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jaybird3rd last won the day on April 29

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  1. Excellent work! I'll be very excited to try these new features! Thank you very much for taking the time to implement them. I know of only one 1541 prototype interface. It's been a long time since I looked into it, but I recall seeing photos and documentation on the old Yahoo! Aquarius Group—the documentation was transcribed for the Aquaricart—but I'm afraid I don't recall seeing a schematic, or even detailed pictures of the interface.
  2. Interested! I've got three 5200 consoles, so I'm sure I'll find a use for it!
  3. Sorry about that! I'll have a new ROM for you this evening. The only change will be to move the bankswitch address from $C000 to $E000; I'll also bump the version number. EDIT: Check your PM for the new ROM.
  4. Very exciting developments, thank you! See my answers below ... The SuperCart uses a 74LS374 flip-flop to control the bankswitching. Its initial state on powerup is undefined (according to the datasheets), so theoretically, any bank could be selected as the initial bank when using 16K mode. In practice, however, the '374s that I use in the Aquaricart almost always start at Bank 0, or (much more rarely) at the last bank; I strategically copied the Aquaricart startup code into both banks, just in case. So, for emulation purposes, I think that Bank 0 would be a reasonable "default" choice. I think that Bank 0 would be a reasonable default for the secondary bank in 8K mode as well, for the same reason given earlier. It isn't nearly as important in 8K mode: in this mode, the primary bank is always guaranteed to be the last bank, and the programmers have the ability to initialize the secondary bank to whatever number they wish before using it. My intention is to use 8K mode exclusively for new bankswitched cartridge software; the 16K mode was enabled solely for the Aquaricart. Ah, I had forgotten about that code. Setting that bit is a leftover from the now-deprecated "lockout feature" that I initially added to the SuperCart design; in the absence of this feature, it would have no effect on real hardware. Bit 7 of the '374 is unused, so my original idea was to use that bit as a software switch to enable/disable the bankswitching; as long as it was held high, bankswitching was allowed. This feature would have created more problems than it would have fixed, and it was removed from the design before it was ever used, so it does not need to be emulated. Excellent! I'll be excited to see it! I'm especially looking forward to testing new cartridge software with it, which will be very convenient. It occurs to me that the current Aquaricart ROM might still be using the secondary bank ($C000) instead of the primary bank ($E000) as the target write address for bank switches. As I mentioned in the SuperCart thread, I later decided to restrict bank switches to writes in the primary bank only; I will be adding an EEPROM to the SuperCart II, so I wanted to leave the secondary bank available for writable memory. It wouldn't make any difference on real hardware, but I should update the Aquaricart ROM to reflect this restriction, so that it can be reflected in the emulator also. I'll send you a patched version of the ROM shortly. You may not need it anymore, but I'll send you a copy of the standalone Mini Expander Diagnostic ROM also. The only emulator (as far as I know) that emulates the hand controller is Virtual Aquarius. As I recall, it emulates only the primary eight directions (N, E, S, W, NE, SE, SW, and NW), and the six hand controller keys are hard-coded to the first six controller buttons. It will be very nice to be able to re-map these controls in MAME!
  5. Ah, thank you. To the best of my knowledge, that feature was never used. It was intended for use with the never-released Master Expander (aka Maxi-Expander).
  6. I can send you a collection of trimmed ROMs; I'll just need a day or two to put them together. The Mini Expander Diagnostic was an internal Radofin tool for testing the Mini Expander PSG and hand controllers, as well as RAM modules. A dump of the original hasn't been made public, but it is available in the Aquaricart. Which memory mapper are you referring to?
  7. I believe that all memory interfaced through the cartridge port is encrypted, no matter where in the memory map it appears, including RAM. In fact, now that you mention it, I seem to recall that I had to encrypt the Aquarius II Extended BASIC ROM in order to get it to work on my test cartridge board ... and that I had to encrypt it differently for "S1" and "S2" machines, since there is some difference in the way they initialize the software lock on startup. I'll remember the specifics as soon as I look at the "S1" ROM again, after I finally dump it ...
  8. To the best of my knowledge, the Aquarius II was marketed only by Radofin (and in very limited quantities), after Mattel Electronics dropped the Aquarius. According to the updated Aquarius FAQ, 1984 would be the most reasonable release date for the Aquarius II (see section 4.5 of the FAQ). No, they would conflict. The address decoding logic in the RAM modules always assumes a base address of $4000. The memory map that I posted here depicts how the 4K, 16K, and 32K RAM modules are mapped into that space; as indicated there, they would overlap if they were to be used together. I haven't yet written up a detailed list of the ROM configurations for every cartridge, but as I recall, Extended BASIC and the Mini Expander Diagnostic cartridge were the only officially produced 4K program cartridges; both used a single 4K ROM. AD&D Treasure of Tarmin was 12K (two ROMs, 8K + 4K); all other Aquarius program cartridges were either 8K or 16K. I've opened original samples of every (released) 16K cartridge, and without any exception that I can recall, they all used two 8K ROMs with extra chip select logic. It seems that 16K ROM chips were not widely used until some time later (at least not by Mattel/Radofin). The memory map I linked earlier depicts how ROMs of these various sizes would be mapped into the 16K cartridge space, starting at $C000. (Of course, the reason the smaller ROMs appear to be "mirrored" inside a 16K image is that the cartridge chip enable signal generated by the Aquarius is active over the entire 16K cartridge space. If you were to install a smaller ROM in this space, the top address line(s) would be disconnected, and the lower address lines would wrap around to zero again if you tried to read past the space the ROM actually occupies, causing its contents to appear "mirrored" over the entire region. Some cartridge images have been trimmed to the original ROM size, while others are simply raw dumps which captured the entire 16K cartridge space as it would have appeared in the memory of a running Aquarius, probably because that is how they were originally dumped. When preparing the cartridge images for the Aquaricart, I had to trim these ROMs down, unscramble them, and then concatenate them again to fill an entire 16K bank.)
  9. @Pernod: You now have the Aquarius II and my current Aquaricart ROM images. I checked the byte at the offset you mentioned in the Aquarius II OS ROM, and it is in fact 0x5B, so it appears that it is the MAME ROM that is incorrect.
  10. Will do! The Aquarius II ROM is a total of 12K, from $0000 to $2FFF. $0000 to $1FFF (the first 8K) is the same "S2" OS ROM from the original Aquarius, and $2000 to $2FFF is the 4K Extended BASIC ROM. I've never had a close-up look at the inside of an Aquarius II, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were two different ROM chips, with their own chip select logic. (As a test, I burned Aquarius II Extended BASIC to a 4K EPROM and mounted it on a cartridge board with some custom address decoding glue to map it to $2000, and it worked fine in my original Aquarius. This effectively made it into an Aquarius II, just without the full-touch keyboard.)
  11. My pleasure! I have the Aquarius II ROM image on my bench workstation; I'll dig it out for you when I get home this evening. (I don't remember if the person who sent it to me wanted it posted publicly, so I'll send it to you in a PM.) I'll send you an Aquaricart image at the same time. I just went to check that ROM byte on the Aquarius here in my office, but I just realized that it's one of my "S1" machines! I can only assume that one of the "S2" images is a bad dump. The Aquarius II ROM is a relatively new dump, and the region from $0000 to $1FFF should be identical to the original "S2" ROM. I'll send you both portions (OS and Extended BASIC) of the Aquarius II ROM this evening as separate files; whatever appears in the OS portion should be the correct contents of this ROM.
  12. I only wish it was that easy! This job has sidelined just about all my hobby projects for years now. I'll see what I can do this weekend.
  13. Thank you, that's good to know! It looks like he's dumping the ROM contents through the printer port, which is just how I was going to do it. I'll give it a try just as soon as I have time.
  14. I too would love to see MAME/MESS offer more options for Aquarius emulation; the apparent lack of hand controller support in particular is an impediment for Aquarius game development. The only difference between the Aquarius "S2" and Aquarius II OS ROM images is the added 4K Extended BASIC image in the reserved region from $2000 to $2FFF. This image is available; adding support for it to the emulator should be relatively easy. The original "S1" image has not yet been dumped, as far as I know, but this too should be fairly easy; at some point I just need to sit down and finish a quick ROM dumper for one of my "S1" machines. The bankswitching implemented by the SuperCart (the cartridge board used in the Aquaricart) was described in detail in my SuperCart development thread; see here. If emulator developers wish to add bankswitching support, they should find everything they need in the first few posts in that thread.
  15. ^ I removed the URL from the previous post. They're not getting much attention outside of their little circle, but let's not give them any more.
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