Author Topic: USIfAC II:Convert a PC or USB stick to Amstrad HDD,access dsk's,and many more!  (Read 53968 times)

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Offline ikonsgr

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It's ~42kb for all 3 games, ~1/3 of microcontroller's program memory (128kb).
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Offline ikonsgr

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And here is a small teaser of the upcoming developments:

 
512k_teaser.jpg
* 512k_teaser.jpg
(Filesize: 132.66 KB, Dimensions: 750x926, Views: 692)


I wonder, what this might be... (and NO, it's not ONLY the obvious written on the side) :D
« Last Edit: 19:14, 06 July 21 by ikonsgr »
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Offline Skunkfish

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Interesting....

Based on your previous designs, I'm assuming that is space for a 28-pin PIC chip on the right-hand side for address decoding?

But what other magic it may be hiding is beyond me!
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Offline issalig

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Maybe pic18f27q43?
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Offline Skunkfish

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Is the connector at the rear (before the edge connector) somewhere to connect a USIfAC to?
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Offline Fran123

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Is the connector at the rear (before the edge connector) somewhere to connect a USIfAC to?


It would be a great idea, because you could use with Usifac2 and MX4
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Offline Animalgril987

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I see that the connectors are J1, J4 and J5. What happened to J2 and J3?
Or is this what we have to guess?
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Offline ikonsgr

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 Ok, enough with the mystery...  :)
 What i'm planning to do, is to create a "dual mode" board, that the 512k SRAM memory will function either as normal RAM expansion AND as ROM BOARD for 32X16kb roms!
My intention is to make a new utility for usifac ii, that will load the 512k of SRAM from a cpr rom cartdridge file, and then, by a simple press of a button, Amstrad will reset, and board will be transformed to a rom board! Pressing again the same button, will re-establish the normal ram expansion mode of operation! ;)
Apart from that, i implement an edge connector + extra idc pin connector (J4 connector), so you will be able to use directly a board with pin header (like USIfAC II) or/and an edge connector, without needing an mx4 or similar board for pluging multiple cards!  ;)

Maybe pic18f27q43?
Actually it's PIC18F26Q10  :)
« Last Edit: 12:29, 08 July 21 by ikonsgr »
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Offline issalig

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Actually it's PIC18F26Q10  :)
Thus, the smaller brother of usifac2's brain.
Are you considering a betatester program? :)
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Offline ikonsgr

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Are you considering a betatester program? :)

 Do you have something to propose for testing RAM expansion?
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Offline SkulleateR

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Do you have something to propose for testing RAM expansion?
Betatester ? Count me in  ;D
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Offline issalig

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Do you have something to propose for testing RAM expansion?
To be true I never thought about extra memory for the CPC, but given that there will be an option, maybe it is time to check FutureOs, SymbOs, or just store a big sine/cosine lookup table :p
Which other use cases are you considering @ikonsgr?
« Last Edit: 00:20, 09 July 21 by issalig »
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Offline ikonsgr

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I suppose a good overall test would be to load SYmbos/Future OS and see if extra ram is recognized correctly, but if i got problems, i might need some kind of ram tester to specify the bug and fix it.

p.s. i just found out that a good ram expansion test already exists for quite some time!  ;)
« Last Edit: 08:11, 09 July 21 by ikonsgr »
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Offline Audronic

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Offline Fran123

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I read on https://www.microchip.ua/wireless/esp01.pdf there are 36kb of memory, it would be great accesing there. Is it possible?


« Last Edit: 14:06, 09 July 21 by Fran123 »
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Offline ikonsgr

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I read on https://www.microchip.ua/wireless/esp01.pdf there are 36kb of memory, it would be great accesing there. Is it possible?

Well, if there are any AT commands that allows you to have access to this memory, then most probable you could use it, but as far as i know, no such commands exist, at least with the "official" ESP8266 instruction set.
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Offline darkhalf

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With the instructions (Rev3)

Talking of AT commands. Page 27 - Setting up bluetooth module, the AT commands are case sensitive! Maybe just a note here about uppercase on all AT commands? HC-05 module does not respond otherwise

Page 16 - Screenshot of the |TER program:

There are no 'Command codes' or <ENTER> for help notes. Is that screenshot out of date?
The version I have here only shows <ENTER>, <ESC> and <CLR>.
PIC firmware, |STAT shows Rev 5

I mentioned a few pages back about Multiface 2 save issues (freezes up) when saving Kane to DSK image. I was using a 256MB FAT32 formatted stick in this case. I will try a MF2 outside of the DSK image and see if that is any better

I think its a problem with the MF2 using the lower ROM. MF2 is only compatible with the standard ROM from what I've read. I've found it also having issues with Dukes M4 lower ROM replacement for the CPC6128.
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Offline darkhalf

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More tests with the Multiface, I've tried a 64MB FAT USB stick I had lying around from years ago with Flying Shark in its own folder. Game would start and run, but no luck with Multiface Save (freeze, no files saved). So its not a capacity issue, but probably some lower ROM problem

Also if I'm in the FSHARK folder, and attempt |CD,".." or |CD by itself, it will not move back a directory. |CDR will go to root directory. This is on USB stick

Update: Various RAM tests including DK'Tronics ones attached

Another edit:

Quote
To get a stable 5V output in the whole 3A working range you can use a regulated buck chopper


I've found issues with having more than one device (Say Wifi + Bluetooth or Wifi + USB) most likely due to lack of power. Issues include Wifi not detected, or the USB module not detected


So I've split power separately to the CPC and the backplane running the USiFAC


When doing this with the CPC464, usually the 464 will get stuck before 'BASIC' prompt on reset (when pressing reset button on the USIfFAC). So you need to power off/on both power sources at the same time to boot properly. The main time this seems to happen is after issuing a |464 command. I've seen more issues like on my 464 than on the 6128


On a positive note, I got Gryzor 128K loaded on my CPC464 from USIfAC 2 + revaldinho 512KB RAM board + revaldinho 6 ROM board (6128 lower ROM + BASIC 1.1 to make RSX easier). YANCC works fine with this setup when loaded as a  ROM on the board
« Last Edit: 12:27, 18 July 21 by darkhalf »
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Offline ikonsgr

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Talking of AT commands. Page 27 - Setting up bluetooth module, the AT commands are case sensitive! Maybe just a note here about uppercase on all AT commands? HC-05 module does not respond otherwise
Yes, upper case is mandatory for giving AT commands. I'll add a note for this

Page 16 - Screenshot of the |TER program:
There are no 'Command codes' or <ENTER> for help notes. Is that screenshot out of date?
The version I have here only shows <ENTER>, <ESC> and <CLR>.

 Indeed, photo is taken form an earlier version of terminal. In anycase, for communication with devices through AT commands (BT,Wifi modules) better use |COM.

Also if I'm in the FSHARK folder, and attempt |CD,".." or |CD by itself, it will not move back a directory. |CDR will go to root directory. This is on USB stick
For going up, you use a plain |CD command, not an ".." argument :). Also, sometimes (depending on the usb flash drive you are using), you might get a "late responce" from it, e.g. you give a command and it needs a few seconds for actual execution.
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Offline Cunctator

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Hello John,
Today I received my package with USIfAC2 for my AMSTRAD 6128 PLUS.

It doesn't load dsk image. I've tried to try four pendrives 256MB FAT but none works.
What is is happening?
Thanks.


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Offline Audronic

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Hi John

I was wondering if there is any Space left ?
Could a “Type” RSX Command be added

Type,”Filename.doc(txt)”
So we can Look at text files.

Thanks
Keep Safe

Ray
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Offline ikonsgr

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Hello John,
Today I received my package with USIfAC2 for my AMSTRAD 6128 PLUS.
It doesn't load dsk image. I've tried to try four pendrives 256MB FAT but none works.
What is is happening?
Thanks.

 After giving "Cat",to get contents of the image, you don't get any responce at all? That's really very strange...
 Anyway, as i already noted a few times, i don't own an amstrad plus model, so personally, i couldn't test USIfAC board with it.
I remember though, that some others have test it and confirm that at least basic functionality (direct load and fdc emulation) works ok.
« Last Edit: 13:24, 21 July 21 by ikonsgr »
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Offline Cunctator

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After giving "Cat",to get contents of the image, you don't get any responce at all? That's really very strange...
 Anyway, as i already noted a few times, i don't own an amstrad plus model, so personally, i couldn't test USIfAC board with it.
I remember though, that some others have test it and confirm that at least basic functionality (direct load and fdc emulation) works ok.
Exactly when you do CAT the computer crashes.
I think it must be the disk controller or the last firmaware.
Any possible solution?
Thanks a lot.
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Offline ikonsgr

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Since everything works ok with a cpc 6128 and cpc464 i don't think it's firmware's fault.... ::)
Judging from my expereince, i would say that ,this odd behavior (direct load works ok, fdc emulation dont) looks more of incompatibility problem between usb host module and the flash drives you use.
One thing that might worth a try though, is an alternative method of flash drive format suggested by eto:
https://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/amstrad-cpc-hardware/usifac-iimake-your-pc-or-usb-stick-an-hdd-for-amstrad-access-dsk-and-many-more!/msg201702/#msg201702
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Offline Cunctator

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Since everything works ok with a cpc 6128 and cpc464 i don't think it's firmware's fault.... ::)
Judging from my expereince, i would say that ,this odd behavior (direct load works ok, fdc emulation dont) looks more of incompatibility problem between usb host module and the flash drives you use.
One thing that might worth a try though, is an alternative method of flash drive format suggested by eto:
https://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/amstrad-cpc-hardware/usifac-iimake-your-pc-or-usb-stick-an-hdd-for-amstrad-access-dsk-and-many-more!/msg201702/#msg201702


I already tried it but it still doesn't work.
Someone with an Amstrad PLUS has gotten USIfAC2 to work?

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