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New Atari ST/E Mega ST/E hard disk interface - Faster and more SD card compatible than SatanDisk

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A new Hard Disk interface compatible with Atari ST family computers,

 

Results: The ACSI2STM works perfectly; loading the 3.5 MB size of current Metal Slug port takes around 6 seconds (aprox. 650 KB/s).
Tested against old SD cards, such 1 GB card; 4 GB SDHC and 8 GB SDHC. All these are detected and works correctly!

 

Original firmware is slightly optimized, gain is around 6 - 8 KB/s; further improvements could be made, but these would require a ACSI command circular buffer management... not easy to perform on few days. Due to this, all pinout is accesible on the final version, in order to update the device´s firmware easily in a future.

 

New firmware that solves hard disk writing problems on my STE, probably useful for many other ST computers:

On the video, a game is executed from hard disk; a savestate of the game is created, followed by a copy of this savestate, and finally load this savestate copy and resuming the game.

 

 

Usage video:

 

 

 

 

 

A video from the user PSIQ, many thanks!

 

 

 


Photographs of the hard disk interface, Prototype one, final version do not have flying wires :)  

 

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The hard disk image (DOS & TOS compatible, readable on Windows) I used: http://atari.8bitchip.info/DiskImgPP1.html

You can use Win32DiskImager (Windows) in order to write it.

The ST / STE with a hard disk is another world!


Performance & micro SD card compatibility testing:


SDHC 8 GB

attachment.php?attachmentid=54192&d=1611


SDHC 4 GB

attachment.php?attachmentid=54193&d=1611


Normal SD 1 GB

attachment.php?attachmentid=54194&d=1611

 


Each unit is completely built and tested,
price is 33€ + shipment , with tracking number (6€ for Spain or 9€ for Europe; shipping for USA, Japan 11€; USA, Canada and Australia 10€ )


Lower cost and better SD card compatibility than any Satan disk, and much lower price than UltraSatan.
Its the Atari ST hard disk suitable for the masses,

 

 

 

 

 

--- UPDATE ---


I tested another micro SD card, an 8 GB SDHC class 4; it works ok


Also, as further news; I found a very rare way to solve my hard disk writing problems for my STE;
I was researching on make the hard disk slower... with same bad results.

Today I tested with a faster hard disk; faster on the way the signals from Atari DMA controller are processed by the hard disk device.

And it works!!! :D

I need to upload a possible firmware upgrade; but really I am not sure if this new firmware is only useful for STE, or it is useful for everyone...

 

 

---------------------------------

 

Yesterday I was researching the reason for hard disk writing failure on many ST/E computers, as my own STE.

I detected some differences on hard disk port signals timings, due to manufacturing or ageing? Not sure; but the new firmware increases the compatibility, specially at hard disk writing, solving the corruption problem on my STE, as well on many other machines.

A complete and easy update procedure document, that contains the new firmware file, is uploaded here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1b8GlEb ... sp=sharing


Thanks for your interest and support!

And sorry for the delay on this discovery,

Future updates focused on performance or extended compatibility will arrive,

 

 

Users that do not receive yet the units, will receive the new firmware installed!

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

This is a video of the updated firmare, version of 5 February 2021, that solves hard disk writing on my STE;
probably this can be useful for many other ST machines.

 

However, on the update package, the original firmware is also included.

 


[VIDEO]https://youtu.be/nERQGIlClAg[/VIDEO]

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

An update with the tested micro SD card brands and types:



-Micro SD cards that work ok:

Sandisk 1 GB
Kingston 8 GB class 4
Kingston 4 GB class 4
Intenso 8 GB class 4
Intenso 16 GB class 6
Intenso 4 GB class 10
Intenso 8 GB class 10
Kingston 16 GB class 10
Sandisk 16 GB class 6
Toshiba 16 GB Class 10 UHS-1 (tested by Real Larry (AF) )
Mitos 4 GB Class 10 (https://de.aliexpress.com/item/1005002096781542.html, tested by Real Larry (AF)

Intenso 32 GB Class 10 (Tested by Real Larry (AF) )



-Micro SD cards that do not work:

Cloudisk 512 MB
No brand 4 GB
MediaRange 8 GB class 10 (garbled content, you can read, but if you write content is garbled)
Sandisk 32 GB class 10 UHS-1

 

 

 

-Tested power sources that work ok:

Old Ipod 5V 1A (from the times when a hard disk is placed inside Ipod)
Farnell USB power source 5V 2A
Original Raspberry Pi 2/3 5.1V 2.5A power source (Tested by Real Larry)

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

MEGA GREAT UPDATE

You will smile a lot,

I was waiting until the new firmware is stable for any STM32 version, from original one to clone ones,

I added DMA transactions for the SD card, using a triple buffer...


Now the reading speed is near 650 KB/s and writing can reach up to 385 KB/s (when SD card has plenty free space); this device is turning very similar to an UltraSatan, in terms of performance. Maintaining its lower cost nature!


SAMSUNG-CAMERA-PICTURES.jpg


SAMSUNG-CAMERA-PICTURES.jpg  


SAMSUNG-CAMERA-PICTURES.jpg

 

All users that acquired my manufactured hard disk units, will receive a link with the update file.

 

 

 

Edited by masteries
Update micro SD card compatibility test
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Very nice, this would be perfect for my Mega STE, the 1GB SCSI Internal drive does not seem to be working anymore.

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13 hours ago, Jinroh said:

Very nice, this would be perfect for my Mega STE, the 1GB SCSI Internal drive does not seem to be working anymore.

 

Due to you have a Mega STE; I saw some photographs, it appears that on Mega version the power connector is located up to external ACSI port.

 

If you want an unit; I will produce it with a 90 degree DB connector in order to seat correctly for Mega ST/E users.

 

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10 hours ago, oakcitycomics said:

Are you taking orders for these now?

Yes, sent a PM with your address.

 

As well, I need to provide shipment cost for USA asap.

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9 hours ago, masteries said:

 

Due to you have a Mega STE; I saw some photographs, it appears that on Mega version the power connector is located up to external ACSI port.

 

If you want an unit; I will produce it with a 90 degree DB connector in order to seat correctly for Mega ST/E users.

 

That is very generous, PM Sent, I can take some extra photos if you need. :)

Edited by Jinroh

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--- UPDATE ---


I tested another micro SD card, an 8 GB SDHC class 4; it works ok; brand is PNY


Also, as further news; I found a very rare way to solve my hard disk writing problems for my STE;
I was researching on make the hard disk slower... with same bad results.

Today I tested with a faster hard disk; faster on the way the signals from Atari DMA controller are processed by the hard disk device.

And it works!!! :D

I need to upload a possible firmware upgrade; but really I am not sure if this new firmware is only useful for STE, or it is useful for everyone...

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Tomorrow, I shall post an official update procedure .pdf, including the needed minimal easy to use software, and the .bin update file, and how to connect the jumpers and wires.


A new video of correct hard disk operation with the new firmware will be welcome too!

Edited by masteries

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New firmware that solves hard disk writing problems on my STE, probably useful for many other ST computers:

On the video, a game is executed from hard disk; a savestate of the game is created, followed by a copy of this savestate, and finally load this savestate copy and resuming the game.

 

 

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I discovered that the STM32 can lost some hard disk (ACSI) commands, fixed currently; but fixing other defects,
 

 

Bad Apple demo can be played as many times you want, as well We Were.

Also, the ACSI2STM responds now to pure ACSI Hardware commands.

 

-Added features broken another ones; currently integrating required functionality that are not supported yet by Arduino library; a manual library integration...
 

 

 

Edited by masteries
Additional work in progress

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Very great updates, I am looking forward to getting one, so I can get back to developing on my ST again. :D

 

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On 2/17/2021 at 9:03 PM, Jinroh said:

Very great updates, I am looking forward to getting one, so I can get back to developing on my ST again. :D

 

You have a PM, your unit is ready!

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On 1/26/2021 at 3:40 AM, oakcitycomics said:

Are you taking orders for these now?

Your unit is ready!

 

You have a PM

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9 hours ago, masteries said:

You have a PM, your unit is ready!

Payment sent and PMed my address to you. Many many thanks.

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I have bad news... today I received a package that supposedly have 20x STM32 controller boards, but the weight is suspicious: only 9 grams.
20 controller boards can´t weight as little as 9 grams, about 100 - 120 grams is normal for 20 units...

The envelope is empty!!!! with a piece of paper that says: Thanks

WHAT the f****? "Thanks for give my money to you for nothing? (The name of the ebay seller is Horizon, as well Alice-module is the same!)

I claim it inmediately; as well I claimed the previous 30x STM32 package that never arrived :(



There is another 20x units package on travel, from a different seller... I hope this will be a legit seller,

 

This situation causes a severe delay on manufacturing queue  :(   Sorry

 

 

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7 hours ago, masteries said:

I have bad news... today I received a package that supposedly have 20x STM32 controller boards, but the weight is suspicious: only 9 grams.
20 controller boards can´t weight as little as 9 grams, about 100 - 120 grams is normal for 20 units...

The envelope is empty!!!! with a piece of paper that says: Thanks

WHAT the f****? "Thanks for give my money to you for nothing? (The name of the ebay seller is Horizon, as well Alice-module is the same!)

I claim it inmediately; as well I claimed the previous 30x STM32 package that never arrived :(



There is another 20x units package on travel, from a different seller... I hope this will be a legit seller,

 

This situation causes a severe delay on manufacturing queue  :(   Sorry

 

 

 

Ugh this is awful, I am sorry that one of your suppliers has turned out to be a fraud. :(

 

Your device is very great, and well worth waiting for, despite the unfortunate delay! If you want one of these awesome pieces for your ST, do not let a delay discourage your order! :D

 

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Posted (edited)

Hopefully Ebay sends to me a refund for the "empty envelope" today,

 

--------------------------------------------------------------

 

An update with the tested micro SD card brands and types:



-Micro SD cards that work ok:

Sandisk 1 GB
Kingston 8 GB class 4
Kingston 4 GB class 4
Intenso 8 GB class 4
Intenso 16 GB class 6
Intenso 4 GB class 10
Intenso 8 GB class 10
Kingston 16 GB class 10
Sandisk 16 GB class 6
Toshiba 16 GB Class 10 UHS-1 (tested by Real Larry (AF) )
Mitos 4 GB Class 10 (https://de.aliexpress.com/item/1005002096781542.html, tested by Real Larry (AF) )

Intenso 32 GB Class 10 (Tested by Real Larry (AF) )


-Micro SD cards that do not work:

Cloudisk 512 MB
No brand 4 GB
MediaRange 8 GB class 10 (garbled content, you can read, but if you write content is garbled)
Sandisk 32 GB class 10 UHS-1

 

 

 

 

 

-Tested power sources that work ok:

Old Ipod 5V 1A (from the times when a hard disk is placed inside Ipod)
Farnell USB power source 5V 2A
Original Raspberry Pi 2/3 5.1V 2.5A power source (Tested by Real Larry)

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by masteries
Updated micro SD card list

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hello

In your final product, did you use a DB19 connector or a DB25 modified one?

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11 hours ago, Karlson said:

hello

In your final product, did you use a DB19 connector or a DB25 modified one?

A handwork modified DB25 one,

 

DB19 are almost impossible to locate, or extremely expensive to be a suitable component.

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Posted (edited)

Phenomenal device @masteries!

 

Once I found a suitable power supply and a micro-SD card it works flawlessly with my Mega STe. :D My USB Floppy Drive broke for my PC so this makes me able to transfer files again!


Thank you for your development of this really great device. ❤️

 

If you have been thinking about it, go ahead and order it, you will not be disappointed. 

 

Edited by Jinroh

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Posted (edited)

MEGA GREAT UPDATE

You will smile a lot,

 

I was waiting until the new firmware is stable for any STM32 version, from original one to clone ones,

I added DMA transactions for the SD card, using a triple buffer...


Now the reading speed is near 650 KB/s and writing can reach up to 385 KB/s (when SD card has plenty free space); this device is turning very similar to an UltraSatan, in terms of performance. Maintaining its lower cost nature!


SAMSUNG-CAMERA-PICTURES.jpg


SAMSUNG-CAMERA-PICTURES.jpg  


SAMSUNG-CAMERA-PICTURES.jpg

 

All users that acquired my manufactured hard disk units, will receive a link with the update file.

Edited by masteries

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