CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

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CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

Postby ST Graveyard » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:43 am

Hello all,

I'm new to the Falcon and also to prepping a CF card for any machine :-)

Currently I'm trying to make my CF card compatible with a WIN7 PC AND my Falcon. I'm using HDDRIVER 10.02.
I have read that for the CF card to be readible on a PC, you need to have 'revers cycle' active when making the partitions. Well, when I do this, the program bombs.

So what do I have. I have a sandisk 2GB SD card in the card reader. I format this using the HD Driver util, I make 5 partitions of 400 mb. I can make TOS partitions, WIN partitions and TOS + WIN partitions. This all works fine. I install the driver on C and the Falcon boots. But my card reader can not read it on the WIN PC. So when I try to make a TOS + WIN partition using revers cycle, the Util crashes.

I can also format FAT using my cardreader on my PC. So at first I thought it was the reader, but once I format it using windows, all works wel, but than I cannot use it on the Falcon ofcourse.

Anybody out there ever experienced these crashes when using partition with 'revers cycles'?

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Re: CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

Postby mfro » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:45 pm

Windows has that strange attitude to ignore anything but the first partition (which must be an Atari only partition if you want to boot your Falcon from it) when it detects a removable medium.

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Re: CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

Postby Dal » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:15 pm

I would use a dual CF reader and dedicate the card in the secondary slot to being TOS/DOS compatible.
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Re: CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

Postby ST Graveyard » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:32 pm

Thanks for the suggestions and for trying to help. I am aware the first partition needs to be TOS to be able to boot, but I have a boot disk, which is fine for now.
My problem is that I can not partition the CF card with WIN AND TOS AND Revers Cycles. When I format the CF card in windows, and than load the card into HDDRUTIL, I clearly see it is formatted in WIN WITH revers Cycles active. When I want to make the partition WIN and TOS with reverse cycles (which is needed to be able to recognize it in windows and in TOS) the program bombs out.
I am however able to partition in WIN and TOS without the reverse Cycles, but than the card is not recognized in windows. So I completely stuck here.
Does anybody out there ever experienced this behavior in HDDRUTIL?
Am I missing something?
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Re: CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

Postby czietz » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:49 am

When you say "reverse cycles"(?), I assume you mean byte-swapping. No, HDDRUTIL should not bomb there. Did you try the latest version, i.e. HDDRIVER 10.11 as well? Since you already have a license for 10.02, the update is free: http://hddriver.seimet.de/en/prices.html

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Re: CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

Postby saulot » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:18 pm

I had similar problem on ste recently. In the end I've formatted card on pc and partitioned card with win/tos without byte swapping (on latest hd driver 10.11). Second thing is that I far as i know you cannot boot from tos/win mixed partition on f030. I think that this was mentioned somewhere on hd driver forums. I have only one TOS/won partition per sd card.

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Re: CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

Postby KLund1 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:12 pm

You might be making this harder then you need too. The Falcon supports two IDE type drives. I use two IDE drives in my Falcon. One in 'Master' internal CF card. The other is a 'slave' SD card that slides in/out from the back. The internal has many partitions, and they are all TOS. It boots from C on the internal CF card. The SD it a TOS/Win formatted card. I can easily swap between PC and Falcon. These were originally formatted with HDDriver 8.x. There is no need to do your above mentioned 'revers cycle' or manual byte swapping. HD Driver is very smart and takes care of anything like that. The hard part is finding SD or CF Cards the falcon 'likes'. SD/CF are not all the same. Kensington Elite CF and older SanDisk 512K work for me.
I do seem to recall the the author of HDDriver was going to try and make it so you could have a TOS/Win bootable partition in an upcoming version. But there would be significant speed hit for the convenience. Since the Falcon already can see two IDE drives why not use them.
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Re: CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

Postby Saturnin51 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:14 pm

My choice to have an easy way to exchange between my Falcon and my PC (with Ubuntu Linux system) was to choose Bigdos + Hddriver 7.8, in order to manage Dos compatible partitions up to 2 Go, particulary with a Iomega Jazz on the Falcon and also on the PC.
The cartdriges are directly readable on both system.

It would be the same with the SDcard.
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Re: CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

Postby 1st1 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:47 pm

You have to take care on Big/Little Endian!

IDE is 16 bit interface (while ACSI/SCSI is 8 bit).

Motorola is using Big Endian data format for 16 bit word. That means, the high byte is in the front of the low byte. Intel is using little endian data on 16 bit words. That is the functionality of the "Byte swap" function when preparing an SD card for your falcon.

Little_Endian -> Big_Endian -> Little_Endian: 0A -> A0 -> 0A ; 00000000 00001010 -> 00001010 00000000 -> 00000000 00001010

The thing is, that the Falcon needs Big Endian data format to boot from a CF card. Booting means loading program code. And Motorola program code is in Big Endian. If it would read 68k program code in Little Endian it would not understand and not execute it. It would hang up and/or bomb.HDDRIVER (and ppera's driver) can do byte swap, but only after HDDRIVER has been booted from a Big Endian media.

The complicate thing is, that Falcon needs to talk to the CF card in Little Endian for sending commands to the drive. So each command is byte swapped, but data by default must by Big Endian. This is done by TOS internally automatically. This is because IDE was designed following the ISA bus specification for IBM compatible personal computers. As I told above, Intel 80x86 processors (and their compatible derivates from NEC, AMD, Cyrix, IBM, TI, ...) are Little Endian processors, and ISA bus is close to design of 80286 processor bus, and IDE interface is just like ISA bus with some adress decoding logics, that means, it is Litte Endian operation. So on Falcon side, commands to IDE/CF drives are Little Endian that IDE or CF drive understands it, while useable data in the drive's data sectors has to be Big Endian, so that the 68030 can execute Big Endian programming code, like the harddisk driver or any application.

But PC IDE standard is defined as command and data in Litte Endian. So MS-DOS, Windows, Linux and other x86 based operating systes also expects data in Little Endian. Linux can handle this after it has been booted from a Little Endian media (there is an optional Atari disk driver in Linux Kernel). But MS-DOS and Windows can't, they even do not see the partition structure of a Big Endian media.

The other thing on PC is, that on traditional MBR style partition schema (MS-DOS 2.x up to Win 10) you can't have more than 4 primary partitons (GPT is different!), if you want more on MBR schema, you need to create at least one primary partition (only from there PC can boot OS!),and then you need to create a "secondary partition", and inside that secondary you can create as much "extended partitions" as you want. (Modern Windows installers are hiding this fact from the user, they create automatically a primary boot partition and put all other in secondary/extended partitions) The Atari partition schema is totally different, you don't need to take care on primary, secondary and extended partitions, you just create as much partitions as you want. MS-DOS and Windows can only support it's MBR partition schema, and since Win 7 SP1 also GPT, which is again totally different, also different to TOS partition schema. On the other side, HDDRIVER can read Atari partition schema and MBR, but not yet GPT (I think Uwe S. is working on this...)

The summary is:
a) Atari needs Big Endian Media to boot from harddisc drive
b) TOS ROM can only read the harddisk driver from Atari partition schema
c) as soon as hddriver has been loaded, it can access ATARI partition schema and MBR and it can support byteswap for Little Endian to Big Endian conversion
d) Byteswap needs to be done by processor (68030) through some program in harddisk driver, that means, it's slower than accessing Big Endian media. (It's a kind of triangle swap: Temp=Highbyte, Highbyte=Lowbyte, Lowbyte=Temp, and this has to be done for each 16 Bit word to read/write from media)
e) It's not possible to mix Little Endian and Big Endian partitions on one media (drive).

f) PC/MS-DOS/Windows/x86-Linux needs Little Endian to boot OS (same for Free/Net-BSD, OS-X, x86-BeOS, x86-Solaris, ...)
g) Microsoft OS does not support Atari partition schema
h) Microsoft OS does not support Big Endian media

This is a conflict. It can't be solved on one media!

And now, here comes the simple solution:

Use two compact flash cards in your falcon. You need a dual slot CF adapter. I recommend the one made by Delock (you can get it on eBay, Amazon, ...), but others work as well. The advantage of the Delock is that it has the same mechanical format as a 2,5 inch IDE harddisk has. So you can directly replace the Falcon's internal harddrive without too much mechanical modification. But later I will give you a better idea where to place the adapter as it is very inaccessible on Falcons hdd bracket. Dual CF slot adapters configure automatically one CF as the master drive, the other one as slave.

1. A master CF for the Falcon to boot. This one is partitioned in Big Endian (bytes wap OFF) in just TOS compatible partition schema. (No need for TOS/WIn compatible partition schmea as PC will never see this CF!) It can be of any size with any number of partitions up to 34 pcs. HDDRIVER supports up to 34 partitions (C: to Z:, plus 0: to 9:). Each BGM partition (also C:) can have up to 1 GB in size, so it's quite easy to even use a 32 GB CF card in the Falcon to boot and store applications, games, demos, music, pictures, movies and other datas. (I think, to access partitions 0: to 9: from TOS you need to use BIGDOS.PRG, I never tryed that much partitions...)

2. A slave CF for data exchange with the PC. As TOS 4.0x can handle up to 1 GB per partition, and DOS/Win can only see the 1st partition, I recommend to use an 1 GB CF for this. This CF needs to be setup by HD driver in TOS/Windows compatible partition schema with byte swap ON (Little Endian), just one partition of 1GB. When you put BIGDOS.PRG (there is a special FALCON version, which needs to be placed as the last program into the AUTO-folder!), you can even use a 2 GB CF with a 2 GB partition. (If you install MiNT, Bigdos is not required to access 2GB DOS/WIN-Little-Endian medias)

So the master always stays in Falcon and is only used internally. The slave CF is used to plug in the PC, copy files onto it, plug it in the Falcon, copy files from it to the Master CF. My personal experience is very well doing so. But I had a lot of difficullty to setup that slave CF with HDDRIVER, it was setup as I told, TOS/DOS compatible with byte swap ON, but my PC (Windows XP, 7, 8, 10) could not read it. So I found the more easy way to just set it up on my PC, just formated it there, and HDDRIVER could read/write it without any issue.

My personal setup on my two Falcons is:

Master CF with 32 GB, 16x 1GB BGM partition + 16 GB LNX partition (for MiNT). BIGDOS.PRG (Falcon version) in c:\auto as the last program to start before desktop, except if I boot MiNT, then BIGDOS is off.
Slave CFs, I have different ones of 512MB up to 2GB, all partitioned/formatted using Windows, FAT filesystem, one partition of CF's size.

To access my slave CF, I have replaced the Falcon's internal floppy drive by a slimline drive (from notebook). This means, I can install the dual CF adapter under the flopyp drive, so both CF slots are accessibe from the outside without drilling holes in Falcon chassis. But usually the master always stays inside the slot, I only remove and plug the slave (while the Falcon is off!).

Please note: On ACSI/SCSI you don't need to take care on byte swap, just keep it off. The drives do internally the correct bytesswapping. This is totally transparent to the Atari and PC.

Another experience: There are CFs which do not display a name. Usually you will see a drive name in HDDRIVER boot message, or HDRUTIl, like "QUantum LPS52Pro" or "Kingston 16GB", but some CF don't display anything, just blank. First I thought, they would not work in Falcon, but no, in HDRUTIL just select the blank entry and continue to set it up. These CFs (also some brand name CFs from SanDisk, Kingston, nonames, etc, or Fakes) just don't display anything but they work as expected.

I hope that now everything is clear!
Last edited by 1st1 on Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:35 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: CF card + HDDRIVER 10.02 in Falcon

Postby 1st1 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:56 pm

double
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