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 Post subject: A major problem with my 8Mb flashcart?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:46 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:04 pm
Posts: 61
Ok, After a few attemps, I finally go U4 installed on my flashcart. After playing for a bit, I wanted to try flashing other images. As I've stated before in other threads, I have been 100% unsuccessful since the first try. I've tried OS B, OS C, APE Warp+ OS, Warp+ r11 OS (by the way, what do all the letters by many of the OS's on the 32-in-1 stand for?), and 1200Xl rev. 10. I've given up at this point. Regardless of the image I try to install; Test 1, Test 2, Randy's #1, Randy's #2 or OS, I ALWAYS get a failure in verification of location 3F/7F. EVERYTIME. Is this just a bad Flashcart? Is that why I'm having no luck at all? I got the MyIDE+flash at the same time I purchased this flashcart, so I'm going to try out my 1Mb flash and see if I have any luck with it, but I know it probably doesn't load to 3F/7F since this seems to be late in the upload process (I don't know for sure, maybe it's not that far along). But if it works I guess that helps narrow the problem down to just the 8Mb flashcart or the 8Mb images and not my system(s).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:08 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:04 pm
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OK, I downloaded the Guantlet 1Mb flash image to test out my MyIDE+1Mb flash cart and I have not better results so far than I do with my 8Mb cart, only the place it fails on the 1Mb flash is location 01/0F. What gives? I've tried with APE Warp+OS, OS B and OS C, I've tried both holding option to bypass cart and inserting cart at the flash utility screen. I'm using A.P.E '98 and a custom SIO2PC adapter, but I've never had any major problems with them other than start-up procedure which is now old-hat to me. I have a 130XE and a 1200XL with Warp+ OS 32-in-1. I stopped trying with my XE becuase I can not insert either cartridge at the utility screen without it crashing, and Option doesn't work either. So I've been using my 1200XL with the 32-in-1. both my Flashcarts can't be bad can they? Any suggestions? Anything at all? :cry:

OK, I tried my XE again, and I was able to insert the MyIDE+flash cart without the system crashing, but I go the same results when running the utility; verify&program failure at 01/0F, it's like the second location it writes too. :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:06 am 
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Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Well there are a few issues here.

First on the MyIDE+Flash, you cant use normal 1mbit flash cartridge images with it. The flash portion of the MyIDE is used for the MyIDE boot rom and any other custom installed programs.

If you managed to erase the boot rom on the MyIDE+Flash, you will need to download a boot rom updater from the MyIDE+Flash forum to restore the IDE functions.

On the 8mbit cartridge please try the extended cartridge testing software here:

http://www.atarimax.com/flashcart/forum ... .php?t=174

First use option zero to create a test cartridge, this will erase its contents.

Then perform the other tests and let me know if there are any errors. Also try the other tests in another computer if possible.

Steve


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:31 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:04 pm
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OK, I'll set aside the MyIDE cart for a while and come back to it after I rectify the 8Mb cart problems, but I have a question or two first for the MyIDE cart. If I have the 32-in-1 OS, do I still need the IDE OS in the flashrom area? Or is the 32-in-1 IDE OS's only for internal MyIDE set-ups? If I can use my 32-in-1 with the MyIDE cart, could I not then program the 1Mb flash as a standard flash cart? Or is it just too different from the 1Mb flash only cart to do that?

As for the 8Mb flash, I'll try the test when I get home tonight and see how I fare. I'm more inclined to think it's the flash though, and not my system since I have tired it on two different computers, one of them having 32 OS's that I've tried the major OS's with, and regardless of computer, OS or image, the flash programming always fails at 3F/7F. Do my postings of where the failure occured have no meaning? I expected it might enlighten you to where/what the problem could be. Thanks for your help.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:28 pm 
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Gunstar wrote:
OK, I'll set aside the MyIDE cart for a while and come back to it after I rectify the 8Mb cart problems, but I have a question or two first for the MyIDE cart. If I have the 32-in-1 OS, do I still need the IDE OS in the flashrom area? Or is the 32-in-1 IDE OS's only for internal MyIDE set-ups? If I can use my 32-in-1 with the MyIDE cart, could I not then program the 1Mb flash as a standard flash cart? Or is it just too different from the 1Mb flash only cart to do that?


They use a different hardware setup, so even if the software were flashed onto the boot rom area, it would not function properly.

With the OS in rom the boot rom will turn over control to the ROM OS. But that process still requires the boot rom have control first.

Quote:
As for the 8Mb flash, I'll try the test when I get home tonight and see how I fare. I'm more inclined to think it's the flash though, and not my system since I have tired it on two different computers, one of them having 32 OS's that I've tried the major OS's with, and regardless of computer, OS or image, the flash programming always fails at 3F/7F. Do my postings of where the failure occured have no meaning? I expected it might enlighten you to where/what the problem could be. Thanks for your help.


I'm thinking its the cart too since its the same sector every time, but the tests will shed more light on it.

Steve


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:04 pm
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Well, I recieved the replacement 8Mb flashcart the other day, and finally had a chance to check it out yesterday. I had no luck at first, with loads failing, in fact, when I put the cartridge in my XE, half the time it reads it as a 4Mb and half an 8Mb. but it wasn't failing at the same place all the time. I did finally manage to get Ultima IV loaded again. I think I used XL/XE OS rev. C. After than I tried several other images with no luck, failures at different places, etc. I loaded up the Testcart image again and after several attempts I finally successfully got the test image loaded. I ran the tests, it did come up with a couple of read errors, and a couple of fast bankswitch errors. I erased and reloaded the testcart, and things worked all right this time (I switched to 800 OS B). I then successfully loaded the first TEST image full of games here at AtariMax. With the above, I finally got it all working by reducing everything to the lowest common denominator: On A.P.E I slowed I/O down to single speed, and I use 800 OS B. It seems to be the only way I can do successful iamage loads, even if the cartridge will not work under 800 OS B when finished. Also, most times, even if the cartridge is successfully loaded, it still says the programming FAILED. Though this is something I'm used to from formatting disks and writing images back to disk with A.P.E '98 anyway, it always says both have FAILED even when they are successful. So, bottom line, I seem to have a working Flashcart, but it's a very picky device. I'm lucky, becuase I have so many options to try out, and find whatever works consistantly, but I'm suprised more people haven't had problems, especially those with only the standard OS for their computer. It is a cool device though, I love using it on my 800 (after programming it on my 1200XL with an 800 OS) with all the classic games at my fingertips.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 5:56 pm 
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Strange that it would be so unstable in your setup.

If you do any programming of it in the future, try using a different power supply with the computer and see if your results change at all.

Steve


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 9:15 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:04 pm
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classics wrote:
Strange that it would be so unstable in your setup.

If you do any programming of it in the future, try using a different power supply with the computer and see if your results change at all.

Steve


OK. I have now successfully loaded an image with XL/XE Rev.C that isn't U4. But it still took several attempts. I'm wondering if my com cable from my A.P.E. PC might be too long? But I've never had any loading any other programs directly with it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:09 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:46 am
Posts: 48
Gunstar,

I have 2 130XE's -

One of them I cant load cart images on my 8mbit carts :( - I cant play most of the carts in it either. Having said that, it also doesnt work with my BattleZone XE Cart, though all other carts work fine. Im a bit po'd since I have 320K upgrade, 32n1 and MyIDEi installed - I wanted an 'everything' XE!!!

My 2nd XE has the old 4n1 OS but all the cart stuff works fine(including battlezone).

I will try the diagnostic stuff Steve mentioned above and post my results (though I just lost the TV my XE was running on ;) )



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:23 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:49 am
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Location: Salzburg, Austria
It could also be a hardware/timing problem with your 130XE. Try connecting pin 2 and pin 4 of the 74LS08.

so long,

Hias


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:51 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:46 am
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HiassofT wrote:
It could also be a hardware/timing problem with your 130XE. Try connecting pin 2 and pin 4 of the 74LS08.

so long,

Hias


Due to Battlezone not working Im positive that my 130XE has an issue - Im not hardware guy but what would connecting these 2 pins do?



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:00 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:49 am
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Location: Salzburg, Austria
goochman wrote:
Im not hardware guy but what would connecting these 2 pins do?


It will shorten the high-time of PHI2 by ANDing it with PHI0. This approach was suggested by Bob Woolley to solve write problems with external devices on the Atari (mainly with the BlackBox) in his "Stabilizing the Atari XL/XE" modification.

Here's a short explanation what this modification really does:

The PHI2 (phase 2) clock output of the CPU signals if the address-and data-bus lines are valid. At the falling edge of PHI2 (high-to-low transition) the bus cycles end and all ICs update their data from the current values on the data lines. If the CPU writes data to an IC (either internal RAM, one of the custom chips, or to your flashcart), it sets address and data lines and the IC takes this information just at the falling edge of PHI2 (or maybe some few ns before that, depending on the IC). When reading data, the CPU sets the address lines, the IC uses these address lines and places the data corresponding to the address on the data bus. The CPU of the Atari then reads the data quite some time before the falling edge of PHI2 - the CPU is slow and doesn't "notice" if data changes in the last 10 or 20 ns before the falling edge.

That's the theory. But what's all this stuff for?

The basic problem is that Atari really produced (and also sold!) a lot of crap, especially the later XL models and most of the XE series didn't meet Atari's own specifications. If you use a scope, you'll notice that the falling edge of PHI2 happens way too late, at a time when the address and/or data-bus is already invalid. This is/was almost no problem with the ICs in the Atari, since most of these ICs are quite slow.

But it's a desaster if you are using modern, fast ICs. These ICs will notice the difference. It is no problem when the CPU reads from these ICs (the CPU reads data from the data bus, then deactivates the address bus, the external IC will place other data on the data bus, and at last PHI2 goes low and the external IC shuts down the data bus). Now let's see what's happening on writes: The CPU sets address and data, PHI2 goes high. The IC ignores all this (since it's only triggering on the falling edge of PHI2). Now, towards the end of the bus-cycle the CPU releases the address and data bus and shortly after that PHI2 goes low. Depending on the actual timing some of the address and data bus lines might still be valid, some of them are already invalid. You can imagine what this means:

Wrong data might be written to the IC, or data might be written into a wrong address, or wrong data might be written to a wrong address. All of this is _really_ bad.

This small modification isn't too clean (since it also shortens the high-time of the read-cycles), but works with the Atari since the Atari-CPU is so slow. It also has the drawback that a modification inside the Atari is necessary and you need some soldering skills. BTW: in an 800XL you have to connect pins 4 and 13 of the 74LS08.

There's also a solution for this problem which doesn't need to be built inside the Atari and can be included on external devices (I used this approach on my TurboFreezer): Use the PHI2 signal for all read operation, but generate new timing for write operations. A 74LS123 (or 74HCT123) with a 33pF capacitor and a 5k6 resistor, A-input tied to GND, B-input connected to PHI2, eliminates all write problems. It works as a "one-shot" with defined pulse-time (set by R and C), synchronized to the raising edge of PHI2. This new clock signal has its falling edge quite some time earlier compared to the original PHI2 and therefore the write operation happens at a time when both the address bus and data bus are still valid.

I hope I didn't confuse you too much :-)

so long,

Hias


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:00 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:46 am
Posts: 48
STEVE:

Just curious if you would feel comfortable performing this change to my 130XE to see if I can get it to work with the Flashcarts?

Or,
Do you think this wouldnt make any difference?



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 9:25 am 
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Sure I can do it, though I havent tried it myself so I dont know if it will make a difference in this case. PM me and I'll send you my address.

Steve


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 11:20 am 
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My dad purchased an 8MB cart from you awhile ago, but never got around to programming it. I was trying to program it this past weekend but was getting stuck. It's an EXEPACKER I'm attempting to program.

Before having problems with his cart I should mention that I re-programmed my own 1MB cart before this with no issues

Af first I thought it was my laptop timing out, but even after clearing that up (I think I had a loose wire) it still freezes at, I think, 10/7F every time (I could have the numbers wrong, but the gist is correct).

This morning I went back to the image I was creating, wondering if perhaps it was that. I had maxflash.pl generate a .car image as well as the .bin.

The .bin image works in Atari800Win Plus 4.0, but .car image does not, it just goes to the Self Test screen (or crashes if I try to run it on an OSB machine).

Here's what I used to generate the image: "perl maxflash.pl -exepacker -cheese -cart -osb -altptr -8mb "C:\WIP1" MaxFlashExe.bin"

(I actually tried it with and with -altptr with the same results)

And here is the bin and car files. So is it me, or is it the cart?


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