USIfAC II:Convert a PC or USB stick to Amstrad HDD,access dsk's,and many more!

Started by ikonsgr, 09:17, 01 December 20

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 3 Guests are viewing this topic.

ikonsgr

Quote from: GUNHED on 21:00, 07 December 20
Well, ...
- Real fast serial interface
- FDC emulation (of Vortex FDC too!!!)
- And if you want, to learn how to work with an external CPU
- Also much more I still don't know
Well, regarding speeds, M4 board is undoubtly the champion!  :)
But, as USIfAC II uses an 8bit MCU and DIP socket, i would say it seems a lot more "close" and familiar to an amstrad cpc.
USIfAC II board looks like a "physical" extension to Amstrd cpc motherboard, while a M4 board looks more like a... BORG implant on Amstrad, from 24th century!  :P

Quote from: GUNHED on 21:00, 07 December 20
Even if most CPC users have an FDC, the possibility of FDC hardware emulation is IMHO super awesome. Imagine for example how easy it will be to copy an 0,7 MB format DSK to a real 3.5" disc and vice versa.
Also backup copies of real 0.7 MB format discs to DSK will be super easy now.

If anyone want to try to develop such "low level" disk routines based on the fdc emulation, it would be awesome! For the moment, i only have the utility developed for the previous USIfAC e.g. transfer only amsdos dsk images to floppy disks from a pc.

ikonsgr

Quote from: GUNHED on 21:19, 07 December 20
Please - everybody - consider to also support the 0,7 MB Vortex format. In Gemany (at least) it still is/was the 80 track standard format for floppy discs. The big companies like Dobbertin, Vortex ... all did support it.  :) :) :)

If you want, give me me a couple of such images, and i'll try them on USIfAC II!  ;)

GUNHED

Quote from: ikonsgr on 21:23, 07 December 20
If you want, give me me a couple of such images, and i'll try them on USIfAC II!  ;)
Great, thanks. At the moment I'm far off home, but you find plenty of them at www.futureos.de
Because FutureOS does support it. All 0.7 MB DSKs there are in Vortex format

From memory:
- 80 tracks
- two sides
- First two tracks are system tracks
- The directory is 4 KB and has space for 128 DIR entries
- Block size is 4 KB
- Space free is 704 KB
- 9 sectors per track (on each side)
- Sector numbers are 1 to 9
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

ikonsgr

Well,i've tried this: create a vortex 0.7mb image using cpcdiskxp, copy it to a usb stick and then mount it on usifac ii. I select vortex image,then PARADOS emulation and reset. At this "dual emulation mode" (where both FDC and DOS ROM are emulated at the same time), i was able to cat vortex image and i also tried to save a sceen dump and then load it from it, everything was done fine! I suppose this means you can access 0.7mb vortex images through usifac ii and parados emulation.
Only draw back, is a bit slow because of the dual emulation mode,  screen dump took ~7 sec to load from vortex image....
BUT, if you have a real VORTEX ROM installed on your Amstrad, you should be able to use vortex images directly (giving the usual: "|FDC" command) at "full speed";)

remax

Quote from: Duke on 08:55, 07 December 20
Sure, why not..
First example it loads a 38KB binary (zorro).
2nd example, I run Commando, save a 64 KB snapshot and reload it.
Both take less than 1 second.
Here you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A7eV4mu6SY


Well you are obviously using an emulator !  ;D
Brain Radioactivity

reidrac

I got people to ask me to put a pause in the loading screen because the games load so fast from M4 that they can't see it  :laugh:

I already have an M4 with a 3D printed enclosure (not perfect, but close!), but this project looks fantastic!

I know it is hard for one single person to have all the skills, enough that people like Duke, ikonsgr, ToTo, etc gift us with these devices for our CPCs; but I was wondering if it would be possible to get an enclosure designed for this. I guess it is a more general thought, independently of the project (and only if it makes sense, really).

Having small children at home, I'm not a fan of having naked PCBs sticking out of my 8-bit machines.
Released The Return of Traxtor, Golden Tail, Magica, The Dawn of Kernel, Kitsune`s Curse and Brick Rick for the CPC.

If you like my games and want to show some appreciation, you can always buy me a coffee.

ikonsgr

Ok, but could you please stop referring and comment about M4 board on this thread? 
I'm afraid it might transform it, to a... M4-BORG drone, like it did with Amstrad CPC!

We are the M4-Board....
Lower your disks and surrender your Amstrad.....
We will add it's technological distinctiveness to our own.....
Your Amstrad will adapt to service M4-Board...

Resistance is futile


  :laugh:  :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

btw,that could be a great advertise for M4 board, don't you think?  :P

remax

My M4 Board is looking for someone named "Sarah Connor", never heard of her...
Brain Radioactivity

Gryzor

Does the M4 work with an Atari Portfolio?

Ok, ok, enough off topic really, let's get back on track :)

GUNHED

Great to hear that Vortex format works. Yes, ParaDOS can work with it, but it needs to be switched on in the 'Format Menu', or use VaraDOS (that's ParaDOS with switched ON Vortex format).


All the 664, 6128 and 464+DDI1 already have a floppy, but the FDC emulation can be used by them, so they can have some drives more. Great thing!  :) :) :)
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

Sykobee (Briggsy)

Can this work alongside an Albireo, and given the Albireo+Albidos has some SD/USB support at the filesystem level is this card useful for providing .dsk image support/fdc emulation?


I also have a DDI-4, I feel i'll end up with too many stacked up AMSDOS replacements.

ikonsgr

I just want to let you know that i have open a new topic, in order to update the public list  of tested games with more "Worth to play" games (i thought it would be a great idea,instead of having the usual BULKY and hard to manage HUGE lists of 1000's of games, to create a rather smaller compilation of "worth to play" games), so feel free to go there and suggest any game you would like to add!

Gryzor

Great stuff!

Perhaps this would be more suitable for the wiki proper?

slugman

Hi Ikonsgr, I received the board, thanks!

Is it possible to run games or apps directly from .dsk files stored on the usb key?, I looked at the pdf manual but I don't see if it's possible.


ikonsgr

Quote from: slugman on 13:10, 14 December 20
Hi Ikonsgr, I received the board, thanks!

Is it possible to run games or apps directly from .dsk files stored on the usb key?, I looked at the pdf manual but I don't see if it's possible.



Yes,it is. First you have to select an image by giving: "|MG,"image name"  (the "|CD" command you where using in the screenshot, is for changing directory, and that's why you got the error message)
Then, you only have to enable the floppy disc controller, by giving: "|FDC"*
From now on, any cat,load,run,save etc command you give, will access the selected image! 
And you can still use rsx commands, so you can still change directory, or catalogue the usb stick and by giving another "|MG" command, select another dsk image directly! ;)
Note also, that if you reset amstrad using the RESET button on the board, you don't need to select again the disk image, as board will "remember" the last image used!
Just give |USB and then |FDC and you can access again the previous selected image.
Finally,by giving: |HELP  you can have a short description of all available RSX commands.

* This is needed, because the default operation is the "Direct file" mode,which is enabled with"|EN" command (it's done automatically with |USB command). And with "|STAT" you can see the currently selected mode.Also "|FDC" and "|USB" commands are used for both enable/disable the fdc controller and usb host module, e.g. if your in "FDC mode" and give "|FDC" it will be disabled, giving again "|FDC" will enable it again.

ikonsgr

And don't forget that if you have a lot of image files in your usb stick, you can filter the catalogues, by using argument with |CAT command.
For example,if you want to get a list of images starting from "IK" you just give: |CAT,"IK"!  ;)

Gryzor


ikonsgr

Yes,give "|HELP" and you will get a list of all rsx commands with short descriptions and usage!  ;)

GUNHED

Please find attached the VaraDOS for CPC and Plus computers.
This is the newest ParaDOS with Vortex formats enabled by default.
Feel free to use it or put it into the Wiki.


Quote from: ikonsgr on 19:10, 14 December 20Yes,give "|HELP" and you will get a list of all rsx commands with short descriptions and usage!  ;)

Maybe this can be renamed to "|UHELP", because lot's of ROMs already use the "|HELP" command.
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

Audronic

@GUNHED


Perhaps the help could be " |Vhelp " to indicate VaraDos


Keep Safe


Merry Christmas


Ray
Procrastinators Unite,
If it Ain't Broke PLEASE Don't Fix it.
I keep telling you I am Not Pedantic.
As I Live " Down Under " I Take my Gravity Tablets and Wear my Magnetic Boots to Keep me from Falling off.

GUNHED

Quote from: Audronic on 00:08, 15 December 20
@GUNHED
Perhaps the help could be " |Vhelp " to indicate VaraDos
Keep Safe
Merry Christmas
Ray
But it's purpose it to indicate USIfAC II
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

Audronic

Procrastinators Unite,
If it Ain't Broke PLEASE Don't Fix it.
I keep telling you I am Not Pedantic.
As I Live " Down Under " I Take my Gravity Tablets and Wear my Magnetic Boots to Keep me from Falling off.

ikonsgr

Quote from: GUNHED on 23:23, 14 December 20
Please find attached the VaraDOS for CPC and Plus computers.
This is the newest ParaDOS with Vortex formats enabled by default.
Feel free to use it or put it into the Wiki.
Ok, i'll integrate this varados version and give it a try. I've already tested the newer PARADOS 1.2 from 2015 and it worked fine (although 1.2+ is not, i suppose because this was meant for plus models  ::) )

Quote from: GUNHED on 23:23, 14 December 20

Maybe this can be renamed to "|UHELP", because lot's of ROMs already use the "|HELP" command.

Hmmm, you think so? I wonder what will happen if there are 2 expansions having the same HELP rsx command. What will happen if you give |HELP? I guess it will execute the command from the board with the greatest rom number? Btw, for added compatibility with other expansion cards, you can change the rom number of USIFAC II ,by giving a simple OUT &FBD2,x, so if any other card you might have, uses the default USIfAC II rom 5, you can easily change it to another. And this change will be permanent,  as it is stored in the integrated EEPROM of PIC MCU!  ;)

GUNHED

Quote from: ikonsgr on 01:12, 15 December 20
Ok, i'll integrate this varados version and give it a try. I've already tested the newer PARADOS 1.2 from 2015 and it worked fine (although 1.2+ is not, i suppose because this was meant for plus models  ::) )
You're right, the + Version is for 6128 Plus only. The Varados equals the Parados 2015.

Quote from: ikonsgr on 01:12, 15 December 20
I wonder what will happen if there are 2 expansions having the same HELP rsx command. What will happen if you give |HELP? I guess it will execute the command from the board with the greatest rom number?  ;)
Actually the command it always take from the ROM with the smallest number, because it got initialized at last. To have different commands would be great, then the commands of all ROMs could be used. The !HELP command usually displays a list of ROMs or RSX of a rom when used with the parameter rom_number.
So !UHELP would be very helpful, because it's not part of any other ROM.

Quote from: ikonsgr on 01:12, 15 December 20
Btw, for added compatibility with other expansion cards, you can change the rom number of USIFAC II ,by giving a simple OUT &FBD2,x, so if any other card you might have, uses the default USIfAC II rom 5, you can easily change it to another. And this change will be permanent,  as it is stored in the integrated EEPROM of PIC MCU!  ;)
Ah, we can use OUT &FBD2,rom_number to set any ROM number. That's awesome!
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

Gryzor

Quote from: ikonsgr on 19:10, 14 December 20
Yes,give "|HELP" and you will get a list of all rsx commands with short descriptions and usage!  ;)


Great stuff. Many times I've attached a peripheral I haven't touched in a while and I'm thinking "hm, must go to the PC and download a manual"... :)

Powered by SMFPacks Menu Editor Mod