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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Squeekboxandj

Quote from: ikonsgr on 00:20, 18 January 23Btw, the 1st ULIfAC board is made and tested:

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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

WacKEDmaN

so im back to having strange issues... :( >:( :-[ :'( :-\  :doh: :picard:

if i |USB or |EN then try to reboot, i get lockups just before the rom name is supposed to show...i have to power down to get back to Ready prompt..

strange thing about it tho..i can do |USB.. then |MG to load a DSK image... then |464, it reboots and works like normal...

i tryed upgrading to 6g firmware, but same issue..lockup on boot (after disabling auto usb it works as above)..

i also ruled out the edge connector, i have the lower rom board connected to CPC (works fine) and have USIfAC connected to the lower rom board...(nothing else connected to the USIfAC)
power is also good...pulling a good 1.12A with usifac (using new bench power supply)

WacKEDmaN

interesting...
if i change the rom number to above 7 (8-15) when i reboot after |USB, it shows the USIfAC rom line, but never gets to Basic 1.1 or Ready... 
where if the rom number is below 7 it stops before displaying the rom line...

its not actually locking up.. i can still do another reset, but it just does the same

and now with rom after changing rom number... |464 doesnt work.. locks up before rom line... SMH

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.

dhester

My ULIfAC arrived this morning, I will test it over the weekend and report back.

Philippe Lardenois

#1180
Hi John, received the new board. Thanks a lot.

First tests are ok except with file Manager which hangs on loading the main menu.

My USB stick is a 16Go formatted in FAT32 (8192 allocs). LiliCPC pack 0.9 on it only.
When I try |FM command, it starts, and read the USB stick but hangs with garbage on screen (few dots only). So tried with the FM software on USB and same happened after I answer "no" to the old board question.
Changed with my Gotek USB stick (same brand, same parameters for formatting) and it works.

So tried with a 256Mb stick and 32 GB stick but same problems.

Notice that the USB keys are working well if I lauch files from the usual commands under Amsdos.

What could be wrong ?
Thanks

[EDIT] ok found the problem - too many files on the root of the USB disk. Remembered that you mention "no more than 1 000 files per directory). Is this limitation makes sense or is it a hardware limitation ?

Fran123

Hello

I this program:

20 himemant=HIMEM : MEMORY &1800-1 : LOAD"prg.bin",&1800

when I run I get "Syntax error in 20".  It fails on LOAD"prg.bin",&1800

I use 6d firmware

What is it happening?

ikonsgr

Quote from: Philippe Lardenois on 18:22, 31 January 23Is this limitation makes sense or is it a hardware limitation ?
Actually it's Amstrad's memory limitation, as you need to have the hole directory list at once in memory  ;D

ikonsgr

Quote from: Fran123 on 22:20, 31 January 23Hello

I this program:

20 himemant=HIMEM : MEMORY &1800-1 : LOAD"prg.bin",&1800

when I run I get "Syntax error in 20".  It fails on LOAD"prg.bin",&1800

I use 6d firmware

What is it happening?
If i remember correctly, 6d had some bugs indeed so i quickly replace it with 6e/6f. So i suggest to update to firmware 6g, most probable the problem will resolve: https://www.dropbox.com/s/euju6f40h2tr0kj/18f47q10_6g.zip?dl=0

Devlin

I have recently updated to 6g, and am loving the auto-USB init. Saves me five whole keystrokes, but it's great.
Amstrad fan! | CPC464 + USIfAC II | Administrator of Amstrad Discord : https://discord.gg/ksWvApv

ikonsgr

And going against the tide of rising prices, i announce a price decrease for all boards:

USIfAC II+Edge connector cable:   26euros from 27euros
ULIfAC +Edge connector cable:     43euros from 45euros
RAM/ROM BOARD:                          28euros from 29euros


All prices include register/tracked shipping.
I manage to get a batch of PIC MCU chips cheaper, thus the price cut!  ;)

WacKEDmaN

Quote from: ikonsgr on 23:12, 31 January 23And going against the tide of rising prices, i announce a price decrease for all boards:

USIfAC II+Edge connector cable:  26euros from 27euros
ULIfAC +Edge connector cable:    43euros from 45euros
RAM/ROM BOARD:                          28euros from 29euros


All prices include register/tracked shipping.
I manage to get a batch of PIC MCU chips cheaper, thus the price cut!  ;)
nice one ikonsgr!...
AUD$67 for ULIfAC is a nice price!.. only 7$ more than i paid for the USIfAC!...are the ULIfAC ready to go yet?
...do them prices include postage or?... that might be the killer for me atm!...

leexus

Hi John, The ULIfAC arrived today, thanks! I will test it on 6128 plus and report the results here.
 

Fran123

Quote from: Fran123 on 22:20, 31 January 23Hello
I this program:
20 himemant=HIMEM : MEMORY &1800-1 : LOAD"prg.bin",&1800
when I run I get "Syntax error in 20".  It fails on LOAD"prg.bin",&1800
I use 6d firmware
What is it happening?
It seems that it was a flash drive error, over and over again it did not copy completely.

Fran123

Hello

Last year I made an application to lauch programs with UsifacII using menus. Now I have made other app for PC to make the menus faster and using the LiliCPC catalog.  You can see more details ih https://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/applications/mmm-menusi-menu-maker/msg225307/

TotO

Quote from: ikonsgr on 23:12, 31 January 23And going against the tide of rising prices, I announce a price decrease for all boards. All prices include register/tracked shipping.
It is better to not include the shipping fees into your prices, while people can live into the same country as you or can expect to order more than one expansion. I have probably missed something: What is the expensive part into the ULIfAC expansion?
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

ikonsgr

Quote from: TotO on 13:37, 01 February 23
Quote from: ikonsgr on 23:12, 31 January 23And going against the tide of rising prices, I announce a price decrease for all boards. All prices include register/tracked shipping.
It is better to not include the shipping fees into your prices, while people can live into the same country as you or can expect to order more than one expansion. I have probably missed something: What is the expensive part into the ULIfAC expansion?
That's easy, shipping is 6euros for all boards :)
ULIfAC compared to USIfAC II, has 2 MCU's, extra logic chips, the 512KB Sram chip, a much more expensive pcb board and ofcourse, it needs much more time to make and test it.

GUNHED

Well, would it make sense to have two threads. USIfaC II and ULIfAC?
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)

leexus

I want to say thank you for John for developing and making the ULIfAC and the previous USIfAC II cards.
I have an Amstrad CPC 6128 plus machine.

If you are interested to the compatibility tests, read the following.
So I've tested the new ULIfAC card with my CPC+ I attached some photos, videos of the results.

As summarization of the tests I can say ULIfAC is better than USIfAC II + 512k mem. board were from CPC+ view, but its still not perfect and has some issues.. see below.

Detection of the ULIfAC card: ok
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1j4EnvRywleunb5iV9_dn2FENhNc_rrEf/view

Diagnostic with DIAG: ok
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SONj37_JaqEimijMCvOYiZX2v_vjcrHZ/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1p3i4jmjozVExQFWcKoMdoTaItQzAWIC4/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/104xOf7eIs6B5yryOJFc6fMu-j4wMyL8A/view

SNA loading: ok

BAS loading: ok

DSK: 80-90% of the games can be loaded (better than with USIfAC II)
Some DSK demos/games which had problems with previous 512k mem expander are problematic here also, but in a different way) - e.g. "SWIV" and "James.DSK" restarting the machine, "Blakhole" (freezing the machine), "Amazing" demo, "Debris" demo, and Night demo (BAS!) and other CPC+ demos are producing graphical issues to the screen (seems to be some clock, sync problem).
These are also problematic when loading the DSKs from Gotek drive. When the previous mem. 512k expander or the ULIfAC is disconnected, they are working without any problems. (the mem. expansion causes these problems somehow).
from ULIfAC: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HOT8HSHVO9rSXyumzUJYphXKpsgjOkSl/view
from Gotek: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_oRnvghVojU0_PwdeDOp5uARj3GuxNgz/view
Question: What can cause this by the mem. expander of the card?

All RSX commands are working except the following problematics:
|PARA: works only in 6128 mode. In normal mode will be hanging/reset sequence. Strange.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ytL4bAAPyu42igtF2O1rq4h2nWL1Do_P/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UaQNV4zEnglPZH_5v_lh8F_AMCLrnbh1/view

|FM and |FSM cannot be used in 6128 mode (256k RAM + 16x ROM), because DSK selection stops with memory full in 100 failure. 
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fDvzbeqaGYhNbbbnVfF7oJttttNSbbYA/view
Question: What can cause this?

|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.
Most of the ROM files are freezing the machine when using the |MROM command.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gxAJIWLqdy62_ZCxghmNv8IUZd1KF_ps/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1j7YtQejMVCm1dPiJpISDKAPhIArWgxT2/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QUeffEyGG_cShM8sWmQ5hTQZ9FyRcZy3/view
Question: If you could successfully load and use ROM files, pls. write which ROM files and how you've started them. Thanks!

|464 mode is completely freezing the machine with an empty screen (its not a problem, but it worked on USIfAC II).

Hardware reset (external custom reset on my mainboard) in normal mode (512k RAM mode): not working properly – after DSK loading and using RUN and after the game pushing the reset button - it freezes the cpc+, often graphical characters are appearing, system hangs.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YFAUzgdxXtKH6HMPmLWakx9l-HUxIFkm/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WO9meR625bWKI-hrSy94wfyzfkfxjNts/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1q5kfFFcpHn7gnM4yGYW7NnnrnEnML0Ru/view
Question: Do you also having this issue on non-plus machines?

Reset button on ULIfAC not works after loading any DSK image and running.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cKxIdwaBNVrpbarh0G8CJtsytby3rs-u/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BY-6hQvga9tQQch92yL--hTEbw1IuOYg/view
Question: Do you also having this issue on non-plus machines?

Reset button on ULIfAC works fine when using Gotek (when the ULIfAC is connected, but DSK loaded from Gotek).

Symbos 3.1: Compatible. Now you can use the RAM expansion in SymbOS – due to that only in 6128 mode is working the Symbos, you can use 320k memory.
(All the 3 disks can be mounted by |MG and swap to Apps disk after loading the Symbos screen.)
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mUDEiyabRbfUx3FYkA4lUrAv8ISsDd_K/view

Symbos 3.1 in normal mode (512k RAM mode) will be freezing during the loading.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fWK5c0kr0cR2I7jmxVWfXj6bzP3fuOdp/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/14ocwIPyQPdvT5gDl9J_REEIkLopNzUfF/view
Question: What can be this problem?

Symbos 3.1 works only in |6128 (256k RAM + 16x ROM mode). Its great but only 256k RAM available if I load the Symbos from ULIfAC:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_6K08MXavB9ubcyVOWviwh0HomVGqy99/view

Gotek compatibility: perfect, from GOTEK DSK loading you can use the RAM expansion in SymbOS even the 320k memory or the 576k memory as total. Great!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EYqMzbXdo56ig04NWqo4GoeEvILGQMXy/view
https://drive.google.com/file/d/19fTY3dgAZHJYMGrUDV14JFeaapNAoS9l/view

Thanks for reading.

eto

Quote from: leexus on 16:14, 03 February 23If you are interested to the compatibility tests, read the following.
So I've tested the new ULIfAC card with my CPC+ I attached some photos, videos of the results.
Do you have a custom cartridge with NoAcid patch? I recognized that the Usifac II and those kind of cartridges don't properly work together. I wonder if that's the same with the Ulifac.

leexus

Quote from: eto on 18:33, 03 February 23
Quote from: leexus on 16:14, 03 February 23If you are interested to the compatibility tests, read the following.
So I've tested the new ULIfAC card with my CPC+ I attached some photos, videos of the results.
Do you have a custom cartridge with NoAcid patch? I recognized that the Usifac II and those kind of cartridges don't properly work together. I wonder if that's the same with the Ulifac.
I had until now USIfAC II board and the 512kb Ram expansion & 32x Rom board - all the two from John. I used them together before.
But now I used only the new ULIfAC board of John.
If you see the photos, videos it will be unmistakable..

andycadley

CPC+ software that has issues with a memory expansion is probably because most memory expansions aren't properly compatible with the way the ASIC pages into memory address space. Software which accesses the ASIC registers while expansion RAM is in the #4000-#7fff range can result in memory corruption in those cases.

This is because, when the ASIC is paged in, they should ignore writes to RAM but doing that means the hardware needs to be aware of how the ASIC unlock sequence works and the current status of RMR2 (i.e. has RAM been paged out at #4000 to page the ASIC registers in). Very few memory expansions take notice of this, the Gemini RAM expansion does and internal memory expansions to add 64K to a 464+ will (the banked memory in a 6128+ obviously also works correctly).

eto

Quote from: leexus on 19:03, 03 February 23I had until now USIfAC II board and the 512kb Ram expansion & 32x Rom board - all the two from John. I used them together before.
But now I used only the new ULIfAC board of John.
Sorry, I might have been unclear: 

With the Usifac II attached to a Plus, where the Plus has a Custom cartridge (with Eproms and NoAcid-chip) inserted instead of the original one (Basic + Burning Rubber), the Plus will hang during boot or when starting a DSK from the Usifac. 


leexus

Quote from: eto on 19:32, 03 February 23
Quote from: leexus on 19:03, 03 February 23I had until now USIfAC II board and the 512kb Ram expansion & 32x Rom board - all the two from John. I used them together before.
But now I used only the new ULIfAC board of John.
Sorry, I might have been unclear:

With the Usifac II attached to a Plus, where the Plus has a Custom cartridge (with Eproms and NoAcid-chip) inserted instead of the original one (Basic + Burning Rubber), the Plus will hang during boot or when starting a DSK from the Usifac.


I use the original, factory default Burnin Rubber CPC+/GX4000 cartridge.
Just some DSK images are hanging, as I wrote they are working mostly (about 80-90 percentage of them).

ikonsgr

@ leexus, Thanks for the detailed presentation of ULIfAC on PLUS models. I'm glad that in most part, it seems to work ok (even more compatible than USIfAC II). But i'm afraid that all the problems you describe does not exist on Amstrad CPC models (6128,464) and since i don't have a PLUS model i can't investigate further.

@ GUNHED, i want first to make the new user guide for ULIfAC and also some board modifications i have in mind, and then "officially" open a new thread for ULIfAC  ;)

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