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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WacKEDmaN

could be...4mhz out of the GA is looking quite low.....

....this is the SECOND time USIfAC has killed something on this board....

ive made a new thread in hardware...

ikonsgr

Quote from: WacKEDmaN on 02:56, 19 November 22....this is the SECOND time USIfAC has killed something on this board....
I knew that USIfAC II is a gotek killer, but i never thought it as an Amstrad killer too...   :D
Seriously now, the fact that you have different behavior, when you twist the edge connector ribbon cable, might be a strong indication that this is were the problem lies!
 I remember once, i also had weird erratic problems (and again it was on testing board with CPC464, it seems that 464 is more "signal sensitive" than 6128 models afterall...), and when i changed the ribbon cable (which it was rather old and heavily used for testing all the boards i make), everything worked perfect again!
Most probable, either the edge connector or the ribbon cable connections with the edge/idc connectors, issues tiny parasitic resistances on signals, that cause tiny time delays thus create the erratic problems... ::)
 Moreover, even the speed of rom/ram chips can cause such erratic problems. For example, RAM/ROM board (even earlier prototypes) seemed to work perfect on  Amstrads with EEPROM chips, but had problems with original rom chips. The differenece ofcourse is SPEED! eeprom is MUCH faster than original roms (~twice faster responce). Same goes for ram chips too, the very old CPC6128 from 1985 equipped with slow 250ns ram chips is the only one that gave me some video noise when used with RAM/ROM board.


WacKEDmaN

yeah i thought the edge connector and ribbon cable aswell... 
but... i ruled that out when i swapped it with the one from the lower rom board (that works perfectly fine)..

it does seem like the faster 12ns ram i changed to was the key tho....
...i was running them back when the usifac was running the first time around... and them swapped them out for the original 15ns stuff...(i cant remember why i switched back!)

...ill try to confirm it....if i ever get the board working again...SMH

WacKEDmaN

got the board back up and running...turns out a 153 died...
usifac booted straight up with original 40007 and 12ns ram.. (it reboots like 3 times on startup with usifac..i see the usifac rom line on the first, on the 2nd i see parados rom line...it reboots again and shows the usifac line and hits Ready

swapped the ram back for the original 15ns stuff.... and it still booted fine...

swapped the to the 6128 rom...and it booted perfectly (no reboots..just straight in with usifac line showing..if i ctrl+shift+esc to reset.. then i see both the parados and usifac lines..never seen that b4)

so...not the 40007... not the ram.. doesnt look like the ribbon cable either..its fine being moved around a little...

its still very strange with whats been going on with the usifac all this time tho...
maybe the 153 was "going" bad..and it only showed up with the usifac before fully dying....i dunno!

just happy ive got it all working again....

sorry if ive caused any grief..or wasted time... ive been pulling my hair out trying to work this out!

EDIT: CAT command still gives a few pixels on the screen and locks it up... |CAT works fine tho (CAT worked fine with the previous 6e firmware)'

EDIT2: the disk swap button still doesnt work (it worked fine with 6e).... cant switch DSKs in |464 mode after setting up multiple |MGs... tried removing the diode.. but still cant change disk (and it still boots fine!)... i dont have access to the programmer until end of next week so i cant easily go back to 6e atm

EDIT3: tryed OUT &FBD1,71 to change to dsk slot 2... but that doesnt work either....always returns the first dsk
BUT!!... if i do PRINT INP(&FBD5) after the manual swap ... it returns 2!


WacKEDmaN

lasted 1 day...

switched off lastnight... back on this moring... booted ok..usifac line showed..but dead keyboard..no sound... dead PIO.... replaced it... usifac no longer wants to boot...

SMH..every time something has died on this board is when the usifac is plugged in....
not plugging it in for the rest of the week... just to prove my point...

ikonsgr

FINALLY:

You cannot view this attachment.

Yes, it is what it looks like, a CPC 464 with:
- Amstrad CPC 6128 FW ROM
- BASIC 1.1 ROM
- PARADOS ROM
- 2 ROM GAMES
- 256KB Expansion RAM...

1 lower rom+ 4 upper roms + 256KB RAM...ALLTOGETHER!  :D

And here is with FW3.15 variation:

You cannot view this attachment.


A simple RSX command will be incorporated into ULIfAC's firmware, that will transform a CPC464 to a CPC...6320 with PARADOS, in 2seconds!  ;D

TotO

"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

ikonsgr

Quote from: TotO on 20:39, 28 November 22What is wrong with the BASIC version? ;D
I've change it, to know if basic 1.1 rom loaded into SRAM, is the one loaded, and not the original in the rom chip  ;D

pappous

So Ulifac combines 2 boards, can you give us details and maybe when can make them for us :)

Also will it work for Amstrad 6128?

ikonsgr

Quote from: pappous on 09:22, 29 November 22So Ulifac combines 2 boards, can you give us details and maybe when can make them for us :)
Also will it work for Amstrad 6128?

Yes, the idea is to "merge" USIfAC II and RAM/ROM board into one single board with some extra functionality:
- Dual mode will support up to 16XRoms+256kb Ram, instead of 2X roms of the ram/rom board
- Many utilities/programs that loaded externally, will be incorporated into board's ROM as simple rsx commands. For example, file manager and rom configuration utility.Also, there will be extra RSX commands,for easy loading PARADOS Rom on a CPC6128, or a "full conversion packet" of 6128FW+BASIC1.1+PARADOS/AMSDOS for CPC464.
- Due to some better signal handling in dual mode, Symbos (and perhaps other programs) now loads in dual mode too.
- Single board will allow to use a 3d case.

Of course board works on both CPC464 and CPC6128, but the main benefits will be for the CPC464.
As for availability and price, if all goes well, i will probably have first boards by early next year, for ~35-40euros each.

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: GUNHED on 21:01, 30 November 22Have you made any tests if it works with FutureOS too?
Future OS uses a lot of roms and if i remember correctly it also uses a custom program to place them, which unfortunately didn't seem to support USIfAC. If there is a way to place roms manually (e.g. what romfile goes to which rom slot),  give me a hint and i'll try it.

pappous

So I have a question. Many of us have the usifac ii and we were thinking of buying the RAM/ROM board you had https://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/amstrad-cpc-hardware/new-multi-purpose-board512k-ram-expansion32x-rom-board256k-ram2x-rom-board/

Now you gave us the ulifac which is a a combination of 2 above boards.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of ulifac and usifac+RAM/ROM board except the one you mentioned about the single board and single 3d case.


Audronic

@ikonsgr 

I was wondering if this is possible to implement:-

When you Issue the |USB would it be possible to be included in the command a Reset as the last command ?

As I have to press the Reset every time I use the UsiFac II on either my 6128 or 464.

Thanks

Keep Safe

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.

Mark_wllms

You shouldn't need the reset on a 6128, unless you are using Parados, in which case you need the ¦DOS RSX as well.

Quote from: Audronic on 23:00, 02 December 22@ikonsgr

I was wondering if this is possible to implement:-

When you Issue the |USB would it be possible to be included in the command a Reset as the last command ?

As I have to press the Reset every time I use the UsiFac II on either my 6128 or 464.

Thanks

Keep Safe

Ray

WacKEDmaN

Quote from: Mark_wllms on 00:36, 03 December 22You shouldn't need the reset on a 6128, unless you are using Parados, in which case you need the ¦DOS RSX as well.

Quote from: Audronic on 23:00, 02 December 22@ikonsgr

I was wondering if this is possible to implement:-

When you Issue the |USB would it be possible to be included in the command a Reset as the last command ?

As I have to press the Reset every time I use the UsiFac II on either my 6128 or 464.

Thanks

Keep Safe

Ray
..when it was working for me... after giving |USB it would need a reset else it would crash when trying to CAT..in either AMSDOS or PARADOS mode..

@Audronic i just used keyboard reset CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to reset after |USB..  

well..i didnt use usifac for a week and i had no problems whatsoever with ddi-5.. tried the usifac today and the same old usual reboots or pixel corruption.. 

poulette73

@Audronic : as said above, you shouldn't need the reset on a 6128.
The |USB RSX works instantly, and USB device access is available without reset, everytime.

Could be a problem with the USB key (brand, or capacity) ? Maybe try with a smaller capacity. Or formatting ? For myself my USB key is in FAT system.

ikonsgr

Quote from: pappous on 10:33, 02 December 22So I have a question. Many of us have the usifac ii and we were thinking of buying the RAM/ROM board you had https://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/amstrad-cpc-hardware/new-multi-purpose-board512k-ram-expansion32x-rom-board256k-ram2x-rom-board/
Now you gave us the ulifac which is a a combination of 2 above boards.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of ulifac and usifac+RAM/ROM board except the one you mentioned about the single board and single 3d case.
The main advantage is the ability to use 16roms along with 256kb ram, instead of 2roms with ram/rom board. And also the single board and 3d case you mentioned. For most Amstrad users, ram/rom boards are mainly useful for CPC464 that already have USIfAC II,as it will give you the ability to run games that need 128kb and/or cpc6128 fw/basic 1.1 .
Obviously, ULIfAC board would be the best choice for someone that don't have USIfAC II already (especially for CPC464), but since i already made ~300 USIfAC II boards, i thought it's good to have an add on ram/rom board too.


@Audronic, as Mark_wllms noted, you don't need to reset after giving |USB, and normally this also applies for CPC464 too. In anycase, if for some reason you need to reset Amstrad after giving |USB, you can also press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC or give a CALL 0, instead of pressing reset button.

GUNHED

Quote from: ikonsgr on 09:20, 01 December 22
Quote from: GUNHED on 21:01, 30 November 22Have you made any tests if it works with FutureOS too?
FutureOS uses a lot of roms and if i remember correctly it also uses a custom program to place them, which unfortunately didn't seem to support USIfAC. If there is a way to place roms manually (e.g. what romfile goes to which rom slot),  give me a hint and i'll try it.
Yes, FutureOS needs four ROM slots. But since todays ROM expansions usually have 512 KB it's not a problem. Currently there is no support for the USIfAC internal ROM because I don't know how to program it.
The installer runs from any disc or disc image, and installs to M4, Symbiface, X-MEM, FlashGordon, MegaFlash and so on. But it also allows to set up the ROM numbers, so you can install the four ROMs 'by hand' after setting up their ROM numbers :-)
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: GUNHED on 04:08, 04 December 22
Quote from: ikonsgr on 09:20, 01 December 22
Quote from: GUNHED on 21:01, 30 November 22Have you made any tests if it works with FutureOS too?
FutureOS uses a lot of roms and if i remember correctly it also uses a custom program to place them, which unfortunately didn't seem to support USIfAC. If there is a way to place roms manually (e.g. what romfile goes to which rom slot),  give me a hint and i'll try it.
Yes, FutureOS needs four ROM slots. But since todays ROM expansions usually have 512 KB it's not a problem. Currently there is no support for the USIfAC internal ROM because I don't know how to program it.
The installer runs from any disc or disc image, and installs to M4, Symbiface, X-MEM, FlashGordon, MegaFlash and so on. But it also allows to set up the ROM numbers, so you can install the four ROMs 'by hand' after setting up their ROM numbers :-)
Well, even if we manage to install the roms, since there is no "mass storage" support for USIfAC II, it will not very useful to have just the OS installed...  ::)

ikonsgr

Quote from: GUNHED on 21:01, 30 November 22Yes, FutureOS needs four ROM slots. But since todays ROM expansions usually have 512 KB it's not a problem. Currently there is no support for the USIfAC internal ROM because I don't know how to program it.
The installer runs from any disc or disc image, and installs to M4, Symbiface, X-MEM, FlashGordon, MegaFlash and so on. But it also allows to set up the ROM numbers, so you can install the four ROMs 'by hand' after setting up their ROM numbers :-)
Well, even if we manage to install the roms, since there is no "mass storage" support for USIfAC II, it will not be very useful to have just the FUTUREOS installed...  ::)

GUNHED

Quote from: ikonsgr on 22:00, 04 December 22
Quote from: GUNHED on 21:01, 30 November 22Yes, FutureOS needs four ROM slots. But since todays ROM expansions usually have 512 KB it's not a problem. Currently there is no support for the USIfAC internal ROM because I don't know how to program it.
The installer runs from any disc or disc image, and installs to M4, Symbiface, X-MEM, FlashGordon, MegaFlash and so on. But it also allows to set up the ROM numbers, so you can install the four ROMs 'by hand' after setting up their ROM numbers :-)
Well, even if we manage to install the roms, since there is no "mass storage" support for USIfAC II, it will not be very useful to have just the FUTUREOS installed...  ::)

Well, FutureOS should be able to work with your floppy disc emulation. If I understood you right, USIfAC II can even emulate the Vortex F1-D controller.
This way you could try drives A, B, E and F (to see DIR press space then letter of drive). Curious to know if it works.  :) :) :)
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

Can you provide me a link with the 4 16k roms, and the numbers they should placed to?

GUNHED

Quote from: ikonsgr on 23:24, 04 December 22Can you provide me a link with the 4 16k roms, and the numbers they should placed to?
Yes, please go to www.futureos.de

There you click at "Downloads", then either use the set of ROMs (numbers 10-13) or get the installer DSK, which can adapt the desired ROM select numbers.
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

This is what i get:
You cannot view this attachment.
It seems that except the 1 low rom , there are only dsk images and cpr files for cartridges... ::)

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