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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Fran123

Quote from: ikonsgr on 08:44, 26 September 23
Quote from: Fran123 on 17:22, 25 September 23But I have the UsifacII, not Ulifac
USIfAC II doesn't have external power connector and so it doesn't support external power supply.
I power it using a MX4 board

GUNHED

A too weak (regarding Volts) PSU is imho by far to cause of problems. Do you have a Y cable (5 Volt supply) and can measure Volts? Should not be too far under 5 Volts.
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2023.11.30)
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Fran123

Can we use ports FE80 and FE81 to access the CH376 module?

Sorry for the question, but the CPC is far from me now.

GUNHED

http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2023.11.30)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

d_kef

Quote from: Fran123 on 21:07, 27 September 23Can we use ports FE80 and FE81 to access the CH376 module?

Sorry for the question, but the CPC is far from me now.
Yes we can.

d_kef

Fran123

Quote from: GUNHED on 22:12, 26 September 23A too weak (regarding Volts) PSU is imho by far to cause of problems. Do you have a Y cable (5 Volt supply) and can measure Volts? Should not be too far under 5 Volts.
5 volts

Fran123


GUNHED

Did you measure the Volts under load using an Y cable? And you got 5 Volt, then: Great! Because this excludes the #1 error.  :)

Can you exclude parts of your setup to see if it changes something? That could be helpful.  :)
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2023.11.30)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

Fran123

Quote from: GUNHED on 23:11, 05 October 23Did you measure the Volts under load using an Y cable? And you got 5 Volt, then: Great! Because this excludes the #1 error.  :)

Can you exclude parts of your setup to see if it changes something? That could be helpful.  :)
Now I only have the MX4 connected with the UsifacII board.  I don't think I can exclude anything anymore.

Fran123

Hi @ikonsgr 

I have a technical question about the operation of the board: when CAT is executed, where is the list of programs to be displayed on the screen built? in the amstrad or in PIC?

I have done tests with an arduino and an SD card. I read the names of the files and get their size and add them to an ordered list. When it is finished, I send all the information with Serial.println() so that it looks good on the screen, then all the Amstrad has to do is print on the screen what it receives from the PIC. Additionally, you can obtain additional information such as the number of bytes in the file (instead of kilobytes) and the date.

I also think that in a future revision of the project an ESP8266 could be added (the ESP01 consumes up to 800 mA) programmed to avoid having to use AT commands, which would have functions, such as downloading files. An alternative ROM could have, for example, a rsx command |DOWNLOAD,"<url>", then the PIC would send a function code and the URL to the ESP, the ESP would be in charge of downloading the file and returning it to the PIC and the PIC to the Z80, and it saves the file.

A kind of links-type browser could also be implemented using the ESP memory.

What do you think of all this?  do you think it is viable?

Another question is: what prevents using USB and serial port at the same time? Do they share any lines?

Thank you so much.

ikonsgr

@Fran123
 
  Yes, all UART ports (wifi, serial, usb host module) are actually the same hardware serial port of PIC mcu, so you can't use more than one at the same time.
Now, for program developing, instead of CAT you can use the |MAN command. As i note in User's guide, this resembles |CAT, but instead of getting the list of files/subfolders of a usb device to screen, it outputs the list of files/subfolders into RAM, starting from &2b00, and uses '1' as name separator,'2' to mark end, e.g.: 1NAME1NAME1NAME...1NAME2. Function is used by filemanager utility, but it would also be useful for anyone want to develop it's own programs.
 About esp wifi module, i think that the vast majority of Amstrad users would want the usb stick functionality, and that's why after initial presentation of the USIfAC II on December of 2021, in a few months i've decided to revise board and mount permanently a usb host module onto the board.
 Now, as i already implement the windows program, that supports direct connection and functions for load/save/run of files directly through tcp/ip and wifi module connected on Amstrad CPC, i don't think i would be interested to develop anything further in the near future. One thing that it might be helpful, would be to develop an android program for connecting with Amstrad, but this would require much time and effort, so, if you want you can give it a try  :)

Fran123

well... I think the possibility of the Wi-Fi connection is wasted.
By reprogramming an esp we would have more functionalities apart from the connection to the PC. Did you implement downloading files with AT commands? Using a program in the ESP would be easier and so would the ROM.

Devlin

I'm having trouble with a DSK loaded with the FDC emulation of the USIfAC II -

DSC #4 by Logon System

http://logon.system.free.fr/down/DSC4.DSK

If I load this directly from a 3" disc, or from direct files on the usb stick, it loads completely fine.

**HOWEVER**

If I load this via the FDC emulation (on 464[crtc0] or 6128[crtc2]), it will fail after the intro screen (rolling image/loss of sync).

Any thoughts on what might be causing the FDC emulation to hitch the system and break demos, etc etc?
Amstrad fan! | CPC464 & CPC6128 + USIfAC II + Revaldinho 512k(universal cpld ver) | Administrator of Amstrad Discord : https://discord.gg/ksWvApv

GUNHED

Quote from: Fran123 on 10:54, 13 October 23well... I think the possibility of the Wi-Fi connection is wasted.
By reprogramming an esp we would have more functionalities apart from the connection to the PC. Did you implement downloading files with AT commands? Using a program in the ESP would be easier and so would the ROM.
Well, who is going to program this? And how much are people willing to pay for the needed time? (Yes, both questions are of rhetorical nature - but may explain the reason for things being the way they are.)
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2023.11.30)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

ikonsgr

Quote from: Devlin on 18:30, 26 October 23I'm having trouble with a DSK loaded with the FDC emulation of the USIfAC II -

DSC #4 by Logon System

http://logon.system.free.fr/down/DSC4.DSK

If I load this directly from a 3" disc, or from direct files on the usb stick, it loads completely fine.

**HOWEVER**

If I load this via the FDC emulation (on 464[crtc0] or 6128[crtc2]), it will fail after the intro screen (rolling image/loss of sync).

Any thoughts on what might be causing the FDC emulation to hitch the system and break demos, etc etc?

Is this a demo? It might do weird things with 6845CRT controller (and perhaps 765 fdc controller too). Also, did you try to extract files and load it directly instead of using the bulky dsk image?

Devlin

Quote from: ikonsgr on 21:07, 30 October 23
Quote from: Devlin on 18:30, 26 October 23I'm having trouble with a DSK loaded with the FDC emulation of the USIfAC II -

DSC #4 by Logon System

http://logon.system.free.fr/down/DSC4.DSK

If I load this directly from a 3" disc, or from direct files on the usb stick, it loads completely fine.

**HOWEVER**

If I load this via the FDC emulation (on 464[crtc0] or 6128[crtc2]), it will fail after the intro screen (rolling image/loss of sync).

Any thoughts on what might be causing the FDC emulation to hitch the system and break demos, etc etc?

Is this a demo? It might do wierd things with 6845CRT controller. Also, did you try to extract files and load it directly instead of using the bulky dsk image?
Yes. The demo ran completely fine when the image was written to a real disc, and if the files were extracted to the USB stick.

I wouldn't have reported it had it happened on a real disc or via files extracted to usb.
Amstrad fan! | CPC464 & CPC6128 + USIfAC II + Revaldinho 512k(universal cpld ver) | Administrator of Amstrad Discord : https://discord.gg/ksWvApv

ikonsgr

Updated prices:

 Stand alone USIfAC II board (including usb host module): 16euros
 Edge connector Ribbon cable: 3 Euros
 Centronics Ribbon cable: 4 Euros
 Postage (registered/tracked): 8 Euros for Europe, 9 Euros for overseas

poulette73

Wow.... Absolutely unbeatable price !!  😮

Thank you John for everything you bring to the entire CPC community. 👍🙏

ikonsgr

To Celebrate the 3 Years Anniversary of USIfAC II, i will make a special offer for all December:

Stand alone USIfAC II board (including usb host module): 11euros

wolfgang

Hi,

I just noticed that my USIFAC II's (I have two of them) don't work with the latest Software  USIFACII_REV7.hex and 18f47q10_7_.hex but they do work fine with Version 18f47q10_6g.hex or older ones.

I use a Pickit 3 Programmer and Microchip MPLAB X IPE v6.00 Software to flash them, works fine.

Its not a problem (I normally use ULIFAC anyway) I just wondered if anybody else has noticed?




Devlin

Quote from: wolfgang on 22:57, 04 December 23Hi,

I just noticed that my USIFAC II's (I have two of them) don't work with the latest Software  USIFACII_REV7.hex and 18f47q10_7_.hex but they do work fine with Version 18f47q10_6g.hex or older ones.

I use a Pickit 3 Programmer and Microchip MPLAB X IPE v6.00 Software to flash them, works fine.

Its not a problem (I normally use ULIFAC anyway) I just wondered if anybody else has noticed?

Can't say i've tried - I have v5.50 installed as I heard there were issues with v6 so never updated.
Amstrad fan! | CPC464 & CPC6128 + USIfAC II + Revaldinho 512k(universal cpld ver) | Administrator of Amstrad Discord : https://discord.gg/ksWvApv

Brocky

Quote from: wolfgang on 22:57, 04 December 23Hi,

I just noticed that my USIFAC II's (I have two of them) don't work with the latest Software  USIFACII_REV7.hex and 18f47q10_7_.hex but they do work fine with Version 18f47q10_6g.hex or older ones.

I use a Pickit 3 Programmer and Microchip MPLAB X IPE v6.00 Software to flash them, works fine.

Its not a problem (I normally use ULIFAC anyway) I just wondered if anybody else has noticed?




did you give the OUT &FBD2,x command to set the rom number? rev6 automatically sets it, but 7 needs it done manually on first boot

ikonsgr

Quote from: wolfgang on 22:57, 04 December 23Hi,

I just noticed that my USIFAC II's (I have two of them) don't work with the latest Software  USIFACII_REV7.hex and 18f47q10_7_.hex but they do work fine with Version 18f47q10_6g.hex or older ones.

I use a Pickit 3 Programmer and Microchip MPLAB X IPE v6.00 Software to flash them, works fine.

Its not a problem (I normally use ULIFAC anyway) I just wondered if anybody else has noticed?

 After flashing PIC with REV7 fw, first time you power on Amstrad, you should give out &fbd2,5 to set board's Rom number.  On previous fw versions, if no number was set it defaults to 5 (that's why it worked without needing to set rom no.), but as this might cause problems, i've decide it to remove it and make setting of rom number after flashing the PIC mandatory. Of course setting rom number (out &fbd2,x)  needs to be done only once, after flashing PIC (after that, rom no. is saved into PIC's EEPROM), also you might need to do it again, if for some reason you don't get USIfAC's boot message on screen.

ikonsgr

I made some modifications on USIfAC Rev7 firmware, in order to resolve the "hang up upon boot" problem with some CPC464, as it is suggested by @GL here.
So with the new fw, board boots with FDC emulation active and then deactivated, after "dual boot" of CPC464 at the end of ULIfAC Board ROM initialization.
I've tried it on both CPC6128 & CPC464 of mine, and it seems to work ok, but as i don't have a "sticky boot" CPC464,i can't tell if it actually resolve the problem.
So, anyone having this weird "hang-up upon boot/reset" on a CPC464, try to update with this firmware (REV7a, for the moment, NOT an official firmware): https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/xob716tul3sbpjk40orkg/18f47q10_7a_.zip?rlkey=1o9acs1alj4f2i9vw1sfk0xf0&dl=0
Note this is the plain hex, WITHOUT the bootloader, so you can use either PICKIT to update, or if you have REV3. board, you can use the simpler method with the usb2serial cable too.

eto

I'll try within the next few days and give feedback. 

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