Falcon Afterburner - Please Help!

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meltdown
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Falcon Afterburner - Please Help!

Postby meltdown » Mon Aug 14, 2006 6:03 pm

I'm trying to build in a Afterburner 040.
All cables are correctly soldered and as short as can be.
Heatsink of 040 cpu grounded.
The Flatcable wrapped in silverfoil, isolated and grounded.
I tried 4 different clockpatches with F7404 and F7408 chips.

The problem: Afterburner just doesn't boot.
My screen stays black.
(Falcon was tested before in 030 mode and works fine).

Note that i only try to boot in slow 020 mode. There's no software drivers installed yet.

I remember in the past this problem could happen to certain combinations of Falcon and afterburner.
There was a special hardware patch which could solve this.
Something to do with cutting a line of the DMA clock or so. (Not clock-patch)
I think Douglas Little invented it.
Please help someone.

Michael

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Postby meltdown » Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:27 pm

I guess no one knows. :cry:

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Postby Omikronman » Sat Nov 25, 2006 10:17 am

My Afterburner040 Falcon sometimes does not boot. Then I see a black screen with a pink frame around. MW electronics who built the Afterburner into my Falcon told me that it es nothing to worry about and can not be solved.

But if your Falcon never boots and the screen is black all the time, I have really no idea. =(

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Postby meltdown » Sat Nov 25, 2006 11:43 pm

Thanks for posting.
The problem is that it stays black all the time.
The afterburner was used in another falcon for years with no problem.
Unfortunately i don't have that Falcon anymore.
The AB was safely stored for a few years when i decided to build it in again.
Now it is in another Falcon but it stays completely dead.
I remember having the same sort of problem when it was build in the first time
but i can't remember what i did to solve it then :cry:

I did see a picture of an AB which had a component soldered over one of the mach chips.
It looked like an modification.
My AB doesn't have that so i wonder if anyone can tell me what that is.
Last edited by meltdown on Sun Nov 26, 2006 2:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby DarkLord » Sun Nov 26, 2006 12:52 am

meltdown wrote:Thanks for posting.
The problem is that it stays black all the time.
The afterburner was used in another falcon for years with no problem.
Unfortunately i don't have that Falcon anymore.
The AB was savely stored for a few years when i decided to build it again.
Now it is in another Falcon but it stays completely dead.
I remember having the same sort of problem when it was build in the first time
but i can't remember what i did to solve it then :cry:

I did see a picture of an AB which had a component soldered over one of the mach chips.
It looked like an modification.
My AB doesn't have that so i wonder if anyone can tell me what that is.


If its possible, you might try to contact Jo Even Skarstein - he used to have, and IIRC, be quite good with the Afterburners...
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Postby meltdown » Sun Nov 26, 2006 2:57 am

I did contact him but he also has forgotten about most details like i did.
It's just too long ago that we build in all kinds mods and accelerators :-)
I'm getting old :mrgreen:
The one who knew was Douglas Little but he has vanished.
Come to think if it i must have modded more than 100 falcons in the past 8O

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Postby DarkLord » Sun Nov 26, 2006 8:04 am

meltdown wrote:I did contact him but he also has forgotten about most details like i did.
It's just too long ago that we build in all kinds mods and accelerators :-)
I'm getting old :mrgreen:
The one who knew was Douglas Little but he has vanished.
Come to think if it i must have modded more than 100 falcons in the past 8O


I'm sorry to hear Jo couldn't help you. He's a great guy.

Douglas Little, of Black Scorpion fame, certainly has turned into the "Bermuda Triangle" of famous Atari people... :)

You've modded more than 100 Falcons? Impressive! I've only had 2 with "extra's"...but I sure do love them. :D
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Postby meltdown » Wed Nov 29, 2006 1:00 pm

I used to have an Atari repair shop that's why i modded so many of them.
I do have some collectables left from those days.
If anyone is interested in some nova graphic cards for the falcon?

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Postby DarkLord » Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:42 pm

meltdown wrote:I used to have an Atari repair shop that's why i modded so many of them.
I do have some collectables left from those days.
If anyone is interested in some nova graphic cards for the falcon?


I'll take one! :D
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Postby jens » Sat Dec 02, 2006 6:38 pm

I'm interested as well.
How much are they?
Greetings, Jens

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Postby meltdown » Sat Dec 02, 2006 7:57 pm

I have two of them.
The sale one those are pending right now.
If they fall through i'll let you all know.
But they don't come cheap.
Bidding starts at €200

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Postby jens » Sat Dec 02, 2006 8:00 pm

DarkLord wrote:I'll take one! :D

You know it will not run with your CT60?
Get it and an Afterburner and your CT will feel slow on the internet. ;)
Greetings, Jens

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Postby jens » Sat Dec 02, 2006 8:01 pm

meltdown wrote:I have two of them.
The sale one those are pending right now.
If they fall through i'll let you all know.
But they don't come cheap.
Bidding starts at €200

I'll stick to TT Novas from Germany.
They are a lot less expensive...
Greetings, Jens

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Postby [ProToS] » Sun Dec 03, 2006 12:43 am

meltdown wrote:Bidding starts at €200


you are not in ebay here
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Postby meltdown » Sun Dec 03, 2006 1:11 am

Yes you're right my apologies.

simbo

Postby simbo » Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:37 pm

if the screen is black

you have a clock missing as the mpu isnt making it out of reset

and there is a missing clock to the videl chip

check for any accelorator additions or missing connections around the the buffer patch area

simbo

Postby simbo » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:01 am

did you fix this ???

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Postby meltdown » Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:29 am

No i didn't.
It's a complete mistery to me why it doesn't work.
The clock signals seem to be present.
I also changed the 040 chip 3 times.
I did build it into another Falcon with the same result.
It appears something must be wrong with the AB but it was
in perfekt working order the day i stored it.
I know for sure that the first time i build it in (1995) i had to mod it to work but i can't remember what i did back then.

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Re:

Postby calimero » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:24 am

meltdown wrote:The one who knew was Douglas Little but he has vanished.

heh...

I just remeber Doug and BadMood engine and do little web search:

https://plus.google.com/100962316534729 ... AThBK7qRZ1

here you will find Doug in Google Circles ;)

Doug made/work on (as far as I remember...):

- Apex Media
- PhotoChrome (pics viewer with most colors on ST/e)
- BadMood

... ?
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Re: Falcon Afterburner - Please Help!

Postby nativ » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:29 am

Hi,

I don't know whether any of the Afterburner Docs made it onto CD Archives of the time? Suzy B, Gemini,Transmission/ Whiteline / Mega Archive?
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Re: Falcon Afterburner - Please Help!

Postby dml » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:42 pm

I have unearthed my AB40 Falcon again so I can probably photo the installation for reference, if anyone needs it. There's a Nemesis in there too which makes it a bit messy but they are separate mods. I probably have to open the case soon anyway to help me repair another board.

The Falcon splits its oscillators among several chips using resistors. This doesn't always work so well. (I believe a certain Mr Czuba recommends using 33R for all of those - but most Falcons use 0R for at least one of them). Some of the Falcon clock mods (including Nemesis) 'buffer' the master clock so it can be split more cleanly, instead of using resistors. Some problems with accelerators are related to this clock sharing thing esp. with a new device mapped onto it (or with the DMA clock which is very fussy for other reasons).

It could also be a bad '040 (they are socketed - try another one) or a bad PAL chip, which maps the CPU onto the 030 bus. Or it could just be a bad board. Not all 040's are the same either - there are usually different masks/revisions and some older ones may have bugs. I don't remember much about this though. There do seem to be Amiga folk having headaches with some 040 and 060 revs...


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Re: Falcon Afterburner - Please Help!

Postby dml » Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:49 am

So I've been looking at my AB40 again and beginning to vaguely remember the details and problems I had with it.

power/reset:

- the machine only powers on reliably 90% of the time (powering on a 2nd time always works)
- when it doesn't power on 1st time, the screen is black, no sync. like a device is stuck in reset. I haven't verified this yet
- hitting reset doesn't help, although the monitor sync does change while the reset button is held (still black screen, but monitor signal/response changes)
- once running, the machine will only soft-reset 70% of the time. power off is usually less trouble.

ram:

- can't seem to find more than 16mb in each simm bank, regardless of simm size used
- 16mb seems to be mirrored/repeated after each bank

jumpers:
- there are 2 jumpers - JP1/JP2, each with 3 pins. purpose unmarked.
- the machine only boots with 1 permutation of jumpers (jumper across 2&3 of JP1). black screen with any other combination.

software/booting:
- when booted directly, the cpu caches are disabled and there is no fastram present (nothing addressed >16mb). it's very very slow in this configuration, slower than a stock Falcon.
- with my 'TK040' driver installed, there are a variety of configuration options but the most important steps are enabling the caches, installing a few TOS patches, seaching the simm banks, and MMU-mapping the 'reliable' physical memory locations to contiguous logical addressing immediately >16mb. the driver installs itself as a reset-resident module and resets itself. the machine then boots as a 68040+fastram+cache.
- there is a 68881/2 emulation driver (likely based on the Motorola support software) which uses the illegal instruction exception to emulate the missing FPU instructions of a real FPU. I find this crashes 20% of the time the machine boots up - possibly because it's not initializing it's own memory properly but I never debugged it properly. it's not essential anyway unless trying to use 68020+881 compiled apps, in which case it works fine so long as it gets past bootup.

installation:
- from my memory of things, pins 16 & 17 on the 68030 need to be lifted and 'dealt with'. these are the bus grant control lines that allow the 68030 to operate as a busmaster. these are tied away and the 68040 is given control as busmaster. it's possible to switch between them (there's a page on the web describing this) which some people will find useful - but I haven't found the need for it myself, mainly a compatibility option for stock-falcon mode.
- a bunch of wires need soldered to the GAL chips and some other locations. (I'm going to take a photo of the wiring soon and stick it on my site). these terminate in a plug which fits onto a small header on top of the AB40.
- AB40 is compatible with nemesis because the latter is just a bus clock and video clock replacement and buffer. I had success with a 20mhz/40mhz combination, but higher and something gets upset. possibly the fastram or the 040 itself. it's a good idea to find fast simms (60ns, or better still <=50ns)
- the 040 has a heatsink glued on top so I can't see the chip's rated clock speed, it could well be 25mhz or 33. The best option is a 68040RC40 with mask 'L88M' printed in the corner, being the most recent (2002?) version of the chip, running virtually cold @ 40mhz - best option for overclocking attempts if you can find one.

I'll post more as I remember it / figure it out.

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Re: Falcon Afterburner - Please Help!

Postby Dal » Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:37 pm

Interesting stuff. I have emailed the OP as he may still be interested in getting his AB working (assuming he still has it).
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Re: Falcon Afterburner - Please Help!

Postby joska » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:34 pm

dml wrote:- the machine only powers on reliably 90% of the time (powering on a 2nd time always works)
- when it doesn't power on 1st time, the screen is black, no sync. like a device is stuck in reset. I haven't verified this yet
- hitting reset doesn't help, although the monitor sync does change while the reset button is held (still black screen, but monitor signal/response changes)
- once running, the machine will only soft-reset 70% of the time. power off is usually less trouble.


Sounds familiar :) All of these problems went away (well, sort of...) when I removed the Nemesis but kept the Nemesis buffer.

dml wrote:- can't seem to find more than 16mb in each simm bank, regardless of simm size used
- 16mb seems to be mirrored/repeated after each bank

jumpers:
- there are 2 jumpers - JP1/JP2, each with 3 pins. purpose unmarked.
- the machine only boots with 1 permutation of jumpers (jumper across 2&3 of JP1). black screen with any other combination.


I never found a good explanation of these jumpers, but was told that they have something to do with RAM configuration. I have 2x32Mb in my Afterburner, I can take a look at the jumper settings if that's of interest.

dml wrote:- there is a 68881/2 emulation driver (likely based on the Motorola support software) which uses the illegal instruction exception to emulate the missing FPU instructions of a real FPU. I find this crashes 20% of the time the machine boots up - possibly because it's not initializing it's own memory properly but I never debugged it properly. it's not essential anyway unless trying to use 68020+881 compiled apps, in which case it works fine so long as it gets past bootup.


I have no such problems with this program on my AB.

dml wrote:- from my memory of things, pins 16 & 17 on the 68030 need to be lifted and 'dealt with'. these are the bus grant control lines that allow the 68030 to operate as a busmaster. these are tied away and the 68040 is given control as busmaster. it's possible to switch between them (there's a page on the web describing this) which some people will find useful - but I haven't found the need for it myself, mainly a compatibility option for stock-falcon mode.
- a bunch of wires need soldered to the GAL chips and some other locations. (I'm going to take a photo of the wiring soon and stick it on my site). these terminate in a plug which fits onto a small header on top of the AB40.


Here's the installation instructions in case you've misplaced them.

Afterburner.pdf

BUFFER.JPG

CARD.JPG

ABNEMEXP.JPG

CPU.JPG

RIBBON1.JPG

RIBBON2.JPG


dml wrote:- AB40 is compatible with nemesis because the latter is just a bus clock and video clock replacement and buffer. I had success with a 20mhz/40mhz combination, but higher and something gets upset. possibly the fastram or the 040 itself. it's a good idea to find fast simms (60ns, or better still <=50ns)


Geir Øyvind Vælidalo did some experiments, 42MHz seems to be the max speed of the Afterburner. The MACH-chips can't handle higher frequencies.
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Last edited by joska on Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Falcon Afterburner - Please Help!

Postby joska » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:43 pm

More attachments...

RIBBON3.JPG


Also some more info:

- Graphics cards can be used with the Afterburner without problems. I have tested the Nova Falcon and the Eclipse myself. But on my Afterburner I had to make a modification to fit the Eclipse, the header for the ribbon cable had to be replaced with an angled one to clear the Eclipse.
- MiNT is working very well on the Afterburner, memory protection included.
- Toolkit 5.07 works best with MiNT, while 4.x work better with MagiC. A special version of 5.07 is required with the Eclipse.
- Copyback and data cache: This speeds up everything significantly, but creates problems during boot. E.g. SCSI access can be troublesome. To avoid this do the following:
* Scan only for IDE devices in the autobooting HD-driver. Disable the datacache and copyback mode in the AB-toolkit, as well as the buffers in HD-driver.
* Run another copy of HD-driver from the auto-folder *after* the AB-toolkit driver, this one with buffers/cache enabled and scanning for SCSI-devices.
* Enable the datacache by running dcache.prg from the autofolder after the hd-driver.
* Enable copyback-mode by running cbcache.prg (IIRC) from the desktop.
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