Hello from Hampshire

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Shift Lock
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Hello from Hampshire

Post by Shift Lock » Sat Mar 07, 2020 3:38 pm

Hello all,

As seems customary, I thought I’d pop into this thread before posting elsewhere unannounced. I’m an Acorn user of old, introduced to the BBC B by my father (a teacher, naturally) when I was nine. He borrowed one from his school over the summer of 1982, which led to him buying one and us spending many memorable days together trying to crack text adventures while I played Elite all night. When he upgraded to an Arc 310, he swapped out my B for a Master, which I used up until the mid-nineties when I switched to an Amiga 1200. Dad was dedicated to the Arc – he used the 310 well into the 2000s until he was forced to accept defeat and bought a PC.

Through a stroke of luck, I recently got my Master back on its feet after years of being mothballed. Something wasn’t right with it, which over time I came to assume was the capacitor problem. I’ve always had it in mind that eventually I’d get it checked out, but was surprised when a friend of mine handy with a soldering iron recently announced that he’d just repaired an old BBC B for fun. My jaw hit the floor. I showed him my Master at the soonest opportunity and we quickly found with the aid of Google that the problem was simply that the CMOS battery was dead (facepalm moment there). He did a full service for me: put in a new battery, replaced the capacitors anyway, got a new RGB scart lead, fixed a problem with one of the disc drives that was preventing it seating discs properly and cleaned the drive heads.

I nicked the monitor from Dad’s Arc (sat in his loft doing nothing) and have since spent the last month or so reading about developments in the Acorn world on here while backing up my old 3.5 inch discs onto an SD card using Turbo SPI. To begin with, I discovered I’d forgotten a lot of the basic system commands, but once I started it began to come flooding back. I’ve had very little success reading data from my old 5.25-inch discs though, so having read about that I’ll try cleaning the disc surfaces with isopropyl alcohol and see what I can get back. However, given the ease with which it’s possible to get ssd images of games, I’ve been playing some of my old favourites using the SD card where the physical discs don’t work now. I’m really excited to have my beloved Master working again and am looking forward to experimenting with other new ventures; the forums so far have been very enlightening and I’m already building a shopping list for upgrades.

Rich

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LordVaderUK
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by LordVaderUK » Sat Mar 07, 2020 3:49 pm

Welcome to the forum! I’m in Hants too (but it’s a big county). Recently acquired a Master and getting back into that 80s groove. There are masses of very clever, technical people on here who will be delighted to help if you have any questions. Enjoy!
Loving my BBC Master 128

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Multiwizard
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Multiwizard » Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:22 pm

Hi Rich,

welcome to this great Forum... :D


Greetings from my little Dutch Atomic Attic, Wim... :-)

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SimonSideburns
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by SimonSideburns » Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:07 pm

Greetings

I'm in Hampshire too. Just outside of Portsmouth. Maybe stick a pin into the map available on the "Where is everyone" thread.

It's worth checking out the Southern ABUG meetings (usually there's one around September time and again in November, then towards the end of January) where several of us get together. My first visit to The Ely in Camberley this January and the weekend was great.
Just remember kids, Beeb spelled backwards is Beeb!

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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by flaxcottage » Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:11 pm

Welcome, Rich. The Master is a great machine. :D
- John

Image

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davidb
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by davidb » Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:23 pm

Welcome! :D

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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by daveejhitchins » Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:41 pm

Welcome to the Forum, Rich . . . Enjoy . . .

Dave H :D
Parts: UM6502CE, GAL22V10D, GAL16V8D, AS6C62256A, TC514400AZ, WD1772, R6522, TMS27C512, AT28C256
Products: ARA II, ARA III, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC, AP5 . . .
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com

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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by janvb » Sun Mar 08, 2020 12:14 am

Welcome :D

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roland
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by roland » Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:08 am

Hi Rich,

Welcome to this forum. Enjoy your visits here.

Greetings from the south of the Netherlands,
Roland
FPGAtom: 512 KB RAM, Real Time Clock and 64 colours
MAN WOMAN :shock:

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Shift Lock
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Shift Lock » Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:08 pm

Thanks for the welcomes!

Simon, I'm pretty close to you - other side of the A3 in Havant.

Rich

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SimonSideburns
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by SimonSideburns » Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:08 am

"It's a small world after all" as the lyrics say.

It'd be great to meet up at some point and discuss all things Acorny, as long as that doesn't seem too corney.

It's good to have another Beeb fan close by. I'm also reasonably handy with a soldering iron. It's just the fault finding bit that I'm not so great at.

I've also been backing up floppy disks of late from recent acquisitions, and I have a DataCentre which allows you to back the floppies up to a USB drive which is great for playing with on Emulators. The number of cotton buds of IPA (and I do not mean alcoholic beverages) I've used to rescue mouldy floppy disks has been scary, and I'd be happy to show you the ropes on that front.

I'm in a bit of a building site at the moment though, but as long as you're not bothered by that you'd be most welcome. I can send you my contact details on a private message.
Just remember kids, Beeb spelled backwards is Beeb!

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helpful
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by helpful » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:12 am

Welcome :-)
SimonSideburns wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:08 am
It'd be great to meet up at some point and discuss all things Acorny
There's a Southampton user group meeting tomorrow!
https://www.riscository.com/2020/southa ... 0th-march/

Bryan.
RISC OS User Group Of London - http://www.rougol.jellybaby.net/
RISC OS London Show - http://www.riscoslondonshow.co.uk/

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SimonSideburns
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by SimonSideburns » Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:40 am

helpful wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:12 am
Welcome :-)
SimonSideburns wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:08 am
It'd be great to meet up at some point and discuss all things Acorny
There's a Southampton user group meeting tomorrow!
https://www.riscository.com/2020/southa ... 0th-march/

Bryan.
I went along once a few years ago, and still receive an email in advance of every meeting. Personally, the focus was more on the RiscOS side and not so much about the 8-bit machines, and while I don't mind travelling (I lived in Southampton for a few years in the mid to late 1990s), because I'm a full time carer for my wife, being that far away isn't so great in case she needs my assistance.
Just remember kids, Beeb spelled backwards is Beeb!

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Shift Lock
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Shift Lock » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:33 pm

SimonSideburns wrote:
Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:08 am
I've also been backing up floppy disks of late from recent acquisitions, and I have a DataCentre which allows you to back the floppies up to a USB drive which is great for playing with on Emulators. The number of cotton buds of IPA (and I do not mean alcoholic beverages) I've used to rescue mouldy floppy disks has been scary, and I'd be happy to show you the ropes on that front.
Apologies for vanishing straight after posting, but the last couple of weeks have been a bit odd to say the least. As they have been for everyone. The cotton bud demo sounds good once life gets back to normal.

In the meantime I've swapped out the 3.5 inch drive in my dual 5.25/3.5 inch bridge mounted disk drive for a Gotek and am slowly adding ssd's of my knackered disk games and checking they work. This has rekindled my childhood love of Elite so I also bought a Voltmace to replace my long lost original and am flying the trading routes once again.

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tricky
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by tricky » Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:31 am

Welcome.
I guess you have a games menu on the mmc, but I have also made one for the gotec, but it is probably best to keep two USB sticks, each with its own ff.cfg as it uses the user unfriendly file naming scheme.

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Shift Lock
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Shift Lock » Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:06 pm

That sounds interesting. Is it available anywhere?

The reason I was adding games to the stick a few at a time was really a personal preference to rebuild my own disk library and check they work. All my old disks are sat here on my desk next to me, but very few work at the moment. I also have a load of cassette games that I played pre-disk drives, and wanted to get those working using ssd files as well.

I've had problems I'm writing down to ask about in the right places if I can't find solutions - for example, the enhanced version of Stryker's Run I downloaded from bbcmicro.co.uk fails with a bad program error (the command *Screen) when you select the enhanced version to load, although the same file works in BeebEM. I also can't get the new Prince of Persia game to work - my Gotek is in the Drive 1 slot and when I try to *exec !boot with the Prince of Persia disc loaded, it gets so far then switches to try and load something from Drive 0. LK18 and 19 are in the right place to enable sideways RAM (Stunt Car Racer works, what a conversion!).

It's that sort of thing that made me think, game or two at a time. Copy them over and make sure they work.

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tricky
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by tricky » Tue Mar 24, 2020 7:37 pm

The bbcmicro.co.UK are usually fine, but if you have mmc+DFSs, page might be higher and cause issues.
I don't know if the advanced versions have been checked, but I would have thought so.
I've never heard of *screen, is it on the disc? If not, a *help In beebem might shed some light, unless it is a sideways ROM that the game loads.
POP reads sectors directly, but if you copied the .SSDs I would have thought that you would have been OK, unless Kieran missed the option to use current drive like I did at first and always selects drive 0.
There are plenty of people here who love to get games working, especially on real hardware.

PS here viewtopic.php?f=53&t=16070&hilit=menu
But a small curated list is the way to go long term, hence the two stic suggestion.

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Shift Lock
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Shift Lock » Tue Mar 24, 2020 8:52 pm

<deleted> Fixed the problem.
Last edited by Shift Lock on Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by kieranhj » Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:00 pm

Yes, sorry, the file loading mechanism for Prince of Persia is a bit convoluted. It loads sectors directly from the disc in drive 0 so you can’t *COPY the files or run from a different drive I’m afraid. This was all because I needed ~50 catalogue entries but also wanted to fit everything on a single sided 80T 200K disc, rather than resort to a DSD.

I always promised to make a v1.1 release that fixed some of these issues plus an ADFS version, but never got round to it...

Glad you’re enjoying Stunt Car Racer though. :D
Bitshifters Collective | Retro Code & Demos for BBC Micro & Acorn computers | https://bitshifters.github.io/

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Shift Lock
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Shift Lock » Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:16 pm

Thanks for the reply! I did try the hack you posted in the PoP thread:

*DR.1
*LOAD PRINCE
?&180B=49
?&1897=1
CALL &E00

Which got past the problem, but then hung much later in the loading process after the screen with the controls. No matter. Once I've cleaned up my 5.25 inch drive and some of the discs I'll copy the SSD onto a proper floppy and play it from drive 0. Really jaw dropping stuff seeing it in BeebEM. I really wish I could go back 30 years and show it to all my C64 owning friends who always claimed the BBC was graphically inferior.

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tricky
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by tricky » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:53 am

I seem to remember OSWORD &7F has a code for current drive instead of an absolute drive, but I may be wrong.

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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by lurkio » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:08 am

tricky wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:53 am
I seem to remember OSWORD &7F has a code for current drive instead of an absolute drive, but I may be wrong.
You're right:
:idea:

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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by janvb » Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:46 pm

Welcome to the forum

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Shift Lock
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Shift Lock » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:57 pm

Thanks for the link, Tricky. I did have a look at that last night but did something that confused the gotek and ended up with an error it took me a while to work out. All back to normal now though. I'll explore more later. I'll pursue the stryker's run problem in a relevant thread when I can tear myself away from Elite...

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tricky
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by tricky » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:04 pm

Keep one stick with your original files including ff.cfg and another with the menu. Check that your ff.cfg resets everything that mine sets.

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