New to Falcon - strange behavior

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papa_november
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New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby papa_november » Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:55 am

I've had a Falcon for the last few months, and I've tried very hard to take the best possible care of it. I found it totally stock and installed an FPU, changed the RTC to one that works, and upgraded the RAM. I'm running into two big problems, however, and they're driving me spare:

1. The demo "Lost Blubb" crashes about a second in. It did not crash before, but sometime between now and when I first got the machine it stopped working. I've tried copying it over again, I've tried different hard drives, I've tried removing the FPU and going back to the old RAM card, I've tried resetting the NVRAM, and none of it seems to fix the problem. It's driving me bonkers and I'm beginning to think that I've somehow broken something in the machine in a manner that nobody has ever managed before. I haven't tried a PSU swap but the PSU looks good and I can't imagine it's causing this, especially since I've had an ST with a dying PSU before and it was pretty obvious from the way the screen lost sync during disk activity that something was up. It's next on the list of things to try I guess.

2. Large file copies seem to choke. I can't install that Doom port because the machine absolutely refuses to copy the DOOMU.WAD file over (it's like 11 megs). I'm using CompactFlash cards and an Adtron PCMCIA-SCSI reader. The hard drive is a CompactFlash card on an IDE adapter. The card was formatted by the latest version of HDDRIVER to be FAT32/TOS compatible. In addition to large file copies, if ST-ZIP tries to expand any file bigger than about a meg, it complains about bad checksums.

I'm thinking I might need to do the SDMA clockpatch, but is that strictly necessary on NTSC machines? I keep reading that it's mostly for PAL systems. Failing that, I am thinking of getting a diagnostic cart.

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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby catmando » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:15 am

I had your 2nd problem when I was using outdated HD drivers, once I started using pperas HD driver everything was okay.
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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby paul92706 » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:14 pm

Seems to me like there maybe something wrong with your IDE CF card, i heard some of the Chinese one's are not good at all, also if your CF card reader has jumper settings make sure they are all set correctly on the CF Card. I would remove the CF card temporary and install a Mechanical Harddrive, and see how that serves you. And you are correct SDMA clock patch is for PAL systems, i had to ad that Patch to my PAL system.
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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby TheNameOfTheGame » Sat Apr 09, 2016 6:55 pm

When you say latest version what exactly are you using? Up until the 9.06 update there was an error with large files sometimes. See this thread: http://hddriver.seimet.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=121&start=10

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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby iceman » Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:42 am

papa_november wrote:2. Large file copies seem to choke. I can't install that Doom port because the machine absolutely refuses to copy the DOOMU.WAD file over (it's like 11 megs). I'm using CompactFlash cards and an Adtron PCMCIA-SCSI reader. The hard drive is a CompactFlash card on an IDE adapter. The card was formatted by the latest version of HDDRIVER to be FAT32/TOS compatible. In addition to large file copies, if ST-ZIP tries to expand any file bigger than about a meg, it complains about bad checksums.



I get the same issue with ST-ZIP and large file transfers. I'm using a cheap IDE-CF adapter with a good brand of CF cards. Initially, I thought it was a problem with ZIPs that had been zipped in 2014 on Windows being unzipped with ST-ZIP from 1989 :)

I upgraded HD-Driver to 9.06 recently but haven't tested it. I'll download a large zip tonight and see if it still has the problem.

EDIT: I also had the same problem with my UltraSatan on my STe. Some people said it might be a dodgy DMA, but if it's the same problem, there was always only one similarity between my setups - HDDriver. This definitely needs investigating.


EDIT 2: I couldn't actually download anything due to CAB crapping out downloading large files. I'll try again tomorrow night.
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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby papa_november » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:34 am

I was able to solve the first issue, and what was causing it was truly strange. For my main setup, I have the Falcon plugged into an Extron sync processor (so I can then run it into a Framemeister and get both RGB and VGA on any HDMI screen). My test setup is just a plain CRT combo monitor. The Extron was causing the crash, and even weirder, it was ONLY that particular Extron (an RGB 190) that was doing it. I tried several other Extron units (such as an RGB 109xi), and there were no issues.

The troublesome Extron caused no other problems on any other machine that's been plugged into it (Amigas, Dreamcasts, etc). The RGB port on the Falcon is output-only, as are all analog RGB ports, so why anything that's been plugged into it would cause software trouble is one of the biggest head scratchers I've ever seen.

The second issue is still unsolved though. The CF I'm using for the main hard drive is an 8GB Transcend and the the most compatible card I've seen so far. I tried swapping in a regular mechanical hard drive and the behavior is the same. I'm going to need to take it up with Uwe Seimet I guess. I'd love to have Doom running by the end of the week, but that's just not going to happen at this stage. I could try a SCSI Zip drive instead of relying on CF-SCSI, but that's going to be a pain in the ass to set up. It's what I used before I was able to get a hold of SCSI-PCMCIA-CF bridges, so I do still have all the necessary things (disks, SCSI Zip drive, USB ZIP drive).

I could also try ppera's driver I guess, it's not as far along as HDDRIVER but it's got some promising features. It doesn't seem to support the Falcon's SCSI controller though - how would I get around that?

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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby mfro » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:10 am

If a device at the video port manages to screw up your Falcon, I can only imagine one single cause: a weak power supply.

If that's the case, it could also cause IDE and floppy problems.

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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby papa_november » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:26 am

I thought about that and changed out the power supply, with no difference in behavior.

The video problem also happened with another Falcon when I plugged it into the "haunted" Extron. Whatever's going on there, it's really weird.

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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby christos » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:20 am

The falcon's video is not output only though. It's input also because it can accept both an external clock for higher resolutions like in screenblaster, and genlock signal for analog video stuff. So it's not unlikely that you'll get issues.
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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby dml » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:40 am

FYI I also had problems copying large WAD files to/from my Falcon using IDE+CFlash with HDDriver. It may have been something to do with the PC+TOS compatible format I was using but didn't get to the bottom of it. The size limit was 4mb or 8mb (don't remember which) - beyond which the files would be corrupted, guaranteed.

Ended up ARJ'ing the files into split archives < 2MB per slice and then later moved to much better methods for transferring files...

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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby papa_november » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:05 am

christos wrote:The falcon's video is not output only though. It's input also because it can accept both an external clock for higher resolutions like in screenblaster, and genlock signal for analog video stuff. So it's not unlikely that you'll get issues.

That is true, but all that was hooked up besides R,G,B and ground was the two sync lines. I guess it's still possible that the Extron was malfunctioning in such a way as to do something odd on the sync lines, throw the video chip into an undefined mode, and cause that demo (that ONE demo) to crash.

The Amiga actually has a vaguely similar behavior - if you hook up HSYNC and VSYNC directly up to a monitor without a TTL buffer chip the machine will think you have a genlock attached.

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Re: New to Falcon - strange behavior

Postby papa_november » Sat Jul 30, 2016 6:36 am

dml wrote:FYI I also had problems copying large WAD files to/from my Falcon using IDE+CFlash with HDDriver. It may have been something to do with the PC+TOS compatible format I was using but didn't get to the bottom of it. The size limit was 4mb or 8mb (don't remember which) - beyond which the files would be corrupted, guaranteed.

Ended up ARJ'ing the files into split archives < 2MB per slice and then later moved to much better methods for transferring files...


That got it working! Thanks so much.


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