Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Arc/RPCs, peripherals, RISCOS operating system & ARM kit eg GP2x, BeagleBoard
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IanS
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanS » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:11 pm

I guess a few of these are going to show up now.
Works ok with !awServer in an A7000+.
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby flaxcottage » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:03 pm

Nicely, nicely. :D
- 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

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanB » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:01 pm

danielj wrote:Ian, we just tried this (finally!) with your RiscOS module - seems to be working fine on 3.71 and an Arm710

Sorry for the late reply but I haven't been on here for a few weeks.
No one tries to build one for months, then I turn my back and three turn up together! Well done to all of you!

danielj wrote:any ideas for rigorous tests that will see if it corrupts the heap?

I have problems when I log onto another machine running level 4 fileserver (e.g. an A5000) using the RISC PC. I will occasionally get crashes when browsing folders on the server or even just making the initial connection but it seems to vary depending on the contents of the local HD as well.
If the RPC crashes frequently, I can make the problem go away by adding or deleting some files from the local HD. I assume various ADFS data structures are stored on the heap and changing files varies the order and size of these which varies the likelyhood of corruption. Similarly, changing the load order of modules which also has an effect on the layout of the heap will change the likelyhood of a crash.

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanB » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:09 pm

I may have found a fix for the crashing issue although I haven't specifically identified the cause yet.

From my previous post it seemed clear that the Econet module was very sensitive to the RMA workspace layout as the problem would appear and disappear depending on the position of the module and it's workspace in memory.

I wasn't aware of any reports of a similar issue with genuine Econet NICs but the Econet module was loaded or run from ROM instead of soft loaded with those so I decided to test my version from ROM as well by making custom versions of RISCOS 3.71 and 4.02 in EPROM using the patched Econet module.

When run from ROM, I didn't get any crashes so that seemed to point to an issue with soft loading the module. Examining the module's workspace when loaded from ROM showed that it was mostly zero as it had been allocated unused RAM which had been cleared at bootup. However the soft loaded module's workspace had a lot of garbage text from bootup obey files as it had been allocated memory that had previously been used and released.

The next step was to modify the module to zero out the workspace on startup but that didn't help. I then looked at the variable allocation of the workspace and noticed that the last entry was temporary space for a transmit or receive control block but only enough space was allocated for the common control block, not the theoretical maximum so I changed this to the maximum (an extra 20 bytes or so) and zeroed that out on startup. Since then I haven't seen any crashes so it may be that this was a long standing bug in the Econet module which was only apparent when soft loading it.

Next step is to finalise the strong arm patch. At the moment I have got the module working reliably by putting a NOP between every single instruction in the module to halve it's execution speed but I suspect only a few areas of code actually need those delays.

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IanS
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanS » Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:11 pm

Excellent news, thanks for putting in the effort.

Is the updated version available for download?

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanB » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:29 pm

IanS wrote:Is the updated version available for download?

I hope to get a final release version posted here by the end of the year as I now have some time to work on it but I could do with some beta testers so if you or any of the other podule builders drop me a PM with your email address I'll send you beta versions as they become available.

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanB » Wed Dec 31, 2014 4:24 pm

Here is the updated Econet module with the following changes:
Support for podules
StrongArm timing fixed
Heap corruption/crashing fixed

As before, unzip on a RISC OS machine and put the files in the following folder:
$.!Boot.Choices.Boot.PreDesk

To use the RISC PC as an Econet client you need to enable AUN in the network config to get the Net login icon on the taskbar.

This version has been derived from the RISC OS open sources so I'm also including the changed source files to comply with their licence. (The remainder of the files needed to build it are available on the ROOL site)

After making the above changes, I converted the module to 32 bit compatibility so that it now runs under RISC OS 5 as well as earlier versions but that build still needs some testing before release. Once tested, I will upload that to the ROOL CVS repository (If they want it!)
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Econet module
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby BeebMaster » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:45 pm

I now have my very own Econet Module Podule, built for me at Halifax last weekend, and I've just fitted it to my RISC PC today.

I'm pretty new to the RISC PC, I've only had one since April last year and I've only really started using it since January. I don't have it autobooting, so I wanted to find my own unique way of getting the replacement Econet module loading.

It looks like BBCEconet is already there in the ROM (along with the other Econet related modules) so I just made simple Obey file called NetPodule which does a *RMRUN of "Econet".

I had to create a Library directory on the hard disc and put it in there. It still understands the old-fashioned library, so I can just press F12 from the Desktop and do *NETPODULE.

I also found I had to do quite a bit of RMREINITing of the other network modules before I could successfully do *NET - I'll add that to the Netpodule obey file.

The only challenge remaining is to get the Net icon appearing on the Desktop - the only way I've been able to do this is a CTRL-SHIFT-F12 shutdown, then CTRL-SHIFT-F12 again to get a supervisor prompt (I learnt that from the Wakefield club website!!) then *DESKTOP re-starts from scratch and gives me the Net icon.

Is there a way of doing that sequence with a few * commands?

Or this might be related:
IanB wrote:To use the RISC PC as an Econet client you need to enable AUN in the network config to get the Net login icon on the taskbar.

When I do *RMREINIT NET it says AUN not configured, how would I do that?
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby BeebMaster » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:26 pm

I think I figured the last bit out, I booted the RISC PC and then clicking on !Boot brought up the !Configure application, which used to be in Apps, or !Apps, or somewhere, I've been looking for that for months!

I went to networking and clicked Enable in the AUN section, although to be honest I think all that did was to change the Bootnet status option from Off to On.

Anyway, that brought up the Net icon on the Desktop, but wouldn't connect, reporting a hardware problem. I did my *NETPODULE, now with the added RMREINITs, and the "AUN not configured" error had gone away, but when I went back to the Desktop, so had the Net icon!

I couldn't get Econet to work at all with Bootnet on, so I've switched it off again and gone back to my double CTRL-SHIFT-F12 solution until I figure out how to do that bit in a star command.
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby BeebMaster » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:55 pm

Just to prove it all works as it should do, I put an obey file !NP in the Boot Predesk location which just ran my NETPODULE and if I autoboot the RISC PC with that in place, it loads up fine with the Net icon and I can use the Econet.

But only with Bootnet OFF - if it's ON then I get the error saying I can't access the network. Also during the boot sequence it's running a file called SetupNet which tries to load a module in Modules.Network called EconetA which isn't there.

Do I need to add that? I've got it on the L4 disc, a version from August 1992.
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby danielj » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:41 pm

Ergh - so you're basically trying to do this without using the boot sequence, is that right? And unpick all the interdependancies?

d.

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby BeebMaster » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:53 pm

Is that wrong then? It works!
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby danielj » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:58 pm

If it works, rock on! :D

d.

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby BeebMaster » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:22 pm

Yep, working fine, booting or not booting with my little "fix".

I've also done a very exciting thing which I've wanted to do for years - just fixing one more bit at the minute...more later!
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby richardtoohey » Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:44 pm

BeebMaster wrote:I've also done a very exciting thing which I've wanted to do for years
Remember this is a family-friendly forum! :lol:

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby BeebMaster » Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:05 pm

No, not that, it's far too cold here, but this.
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby awilliams » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:17 am

Ian,
thank you very much for the new drivers for the RPC Econet mini podule. (I signed up here just to say that) I have it installed on 4.39 so the location was slightly different.

So far its working perfectly with !awServer and my Beeb & Compact for probably the first time in 10 years.

My machine has failed to boot once in a way that was unusual & I am wondering if that may be a consequence of it loading the original Econet module from the ROM on the card first.

I will experiment with *unplugging the rom based modules for now. (I would like to blow a new ROM for the interface but I will wait a while to see if there are any stability issues or revision reported by other users before I try that.

I was interested by all the photos of various podule adaptations for the Econet module, I have one quite similar too, but I have not made it work.

I would be interested to know if anybody has taken a look at the UniPod's Econet connectors. Theoretically you can plug a ADF10 into it, but there is no available documentation on that. There would seem to be some risk that the on board programmable logic chips don't actually contain any logic to decode or enable the Econet slot, but I haven't been able to prove it either way.

Thanks again I really am very pleased to have this working again.

Alan

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanB » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:07 pm

awilliams wrote:My machine has failed to boot once in a way that was unusual & I am wondering if that may be a consequence of it loading the original Econet module from the ROM on the card first.


Hi Alan,
I assume from your post that you have an original Econet NIC with non-Strong Arm Compatible boot ROM and you are using a Strong Arm with RO4.39?
If so then it's quite likely that any FIQs caused by spurious network traffic during the brief period between loading the boot ROM driver and replacing it with the new soft loaded driver would cause a problem and the best option would be to *unplug it.

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby awilliams » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:18 am

IanB wrote:Hi Alan,
I assume from your post that you have an original Econet NIC with non-Strong Arm Compatible boot ROM and you are using a Strong Arm with RO4.39?


Yes spot on, I have now *unplugged the ROM version.
Thanks.
Alan

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanB » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:53 pm

awilliams wrote:
IanB wrote:you have an original Econet NIC
Yes spot on

Thanks Alan, that's the first confirmation that the updated driver module still works with the original Econet NIC. So far it's only been used with the DIY podules.

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby BeebMaster » Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:45 pm

IanB wrote:
awilliams wrote:
IanB wrote:you have an original Econet NIC
Yes spot on

Thanks Alan, that's the first confirmation that the updated driver module still works with the original Econet NIC. So far it's only been used with the DIY podules.

Add me to that confirmation please, I installed the updated module whilst I still had the original Econet card fitted. Then I had both fitted, which was amusing, then I had only the Module Podule installed.
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby BeebMaster » Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:03 pm

Every now and again, I've noticed that the Econet Module Podule disappears - I get some sort of Econet error message (line jammed was the one earlier today) and when I do a *PODULES it isn't showing up.

I'm not sure whether it's a software glitch or a loose connection, I can always get it back but sometimes it takes a power off and on again to start showing up again.
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanB » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:07 pm

BeebMaster wrote:Every now and again, I've noticed that the Econet Module Podule disappears - I get some sort of Econet error message (line jammed was the one earlier today) and when I do a *PODULES it isn't showing up.

Do you mean it disappears after a ctrl-break or during normal operation?

The reason it happens after a ctrl-break is that the ADLC is in an error state when you do that and the status register which is being read as the podule identity no longer matches its power on value and so the driver can't detect the podule. Power cycling returns the register to it's default state.

I had that problem quite a lot when trying to get the driver working with strong arm but I have not seen it recently. I did come up with a software workaround for that but it isn't in the current driver so perhaps I'll add it back in. The alternative is to add the extra hardware to make a proper podule identity which makes DIY construction more difficult.

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby BeebMaster » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:18 pm

It seems to disappear during normal operation. It doesn't happen very often, but it happened yesterday when I was shutting down the RISC PC with CTRL-SHIFT-F12. I was logged on to my MDFS at the time, and I noticed it was taking a long time to shut down. Then I got the line jammed error I mentioned.

At first I thought this was related to my A5000, which I hadn't "fixed" at the time, but I'd switched it on and connected it to the network to see if it showed up, which it did. I thought the line jammed error might be indicating a fault with the A5000 which I could investigate further, but I switched it off and reset the RISC PC and the Net icon had gone, and the Podule had disappeared from the podule listing.
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby thedark » Thu May 21, 2015 10:36 am

okey i have been building this to. :D
to make a file server and econet to BBC B and or Master 128 / Compact
so far as i had to downgrade my Riscpc to 4.39 to get the software up working. #-o
Otherwhise i got an 32 bit error. :?:


I can see an BBCeconet in the *rommodules. =D>

after trying and fidling to see some light.... [-o<
get "NO CLOCK?" thats it.

Do i realy need a clock or can i hack this a litle bit?, or can i find a pcb somewhere.

back to the drawingboard...........
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20150521_113813[1].jpg
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby paulv » Thu May 21, 2015 12:24 pm

The minimum you need is a clock but it'll have to be slower than molasses in winter without terminators...

http://www.retro-kit.co.uk/page.cfm/content/Wiring-an-Econet/

Paul

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanB » Thu May 21, 2015 5:59 pm

thedark wrote:so far as i had to downgrade my Riscpc to 4.39 to get the software up working.
Otherwhise i got an 32 bit error. :?:

Sounds like you were running 32 bit RISCOS v5.xx on your RISC PC.
The module I posted is only 26 bit compatible and so will only run on RISCOS 3.xx, 4.xx and probably 6.xx
I have a 32 bit version which does run under RISCOS V5.xx but it hasn't had much testing so far. I'll send you a copy to try.
In order to use the RISCPC as a file server you will also need to run file server software such as Acorn's Level 4 file server. This is only 26 bit compatible so you couldn't run it under RISCOS 5.xx anyway.

There is another file server (awserver) written by Alan Williams (who posted in this thread some months ago) and that will run under RISCOS 5.xx as it's written in BASIC (At least it seemed to work when I last tried it)

thedark wrote:get "NO CLOCK?" thats it.
Do i realy need a clock or can i hack this a litle bit?, or can i find a pcb somewhere.

Yes you need a clock and terminators. You also need to run the above mentioned file server software on the RISC PC so that the BBC/ Master 128 can access the files.

Level 4 file server is here:
http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... 120#p85437

awServer is here:
http://www.heyrick.co.uk/econet/othersrv/awserver.html

There is a "quick hack" clock made by Dan Gardner here:
http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... 000#p83521

Terminator circuit is here:
http://www.retro-kit.co.uk/page.cfm/con ... rminators/

You will need at least one terminator to put a bias on the data line pair, even on a very short network. Longer networks should have terminators at both ends.

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby thedark » Fri May 22, 2015 5:44 am

Finished my pidules yesterday.
i am going to test it when my clock arives
or someone makes an offer to one.
there ar no wires on the other side of the card.
there all under the module.
the way i bild it is so that i can always put it back in to the master.
because i only own one of these.
i have a bbc b with econet installed.

This my creation:
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20150521_233427.jpg
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-=[[ Music 5000 Stil Rulez On The Acorn Scene. ]]=-
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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby danielj » Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:37 pm

Hello, bringing this thread back from the dead... I've been playing with the podule in my RiscPC - it's absolutely fine with the ARM710 running the level4 FS, but as soon as I swap out to a strongarm it gets decidedly unhappy :-/ It runs and recognises the podule, but the data transfers to the clients are rather messed up - garbled directory listings, very hit-and-miss loading anything. Anyone else having any joy with the StrongArm?

d.

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Re: Econet podule for RISCPC & A7000

Postby IanB » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:55 pm

What version of the Econet module are you running? I've only ever seen that kind of problem with the old module.


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