Wires? Pah.....

discuss PC<>Acorn file transfer issues & the use of FDC, XFER, Omniflop/disk etc.
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LeeB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by LeeB » Tue May 17, 2011 7:19 pm

SUCCESS!!!

My FTDI adaptor arrived in the post today and it works a charm!

Running it on my Win7(64bit) computer - it auto installed the drivers and set itself up perfectly and worked first time.

I've been able to transfer disc images to the BBC and back to the PC without a problem.

The only problem I have encountered, and might be worth mentioning to save anyone else having this problem is that when I the USB adaptor plugged into a USB hub transfers to the BBC would work fine, however transfers to the PC would be problematic. The transfer would complete apparently OK, the disc could be read with a *. in BeebEm - however the actual contents of the files on the disc would be junk. Initially fearing a transfer speed issue, i reduced the speed down one notch but this just seemed to bugger everything up.
The solution to this problem I found was to not plug the adaptor in the USB hub, but directly into a USB port on the PC. It then all worked wonderfully.

Thanks Martin for all your hard work on this (and your patience with me)! 8)

One last little question though - I can not, for the life of me, get the sideways ram version of UPURS into memory.
Unless I'm being dumb (which is entirely possible) - i'm just doing a *SRLOAD UPURS 8000 0 (have tried different slots too). But no luck? (on my Master I should point out, not tried it on the ModelB yet). Any ideas? :oops:

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paulv
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by paulv » Tue May 17, 2011 7:45 pm

i'm just doing a *SRLOAD UPURS 8000 0 (have tried different slots too). But no luck?
I used 7 on my Master the other day and it was fine... :-k

Paul

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MartinB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by MartinB » Tue May 17, 2011 7:58 pm

Firstly @ Paul : Fantastic job on the manual and many thanks =D>

@ Lee : Don't really know why UPURS won't load, just tried it under BeebEm to slot 0 and it works fine :-k. Are you doing a <Ctrl><Break> after loading?

Reference 64 Bit Windows (Lee included therefore), FTDI have got back to me but sadly only to say that the developer assigned to this 'bug' is on holiday and as soon as he returns they will send me a patch #-o
That seems to suggest that we do need a patch so could you (Lee or anybody) just try something for me please....

Unplug the Beeb from the USB-RS232 adaptor (but leaving the adaptor plugged into the PC) and on Hercules, open the port and send any file. You should see the xxxx/yyyy bytes sent box jump to something like 80/yyyy and then just freeze which is the PC waiting to for CTS to be asserted. Wait for about 30 seconds and if you see the counter incrementing by 20, 40 or 80 bytes every 5 seconds (which is data bleeding away from the buffer and being lost) then that would confirm that a patch is needed. If the counter stays frozen then a patch isn't necessary coz there's no bug!

Now, if the buffer bleed bug is present, not having a patch available immediately is not terminal. When sending to the Beeb (UPSSD, UPDSD & UPLOAD), provided you press <Space> to start immediately after sending the file from Hercules (in less than 5 seconds and thus befor the first counter increment occurs) then the bug's primary effect will be circumvented. There is still a remote possibility that a bleed could occur during a transfer if a Beeb disc write exceeds 5 seconds but this very unlikely and is why I've limited the track buffer to 2 in the current version.

Note that transfers from the Beeb (UPXSSD & UPXDSD), are not affected by the FTDI bug.

The upshot then for 64 Bit Windows users is that you /might/ once in a hundred transfers get an error in the DFS image until the patch becomes available. Simples.

@ Hugh : From what Lee just found, sounds like you'll need to proceed with caution if you're planning on using that hub. Why? Goodness knows.... Anyone?

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LeeB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by LeeB » Tue May 17, 2011 8:07 pm

MartinB wrote: Unplug the Beeb from the USB-RS232 adaptor (but leaving the adaptor plugged into the PC) and on Hercules, open the port and send any file. You should see the xxxx/yyyy bytes sent box jump to something like 80/yyyy and then just freeze which is the PC waiting to for CTS to be asserted. Wait for about 30 seconds and if you see the counter incrementing by 20, 40 or 80 bytes every 5 seconds (which is data bleeding away from the buffer and being lost) then that would confirm that a patch is needed. If the counter stays frozen then a patch isn't necessary coz there's no bug!
Yeah, the bleed is present for me.

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Samwise
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by Samwise » Tue May 17, 2011 8:17 pm

MartinB wrote:@ Hugh : From what Lee just found, sounds like you'll need to proceed with caution if you're planning on using that hub. Why? Goodness knows.... Anyone?
I think it's a common problem with bus-powered USB hubs - the ones that only take power from the PC sometimes don't pass enough power through for the devices plugged in, to function properly, especially if there's more than one attached.

Sam.

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LeeB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by LeeB » Tue May 17, 2011 8:23 pm

Samwise wrote:
MartinB wrote:@ Hugh : From what Lee just found, sounds like you'll need to proceed with caution if you're planning on using that hub. Why? Goodness knows.... Anyone?
I think it's a common problem with bus-powered USB hubs - the ones that only take power from the PC sometimes don't pass enough power through for the devices plugged in, to function properly, especially if there's more than one attached.

Sam.
Normally I'd totally agree - except this isn't a bus powered one - it has it's only PSU.

On a side note, in reference to my earlier post about problems with the Sideways UPURS image - have managed to get it loaded now! For some reason my Master isn't allowing me to load images into ROM0,1,2,3 or 8... (on either MOS3.2 or MOS3.5). A problem for a different day (and topic though)...

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MartinB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by MartinB » Tue May 17, 2011 8:31 pm

Thanks for doing the test Lee - you'll need the patch then once FTDI get it across to me.

I would be a lot less happy about this situation (albeit temporary pending FTDI) if the bug affected exports from the Beeb because that's when it really matters to have 100% transfers since one might be archiving valuable discs. However, when transferring to the Beeb, you have by definition already got an image and so the the only slight risk is that your DFS disc may not work properly.

Still, I don't think the patch will be long away so apologies in the meantime to 64 Bit users.

Thanks Sam, that makes sense and I'm glad to hear it's something else that's not my fault O:)

EDIT :
Lee wrote:Normally I'd totally agree - except this isn't a bus powered one - it has it's only PSU.
D'oh! Go away Lee..... :lol:

So, whose going to innovate with a Mac then..? :wink:

(Something else I know diddly about :roll:)

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LeeB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by LeeB » Tue May 17, 2011 8:46 pm

MartinB wrote:
EDIT :
Lee wrote:Normally I'd totally agree - except this isn't a bus powered one - it has it's only PSU.
D'oh! Go away Lee..... :lol:
Heheh.
If it makes you feel any better - it was a cheap-o one off of ebay and probably mostly crap ;)

I really must stop this corner cutting all the time... #-o

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Slo
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by Slo » Tue May 17, 2011 9:15 pm

I think i've already mentioned that i tried the test and it bled the data away on my 64 bit os, however just to rule out that it may be an issue with my adaptor, as I bought the 1.8m cabled usbnow variety, I have tried it on my laptop which has windows 7 32 bit. I ran hercules with the 'fix' and it works properly yay.


Andrew

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MartinB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by MartinB » Tue May 17, 2011 10:09 pm

Thanks Andrew :wink:

Sorry, I missed that you'd tested it previously but that's certainly the definitive side-by-side test. Ta.

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by retroclinic » Tue May 17, 2011 10:29 pm

LeeB wrote:On a side note, in reference to my earlier post about problems with the Sideways UPURS image - have managed to get it loaded now! For some reason my Master isn't allowing me to load images into ROM0,1,2,3 or 8... (on either MOS3.2 or MOS3.5). A problem for a different day (and topic though)...
Do you have SWR carts plugged into the Master Carts sockets? If not, then the 64K SWR on a (real) M128 is banks 4, 5, 6 & 7, and those depend on the internal links near the ROM sockets to be enabled. ROM8 is fixed as the 27128 socket IC27.

Mark.
Image

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paulv
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by paulv » Wed May 18, 2011 1:41 am

Rather annoyingly, Word ripped out part of a footnote from the docs for some reason only known to itself...

I've uploaded it to the earlier post this evening but rather than everyone searching for it again, you can download it here.

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PitfallJones
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by PitfallJones » Wed May 18, 2011 3:20 am

Hi Martin,

Received my cable today, thanks - that was fast!
A good length as well, cleared the back of my Master ok.

I've got a Prolific USB to serial cable, laptop with Windows XP and Master 128K.
(so I didn't use your driver)

I only did one test, the results are here:

I took a full 80 track 200K .ssd image:

At 1200 baud using my old serial cable:

To send to bbc: 5:20
To receive from bbc: 4:05

Using your cable and Hercules:

*UPSSD To send to bbc: 1:02
*UPXSSD to receive from the bbc: 0:51

Amazingly fast!

Although the image I received was a few bytes shorter and a couple of bytes in the middle were different - it still appeared to boot up ok, however.
The file I sent was the same number of bytes.

I'll play with it some more tomorrow.

The documentation was extremely helpful - I would have never worked out that Hercules software without it.

I only thing I did different was when receiving a file on the BBC I turned on log to file and then had to press the open button first before doing CTRL-L to start the logging. (At first I never pressed the open button and nothing was happening, one time I also managed to miss pressing CTRL-L and loads of text appeared in the window.)

Brilliant stuff anyhow - this is sure to save me some time in future....

- PJ

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LeeB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by LeeB » Wed May 18, 2011 7:00 am

retroclinic wrote:
LeeB wrote:On a side note, in reference to my earlier post about problems with the Sideways UPURS image - have managed to get it loaded now! For some reason my Master isn't allowing me to load images into ROM0,1,2,3 or 8... (on either MOS3.2 or MOS3.5). A problem for a different day (and topic though)...
Do you have SWR carts plugged into the Master Carts sockets? If not, then the 64K SWR on a (real) M128 is banks 4, 5, 6 & 7, and those depend on the internal links near the ROM sockets to be enabled. ROM8 is fixed as the 27128 socket IC27.

Mark.
D'oh! :^o

Of course!! Thanks Mark - am having a brain failure it seems.

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MartinB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by MartinB » Wed May 18, 2011 7:06 am

Hi PJ :D

Glad you've got the cable ok and pleased that it's working 8)

However......

I'm not pleased that you're seeing errors =;. The Beeb-PC time sounds about right but the PC-Beeb time should be about the same at around (just under) 50s for a full 80T SSD so 1:02 plus errors, albeit few, immediately suggests that something is not quite right :-k

You probably know already what I'm going to say and it will point the finger at the serial adaptor. I should stress that I am not on a mission to discredit Prolific-based devices but they do seem to offer variable performance. Some of them do not support hardware handshaking at all and some offer 'automatic handshaking' which is actually a pseudo-hardware system based on pure software control. For PC<>PC or PC<>PDA etc. this is generally acceptable because both 'computers' are very fast at stashing data and can cope with flaky or no handshaking but slower devices such as the Beeb (when writing to disc) do need fully functional CTS/RTS hardware handshaking. It is of course possible that you have discovered a Prolific adaptor with the latter but it would be news to me and the many other users who mank & moan on endless forums about this very subject :roll:

Anyway, have some more playing as you say and we'll see if you can characterise things a little better. One thing, when doing tests with a full 80T SSD, first check using Windows right-click file properties that both file sizes (size & size_on_disc) show 204800 bytes and when transferring back to the PC, use the UPXSSD 'F' switch to force a full 200k return file.

We'll wait to hear a bit more feedback but at the same time, start shaking that piggy bank for just a few dollars more.... :wink:

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by PitfallJones » Wed May 18, 2011 12:02 pm

Hi Martin,

I just had another go and the resultant image was identical this time.

I had a go with *UPXSSD 0 F this time and made sure I waited a few seconds before doing the terminating CTRL-L.

Great stuff!

- PJ

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MartinB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by MartinB » Wed May 18, 2011 12:21 pm

That's good news PJ :D

I'm still of course ever so slightly sceptical about the USB adaptor ( :wink: ) so can I recommend that you try a good few transfers from PC to Beeb and back again using Hxd (or any binary file comparator) just to fully build confidence and to be sure that all is well.

Do you have any details of the adaptor, make/model etc. and is it a 'cheap' one? I tried a Prolific-based one from eBay for just over $3 and it's pants ](*,)

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MartinB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by MartinB » Sun May 22, 2011 12:17 am

I've completed the 'missing' utility which allows sideways rom/ram images to be uploaded directly to a PC via the cable. The basic usage is *UPXROM <rom_id> (S) where rom_id is between 0 and 15. The optional S switch means 'small' ( :roll: ) and causes the uploaded image to truncate at 8k for appropriately sized roms instead of the default 16k image. I'm really not keen on 'S' so any better suggestions welcome but before anyone leaps in and suggests '8', it can't be that because...

...there is also an advanced usage which is *UPXROM <rom_id_1> <rom_id_2> where rom_id_1 is the start rom id and rom_id_2 is the end rom of a contiguous image of size 16k*<number of roms> requested. I say 'advanced' because you would need to use a hex editor like HxD on the PC to cut out the individual images from the dump. It's quite easy but perhaps not a beginner's thing. Useful way of quickly ripping all the roms from a Beeb though :wink:

Anyway, because of the second syntax, the 8K 'S' can't be a number and also note that it can't be used at all with the multiple rom1 to rom2 option since all the images in the contiguous dump are 16k.

Finally, because a tool like this is more useful if you know what roms are where and because not everyone may have a *ROMS (or similar) command available, typing the UPXROM command alone with no parameters will output a sockets versus roms list, similar to *ROMS. All the other UPxxx commands only print their version and date in the absence of parameters but the rom list seems well-placed for this utility. (It does also conclude the list with it's version and date.)

An SSD of UPXROM beta is attached (no rom version until formal release) and if my support team would like to give it a whirl I'd be most grateful :D
Attachments
UPXROM (Beta Disc).zip
(691 Bytes) Downloaded 70 times

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by paulv » Sun May 22, 2011 2:00 am

Another option instead of "S" could be "H" for half but I think that suffers the same issues as "S".

Paul

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by paulv » Sun May 22, 2011 2:09 am

Alternatively, instead of having S or H or a letter, how about using 16 to tell it it's a 16K ROM?...

Seeing as ROMs are 0 to 15, there is no numeric clash the only problem there is that it's more likely that 16K ROMs are the default so there's more typing on the command line involved.

Paul

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by 1024MAK » Sun May 22, 2011 7:24 am

How about 'E' as in Eight...
Or 'B' because the letter B is nearly the same shape as 8 (silly I know... :lol: )

Mark K.

PS Have not tried it yet, but will soon.
Another useful "App" to add to the useful collection.
Keep up the good work Martin B.

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by MartinB » Sun May 22, 2011 7:44 am

Thanks people.

Not silly Mark but I'm afraid 'B' and 'E' suffer the same problem as a single numeric because the rom id's entered are in hex :wink:

'H' is already used in a couple of the other utilities for High speed (= 320400 Baud)

I've had a bit more of a play and I think I'll use either '-' (minus) or '<' (less than).

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by 1024MAK » Sun May 22, 2011 8:01 am

MartinB wrote:Thanks people.

Not silly Mark but I'm afraid 'B' and 'E' suffer the same problem as a single numeric because the rom id's entered are in hex :wink:

'H' is already used in a couple of the other utilities for High speed (= 320400 Baud)

I've had a bit more of a play and I think I'll use either '-' (minus) or '<' (less than).
No problem, just too early (please wait for brain to boot :lol: )

Not 100% keen on this, but you could use 'K', looks a bit like '<' and yet is a letter associated with memory amount :mrgreen:

In my line of work the letter 'Z' means special... (as opposed to a normal 16k).

Mark K.

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by paulv » Sun May 22, 2011 9:32 am

It's too early and my brain hasn't started functioning properly yet but what about the key that produces the mode 7 "1/2" character...

Paul

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MartinB
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by MartinB » Sun May 22, 2011 10:12 am

That sounds logical - it's a backslash on a PC, I'll try a Beeb later. Ta :wink:

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by Advance » Sun May 22, 2011 1:05 pm

Hi Martin,
I'm woefully behind on this now due to sporadic internet connection and domestic circumstances. I've managed to grab a couple of hours today and got to the stage of a "No Rx data!" message on my Master.

I'm using Paul's "second" manual with your cable plus the Tronic adapter - no USB hub or extension cable - to a 64bit AMD processor PC which self-selected the FTDI chip driver. I skim read the topic and thought I might still get away with this set-up but turns out not to be so.

I still don't have time to check through everyything and am desperate to get this running so any thoughts on where I'm going wrong? - it's probably very obvious.

It's so frustrating to get to this stage and bomb.

Hugh

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by MartinB » Sun May 22, 2011 3:57 pm

Hi Hugh :wink:

To avoid hours of head scratching we should first check your User Port is ok. For this you will need to have the Beeb cable plugged in to the User Port but not connected to anything at the D-Type. We will be adding two shorting links for which you will need two paper clips opened out and then bent into a 'U' shape such that the ends of each are level in length and about 0.5cm apart.

Looking into the Beeb cable D-Type with the short side of the 'D' at the top, shorting link 1 will go between top short row second from left and bottom long row second from left. Link 2 will go between top short row third from left and bottom long row third from left. With power off, fit these links bending as necessary to avoid the two links shorting together. (You won't break anything if they do or if you get the links wrong but the test won't work.)

Power on and type/do the following :

?&FE62=&41

?&FE60=0

PRINT ~(?&FE60) AND &82

Result should be 0

?&FE60=&41

PRINT ~(?&FE60) AND &82

Result should be 82

If this is ok, your User Port is working and we'll have to look elsewhere but I'll wait for you to try this first.

Later... :wink:

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by Advance » Sun May 22, 2011 4:51 pm

](*,) ](*,) ](*,) ](*,) ](*,)

First result: 2
Second result: -255 130

Next attempt
First result: 2
Second result: 0

Third try results same as second attempt.

](*,) ](*,) ](*,) ](*,) ](*,)
Last edited by Advance on Sun May 22, 2011 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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paulv
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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by paulv » Sun May 22, 2011 5:48 pm

?&FE62=&41

?&FE60=0

PRINT ~(?&FE60) AND &82

Result should be 0

?&FE60=&41

PRINT ~(?&FE60) AND &82

Result should be 82
Ummm Martin, are those commands correct? The reason I ask is that I get 82 as my first result and 82 as my second result too... I've just re-tested the link with the 3.1 ROM too so I know that the cable is working just fine...

Paul

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Re: Wires? Pah.....

Post by MartinB » Sun May 22, 2011 5:58 pm

I hope so because Hugh's gonna have one hell of a headache if we don't sort him out. I haven't actually tried it (me ducks to avoid fast brick coming from Hugh's direction), I wrote it on the hoof but I'll check and report back.... [-o<

@ Hugh : I think you missed the tiald (Mode 7 divide symbol) to print the answer in hex? (130 decimal = $82) I'm totally confused where you've written -255 tho :-k

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