Automation project with an ST

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StEeLz
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Automation project with an ST

Postby StEeLz » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:39 pm

Hi everyone,

I would love to use an Atari ST as a "Microcontroller" just like an AVR (Arduino), but with a screen and graphical controls.
My programming level is fair in multiple languages, but my concern lies in the hardware feasibility. I am not sure if we can use any of the parallel ports on the ST as I/O interface.
I think the // port is sort of linked to the sound chip. Has there been any experiments done?
I could use any other port as well.

If it's a viable project, I could work on a compiler or developing functions and open a GitHub or any other open source community platform.
There could a regain in interest for the 68000 machines from younger generations if this could be achieved!

Just throwing some wishes out there, we never know!

AtariZoll
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Re: Automation project with an ST

Postby AtariZoll » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:10 am

I used parallel port as I/O interface in couple projects, and it works flawless. That is is in same chip with sound generator makes no problems. It is actually independent port, and sound generation will not affect it at all. Actually, on Atari ST there is no other port, where you can hold same state for desired (up to endless) time.
I made EPROM programmer, graphical display driver via ST parallel port. And may do anything where 8 bits are enough. In case you run SW under TOS need to care to prevent activation of printer related TOS functions.
But I don't think that whole idea is much good. Bad side of parallel port is that no separated input and output pins - at least no 8 such. Better would be to make some extra port, with independent inputs and outputs, and number of bits can be even bigger than 8.
Also, using very old computers for some serious control is not good idea because low reliability. So, all this could be mostly in some experimental, educational purposes.
English language is like bad boss on workplace: it expecting from you to strictly follow all, numerous rules, but self bending rules as much likes :mrgreen:

mikro
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Re: Automation project with an ST

Postby mikro » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:10 am

It's perfectly doable and to various extent used by many current Atari programmers. :) The only challenging part is bootstrap process, i.e. how far you want to go (emulate a hard disk, boot from cartridge, emulate a floppy, ...) after that everything is under your control.

Also, perhaps you should check existing code first, esp. when it comes to compilers, there's even more than one gcc port available. So it's more or less about putting all together and make it work with one button. :)

StEeLz
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Re: Automation project with an ST

Postby StEeLz » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:21 pm

Wow you guys are great! Where could I found existing resources? I guess that would start by locating which ports are available on the //, how to set them as Input or Output and what gcc and libraries are used?

Definitely for educational purposes, I just think it would be funnier to use an Atari than an Arduino to, let's say, send commands to a DIY 3D Printer...

StEeLz
Retro freak
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Re: Automation project with an ST

Postby StEeLz » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:33 pm

Also, what do you mean by bootstrap process? Not sure I've ever encountered that terminology with Arduino.
If it is just about booting, I guess I could leave a floppy with the compiled PRG in an AUTO folder to get it loaded automatically (or even create a cartridge to store the PRG on some kind of a SolidState SOC?)


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