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

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ikonsgr

Quote from: MrLurch on 01:59, 05 November 21
The lastest FW that John sent me Rev5a
Try to reload latest firmware (5a) again. For a couple of days, the hex file was wrong (i accidentally used a previous version of source code for creating hex file  ;D)

m_dr_m

Thanks again @ikonsgr for this cheap yet great interface!

I am wondering: is it supported by any (D)OS? 
* Unidos @OffseT ?
* Symbos @Prodatron ?
* FutureOs @GUNHED ?
* Impdos @Ast ?
* Other ?


If we could bulk-copy from/to X-Mass, that would be already very handy.

GUNHED

Quote from: m_dr_m on 17:15, 07 November 21
Thanks again @ikonsgr for this cheap yet great interface!
Yes, this is an awesome piece of hardware!


Quote from: m_dr_m on 17:15, 07 November 21
I am wondering: is it supported by any OS? 
* FutureOs @GUNHED ?
Well, I do plan support for it. However I will wait a little bit until the firmware is getting close to final stage and then buy the interface (better 2 of them). I don't have a programmer for its chip here - therefore the waiting time.
Also my time is limited in general (36 hours per day // nine days per week only). After finishing up my Multitasker I have to keep up with a promise and do a MIDI tracker for the CPC. But I'm confident it can be done in 2021. So 2022 will be my year of the 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)

OffseT

Quote from: m_dr_m on 17:15, 07 November 21
I am wondering: is it supported by any (D)OS? 
* Unidos @OffseT ?
Chany already asked me about such a support months ago, but according to the USIfAC documentation it didn't seem to be possible.
Anyway, both UniDOS nodes and USIfAC documentations are available, so feel free!
(and BTW, I cannot develop DOS node for all existing weird hardwares I do not even own)

m_dr_m


GUNHED

Quote from: OffseT on 11:45, 08 November 21
(and BTW, I cannot develop DOS node for all existing weird hardwares I do not even own)
If you guys have differences - fine! But please don't take it out at somebody else's projects.
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)

OffseT

Quote from: m_dr_m on 21:03, 08 November 21
What is blocking?
I don't remeber. :P
I just recall the statement: "not possible at the moment, let's check again later with newer firmwares."

Devlin

Amstrad fan! | CPC464 + USIfAC II | Administrator of Amstrad Discord : https://discord.gg/ksWvApv

ikonsgr

MAJOR FIRMWARE UPDATE (rev. 6)

- GREAT direct  file loading speed increase of ~+25% now reaching up to ~30kb/sec! Affects direct file and snapshot loading speeds (and partly |UCOPY too). I've made a fundamental change on loading code, by  moving the input buffer checking (wait if inp(&fbd1)=1 e.g. if buffer is empty) from Amstrad assembly code, inside PIC microcontroller's code. Each input buffer check required 5-6us when executed from Z80 assembly, but only ~1us when executed from PIC MCU code (e.g 5-6 times faster code execution!)! This had major affect in actual loading speed as this code executed for every loading byte! For example, a 128kb snapshot is now loading in ~4.5seconds, more than 1second less than previously needed!

- |UCOPY: Bug fixes and much better error handling.

- |DISK: Bug fixed: image files created didn't work with emulators.

As always you can find a direct link for the new firmware at 1st post of this thread.

m_dr_m

Great news! Does it solve the "not possible at the moment, let's check again later with newer firmwares."?


I guess it was about being able to program the ch376.

ikonsgr

Quote from: m_dr_m on 13:57, 24 November 21
Great news! Does it solve the "not possible at the moment, let's check again later with newer firmwares."?


I guess it was about being able to program the ch376.


Well,if you could be a bit more specific about the exact nature of the problem,i might be able to help with that request  ::)

Devlin

Quote from: ikonsgr on 13:48, 24 November 21
MAJOR FIRMWARE UPDATE (rev. 6)

- GREAT direct  file loading speed increase of ~+25% now reaching up to ~30kb/sec! Affects direct file and snapshot loading speeds (and partly |UCOPY too). I've made a fundamental change on loading code, by  moving the input buffer checking (wait if inp(&fbd1)=1 e.g. if buffer is empty) from Amstrad assembly code, inside PIC microcontroller's code. Each input buffer check required 5-6us when executed from Z80 assembly, but only ~1us when executed from PIC MCU code (e.g 5-6 times faster code execution!)! This had major affect in actual loading speed as this code executed for every loading byte! For example, a 128kb snapshot is now loading in ~4.5seconds, more than 1second less than previously needed!

- |UCOPY: Bug fixes and much better error handling.

- |DISK: Bug fixed: image files created didn't work with emulators.

As always you can find a direct link for the new firmware at 1st post of this thread.


Updated. Feels more snappy loading games direct file-wise, though most games loaded so quick anyway it's barely noticeable unless paying very close attention :)
Amstrad fan! | CPC464 + USIfAC II | Administrator of Amstrad Discord : https://discord.gg/ksWvApv

ikonsgr

Quote from: Devlin on 10:04, 25 November 21
Updated. Feels more snappy loading games direct file-wise, though most games loaded so quick anyway it's barely noticeable unless paying very close attention :)
Indeed, loading speed was already rather quick, so practically you will notice difference when more than 50-60kb is loaded at once. This is not the case with most direct load games, only some large 128k games load at once so much data, try for example Star sabre  (load ~115kb at once) and you will see a noticable difference.
Also difference is noticable with snapshot file loading too.

Finally, with future RAM/ROM board, it will help load quite faster roms and cpr files, especially large 512kb ones, like alcon, will load from ~19-20seconds to ~15seconds  :)

Mark_wllms

I've been trying to use my USIFAC II with a Multiface II to save memory state (on a CPC6128).

It works fine writing to a disc image loaded with ¦FDC. I get 5-9 binary files (depending on whether I clear the second memory bank), which can be loaded back into memory. This is using the Amstrad's own AMSDOS ROM, the USIFAC is only emulating the FDC.

When I try with the USB mode (FDC emulation disabled, the USIFAC is emulating / patching the AMSDOS routines) it saves the binary files to the USB, but  loading them back causes the screen to go haywire - it looks like the CRTC is non being programmed, but for all I know it might be loading garbage.

I read at https://www.grimware.org/doku.php/documentations/expansions/mf2/startdo=export_xhtml that
QuoteTo perform it's disc operations, the MF2 Firmware jumps directly into the DOS ROM (Upper ROM 7). This, usually, is considered bad programming practice because of possible compatibility problems.
Could this cause an error?

GUNHED

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

Quote from: Mark_wllms on 13:26, 02 December 21
I've been trying to use my USIFAC II with a Multiface II to save memory state (on a CPC6128).

It works fine writing to a disc image loaded with ¦FDC. I get 5-9 binary files (depending on whether I clear the second memory bank), which can be loaded back into memory. This is using the Amstrad's own AMSDOS ROM, the USIFAC is only emulating the FDC.

When I try with the USB mode (FDC emulation disabled, the USIFAC is emulating / patching the AMSDOS routines) it saves the binary files to the USB, but  loading them back causes the screen to go haywire - it looks like the CRTC is non being programmed, but for all I know it might be loading garbage.

I read at https://www.grimware.org/doku.php/documentations/expansions/mf2/startdo=export_xhtml that  Could this cause an error?

Indeed, FDC emulation works "low level", it doesn't affect any Amsdos routines either Interferes on DOS ROM 7. But when you enable "direct mode" to access directly files on usb device, this modifies various Amsdos routines AND takes control of DOS rom 7 too. So, if MF2 performs direct jumps to ROM7 obviously it will not work.

Mark_wllms

That completely makes sense.  :(
I will just have to write a new Mf2 software that writes to sna via USIFAC II!

shacpc


have sent you a PM to buy a device.

Quote from: ikonsgr on 19:21, 03 December 21
Indeed, FDC emulation works "low level", it doesn't affect any Amsdos routines either Interferes on DOS ROM 7. But when you enable "direct mode" to access directly files on usb device, this modifies various Amsdos routines AND takes control of DOS rom 7 too. So, if MF2 performs direct jumps to ROM7 obviously it will not work.




shacpc

The Pic KIT3.5 version can be used as Pic KIT3 for USIfAC II firmware updates?

ikonsgr

Quote from: shacpc on 01:14, 14 December 21
The Pic KIT3.5 version can be used as Pic KIT3 for USIfAC II firmware updates?
Most probable yes. I've tried updates using PICKIT3 and PICKIT4 programmers, both work ok, only with PICKIT4 it's done much faster (~12seconds using PICKIT4 instead of 40seconds using PICKIT3)

Cwiiis

Quote from: shacpc on 01:14, 14 December 21
The Pic KIT3.5 version can be used as Pic KIT3 for USIfAC II firmware updates?

Can confirm 3.5 (which I think is a knock-off, there's no official PicKit 3.5) works fine.

shacpc


thanks to all!

Quote from: Cwiiis on 22:36, 14 December 21
Can confirm 3.5 (which I think is a knock-off, there's no official PicKit 3.5) works fine.

Velociraptor

Sorry if this is covered already, but I'm trying to work out if it's possible to copy files from a DSK image on the USB to a physical disc in the CPC's drive.


Using the |COPY command just crashes things. I'm looking to copy all of the files from a DSK to the physical disc in the CPC.

Am I doing it wrong? Connecting up the USB, typing |USB and then |MG,"whatever.DSK" and then |FDC and then the |COPY command.

I have also updated to the lastest "6" firmware and tried on both a 664 and a 6128. The difference is now I get an error message, file not found.

I suspect I'm not following the correct route to do this. I also don't know what |COPY command I would issue to just copy everything on the loaded USB disc to the physical disc in the drive

Could you perhaps give me an example of all the commands I would type from powering on the CPC to the point at which the files are copied to the CPC from inside a DSK image stored on a USB drive on the device? I would expect they would start with |USB

ikonsgr

Quote from: Velociraptor on 00:44, 18 December 21
Sorry if this is covered already, but I'm trying to work out if it's possible to copy files from a DSK image on the USB to a physical disc in the CPC's drive.
Using the |COPY command just crashes things. I'm looking to copy all of the files from a DSK to the physical disc in the CPC.Am I doing it wrong? Connecting up the USB, typing |USB and then |MG,"whatever.DSK" and then |FDC and then the |COPY command.
I have also updated to the lastest "6" firmware and tried on both a 664 and a 6128. The difference is now I get an error message, file not found.
I suspect I'm not following the correct route to do this. I also don't know what |COPY command I would issue to just copy everything on the loaded USB disc to the physical disc in the drive
Could you perhaps give me an example of all the commands I would type from powering on the CPC to the point at which the files are copied to the CPC from inside a DSK image stored on a USB drive on the device? I would expect they would start with |USB
You can't directly copy files from inside dsk image to a usb flash drive. But you can do it using a floppy disk. First you copy image to floppy disk using |DSK,"image name" command, and then you can use |2PC in order to select and copy individual files from floppy disk to the usb drive.
For further details check user's guide: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8h047mdwhnsx9ek/Amstrad%20CPC%20Serial%20Interface%20II%20User%20Guide_v3.pdf?dl=0
In "File copy from cpc function" you can see all the details about the |2PC function.

Velociraptor

I'm not trying to copy to USB.


Quote I'm trying to work out if it's possible to copy files from a DSK image on the USB to a physical disc in the CPC's drive.



The files are on a .DSK image which is on a USB flash drive in the USIFAC2.


I want to copy the files onto a disc which is in the disc drive of the 6128.

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