a few questions ?

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a few questions ?

Postby exxos » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:29 pm

I never heard of the thing until a few weeks ago, but will the thing allow me to download MSA or alike image on my pc, save them onto the SD card, and just plug it into my ST and its away ?

I am thinking of setting up a ST for a games machine, so if I can do that then I can just store all the games I want on the SD card and ditch a load of floppies then.

What about things like the high scrore tables, I assume these will be saved into the image just like a floppy.

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby Dal » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:44 pm

exxos wrote:I never heard of the thing until a few weeks ago,

Wow really? We've been talking about it for a long time :)

but will the thing allow me to download MSA or alike image on my pc, save them onto the SD card, and just plug it into my ST and its away ?

Yes - it even has a special disk image that boots the machine into a loader application so you can assign disk images to drive A or B in any one of 16 virtual 'slots'. Gives you a maximum of 32 disk images you can switch between while your machine is running.
All images must be converted to the HxC's native format (HFE). Thankfully, the HxC application has a very robust batch conversion function for exactly this; point it at source directory tree and a target, then leave it to get on with the work.

I am thinking of setting up a ST for a games machine, so if I can do that then I can just store all the games I want on the SD card and ditch a load of floppies then.

Yes - this is exactly what most people use it for.

What about things like the high scrore tables, I assume these will be saved into the image just like a floppy.

HxC does have write support so your high scores will be saved back to the HFE image.
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Re: a few questions ?

Postby troed » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:16 pm

exxos wrote:I never heard of the thing until a few weeks ago, but will the thing allow me to download MSA or alike image on my pc, save them onto the SD card, and just plug it into my ST and its away ?


Yes :D Although you need to convert the images to the HxC "HFE" format. I made a handy script to help out with a few of the more common collections:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=23466

I have Atari ST Pirates Gold and No Fragments 1 and 2 on an SD card in my STE. There's a UI based program you can load at boot which allows you to select image - you rarely need to use the physical buttons on the HxC itself.

The images are treated as discs by the ST, both reading and writing work just as it should. You can also use large images (4MB IIRC) as well as using it as a hard drive replacement (although that software really could use a few updates). See http://hxcmount.atomas.com/

Well worth the ~€80 I spent on mine from Lotharek.

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby wongck » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:34 pm

troed wrote:The images are treated as discs by the ST, both reading and writing work just as it should. You can also use large images (4MB IIRC) as well as using it as a hard drive replacement (although that software really could use a few updates). See http://hxcmount.atomas.com/


Those 4MB monster disk can be read/write only by ST class, does not work for my Falcon.
They are native formate to the HxC, which was cool because now you can do lots of thing on the ST without a hard disk.

The hard disk replacement mode as mention above, I find it a bit of an issue to use. You do not have access to Drive A: any more so you have to reload the hard disk image up before using. So it is a hassle to setup the way you want it, as one tend to forget some programs and you have to rely back on your PC to do add it in :roll:. Mind you, you get a hard disk capability but at the speed of a floppy...... :oops:
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Re: a few questions ?

Postby exxos » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:21 am

Thanks for the heads up. Will probably order one sometime after xmas 8)

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby Shredder11 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:18 am

Yep get one ordered...you will not regret it! It has been extremely well supported with firmware and software updates since its launch, plus it works with a huge range of computers like the BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum +3, Amstrad CPC6128 etc; far too many to mention! You can even have folders of many computers on a single SD card without issues.

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby exxos » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:26 am

Does anyone know why there seems to be a PIC version and Altera version ? The PIC chip is actually one ive used a lot in the past, I was snooping for source code, though assume the developer is just releasing the compiled updates ?

I have been toying with building one myself, Though the pcb layout if the the altera chips, im not sure if my programmer supports them even.

Anyway, does the emulator enable faster loading times than a normal floppy ? I have not had much time to look into it still yet. Though I would assume the speed limit is the 1772, though as a idea/thought, the 1772 can run 16mhz for faster access, maybe the emulator could take advantage of that somehow ? Or just replace the 1772 under emulation, I do want to emulate the 1772, though I have no time to work out how to program VHDL at the moment... just throwing some thoughts around...

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby simonsunnyboy » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:03 pm

HxC floppy access times are pretty accurate. There is no speed gain as far as I have observed.
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Re: a few questions ?

Postby exxos » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:08 pm

So I really ponder the question, that the slowest part would have been the floppy drive, the ST bus is just waiting for the drive to obtain data all the time, but with a SD card, the data should be there a lot faster. I was just pondering that the 1772 itself could run at 16mhz, though all floppy images would have to be in 1.44 format even if loaded from a 720k floppy.

Also how do you select which floppy, is it just pressing the buttons to cycle though the images on the SD card ? Ive not seen any other info about this at all so far. I suspect a little bit of hardware hacking and a gem app writing would be needed, tho I have thoughts how to do this without to much trouble, tho i dont know enough about the thing at all yet, or if any future mods/versions/updates are going to happen ?

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby troed » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:56 pm

exxos wrote:So I really ponder the question, that the slowest part would have been the floppy drive, the ST bus is just waiting for the drive to obtain data all the time, but with a SD card, the data should be there a lot faster. I was just pondering that the 1772 itself could run at 16mhz, though all floppy images would have to be in 1.44 format even if loaded from a 720k floppy.


In floppy mode it emulates a real floppy - else few demos would run correctly. There's a beta-ish "fake harddrive" image that is faster.

Speed
Remember that the hardware is still used to access your partition. Every bytes must go through the FLOPPY disk interface. As it is a slow data bus, do not expect hard disk-like performances. However, thanks to the author of the Hxc FE hardware, the data transfert is used at burst mode. It is much, much faster than a real floppy disk. And, for the most part, the drive head seek are virtually instanteneous, probably faster than on a real hard disk.


http://hxcmount.atomas.com/

Also how do you select which floppy, is it just pressing the buttons to cycle though the images on the SD card ? Ive not seen any other info about this at all so far. I suspect a little bit of hardware hacking and a gem app writing would be needed, tho I have thoughts how to do this without to much trouble, tho i dont know enough about the thing at all yet, or if any future mods/versions/updates are going to happen ?


There's a disk image selector software you can launch at boot and stack images with etc in addition to using the hardware buttons.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O74GgYcA3w

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby exxos » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:06 pm

cool, the file selector looks great, Would be nice if there was some way to add a note on there as to what the files were actually were from. Ill email the guy whos selling them, ask him a few things!

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby exxos » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:38 pm

I emailed about asking about the hardware, they list the USB hardware and design files, but not the SD one ? I emailed asking about various stuff but had no reply. I wonder if it has just been abandoned or something?

I could get a batch of pcbs made up for people easy enough, though I cant find any info on the PIC SD version. I could design the PCB if I had the wiring diagrams, but again, they only list the USB one :? I even asked a couple of questions about the type in the youtube video as be interested in buying one, tho not had a reply to that either. I think I would rather build my own in light of that :?

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby troed » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:54 pm

exxos wrote:I wonder if it has just been abandoned or something?


Umm what? Lotharek is very active, posts on this board and has just recently started up UltraSatan, NetUSB and I believe MiST projects as well.

If you want to buy one, I suggest using the online store :P http://lotharek.pl/

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby exxos » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:17 pm

yeah, he has that many types its why i emailed about them. Is anyone else making them ?

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby troed » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:21 pm

exxos wrote:yeah, he has that many types its why i emailed about them. Is anyone else making them ?


I don't think so. I must confess to not really understanding your confusion through - I bought my HxC FE using Lotharek's online store a few months back and I know many others who've done so as well.

Jeff's the designer of the HxC btw, you'll find his site and forum here: http://hxc2001.com/ I've always had rapid replies and software updates from him (the manager didn't work on TOS 2.06 when I bought it).

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby DarkLord » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:37 pm

I ordered one of the Ultrasatan devices using Lotharek's web store and I got mine
last week. No problems, very high quality product.

Zaxxon used to make those devices, but I wouldn't recommend going with him (if
he even still does it). There are a lot of bitter testimonies on this forum and over
at AtariAge from users experiences with him, sad to say.
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Re: a few questions ?

Postby wongck » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:13 pm

I had purchased Atari add-on hardware from different individuals, and Lotharek's provided the best experience.
Even better than individual that makes less than 50 pieces while Lotharek does hundreds pieces. It's amazing!! :D
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Re: a few questions ?

Postby alexh » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:22 am

I bought my HxC Slim, the budget one without the unnecessary LCD from Lotharek this week. Delivery was very quick.

http://lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=91

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/171005541207

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Re: a few questions ?

Postby alexh » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:50 am

If you are looking for the schematics, gerber files and CPLD source code files for the SD-cart version to build your own then I think you may be out of luck.


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