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ralphb

Flash ROM Cart

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oh yeah

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didn't even relocate my LED.. because it works fine without it just had to trim the button down to remove the nub at the bottom to fit a board made by ralph.

 

Greg

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Folks,

 

I have some extra kits. If you want all the parts and solder it together yourself, $30+shipping. If you want it soldered together & tested, add $10. This, of course, includes a programmed 8515.

 

PM me if interested. I live in the United States (California)

 

Hi all,

 

I also have a couple of leftover boards and parts available, with the same sort of deal, only I am in Australia if there is any interest from this side of the world.

 

So my price is in AUD (Australian Dollar)...$40+shipping. This, of course, includes a programmed 8515. If you want it soldered together & tested, add $10.

 

The PCB place I went to did a batch of 5 PCB's and I purchased parts for 5 boards. I'm keeping 3 boards.

 

PM me if interested. Thanks.

 

Cheers,

Shane

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Just built my cart. What does it mean if the LED keeps blinking on/off every second or so? The documentation only mentions 1, 2 or 3 blips.

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I know that the Atarisoft games are using all kind of crazy addresses for changing banks, so I guess there would have to be a key for going back to listening mode.

 

You could establish a series of writes that would introduce listening mode; the longer the series, the lower the probability of accidentally triggering it by bank selection.

 

This modification would allow larger images, to some extend, but it wouldn't be common for the FlashROM at this point.

 

Are you interested in this modification? I guess I could do a custom version ... eventually.

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Just built my cart. What does it mean if the LED keeps blinking on/off every second or so? The documentation only mentions 1, 2 or 3 blips.

 

That's one blip per second. :) No SD card or bad SD card or bad filesystem (most likely).

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That's one blip per second. :) No SD card or bad SD card or bad filesystem (most likely).

 

You're right, it worked with another SD card. :thumbsup:

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You could establish a series of writes that would introduce listening mode; the longer the series, the lower the probability of accidentally triggering it by bank selection.

 

This modification would allow larger images, to some extend, but it wouldn't be common for the FlashROM at this point.

 

Are you interested in this modification? I guess I could do a custom version ... eventually.

 

Well, I was considering this as a way to distribute software that requires larger images than 32K, but considering that everybody would have to update their firmware for this to work I don't think I will pursue it further for now. So no need for a custom version, but you could keep this on the wish list if there is a need to do a firmware update for other reasons. As you know, what I would *really* like would be a version 2 of the cart that supported larger images - that would be a very motivating factor for producing new software for the TI in cartridge format because it would be so easy to distribute.

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- that would be a very motivating factor for producing new software for the TI in cartridge format because it would be so easy to distribute.

 

I agree 100%. I would not be surprised that in six months if almost everyone here at Atari Age has a FlashROM cartridge, so yes, easy distribution of larger stuff would be very easy. Now if Matt gets what I call his "Jedi 32K" operational, even more people will be hopping on the TI bandwagon, for even a larger user base to use any new software.

 

If I'm not mistaken, that's the chip in a socket, so it should be easy to read the chip, store the original image, then burn the new image onto the same chip and plug it back in. From my perspective, it would be preferable for any upgrade to continue being able to run all the existing software though. I'm not all that interested in spending another $100.00 on yet another board and cartridge shell, because there is supposed to be a DDCC-1 clone in the pipeline that I still need to purchase.

 

This thing has also opened up a few of my UberCarts for other tasks as well, so I hope this format is not ignored. There is so much promise in the UberCart that has not been exploited yet.

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ok, here's an idea I have been toying about and would like to discuss for figuring out if it's worth following up on.

 

You know those WLAN sdcards that you can normally use to wlan enable your photo camera. I'd like to put such card in the flashrom.

The idea is that I then transfer my binary image files wirelessly from the PC to the card. The problem is that the wlan sdcards out-of-the-box do not allow this.

 

But, some (or most) of these wlan sdcards contain a linux with busybox that can be hacked. Here's an example (in german)

http://blog.smartewelt.de/?p=1765

 

Imagine having a build process on the PC that assembles your assembly source code, creates the binary files and transfers them directly onto the flashrom via ftp. Would be cool :-)

Edited by retroclouds
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ok, here's an idea I have been toying about and would like to discuss for figuring out if it's worth following up on.

 

You know those WLAN sdcards that you can normally use to wlan enable your photo camera. I'd like to put such card in the flashrom.

The idea is that I then transfer my binary image files wirelessly from the PC to the card. The problem is that the wlan sdcards out-of-the-box do not allow this.

 

But, some (or most) of these wlan sdcards contain a linux with busybox that can be hacked. Here's an example (in german)

http://blog.smartewelt.de/?p=1765

 

Imagine having a build process on the PC that assembles your assembly source code, creates the binary files and transfers them directly onto the flashrom via ftp. Would be cool :-)

If you think it's cool, then go for it!

 

Personally, at least for me, it would be just a waste of effort,resources and time just to beat the laziness of copying the file into the mem card which I can do in a few seconds...

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If you think it's cool, then go for it!

 

Personally, at least for me, it would be just a waste of effort,resources and time just to beat the laziness of copying the file into the mem card which I can do in a few seconds...

 

Yeah, that's what I'll probably do. They are not that expensive. Should be possible to get one for 20-30 EUR. If you just occasionaly copy bin files it's not worth the effort. But if you are developing a new game with testing on the real-deal, then swapping cards becomes a real pain in the **** after a while.

 

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I had a go at modifying a standard cartridge case for a FlashROM board todday.

I wanted to have the case sit in the console just like a standard cartridge does, so this meant

the FlashROM board would need to partially 'hang out the back' of the case.

 

So the internal PCB mounts were retained, except for at the rear of the case.

To solve this and stop the PCB being pushed out the back when I tried to insert the cart, I cut

a notch into each side of the FlashROM PCB (being careful not to go too deep as each side

has a track fairly close to the edge).

 

I also did not simply cut the complete rear of the cartridge case out, but cut it to shape.

 

Attached are a few pictures to better describe what I did.

 

Cheers,

Shane

 

 

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Folks,

 

I have some extra kits. If you want all the parts and solder it together yourself, $30+shipping. If you want it soldered together & tested, add $10. This, of course, includes a programmed 8515.

 

PM me if interested. I live in the United States (California)

 

Is this still available?

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Fred Kaal (@F.G. Kaal) has graciously updated Module Creator 2.0 to force loading of an even number of bytes. This insures that Module Creator 2.0 can successfully convert an E/A5 program with an odd number of bytes (such as can happen with some exports from Harry Wilhelm's (@senior_falcon's) XB Compiler) to operable ROM binaries, including those targeted to the FlashROM-99 cartridge. Thanks, Fred!


You can download the current Module Creator 2.0 from the “Modules” page of Fred's website.


...lee

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Finally I had some time to work on the FlashROM again (other than soldering carts, anyway ;) ), so I wanted to share my latest FlashROM hack that can run simple GROM images.

 

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The good news is this:

 

https://youtu.be/M2-lvFyfoyo

 

But as you can see from the picture of the hacked cart, the bad news is that I cannot accommodate ROM data together with the GROM data, making this hack of limited use. :(

 

The main reason is the 541 IC for the data bus. The 541 only permits data to pass from the cart to the TI 99, but not vice versa. Consequently, I cannot read GROM addresses written to >9C02. (Took me several days to realize this, duh!) And unfortunately, the bidirectional 245 is not a drop-in replacement, so ROM+GROM images need a new design.

 

Besides, as the 8515 had only one unused pin, I had to re-purpose the image selection lines, so you can't have more than one image per SD card.

 

The 8515 on the hacked cart reads GROM data directly from the SD card in 256 Byte chunks and stores them in an internal buffer. If a GROM address outside this buffer is requested (and this happens quite often), a new chunk is read from the SD card. As before, the LED lights whenever the SD card is accessed. I'm actually surprised that this works rather well in my test, but performance will drop as soon as you won't use a pristine SD card.

 

So, this means that a FlashGROM is not a simple extension of the FlashROM, but will require a re-design. Maybe I'll find some time later this year to start working on it.

 

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I just wanted to post a pic of the cases as I made two mods to mine so that you do not have to do anything funky with the LED (or with the switch). So, for the LED, I used a light pipe on the edge. Works great and eliminates having to wire the LED to the case. Also, with the microswitch, I changed models. Digikey has ones with a long button attached, so no need for an additional piece of plastic or anything.

 

https://youtu.be/cdxw9p6Skt8

 

$15+shipping

$10+no additional shipping if you buy an assembled FlashROM99 from me.

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So, this means that a FlashGROM is not a simple extension of the FlashROM, but will require a re-design. Maybe I'll find some time later this year to start working on it.

 

Cool! If the re-design incorporates more memory, but still let's one use everything that the FR99 currently does and also let's one have a version of Extended BASIC and maybe even the Multiplan loader on board too I'd never need another cartridge.

 

I'm guessing the saved GROM stuff would need a different header so the cartridge could determine how to execute the selection. Having both formats on one SD card at the same time would be the bomb.

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Sorry in advance if these questions have already been answered elsewhere. :)

 

So 8K ROM games work "as is" with FlashROM99 and any EPROM !?

 

And FlashROM99 also takes 16K, 24K and 32K ROM games. Do they have to be inverted or not ?

 

If one uses the FlashROM99 menu program (?), I guess it somehow automatically detects and loads 8, 16, 24 or 32K from SD Card unto the FlashROM99, which in turn the TI sees as a ROM cartridge ? How does it detect the size ?

 

Thanks.

 

:thumbsup:

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So 8K ROM games work "as is" with FlashROM99 and any EPROM !?

 

And FlashROM99 also takes 16K, 24K and 32K ROM games. Do they have to be inverted or not ?

 

If one uses the FlashROM99 menu program (?), I guess it somehow automatically detects and loads 8, 16, 24 or 32K from SD Card unto the FlashROM99, which in turn the TI sees as a ROM cartridge ? How does it detect the size ?

 

Yes, the FlashROM takes all images "as is" of any size up to 32K. You could load a 4K image, or 513 Byte image ... The FlashROM doesn't care about size, it loads images into RAM just as they come. But as there is only 32K of RAM, BIN files larger than 32K are skipped when scanning. And images must not be inverted.

 

There's no logic required for handling different sizes, with one exception: if you have an 16K image (like Pac-Man) that uses an unconventional bank switch value (like >6AAA instead of >6002), then banks 2 and 3 might be selected instead of the intended 0 and 1. Thus, the FlashROM mirrors small images into unused banks. In the case of Pac-Man, you have two copies running from all banks. For 8K images, you have 4 copies.

 

The "logic" of different sizes is handled by the bank switching circuit, which is the same one as the ones on the Multicarts.

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Excellent. Thanks.

 

Let's take a 16K ROM. I guess I have to supply it as one file and not two files. And that answers my question about how the logic works in the FlashROM99, - one file equals one game equals one entry in the FlashROM99 menu !?

 

And entries/carts that have their own TI menu is no problem. After selecting the entry via the FlashROM99 menu, the system simply boots with that cart in place !?

 

;)

Edited by sometimes99er

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