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Keneg

Weird (possibly) idea

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I have been reading about all of the options for SIO and Cartridges. I have an SIO2PC-USB and it is great, but I have to switch back and forth between the Atari and my PC to change disks when needed. The carts have their own menus. I just had a thought. Could a cart be made with a cable connection to the SIO port so the combination could handle all file types and be totally controlled by the Atari? Pressing a button on the cart would bring up the menu to mount another file or load a .car file into the cart. Then exit back to your program to load the file or reset to run the .car.

 

So, totally weird and not possible?

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I have been reading about all of the options for SIO and Cartridges. I have an SIO2PC-USB and it is great, but I have to switch back and forth between the Atari and my PC to change disks when needed. The carts have their own menus. I just had a thought. Could a cart be made with a cable connection to the SIO port so the combination could handle all file types and be totally controlled by the Atari? Pressing a button on the cart would bring up the menu to mount another file or load a .car file into the cart. Then exit back to your program to load the file or reset to run the .car.

 

So, totally weird and not possible?

 

I've never heard of this kind of hybrid device, but having said that, the existing UNO Cart allows you load a decent variety of simple ATRs through the cartridge slot; once booted, the Atari "sees" the ATR file as if it were a disk. Another option is if you have an Ultimate 1MB board installed in an Atari; in that case, a SIDE2 cartridge (or an XEL-CF card interface for a 1088XEL) allows you to select an ATR - or even multiple ATRs assigned to different D: devices! - and then boot your machine from those virtual disks. In the case of the SIDE2 and the XEL-CF-3, a button on the device lets your rotate the ATRs for virtual disk swapping as well. Very handy for multi-disk games, or games/programs that want to save to another disk.

Edited by DrVenkman
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There's no need really for a cable from cart to SIO. A cart program can start IO operations on it's own.

 

The SIO2SD has a command set that can do stuff like change mounted image, get directory entries of images etc. But unsure if it's compatible with SIO2PC type devices also (the host APE software has to process these commands).

As convenient as it'd be it still means you'd lose the cartridge port. Modifying the host (e.g. APE) software to always boot to a menu program wouldn't be easy either - that software has no way of knowing whether the computer is booting up or just doing a normal disk access (though boot does read sector 1 first up, and XL/XE also attempts handler downloads).

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As convenient as it'd be it still means you'd lose the cartridge port.

To me that’s one of the great things about, for instance, the XEL-CF adapter for the 1088XEL. I can use CF-card based APT hard disk partitions or almost any ATR image loaded from the FAT32 partition of the card, all while still accessing to and booting the cartridge slot if I wish.

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With cartridge solutions, ATR handling is the primary stumbling block, and on the face of it, having an SIO connector which would permit serial access to the SD card on the cart seems like a good solution. However, without U1MB, SDX or a patched OS, serial IO speed is somewhat limited. And if you were going to go to all the trouble of creating such a hybrid solution in order to handle everything on the same device, you might as well create a PBI/ECI solution which provides robust, high-speed ATR handling with no reliance on the SIO connector at all. A PBI/ECI device which offered XEX loading, cartridge emulation, ATR mounting, an APT hard disk, 512K of extended memory and multiple operating systems is entirely doable these days.

Edited by flashjazzcat
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Is beyond 512K extended memory difficult for a PBI/ECI device? (Why not 1MB)

 

 

I don't see why there's any limit at all, really.

 

To remain compatible with the >512k existing expansions, one need only monitor the writes to the PORTB register then behave appropriately (ie: map in the memory using /EXTSEL). If you're using PORTB, then you're limited to the number of bits in PORTB you want to dedicate to the bank-switching, but that's all.

 

Amongst other features, my memory expansion is probably going to be 32MB of directly mappable memory (using either the standard PORTB style or by defining memory apertures) along with 32MB of video-related RAM which is not directly mappable (although you'll be able to copy from the directly-mappable memory to the non-directly-mappable memory and back as a background task). I'm using SDRAM, and at $3 each, 32MB is pretty much the smallest amount to use...

 

I've got to the point now where I've asked the EE's in my group to look at the schematic / board layout and give me feedback on how I could make it better, so things are moving, even if it doesn't seem so right now :)

 

Simon

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I've got to the point now where I've asked the EE's in my group to look at the schematic / board layout and give me feedback on how I could make it better, so things are moving, even if it doesn't seem so right now :)

 

Wow sounds like a think tank of talent being utilized for improving our very old tech. So I'm curious as to what they think about your project being based on an Atari? You can answer that in your super PBI thread if you wish.

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post-29261-0-83327100-1530069739_thumb.jpg

I have been reading about all of the options for SIO and Cartridges. I have an SIO2PC-USB and it is great, but I have to switch back and forth between the Atari and my PC to change disks when needed. The carts have their own menus. I just had a thought. Could a cart be made with a cable connection to the SIO port so the combination could handle all file types and be totally controlled by the Atari? Pressing a button on the cart would bring up the menu to mount another file or load a .car file into the cart. Then exit back to your program to load the file or reset to run the .car.

So, totally weird and not possible?

I have been doing something like this using a Raspberry Pi that is connected wirelessly to the internet. I use a PR Connection serial port plugged into a little ttl to 232 board that is plugged in the PI GPIO. On the open port on the PR Connection, I have an SIO2USB connected and plugged in to a free UBS port on the PI. From here, I direct connect to the PI from the Atari using ICET128. I can then mount ATR files using command line using an app called SIO2BSD, loaded on the PI. Reboot the Atari with the SIDE2 cart out and the ATR will load via the SIO2USB. On the PI I also have a text web browser installed called W3M. With this, I would go online and download new ATRs, usually from atarimania.com or just browse the web.

You can mount files from the atari with a command like: (sio2bsd -s /dev/ttyUSB0 -f PacMan.atr)

 

Here are a couple of images on the Atari in action. The first one is the Atari looking at Atariage.com. The 2nd one is my board with the PI, PR Connection, max3232 and SIO2USB packed together.

post-29261-0-96297500-1530069840_thumb.jpg

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heey, nice!

Woult it be possible to remove PR: connection entirely by e.g. writing some RPI code?

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As for your original need, you can mount .ATRs on your PC from your Atari. I used it to bulk load many files in my SIO2PC system into my HDD setup on my Atari.

 

Don't remember how you do it, though. Check the APE docs... ask someone here - you'll find it.

 

Bob

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heey, nice!

Woult it be possible to remove PR: connection entirely by e.g. writing some RPI code?

That is a bit outside of my abilities. But, it would be nice not to depend on an 850 or PR C for rs232. If someone could do that, the PI could be mounted inside of the Atari chassis getting 5v power off of the main board. Just as a proof of concept, I have had the PI and Atari running off of a 5v battery with a portable tv. I paired it to my phone for internet. It worked great.

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