Atari Portable

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby leech » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:19 pm

SainT wrote:Actually looking again, you should be able to support RAM upto $E00000 (which is where TOS resides), which is 14mb. Some lower addresses are used for the VME bus, but I'm not sure which TOS versions touch that.

TT resolutions are not possible. Support would strictly be for ST and STE chipset with extended video and potentially audio (audio in would be an easy option).


Oh, could have sworn it was 10mb, maybe it is only the Mega STe and TT030 then that is limited to 10mb, since they have VME. I do recall reading the mods for the TT could only gett the memory up to 10mb of ST RAM, even if you put in 16mb.

14mb for the Falcon for sure. When I was first reading that I thought it odd that Atari went that route, since the Amiga can recognize up to 3gb (full zorro bus, if I recall correctly). Not that there were ever large enough zorro 3 cards to support that much, and 14mb of ram on a Falcon goes a LONG way. 2mb+16mb of fast ram on an A4000 disappears really fast.
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby AnthonyJ » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:59 pm

dbsys wrote:The ROM port is essential for most MIDI based applications such as Steinberg Cubase or C-Lab Creator/Notator or Emagic Logic, because they all need a dongle to run.


However isn't it true that the dongles also need cycle accurate timing? So presumably not likely to work with a 50mhz modern 68k cpu?

I'd think hard before adding the cart port, and research the threads requesting support for it on the mist.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby leech » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:12 pm

I think the idea is a switchable CPU speed. At least that was my hope. A Entertainment / Productivity switch. I vote we call it Lightspeed vs Ludicrous Speed. (must have a built in 'Gone to plaid' wallpaper.)
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:16 pm

AnthonyJ wrote:
dbsys wrote:The ROM port is essential for most MIDI based applications such as Steinberg Cubase or C-Lab Creator/Notator or Emagic Logic, because they all need a dongle to run.


However isn't it true that the dongles also need cycle accurate timing? So presumably not likely to work with a 50mhz modern 68k cpu?

I'd think hard before adding the cart port, and research the threads requesting support for it on the mist.


The Mist has no cart port, or even any external bus access to the 68k softcore, so support for it is out of the question for the current hardware implementation.

The question springs to mind... why not use a cracked version and skip the dongle issue? Surely the legalities of using a 20 year old piece of software are pretty moot?

The additional features of the midi expander carts is another issue though. But as I'm using an actual 68k, giving access to the bus via the cart port isnt a big issue.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:58 pm

I've just done some reading. If anyone has a spare Cubase dongle I'll hook it up and see what it does (otherwise I'll keep an eye on ebay!). It seems to use ROM3, A8 and D8 -- so A8 will be an input and D8 the output. Given each read of the dongle has only two possibilities (A8=0/A8=1) and one bit of output it would at least be easy to get a load of data out of it to analyse. I'm guessing some kind of shift register with feedback using A8 as the input and shifting out to D8. Or at least that's the first thing I'd think of with a very limited CPLD. :)

There's no reason this couldn't be simulated / part of the chipset.

Oh, and there's nothing "cycle accurate" about this. It's just reading a bit from the cart address space. The cart knows nothing of time. :)

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby Greenious » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:08 pm

SainT wrote:I've just done some reading. If anyone has a spare Cubase dongle I'll hook it up and see what it does (otherwise I'll keep an eye on ebay!). It seems to use ROM3, A8 and D8 -- so A8 will be an input and D8 the output. Given each read of the dongle has only two possibilities (A8=0/A8=1) and one bit of output it would at least be easy to get a load of data out of it to analyse. I'm guessing some kind of shift register with feedback using A8 as the input and shifting out to D8. Or at least that's the first thing I'd think of with a very limited CPLD. :)

There's no reason this couldn't be simulated / part of the chipset.

Oh, and there's nothing "cycle accurate" about this. It's just reading a bit from the cart address space. The cart knows nothing of time. :)


We've been talking about this in the past...

viewtopic.php?t=20130

Some work has been done on it by a few members, but afaik nothing have come from it yet.
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby Atarieterno » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:12 pm

The cracked versions of most professional programs for musicians do not work reliably, for example Cubase v3 or Score, Notator, Logic ...
In addition the cartridge port is used in the ST for all kinds of musical hardware accessories (SMPTE synchronization, audio recording, more MIDI ports, etc).
For a musician the cartridge port is absolutely necessary.
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:16 pm

Yep, I've read that thread, as far as I can see nothing has been really gleaned about quite how it works. I'm happy to do some more. :) I can provide a load of data which other people can also analyse -- it is likely to be fairly difficult to figure out, but I'm sure people will be keen to have a go.

It would also be easy to come up with replacement dongles if it can be figured out...

But anyway, as said, the cart port is indeed invaluable for other purposes.
Last edited by SainT on Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby Frank B » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:18 pm

If extra video modes are added emutos could be extended to handle them. If you added a 256 colour mode for instance.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby Greenious » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:23 pm

SainT wrote:Yep, I've read that thread, as far as I can see nothing has been done. I'm happy to do some doing. :) I can provide a load of data which other people can also analyse -- it is likely to be fairly difficult to figure out, but I'm sure people will be keen to have a go.

It would also be easy to come up with replacement dongles if it can be figured out...


I've read through that thread aswell, and suspect the fastest way to get results would be a logic analyzer hooked up to the dongle, especially the unused pins on the PAL/GAL/CPLD, since they are often used in statemachines on these ICs, and just load up cubase/notator/whatever and record the traffic...

But as I don't have any dongles I've just been watching these discussions... lol

And if Steven Seagal would be interested, perhaps he's willing to expand his cartridge port protocol in STeem to emulate the dongle, once somone figures out a pattern worth trying. It would defintately speed up the process of creating a clone... :)
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:34 pm

I didn't read the thread properly, I see the Cubase 2 dongle has been understood and cloned, but it's the Cubase 3 which is still unknown and little done on it. Either hooking up a logic analyser (I have one of those handy) or reading the dongle direct from your own code would help no end.

I'm getting side tracked here, but I like this kind of reverse engineering. I'll keep an eye on eBay. ;)

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby Atarieterno » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:47 pm

SainT wrote:I didn't read the thread properly, I see the Cubase 2 dongle has been understood and cloned, but it's the Cubase 3 which is still unknown and little done on it. Either hooking up a logic analyser (I have one of those handy) or reading the dongle direct from your own code would help no end.

I'm getting side tracked here, but I like this kind of reverse engineering. I'll keep an eye on eBay. ;)


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Re: Atari Portable

Postby jvas » Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:52 am

SainT wrote:
Indeed a cartridge port was what I was thinking too for dongles etc...

I'm not sure on price as yet, in thoery the parts aren't too bad, but minimum run for getting boards built at the fab house I use is 100 units. I'm a bit doubtful I could shift 100 of these... lol. :) But I would think perhaps around the 250 ukp mark would be doable.

This is a future project for me as I'm just working on a Jaguar SD cartridge at the moment, but something like this has been at the back of my mind for ages and I'm building up experince in all the tech required through other projects.

It could be something I could take to Kickstarter I guess once I have a working prototype.

I keep thinking of neat things like mechanical keyboards to go with it too. I quite like the idea of building a keyboard too... :) But just a main unit you could plug a ps2 (or USB) keyboard and mouse into makes more sense.


Maybe a docking station with all the original ST ports would be an ideal solution for everyone.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby Atari030 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:04 am

Raspbery Pi has options for laptop designs. How about MIST in a laptop?

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:16 am

I won't be using the Mist board, as this doesn't give an easy option for cartridge port support. I had thought of laptop style designs as well, but a tablet style case is easier. There's a lot more work in a laptop, although it's something I do like the idea of. But as always I keep things as realistic as possible, as then they're likely to happen.

The idea of a docking station has crossed my mind a few times. I don't want to increase the form factor just to support a cartridge port natively, so the docking port idea might be a good one.

I've got some lcd's on order, so I'll have a play with those first when I get some time in between doing the jaguar SD cart.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby joska » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:26 am

I can't see how you can combine a pad-design with the usage of ROM-dongles without using a dock. Using a cartridge - especially the monstrous expanders/devices musicians use - means laying the pad on a flat surface to support the cartridge(s). Not very handy! A laptop would be better, since you can tilt the screen. A dock is nice too, but that means yet another device to bring along. I would assume that a musician would appreciate the convenience of a laptop.
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby joska » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:31 am

SainT wrote:This is a future project for me as I'm just working on a Jaguar SD cartridge at the moment,


Get the Jag SD-cart finished first, I've been waiting for that one :)
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby joska » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:51 am

SainT wrote:So for a realistic portable ST, the 68sec000 paired with a modest CPLD and small LCD makes perfect sense.


What about the chipset? Do you intend to use real chips (YM, ACIAs, floppy controller) and use a CPLD to replace the GLUE, MMU and shifter? Or implement the entire chipset in the CPLD?
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:53 am

joska wrote:
SainT wrote:This is a future project for me as I'm just working on a Jaguar SD cartridge at the moment,


Get the Jag SD-cart finished first, I've been waiting for that one :)


Oh I will. :D That's first priority. I always have other projects ticking away in the background.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:55 am

joska wrote:I can't see how you can combine a pad-design with the usage of ROM-dongles without using a dock. Using a cartridge - especially the monstrous expanders/devices musicians use - means laying the pad on a flat surface to support the cartridge(s). Not very handy! A laptop would be better, since you can tilt the screen. A dock is nice too, but that means yet another device to bring along. I would assume that a musician would appreciate the convenience of a laptop.


I'm agreed on the dock I think. I have no intention of doing a laptop style design though, as the complexity is far higher. There's potential for a dock to act as a stand I guess with a cart port flat on the base...

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby joska » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:58 am

SainT wrote:Actually looking again, you should be able to support RAM upto $E00000 (which is where TOS resides), which is 14mb. Some lower addresses are used for the VME bus, but I'm not sure which TOS versions touch that.


All TOS-versions works fine with 14Mb of RAM. However, on a real machine that means 4Mb of ST-RAm and 10Mb of alt-RAM. When you create your own GLUE/MMU logic it's easy to support 14Mb ST-RAM in hardware, but I don't think TOS would detect it. Emulators works around this by fiddling with TOS variables.
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:59 am

joska wrote:
SainT wrote:So for a realistic portable ST, the 68sec000 paired with a modest CPLD and small LCD makes perfect sense.


What about the chipset? Do you intend to use real chips (YM, ACIAs, floppy controller) and use a CPLD to replace the GLUE, MMU and shifter? Or implement the entire chipset in the CPLD?


All CPLD (apart from the 68k), all IP cores are available. With the 68k as an actual chip, the macrocell requirements for the chipset should be pretty reasonable. Although it's not something I've tried yet. That will be the first stage when I come to actually doing something.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby SainT » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:00 am

joska wrote:
SainT wrote:Actually looking again, you should be able to support RAM upto $E00000 (which is where TOS resides), which is 14mb. Some lower addresses are used for the VME bus, but I'm not sure which TOS versions touch that.


All TOS-versions works fine with 14Mb of RAM. However, on a real machine that means 4Mb of ST-RAm and 10Mb of alt-RAM. When you create your own GLUE/MMU logic it's easy to support 14Mb ST-RAM in hardware, but I don't think TOS would detect it. Emulators works around this by fiddling with TOS variables.


Yes with original TOS you have to hack with things. EmuTOS can be modified as needed, ofc.

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Re: Atari Portable

Postby joska » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:56 am

I've actually made an "ST pad". Well, an ugly prototype atleast :D

ST pad.jpg


It's based on a MIST and an old laptop screen (with touch overlay) and it's actually working. However, while the pad idea seemed great at the time, it turned out to be almost useless. A pad is something you hold and operate at the same time, or place on a stand to watch a movie or something. But this does not work well with the ST. You need a keyboard and a mouse (or trackpad), and then there is no point in the pad format. I added a permanent support on the back of mine to make it easier to use.

SainT wrote:I'm agreed on the dock I think.


What about something like this?

sketch.png


All in one unit (except for keyboard/mouse), no moving parts, cartridge friendly :)
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Last edited by joska on Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Atari Portable

Postby dbsys » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:59 am

SainT wrote:
dbsys wrote:The ROM port is essential for most MIDI based applications such as Steinberg Cubase or C-Lab Creator/Notator or Emagic Logic, because they all need a dongle to run.


The question springs to mind... why not use a cracked version and skip the dongle issue? Surely the legalities of using a 20 year old piece of software are pretty moot?



I am not aware of any cracked versions that really work flawlessly. These are definately not suitable for serious use.


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