A3010 hard disc interface

Arc/RPCs, peripherals, RISCOS operating system & ARM kit eg GP2x, BeagleBoard
munchausen
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A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:01 am

Hi everyone!
I'm a long time A3010 owner after I found one in a charity shop some years ago for a few pounds. I remembered the A3010 from school, and used to love playing mars quake at my friends house, but didn't have much experience beyond that.

I say "long time owner" but I actually couldn't get the machine started. Then last year I managed to get it up and running after realising the memory upgrade wasn't configured properly. I found a picture somewhere with the correct jumper settings, and it then boots to the desktop. It's got a 4MB upgrade and a hard disc mini podule of some sort. Of course, after booting I then found I couldn't do anything at all without a mouse, so I went no further with it.

I recently moved and now have room for it to be out in the attic. More to the point I've just bought a 386 card for it (http://www.cjemicros.co.uk/micros/indiv ... O-AGA-31-8). I had a 386 as my second computer (after my amstrad CPC) so this is a really great way of getting more bang for my retro buck, I couldn't resist!

However, to really be functional, I need a hard disc and the 386 upgrade. The obvious thing to do is trade up for an A3020, but I've been comparing the schematics for the a3010 and a3020 and have noticed that you really don't need many more components to add a hard disc interface to the a3010. It has the controller present already, you really just need an hc573, hct573, a connector, a bunch of resistors and capacitors and a very steady hand on the soldering iron.

So I was wondering, has anyone heard of this being done before? Does anyone know if it would actually work, software wise, if I succeeded, or is there a driver in the a3020 ROM, or some other software magic needed to get it detected by RISC OS?

I also have some more basic questions... I know there is a serial mouse driver but since I couldn't get anything to happen on the machine without a mouse I'm at a loss as to how I can install it. I tried a bunch of keyboard shortcuts to try and make something happen, but it just sits there with the mouse cursor in the middle of the screen. Is there a command prompt or something I can get to? Can it read a dos formatted floppy if I put the serial mouse driver on there? I know pretty much nothing about using acorns or risc os!

Thanks, and sorry for the long post!

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danielj
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby danielj » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:20 am

Hello there :)

Mouse :D

http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... f=3&t=6869

AFAIK there's no difference in the riscos ROMs, if the hardware's there the machine will use it.

d.

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:41 am

That's great, thanks Daniel! I have seen the original page about this mod, but could never find the mouse from the pictures. Where do I get the "£2.60" mouse?!

Cheers!

EDIT: Is it this one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/E-Cheetah-opt ... 0788179030

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danielj
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby danielj » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:47 am

That's the bunny! RS still do the 9pin mini din lead too.

d.

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:19 am

That's amazing! Have just ordered a couple of them (useful things to have around, especially at that price).

I'm still looking into the hard disc mod. Interestingly there's a header on the board of the a3020 where you can add joystick sockets (according to the schematics anyway). You need a few extra components, but it might be worthwhile for a3020 owners.

steve3000
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby steve3000 » Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:02 pm

The optical mouse conversion is definitely worth it - I made a few of those to cover all my Acorn equipment :) (might even have one converted mouse spare somewhere)

The A3010 hard disc interface using the built in chipset is one which I've always wanted to try - right back since the A3010 was new - when a friend of mine got one for Christmas, and of course we took it apart straight away...

However, he opted to buy an IDE interface rather than play with the board in the end.

I think the problem is that there is no header for the IDE lines. The pins on the 82c710 chip are there, but they are not connected - so you'd need some pretty fine soldering skills to connect up any adaptor. Not impossible, but when you look at the 82c710, you'll see it would be very tricky! I was thinking of running using Kynar wire to make the connection to the chip, route that to a simple circuit board which could be securely attached somewhere, and could hold the required logic chips and header for the interface... However I don't have an A3010, so haven't been able to look closely at this idea, and it may just be impossible to make a reliable connection...

Steve

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:26 pm

The soldering wont be easy... however most of the wires are available on the mini-podule connector and RAM upgrade sockets. There are 9 connections on the small pitch arm and 82C711 that need to be made. I was thinking of exactly the same; a board with the extra circuit and a bunch of fly leads.

pkersey
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby pkersey » Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:50 pm

I really would appreciate seeing that hard disc mod turned into reality! Please keep us posted!

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:27 am

My mice and AGA-31 386 card arrived today. I haven't done any installation yet but I did take off the heatsink from the AGA-31.

I've been dying to get more information about the board as there is relatively little online about it, so for others out there:

. It's an AM386 SX-33 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Am386#AM386_SX)
. Has a VLSI vl82c310-25fc4 "PC/AT-compatible System Controller"
. Memory socket takes a 72-pin SIMM, and the AM386 SX-33 can address up to 16MB of memory.

Rumours online speak of being able to get 16MB working in it only only if you have a SIMM that has 16 1MB chips, I found and ordered one for a couple of pounds yesterday, so we'll see how that goes.

There are a bunch of unpopulated headers, I don't suppose anyone has any info about what those might be?

I've also been wondering about sound and networking. It says in the manual that the PC speaker is sent through to the acorn, but I assume here is no sound blaster or anything. And can you network from the PC to the acorn? Or even slave the A3010 serial port to the PC perhaps. Maybe these things could be achieved with modified software on the acorn and appropriate DOS drivers?

I'm really excited by the possibilities of this card!

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flaxcottage
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby flaxcottage » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:26 pm

I have one of these PC cards running on my A3020. They are good - much better than the PC emulator.

One problem I discovered, though, was that they are not Econet compatible. Both cards installed and the A3020 will not boot. Remove either card and it boots perfectly.
- John

Currently running Level 4 Econet with BBC B, BBC B+ 128K, Master 128K, 4Mb A3000, 4Mb A3020, 4Mb A4000, 4Mb A5000 dual FDD; UK101; HP41CX setup; Psion 3a, 3mx and 5mx; Z88; TI-58c, TI-59 and printer, HP-16C programmer's calculator

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danielj
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby danielj » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:38 pm

Fortunately unlikely to encounter that impediment with an A3010 :D (poor little machine, it really was quite hobbled...)

d.

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:42 pm

flaxcottage wrote:I have one of these PC cards running on my A3020. They are good - much better than the PC emulator.


Awesome - can't wait to try mine! I'm now nervous that my a3020 wont work properly when I get the mouse sorted out, I've never tried it after all.

flaxcottage wrote:One problem I discovered, though, was that they are not Econet compatible. Both cards installed and the A3020 will not boot. Remove either card and it boots perfectly.


Well, with an A3010 I don't have a space for an Econet card anyway. But I did see something in the manual or release notes that says that the A3020 can't provide enough power for the Econet card, the PC card, and more than 1MB RAM on the PC card. Whether it detects this configuration and prevents you from booting or the PSU just can't provide enough power so just refuses to start I don't know. If it's the latter I guess it could be solved with some extra juice. The board has a 2 pin header on it that's labelled "PWR" but I don't know if that's an input or output and I'd be nervous about connecting power to it anyway in case it isn't regulated well enough or the wrong voltage and makes something pop.

I think if I want networking on the A3010 I will just use the serial port hooked up to a PC or something... 115K wont be so bad.

Do you know if the PC card can use the A3020 serial port at all? I'm thinking about multiplayer gaming, but I think I'm probably asking too much.

pkersey
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby pkersey » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:57 pm

munchausen wrote:I think if I want networking on the A3010 I will just use the serial port hooked up to a PC or something... 115K wont be so bad.


I've been trying this, maybe not as strongly as should, but I've garnered some experience on the subject yet.

I can make my A3010 talk through serial net with a PC (Linux). The maximum speed I got was 38400. Anything beyond that and the machine refuses to connect. I'll try harder at the terminal settings side of things, but that's what I got for now.

Using that same cable (which I built off a piece of Ethernet cord), I still cannot do serial network with any other Arc. In fact I kicked myself one sleepless night trying to make it work, but simply couldn't this far.

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:22 pm

I wired up my mouse, but I don't have a connector yet so I still can't do much with the a3010. Meanwhile I decided to fire up the machine and see if it still seemed ok, and some weird stuff happened...

To start with, it made a loud high pitched noise. After turning off 2 or 3 times, this changed to a really horrible low pitch noise from the speaker (which I subsequently unplugged). I couldn't get a picture on the TV either, so I started trying different monitors. I tried four monitors and a TV, and couldn't get a picture. Some said out of range, one seemed to actually get a picture but it turns out that monitor is smashed so that didn't help. Then finally I went back to trying to tune the RF on the TV, and voila, a supervisor prompt! Rebooted holding delete and got a desktop. Then tried the VGA on the TV and that works too! Phew!

Is the battery the cause of all this? It looks like it's leaking a bit. What can I use to replace it?
Last edited by munchausen on Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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paulv
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby paulv » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:29 pm

munchausen wrote:Is the battery the cause of all this? It looks like it's leaking a bit. What can I use to replace it?


You have a few options for the battery replacement...

http://www.retro-kit.co.uk/page.cfm/content/A3010-Battery-Maintenance

Paul

Zarchos
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby Zarchos » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:09 pm

munchausen wrote:Is the battery the cause of all this? It looks like it's leaking a bit. What can I use to replace it?


Check if you've got some corroded tracks in the area surrounding the battery at the same time ...

pkersey
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby pkersey » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:24 pm

This is how I'm personally used to address the battery leakage issues in Arcs, I can't see it'll get any simpler:

https://flic.kr/p/j661VN

(BTW that's a rechargeable battery, in case you're wondering)

There's this document we're writing that could be of some use to you. It doesn't go through the battery replacement procedure just yet, but has lots of useful information on fitting a Compact Flash and Networking.

"Classic Acorn ARM up and running from scratch - Second Draft"
http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=7968&p=83987&hilit=running+from+scratch#p83987

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IanS
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby IanS » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:02 pm

pkersey wrote:I really would appreciate seeing that hard disc mod turned into reality! Please keep us posted!

I know of someone who did it back in 1993. So it is possible:-
It worked very well.

You need to pick up some signals directly from the chips involved as they are not tracked out. At the time these seemed very fine pitched - though probably wouldn't to me now. Ensure that these are not shorted together. I picked up signals that were tracked out from the easier places they were taken to.

Don't get the board too hot - it's very easy to lift tracks or go through to the next layer - I did the job with a basic fire-starter, so it is possible, but I wouldn't even consider it without a good temperature controlled iron these days.

Keep wires short and try not to lay them across high-speed tracks.

Nothing else occurs to me right now but it has been a while - I do remember that I planned it out very carefully and then marked the relevant points on the board with a sharpie before I turned on the iron.

Unfortunately no pictures are available.

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:14 am

IanS wrote:I know of someone who did it back in 1993. So it is possible:-
It worked very well.

You need to pick up some signals directly from the chips involved as they are not tracked out. At the time these seemed very fine pitched - though probably wouldn't to me now. Ensure that these are not shorted together. I picked up signals that were tracked out from the easier places they were taken to.

Don't get the board too hot - it's very easy to lift tracks or go through to the next layer - I did the job with a basic fire-starter, so it is possible, but I wouldn't even consider it without a good temperature controlled iron these days.

Keep wires short and try not to lay them across high-speed tracks.

Nothing else occurs to me right now but it has been a while - I do remember that I planned it out very carefully and then marked the relevant points on the board with a sharpie before I turned on the iron.


This is very encouraging - thanks a lot! I've got a very very basic temperature controlled iron. I've soldered this pitch with kynar successfully before, but it's a bit touch and go so fingers crossed!

I have ordered a battery for the A3020. I went for the varta mempack as it is a simple drop in replacement, and leaves room for the hard disc mod. Apart from needing to "warm up" for a bit the A3020 seems to be working fine, I've typed a few things to the command line and all is ok there.

I'll order the parts for the HDD mod on the weekend, but I'm then away for a while so wont be able to attempt the install for a few weeks.

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:37 am

I forgot to mention that the hard disc interface doesn't seem to work... at least no icon shows up on the icon bar for it. Perhaps the hard disc is damaged?

I can't find pictures or much info about the interface anywhere, but it's a RISC developments A3010 IDE with a 20MB conner drive, which CJE have for sale here: http://www.cjemicros.co.uk/micros/indiv ... 010IDE20MB

I just hope this doesn't mean the mini podule socket is not working. Is there some command or application I can use to try to format the drive or see if it's present? Would it have special software that came with it? I could use a guide to the RISC OS command line, I did a quick search but haven't found much.

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flaxcottage
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby flaxcottage » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:57 am

Might seem obvious but have you run !Configure to set IDE drives to 1?
- John

Currently running Level 4 Econet with BBC B, BBC B+ 128K, Master 128K, 4Mb A3000, 4Mb A3020, 4Mb A4000, 4Mb A5000 dual FDD; UK101; HP41CX setup; Psion 3a, 3mx and 5mx; Z88; TI-58c, TI-59 and printer, HP-16C programmer's calculator

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:02 pm

flaxcottage wrote:Might seem obvious but have you run !Configure to set IDE drives to 1?


Aha, no I haven't - and it doesn't seem obvious to me as I don't know much about acorns! I think that might have to wait until I have a working mouse though...

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flaxcottage
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby flaxcottage » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:42 pm

You can also use F12 followed by *status. That will list the various CMOS values.

Look for IDE discs. It will probably be 0. You could try *CONFIGURE IDEDISCS 1 and see if that works. [-o<
- John

Currently running Level 4 Econet with BBC B, BBC B+ 128K, Master 128K, 4Mb A3000, 4Mb A3020, 4Mb A4000, 4Mb A5000 dual FDD; UK101; HP41CX setup; Psion 3a, 3mx and 5mx; Z88; TI-58c, TI-59 and printer, HP-16C programmer's calculator

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:50 pm

flaxcottage wrote:You can also use F12 followed by *status. That will list the various CMOS values.

Look for IDE discs. It will probably be 0. You could try *CONFIGURE IDEDISCS 1 and see if that works. [-o<


Oh, this sounds great, I will give it a try later.

So, I couldn't help myself... I ordered the parts for the HDD mod as I was ordering a mouse connector anyway. They should arrive tomorrow and I'll give it a go over the weekend hopefully. Ordering was a bit rushed so I hope I managed to get everything I will need. My replacement battery also arrived today. :)

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:45 pm

flaxcottage wrote:You can also use F12 followed by *status. That will list the various CMOS values.

Look for IDE discs. It will probably be 0. You could try *CONFIGURE IDEDISCS 1 and see if that works. [-o<


I gave this a try just now. Unfortunately "*status" seems to freeze after "step 3". I wonder if this is because I need to replace the battery?

But anyway, I rebooted and tried *configure idediscs 1... this didn't seem to do anything. I rebooted and then repeated it, and also *configure harddiscs 1. When I rebooted the icon bar shows up two drives! Thanks very much flaxcottage! :)

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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby Zarchos » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:07 am

munchausen wrote:I forgot to mention that the hard disc interface doesn't seem to work... at least no icon shows up on the icon bar for it. Perhaps the hard disc is damaged?

I can't find pictures or much info about the interface anywhere, but it's a RISC developments A3010 IDE with a 20MB conner drive, which CJE have for sale here: http://www.cjemicros.co.uk/micros/indiv ... 010IDE20MB

I just hope this doesn't mean the mini podule socket is not working. Is there some command or application I can use to try to format the drive or see if it's present? Would it have special software that came with it? I could use a guide to the RISC OS command line, I did a quick search but haven't found much.


Google 'Acorn Chris Pages' and go to the RISC Development pages for hardware and documents. You'll get the docs and the formatter this way.
The doc describing how to install the podule in an A300 or A400 describes the same configuration commands you must enter on an A3000 or A3010.
It worked for me, for my RISC Development IDE Interface (1.15a) installed in my A3000.
Read here for the configure commands to enter :
http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... tem_UG.pdf
starting from page 14

Hope this helps.
Xavier.

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:15 pm

Argh! I just realised that the RS next day delivery I got is working days only! So I wont be doing anything with this for a couple of weeks it seems. :(

Zarchos - thanks, this looks like a good reference, but it seems the drive is working now thanks to flaxcottage :)

steve3000
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby steve3000 » Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:43 pm

Have you actually accessed the drive/drives and loaded or saved something to them?

Just because the icons appear doesn't mean the drive is working.

Try typing f12 then

*IDEFS
*DRIVE 4
*.

Hopefully that will display the drive contents. You can then try *VERIFY to check the drive is correctly formatted.

Zarchos
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby Zarchos » Sat Jun 07, 2014 8:03 pm

munchausen wrote:Argh! I just realised that the RS next day delivery I got is working days only! So I wont be doing anything with this for a couple of weeks it seems. :(

Zarchos - thanks, this looks like a good reference, but it seems the drive is working now thanks to flaxcottage :)


Good news it's working but you'll certainly be happy to configure ALL parameters, it's why I advised you to read the pages where they are detailed ...
It's up to you, I did my part to help.

munchausen
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Re: A3010 hard disc interface

Postby munchausen » Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:12 pm

I have gone no further with the hard disc mini podule... after all hopefully I wont be needing it!

I replaced the battery and finished my mouse which works perfectly.

The AGA31 works perfectly too, though I can't get the 16MB RAM module to work. This also showed me that the floppy drive is working fine.

I'm currently designing the hard disc upgrade circuit to be built on strip board. I'm building it with a full size (40 pin) IDE connector, as the 44 pin laptop one wouldn't fit on strip board, and I have a converter somewhere to use a 2.5" (44 pin) IDE drive instead. I bought an HCT14 inverter for the I!3* signal, but there are spare inverters on the motherboard so if possible I will try to use one of those. Given all that, so far it looks like it's not going to be terribly complicated, and I may be able to start work on building it tonight.

I also bought an AC32 set of OR gates as the A3020 circuit shows one on the Iorq signal for the mini podule. However I'm not sure if this is really necessary as the A3010 doesn't have one, and the hard disc interface doesn't use this signal.

Will keep you posted...
Last edited by munchausen on Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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