Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

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BBCNoob
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Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by BBCNoob » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:46 am

I've recently purchased an A3010, but I'm a complete noob to these machines. All I really want to do with it, is play games and go on BBS sites.
The only thing I've bought for it, is a SCART cable.

1) It has come with 3.10, is it possible to upgrade to 3.11? Where would I get these roms from? I understand it's a only a serial patch, but I kind of like the idea of using a modem2wifi to get on BBS sites.

2) It has come with 2MB already, but it is really worth while upgrading to 4MB and then making the machine go faster? It's an earlier board, so no "easy" crystal placement.

3) There's a HDD inside. Which is a better to upgrade path, CF or SD? It currently has a Watford electronics IDE controller from 1992.
Last edited by BBCNoob on Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:34 pm, edited 4 times in total.

philpem
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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by philpem » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:15 pm

1) I'm not aware of a 3.11 ROM set for the A3010. As you say, the only difference is the serial port patch, and that's softloadable. It's one or two RMA modules which can be loaded on boot.

2) Upgrading to 4MB wouldn't make much difference to speed -- largely it'd just mean you could run bigger programs and speed up text rendering (by increasing the size of the font cache).
If you've got one of the earlier boards with the CPU on a mezzanine card (an "Adelaide" A3010), I personally wouldn't modify it - but that's just me. My understanding is that Adelaides are a bit rarer than the ARM250 AIO machines.

3) CompactFlash most likely. You'll need a CF card with IDE mode support (most SanDisk cards do, Apacer don't) and an adapter. It's a complete coin flip as to whether your IDE card will work with it.

On arrival, check the battery and make sure any leakage has been properly addressed and the battery replaced (preferably fitted offboard). If the battery is leaking (green or white fuzz nearby), you'll want to remove it and replace it.

Have fun with your new toy! :)

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danielj
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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by danielj » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:24 pm

If you want to use ADFFS with the games released in JFD format from the JASPP software project you'll really need 4MB to use it comfortably.

d.

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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by BBCNoob » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:44 pm

philpem wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:15 pm
1) I'm not aware of a 3.11 ROM set for the A3010. As you say, the only difference is the serial port patch, and that's softloadable. It's one or two RMA modules which can be loaded on boot.
I've managed to find this https://www.retro-kit.co.uk/page.cfm/co ... SC-OS-311/ Which says it's possible.
philpem wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:15 pm
2) Upgrading to 4MB wouldn't make much difference to speed -- largely it'd just mean you could run bigger programs and speed up text rendering (by increasing the size of the font cache).
If you've got one of the earlier boards with the CPU on a mezzanine card (an "Adelaide" A3010), I personally wouldn't modify it - but that's just me. My understanding is that Adelaides are a bit rarer than the ARM250 AIO machines.
No, it's one of the ARM250 chips. The memory part I was meaning the mod where you can add another crystal when 4MB has been added, and make it go faster that way. As danielj, has now pointed out, at least having 4MB seems like a nice thing to have.
philpem wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:15 pm
3) CompactFlash most likely. You'll need a CF card with IDE mode support (most SanDisk cards do, Apacer don't) and an adapter. It's a complete coin flip as to whether your IDE card will work with it.
I have a CF card reader, and a SD card reader kicking about some where, from when I used to have them in my Amiga. Fingers crossed the CF one works. What would be a good sized card to get?
philpem wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:15 pm
On arrival, check the battery and make sure any leakage has been properly addressed and the battery replaced (preferably fitted offboard). If the battery is leaking (green or white fuzz nearby), you'll want to remove it and replace it.

Have fun with your new toy! :)
It's been replaced with the same thing that used to be there, but new. Everything looks okay though.

Oh I'm sure I'll have fun with it, once I've got it the CF and "faster" memory in.

Thank you both for your replies!
Last edited by BBCNoob on Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:02 pm, edited 4 times in total.

philpem
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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by philpem » Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:15 pm

BBCNoob wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:44 pm
philpem wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:15 pm
1) I'm not aware of a 3.11 ROM set for the A3010. As you say, the only difference is the serial port patch, and that's softloadable. It's one or two RMA modules which can be loaded on boot.
I've managed to find this https://www.retro-kit.co.uk/page.cfm/co ... SC-OS-311/ Which says it's possible.
Ahh fair enough. I had no idea there was a "two-ROM" 3.11 ROM set. I've only seen the 3.11 ROM set for the older machines.

If the A3000 is two-ROM you could probably pinch one from there, but as I said - it's a bit pointless when you can soft-load the fix.
philpem wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:15 pm
2) Upgrading to 4MB wouldn't make much difference to speed -- largely it'd just mean you could run bigger programs and speed up text rendering (by increasing the size of the font cache).
If you've got one of the earlier boards with the CPU on a mezzanine card (an "Adelaide" A3010), I personally wouldn't modify it - but that's just me. My understanding is that Adelaides are a bit rarer than the ARM250 AIO machines.
No, it's one of the ARM250 chips. The memory part I was meaning the mod where you can add another crystal when 4MB has been added, and make it go faster that way. As danielj, has now pointed out, at least having 4MB seems like a nice thing to have.
It definitely is -- enough that I upgraded my A3000 not long after the A3010.
philpem wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:15 pm
3) CompactFlash most likely. You'll need a CF card with IDE mode support (most SanDisk cards do, Apacer don't) and an adapter. It's a complete coin flip as to whether your IDE card will work with it.
I have a CF card reader, and a SD card reader kicking about some where, from when I used to have them in my Amiga. Fingers crossed the CF one works. What would be a good sized card to get?
Whatever you get, unless your IDE card supports partitioning, you won't want to format it much above 500MB. Maximum is (from memory) 540MB, but above 512MB the LFAU doubles. It's like the cluster size on FAT -- files have to take a multiple of the LFAU. So a 2K file with a 4K LFAU means that even though the file is only 2K, it'll take 4K on disk.

I'd have to look up the Watford interface (it's probably on Chris's Acorns) but if it uses HForm to format the drive, you'll want to use the 504MB cyl/head/sec values which have previously been posted on here.

BBCNoob
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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by BBCNoob » Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:27 pm

Thanks again -

Chris' site only has this on what I have - http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... dDisc.html Which sadly isn't anything.

I did find the app for it though it seems, going by other threads on here. http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... are.html#W

I've ordered a 512MB card from Amazon as well.
Last edited by BBCNoob on Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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flaxcottage
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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by flaxcottage » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:41 pm

1Gb or 2Gb cards will format OK under RISCOS 3.xx as long as you only format to 500Mb. These cards are sometimes cheaper than 500Mb. :shock:
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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by TimoHartong » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:17 am

A little word of warning a good friend obtained recently an A3010 and it is difficult machine to take apart ( fragile leads to the keyboard through razer sharp EMC shielding ). Before starting open it I would really advise to make a program you want to do.
The experience with IDE to CF cards is very mixed. Sometimes they work sometimes they don't. For example I was never able to get my CF to IDE card to work. For the rest it is a very nice machine indeed. Fortunately the battery is relatively far away from critical components but quick action is however required.
I would also recommend to install a gotek which simplifies a lot
Last edited by TimoHartong on Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by BBCNoob » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:00 am

TimoHartong wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:17 am
A little word of warning a good friend obtained recently an A3010 and it is difficult machine to take apart ( fragile leads to the keyboard through razer sharp EMC shielding ). Before starting open it I would really advise to make a program you want to do.
The experience with IDE to CF cards is very mixed. Sometimes they work sometimes they don't. For example I was never able to get my CF to IDE card to work. For the rest it is a very nice machine indeed. Fortunately the battery is relatively far away from critical components but quick action is however required.
I would also recommend to install a gotek which simplifies a lot
Thanks - I've managed to open it up once already. I found it easy enough to do. I've opened up lots of other computers though, have long since learnt to take my time. I know it's one of the earlier ARM250 boards.

Thank you for the warning though!

My Sandisk CF 512MB is arriving today, and I've been reading up on how to format it using a Raspberry Pi. Fingers crossed!

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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by flaxcottage » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:53 am

You may find !HForm a better way to go using your A3010.
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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by craigewan » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:10 pm

!Hform on the machine is what I would recommend as well. Also, you can get CF IDE adaptors with 2mm pitch IDE pins that take 2 CF cards, which is what I did in mine (which has a Castle IDE interface with the 2mm pitch 44pin IDE plug - the type that don't require an additional power plug to be connected). But the whole IDE interface + CF card scene is really pot luck, I am afraid. Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

cheers

Paul
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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by BBCNoob » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:13 am

Thanks for the ideas guys.

Since there was a working HDD already in the machine, I went looking for the Watford Electronics disks on the internet. I came across - http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org ... are.html#W and grabbed the "IDE Utlities Disc".

With a bit of messing about, I've now got a formatted 512MB SanDisk CF card formatted to around 504MB I guess, using an old single CF to IDE reader I used to have in my Amiga 1200. All done with a USB floppy drive on my PC, and the A3010 itself.

Is 512MB more than enough, or is it worth while upgrading to something else? I've seen these things on ebay that have a 2GB with 4x partitions, acting as four HDDs. They're rather pricey though.

I just need to figure out what to put on the CF now, since the A3010 didn't come with any system like floppies.

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Re: Questions about my new purchase - Archimedes A3010

Post by IanS » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:36 pm

BBCNoob wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:13 am
Is 512MB more than enough, or is it worth while upgrading to something else? I've seen these things on ebay that have a 2GB with 4x partitions, acting as four HDDs. They're rather pricey though.
I'd say 512MB is more than enought for most use, Many people ran Acorn machines originally with 40-80MB hard discs when they were new. I had a 45MB drive on my A3000 when new, and it never felt like a limiting factor.
(I also have a vested interest in 512MB being enough, as I have a pile of 512MB DOM's to sell with IDE interfaces at the Abug meet this weekend, or afterwards by post)

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