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Can't solder? External U1MB

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It looks like this device may be getting closer to an official release. Lotharek posted some pictures on his FaceBook site and he has it listed on his store page as coming soon.

 

I'm not afraid of internal upgrades and have no issues with soldering and desoldering, but I now have more than one XL machine, so I'm considering waiting for one of these. I guess it'll depend on the final reviews and price. Either way, it should prove interesting.

 

https://www.facebook.com/lotharek/posts/3105834859647283

 

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1 hour ago, bfollowell said:

It looks like this device may be getting closer to an official release.

That would be astounding, since not only have I not started writing any firmware, I don't even have the hardware in my hands yet. :)

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Can't imagine the bus-logic/control gymnastics that will be needed to get this done without HALT signal on PBI-bus (XL), and without mentioning unbuffered lines, as well... Like a totally new CPLD-coding effort, for sure...

 

Meanwhile, we still have some (very important) CPLD code-fixing pending on Incognito aimed at fixing floating-bus on $D013 and Slor-3 bus-crippling that has been there for years., though...

Edited by Faicuai

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5 minutes ago, Faicuai said:

Can't imagine the bus-logic/control gymnastics that will be needed to get this done without HALT signal on PBI-bus (XL)

Not really much different to SysCheck II as I understand it. What takes time is envisioning functionality, agreeing how it should work, implementing it on the FPGA, implementing it on the 6502, testing it, correcting bugs, etc.

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47 minutes ago, flashjazzcat said:

That would be astounding, since not only have I not started writing any firmware, I don't even have the hardware in my hands yet. :)

That's just how good you are. Your brain has started coding and you didn't even know it 🙂

 

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2 minutes ago, flashjazzcat said:

Not really much different to SysCheck II as I understand it. What takes time is envisioning functionality, agreeing how it should work, implementing it on the FPGA, implementing it on the 6502, testing it, correcting bugs, etc.

 

Now that I remembered, there is no RD4, RD5, S4 and S5 on the PBI-bus port itself... which makes me wonder how the cart address space will be "emulated" and managed, while on-board MMU is present, but carts. are being "plugged" from PBI... That would be pretty cool.

 

And if that is the caee, SIDE3 should have been PBI-based, so it shares common-development and CPLD logic from this new board, while also leaving cart-port free on XL (looking better, flat/flush) AND being compatible with 800 / Incognito PBI-enabled setups (quite a number of them out-there).

 

Also, I hope that a PBI pass-through extender is not forgotten (to be added), so we don't end up in a dead-end street.

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I guess the MMU will just be overridden as well, and PORTB implemented on the external board. I'm sure the FPGA wizard has all this in hand.

 

Having multiple SIDE3 implementations (cart and PBI) is no biggie, really, and it was important to bring the new technlogy to existing U1MB owners. Not everyone even likes external boards, anyway, and XEGS and 1200XL machines aren't going away.

 

From my point of view, deploying similar firmware to multiple targets is not a problem, but if the thing is to be more than a workalike replica of U1MB with SIDE3 plugged into it, some development time is essential.

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1 hour ago, flashjazzcat said:

That would be astounding, since not only have I not started writing any firmware, I don't even have the hardware in my hands yet. :)

Well, there is a picture of the board, that seems to be a little further along than the one I saw in the original video, and @lotharek has a page for it now. You'll notice that I said closer, not close. If @candle has made progress, I would consider that closer, even if it's technically months or years away from an actual release. Obviously, if you haven't started on a version of the firmware for this version, there is still a lot of work to do.

 

Edited by bfollowell

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I have no idea if what's in the photo is any different to what's in the video. The simple fact is that when people see photos of the device posted on social media and the product billed as 'coming soon' on the vendor's website, they assume it is close to release. I'm just pointing out why I find this surprising.

 

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31 minutes ago, flashjazzcat said:

I have no idea if what's in the photo is any different to what's in the video. The simple fact is that when people see photos of the device posted on social media and the product billed as 'coming soon' on the vendor's website, they assume it is close to release. I'm just pointing out why I find this surprising.

 

All true, of course.

 

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29 minutes ago, ZuluGula said:

You can sell hardware and worry about software later.

Yes: that's a great idea. I know from experience how popular this is with end users.

 

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But it's our fault, we will buy any new hardware because of fear of missing out. Even if it wasn't tested with real hardware or software. Anyway, I think the situation is improving for the end user, because now we have more providers of hardware.

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Well I hope it works as advertised, but based on FJC's comments it looks a bit like Lotharek is putting the cart before the horse to say it's coming soon.

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With Candle developing it, He made the Ultimate/Incognito and  side carts, that was his video, Iam not worried.

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2 hours ago, ZuluGula said:

But it's our fault, we will buy any new hardware because of fear of missing out. Even if it wasn't tested with real hardware or software. Anyway, I think the situation is improving for the end user, because now we have more providers of hardware.

Well, some may, but "we" won't, unless the we doesn't include me. I now always wait for more information and detailed reviews before purchasing something. The one time that I didn't, several years ago, only helped to instill in me the fact that I wait until a product is finished, and proven. I only get burned once. Those that get burned frequently have no one to blame but themselves. There are many out there that seem to have to learn the hard way, and still more that never learn at all. Like @bandit though, I'm hopefully optimistic since @candle is developing the device. I believe his reputation and track record speak for themselves.

 

Edited by bfollowell

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4 hours ago, flashjazzcat said:

Not really much different to SysCheck II

 

That I was wondering, since both my SysCheck II and TurboFreezer use the same Antic refresh-line drain trick, to gain the necessary access to the bus.... But (if working identically) that would have its own Achiles-heel, as it depends on CPU from being in a state in which IRQs and NMis can actually be processed...  and there are conditions where you can crash the CPU somewhere and press the "freezer: button frantically, to no avail. I have already seen this, on my own...

 

I am not sure that is the case with U1MB or Incognito, though (eg. hard-interrupt by pressing Start+Reset, if set so in Bios).... but nevertheless a good compromise, anyway, for making it all happen externally, and SOLDER-LESS (strong appeal for the majority of users out-there, while exploiting XL/XE existing architectural assets).

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2 hours ago, flashjazzcat said:

Yes: that's a great idea. I know from experience how popular this is with end users.

 

Yeah I’m still waiting for the SIDE3, U1MB firmware update so I don’t have run the separate Sophia 2 config app, LIKE AN ANIMAL!!!!!!   😜

 

’rips hair out in exaggerated frustration’

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3 minutes ago, Sinjinhawke said:

Yeah I’m still waiting for the SIDE3, U1MB firmware update so I don’t have run the separate Sophia 2 config app, LIKE AN ANIMAL!!!!!!

Hehe... yes. This kind of ties into what I was saying. I am about to release all that stuff (it is quite literally complete, including the documentation, and just waits for me to painstakingly piece together all the release packages), but I ended up in the interesting position of releasing the PokeyMAX 2 plugin for U1MB after PokeyMAX 3 had become available. :D Fortunately v3 is API-compatible with v2, so I didn't have to change anything there.

 

More to the point, owing to feature-creep (primarily the ability of Incognito to run firmware plugins, once the updated JED becomes available), six months have elapsed since SIDE3 was released, and I am only now at the point of releasing the official U1MB firmware which supports it.

 

Anyway: No-one is or should be 'worried' about the new product under discussion, since the quality of Candle's hardware speaks for itself. I recall SIDE3 being announced (with enticing photos) about three years before it was released, and that product turned out pretty well.

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1 hour ago, bandit said:

With Candle developing it, He made the Ultimate/Incognito and  side carts, that was his video, I am not worried.

I'm going to quote the main point I was trying to convey in my previous post below -  just so this is clear.

3 hours ago, mytek said:

...Lotharek is putting the cart before the horse to say it's coming soon.

I never meant to infer that the product was going to be anything less than good, or great, or even stellar, but was merely pointing out that the announcement was possibly premature. If you also look at what FJC posted below, there appears to be a pattern of this occurring. So all I'm really saying is don't get too excited yet ;-) .

1 hour ago, flashjazzcat said:

I recall SIDE3 being announced (with enticing photos) about three years before it was released, and that product turned out pretty well.

 

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57 minutes ago, mytek said:

I'm going to quote the main point I was trying to convey in my previous post below -  just so this is clear.

I never meant to infer that the product was going to be anything less than good, or great, or even stellar, but was merely pointing out that the announcement was possibly premature. If you also look at what FJC posted below, there appears to be a pattern of this occurring. So all I'm really saying is don't get too excited yet ;-) .

 

Yes.  If there's one thing that bears repeating.  Nobody likes a premature release. 

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33 minutes ago, Stephen said:

Yes.  If there's one thing that bears repeating.  Nobody likes a premature release. 

Hey, I saw what you did there...

 

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5 hours ago, ZuluGula said:

But it's our fault, we will buy any new hardware because of fear of missing out. Even if it wasn't tested with real hardware or software. Anyway, I think the situation is improving for the end user, because now we have more providers of hardware.

Absolutely.

 

Supply diversity (as long as economically viable) is the best formula for the community (on the long run), and what it should always foster.

 

👍💪

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5 hours ago, Faicuai said:

since both my SysCheck II and TurboFreezer use the same Antic refresh-line drain trick, to gain the necessary access to the bus....

Freezer I understand, but why would SysCheck do that? Can you explain?

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12 minutes ago, ivop said:

Freezer I understand, but why would SysCheck do that? Can you explain?

 

Because SysChek II (among other things) can swap-in its own base-memory in the $0000-$FFFF address space, in lieu of the internally provided by the host system.

 

This is pretty decently explained.... on SysCheck's own manual.

Edited by Faicuai

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