFlash II, or at least not at the moment. The next project is something completely different. I still intend working on an ACID replacement though, and if that works, there could be a MegaCart sometime in the future. For now however, free time has been reduced to an absolute minimum, due to my "Latest Project".

Bryce.
Hmm, well it will not have a ASIC replacement, so it will not be able to run Plus games on a normal CPC. Maybe I don't get the idea here. Feel free to talk a bit more  :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 20:51, 09 September 11
The weekend is about to start, because that i have prepared another "game rom" for the MegaFlash (and other romboards :P ), in this case i have made a rom pack with Bomb Jack I & II in 3 roms. You will need to put the first rom in any position that the firmware initialize (or in any position if you are using the Booster rom) and the other two roms can be in the rom position that you like.

The RSX commands are |BJ1 & |BJ2  ;)

Great Weekend!!!  :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: steve on 21:40, 09 September 11
@Bryce, could a PIC emulate the acid chip, if so it might also be able to program the flashrom from the cassette output port or PC audio output.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: norecess on 22:20, 09 September 11
Quote
i have made a rom pack with Bomb Jack I & II in 3 roms


While I think the initiative cool (it's fun!) I personally tend to think ROMs should be used as tools to give new functionality to the computer (cf. Parados..) or fasten treatment (faster access to text editor or assembler).


To me, using ROMs for games is like using a MegaFlash as a HDD.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: HAL 6128 on 22:51, 09 September 11
I'm sure it's described somewhere on the Wiki, but generally, all you have to do is disconnect the CE Pin of the internal ROM IC and then add a switch that in one direction reconnects the pin to where it was and in the other direction connects the pin to the 5V supply (ideally through a 1K resistor).

Bryce.
I've read in "Schneider Systembuch" (german: http://k1.dyndns.org/Vintage/Schneider%20CPC/Das%20Schneider%20CPC%20Systembuch/z73.htm (http://k1.dyndns.org/Vintage/Schneider%20CPC/Das%20Schneider%20CPC%20Systembuch/z73.htm)) that another possibility is to disable all ROMs with the signal connection ROMDIS on the expansion port where the OE signal goes through. Does it work? Does the FO-DOS Device work in such way (http://cpcwiki.eu/index.php/FO-DOS (http://cpcwiki.eu/index.php/FO-DOS))?
Your suggestion is also mentioned: Feed the CE Pin with a 5V supply and the ROM goes in standby. You recommend a 1K resistor between 5V supply and the CE Pin. Did I understand that right?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 00:46, 10 September 11
@norecess: In theory I'm with you all the way. ROMs should be used for utilities that make use of the fact that the entire RAM is still empty / Basic still running, etc. But I still love the fact that I can load my favourite game, instantly at any time, without looking for a disk or scrolling through directories and I think it's a very cool new function for the MegaFlash. It might not be for everyone, but I'm sure there are many users who'll take advantage of this. There's 32 ROM positions, so even with all your favourite utilities, there's still room for your favourite game :)

@Hal6128: You can directly connect ROMEN to ROMDIS (via a diode) which will disable ROM 0 and the lower ROM in the CPC (which is what FODOS and a few other expansions did), but this doesn't disable ROM 7, because ROMDIS doesn't disable ROM 7. Yes a 1K resistor between the 5V and CE. It's not 100% required, but it's better practice and lowers the current required when the CPC is switched to this selection.

@Steve: No a PIC is too slow to emulate an ACID, you would need to use a CPLD, a PAL/GAL or lots of real TTL, the calculation occurs in realtime, which can only be replicated with real gates, CPUs are terrible at this type of task. Not sure what you mean about the Audio ports though? Sounds interesting, explain further.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: steve on 03:51, 10 September 11
The cassette port of a cpc664/6128/plus is used to connect a tape recorder for the loading and saving of programs, I thought it would be good to allow the possibility of connecting the cartridge to this port for programming, instead of saving to tape, you would be saving to cartridge.
It would need a PIC or similar to convert the wav./tape signal to the signals necessary to program the flashrom.
You would not write to the cartridge very often so write speed is unimportant. it may be that 2k/baud is enough, I don't know.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: steve on 03:58, 10 September 11
IDEA FOR A NEW ROM

For the gamers, someone could write a "co-pilot" rom which would monitor how well the user is progressing through a game and if the co-pilot decides the user is struggling it could insert cheat codes to help the user get through difficult parts of the game, if this were done without the user being aware of it, the user could feel good about completing the game "without help". 8)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: fgbrain on 20:01, 24 September 11
OK guys, yesterday I received my MegaFlash..
but I think I'm lost.

About ROManager...
Documentation is very bad. So far, I only managed to load OVL rom.
Every other file either gets a "bad command" error or RED border with a non-stoping beep!!!

Any help ?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 20:07, 24 September 11
Thank's for the positive feedback ;)  Now let's see what I can do for you:
 
- Please download the newest version of ROManager first (Ver 1.35).
 
- Let me know what do you miss in the documentation? Which questions are open?
 
 
Obviously you have trouble loading and installing ROMs. If you can send me a DSK of that disc, which causes the problems, I will hopefully be able to help you.
 
A RED border and a beep tells, you that you try to load a file that does not exist or that the disc has an error. So commonly something's wrong with a file/disc operation.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: fgbrain on 20:29, 24 September 11
Thanks for reply...

I have latest version!
I try to flash Symbos roms, Discology, Masterfile 128, Protext and Parados
ALL FAIL as I stated in previous post !!

However must say I succeeded with Romanager rom, QuickCMD and OVL roms

So I have wrong images I suppose ??

I'm using Demoniak's ManageDsk v.020 to write disk images for my 6128.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 20:37, 24 September 11
Documentation is not bad, actually, I was able to do everything just by glancing at it... If it fails for you then there's definitely some sort of problem...
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: redbox on 20:39, 24 September 11
I try to flash Symbos roms, Discology, Masterfile 128, Protext and Parados
ALL FAIL as I stated in previous post !!
However must say I succeeded with Romanager rom, QuickCMD and OVL roms

Are you sure you're adding AMSDOS headers to the files when putting them into the DSK images?

ROManager, QuickCMD and OVL ROMs all have AMSDOS headers because they are supplied as DSK images.  The other one's won't as I expect you've downloaded just the ROM image files from the net...?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 20:42, 24 September 11
Thanks for reply...

I have latest version!
I try to flash Symbos roms, Discology, Masterfile 128, Protext and Parados
ALL FAIL as I stated in previous post !!

However must say I succeeded with Romanager rom, QuickCMD and OVL roms

So I have wrong images I suppose ??

I'm using Demoniak's ManageDsk v.020 to write disk images for my 6128.

Well, you didn't attach a DSK like I asked you for. So I can only guess... but we will fix that issue  :)
 
 
Take a  look at the ROMs which you tried to install from disc. Do they have a file-size of 16 KB on disc?
 
If yes, you can install them only with the FutureOS version of the ROManager (please use only yesterdays version), because they have no file-header. And ROM files without header (16 KB size usually) can't be loaded by AMSDOS.
 
That happens with ROMs from the net, if you get them al PC files, they usually have no Amsdos file-header any longer.
 
If your ROMs actually have a file-size of 17 KB, everything should work, because they do have a header.
If you still have problems, then attach a DSK here and I try to check for the problems.
 
 
 
And btw. don't expect my software to install SOS  :P  Only joking  ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 21:43, 24 September 11
Hi fgbrain,
        the good news is that if any ROM worked, then the hardware is fine. I guess you've made a simple error such as saved the ROM files as ascii instead of bin when you added them to the dsk file. I've attached a dsk with some of the ROMs you've mentioned saved correctly, give them a try and let us know if that works.

Bryce.


Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: fgbrain on 01:46, 25 September 11
@bryce

Thanks, your dsk worked fine. I now realize that I have to save rom files as binary.

@TFM
Your software is nice, but how can a first-time ROM user (like me) see what's wrong?
You should include a message about such errors..
About the border red/green changing, it's nice but you don't write anything about it on screen!
Hope you fix this issue -mainly for other future users.

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 02:44, 25 September 11
Well, I really did assume that everybody knows about file-headers. I must admit I was wrong.
However I will think about how to make ROManager also working for a novice.
 
Due to technical reasons it's not possible to write on the screen as long as the MegaFlash is switched to the write mode. Therefore communication is done by color changes and beep's.
 
Use the FutureOS version, to get around all that troubles. 8)
 
In addition I must say, I do have a real life and I don't have 24/7 for CPC projects (even I would wish that if would be the case). So be patient. Thanks for your comments. Your help will surely help to improve software.
 
EDIT: I tried to update the ROManager documentation. However, it IS already mentioned that 16 KB header-less files can be processed by the FutureOS version of ROManager only. Well, even the best doc's can't help people who don't read it. To complain then is a bit insolent  ;)
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Cholo on 10:15, 25 September 11
Oh, i completely forgot to mention: you can use a "official" Symbiface 2 ribbon cable to hook up your Megaflash if you want. Do note that the cable needs to be hooked up in reverse (like if you hook up the Edge/centronic end to you cpc as normal .. then the board needs to be reversed at the board end):

(http://img829.imageshack.us/img829/6416/sybiflash.jpg)

Good to know if your pet/child desides on cheving up one of your cables .. using the megaflash cable on a symbiface2 is gonna be a tight fit tho.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 10:19, 25 September 11
Well, I really did assume that everybody knows about file-headers. I must admit I was wrong.
However I will think about how to make ROManager also working for a novice.
 

Well personally I did not remember about ASCII/bin, but what I was presented with the relevant dialog I was like "ASCII? Hell no!" :D But yeah, it'd be good to include some error messages...

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 11:42, 25 September 11
The SymbiFace cable is that long!  :o I prefer expansions to be right behind the CPC, with just enough space to keep the neighbouring power/monitor sockets free to use. I'm sure the SymbiFace had a reason to use such a long cable (size of expansion PCB perhaps), but the longer the cable, the more chance that it will receive external interference from the monitor or other devices. But why was it twisted? Does the CPC side connector usually get connected the other way up? Otherwise the Red/Blue wire is actually pin 50 and not pin 1 as it should be.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Cholo on 17:04, 25 September 11
Well, i think the answer is in that the symbiface2 connector (board end) actually does a U-turn (i think) inside the connector. Like from the MF board connector the ribbon goes straight to the right .. but with SF2 board connector it goes right below and then twists up again in a U-turn and back into the top of the connetor to finally exit fully to the top left. The Edge connector is used exactly the same with both cables when hooking up to the cpc.

The SF2 board is basicly the size of a 3,5" HDD so it can sqeeze in between the cpc and monitor. Problem is that the SF2 also needs to be powered externally (and its also a bit silly if you dont have a mouse and hdd(s) connected too) so its practical to have the whole setup next to the cpc instead.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: norecess on 17:14, 25 September 11
MegaFlash: Tiny cable for a tiny extension. Love it!  :-*
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: 00WReX on 14:43, 19 January 12
The weekend is about to start, because that i have prepared another "game rom" for the MegaFlash (and other romboards :P ), in this case i have made a rom pack with Bomb Jack I & II in 3 roms. You will need to put the first rom in any position that the firmware initialize (or in any position if you are using the Booster rom) and the other two roms can be in the rom position that you like.

The RSX commands are |BJ1 & |BJ2  ;)

Great Weekend!!!  :D


I received my mega flash late on Monday and left for a family holiday very early on Tuesday morning, so I only had a quick play...and that will be it for almost 2 weeks. Loved it and missing it already  :D


But I do have a laptop with me that has and emulator, so I'm trying out some Rom's for when I get back.
Just going through this thread again and noticed that Syx was converting some games to Rom...Head over Heals & Bomb Jack...did any others get done ?


Are the game conversions to rom being placed anywhere on the wiki ?


One I would like to see would be Harrier Aattack as I think this would fit on a single rom.


Cheers,
Shane
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 15:07, 19 January 12
Hi 00WReX,
         I compiled a list (with download links) of all known CPC ROMs, so this will give you a good idea of what's available. you can find it here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/ROM_Table (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/ROM_Table)
I haven't heard any more about the game conversions either though. But the Micro Style ROM v2.11 (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/../../../../index.php/Micro_Style_ROM) does have a few small games on the ROM :)

Bryce.

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: 00WReX on 15:29, 19 January 12
Yeh, thanks Bryce. Was checking out that table you put together before the megaflash had even arrived.  ;)  nice list...
 
Was just wondering mainly if any more games have been converted ?
 
 
Thanks for the heads up on the Micro Style ROM.
 
Cheers,
Shane
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 17:24, 19 January 12
Was just wondering mainly if any more games have been converted ?
I made an article for the RUA magazine where i explained how to make a rom with a game unprotected, because we have started a serie about "how to crack games" and my article was the perfect companion. I have attached the rom with the game, "Android One".

Of course, if you want that i take a look to some particular game only say it (Harrier Attack to the list ;) )
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 17:46, 19 January 12
Can you add it to the ROM Table Page on the wiki too?

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Johnny Olsen on 19:04, 19 January 12

One I would like to see would be Harrier Aattack as I think this would fit on a single rom.


I have made a Harrier Attack rom many years ago - I have a 16 k ram used as rom sitting back in my rombo rombox.

Johnny


Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: SyX on 19:19, 19 January 12
Added Bryce!!!  ;)

Nice Work Johnny Olsen!!! (the list is empty now :P)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: 00WReX on 01:18, 20 January 12
Nice...thanks guys  ;)
 
Cheers,
Shane
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 11:06, 20 January 12
I've copied Harrier Attack over to the Wiki aswell and added it to the ROM Table.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Pentagon on 14:55, 20 January 12
Do you need a Chuckie Egg rom ?

Start with: "|EGG"

Regards
Pentagon


Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 15:08, 20 January 12
Cool, can you add it to the ROM Table list too?

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Pentagon on 15:45, 20 January 12
Ummmmmmm, NO!!!  ;D

I dont know how to do that with that wiki stuff. I am sorry, for stupidness....

Regards
Tom / Pentagon

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 15:51, 20 January 12
Ok, I'll do it....  Done.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Ismael on 17:15, 27 May 13
Hi Bryce,

i'm interested to buy one Megaflash if you are making it yet.

It's possible? Thks in advance.
Ismael.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 22:48, 27 May 13
Hi Ismael,
          can you register an account here in the Wiki, then I can PM you all the details.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 18:08, 28 May 13
Finally I had my two weeks of years leave and I'm back since yesterday. During my vacation I had time to work with the real MegaFlash [nb]Any kind of software I did for it was developed on an emulator, because I don't have a CPC in the usa, where I work[/nb]. Now here are my results.

- Roman and ROManager (Basic version) work most of the time, but some times not. If not, it helps to initialize the Flash [nb]That means to switch the Software-Data-Protection OFF. The SDP seems to get switched on by itself once a while.[/nb]

- The FutureOS version of ROManager does not work.  >:(  I don't know why right now, but I will find out.

However, I haven't had much time and problems may show up due to my hardware (which was not used for a year).
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 22:24, 28 May 13
EDIT: Actually I probably did test the FlashGordon (FutureOS) Version on a MegaFlash - so the MegaFlash (FutureOS) Version may be working.
Sadly I can not check that before next year...

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 13:45, 29 May 13
However, I haven't had much time and problems may show up due to my hardware (which was not used for a year).

Not using the Hardware for a year wouldn't have any negative effects on the Hardware. All contacts are protected against oxidation and there's no battery or other parts that would deteriorate over time. Other than the Flash chip, which has a defined lifespan, it should theoretically work forever[nb]This has not been tested :D [/nb]

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: dcdrac on 01:51, 03 June 13
one of these I would definitely buy
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 01:21, 04 June 13
You should  ;)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 16:26, 15 November 13
Hey TFM (resurrecting the thread...)


Just a little clarification!


I'm having some difficulties with my MegaFlash and I thought I'd re-flash AMSDOS and BASIC for my 6128. I got the files from the CPCWiki page, however I was wondering how I should convert them into a disk (using ManageDSK) - with header or without?

Also, even if I delete ROM0/7, they still appear in the list, I guess these entries are pulled from the machine?


Thanks!
T
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 22:41, 15 November 13
If you switch ROM 0 and 7 off at the MegaFlash, then you always see them with ROManager.


Else (IIRC) it doesn't matter if the ROMs have a header or not. However, I suggest you to give them headers on the CPC side, so you can use them with other apps. or simple load them w/o a problem.


Before installing ROM 0 and 7 make sure, that the appropriate ROM is switched ON on the MegaFlash.

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: gerald on 22:54, 15 November 13
Else (IIRC) it doesn't matter if the ROMs have a header or not. However, I suggest you to give them headers on the CPC side, so you can use them with other apps. or simple load them w/o a problem.

Memory refresh  :P [nb]at least for AMSDOS version, I don't know about FutureOs version[/nb]
Code: [Select]
LD HL,SA_NM ;Address of filename in memory
 LD DE,&4000 ;Target RAM address

 PUSH DE:CALL &BC77 ;DISK IN OPEN
 POP  HL:JR NC,FERR ;File ERRor

 OR A,A:JR Z,FERR:CP A,&16:JR Z,FERR ;BASIC(0) or ASCII(&16) file found!     <-------------------

 CALL &BC83:JR NC,FERR ;DISK IN DIREKT

 CALL &BC7A ;DISK IN CLOSE

 CALL ROM_DISP:INC A:JP Z,ROM:DEC A ;display all 16/32 FlashROMs, select one.

 CALL INS_ROM1:JP ROM ;install ROM from first E-RAM, ROM-select in A


;File ERRor AMSDOS

FERR CALL &BC7D ;DISK IN ABANDON

 LD A,&07:CALL &BB5A:LD BC,&0306:CALL &BC38 ;TXT OUTPUT, SCR SET BORDER 3,6

 CALL &BD19:CALL &BD19:CALL WAIT:JP ROM ;2x FRAME, WAIT, HOTSTART

So you better add a header or be prepared for a new transfer  ;) [nb]As I did the 1st time[/nb]
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 23:43, 15 November 13
Oh, well, now I checked by myself (CC keeps my busy).


You got an old version. The actual version for Basic also supports headerless files.

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: gerald on 11:48, 16 November 13
You got an old version. The actual version for Basic also supports headerless files.
From included source code :
AAA MegaFlashROManager_BASIC_V1.45 2013-02-19.dsk        : does not support ASCII (headerless) file
AAA MegaFlashROManager_FG_BASIC_V1.45 2013-03-02.dsk  : does support ASCII file

However, "_FG" is for FlashGordon. Will it work on Megaflash as well?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 18:45, 17 November 13
Thanks, TFM, much appreciated :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 21:43, 18 November 13
Well, the MegaFlash and the FlashGordon version use basicly the same source. I just set a variable before I assemble the source. So the differences are located only in parts which actually deal with the Flash.

If somebody finds a problem (in the newest update!) please let me know.

Next year a plan to do an update, well, wouldn't call it a mayor update, but I will add some functions.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: MacDeath on 18:58, 19 November 13
I could (at last) test the UltraBryce (tm) (c) (r) Megaflash at Alchimie X.

I was quite surprised by the speed at which it flashes... :laugh:

Also the utilitary tool to do that is quite well done... the interface (key used) are not always ... er... not what I would be used to use, lol... but it works well and is actually simple to use. :)
First thing I did was to put itself on the ROM anyway.


(https://scontent-a-ams.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/q71/s720x720/482459_538879992861947_480753802_n.jpg)
Thx Bryce and TFM, because of you I can almost run SymbOS...
Noww I got to disable this background in order to even move mouse ponter somewhere... ;)

Just need an IDE HDD and a real time clock and +512K RAM and a second disk drive and a special mouse just so I can run pacman or screensaver on it... :P

I also tried to put FutureOS, but obviously it wasn't the set of icons I did... nor the PLUS version with hardsprite pointer and so on...

TFM I already told you : you shoudl really make a slightly fancier version with desktop being able to evolve according to the actual configuration and so on... would just use one more 16K bank on the Flash/ROM box... not a big deal on those 512K ROM cards anyway...

Or else something so we can configure properly our ROM version.
My CPC will never have 8+ Data storage peripheral, 5 disk drives, 3 HDDs and so on...

Also as I don't have real time clock, too many space is used by those counters for time and date...

And I would like to have my icons used one day. You can even put some chickens on it if you want.
Also an "help" bar which would display the name/use of icons when the pointer is on them... and so on... sorry another out of topic.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 19:31, 19 November 13
I also tried to put FutureOS, but obviously it wasn't the set of icons I did... nor the PLUS version with hard-sprite pointer and so on...

And I would like to have my icons used one day. You can even put some chickens on it if you want.Also an "help" bar which would display the name/use of icons when the pointer is on them... and so on... sorry another out of topic.


Well, after finishing Cyber Chicken, this is the number one of my to do list. I will create a comfortable tool to alter your icons in which way the user likes. That means: You will be able to exchange the GFX of every icons.

TFM I already told you : you should really make a slightly fancier version with desktop being able to evolve according to the actual configuration and so on... would just use one more 16K bank on the Flash/ROM box... not a big deal on those 512K ROM cards anyway...

Or else something so we can configure properly our ROM version.
My CPC will never have 8+ Data storage peripheral, 5 disk drives, 3 HDDs and so on...

Also as I don't have real time clock, too many space is used by those counters for time and date...




You should check out the Spartan-Bit. If enables you to get rid off unused icons, so the screen is much more clear. Use ConfigOS utility to activate the Spartan functionality.


The reason for having Icons at fixed spots is to enable the user to work with every FutureOS computer. In contrast on different PCs the Icons are always somewhere else and you need to start searching for them. This tedious waste of time will not happen on CPC (using FutureOS).



Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TotO on 19:31, 19 November 13
Don't forget to add the state of the art... A f9 key.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: MacDeath on 19:49, 19 November 13
F9 is useless anyway... ;D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 21:20, 19 November 13
Glad you like it (at least the hardware) MacDeath and thanks for your review.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 22:43, 19 November 13
@TotO: What shall F9 do for you?


@Bryce: How charming.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TotO on 22:46, 19 November 13
DISCKIT3 ?  ;D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: dragon on 18:20, 28 December 13
I have the wilco version. And I have problem with it. In first time it not work(basic repeat many times in all slots).I solve it repasing edge 50 connections to the motherboard o megaflash. And it work, but after a litte time i testing  it, they can't erased a rom, and copy the basic cpc internals rom returns me "I" in the new slot.(and corrupt rom of course).And later nothing, not write, not erase, but he can read the content of the external flash.

I tested all lines with multimeter with help of the schematic, and nothing all lines and 50 edge connection is o.k,so no cut tracks in motherboard.

¿Can be a Ic problem?. cpc connector appears fine :S.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 18:39, 28 December 13
Sorry, I don't know or support any version other than the original, so I can't really help you, but maybe some other users here can?

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: dragon on 18:55, 28 December 13
Sorry, I don't know or support any version other than the original, so I can't really help you, but maybe some other users here can?

Bryce.

Do not worry bryce, It was just to ask for another opinion,I've put here for not make a new post.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 00:16, 29 December 13
What exactly is the problem?
Which function does not work?


Sorry for asking, but your post is a bit confusing.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 00:49, 29 December 13
Do not worry bryce, It was just to ask for another opinion,I've put here for not make a new post.

No problem. Hope you get it sorted.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: dragon on 03:21, 29 December 13
What exactly is the problem?
Which function does not work?


Sorry for asking, but your post is a bit confusing.

No problem.

summarizin:


1. I solder all components in the motherboard.-> Megaflash not work(all slots rom are the basic rom copy) ->The cause is a bad weld in the 50 way connector to pcb.
2.Again I solder the connector, it works perfect, it erase and copy and view the eeprom->Solved.

3.After a two minutes of test. Megaflash not erase the roms, I Do the operation and nothing happen.
4.I test copying internal basic rom to slot 2 for example. He copy a rom in slot 2 named "I" instead of "basic" original name and the rom is corrupted.
5.In another more two minutes he not copy anything. I select copy basic rom to slot 2(empty) or other, and slot 2 is empty(FFFF) after operation.

6.I test all tracks of the motherboard with a multimeter. All are connected, no errors including the 50 edge connector.

7.If I burn a basic slot with the programmer, the megaflash see the basic rom and cpc can run it from the eeprom. but he can't copy it to other slot or delete it.

8. Load a rom from disk to eeprom, not work. result is empty in destination slot (FFFFF) Nothing change.

that's all I've tried.

He not delete roms copy or move it to another slot.But he can  see and use the roms.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 05:23, 29 December 13
Some ideas:


- Try so switch SDD off, to unprotect the Flash. Maybe it got switched on by accident.


- Could it be a problem of working temperature? Try again and check if problems only happen after some minutes of operation.


- Some chip may have a wobbling connection. Or maybe a pin is not clean.


That's just some ideas. I really hope you will fix the problem.

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: dragon on 19:04, 29 December 13
Very strange,today he work(after time later the  cpc is on) i burning a basic rom with the programmer and i unprotect the eeprom in cpc side and works perfect,clear roms and save roms.

I not  touched nothing, and later... same, first errors copy, basic=I. And little time latter nothing, no copy,no save,unprotect no effect...

 :-\
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 20:35, 29 December 13
You don't happen to have a ZX next to it, right? All sorts of illnesses could pass over... :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 06:54, 30 December 13
Very strange,today he work(after time later the  cpc is on) i burning a basic rom with the programmer and i unprotect the eeprom in cpc side and works perfect,clear roms and save roms.

I not  touched nothing, and later... same, first errors copy, basic=I. And little time latter nothing, no copy,no save,unprotect no effect...

 :-\


Ok, I'm not the hardware guy. But it could be a heat problem. Maybe one soldering point is cold, I mean not good. Or the heat slightly moves an IC and it looses contact to a pin.


Or ... does you neighbor owns a c64? (Bad energy).
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: FRAGKI-2012 on 14:40, 06 January 14
congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
you are the best !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 18:41, 17 April 14
Kudos to Bryce for this board, it'll be a great addition to my CPC. But unfortunately the schematic and board layout are a mess, and the pcb won't be accepted by my pcb fab because it violates DRC clearance checks hundreds of times.

So I've started laying it out from scratch in KiCad. (pelrun/megaflash · GitHub (http://github.com/pelrun/megaflash)) After a couple of hours of laboriously tracing the spaghetti (manually drawn buses uuuurk) I've got a schematic I can follow without getting a migraine. I'll probably tweak it a bit before I start routing the board, but I'm mostly happy with it.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: IanS on 19:53, 17 April 14
Looks wrong, the inputs to U3/4 in the lower right should be data lines, not address lines.

PulkoMandy on pushnpop went through the same process of redrawing it, have a look on there, or I'll see if I can find it.

Edit, my mistake, the Ax address lines are from the latch.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 21:45, 17 April 14
Your supplier must just have lower limits to their production. The BRD I've posted is exactly the same file that went to my supplier for the production run, so it's definitely buildable.

Send me the exact files you tried, maybe they've got corrupted or something.

Nice KiCAD layout though :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 03:16, 18 April 14
Nah, they weren't corrupted. I use a cheap fab, so the minimum clearances are larger. There's no reason to need smaller clearances on the original layout, plenty of room was available for the traces to stay clear of the pads but it wasn't used. That gave me an itch I needed to scratch :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 12:50, 18 April 14
The supplier I use supplies their own DRC file to route and check the PCB. There's also no need to re-do the entire schematic, if you set the parameters for your supplier in the Eagle DRC settings then you just need to re-route it. I chose to go for much thicker tracks and smaller clearances to make it more robust. Some users throw all their PCBs into one box and thin tracks can easily be broken, thickening them up (the MegaFlash has 0.3mm tracks, double the minimum required) will hopefully help it survive such treatment.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 14:59, 18 April 14
...and that is a good thing :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 04:12, 19 April 14
Unfortunately I don't use Eagle - I decided I didn't want to relearn how to do simple tasks in it after the third time forgetting, and all that work for a tool that I'd have to pay for if I wanted to do any real work in. If I'm going to pay for an EDA package, it'll be Altium.


Anyway, I'm actually considering tossing out the discreet logic and sticking a $3 CPLD in there instead.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 11:50, 19 April 14
Yeah, I can understand not wanting to learn another new software package. Is there at least an import feature so that you don't have to put it all in again manually?

The freeware version of Eagle actually gives quite a lot of scope. Most 8-bit projects that I know of for the CPC and other machines could be done with it, but projects that need a bigger PCB are obviously a problem.

Yes a CPLD would make more sense, but I'm a bit of a traditionalist and I wanted to keep everything about it as retro as possible. I know, I'm mad. I also wanted that others could build it themselves without needing any additional programmers or whatever.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 16:28, 19 April 14
Not readily. In any case, I've already done all the layout except for the decoupling caps. I finished it just as an exercise, I doubt I'll actually build this one.


Now I get to bang my head against the Xilinx tools (tomorrow, I've got a raging headache atm.)


As for programming a CPLD, I'm tempted to see if I can program it from the CPC...  ;D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 16:42, 19 April 14
As for programming a CPLD, I'm tempted to see if I can program it from the CPC...  ;D

Admit it, you like to punish yourself don't you? :D

I see you went for SMD parts. Couldn't you reduce the PCB size much more now?

The electrolytic cap is going to get in the way of the 50way header connector? Or is the header on the other side?

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 17:35, 19 April 14
Haha, maybe.


Yeah, the header is on the reverse side, it's not obvious from that angle. And I certainly could make the board more compact, but like I said, this was really only an exercise, and I got as far as I wanted to.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 19:16, 19 April 14
Oh man, why didn't you tell me my address decoding logic was wrong?  :laugh:


Couldn't figure out why the address lines coming out of the latch were scrambled... it's because the lines going into it were  :P
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: IanS on 19:46, 19 April 14
Oh man, why didn't you tell me my address decoding logic was wrong?  :laugh:
I did find it odd that you had multiple signals that were very different. e.g. A14 is from the CPC and one of the outputs of the latch.

This is the circuit as re-drawn by PulkoMandy on PushnPop. It maybe useful as a double-check.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 21:12, 19 April 14
Oh man, why didn't you tell me my address decoding logic was wrong?  :laugh:


Couldn't figure out why the address lines coming out of the latch were scrambled... it's because the lines going into it were  :P

I didn't look that close at your schematics to be honest. I assumed you'd copied mine exactly.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: zeropolis79 on 23:50, 19 April 14
Wouldn't mind having one of these for my 6128 with busted drive.. Can I purchase ready built ones?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 00:00, 20 April 14
Unfortunately I've already sold the last one and there's no new batch planned at the moment. There have been some clones made of it, so you may be still able to get one of those there. Someone here will point you to the latest/best choice etc, I don't keep track of these things.

It's doesn't replace the drive though. You'll need a HxC for that.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 04:03, 20 April 14
I didn't look that close at your schematics to be honest. I assumed you'd copied mine exactly.


I wasn't really expecting someone else to check my work - I was just facepalming after understanding the problem. I think I just got crosseyed tracing the original schematic at one point and assumed that D(7:0) was wired signal-for-signal to the latch, and not reordered for routing like everything else on the schematic was :)


Certainly makes the VHDL I'm writing simpler, it looks something like this now:


Code: [Select]


  A(18 downto 14) <= std_logic_vector(rom_num(4 downto 0));
 
  rom0sel <= '1' when (rom_num = 0) else '0';
  rom7sel <= '1' when (rom_num = 7) else '0';
  romvalid <= '1' when (rom_num < 32) else '0';
 
  selected <= ((rom0sel AND ROM0EN) OR (rom7sel AND ROM7EN) OR NOT A15) AND romvalid;
  ROMDIS <= ((ROMEN AND NOT nRDWR) OR (MREQ AND nRDWR)) AND selected;
 
  WREN <= WR AND nRDWR; -- only allow writes if nRDWR switch on
 
  gate <= IORQ AND WR AND NOT A13; -- A13 low, &DF00
 
  latch: process (gate)
  begin
    if gate = '0' then -- latch on falling edge
   rom_num <= unsigned(D);
    end if;
  end process;
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 04:15, 20 April 14
I did find it odd that you had multiple signals that were very different. e.g. A14 is from the CPC and one of the outputs of the latch.


The net names and the pin names are independent. A14 from the CPC is not connected. The outputs of the latch are actually the high-order bits of the address, A14 to A21, that go to the flash. Since the flash is only 512k, A(21:19) are only used to keep the megaflash disabled if the rom selected is out of it's range.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: IanS on 13:28, 20 April 14

The net names and the pin names are independent. A14 from the CPC is not connected. The outputs of the latch are actually the high-order bits of the address, A14 to A21, that go to the flash. Since the flash is only 512k, A(21:19) are only used to keep the megaflash disabled if the rom selected is out of it's range.
Still looks potentially confusing, there are two signsls labelled as "A14", which are not the same thing.

If you are going down the CPLD route, have you investigated the option of being about to read from the flash when in write mode (makes it possible to identify the flash type in software and adapt the programming algorithm to match). How about making the write mode software selectable, either via a different port number, or using a higher rom number (which is what I do) e.g. if D6 is high, the rom can be written to.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 13:46, 20 April 14
I considered that back when I developed the MegaFlash, but I decided against it, because I wasn't sure if it would cause problems on a CPC+ when it accesses the cartridges and I didn't own a plus at the time to try it out. Or whether there were any other expansions that might cause the Flash to corrupt. So in the end I went for a physical switch so that the owner knows exactly what mode the MegaFlash is in.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: MacDeath on 18:38, 20 April 14
Anyway, the X-MEM from Toto seems to be available, not sure he can ship to australia though..
gotta ask him first...
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 11:24, 21 April 14
Still looks potentially confusing, there are two signsls labelled as "A14", which are not the same thing.

If you are going down the CPLD route, have you investigated the option of being about to read from the flash when in write mode (makes it possible to identify the flash type in software and adapt the programming algorithm to match). How about making the write mode software selectable, either via a different port number, or using a higher rom number (which is what I do) e.g. if D6 is high, the rom can be written to.


Actually there's only one A14 signal, the other is a pin label that has no meaning in the schematic. In any case, which A14 pin do you want to refer to? There is one on both the extension connector and one on the flash part, and they aren't connected to each other. There *are* two independent A15 signals in the schematic, though, which is why one of them is named A15EXT.


I could certainly implement a software write switch, but I tend to agree with Bryce's reasoning. Also direct compatibility with the existing multiflash utilities doesn't hurt :)





Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 11:28, 21 April 14
Awww yeah, new layout almost done, just need to figure out box/mounting holes.


Routing becomes almost trivial when you can reorder the pins to what is most convenient. My biggest challenge was figuring out a way to program the CPLD from the CPC without adding extra address decoding hardware. :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: IanS on 12:03, 21 April 14
I could certainly implement a software write switch, but I tend to agree with Bryce's reasoning. Also direct compatibility with the existing multiflash utilities doesn't hurt :)

I suspect you could add read support when in write mode without breaking megaflash compatibility. Any existing megaflash compatible software just assumes it can't read.

Which CPLD are you using?
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 13:17, 21 April 14
Pretty much the cheapest/smallest one I can get - an XC9536. It's easily big enough for the megaflash logic with plenty of gates left over.


Read-in-write-mode is just a matter of always using /ROMEN as input to the ROMDIS/CE logic instead of switching between it and /MREQ, I assume? That would be a trivial change.

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: IanS on 20:51, 21 April 14
Read-in-write-mode is just a matter of always using /ROMEN as input to the ROMDIS/CE logic instead of switching between it and /MREQ, I assume? That would be a trivial change.
You can't just use ROMEN when writing as the gate array doesn't assert ROMEN (it thinks the rom is read-only). So you need to use <rom selected> & WR & MREQ.

It's also worth putting A14 into the CE logic, so the chip only gets enabled when a >=&c000 address is selected. Otherwise writes to addresses between &4000 and &7fff will also enable the flash chip.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 03:21, 22 April 14
Ah, ok.


I found pulkomandy's flashgordon readme, which mentions the A14 issue, so I've already routed that in :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 04:27, 22 April 14
It's also worth putting A14 into the CE logic, so the chip only gets enabled when a >=&c000 address is selected. Otherwise writes to addresses between &4000 and &7fff will also enable the flash chip.


Software should - however - always consider both cases.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 16:00, 22 April 14
Yup, since there's no guarantee the end user has got a peripheral with full decoding or not, or if he even knows the difference.


Anyway, I've finally finished routing Megaflash Redux v1. Time to bite the bullet and send the gerbers out.


Schematics and layout are up on my github (http://github.com/pelrun/megaflash). VHDL project to follow.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 16:59, 22 April 14
You're sending it out for production without having built a prototype? That's brave.

How many do you intend producing?

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 18:52, 22 April 14
Production? Haha, no. I'm just getting prototype pcbs made, it's only $20ish for 10 at this size (yay China). FAR less hassle than etching boards myself.


As for quantity, I dunno. I'd probably make up 10, just because that's the first price break on the parts at digikey - and really, shipping to australia makes buying smaller quantities not worth it. After that it just depends on demand (is there any?).
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: CraigsBar on 21:17, 22 April 14
Heheh yeah, got a few myself. I don't remember if I've got any sealed Amsoft disks though...

I've got some still sealed jewel cased amsoft discs. And plenty sealed soft case maxell. I cannot ever see me using them...... Or selling them.... Just in case.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TotO on 21:30, 22 April 14
I've got some still sealed jewel cased amsoft discs. And plenty sealed soft case maxell. I cannot ever see me using them...... Or selling them.... Just in case.
I'm interested for new games, like R-Type was.
Please, contact me. :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 15:30, 23 April 14
I sent out the files to make the pcbs, and an hour later found a big error  :laugh:  Oh well, it's v1a now, and I'll get some drink coasters :)

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 21:53, 23 April 14
That's a real bummer when that happens. That's why I triple check everything before I send it out.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TFM on 23:23, 23 April 14
Time to write some IC simulator software for the CPC ;-)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 05:55, 24 April 14
Oh, I checked everything thoroughly. It was just that I thought I could get 5v XC9536's, but all I can get are 3.3v XC9536XLs. Which means an extra regulator and some caps, not something I can fix with a greenwire mod. Oh well :) I'm also budgeting for at least one more board respin in case I find some issues with the prototype.


Anyway, it looks like I'm going to be able to sell these for AUD$50 each plus shipping. And the AUD is pretty weak against the USD these days (*sigh*) so it's something like US$46.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 10:20, 24 April 14
Time to write some IC simulator software for the CPC ;-)

In my innocence I tried to write a schematic layout program on my CPC in BASIC when I was a kid. Needless to say, I didn't get far.

@Pelrun: You may not be able to find 5V XC9536s locally, but they are certainly still available. I bought a few just recently (can't remember where though).

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 12:42, 24 April 14
Oh, I can buy them, I just don't want to pay a 500% premium for them :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 12:47, 24 April 14
I paid about €2.20 each as far as I can remember. The XL version cost €1.80

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 12:59, 24 April 14
Yeah, but I'm on the arse end of the planet. Shipping usually blows out the per-unit prices for me. As it is, to get some of the parts I want I'm forced to go to digikey, and that means having a US$200+ order to get free shipping from them...


Edit: of course, if someone wants to supply the CPLD themselves, and get a whole $2 off the cost of my board, they could do that. It would be silly, though.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: 00WReX on 17:00, 24 April 14
Are these the ones you are after...

1 Pieces XC9536PC44 15 IN System Programmable CPLD XC9536 | eBay (http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/110878626709)

Des not seem too bad a price...

Cheers,
Shane
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 04:16, 25 April 14
As I was describing to Bryce privately, buying those would actually end up costing me at least 3x what I'm currently paying; the extra components needed to use the 3.3v chip add only cents.


It's appreciated, but there's no problem to be solved - I've got my supply chain all sorted out :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 15:49, 25 April 14
The 3.3V regulator is easy and the inputs a 5V tolerant, but what about the outputs? I'Ve never tried to use a 3.3V part in a 5V system.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 21:32, 25 April 14
In many(not all) cases 3.3v logic outputs can drive 5v logic inputs correctly; you need to check the datasheets and verify that the input IC's Vih (input high voltage threshold) is sufficiently below 3v. The Z80 has a Vih of 2v, so we're good. Otherwise you would need some sort of level translation, even if it's as simple as a pullup resistor connected to 5v.

Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: zeropolis79 on 01:51, 26 April 14
As I was describing to Bryce privately, buying those would actually end up costing me at least 3x what I'm currently paying; the extra components needed to use the 3.3v chip add only cents.


It's appreciated, but there's no problem to be solved - I've got my supply chain all sorted out :)

How much would a complete unit cost from you>
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 04:13, 26 April 14
Price will be AUD$50 plus shipping. But there's nothing to buy yet, so you'll have to be patient :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TotO on 08:47, 26 April 14
Price will be AUD$50 plus shipping. But there's nothing to buy yet, so you'll have to be patient :)
Have you checked the prices of current ROM boards before starting with that?
50AUD = 35€ ... The FlashGordon is 18€, X-MEM is 25€.

Making one for your own purpose is a nice challenge, but with respect with your work...
I'm not sure that you will be able to sold them for making money on the back of the CPC community today.


Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 12:47, 26 April 14
I wasn't going into this to sell anything, honestly. Just wanted a board for myself. The price point isn't because of profit, it's just a really bad idea to set a price just above part costs, because you end up losing money on every board (NREs, time cost, etc). *Especially* for something you're only expecting to shift at most a few units of.

Oh well, no point trying to compete with boards that cheap - thanks for the heads up. My only previous reference was Bryce's 75€ price for the original Megaflash, and I thought I was doing pretty well being significantly below that. I'll just go back to making a single board for myself.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 12:49, 26 April 14
I'm surprised people have managed to manufacture boards at such low prices; that said, I'm sure some won't mind paying more... I know *I* like to hoard stuff :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 14:41, 26 April 14
People starting out selling hardware have a tendency to underprice things - "oh, I can't go over 10% markup, it feels unfair to my buyers" - which ends up hurting them and making it less likely they can continue manufacturing or developing new products. You can do low profit margins when you're manufacturing in high volume, but it's insane for low-volume manual hobbyist manufacturing. A super-niche market like here is exactly where you *shouldn't* be cutting prices to the bone. That's not price gouging, that's just setting a fair price that makes it worthwhile to develop for the CPC.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 14:45, 26 April 14
Have you checked the prices of current ROM boards before starting with that?
50AUD = 35€ ... The FlashGordon is 18€, X-MEM is 25€.

Making one for your own purpose is a nice challenge, but with respect with your work...
I'm not sure that you will be able to sold them for making money on the back of the CPC community today.

Clones such as the Flashgordon give a very unfair image of what it costs to develop and make something like this. They didn't have to spend any time developing it or building prototypes. They also just go for the very cheapest quality PCBs and then sell them for almost the parts costs. This doesn't do justice to the people who invest time and money to design something from scratch. This isn't "making money on the back of the CPC community", this is selling something for what it is worth.

Bryce.
 
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 14:52, 26 April 14
I wouldn't classify the FG as a "clone", unless I'm seriously misinterpreting this - Pulkomandy did much the same as I've done, reimplementing the board schematic and layout from scratch (even though we used your original schematic as a reference) running prototypes, then needing extra software development work to support the different flash part they used. I just think he's set the price way too low.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 14:57, 26 April 14
Underpricing is also why you see many boards like this get one or two small production runs and then vanish forever, leaving latecomers who would love to get their hands on one out of luck, or forced to pay massively inflated prices when one gets resold. Making peripherals for charity doesn't really do the community any favours in the long run.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: PhilZeVibe on 15:06, 26 April 14
.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 15:20, 26 April 14
You aren't wrong, but even with the rom boxes there hasn't really been a steady supply, just sporadic short runs. Which is *why* so many different ones exist.


Pricing appropriately is not primarily about "making money off the CPC community", but about making it possible to achieve a consistent supply. The profit can go into producing the next batch of boards immediately, which may sit in inventory for a considerable period before being sold.


As for the HxC, I'll probably buy one eventually, but not before I've reprogrammed this commodity Gotek drive to do the same thing :D
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 15:33, 26 April 14
Don't compare your board with the Flashgordon. You've had to go to the trouble of integrating the logic into a CPLD, the Flashgordon is identical to the MegaFlash except for the addition of the reset switch as far as I know. All they did was redraw the schematics. The software changes weren't done by them, TFM who also did all of the MegaFlash software did that (Thank you TFM!!!).

The HxC isn't a CPC expansion. It's a shugart replacement, so his market is massive in comparison. If I (or anyone else) could guarantee 5 figure sales, then the price could and would be much lower and I would outsource the manufacturing as Jeff did.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: pelrun on 16:10, 26 April 14
There's less difference between my board and the FG than you think. Most of the hard work was in reverse engineering the logic out of your schematic and doing the new board layout - something we both did. Putting the equations into the CPLD was utterly trivial.


If the FG had used your original pcb files and replaced the winbond chip with the SST, then it'd be a straight clone and I'd agree with you.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 18:42, 26 April 14
If the FG had used your original pcb files and replaced the winbond chip with the SST, then it'd be a straight clone and I'd agree with you.

Yes, but they didn't even have to do that "trivial" bit with the CPLD, they literally just copied the schematics into a different program and re-routed it. Nothing else changed.

Not that I have a problem with this. The project is open-source for all to copy. Just they (or anyone else) shouldn't then turn around and question why mine was more expensive.

Bryce.
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: zeropolis79 on 18:43, 26 April 14
Price will be AUD$50 plus shipping. But there's nothing to buy yet, so you'll have to be patient :)

Just wondered, so if they did come for sale, I could budget for one if it was easy to set up..
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: redbox on 18:50, 26 April 14
The project is open-source for all to copy.

And this is a great thing, so thank you :)
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: TotO on 19:51, 26 April 14
Clones such as the Flashgordon give a very unfair image of what it costs to develop and make something like this. They didn't have to spend any time developing it or building prototypes.
The Flash Gordon is an assumed low cost copy of your board. But, no profit here and respect for your open source work!

But, when I read pelrun said : "It will be 50AUD", I can't stay here and said nothing.
First, to be informed about existing boards. Next, because It's not fair play to plane to make money with your work.
It's why I have posted that. (please, don't confuse)

I'm confident on the fact that you are the first to work on it, you needed R&D, tries, tests, wasting parts/boards, spending money, using more expensive PCB and parts some years ago that is possible to find today...

No worry about that, your work in not criticized here!!!
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Gryzor on 20:18, 26 April 14
As a customer I can say that's an interesting discussion with valid point all around...
Title: Re: The MegaFlash
Post by: Bryce on 22:28, 26 April 14
I don't take any of it as critizism. To be honest I see it as a big compliment, that so many people have used the schematics to make their own version. I know of at least 7 different versions, everything from commercial batches to self made strip-board versions. That's what open source is all about.

Bryce.