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Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:55 pm
by Badwolf
Hi all,

I've put together a little auto folder utility for Falcons with failed NVRAM battery.

https://github.com/dh219/falcdate/releases

I dug my old bird out of the loft recently and decided I didn't fancy hacking around with the chip to get a new battery in place. I found a little utility to set the NVRAM system preference from floppy on first boot, but didn't like the interface and had to keep setting the clock anyway. But I had an internet connection...

So I present Falcdate: this little tool sits at the tail end of your auto folder after whatever you have that establishes your internet connection runs (it does require an internet connection for clock setting), reads its settings from a plain text configuration file that sits next to it in the auto folder (and reboots if it finds a change), then sets the system clock from time.nist.gov.

There are two versions, a STiK-based Pure C version (smaller) and a MiNTnet based gcc variant. Both do the same thing.

Please feel free to report issues on here or on github, but I can't promise rapid support as it does the job for me! :coffe:

Is there a central repository of free Atari software (like the old umich or funet archives) these days to plonk it on?

Cheers,

BW.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:38 pm
by lp
You can edit the original post and plonk it as an attachment. Then edit it again if you update it and use the thread for questions/answers/support. ;)

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:30 pm
by Atarieterno
Thank you very much (although I do not know how to connect the Falcon to the Internet).

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:32 pm
by Kroll
Thank you very much !
I have a falcon 060/CTPCI connect to internet (failed NVRAM battery) and I am use with TOS with Sting/stik or MiNT and for example after MiNT I start synctime program to set clock :).
Please give some instruction how to use it. In TOS in Auto folder I have falcdate.prg last program (after sting).
Please find a photo during loaded in TOS.
I pressed a key without reboot a computer but clock and date are still wrong

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:57 pm
by dhedberg
Very useful. I used the NVRAM utility you mentioned in combination with the CosmosEx to set NVRAM and the date before I replaced the NVRAM chip. Falcdate is an excellent solution for those that don't want to open up their Falcon to perform surgery. Well done!

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:07 pm
by Badwolf
Kroll wrote:Please give some instruction how to use it. In TOS in Auto folder I have falcdate.prg last program (after sting).
Please find a photo during loaded in TOS.
I pressed a key without reboot a computer but clock and date are still wrong


Hi Kroll,

Thanks for giving it a test. You need to allow it to reboot rather than interrupt it. It won't attempt to set the clock until it detects the current NVRAM settings match what you've specified in the falcdate.cfg file.

When they match (ie. the update has worked and a reboot occurred), it will *not* perform a reboot and instead set the date/time.

I hope that helps,

BW.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:07 pm
by Badwolf
dhedberg wrote:Well done!


Thanks, Daniel!

BW.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:28 pm
by Kroll
Badwolf wrote:Thanks for giving it a test. You need to allow it to reboot rather than interrupt it. It won't attempt to set the clock until it detects the current NVRAM settings match what you've specified in the falcdate.cfg file.

When they match (ie. the update has worked and a reboot occurred), it will *not* perform a reboot and instead set the date/time.

I hope that helps,

BW.

OK thank you, but I have a question
Firstly, does this program work on CT6x and CTPCI?

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:20 pm
by Badwolf
Kroll wrote:OK thank you, but I have a question
Firstly, does this program work on CT6x and CTPCI?


Couldn't tell you, sorry. Haven't got one.

If they do funky things with NVRAM, possibly not. The way it works is it reads NVRAM, then sets the options you've specified (which may legitimately be none), and then reads NVRAM again. If there's any change between them, it reboots to apply those changes.

If there's no change (ie. you booted with the settings you specified) it sets the clock. You could try commenting out all the options bar the time offset?

BW.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:22 pm
by Kroll
Badwaolf:
OK I undestand you. On the beginning I wanted test in 030 mode. I run computer, in Auto folder I have Sting and last is falcdate.prg. During boot I have information about
FALDATE v.10.2 etc.
...
DISPLAY 2 colours 80+ colums
...
CHANGES WERE APPLIED
WILL REBOOT IN 5 SECONDS
HIT ANY KEY ABORT

But there is no reaction, no reboot, If I reboot manually, after this I see the atari stamp is small, computer starts again but after this I have information
Could not resolve hostname.

What am I doing wrong?

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:33 pm
by Badwolf
Well apart from the reboot not working (which is odd, but you have a workaround for that), it sounds like your internet is not up and running by the time it executes (could not resolve meaning your DNS isn't working).

Does it work if you run it from the desktop? If so, then something is establishing the connection after the AUTO programs run. Outside of my control that, I'm afraid.

Regards,

BW.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:16 am
by Kroll
I run computer with sting, If run first time falcdate.prg from desktop there is information
...
CHANGES WERE APPLIED
WILL REBOOT IN 5 SECONDS
HIT ANY KEY ABORT
I press any key, back to dekstop
After the second run of the program I have info
Socket failed to establishme after 3 seconds. Connection time out
Connected TIME server
time.nist.gov
DECODE GMT: 00:11:25 01/07/2017
Set time with 1 hours offset

Each time I run the program again, it is no longer connected time out

returns to the desktop
Does that mean it's OK

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:47 pm
by Kroll
Badwolf wrote:Thanks for giving it a test. You need to allow it to reboot rather than interrupt it. It won't attempt to set the clock until it detects the current NVRAM settings match what you've specified in the falcdate.cfg file.

When they match (ie. the update has worked and a reboot occurred), it will *not* perform a reboot and instead set the date/time.

I hope that helps,

BW.

Thank you very much, Today I try test on CT6x with or without CTPCI. I run only Sting and falcdate.prg in AUTO folder, During booting after a few second I have infotmation about
CHANGES WERE APPLIED
WILL REBOOT IN 5 SECONDS
HIT ANY KEY ABORT

And then the computer will reset and so it repeats, This means that I have to change the cfg file, and then to the effect?
How to check NVRAM settings in CPX or NVRAM.APP

It is very stramge but if run computer in 030 mode there is no reaction after 5 seconds.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:07 pm
by Badwolf
Sounds like in CT6X mode, it can't establish the correct updates have been applied and so is rebooting each time.

The config file lets you decide what you want to set. If you choose to set nothing (commenting out all the NVRAM stuff) then you shouldn't get the reboot loop. Of course if you do want to set something, you can always let it reboot once then interrupt it during the 5 second warning phase. That won't set the time, though (which only happens when NVRAM check is OK).

It should work just as well from the desktop if your network isn't available during boot, but the reboot's not a controlled shutdown, so I'd avoid it in a multitasking environment.

It sounds like the network time set is working (at least once), but that you don't have fully functioning internet during the AUTO stage of boot.

Basically the requirements for this to work as intended are:

* Standard NVRAM which is not being manipulated by another process;
* Internet available when run.

BW.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:33 pm
by Kroll
Hi,

I managed to partially solve the problem under MiNT in 060 mode without and with CTPCI. Faldate.prg (MiNT version) is the last program after running MiNT.PRG in the AUTO folder and connecting to the internet while booting the computer and working fine, in settings falcdate.cfg I have 2 colors, 80 colums, VGA, PAL etc, that is the advantage of CT60 .
In the 060 mode there is also a version under STING running directly from the dektop, or as an Austart in XBOOT (I do not want to work as I do it to AUTO folder) strange but important that it works :).
But I have more trouble in the 030 mode, of course using STING.
Please see what are my NVRAM settings, I run almost pure system, just STING in AUTO folder and NVRAM.CPX versions 1.2 in Control Panel. In that case, what should I type in the falcdate.cfg file?
I also have another question by the way:
What sets up in the verz option. (Choices are 0/8/16/32).
snap_02.jpg

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:57 pm
by Badwolf
Hi Kroll,

Sorry, I'm not sure what you're asking. You can set as much as is supported or as little as you wish in the config file. Anything not set, won't be altered.

I'm not really familiar with nvram.cpx -- however it looks like most of the settings are a mess, there.

Colours (farben), Language (Desktop), Keyboard (tastatur), Date order (datum), Compatability mode (kompatibilitasmodus) and Overscan are all nonsense settings. These are the things that would be useful to specify in the falcdate.cfg.

Delay (verz.) and Boot aren't implemented by Falcdate.

I attach the sample configuration file (with all valid options) from the release zip file.

BW

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:49 pm
by Kroll
Thank you very much.
I would like to say that falcdate is working perfectly with CT60 under MiNT. I set falcdate.prg in AUTO folder and works.
In single TOS (with StinG) I dont know why it works when I run this only directly from desktop.
In CPX CT60CONF.CPX there is a option Replace NVRAM and I can set different options for example keybord, video, desktop etc.
Above on the screenshots I wanted to show what are the NVRAM settings when I run in the 030 clean system mode and in 030 mode It does want to work.
So I asked the question what settings should be in the file falcdate.cfg ?
I hope now that everything is clear.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:49 pm
by ThorstenOtto
Kroll wrote:I also have another question by the way:
What sets up in the verz option. (Choices are 0/8/16/32).


"Verz." means "Verzögerung", the delay the bios will wait after a cold boot without accessing the hd, for some old harddrives that need that time to spin up.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:18 pm
by Badwolf
Kroll wrote:So I asked the question what settings should be in the file falcdate.cfg ?
I hope now that everything is clear.


Sure. The example falcate.cfg I posted above shows you all the options. Simply fill in the ones you want and comment out the ones you don't.

I suspect STiNG needs something that runs after boot (an ACC, perhaps?) to resolve hostnames. You could try changing the HOST entry to a dotted decimal to avoid resolution?

eg. HOST=216.229.0.179

Cheers,

BW.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:44 pm
by Kroll
Hi,
ThorstenOtto: Thank you very much for the explanation

Badwolf:
I try with HOST=216.229.0.179, but still the same.
As I wrote above, It was working in 060 mode when I run the falcdate.prg directly from desktop it is OK, change time, It does not working when I run in the AUTO folder, I do not know, why.

If you run Falcon in the 030 mode under TOS, then the falcdate.prg program from Desktop behaves similarly, connects to the intenet shows the correct date and time from the GMT server, but after returning to the TOS, as I call the Control Panel with the accessory, I still have time: 0:00 date: 31/15/07.

It seems to me that this is due to the fact that in this falcon I use CT63, here can be said to another user CT63, whether they have the same if the battery in NVRAM is dead.

In the future I can test it on my second falcon without CT63, but I have to connect it to the network first.

Re: Falcdate: a new Falcon NVRAM utility

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:26 am
by Xerus
I tested Falcdate with VanillaMiNT + CT60 + Dead Battery and it works perfectly.

Great app, thank you Badwolf.