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XE/XL BUS extender discussion

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Hi, I'd like to start a discussion about the layout of the XE and XL BUS extenders I'm going to produce. Firstly the XE version. I prepared two variants:

post-21370-0-81061000-1423266751_thumb.png

The a)variant have two vertical CART+ECI connectors and one horizontal CART+ECI at the end. It is the cleanest solution, but I didn't find any usable 90° connectors on the market.

 

The b)variant have XL PBI at the end. The advantage is that this connector is viratully free, becuase it is on PCB. The disadvantage is that not all PBI signals are present on this connector as on a real PBI, namely CASINH or RAS/CAS signals. Also if someone have blackbox or similar big horizontal device with an XE connector, this variant would be not useful for him. On the other side, for some people could be interesting to connect a PBI device to XE.

 

What do you think?

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IDEa, Karin Maxi Drive, IDE Plus 2.0, RAM320XE are a few of the devices which use the ECI. Occasionally a pass-thru would prove useful. Multiple devices may share the bus.

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Hello Ctirad

 

Do both. The right one fits into the left one. Or do both but leave the vertical ECI and cartridge connectors off and shorten the PCB. That way we'll have one expansion board and one converter (from ECI+cartridge to PBI) board.

 

blackbox.jpg

Those of us who want to use the Blackbox with an 600XL or 800XL, can do so by using a short piece of flat cable that plugs into the white connector on the Blackbox in the picture. On the other side of that flat cable is a connector that plugs strait into the 600XL or 800XL's PBI. This cable of course also plugs into the extender board on the right. :-) The flatcable is/was included with the BlackBox.

 

BTW I've used the flat cable to get a flexible link between my BlackBox and my XE by plugging the flat cable into the MIO extender PCB (small PCB, plugs into the ECI and the cartridge port, has two cartridge ports and on the end a PBI)

 

post-27823-0-11710500-1323821848.jpg

 

This picture isn't mine! The MIO extender board is the one in front of the MIO, to the left of the piece of flatcable.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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How many ECI devices can an XE have connected to it at once? Could you use two of the a) variant bus extenders and plug in a Karin Maxi Drive, an IDE Plus 2.0, a RAM320XE, and one other future device without having any power or signal issues?

 

Allan

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Not sure about power or signal issues, but you should be able to have eight separate devices on the bus (0-7). I've managed an IDE Plus 2.0, Ultimate/SIDE (PBI) and internally mounted IDEa all on the same 1200XL simultaneously and copying data between the hard disks.

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The b)variant have XL PBI at the end. The advantage is that this connector is viratully free, becuase it is on PCB. The disadvantage is that not all PBI signals are present on this connector as on a real PBI, namely CASINH or RAS/CAS signals. Also if someone have blackbox or similar big horizontal device with an XE connector, this variant would be not useful for him. On the other side, for some people could be interesting to connect a PBI device to XE.

 

Interesting; So a RAM 320XL could be connected to an XE using this?

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The RAM320XL uses the CASINH signal a thus is oficially incompatible with a passive XE extender. Someone reported it worked on similar device with a "remap" feature disabled, but I would not rely on that.

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How many ECI devices can an XE have connected to it at once?

I don't know. It will depend on the devices used. I expect two to three modern devices based on low power CMOS components or one old TTL + one modern should be safe. It will also vary from computer to computer.

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Interesting; So a RAM 320XL could be connected to an XE using this?

 

Yes, exactly what I was thinking.

 

I was the one that reported that it worked with the extender from the Freezer 2011. And it does, but it would be good to know if others that have an XE freezer and a RAM320 XL could test it and post their results. It is important that the REMAP feature be turned off or it definitely will not work.

 

It will NOT work with the original MIO XE adapter, but all you need do is to look at the cart edge contacts to see that the MIO adapter left out several lines. So I would say that it depends on how many lines Ctirad carries through in his design. But as he says, if you were designing this, you would not want to depend on it -- it is serendipity that it does work. I was impressed enough to buy another Freezer XE extender to use for this purpose. And of course, this was all before the RAM320XE became available. I now use a RAM320 XE (switched OFF) with the Ultimate 1 MB. It makes a very attractive, compact extender so that I don't have to stand on my head inserting carts in the XE.

 

-Larry

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The RAM320XL uses the CASINH signal a thus is oficially incompatible with a passive XE extender. Someone reported it worked on similar device with a "remap" feature disabled, but I would not rely on that.

 

I figured the answer would go something like that. Too bad the PBI and ECI designs weren't better thought out and consistent.

 

 

Yes, exactly what I was thinking.

 

I was the one that reported that it worked with the extender from the Freezer 2011. And it does, but it would be good to know if others that have an XE freezer and a RAM320 XL could test it and post their results. It is important that the REMAP feature be turned off or it definitely will not work.

 

It will NOT work with the original MIO XE adapter, but all you need do is to look at the cart edge contacts to see that the MIO adapter left out several lines. So I would say that it depends on how many lines Ctirad carries through in his design. But as he says, if you were designing this, you would not want to depend on it -- it is serendipity that it does work. I was impressed enough to buy another Freezer XE extender to use for this purpose. And of course, this was all before the RAM320XE became available. I now use a RAM320 XE (switched OFF) with the Ultimate 1 MB. It makes a very attractive, compact extender so that I don't have to stand on my head inserting carts in the XE.

 

Thanks for the info; I didn't realise anyone had made this discovery.

 

How extensively have you tested the RAM 320XL in this configuration?

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Not extensively, but I used it as the MyDos ramdisk on my system for some time, and copied files back and forth without corruption. And that's why I suggested that others with the same hardware give it a try and report how it works. But... I definitely wouldn't risk my only copy of the coveted Mark IV version of "Hunt the Wumpus" on it. :-D

 

-Larry

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You know what I see when I look at this? The long awaited sequel to the 1090XL. If you go back through the archives, there are discussions of what a 1090XL device should look like.

 

 

(Just don't use the height of the 1090XL, I'd like something I can set my monitor on...)

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Not extensively, but I used it as the MyDos ramdisk on my system for some time, and copied files back and forth without corruption. And that's why I suggested that others with the same hardware give it a try and report how it works. But... I definitely wouldn't risk my only copy of the coveted Mark IV version of "Hunt the Wumpus" on it. :-D

 

I don't even have my RAM 320XL anymore at this point. I was trying to see if there was a way to just own one rather than two. But I'd much prefer have the full functionality of the device. For someone who already has the RAM 320XL, it might be a viable option, at least for playing games and so forth (excluding Mark IV versions of Hunt the Wumpus, of course).

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@ Ctirad-

 

FWIW, I like the option of having the two ECI + PBI. That is the more flexible option, IMO. It will be interesting if anything comes out of the ABBUC hardware contests to make use of the ECI. The drawback to me in the vertical ECI arrangement is stuff sticking up. But so long as about the height of a regular cartridge, that's not a problem. (The worst offender I ever saw was the ICD "pass-thru" carts. SDX + R Time8 + even a language cart (?). Almost needed outriggers to keep it from falling over. ;-)

 

-Larry

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I looked in the VHDL code of the RAM320XL and the CASINH is really used in the both modes, however for the basic 320k mode its usage is redundant and with an external pull-up resistor it should be fully functional.

 

The RAM320XE/576 generates this signal internally so it is probably a good idea to reuse the code for the upcoming RAM576XL to make it compatible with such extenders.

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Hi, I'd like to start a discussion about the layout of the XE and XL BUS extenders I'm going to produce. Firstly the XE version. I prepared two variants:attachicon.gifxe-bus-expander.pngThe a)variant have two vertical CART+ECI connectors and one horizontal CART+ECI at the end. It is the cleanest solution, but I didn't find any usable 90° connectors on the market.The b)variant have XL PBI at the end. The advantage is that this connector is viratully free, becuase it is on PCB. The disadvantage is that not all PBI signals are present on this connector as on a real PBI, namely CASINH or RAS/CAS signals. Also if someone have blackbox or similar big horizontal device with an XE connector, this variant would be not useful for him. On the other side, for some people could be interesting to connect a PBI device to XE.What do you think?

I already have the left version done in kicad.

 

Ken

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Hi, I'd like to start a discussion about the layout of the XE and XL BUS extenders I'm going to produce. Firstly the XE version. I prepared two variants:

attachicon.gifxe-bus-expander.png

The a)variant have two vertical CART+ECI connectors and one horizontal CART+ECI at the end. It is the cleanest solution, but I didn't find any usable 90° connectors on the market.

 

The b)variant have XL PBI at the end. The advantage is that this connector is viratully free, becuase it is on PCB. The disadvantage is that not all PBI signals are present on this connector as on a real PBI, namely CASINH or RAS/CAS signals. Also if someone have blackbox or similar big horizontal device with an XE connector, this variant would be not useful for him. On the other side, for some people could be interesting to connect a PBI device to XE.

 

What do you think?

 

 

I realize this is an older thread, but I am curious as to the current status.

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so long as every possible signal is drawn thru and a header provided to add missing signals back in if so desired... why not do eci straight thru and xl pbi off one of the sides?

 

Possibly like a standard double cart eci pass thru for black box to the back and mio/xl pbi card edge to the right....that would be nice.. a little capacitance correction or buffering would be a nice bonus to do as well

Edited by _The Doctor__

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If any device has it's own power supplier then I may propose that 8 - (Number of SIO Devices connected).

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Just a quick info. The project is currently in hibernation.

Actually, it is not a problem for me to sit and route the PCB in a couple of hours and send it to the manufacturer. The problem is the price. The PCB has to be quite big, say 2 or 3 time bigger than RAM320XE PCB. It will not be cheap. If goldplated, the price will be even higher. Also there has to be either an enclosure or at least some clever made legs to make it firmly tied with the atari.

 

So I'm asking, what price would be acceptable for you?

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