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Louis

rs232 handler need for a custom interface

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Hi all,

 

Around 1990 before I had a blackbox Kaj de Vos made a custom RS232 and SIO2PC interface for me.

 

As far as I know it required a special handler in SpartaDos.

But I can't find it.

I've attached two pictures, front and back. I don't have any clue what it is, as long as its working ;-)

 

The reason I'm looking for the driver is because I want to connect the RS232 interface to a RS232 to Ethernet converter I found on eBay.

So I won't be needing the AtariMax interface to connect to the internet.

 

I hope someone can help me out.

 

regards,

 

Louis

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post-29177-0-74139300-1351893645_thumb.jpg

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What you need is a driver called: the Rverter

 

IIRC you will find this in the Bobterm package.

 

But ... don't expect too much. It is like connecting a NullModem cable to your atari. no DTR/CTS/RTS/DSR etc.

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Marius, you're the best. Found a working BobTerm on the Pool disk.

Rverter is working indeed!

 

Well the strange thing is... I have two connectors on the interface.

One is the Nullmodem/ SIO2PC and the other is called RS232.

So it's probably not much. But it's better than nothing I guess.

Hopefully it will work with the RS232 to Ethernet interface I've ordered.

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Hopefully it will work with the RS232 to Ethernet interface I've ordered.

 

If the ethernet interface (lantronix?) supports it you may try to use it at low baudrates (1200 or 2400 baud) but I wouldn't expect much of it. I'd use the Black Box if you still have it.

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Without the modem control lines you can not use it safely ... Even on low baud rates. The bbs will not be able to detect a user dropped the carrier.

 

If the bbs does not log off when a user does a drop connection in stead of logging out.... And before a bbs time out occurs someone else connects... This new user will take over the session of that previous caller.

 

Bare rs232 is not much more than RX and TX. You really need more for running the BBS. Could you see how many lines are used for RS232 on that interface ?

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I don't have many options.

Since there is no SIO2UTP project (all seem to be about IDE's :P)

 

I could use the BlackBox, but using it only for the RS232 interface seems not right.

 

This is the Ethernet interface I bought on eBay:

http://en.usr.cn/Ethernet-Module/RS223-RS485-serial-to-TCP-IP-ethernet-server-module-converter.html

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I could use the BlackBox, but using it only for the RS232 interface seems not right.

 

You'll need some storage too so why not use the SCSI bus to do this? For a BBS you can't go wrong with a Black Box.

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The BlackBox is one of the coolest add-ons ever created indeed. But since I run my BBS from MyIDE and Atari 850 it runs very stable. But you win... your BBS (blackbox setup) is online for ages without a single problem...

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You're absolutely right, but there are some downsides.

First, the SCSI drive I have my BBS running on makes a lot of noise. Although I should be happy it even works...

Second, my BlackBox is borrowed by Mr,Atari for testing purposes.

And third, I don't trust the computer powersupply I have for the BlackBox :P

 

I don't see why there shouldn't be a "BlackBox" update.

RS232 interface replaced by an integrated RS232 to Ethernet interface.

SCSI replace by IDE

And the parallel-port, well you decide. :-)

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First, the SCSI drive I have my BBS running on makes a lot of noise.

 

Ditch it and get a Memory Card device to use SD- or CF-cards.

 

 

And third, I don't trust the computer powersupply I have for the BlackBox :P

 

Ditch it too and use a PC-style ATX power supply. It'll feed your A8-bit at the same time.

 

 

I don't see why there shouldn't be a "BlackBox" update.

 

I do. 2 reasons: First is that the user base is small. Second is that most modifications require a ROM update too and there is no reliable Black Box ROM source available which makes it hard to modify.

 

 

RS232 interface replaced by an integrated RS232 to Ethernet interface.

 

I wouldn't like that. RS232 can still be useful on old systems and one can use an external interface (or external software) to turn the RS232 into a TCP/IP device. A dual RS232 (or RS232 and UTP) however would be welcome :-).

 

 

SCSI replace by IDE

 

May be nice but not a must have for me. HD's are outdated these days (says the 8-bit user) and you can use Memory Cards on both IDE and SCSI so no problem with that. Besides that, there are also SCSI-2-ATA/SATA bridge adapters so if one really wants to use a physical HD that may be an option, however it's a bit expensive.

 

 

And the parallel-port, well you decide. :-)

 

 

I'd vote for a MUX port! :-) Or if it's too complicated, a fully functional bi-directional 8-bit port.

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My biggest problems with blackbox are:

 

1. I obviously only own atari computers with stability issues. Never had any stability issue after I did quit using my blackbox. With blackbox from time to time crashes and other problems.

 

2. I simply do not have space for the Blackbox + PSU. It takes too much space on my small atari desk where I need room for 2 atari computers, a television, XF551. Without the blackbox I have just enough space...

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2. I simply do not have space for the Blackbox + PSU. It takes too much space on my small atari desk where I need room for 2 atari computers, a television, XF551. Without the blackbox I have just enough space...

 

Space: use a shelf, put the monitor on it, slide the BB under it.

 

PSU: A mini ATX PSU is smaller than a 130XE brick with the difference it can power both the BB and an XE or XL.

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Haha Fox-1 you REALLY like that BlackBox, don't you? :P

 

To be honest, the BlackBox really needs a good replacement.

Let's say (for starters) that we could add an RS232 interface to the IDE+ interface.

 

What would be needed? Was the BlackBox RS232 interface an propriatary interface, which was supported by the ProBBS software natively?

Or was the RS232 interface based on something else? I can't remember.

 

Also there is a Ethernet Cartridge, but not much software for it has been development.

Maybe a RS232 driver could be developed to make a translation?

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The Blackbox is cool, but with the development of other great add ons for atari 8bit, it is a tiny bit old. Especially that SCSI port is slow compared to the newer interfaces.

 

@Fox-1

That solution is not going to work. I can not lift my TV a few centimeters up on that table. It is located under 'een schuin dak, aan de rand van een dakkapel' *

 

*) Sorry folks, I really had no idea how to translate that in English. Anyone who can translate that for me?

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Haha Fox-1 you REALLY like that BlackBox, don't you? :P

 

It's more that I can't believe someone doesn't use it for his BBS when he has it laying around anyways. You need a hard disk interface and RS232 and the Black Box has both of them.

 

 

To be honest, the BlackBox really needs a good replacement. Let's say (for starters) that we could add an RS232 interface to the IDE+ interface.

 

My only complaint about the Black Box is it's size and that it doesn't play nice with true PBI devices. All the other recent hard disk interfaces are doing their job but they are just that, hard disk interfaces. The Black Box is a multi I/O device and the only device that comes close is the MIO.

 

 

Was the BlackBox RS232 interface an propriatary interface, which was supported by the ProBBS software natively? Or was the RS232 interface based on something else? I can't remember.

 

The big advantage of the RS232 port is that it has handshaking in hardware and that the R: handler is in the Black Box ROM so it doesn't take up any memory and it's always there. It's software compatible with the Atari 850 interface but has some added commands to support higher speeds. Pro-BBS supports any well implemented R: device and has a setting for SIO-based R: devices (like 850, P:R:) and PBI devices (like MIO/Black Box).

 

 

Also there is a Ethernet Cartridge, but not much software for it has been development.

Maybe a RS232 driver could be developed to make a translation?

 

If you mean the "Dragon Cart", I don't think it's possible to use it when running Pro-BBS as the BBS takes up almost all available conventional memory. The 18KB memory window can only be used for modules within the BBS environment as it is overlayed memory (like ms-windows swap file).

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HD's are outdated these days (says the 8-bit user) and you can use Memory Cards on both IDE and SCSI so no problem with that.

 

I disagree. Flash memory still suffers from a very limited amount of re-writes compared to magnetic media.

 

EDIT: Actually, I'll scratch that and say that, rather, *cheap* flash memory still suffers from a very limited amount of re-writes compared to magnetic media. It occurred to me after I posted that flash memory currently being used in solid state hard drives must be rated for a considerably higher number of re-writes than a cheap memory card.

Edited by jmetal88

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True but when you use a 2Gigabyte CF card there are really enough memorycells that can die before you notice any issues.

 

 

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It's more that I can't believe someone doesn't use it for his BBS when he has it laying around anyways. You need a hard disk interface and RS232 and the Black Box has both of them.

 

I can believe it :D ... oh wait... I'm doing that :D

 

My BBS did crash a lot, probably due to instable ram expansions. Always trouble here as soon as the BlackBox was connected to it.

The SCSI port is (way) too slow to run the BBS without a ramdisk. MyIDE is almost twice as fast, and then it is ok to run the BBS on a 64KB computer. The swapping is fast enough on MyIDE.

 

Since I don't use my blackboxes anymore for the BBS, I haven't seen a single problem. I even can run the BBS without rebooting every two days. In fact: I can not remember the last time I rebooted the BBS.

 

It is probably a problem here... but I have had enough trouble with the BlackBox to know that it is not only 100% my fault.

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Actually, I'll scratch that and say that, rather, *cheap* flash memory still suffers from a very limited amount of re-writes compared to magnetic media. It occurred to me after I posted that flash memory currently being used in solid state hard drives must be rated for a considerably higher number of re-writes than a cheap memory card.

 

I posted a link someplace to an article on wear levelling a while back, and it quoted a typical life cycle of 83 years or some such for modern flash devices, based on having to completely fill the media some 100,000 times in order to wear out all the blocks. Given a typical Atari 8-bit partition of 32MB in size (the largest currently addressable by any DOS) comprises some 65,535 sectors out of the several million available on a 2GB CF card, I tend not to worry too much about wearing the media out.

 

Certainly worth buying good quality media, though, as you say.

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Well, I'm not really worried about how long it takes to fill the disk 100,000 times. I'd be more worried about the boot sector and the file allocation table, personally. I don't know how many times you could delete, copy, move, or make a new file before you've rewritten part of the file allocation table 100,000 times.

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Well, I'm not really worried about how long it takes to fill the disk 100,000 times. I'd be more worried about the boot sector and the file allocation table, personally. I don't know how many times you could delete, copy, move, or make a new file before you've rewritten part of the file allocation table 100,000 times.

 

The idea of wear-levelling (as I understand it) is that the written sector / block is not repeatedly written to the same physical location of the disk. The reason good wear levelling should equate to having to fill the entire media many thousands of times is precisely because of the even spread of writes attempted across unused or lesser used areas of the flash memory. Now, it might be alarming at first to consider that SpartaDOS X writes the boot sector every single time you open a file for write (updating the write sequence number, first free sector, and other values), but if this sector's physical location is reallocated by the media's wear-levelling every single time it is written, it should take a very considerable time for the boot or bitmap sectors to even be written to the same physical location twice.

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I'll have to do some more research on it, I guess. It's hard for me to believe that internal wear leveling on flash media can effectively keep the boot sector from wearing out faster than the rest of the disk. I mean, the boot sector (at least on a FAT disk) is going to be in the first 2MB or so of the disk, isn't it? There's not a lot of room to move stuff around there.

 

I guess on an Atari it might not matter as much, with few files per disk or even disk images possible (I don't know how mass storage works on an Atari, I still do most stuff from a floppy drive). I'm still just trying to argue against hard drives being outdated.

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I'll have to do some more research on it, I guess. It's hard for me to believe that internal wear leveling on flash media can effectively keep the boot sector from wearing out faster than the rest of the disk. I mean, the boot sector (at least on a FAT disk) is going to be in the first 2MB or so of the disk, isn't it? There's not a lot of room to move stuff around there..

Actually, there's a lot of room to move stuff around and wear leveling takes care of that. This is essential to all flash-based media (where each cell can only be reprogrammed a few thousand times).

 

If you look at the datasheets you'll see that manufacturers of SSDs usually spec them with TBW (terabytes written). There are standardized test methods for this value, JEDEC JESD218 and JESD219. You can find a simple explanation of these methods here.

 

I'm still just trying to argue against hard drives being outdated.

Spinning platter and solid state drives just have different problems. You'll have mechanical issues with spinning platter drives after a few years, and you'll have problems after you've written several TB to a SSD. For most applications (eg. standard use on a PC, less than 20GB of data written per day) it just doesn't matter if you use a mechanical or solid state drive. Both are "good enough".

 

so long,

 

Hias

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It's hard for me to believe that internal wear leveling on flash media can effectively keep the boot sector from wearing out faster than the rest of the disk. I mean, the boot sector (at least on a FAT disk) is going to be in the first 2MB or so of the disk, isn't it? There's not a lot of room to move stuff around there.

 

The wear levelling should operate over the entire extent of the media. So - say there are 4,063,232 sectors on the card - your boot sector - at whichever LBA address - ought to move every time it's written (assuming for the sake of this example that it happens to be the most frequently written sector). So you could write that sector 4,063,232 times before you wrote it to the same location twice. That's my understanding of "ideal" wear levelling, at least.

 

Of course I'm not taking into account flash sector sizes, which are generally much larger than single 512 byte sectors. To write a single sector, I suppose there'll be a fetch / modify / write cycle of the block in which the disk sector resides.

 

I guess on an Atari it might not matter as much, with few files per disk or even disk images possible (I don't know how mass storage works on an Atari, I still do most stuff from a floppy drive). I'm still just trying to argue against hard drives being outdated.

 

I don't think spinning disks are necessarily outdated at all, but I started researching SSDs a couple of weeks back, convinced that they'd be far less durable than magnetic media. My reading allayed my fears pretty much.

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