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

Started by ikonsgr, 08:17, 01 December 20

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ikonsgr

Ok, this is something i worked for the new ULIfAC board,but i managed to just "squeeze" it in USIfAC's firmware too :)
Dedicated to all you lazy boys out there:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ord86tymhghmu35/auto_usb.mp4?dl=0

Yes, it's an optional automatic activation of usb device on cold boot, no more tiresome writing of |USB everytime you power on your Amstrad! :P
  And funny thing is, that on CPC464, doesn't need dual reset too!
You can simply enable/disable this feature by giving out &fbd1,92 for enable or out &fbd1,93 for disable. Also |STAT now informs you for the status of auto usb activation:

You cannot view this attachment.

I've updated the last firmware (6g) to include this new feature, feel free to try it and give me any feedback about potential problems. ;)

poulette73


eto

Quote from: WacKEDmaN on 23:43, 03 January 23..does anyone know of a way to program it with another mcu like arduino? or is pickit the only real option?
I haven't found any other option and bought the Pickit3. That's probably the downside of a PIC based extension that you require a Pickit3 board to update it. I just checked prices and I'm surprised that it's now 43€ vs 23€ when I bought mine a year ago on Amazon.


ikonsgr

Quote from: WacKEDmaN on 23:43, 03 January 23btw @ikonsgr .. i notice a small bug... your image shows the Interface ROM number 5 but the revision hasnt been updated! :P
Fixed and uploaded, thanks! ;-)

shacpc

Hi John, the FW download link with new update? ... you have put one of dropbox with a video.

shacpc

Quote from: ikonsgr on 12:00, 04 January 23
Quote from: WacKEDmaN on 23:43, 03 January 23btw @ikonsgr .. i notice a small bug... your image shows the Interface ROM number 5 but the revision hasnt been updated! :P
Fixed and uploaded, thanks! ;-)
Hi John, the FW download link with new update? ... you have put one of dropbox with a video.

ikonsgr


shacpc

Quote from: ikonsgr on 21:57, 06 January 23
Quote from: shacpc on 21:16, 06 January 23Hi John, the FW download link with new update? ... you have put one of dropbox with a video.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/euju6f40h2tr0kj/18f47q10_6g.zip?dl=0
Updated my devices! This improvement of USB autostart is fantastic.

Audronic

Quote from: ikonsgr on 23:12, 03 January 23Ok, this is something i worked for the new ULIfAC board,but i managed to just "squeeze" it in USIfAC's firmware too :)
Dedicated to all you lazy boys out there:
Hi John
"Lazy Boy" Here.

Thanks for the Auto USB
It also works with the CPC6128 Rom fitted to my CPC464

PS:- I had to change my USB Stick as it was to SLOW.

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.

shacpc

Quote from: Audronic on 01:56, 11 January 23
Quote from: ikonsgr on 23:12, 03 January 23Ok, this is something i worked for the new ULIfAC board,but i managed to just "squeeze" it in USIfAC's firmware too :)
Dedicated to all you lazy boys out there:
Hi John
"Lazy Boy" Here.

Thanks for the Auto USB
It also works with the CPC6128 Rom fitted to my CPC464

PS:- I had to change my USB Stick as it was to SLOW.

Thanks

Keep Safe

Ray
Hi, can you explain how you configured the rom basic 1.1 in usifac for a cpc464?

ikonsgr

Quote from: WacKEDmaN on 20:26, 11 January 23with the ram/rom board it will need some setup.....
You just run "6128.BAS" found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ddu058gqvu4jvn0/RAM-ROM%20BOARD.zip?dl=0
This will automatically replace Firmware and basic roms of CPC464, with CPC6128 versions ;-)
 
   

shacpc

Quote from: ikonsgr on 22:38, 13 January 23
Quote from: WacKEDmaN on 20:26, 11 January 23with the ram/rom board it will need some setup.....
You just run "6128.BAS" found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ddu058gqvu4jvn0/RAM-ROM%20BOARD.zip?dl=0
This will automatically replace Firmware and basic roms of CPC464, with CPC6128 versions ;-)
 
 
Hi John, It would be interesting to incorporate an autorun command  from USB when starting USIfAC II in order to have the possibility to run a concrete program or ROM at startup. The M4 device has this option and it is very useful.

erebos007

Hello ! 
Board(s) received ! Thx Ikonsgr :D 
Pin 1 of the Ram board's expansion connector is right side when plugged in the back of the CPC (for me to plug USIfAC II on the ram board) ?
Also, I got a ESP8266MOD to try on the USIfAC. Do I need to use your ESP8266_flasher first ?










ikonsgr

Quote from: erebos007 on 21:18, 17 January 23Hello !
Board(s) received ! Thx Ikonsgr :D
Pin 1 of the Ram board's expansion connector is right side when plugged in the back of the CPC (for me to plug USIfAC II on the ram board) ?
Also, I got a ESP8266MOD to try on the USIfAC. Do I need to use your ESP8266_flasher first ?

 This is how you plug USIfAC (or any other board) into ram/rom board idc connector: https://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;attach=37524
Generally ,esp modules are pre-flashed, but some you might need to flash them first. You give it a try at first and if it doesn't work, then you flash it ;-)

ikonsgr

Quote from: shacpc on 18:47, 16 January 23Hi John, It would be interesting to incorporate an autorun command  from USB when starting USIfAC II in order to have the possibility to run a concrete program or ROM at startup. The M4 device has this option and it is very useful.

 well,i thought of having something like autoexec.bat in dos, something like a simple BASIC listing with any commands you might want to execute at boot, but the problem is that, Basic is initialized last, at the time of USIfAC's ROM initialization, you can't execute anything yet :)
  I don't know if it's possible to initiate BASIC initialization inside initilization code of USIfAC's ROM this might solve the problem, but it needs further investigation. In any case, this is something for the ULIfAC board only, there is no room for anything extra in USIfAC program memory anymore  :D

ikonsgr

Btw, the 1st ULIfAC board is made and tested:

You cannot view this attachment.

I've included Amstrad Diagnostic tool (|DIA), romconfiguration utlity (|ROM), and easy loading of PARADOS (|PARA). Ofcourse the best part is the |6128 which converts in 2 seconds a CPC464 to a CPC...6320   :)

erebos007


Philippe Lardenois


entelle42

Quote from: ikonsgr on 23:20, 17 January 23Btw, the 1st ULIfAC board is made and tested:

You cannot view this attachment.

I've included Amstrad Diagnostic tool (|DIA), romconfiguration utlity (|ROM), and easy loading of PARADOS (|PARA). Ofcourse the best part is the |6128 which converts in 2 seconds a CPC464 to a CPC...6320  :)
Great work!!  ;) I'm in

ikonsgr

Quote from: WacKEDmaN on 02:29, 18 January 23do you plan to opensource the board at all? id like to get some made up in black to match my black cpc board...
Since this is a brand new board, and although board works fine with my 4 Amstrad CPC (3 X CPC6128 and one CPC464) it would be better to let some time pass, have some people get the board and test it, to ensure that everything is ok.   Then i will release the gerber files for anyone wants to build one himself. :)

ikonsgr

Quote from: WacKEDmaN on 21:48, 18 January 23also |PARA ....what happened to |DOS ?...surely |PARA isnt needed, or the |DOS section of usifac be used for something else
They have different function:
- |DOS selects which DOS Rom to use (Amsdos or PARADOS) for |464 and |6128 commands.
- |PARA installs directly parados rom and resets Amstrad CPC to dual mode (256K RAM+16X ROM board). It's a command mainly for CPC6128, for easily gain  fast access to parados images, without needing the slower emulation of |464.
With ULIfAC, |464 becomes practically obsolete (as you use |6128 for CPC464  or |PARA for CPC6128), but i kept it for backwards compatibility reasons ;)

ikonsgr

Quote from: WacKEDmaN on 20:01, 18 January 23
Quote from: ikonsgr on 23:20, 17 January 23I've included Amstrad Diagnostic tool (|DIA)
i think that would be better swapped out for something else....
the only reason i say it, is if your CPC is booting and you can type |DIA ...then the CPC is working fine and you dont need the diag!..and ifyou do want to use it, ya can load it from disk...or just the bin.. directly via the usifac portion...
also, ive just read that the PIC18F47Q10..is on back order for a few guys trying to get one for 68k-MBC2 board....
have you secured a bunch of PIC chips ikonsgr?
If your Amstrad doesn't boot at all, you might need to install Diagnostic ROM as low rom, but in order to do that with ULiFAC or RAM/ROM board, you need to boot amstrad properly first ;D  Anyway,diagnostic tool it's very useful for checking amount/status of RAM, get a list of installed ROMS and their rom numbers, check keyboard/joystick functionality etc. It's just a matter of speed and simplicity to have diganostic tool RSX command, as you don't need to use a usb stick or external connection to load the utility,just power on your amstrad and give |DIA ;-)
About availability of PIC chips, indeed there is a MAJOR problem with that. I currently have more than 100 of PIC chips, and a backorder of 200 more from microchip, with estimated arrival at the end of 2023. Depending on how sales of boards will go, there might be a "gap" for a few months, probably after summer, until i get the new batch of PIC chips.

poulette73

Hi John,

Thank you for this new firmware (6g), the Auto USB function is a nice improvement!

Now we have access to the USB key when starting the CPC, without using any RSX:



Of course the function can be deactivated (OUT &FBD1,93) or activated (OUT #FBD1,92) according to need. 👍

Squeekboxandj

Quote from: ikonsgr on 23:20, 17 January 23Btw, the 1st ULIfAC board is made and tested:

You cannot view this attachment.

I've included Amstrad Diagnostic tool (|DIA), romconfiguration utlity (|ROM), and easy loading of PARADOS (|PARA). Ofcourse the best part is the |6128 which converts in 2 seconds a CPC464 to a CPC...6320  :)
Count me in too. Awesome
CPC464 & 6128

ikonsgr

Ok, since i started to give some ULIfAC boards, here are the new RSX commands for it:

|FM: Loads file manager
|FSM: loads file size manager (same as above, but it also shows size of each file, but it's slower than File manager)
|6128: Loads CPC 6128 Firmware ROM, Basic 1.1 ROM, AMSDOS/PARADOS Rom (depending on the emulation mode selection, using |DOS RSX command), and resets Amstrad to DUAL RAM/ROM mode. This command practically converts any CPC464 to CPC6128 with 256Kb extra RAM!
|PARA: Loads parados rom and resets Amstrad to dual RAM/ROM mode. Use this instead of |464 if you want to have faster access of large parados dsk images.
|MROM,"filename",X: Loads a rom from usb stick to rom slot X and activate it (e.g. after reset in 32X ROM mode or DUAL RAM/ROM mode the specific rom slot will be initialized). 'X' can be 0-31 for 32X ROM BOARD mode, or 0-15 for dual RAM/ROM mode
|ROM: Loads the configuration utility for setting up rom mode, roms, enable lower rom etc.
|TYPE,"file":Displays on screen ascii/text files. For larger texts, use SPACE to pause printing.
|DIA: Loads the Amstrad CPC diagnostic utility where you can check & test  RAM/ROMS/KEYBOARD/JOY etc

You can find the above here too.
Of course, all previous USIfAC II RSX commands still exist and function as they were, as all I/O commands @ &EF00 for RAM/ROM board too.
Note only that, |464 is rendered obsolete (since now you can use |6128 for CPC464 or |PARA for CPC6128), but i kept it for compatibility reasons.

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