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Indus Ramcharger Help


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#1 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:50 AM

Does anybody know how to boot one of these into CP/M?

I picked up an Indus drive recently that has a Ramcharger board in it. I found the CP/M disks for it here:

http://retrobits.net/atari/indus.shtml

I made floppy copies of all the images and I can boot the 40-80 Column terminal disk from the INDUS, but I can't figure out what to do from there. I put the CP/M boot disk in at that point and I assume that there is some way to issue a boot command to the Indus from the terminal program but I cant figure out what it is. I've tried every keystroke and key combination I can think of but can't get the drive to respond to anything once I'm in the terminal program.

#2 Larry OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 22, 2007 4:36 AM

Does anybody know how to boot one of these into CP/M?

I picked up an Indus drive recently that has a Ramcharger board in it. I found the CP/M disks for it here:

http://retrobits.net/atari/indus.shtml

I made floppy copies of all the images and I can boot the 40-80 Column terminal disk from the INDUS, but I can't figure out what to do from there. I put the CP/M boot disk in at that point and I assume that there is some way to issue a boot command to the Indus from the terminal program but I cant figure out what it is. I've tried every keystroke and key combination I can think of but can't get the drive to respond to anything once I'm in the terminal program.


Nice find! Not an answer to your question, but does the Track Buffer work on yours?

-Larry

#3 TXG/MNX OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:02 AM

Any photo's of the ramcharger upgrade in the indus GT and/or schematics or is it just software to load inside the indus GT????

#4 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 22, 2007 11:30 AM

Nice find! Not an answer to your question, but does the Track Buffer work on yours?

-Larry


Hi Larry,

I'm not sure, but I don't think so. How would I go about testing that? It doesn't seem any faster than a regular Indus and seems to need to read the disk every time, even when just accessing a few sectors on the same track repatedly.

The drive is pretty beat up and does have some issues. It reads and writes pretty good but can't successfully format a disk. I tried booting with a Super Syncromesh DOS XL Disk that works on my other Indus' and it locks up the drive. I think I'll try swapping the board into another drive that I know to be in good shape and see if I get any better results.


Any photo's of the ramcharger upgrade in the indus GT and/or schematics or is it just software to load inside the indus GT????


I don't have any documentation on the Ramcharger at all. All I got was the drive with the board in it. I found ATR images of the CP/M and Terminal disks online, but can't find any other documentation on this item at all! I'll take some picures of the board in and out of a drive when I swap it to another drive.

#5 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 22, 2007 11:44 AM

I've had one of the Ramcharger's sitting here in my 'to fiddle with' pile. Thanks for pointing out that link, I'll grab the disks from there and pop the board into one of my Indus drives here and see if it does anything :) Some documentation sure would be nice.

Here's a pic:

ramcharger.jpg

#6 TXG/MNX OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:15 PM

I really would love to find the schematic for this one :)

#7 MEtalGuy66 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 22, 2007 7:44 PM

I really would love to find the schematic for this one :)


Welp, from the picture, and the ICs I see on the boards, its pretty obviously just a RAM upgrade for the drive's internal processor... Pretty hilarious (also pretty damn innovative for the time) that they actually made a version of CP/M to run on a disk drive's internal processor. I guess they were trying to compete with the ATR8000 system.

#8 sup8pdct OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:09 PM

I've had one of the Ramcharger's sitting here in my 'to fiddle with' pile. Thanks for pointing out that link, I'll grab the disks from there and pop the board into one of my Indus drives here and see if it does anything :) Some documentation sure would be nice.

Here's a pic:

ramcharger.jpg


Can you please name the chips on the board? I can make out 3 ls chips and the ram chips
74LS244
74LS157 x 2
the orange one is a resistor network of some type.

A schametic would be nice too :)

james

#9 sup8pdct OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:34 PM

hmmmm. Things are starting to stir in my old memory.
Go here http://ape.dyndns.org:8083/BRADFORD/ and download the INDUSGTD.ATR file
it is the indus gt diagnostic disk. no idea if it includes ramcharger testing or not.

Another thing is if a couple of buttons are pressed while turning on the drive, a self diagnostic mode is turned on.
There is a short and a long version. the long version needs a special SIO shorting plug.
I have here somewhere a book and schematics. Will need to dig very hard to find them tho.

James

#10 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 23, 2007 1:22 AM

hmmmm. Things are starting to stir in my old memory.
Go here http://ape.dyndns.org:8083/BRADFORD/ and download the INDUSGTD.ATR file
it is the indus gt diagnostic disk. no idea if it includes ramcharger testing or not.

Another thing is if a couple of buttons are pressed while turning on the drive, a self diagnostic mode is turned on.
There is a short and a long version. the long version needs a special SIO shorting plug.
I have here somewhere a book and schematics. Will need to dig very hard to find them tho.

James


Yeah, I had found that Diagnostic disk, but it doesn't have anything for the ramcharger. Just FYI that diagnostic disk does not seem to like APE. When I would RUN "D:DIAGS" with APE drives active, it would lock up with a heart character on the screen. Disable APE and the diagnostic program runs fine.

Thanks for the suggestion about the buttons. That has gotten me a little further. After booting the terminal disk and loading the terminal program, Insert the CP/M boot disk and press and hold the "Drive Type" button and press the Track button on the fron of the drive. This seems to cycle the drive between 3 "modes" 1A, 1b, and 1C as displayed on the LED's. After selecting a mode, press and hold "drive Type" again and press 'Error". This seems to reset the drive and it tries to initiate itself from the disk in the mechanism. The result of this is dependent on the mode selected.

In mode 1A I get a G5 error on the panel and nothing on the screen

In mode 1b the drive loads some data from the disk and this appears on the screen:

FUTURE CPM 2.2 REV 1.0
Hit return to continue
COPYRIGHT © 1979, DIGITAL RESEARCH

Unfortunately, hitting return does nothing and the drive appears to be locked up.

Similarily, from mode 1C the same first 2 lines appear, but not the third:

FUTURE CPM 2.2 REV 1.0
Hit return to continue

And again the drive seems to be locked up.

#11 drac030 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 23, 2007 1:46 AM

The "modes" 1A, 1C and 1b you mention are just densities AFAIK: single, medium and double, respectively. If the disk you have is DD, I don't think it helps the drive to read it, when you force the device to another density before.

#12 sup8pdct OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:18 AM

The "modes" 1A, 1C and 1b you mention are just densities AFAIK: single, medium and double, respectively. If the disk you have is DD, I don't think it helps the drive to read it, when you force the device to another density before.


That is correct .
the self diagnosis is started by holding some buttons down while turning on the drive. i think it is 3 of them.
I must find the details about the shorting plug it would help too.
Not surprised the diagnosis doesn't like ape. it sends many strange commands to the indus.

James

#13 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 23, 2007 10:23 AM

The "modes" 1A, 1C and 1b you mention are just densities AFAIK: single, medium and double, respectively. If the disk you have is DD, I don't think it helps the drive to read it, when you force the device to another density before.


Thanks, I didn't know you could set the density that way. That would explain why I get an error in 1A since the CP/M disk is Double density.

#14 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:36 PM

I made floppy copies of all the images and I can boot the 40-80 Column terminal disk from the INDUS, but I can't figure out what to do from there. I put the CP/M boot disk in at that point and I assume that there is some way to issue a boot command to the Indus from the terminal program but I cant figure out what it is. I've tried every keystroke and key combination I can think of but can't get the drive to respond to anything once I'm in the terminal program.

Yeah, that's pretty much where I am at the moment. I assume that the terminal is the first step on the road to CPM, followed by the BIOS, then BOOT disks but who knows. Just a hint of documentation somewhere would be great.

When you're in the terminal do you see anything on the screen ever besides the cursor? I don't.

#15 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:23 PM

Yeah, that's pretty much where I am at the moment. I assume that the terminal is the first step on the road to CPM, followed by the BIOS, then BOOT disks but who knows. Just a hint of documentation somewhere would be great.

When you're in the terminal do you see anything on the screen ever besides the cursor? I don't.


See my later post above. Once you are in the terminal, put in the CP/M boot disk and press the "Drive Type" and "Error" buttons simultaneously. This seems to initiate the loading of CP/M from the disk, but so far it just locks up after showing the CP/M messages on the screen.

I have also found that it appears to make a difference which BOIS version you have in the Indus. The two button press doesn't seem to work with version 1.4. With 1.2 I get the behavior noted above, but in a drive with 1.4, pressing the buttons puts an "E" in the display and does not try to load from the disk. It might just be that drive though. I have another 1.2 drive that I'm going to try next.

I also found that, in that 1.4 drive at least, putting the Ramcharger board in, made the drive less reliable. Tesing without the board the drive would boot disks fine, with the board in, it would get several read errors on those same disks. It would usually be able to get by the errors, but it was noticably worse with the board in. I suspect that may be due to the extra power needs.

#16 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:05 PM

See my later post above. Once you are in the terminal, put in the CP/M boot disk and press the "Drive Type" and "Error" buttons simultaneously. This seems to initiate the loading of CP/M from the disk, but so far it just locks up after showing the CP/M messages on the screen.

Doh, missed that. Trying it on the drive here doesn't do anything other than show the error status display. I'll stick the board in the other two and see what they do.

#17 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:43 PM

Okay, I tried the board in the three drives. The ROM v1.00 and v1.10 drives don't respond to that key combo other than showing the error display. The v1.20 drive responds to it by spinning up, seeking to track 0, making the keypress beep, moving the head around a bit and then just returns to 39. Nothing on the screen. :(

#18 sup8pdct OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:37 AM

More things are stirring in my old memory again. There is a key combation that would make the drive read the disk to determine the density.
I think the one of which you speak is the one.
Also. have you tried the cp/m disks with REV B atari os (atari800)?
Just a thought.

James

#19 sup8pdct OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:10 AM

Just a question. have you tried the ramcharger util disk??

James

#20 drac030 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:43 AM

Insert the CP/M boot disk (...), press and hold "drive Type" again and press 'Error". This seems to reset the drive and it tries to initiate itself from the disk in the mechanism.


What if you try the same with the other disk - i.e. CP/M BIOS?

#21 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:47 AM

sup8pdct and drac030....thanks for the suggestions, keep 'em coming.

Yes I have tried booting from all 3 of the CP/M disks and from various OS's including an 800 OS. The results were all the same.....displays the CP/M messages and then the drive just freezes.

I also tested all the RAM and it all tested good. I went ahead and replaced the RAM anyway and the results were again the same.

I'm beginning to wonder if there might have been some copy protection or other CP/M data that was not preserved by the ATR images.

#22 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:37 PM

I almost forgot to post the pictures.

IMG_1177.JPG
IMG_1178.JPG
IMG_1180.JPG

I also noticed there was an extra Serial number label on the bottom of the drive that the board was in.
IMG_1184.JPG

#23 sup8pdct OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:58 PM

sup8pdct and drac030....thanks for the suggestions, keep 'em coming.

Yes I have tried booting from all 3 of the CP/M disks and from various OS's including an 800 OS. The results were all the same.....displays the CP/M messages and then the drive just freezes.

I also tested all the RAM and it all tested good. I went ahead and replaced the RAM anyway and the results were again the same.

I'm beginning to wonder if there might have been some copy protection or other CP/M data that was not preserved by the ATR images.


I have been thinking and believe I have found what is wrong. A bit of background first.
All atari 8 DD drives that I know of Will only send/receive 128 bytes of data for sectors 1, 2 and 3. this so the OS can read the boot strap routine stored on the drive to boot dos etc because the disk boot routine was written only with 128 byte segments in mind. Once the boot strap is loaded, it takes over and continues to load dos using 256 byte segments. The drive itself will write the 256 bytes for sectors 1 -3 with the 2nd 128 bytes padded out with what ever is in memory of the drive.
I believe that CP/M disks are 256 byte right from sector 1 so 384 bytes of information is missing from the ATR files. ATR files I believe are setup in the same way with no space in the atr file what so ever for the extra data at all. What you will need to do is to get a disk from another source or an image file that can be written with a 360K mech connected to the pc. Maybe someone with an ATR8000 cpm disk could help you out.
By the way, What does the Super sincromesh disk do?

James

#24 sup8pdct OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:02 PM

IMG_1178.JPG


Hmmmm. not so easy copied. there is a PAL chip on board. one must work out it,s functions first.

James

#25 cas OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:35 PM

By the way, What does the Super sincromesh disk do?

James



The super synchromesh driver loads a special firmware (Z80 Code) into the Indus and enables highspeed SIO transfer.

Might that be right?

Carsten




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