Sunday, May 15, 2016

A600: Replacing internal HxC SD with Gotek HxC on my beast

Hey my friends.

Some months ago (and haven't found the reason yet) my internal HxC SD stopped working (LCD screen wasn't working and no sound was coming from buzzer.
After removing everything, I made a continuity test on whole board (comparing it with another HxC SD that I have) but still couldn't find anything wrong. HxC SD gets voltage but something is shortcircuiting and gives issues but I didn't have enough appetite atm to troubleshoot it more.

After seeing about Gotek and HxC's firmware adaptation by Jeff, I decided to give it a go :)

I ordered 2x Goteks (one in black and one in grey) and after getting the HxC licence from Jeff, I flashed both replacing the Cortex firmware.

Now it was time to give a spin on attaching a test 16x2 LCD screen (normal size) and an extra button to see if firmware was working as intended and Presto! The extra cheap I2C controller I got from eBay works lovely :)

In order to give a try on a test mini LCD screen I had once more to wire carefully from the ribbon connector to the I2C module (irritating job but someone's gotta do it).
After some time of soldering carefully, experiment was successful!

Now it was time for some case and Gotek modding. First of all my dear friend Dremel was used to remove the front fascia from the Gotek case...

Then everything was removed and the mod of slimming down the Gotek in order to be slim enough for the slim floppy drive to attach above it... started :)

After some time, the 2x caps were placed on the side, the board headers were removed, and also the USB connector and buttons were removed as well.
Good thing is that it still was working so yey! You can see it's more slim now :)

I also made the buzzer mod and glued it in place along with all the other components.
Drive was also attached above the unit carefully after many tried of measuring and testing on the real Amiga. I also attached the extra dual drive adapter in the best position I could.

On this detail view you can see in the lower left corner of the Gotek case, a cut I made with the Dremel in order to put the buzzer as far back as I could (including the needed transistor lol). Buzzer was also Dremeled a little in order for the upper motor of slim floppy to be as back as it should.

Here's the front side with the USB plug re-positioned in order to match the cut on A600 upper shell (where the original eject button was).

Just for means of WTF you can see the lower side of the whole mod (the cable coming underneath is the HxC buttons (Next, Previous, Enter) that are position on the lower A600 shell so I wanted a connector in order to remove the drive whenever I wanted.
The back dual drive adapter is attached via strong glue and some solid plastics

This is a classic overall mod on the internal of the case showing everything.
You can also see now the replacing of my Subway with a RapidRoad USB. Yes, you saw correctly that I'm not using the default mini connector of A604n's clockport as it wasn't easy to fit with the drive combo and also was really close to the HDMI connector of Vampire V2.
custom clockport cable was stripped and made rounded, in order to position RapidRoad a bit more right to the case and everything's now works as it should leaving space to HDMI connector as well!!!

Case closed for now. Everything's is now working as plan once again!!! Phew \o/

Last but not least, a screenshot of my loved A600 running latest SILVER5 core on Vampire V2 using a resolution of 1360x768 on P96. Awesome stuff indeed!

Stay tuned for more tests in the following days/weeks :)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Α600: Vampire V2 arrived and it's hawt!

Hey my friends.

Long time no see but I had a really good reason I was not much online or in the works.
I had my second child (a son this time) born on 18th of August so as you can imagine my personal time plus sleep have decreased drastically since then :(

Everything's turning out better as the time goes by and I have more time to tinker my lovely hardware.
Lovely things happened in my "absence" like new core with RTG support, cache, etc on FPGA Arcade and Vampire V2 with Apollo core and SAGA support... oh damn!

Well I hope from now on to write more frequently about my findings and tests on these lovely machines.

Yesterday I received my Vampire V2 board which took some time but was SOOO much worth it :)
Board is indeed small and has a JTAG connector, an HDMI output connector and a MicroSD connector. Lets put that baby on, shall we?

Yeah it's a bit messy as I had to dismantle the floppy drive combo, Subway and some wires that went on the former ACA630 in order to test the Vampire V2.

Workbench started just fine and INSANELY fast. My titlebar that is changed via MCP showed 040/ECS. Wow what a thrill!
I was amazed that Indyvision ECS worked just fine, cause I was under the impression by some posts that I read somewhere that they were incompatible. Turns out that atm they work just fine together even in SuperPlus 800x600 resolution.

Time for the classic SysInfo benchmarking and WTF!

Insane numbers for an A600 so it was time to make a module in SysSpeed to give a side-to-side comparison with my other accelerators (ACA630-OC, Furia, Furia2)

OK, I knew that Vampire V2 has the genuine kickstart that I provided inside. Time to give a test if it will work if I remove my former kickstart completely...
...OMG it works... :D

Last but not least, I thought about giving SAGA (P96 RTG) support a glimpse.
After I installed P96 and the SAGA driver... voila!

So far only 320x240 and 640x480 till 16bit are supported but we're still on early stages of awesomeness.

Today or tomorrow I'm gonna make a new post with some video of the responsiveness of the Amiga with the Vampire V2 along with the SysSpeed modules in order for anyone to compare it with his/her own benches.

Stay tuned :)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

FPGA Arcade: New LED signals on the core equals more LEDS to play with

Yesterday MikeJ released a new Amiga core for the FPGA Arcade which apart from scrollwheel support, OSD options for Mouse/Joysticks and some 2nd joystick button also added 3 headers on the AUX_IO spot for Power, Floppy and Hard Drive LEDS.

That was awesome cause I had no appetite to get these signals by soldering wires to the SD access SMD LED.
After I opened the case, I tried firstly with a spare LED to see if the signals were working ok. First I tried the power LED (although I wasn't going to use it as I have the signal from my custom circuit (before the core is running which I prefer it).

Second it was the floppy LED that I used by opening an "Workbench 3.1" image...

Last but not least was the hard drive access LED that I tested while system was booting (what a nice LOL picture of the ghost loading icons).

So after seeing everything was working as intended... I dismantled the board from the case once more, and attached 3 rows of pins to the AUX_IO spot to have for future use (you can see it in the top middle area of the board right from the RS232 connector) :)

Because the case has one bright Blue led for Power and one Orange one for the Hard disk access, I thought about changing the Blue cause I didn't like it, and replaced the Orange one with a dual LED (Orange for hard drive access, and Green for floppy access).
As you can see from the pictures bellow, I had to get the extra signal along with the other cables so I put an extra wire for it :)

As always, and because I want to keep always a tidy up space inside the case, instead of stretching the cables for my need, I made an extra custom extension cable for connecting all the necessary LEDS to the FPGA Arcade board.

Everything was ready and testing was successful :)

Also, because the power LED (now in red) was still VERY bright, I decided to put an extra 4.7KΩ resistor just to keep it dimmer. Ofc the resistor was placed inside an insulated extension for better looks (lol).

And a last panoramic view from the mods before closing the case.

Here you can see the Power red LED...

The Floppy green LED...

And the orange HD LED.

Last because a friend asked for it..., I present some photos of SysInfo, AIBB and WhichAmiga for fun.
Not bad for a system not using Cache :)

Anyone noticed the extra board attached? Minimig RTG Card... exciting times coming :)