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Thomas Jentzsch

Harmony & WiFi SD cards?

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After reading a blog entry about using a WiFi SD card in the Harmony cart, I wonder if I should buy myself one too. It would definitely save some time during development.

 

Has anyone else some experience with this setup?

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That’s an interesting thought. I always figured those existed to push photos from a camera to a computer, and it never occurred to me that it probably has its own little file server so you could remotely put files on it, too. 

If it works, I agree it should save you from a lot of sneakernet swapping. They seem to have mixed reviews but are also cheap enough that an experiment shouldn’t break the bank. 

Sorry I don’t have any experience to share, just the comment that I want to hear how it works!

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I was wondering about that, thanks for posting cos I couldn’t find it on my own. 

As the blog author says, it sounds like a pain in the ass, but also feasible if you have patience and skill. 

https://www.flashair-developers.com/en/documents/tutorials/advanced/2/

I anticipate that you could do it but I could not, as I lack patience and skill. 


 

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It doesn't sound too complicated. And as soon as one person has done it, one could provide step-by-step instructions and maybe even a simple user interface for uploading.

 

At the moment I am checking the web if cheaper alternatives (e.g. EZ Share or one of the many SD card WiFi adapters offered) can be used too.

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I got a 32GB for ~$25 because that's the cheapest one available where I know it is working. 

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Nope. But It looked up the web. Doesn't seem to be overly complicated. I will report back in a week or so.

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I've been doing some research into the features and availability of Wifi SD Cards this morning. The main feature I'm looking for is that the SD card will be able to connect to my existing wireless network which luckily most of them have.

 

- Hereta looks like it has the ability to connect to a wireless network in Station Mode but there are no reviews and hardly any information on the Internet about them.

- VOORCA looks like it has the ability to connect to a wireless network in STA mode but reviews have been very poor, their website doesn't appear to be functional so there is no support for it.

- Eye-Fi has the ability to connect to a wireless network but they seem to be discontinued or only able to be bought in bulk?

- Transcend has the ability to connect to a wireless network built in but they seem to be discontinued ($5000 a card??) ?

- Toshiba FlashAir has the ability but you have to manually edit config files  and here's a 4 hour video of someone trying to make it work....

- EZ SHARE only has wifi hotspot capabilities

 

None of them seem ideal as there is little to no information about the product or it's discontinued. I think that Eye-Fi might be the best bet if I can find a place to sell just one to me?

 

Had anybody come up with better information than what I've found?

 

 

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Can the Harmony or UNO carts create and delete files on the SD card? I'm wondering if a message passing system could be constructed using a Wi-Fi enabled SD card. Messages would be passed as files on the SD card. If the ARM CPU could do message passing to a server, it might be able to relay those messages to a running game on the 2600 by updating RAM variables. The server and ARM CPU would have to periodically poll for message files. The game would periodically read/write RAM variables.

 

If any of that's possible, then I'm thinking a game could do a few things:

  • Trigger a bankswitch that loads a bank with server supplied ROM data to produce longer games.
  • Use server generated content on the fly for playfields, sprites, and game maps.
  • Load the next chapter of a game while maintaining game state variables.
  • Upload high scores and game state to a server.
  • Personalized graphics.

How feasible is this with a Harmony or UNO card?

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Interesting ideas. Since I am no expert, I don't know how feasible they are. But currently (AFAIK), after loading a game, the ARM is fully occupied by the game. Also only loading from card is supported.

 

For making your ideas work, there would have to be a 2nd thread running, independently from the game. Which not only requires CPU but also its own memory. And something like an OS which handles that. Sounds pretty complicated and I am not sure if it is feasible at all.

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UPDATE: I purchased the Toshiba W-04 32GB card and I've so far been able to set it up to connect to my wireless network while in my Atari 2600! Next up is to install the browser support so I can transfer files over to it!

 

Thanks for your help again Thomas!

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Got my Toshiba FlashAir (W-03) today. And with this tool and instructions I was able to set it up running in access point (AP) mode within some minutes. If one is able to read and handle a text editor, this is no big deal. No luck so far with client mode though, still trying to figure out the problem.

 

I tested creating a folder and uploading some ROMs. 

 

Limitations:

  • The tool's simple web interface will only allow uploading one file at a time, but you can upload multiple ones in a row.
  • Also the author mentions restrictions about number of files and number of subfolders for the tool.
  • AP is working quite slow, but fortunately Atari 2600 ROMs are really tiny.
  • Last not least: After uploading files, Harmony will not show them immediately. I tried with navigating, but this causes Harmony to display a "file not found error", where you have to press fire to continue. Then you are back in the root directory and much worse, the FlashAir cannot be accessed via WiFi anymore. You have to remove and reinsert the card to get WiFi going again.

The last points is IMO a major issue. I am not sure what is causing the problem. Maybe it becomes better in client mode or via other access methods, but for not I can only guess.

 

Note: Instead of using the simple web interface, you can use browser functionality directly and even WebDav. But I haven't tested these yet.

 

LUA.png

Upload.png

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Next step: I found another source (German) which contains a config which allows client mode and WebDav. 

CIPATH=/DCIM/100__TSB/FA000001.JPG
UPLOAD=1
APPMODE=5
APPAUTOTIME=0
APPNAME=cbm1
APPSSID=YOURSSID
APPNETWORKKEY=YOURPASSWORD
COMMAND=wlan 11n 1
VERSION=FA9CAW3AW3.00.00
CID=02544d535730384731c1fdc57900ec01
PRODUCT=FlashAir
VENDOR=TOSHIBA
MASTERCODE=0123456789AB
LOCK=1
WEBDAV=2
TIMEZONE=8

Installation is even easier than in my post above. Just replace the hidden config file with the one above (after adapting APPSSID and APPNETWORKKEY of course).

Then boot and connect the FlashAir as a new network drive (http://cbm1). Now you can access the card using your favorite file browser. :)

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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