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ADAMnet SD Drive Released by MicroFox / A.N.N.


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#51 adamcon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 7, 2016 7:32 PM

The IDE CF Card Package is still a very viable option even with the release of the Adamnet SD Drive and it really shines in T-DOS where you have four readily available partitions up to 8Mb in size to store all your files instead of them being split up over numerous floppy disks that have to be kept track of and inserted/removed from an actual drive. IE: try running WordStar from floppy disk or data pack and then run it from the IDE CF Card... case closed.

Just think of the SD Drive as an actaul disk drive where you have to look thru your disk case of 100 disks to find the one you want and then insert it in the drive... including the Adam Super Games.

RIGHT ON Niad.  You are totally correct and accurate with your description.  As to your next post about jumping ahead say 10 disks; no that is not possible, you must unmount the current disk then push NEXT 10 times, mount that disk and use it.  It is just a matter of pushing the button 10 times as the name of the disk is displayed on the screen.  Adding too many features makes the programming cumbersome and possible could slow it down, it only runs at the speed of a normal Coleco disk drive due to it's ADAMnet compatability.


Edited by adamcon, Mon Nov 7, 2016 7:35 PM.


#52 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 7, 2016 8:49 PM

The IDE CF Card Package is still a very viable option even with the release of the Adamnet SD Drive and it really shines in T-DOS where you have four readily available partitions up to 8Mb in size to store all your files instead of them being split up over numerous floppy disks that have to be kept track of and inserted/removed from an actual drive. IE: try running WordStar from floppy disk or data pack and then run it from the IDE CF Card... case closed.

Just think of the SD Drive as an actaul disk drive where you have to look thru your disk case of 100 disks to find the one you want and then insert it in the drive... including the Adam Super Games.

The IDE interface should be faster since it bypasses the ADAMNet serial interface


Edited by JamesD, Mon Nov 7, 2016 8:50 PM.


#53 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 8, 2016 7:08 AM

The IDE interface should be faster since it bypasses the ADAMNet serial interface

Indeed, quite a bit faster.

There are drawbacks to the IDE CF setup such as some of the incompatibilities with software such as the Super Games, but when you weigh in the speed of operation and the large partitions sizes (2Mb up to 8Mb), the drawbacks aren't so bad. Thankfully most of these software incompatibilties have been addressed and patches/hacks developed to get as much working as possible.

#54 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 8, 2016 11:05 AM

I would prefer to have an ADAMnet version of the SD drive since it would work just like an ADAMnet disk drive in theory. The disadvantage of the Adamnet version as mentioned is the speed is slower compared to the IDE interface.

 

Instead of having an IDE interface SD drive for the ADAM, in theory if a programmer were to completely rewrite the Coleco EOS, it should be possible to turn the Atarimax Ultimate SD cartridge into a Adam SD drive.

http://www.atarimax..../documentation/

 

I see people in this thread asking to be added to the list, so I am guessing only the prototype has been released. I am guessing that I cannot purchase this ADAM SD drive at this time. Is the ADAM SD drive capable of handling 2TB SDXC cards, or is 32GB SDHC cards the maximum size allowed for the ADAM SD drive?

 

It would be ideal to see some official specs and pictures along with price of the ADAM SD drive. I am very interested in this product. It would also be ideal if the ADAMnet version of the SD drive had an option to simulate a 1.44MB floppy drive. I would purchase at least 2 if the ADAMnet version of the SD drive would simulate disk drive number #1 and #2. There are many programs like File Manager, Copycart 2.0, and others that work with 1.44MB floppy drive images. 1.44MB ADAMnet floppy drives work with 100% of all Coleco ADAM software that was designed for 160k disk drive images. Of course to use the maximum space on a SD card the ADAMnet SD drive needs to operate like a huge hard drive with up to 2TB of storage capability. Just imagine the quality of the ADAM games that could be made with a 32GB-2TB SD card.        


Edited by HDTV1080P, Tue Nov 8, 2016 11:09 AM.


#55 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 8, 2016 12:56 PM

Why would the Coleco EOS have to be completely rewritten? We have the AtariMax Ultimate SD Cart for running rom images and now we have the Adamnet SD Drive for running disk and data pack (renamed of course to *.ds? ) image file. One plugs into the cartridge port and the other connects to the Adamnet port.

There were 2 prototypes and about 10 units initially made to put up for sale. These 10 have been sold and another run is in the works so request to be added to the waiting list quick... they will sell out fast.

The entire Adam software archive does not even come close to totaling 32Gb, so why even worry about if the unit supports a 2Tb SD Card?

The price is $130 as has been mentioned, here and on adamcon's website.

The SD Drive can work as disk drive #1 or #2 as has been mentioned.

The SD Drive is compatible with 1.44mb disk images as has been mentioned.

No one is developing Adam specific game software, so it's hard to imagine such.

#56 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 8, 2016 2:18 PM

                Before the ADAM SD drive was released, there existed the AtariMax Ultimate SD cart, and many years ago I suggested a programmer could re-write the Coleco EOS so that the cartridge slot would act like a SD Adamnet drive. Yes you are correct since someone has made a new dedicated Adamnet SD drive, re-writing the Coleco EOS is not needed.

 

The AtariMax Ultimate SD cart works with up to 32GB SDHC cards. I was wondering if the new ADAM SD drive had the technical capability to work with either 2TB SDXC or 32GB SDHC cards. It would be nice to know the maximum SD card capability of the device. In the future smaller size SD cards will be going out of production as higher capacity cards are released in the future. It would be nice to know what the maximum capability of the ADAM SD device is.

 

I am trying to decide if I want an ADAMnet or IDE version. It sounds like the ADAMnet version would be better since it has less software patches that is needed at the cost of being slower in speed. The high-end fast SDXC cards are so much more faster than the ADAM computer, it must be the ADAMnet interface which is much slower than the IDE interface. 


Edited by HDTV1080P, Tue Nov 8, 2016 2:21 PM.


#57 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 8, 2016 4:55 PM

In this day and age of retro-computing, it really is all about gaming so your choice is a pretty easy one, the Adamnet SD Drive, since it is compatible with all Adam software... especially the Super Games.

#58 jblenkle OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:49 AM

OK, I've got a question...

 

Is there any way within this device to create a disk image? So if this device was installed as Drive 1 and you have a real disk drive as Drive 2, could you stick a disk in Drive 2 and create a disk image of it on Drive 1? Perhaps through an external program that could be written for this purpose?

 

or

 

If it can't actually create a disk image, I'm assuming using the same drive configuration mentioned above, you could simply use a copy program to copy a real disk from Drive 2 onto a blank disk image on Drive 1.

 

This certainly would eliminate having to muck around with a DOS PC machine and DCOPY to write real ADAM disks to disk images or disk images to ADAM disks.



#59 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:57 PM

            I agree with jblenkle, this ADAMnet SD drive would be ideal if it could simulate a 1.44MB disk drive with device #1, #2, #3, and #4. The latest version of File Manager supports up to 4 floppy drives.

 

I and many Coleco ADAM fans would purchase this ADAMnet SD device if it could operate like a ADAM disk drive without any special software needed. A blank 2GB SD card can be purchased online for $2.23. A Coleco ADAM user might want to purchase several of these blank $2.23 SD cards and use them like blank 1.44MB disks. One SD card might have Buck Rodgers Supergame on it, while another SD card might have Donkey Kong the Supergame. Also having one larger 32GB SD card would be ideal for holding every single program every made for the ADAM computer, along with the ability to partition the unused portion of the 32GB SD card as useable RAM.

 

If one can use the SD drive as a real disk drive like mentioned above. I would purchase a minimum of 2 and possible 4 drives.  


Edited by HDTV1080P, Fri Nov 11, 2016 5:06 PM.


#60 adamcon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:45 PM

OK, I've got a question...

 

Is there any way within this device to create a disk image? So if this device was installed as Drive 1 and you have a real disk drive as Drive 2, could you stick a disk in Drive 2 and create a disk image of it on Drive 1? Perhaps through an external program that could be written for this purpose?

 

or

 

If it can't actually create a disk image, I'm assuming using the same drive configuration mentioned above, you could simply use a copy program to copy a real disk from Drive 2 onto a blank disk image on Drive 1.

 

This certainly would eliminate having to muck around with a DOS PC machine and DCOPY to write real ADAM disks to disk images or disk images to ADAM disks.

The short answer is...............................wait for it........................YES; simply use Filemanager and block copy from one drive to the other.  Only downfall is that you cannot reneame the disk unless you pop it out, put it into your laptop and rename the disk, then all is well with the world.  OR name all the disks things you want, then block copy from other drives onto the disks you had prenamed.



#61 adamcon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:46 PM

            I agree with jblenkle, this ADAMnet SD drive would be ideal if it could simulate a 1.44MB disk drive with device #1, #2, #3, and #4. The latest version of File Manager supports up to 4 floppy drives.

 

I and many Coleco ADAM fans would purchase this ADAMnet SD device if it could operate like a ADAM disk drive without any special software needed. A blank 2GB SD card can be purchased online for $2.23. A Coleco ADAM user might want to purchase several of these blank $2.23 SD cards and use them like blank 1.44MB disks. One SD card might have Buck Rodgers Supergame on it, while another SD card might have Donkey Kong the Supergame. Also having one larger 32GB SD card would be ideal for holding every single program every made for the ADAM computer, along with the ability to partition the unused portion of the 32GB SD card as useable RAM.

 

If one can use the SD drive as a real disk drive like mentioned above. I would purchase a minimum of 2 and possible 4 drives.  

It actually simulates 100 disks which can each be 1.44mb if desired.



#62 jblenkle OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:13 PM

OK, thanks...my DOS machine is now cowering in the corner with the thought of losing its job...

 

The short answer is...............................wait for it........................YES; simply use Filemanager and block copy from one drive to the other.  Only downfall is that you cannot reneame the disk unless you pop it out, put it into your laptop and rename the disk, then all is well with the world.  OR name all the disks things you want, then block copy from other drives onto the disks you had prenamed.



#63 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:54 PM

You could emulate a tape or floppy disk off of the IDE drive similar to how an emulator does it.  
You'd have to patch the ADAMnet calls so reads/writes/seeks are only within a file you specify while you run a game, but you could do it.
I see at least two potential problems with this.

The first problem, is that ADAMnet is normally handled by the 6801, so data transfers take place while the Z80 does other things.
A common use for this, is that a game can load the next level while you play.
The IDE interface requires the Z80 to transfer the data byte by byte in a loop, which occupies all CPU time for a period.
This could cause some programs that load in the background while using the CPU to stutter momentarily.
Since IDE transfers take place so fast, it would probably only mean some messed up frames in a game that has very tight timing between video interrupts.
As long as the driver doesn't disable interrupts, things like music should continue to play normally.  I'd have to check the disassembly to verify that though.
The second, is memory.  The driver and emulation would need to be small enough not to conflict with whatever you are trying to run.
And third, any program that has custom drivers built in that bypass ADAMnet would fail.

Based on my experience and a past discussion, I believe the first issue might be reduced through a partial unrolling of the data transfer loops in the driver.
This would require minor changes to the driver, and it would make all data transfers faster than they already are.
(It's amazing what you learn by optimizing code over and over again.)
The question is, would it be enough?  
If a game loads 256 bytes here and there, it would depend on how much CPU time a program requires.  
If it loads 16K at a shot, the game is going to have a momentary pause and you can't do much about it.
I don't see a fix to the last two issues with the current hardware.


The best solution would be to have a custom IDE interface with selectable interruptable, and non-interruptable DMA transfers.  
Then transfers could take place in the background without stopping the CPU, or as fast as possible which is 1 byte per memory cycle plus the overhead of the Z80 talking to the hardware.
I'd have to look at the 6801 interface to know if it steals CPU clock cycles accessing RAM.  If it steals clock cycles, then it's just a matter of reducing the DMA transfer rate to 1 memory cycle out of however many.  


*edit*
If you could patch a game so it calls a routine that loads a few bytes of the last read each time, that would probably do the trick.
 


Edited by JamesD, Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:00 PM.


#64 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:00 PM

            I agree with jblenkle, this ADAMnet SD drive would be ideal if it could simulate a 1.44MB disk drive with device #1, #2, #3, and #4. The latest version of File Manager supports up to 4 floppy drives.

The ADAMnet SD Drive is fully compatible (can simulate in your words) with 1.44Mb disk images. This has been mentioned previously in this thread. As far as supporting up to 4 floppy drives.... the actual Firmware/BIOS Prom Chip on the controller board in the ADAM Disk Drive has to be replaced with an updated Firmware/BIOS Prom Chip (think Jim Marshall of MMSG and John Lingrel of Orphanware offered these) in order for Disk Drive #3 and #4 to be recognizable by the ADAM system. It was easy to add support for more than 2 disk drives in software such as File Manager, One-Minute Formatter and T-DOS, but without updating the disk drive firmware, this added support in software programs is useless.

 

I and many Coleco ADAM fans would purchase this ADAMnet SD device if it could operate like a ADAM disk drive without any special software needed.

 

IT DOES !!!

 

If one can use the SD drive as a real disk drive like mentioned above. I would purchase a minimum of 2 and possible 4 drives.  

 

YOU CAN !!!


Edited by NIAD, Sat Nov 19, 2016 8:02 PM.


#65 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:10 PM

            Micro Innovations had ADAMnet 1.44MB disk drives that could be installed with a special eprom if one wanted to have up to 4 disk drives on the ADAM computer. The standard eprom would allow drive #1 and #2 that was selected by a toggle switch on the back of the disk drive. Then customers by request could request from Micro Innovations a eprom that would allow the toggle switch on the disk drive to do device #3 and #4. When pulling the reset button on the ADAM computer disk drive #1 and #2 was bootable for programs using ADAMnet, however disk drive #3 and #4 were not bootable since the Coleco electronic operating system only used the 2 Digital DATA drives and 2 Disk drives as bootable devices from ADAMnet. So disk drive #3 and #4 only became useable with special programs like File Manager. Some ADAM owners had all their programs on 1.44MB disks and they used 3.5 inch disk drives for device #1 and #2. Then disk drives number #3 and #4 were normally 5 ¼ 320K floppy drives used to copy programs back and forth between 3.5 inch disk drives. 3.5 inch disk drives are faster, more storage capacity, and more reliable when compared to 5 ¼” inch disk drives.

 

It is my understanding that the ADAMNet SD drive is for simulating disk drive #1 and #2 only. At this time it does not sound like there is software support for disk drive #3 and #4 with the ADAMnet SD drive.   


Edited by HDTV1080P, Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:10 PM.


#66 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:51 AM

I'm done beating my head against a brick wall. :roll:
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#67 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:33 AM

On the beta test units of the MicroFox ADAMnet SD Drive there is a jumper on the bottom of the pcb that allows the toggle switch to change the ADAMNet SD Drive to drives #3 and #4 (On the final production models my source was unclear if that feature exists). The ideal design for the ADAMNet SD drive would be to have a 4 position toggle switch so that one could change the ADAMNet SD drive to drive #1, #2, #3, and #4. 


Edited by HDTV1080P, Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:34 AM.


#68 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:59 PM

Why a firmware update will be needed in the future for all consumer SD card devices that do not currently except SDXC cards (some products will need a hardware upgrade if no firmware update is possible)

 

The SD card manufacturers have stopped manufacturing SD cards under 2GB. Currently a 32GB SDHC card can be purchased for $9.25 with free shipping. In the future the SD card manufacturers are planning on discontinuing 2GB to 32GB SDHC cards (perhaps in a few years). The SD card industry is moving to 32GB to 2TB SDXC cards, which use the exFAT file system. Smartphones and consumer camcorders need up to 2TB of storage for recording 4K Ultra HD 3840 x 2160P resolution. The Atarimax Ultimate SD cartridge with its current firmware will support both the FAT and FAT32 file system with up to 32GB SDHC cards. In the future Atarimax plans on releasing a firmware update to both the Atari 5200 Ultimate SD cartridge and ColecoVision/ADAM Ultimate SD cartridge. This new firmware update will allow the Ultimate SD cartridges to work with 32GB to 2TB SDXC cards.

 

The MicroFox Virtual ADAM SD Drives have been tested with 2GB SDHC cards, and in theory the product should work with 32GB SDHC cards using the FAT32 file system. However in the future when the industry stops making all 2GB to 32GB SDHC cards, then hopefully the MicroFox Virtual ADAM SD Drives will be able to receive a firmware update so that they will work with 32GB to 2TB SDXC cards that use the exFAT file system.             


Edited by HDTV1080P, Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:02 PM.


#69 adamcon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:31 PM

 

This can of course write back to the "disk" as well from the Adam, right?

Bill everything I try to contact you either bounces or something.  Please PM me with a valid email I can use to get you a VDD unit



#70 adamcon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:35 PM

                Before the ADAM SD drive was released, there existed the AtariMax Ultimate SD cart, and many years ago I suggested a programmer could re-write the Coleco EOS so that the cartridge slot would act like a SD Adamnet drive. Yes you are correct since someone has made a new dedicated Adamnet SD drive, re-writing the Coleco EOS is not needed.

 

The AtariMax Ultimate SD cart works with up to 32GB SDHC cards. I was wondering if the new ADAM SD drive had the technical capability to work with either 2TB SDXC or 32GB SDHC cards. It would be nice to know the maximum SD card capability of the device. In the future smaller size SD cards will be going out of production as higher capacity cards are released in the future. It would be nice to know what the maximum capability of the ADAM SD device is.

 

I am trying to decide if I want an ADAMnet or IDE version. It sounds like the ADAMnet version would be better since it has less software patches that is needed at the cost of being slower in speed. The high-end fast SDXC cards are so much more faster than the ADAM computer, it must be the ADAMnet interface which is much slower than the IDE interface. 

Shon, PM a valid email address for you please



#71 BillLoguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:05 AM

Bill everything I try to contact you either bounces or something.  Please PM me with a valid email I can use to get you a VDD unit

 

It's OK now and payment sent. Thanks.



#72 adamcon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:14 AM

 

It's OK now and payment sent. Thanks.

Got it Bill, departs on the sleigh soon!!  :grin:



#73 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:58 AM

On the Coleco ADAM Facebook page, John Lundy has posted pics of a number of mods he has made to the MicroFox ADAMnet Virtual Disk Drive. Posted here, but check out the Facebook page where he also posted full details of his internal mounting in the Memory Console of a VDD drive.

 

From John:

 

External VDD mod project this time around. I wanted to have an external VDD with all the same upgrades I did on my internal VDD project. I went with soft tactile switches to get rid of the hard to push noisy originals, upgraded to a white character LCD, modified circuit board to always have backlight on, added micro SD to SD flex cable inside unit, and used better looking screws for the front panel. Also, just added a power switch.

Parts used:

- Micro SD to SD flex adapter - Amazon P/N# B00S6AMWK2
- Tactile switches (will need to add a piece of perf board under to make the correct height - Mouser P/N# 688-SKHHAN (qty 3)
- White character LCD - Mouser P/N# HDM16216L-5-Y10S

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