Tube podule (BBC <--> Archimedes/RISCPC)

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IanB
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Tube podule (BBC <--> Archimedes/RISCPC)

Post by IanB » Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:43 pm

As some of you are probably aware, when Acorn were developing the Archimedes they used a "Tube Podule" (A podule interface card with a Tube ULA) to connect to the BBC/Master and make use of BBC hard drives and floppies before the Archimedes filing systems were written. The Archimedes side software was referred to as the "Host Filing System" or HostFS and could be used to access any filing system on the BBC side but it only worked with the Arthur OS.

In the late 80s I borrowed one of these cards, drew the circuit and built one for myself and a friend of mine patched the HostFS software to work with RISCOS 2 and also added a desktop filer. Since then I have updated HostFS myself, first to work with RISCOS 3, then the RISC PC and finally with the StrongARM.

The upshot of all this is that you can call up and manage/copy BBC hard drives on the RISCOS desktop and this feature has saved a lot of my source code which would otherwise have been lost as 3 out of my 6 BBC hard drives have failed in storage. Fortunately, before putting them away 15+ years ago I used HostFS to make backups on my Risc PC's Hard drives.

If anyone want's to build one, let me know and I'll post the circuit diagram and HostFS software module. Note that you will need a Ferranti Tube ULA or one of the ReTuLa remakes. The AMI CMOS Tube ULA should work but will need the protection components added.

IanB

station240
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Re: Tube podule (BBC <--> Archimedes/RISCPC)

Post by station240 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:11 am

O.o yes please.

Oh and give a copy of everything to a certain webmaster :wink:
http://mdfs.net/Software/Tube/

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Re: Tube podule (BBC <--> Archimedes/RISCPC)

Post by IanB » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:16 pm

As promised, attached is a zip with the HostFS stuff. Note this is a RISCOS zip so the files should be correctly filetyped but they can be viewed on a PC as well (although the text files will be messed up due to CR/LF differences).

Contents:
Tubepodule.gif - a scan of my circuit for the tube podule
HostFS0-51 - The RISCOS driver software
Readme1st - setup notes
TubeDoc - more detailed functional description

Whilst it is mostly a technical curiosity, it does have the one useful function (as mentioned above) of giving you the ability to manage BBC hard drives (presumably including IDE drives) from a RISCOS desktop.

I haven't tried it with RISCOS 4 but I have the source for the driver so should be able to fix it if needed.

Here's a pic of my home made board:
tubepod.jpg
tubepod.jpg (185.63 KiB) Viewed 1047 times
IanB
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SteveBagley
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Re: Tube podule (BBC <--> Archimedes/RISCPC)

Post by SteveBagley » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:17 am

This seemed the best place to link to this rather than creating a new thread…

I came across this PhD thesis the other day while researching something that describes the use of the TUBE podule in an Acorn A500 to access a Cambridge Ring network via a BBC Master:

https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui ... Murphy.pdf

Steve

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Re: Tube podule (BBC <--> Archimedes/RISCPC)

Post by davidb » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:24 am

From page 63 of the thesis:
During the period of video system development work, the A500 workstation was running the Acorn Arthur operating system (initially version 0.066, and later version 1.2).
Interesting to see such an early version of Arthur. I wonder if it escaped into the wild from there or from anywhere else. :)
Last edited by davidb on Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Tube podule (BBC <--> Archimedes/RISCPC)

Post by jgharston » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:41 am

SteveBagley wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:17 am
I came across this PhD thesis the other day while researching something that describes the use of the TUBE podule in an Acorn A500 to access a Cambridge Ring network via a BBC Master:
"Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering"

Yet more evidence that universities are mis-labelling their courses.

When I was finishing 'A' levels I'd been programming and building computer hardware for more than five years, I naturally wanted to "do computing" at university, so naturally entered a Computing Science course. I then spent three years wondering "when are we going to do some, y'know, *actual* computing?" - by which I meant designing, writing and building computer programs and computer hardware. Years later I discover again and again that I should have entered an electrical engineering course. Electrical Engineering? Y'wot??? I don't want a degree in wiring up houses! I want a degree in programming!

Same thing is still happening today with people doing "IT" courses, not realising that "IT" is "Office Admin" - how to type, how to arrange financial numbers, just with a computer.

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.25
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2015
>_

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Re: Tube podule (BBC <--> Archimedes/RISCPC)

Post by davidb » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:50 am

Section 5.4 "The Workstation Window Environment" (starting at page 90) describes integrating the Arthur WIMP module with TRIPOS that foreshadows later attempts to make the WIMP truly multitasking. Page 92:
Having solved the problem of access to the Arthur WIMP module, the next problem was how to drive the module in the multi-tasking environment of Tripos.

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Re: Tube podule (BBC <--> Archimedes/RISCPC)

Post by SteveBagley » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:53 am

jgharston wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:41 am
When I was finishing 'A' levels I'd been programming and building computer hardware for more than five years, I naturally wanted to "do computing" at university, so naturally entered a Computing Science course. I then spent three years wondering "when are we going to do some, y'know, *actual* computing?" - by which I meant designing, writing and building computer programs and computer hardware.
You'll be amused to know the first things I teach our first year CS undergrad students is ARM assembler, and digital logic design (using the nand2tetris hardware simulator, and coursework that bears a striking resemblance to parts inside the 6502!). They also learn C programming… ;)

Steve

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Re: Tube podule (BBC <--> Archimedes/RISCPC)

Post by Kazzie » Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:03 am

jgharston wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:41 am
Same thing is still happening today with people doing "IT" courses, not realising that "IT" is "Office Admin" - how to type, how to arrange financial numbers, just with a computer.
Agreed.

I spent five and a half years of high school waiting for my IT lessons to turn into Computer Science (though I didn't know that was the term at the time). Come sixth form, I jumped ship to study Electronics instead of IT when a friend told me that part of the fourth module included IP subnetting (for some bizzare reason).

At university, I ended up doing a joint-honours course of Computing and Electronic Engineering. It was fun sitting in the middle and watching some CS students' reaction to programming PICs in assembly (eurgh, hardware!) and some EE students' reaction to object-oriented programming (yuck, someone give me a soldering iron!).
BBC Model B 32k issue 7, Sidewise ROM board with 16K RAM
Archimedes 420/1 upgraded to 4MB RAM, ZIDEFS with 512MB CF card
Acorn System 1 home-made replica

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