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The SDX...car file is working okay but the sdxloader file is not picking up the Fat32 content. The original supplied on work though ..

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progress on the sdx image it reported he size much closer this time.

 

the side loader... I think it isn't showing roms over 8k, and possibly no atr's...

it did load some rom images, some. I will see what happens on the xex front and the pdm player as well...

 

Once I use fdisk/apt to set up from the ground up, we may get somewhere...

Edited by _The Doctor__

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progress made... It looks to be working to a degree on the SDX front, though the image doesn't have fatfs.sys or whatever on it... I will have to put it on all the partitions so that way no matter the sparta version I should be able to get the driver and then see the other stuff....

 

Now for the really tough part..

 

FLASH AIR drives have a directory and some files tha have to stay on the SD card just as they are names and all. Without these it no longer will be a wifi/remote transfer capable device, It won't relay internet connections to other devices either...

 

this may require some thought as many of us have and use them...

 

We all love our Flash Air cards and have become quite fond as well as used to them....

 

Since I've put a couple partitions down on standard sd cards, I will move it over to the pc and see how badly windows handles life :)

Edited by _The Doctor__

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Put FATFS.SYS on CAR: if you want. These files are just examples.

 

Note the SIDE loader doesn't display ROMs over 8K since it has no way of loading ROMs of over 8K. Remember this is the SIDE loader as found on the SIDE cart; it is not the AVG loader.

 

Any functionality issues you're now seeing are the fault of AVG's SIDE emulation, since the SIDE loader as posted works with SIDE cartridges. I did not produce any special version of the loader targeting AVG.

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I thought it was suppose to load 16k roms as well....don't know where I read or got the idea...

since the avg already does roms etc... it would have just been convenient is all.

I think the reason side loader runs things the avg doesn't and vice versa for other things might be due to the os avg loads, sideloader probably tosses that out, and of course turning the file system on and off helps out too.

 

Can't get windows to let me access partitions, it shows them in the management console, but insists I format. that of course blows away the apt and all...

what's weird is it shows one as raw like it should but the other says it's primary and healthy.... yet I can't do a thing with it.. while it's not much different than the way myide et al does things, that was fine.... Who knows, I must have missed something, perhaps sleep will help.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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I thought it was suppose to load 16k roms as well....don't know where I read or got the idea...

No, but it's possibly doable.

 

since the avg already does roms etc... it would have just been convenient is all.

But the SIDE cartridge does not implement ROM emulation, and for this reason the loader can only load 8K ROMs by reading them into RAM and fooling the OS into thinking the RAM-based ROM is actually internal BASIC, thus offering reset pretection, etc (which is probably the reason I didn't attempt to handle 16K ROMs). I wonder what is the point of using the SIDE loader with a stand-alone (i.e. U1MB-less) AVG cart if one is simply going to lament the inability of the loader to launch banked carts. The AVG's own loader handles XEX files and carts.

 

I think the reason side loader runs things the avg doesn't and vice versa for other things might be due to the os avg loads, sideloader probably tosses that out, and of course turning the file system on and off helps out too.

The AVG cart attempts to emulate a SIDE cartridge, and this is the environment in which the unmodified SIDE loader runs. The SIDE loader has no reason to load RAM-based operating systems, since the chosen method of ATR mounting is via Ultimate 1MB's PBI BIOS (which offers by far the most robust possible implementation). AVG - by virtue of its SIDE emulation - can even (supposedly) provide the same ATR and hard disk solution in concert with an Ultimate 1MB, since all the AVG has to do in that scenario is emulate the SIDE's Compact Flash controller (although judging by Roy's feedback earlier in the thread, the SIDE loader ROM I posted does not appear to be finding a hard disk).

 

But - again - if you want access to XEXs and ROMs from the same menu, use AVG's loader.

 

Can't get windows to let me access partitions, it shows them in the management console, but insists I format. that of course blows away the apt and all...

what's weird is it shows one as raw like it should but the other says it's primary and healthy.... yet I can't do a thing with it.. while it's not much different than the way myide et al does things, that was fine.... Who knows, I must have missed something, perhaps sleep will help.

MYIDE does not support APT at all (although it makes perfunctory allowance for an APT container on the disk without actually interfacing with it in any way), and since I have no idea what's actually on your card, it's difficult to advise. I would think that the best place to familiarise oneself with APT and SIDE operation would be by using a SIDE cart or at least an emulated SIDE cart; doing so with an AVG cart is probably giving space to a whole lot of extra variables which are entirely beyond my control. Perhaps Tmp can chime in or someone can send him a PM about anything which does not work as expected. I would do so myself were I the one currently experiencing issues with the device, but I am not (and my AVG isn't yet assembled).

 

I use the Windows Disk Management console exclusively for the purpose of creating and maintaining FAT partitions on APT media (typically there are four FATs, and I'm using VHDs for emulation and physcial CF cards with real hardware) without any issues whatsoever (providing one ignores Windows' nag message about formatting the APT), so most likely sleep or reading the manual is necessary.

 

Perhaps the expectation that the SIDE loader on an AVG cart will do things it was not designed to do is an inevitable consequence of the confusing array of hardware and front ends with which the user is typically confronted today. Although the AVG cart is the first to attempt SIDE emulation (and thus potentially save the customer the expense of purchasing multiple devices to perform tasks which could easily be accomplished using a single piece of hardware, were it designed with sufficient consideration of what already exists), the fact cartridge mounting is not exposed via an API which the SIDE loader can reach (to the best of my knowledge) means that cartridge mounting is only possible with the native AVG loader menu, and that is what you should use.

 

It's possible to have a multi-cart which does everything quite cheaply, and it has been possible for some years, but no device other than AVG has so far made any attempt at compatibility with the U1MB PBI BIOS, and even in that case, no cooperation was undertaken which would allow - for instance - the loading of banked cartridges from the U1MB SIDE loader (which already handles XEX and ATR files). So, unless we sit and wait for SIDE3, we must work with what we've got.

 

Nevertheless, although I am not a hardware designer nor even an ARM developer, I was driven to write an experimental firmware for the (cheap) UNO Cart which does everything all in one device and all from the same menu:

 

 

Unfortunately the simple MCU implementation is far from ideal. It's unresponsive on the bus while the SD card is busy, and is not yet stable on a broad variety of machines. The 128KB cart limit is also problematic. But it provides an (emulated) IDE hard disk on the SD card, works with the U1MB PBI BIOS and loader, and allows launching of ATRs, XEXs, and banked carts all from the U1MB SIDE loader. It also boots the SIDE loader when there is no Ultimate 1MB, and allows launching of XEXs and banked carts all from the same menu. The FAT FMS built into the side loader can be accessed from the emulated carts, so an emulated banked cart can read stuff from the SD card via the CIO when there is no U1MB. Given more RAM, one could even emulate pass-thru carts (allowing SDX and an external cart on a machine with no U1MB, and access to the HDD via the SDX SIDE.SYS driver). The SIDE loader (on both the U1MB and the UNO cart) required slight modifications to account for the floating data bus and the cart mounting API I came up with, but the thing basically works the way it's supposed to.

 

AVG and the Ultimate Cart could both do a better job of this, but without devoting enormous amounts of time into becoming an embedded systems developer and PCB designer, the UNO kludge is about the best I can manage so far.

Edited by flashjazzcat
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I wonder what is the point of using the SIDE loader with a stand-alone (i.e. U1MB-less) AVG cart if one is simply going to lament the inability of the loader to launch banked carts.

the only real use case i know of is using side loader to launch pdm player (and have SIDE emulation enabled so it can work) which is of course just a workaround for currently not being able to load xex and have SIDE emulation enabled (that side2 loader car file was originally provided for this purpose)
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the only real use case i know of is using side loader to launch pdm player (and have SIDE emulation enabled so it can work) which is of course just a workaround for currently not being able to load xex and have SIDE emulation enabled (that side2 loader car file was originally provided for this purpose)

 

Right - that makes sense. Looks like the lines are getting a little blurred regarding which loader is capable of which task as far as users are concerned. :)

 

Is the SIDE loader ROM patched in any way, BTW? I'm not sure why Roy says the ROM I posted isn't picking up the FAT. Of course he didn't say whether the emulated SIDE is detected in the device menu, whether any MBR partitions are showing up in the partition menu, or whether it's just a flat-out failure to detect anything at all.

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it's not modified in any way, only converted to .car file, i believe it's a version that was available for download on your web at that time (june)

i'll test the one you've posted later today

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it's not modified in any way, only converted to .car file, i believe it's a version that was available for download on your web at that time (june)

i'll test the one you've posted later today

 

OK - thanks for clearing that up!

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Even though it might not have been intended, I use the side loader to get .xex's that won't work on the avg's native set up to run anyway. When it won't run with one loader it usually runs with the other and vice versa. Very useful, in fact I used it when working with a recent project. I simply sent the updated snippets and final project via flash air and then used side loader to run them.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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I'd appreciate hearing about any XEXs which fail to load with the SIDE loader. Have heard no reports aside from Pang (now fixed; thanks to Mytek for reporting it) and prior to that the Bash! demo from Candle a year ago (also fixed). Nothing else recently. I have attempted to divine issues I don't know about via ESP, but without success.

Edited by flashjazzcat

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Probably time to get all the latest greatest if the games have been patched or fixed in some way. Unless you meant the loader was fixed in some way as I have found I've updated this or that but not all. Time to go through everything and get it all on the same page (new year's resolution?)

It can be quite the task to work through every title. (Probably why most of us haven't so esp would be a nice thing to have, or not Mr. Xavier in mind)

After finish and or fulfilling several other projects and commitments it may just be time sit down and make a sheet of what is or isn't and on what.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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Unless you meant the loader was fixed in some way...

Yes: the loader was fixed, not the games. In both cases I mentioned above, the loader had to be changed to account for the egregious behaviour of the title in question (in the case of Bash!, setting up the display such that stage 2 VBIs - unless suppressed - would run away with themselves, and in the case of Pang, stomping all over ZP RAM supposedly reserved for PBI usage). The Bash! fix already exists in the v.2.0 release from July of this year, while the Pang fix is in the forthcoming version, and may inadvertently fix other poorly behaved titles in the process.

 

As for bug reporting, etc: I do not expect to delegate to the community at large the task of testing every game ever written for the Atari 8-bit, any more than I intend to undertake such a task myself. :) But if a problem is encountered along the way and flagged up in some way (on the forum, via PM, email, etc), then I can do something about it. Currently I hear that 'some stuff doesn't load' and simultaneously that there is some Incognito menu bug which is impossible to reproduce and only exists on one machine, and first appeared on firmware released (and presumably installed) five months ago. In the way of fixes, the updated loader I am about to release will likely address nothing but the Pang issue, since I have been told of no other bugs whatsoever since July of this year. Indeed, I recall less than half a dozen confirmed loader issues in the past three years, so I can only assume everything works just fine. :)

Edited by flashjazzcat

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Is this still available for purchase?

 

 

intermittently, i usually offer them in the marketplace section of this forum when i have some available

Stupid question.....I never heard about the "marketplace section of this forum" I tried to reach that section.. I couldn't find it. Where is it?

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it's not modified in any way, only converted to .car file, i believe it's a version that was available for download on your web at that time (june)

i'll test the one you've posted later today

did a quick test, old version is 1.29, new is 2.00, both show sd card contents for me
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I just tried the AVGcart with my non U1M Atari's and found the new car files are working as TMP reported also... Just sad that SpartaDos X barely runs because of lack of memory..

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there's no need for SIDE2 loader .car file since you can use U1MB's internal loader with U1MB machine

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Windows XP wants to format the SD card, it sees the APT partition first and wants to whack it..

Windows 7 will see the drive if there is one Fat32 and an APT but doesn't like a second fat... it will get

Windows 10 bring up the fat32 and Fat16 partitions, reads and writes to them...

What size clusters does FDisk prefer? What size does clusters does SpartaDos prefer with fat.sys etc... It doesn't really say, I suspect each version of windows before 10 only would show certain Fat and cluster combinations. Looks like all have to be on the same page.

 

While AVG cart sees the FAT32 partition fine and all things appear and run from it using AVG native, SpartaDos X does not seem to understand either even when running FATFS.SYS

Side loader reports FAT32, APT, FAT16...

Side loader reads both FATS, and has launched a couple of files I tried under both 16 and 32

another reason to use SIDEloader ROM! as the AVG native only shows the first partition.

This is using just the AVG cart and the side roms and sidesdx roms. No U1M

Edited by _The Doctor__

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Windows wants to format the APT since the APT presents an unrecognized partition ID in the MBR. You just have to say no. I have to say no every time I present Windows 10 with a CF card which contains an APT. It's a case of contacting Microsoft for a fix if that proves troublesome, unfortunately.

 

FDISK (if you mean the APT tool) doesn't care about cluster sizes, since it does nothing more than check for recognizable FAT boot records when cataloguing the FAT partitions on a disk. FATFS.SYS does not impose any special restrictions on cluster size, but the SDX toolkit includes a utility which will diagnose unrecognized FATs for you. The general advice (in the FATFS.SYS readme, IIRC) is to keep the cluster size high if the volume is extremely large, otherwise the free sector count (calculated upon first access to the volume) may take a long time to generate.

 

Note that FATFS.SYS does not yet recognize FAT32 partitions: only FAT12 and FAT16 are currently supported. I guess this would explain most of the issues you're seeing on the Atari side of things.

 

Most of the current multi-cart implementations only recognize the first FAT on a card, while the SIDE loader will indeed handle up to fourteen FATs.

Edited by flashjazzcat

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I chose poorly at 4k, which was suggested in some of the older docs, I suspect 16k -32k would be a better fit, as most 8k roms and 16k roms could be loaded in one cluster and the majority of older software choices could be snagged in the 32k range.. going at 4k was a bad choice. :)

 

I was looking for the XP driver/tweak/hack pack that added the other formats and made them accessible, years ago you had to do such a thing to make certain cards, cameras and mp3 players get along more happily.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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APT uses MBR partition ID 0x7F, which you can find in this list:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_type

 

Unless someone writes a Windows kernel driver which recognizes the APT container, I doubt there's much to be done. It would be nice if the Windows nag message could be disabled, but at the end of the day it's a non-issue: don't click through to format partitions. Cancel every alert box and format any partitions which need formatting using the Disk Management console. I don't think macOS and Linux are quite so aggressive with regard to unrecognized MBR partition IDs and file systems.

 

4K is a pretty standard cluster size and it's normally OK to go along with whatever Windows chooses for you. The FAT of a 32MB partition (65,536 sectors) with 4K clusters will span thirty-two 512 byte sectors, which FATFS.SYS should be able to traverse in a second or two when looking for free clusters. The temptation is probably to have enormous (i.e. multiple GB) FAT16 partitions and use these with FATFS.SYS, but this doesn't really make much sense when you can have multiple FATs on the card. You can make a 32 or 64MB FAT16 partition for stuff SDX needs to access and much larger FAT16 and FAT32 partitions for use with the SIDE loader and/or other multi-cart loaders. The only proviso for most other multi-carts is that your big FAT must be the first in the MBR. The SIDE loader doesn't care what order things appear in a will list every FAT partition it sees in an EBR chain.

Edited by flashjazzcat

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