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Ultimate Cart (SD multicart) - Technical thread

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24 minutes ago, wildstar87 said:

I'd like to build one of these, however the files on Github don't seem to agree with OSHPark.  Also tried importing the eagle files into Kicad, but also got errors.  Anyone else have these issues?  I haven't tried the Santosp version yet though.

Hi wildstar,

 

I've just tried the v3 eagle .brd file from the github repository and it uploaded and previewed fine with OSH park. Did you download a zip of the whole repository (there is a green clone or download button at the top right of the page)?

 

Robin

 

P.S. I've probably got a few spare PCBs that I never used - PM me if you want me to post you one - it will be cheaper than getting 3 from OSH park if you only wanted one.

Edited by electrotrains
add offer of pcb

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@flashjazzcat If the firmware is open sorce, is it possible to add new features?

- SIDE loader compatibility mode
- ATR support (partial R/W) if you have a U1MB
- autostart from a specific file
- remembering the last position in the folder after the restart

- file search


Is Altera MAX 10 powerful enough to handle it? 

Edited by madness77

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45 minutes ago, madness77 said:

@flashjazzcat If the firmware is open sorce, is it possible to add new features?

- SIDE loader compatibility mode
- ATR support (partial R/W) if you have a U1MB
- autostart from a specific file
- remembering the last position in the folder after the restart

- file search


Is Altera MAX 10 powerful enough to handle it? 

Robin (electrotrains) is the person to see about most of that stuff. I am 100 per cent sure I will have suggested a SIDE compatibility mode when the project was in the developmental stages, but I got the feeling Robin wasn't an U1MB fan, so my suggestions fell on deaf ears. If support was added on the Altera side of things, I could simply port my SIDE loader across and add cartridge ROM loading facilities, which is something I've been wanting to do for the past three years if only suitable hardware existed. I nearly cracked it with a custom firmware I wrote for the UNO Cart, but unfortunately the bus-racing model used there disallowed seamless IDE emulation (I had to tweak the U1MB firmware to make things work, which partially defeated the object of the exercise).

 

The AVG Cart shows us how SIDE emulation can be done well, and about the only fly in the ointment there as far as I'm concerned is that the U1MB user cannot perform cartridge mounting operations without invoking the AVG's 'native' boot menu. I don't think cartridge emulation and SIDE emulation can run concurrently anyway, but even if they could, some kind of API would be required so that the SIDE loader could pass the cluster number and banking scheme of a ROM or CAR file to the Altera firmware (this is how I went about it with the experimental UNO Cart firmware).

 

It's entirely possible that all this could work perfectly well if some kind of cohesive vision could be adopted, but unfortunately - while I can handle coding for the UNO Cart - the Ultimate Cart development tool chain is a bit beyond my ken at the moment and I have no experience of VHDL, etc. There are at least two cartridges which currently exist which could quite easily make an U1MB-equipped Atari capable of almost every conceivable task (emulating cartridges alongside bootable ATR disk images and hard disk partitions) without the same cart ever having to be removed from the slot, and without having to select different modes of operation depending on what one wants to do, but until a developer gets switched on to this idea and realises they could completely corner the market, the best we can probably do (which is very good indeed) is purchase an AVG Cart.

 

Edited by flashjazzcat
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(Sorry for double-posting, just trying to get this across as effectively as possible):

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Well, since this seems to be the right sport for it, and its also early enough for EU folks:

 

  1. Does anyone familiar with the design of the cart know why does it (electrically) interfere with any cart plugged on a 800's RIGHT-slot?
    • (The $8000-$9FFF address space becomes corrupted when mounting any $A000-$BFFF 8K cart on ULT/SD, and a $8000-$9FFF cart is physically present on right slot)
  2. Is there ANY way to bring FPGA back from "sleep" mode, through any peep-hole on $D5XX register page?
    • (Any special sequence Of reads and/or writes on that area that I could execute from my own code, in order to re-start FPGA AFTER it has been sent to "sleep"?)

A big thanks, in advance, for any feedback on these two issues!

 

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quick question,

 

i have built a couple of the carts and they seem to only boot to the blue 'ready' prompt as if the carts aren't being recognized.  after programming, i do get led flashing, but it's as if the carts aren't being seen by the 800xl.

 

any ideas or suggestions are appreciated!

 

thanks,

 

kneehighspy

 

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21 hours ago, kneehighspy said:

quick question,

 

i have built a couple of the carts and they seem to only boot to the blue 'ready' prompt as if the carts aren't being recognized.  after programming, i do get led flashing, but it's as if the carts aren't being seen by the 800xl.

 

any ideas or suggestions are appreciated!

 

thanks,

 

kneehighspy

 

The only thing I can advise you is to recheck all solder joints,  especially on the 4 bus switch chips.

 

 

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Hi,

I have a problem with the cartridge. Loaded contents of the directory from the SD card look damaged.

Trying to load any of them ends with "Bad CAR/ROM file" or computer hanging.

After a reset sometimes there is no content or a message about missing SD card.

The same SD card in another cartridge works well.

What could have gone wrong during assembly?

Thanks.

 

    20200510_010016.thumb.jpg.1c858c56745f7525972066115778847e.jpg  20200510_010044.thumb.jpg.fb87a2baa7fef8e18fd9e71650049ade.jpg

 

EDIT:

I've already figured out what's going on: bad solder joint - D5 line - FPGA pin 74:

ultimate-d5.thumb.png.1aa13a7a6b0845de985b01eb1353c3a1.png

 

...now it's working as it should :)

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