Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

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Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Mon May 07, 2018 11:43 am

@number-one - your efforts to get both network connectivity and mass storage sorted for your A3010 reminded me of something I tried a while back to solve the same problem. I thought this was an interesting topic and deserved its own thread.

If the overall goal is to have simultaneous mass storage and network connection solutions for an A3010, then as partly discussed on this thread http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... 30#p201267, there are a number of more or less complex options for achieving this goal.

One alternative to an ethernet mini-podule for a network connection, which I had forgotten about, is the serial wifi adapter described in this thread http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... =3&t=13265
83ADE805-2BE3-494A-A1B2-A09BD9536E0D.jpeg
WiFi232 serial internet adapter
I got myself one of these some time ago, and I’ve used it successfully with my A3010 to get online and transfer files.

Using one of these WiFi232 serial adapters instead of an ethernet podule frees up the A3010 mini-podule bay for an IDE card. This solution doesn’t need any hardware modifications to the A3010 itself, and allows the machine to straightforwardly boot from an IDE disc. The limitation is in the nature and speed of the serial network connection, but if the purpose of the network connection is to allow easy transfer of relatively small amounts of data, then these limitations may be quite acceptable.

Another option along these lines, that might be more capable in terms of networking, would be a parallel port to ethernet adapter. These were made by Atomwide for Acorn 32bit machines, though I’ve never set eyes on one. I suspect these Atomwide devices were rebabdged Xircom units, which are probably more readily obtainable.
96A5D203-CD72-4F59-8218-DB55093E1C19.jpeg
Xircom pocket ethernet adapter
There’s a brief mention of the EtherP driver for the Atomwide pocket ethernet units on this webpage http://www.mjpye.org.uk/networking/?p=csan, and there’s the Atomwide pocket ethernet documentation, and support disc on Chris’s acorns here http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... hernet.pdf and here http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... hernet.arc.

I’d be fascinated to hear from anyone who has used an Atomwide pocket ethernet adapter, or who knows whether one of the Xircom units would work on an A3010 with the Atomwide software.

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Mon May 07, 2018 12:39 pm

Found a mention of using the Xircom parallel adapter on an A4 here viewtopic.php?f=8&t=5941, so presumably it is possible to get these working :?:

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Mon May 07, 2018 1:52 pm

One more relevant, albeit brief, *. thread here viewtopic.php?f=16&t=10014&p=119546&hil ... om#p119546

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by steve3000 » Mon May 07, 2018 6:05 pm

Interesting thread, it would be great to find a good simple solution to this.
lcww1 wrote:I got myself one of these some time ago, and I’ve used it successfully with my A3010 to get online and transfer files.

Using one of these WiFi232 serial adapters instead of an ethernet podule frees up the A3010 mini-podule bay for an IDE card. This solution doesn’t need any hardware modifications to the A3010 itself, and allows the machine to straightforwardly boot from an IDE disc. The limitation is in the nature and speed of the serial network connection, but if the purpose of the network connection is to allow easy transfer of relatively small amounts of data, then these limitations may be quite acceptable.
Oh, did you manage to get full networking through the adaptor? I'd be interested in hearing more about how you managed this. :)

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Mon May 07, 2018 6:56 pm

steve3000 wrote:did you manage to get full networking through the adaptor? I'd be interested in hearing more about how you managed this. :)
Well, it was a while ago now, and I should revisit this again, but at the time I just used Hearsay2, or was it Connector?, to telnet into the Acorn Arcade BBS - I recall being able to download files from the BBS using ZModem. Having said that, I would have thought that it should be possible to use PPP to get the Acorn internet stack running over WiFi232 - something to investigate :-k

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by danielj » Tue May 08, 2018 8:19 am

I think I've potentially got a cheaper serial solution than the wifi232... Watch this space!

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by steve3000 » Tue May 08, 2018 8:23 am

lcww1 wrote:
steve3000 wrote:did you manage to get full networking through the adaptor? I'd be interested in hearing more about how you managed this. :)
Well, it was a while ago now, and I should revisit this again, but at the time I just used Hearsay2, or was it Connector?, to telnet into the Acorn Arcade BBS - I recall being able to download files from the BBS using ZModem. Having said that, I would have thought that it should be possible to use PPP to get the Acorn internet stack running over WiFi232 - something to investigate :-k
Yes PPP is what I was thinking, in fact I'm sure I've read details or a blog somewhere of attempts to get a wired serial PPP solution working, but I can't find the link now...?

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by steve3000 » Tue May 08, 2018 8:24 am

danielj wrote:I think I've potentially got a cheaper serial solution than the wifi232... Watch this space!
Oh, intriguing! I'm watching :)

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by danielj » Tue May 08, 2018 8:28 am

Actually, no need for secrecy, but the nodemcu esp8266 lolin board coupled with one of those little max232 boards to do the level shifting comes in at under a tenner. There's gpl'd firmware out for it (I think the wifi232 firmware is derived from the same, so I'm rather tempted to request the source). I should have the bits to test it behaves this week. Not as tidy, but cheap and bodgy which is what I like :D

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by Andy1979 » Tue May 08, 2018 8:39 am

I looked into this last year, and found ESP8266 "modems" being used to provide internet access to Atari STs and Amigas. Here's an example of what I mean: https://www.chzsoft.de/site/hardware/co ... -internet/

I think the main problem is that there isn't a PPP TCP/IP stack available for the ESP8266 - indeed, it might be slightly beyond its capabilities. In the link above though they've managed to get it working with SLIP. Not sure if anyone's tried this with the ESP32 instead.

The alternative of course is to use a Raspberry Pi with either a USB to serial adapter, or the internal UART available on the GPIO pins (although the irony of using such a powerful machine that can run Risc OS natively isn't lost on me!) The obvious candidate is the Zero W.

I managed to get my Psion 3a online using this method at a mighty 19,200 baud, but never got around to trying it on the Acorn as I got distracted by other things. I also found that it was unreliable using the internal UART, which may have been due to the lack of hardware flow control. At the time I only had a spare original Pi, which lacks the extra GPIO pins. I've been meaning to have another go with it.

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by myelin » Tue May 08, 2018 5:24 pm

This makes me wonder how much work it would be to design a mini podule that takes a Raspberry Pi (Zero W or 3B/3B+) and a flash chip, and implements mass storage and networking all through the Pi...
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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by JonC » Tue May 08, 2018 6:07 pm

myelin wrote:This makes me wonder how much work it would be to design a mini podule that takes a Raspberry Pi (Zero W or 3B/3B+) and a flash chip, and implements mass storage and networking all through the Pi...
This was an idea I threw out a while back, not sure if the thread is helpful here; :)

http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... um#p129863
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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Tue May 08, 2018 6:56 pm

danielj wrote:the nodemcu esp8266 lolin board coupled with one of those little max232 boards to do the level shifting comes in at under a tenner. There's gpl'd firmware out for it
Now that sounds like a nice idea :D - especially as the WiFi232 things appear to be not generally available...

myelin wrote:This makes me wonder how much work it would be to design a mini podule that takes a Raspberry Pi (Zero W or 3B/3B+) and a flash chip, and implements mass storage and networking all through the Pi...
This also sounds like a lovely idea! And I wonder if an Econet solution could also be crammed in there as well? :!:

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Tue May 08, 2018 7:06 pm

steve3000 wrote:Yes PPP is what I was thinking, in fact I'm sure I've read details or a blog somewhere of attempts to get a wired serial PPP solution working, but I can't find the link now...?
After a brief rummage around google, it seems that it was definitely possible to run the Acorn TCP/IP over PPP via wired serial - of note, I found these PPP drivers here http://www.monesi.com/sergio/pppdriver.html - though that website doesn’t render properly on my phone, the drivers can still be downloaded. I’ll check this out with my WiFi232 at the weekend....... :idea:

Edit: I think this documentation will be useful for PPP- http://www.riscos.com/support/users/int ... appxb.html
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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by myelin » Tue May 08, 2018 10:28 pm

JonC wrote:This was an idea I threw out a while back, not sure if the thread is helpful here; :)

http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... um#p129863
Thanks! Some very useful history in that thread.
lcww1 wrote:This also sounds like a lovely idea! And I wonder if an Econet solution could also be crammed in there as well? :!:
Depends how it's made, I suppose :) I don't have a lot of spare time right now, so it's much more likely to happen if I can keep it very simple. I imagine the first version would basically be some flash (for drivers), a CPLD or FPGA (or both, depending) for interfacing, and the header for the Pi. That would be enough to start things off and let people write their own software to get it working.

If I'm lucky, it'll be possible to implement it using MEMC synchronous transactions, which don't impose too much in the way of timing requirements on the system, and the whole thing will fit into a 5V-tolerant CPLD, in which case it'll be quite a small project. If I'm unlucky, it'll need all sorts of FPGA support too, in which case I won't be able to get onto it for quite a while.
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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by Andy1979 » Wed May 09, 2018 7:56 am

Don't suppose anyone fancies writing a driver for this? (DIY alternative to the Xircom interfaces)

http://lallafa.de/blog/amiga-projects/plipbox/

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Fri May 11, 2018 9:08 pm

Andy1979 wrote:Don't suppose anyone fancies writing a driver for this? (DIY alternative to the Xircom interfaces)

http://lallafa.de/blog/amiga-projects/plipbox/
Very interesting! Thanks very much for this link. The plipbox looks like just the thing for A3010 ethernet.

It does appear that there's no existing PLIP driver for RO - http://www.mjpye.org.uk/networking/?p=csan#B.28

The EtherP driver for the Atomwide Pocket Ethernet Adapter (?Xircom PE2 or PE3) is in the archive on Chris' Acorns that I linked to above. I wondered (perhaps naively) whether the EtherP driver might use PLIP, and therefore be able to drive the plipbox. However, a comment on Hackaday about the Xircom PE3 - https://hackaday.com/2014/04/16/hackada ... -ethernet/ - says that the PE3 did not use PLIP, and so I expect that EtherP will not work with the plipbox. I suppose that leaves us with two options: one, to write a RO PLIP driver for plipbox; two, to write new firmware for the plipbox to work with EtherP. I'm not sure which would be easier to achieve, being totally unqualified and inexperienced in the dominant of driver creation. Worth looking into though, I think.....

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by danielj » Sat May 12, 2018 6:39 am

The A3010 has a serial port, why not just use SLIP and the sort of lashup I've got in my bbc WiFi modem thread? It should be straight forward to build esp8266 firmware to do the job, it's all in the libraries AFAIK? That way you don't need to build any new drivers for riscos...

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Sat May 12, 2018 7:55 am

danielj wrote:The A3010 has a serial port, why not just use SLIP and the sort of lashup I've got in my bbc WiFi modem thread?
No reason why not! :D Indeed, running TCP/IP over serial has already been mentioned on this thread. Your serial wifi project looks like a great way of exploring that option. I’ll certainly be having a go at building one of your lashups devices! PLIP, or EtherP, may be somewhat faster, however. But, for the most part, I’m driven by curiosity, and I’m just interested to discover what can be done in the way of TCP/IP over parallel on an A30x0.......

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Sat May 12, 2018 10:28 am

There's a longish discussion here - https://groups.google.com/d/msg/comp.sy ... 6ElHs991wJ - from a few years ago, about trying to get an Atomwide Pocket Ethernet Adapter working on an A3010 - it doesn't look too hopeful! So, unless someone out there can confirm otherwise, I'm going to assume that pursuing an ethernet connection for an A30x0 via a Xircom parallel port device is likely to be a somewhat painful experience. Better to explore the Amiga plipbox, I think.

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by Andy1979 » Sat May 12, 2018 10:36 am

danielj wrote:The A3010 has a serial port, why not just use SLIP and the sort of lashup I've got in my bbc WiFi modem thread? It should be straight forward to build esp8266 firmware to do the job, it's all in the libraries AFAIK? That way you don't need to build any new drivers for riscos...

d.
Definitely going to have a go at SLIP on an esp8266, which should be fine for email, telnet, BBS and basic file transfers. It's also a nice solution because it can be used with lots of old machines, like beebs, not just Arcs. The limitation with this, or any serial based solution, will be the restriction to 19200 baud on the A3010 serial port. I'm also not sure that SLIP can be used to give full network access as well as internet access, although that could be overcome by using PPP on a Pi or similar. By comparison PLIP should be at least an order of magnitude faster.

I guess with ethernet solutions being comparatively readily available for most machines, the market for a Plipbox type device isn't as large as for the Amiga scene.

I'll also admit that I'd have no idea where to start on a driver! Have read elsewhere that PLIP isn't a defined standard. I can solder and follow instructions, but that's about it. Just enough knowledge to be dangerous :? .

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by danielj » Sat May 12, 2018 11:14 am

There is ppp on the esp8266 too AFAIK!

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by number-one » Tue May 15, 2018 2:18 pm

lcww1 wrote:One alternative to an ethernet mini-podule for a network connection, which I had forgotten about, is the serial wifi adapter described in this thread http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... =3&t=13265

Image

I got myself one of these some time ago, and I’ve used it successfully with my A3010 to get online and transfer files.

Hello I have a Plipbox and a WiModem232 w/OLED.

I interested make working on my A3010.

Could you give me how to with serial wifi adapter lcww1 ?
A3010 4 MB Ram

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Wed May 16, 2018 6:32 am

number-one wrote:I have a Plipbox and a WiModem232 w/OLED.

I interested make working on my A3010.

Could you give me how to with serial wifi adapter lcww1 ?
The plipbox is going to take some work - we need a PLIP driver for RISC OS, and that means writing one from scratch......

Your WiModem232, on the other hand should work in the same way as any other serial modem type device - you can use it most easily on your A3010 with a terminal emulator like !Connector - you can download that app from here: http://connector.a-m-z.org/overview.html

Lastly, PPP serial TCP/IP is built into the RO !InetSetup app that comes with Uniboot - I’ve not yet tried that out myself, but I will at some stage in the foreseeable future.

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by RobC » Thu May 17, 2018 12:36 pm

lcww1 wrote:The plipbox is going to take some work - we need a PLIP driver for RISC OS, and that means writing one from scratch......
When I wrote a RISC OS driver for the CP2201, I used the EtherY driver as a staring point. Once you've got functions to initialise the device and send and receive packets, it's not too difficult to wrap them in the way that RISC OS expects.

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Thu May 17, 2018 4:23 pm

RobC wrote:When I wrote a RISC OS driver for the CP2201, I used the EtherY driver as a staring point. Once you've got functions to initialise the device and send and receive packets, it's not too difficult to wrap them in the way that RISC OS expects.
Many thanks indeed for this pointer Rob!

I’ve found your thread about your CP2201 work here viewtopic.php?t=11904 - I’d not come across that before - very nice work.

I’m totally unqualified to write a RISCOS plip driver, so for that reason alone I’m keen to have a go, as of necessity I’ll learn a lot in the attempt.

Is your code for the CP2201 driver available somewhere, as studying that and the EtherY driver sounds like the best place for me to start. I’d really been wondering where to start with a plip driver, so your post has given me a good lead :D

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by RobC » Thu May 17, 2018 8:32 pm

I'll dig the code off my RiscPC once I've put it back together (I'm in the process of combining two machines into one). If I haven't posted it by the weekend, feel free to PM me a reminder!

As I never managed to get the transfer speeds up to acceptable levels (and so never tidied the code up), it's still at the prototype stage with lots of debugging still left in.

It does work but after a reasonable amount of investigation, I came to the conclusion that the CP2201 packet buffers weren't working. In spite of what the datasheet says, it never seemed to be able to hold more than one packet at a time and so transfers were dominated by missed packet requests/resends.

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Re: Simultaneous internet & mass storage solutions for the A3010

Post by lcww1 » Thu May 17, 2018 9:01 pm

That’s much appreciated Rob. Shame about the CP2201 though. But, perhaps the plipbox thing will work out because of your previous work.....

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