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Fast IEC + SD2IEC?

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14 hours ago, m00dawg said:

Expansion hardware is a great point. I still think between all the options discussed across the forums that one of them will stick 🙂 So I have to imagine we'll have some sort of file copy solution - other than Sneaker Net. I'm just not sure which one. I would imagine the simplest one will be the first one that works (and that sounds like some sort of user port solution is my guess - or perhaps the IEC port).

I think I'd be less bothered by SD cards if they weren't so small and were more purpose made for frequent insertion and removal. Something between an SD card and 3.5" would have been nice, with slots intentionally made for the purpose. Micro-SDs are even worse - I've lost several already behind my desk and that's where they're staying.

I have to swap SD cards between devices several times a week and it ends up being a pretty big annoyance for me and they definitely do wear (both the SD cards and the readers) if you swap cards a lot.

If you want a more convenient form factor for sneakernetting, there's always compact flash, a 2GB CF card is around $12 on Amazon, and there are USB CF readers available.

I'd assume that a Device #9 file server over the serial port will already be sorted out by launch, so the issue is if that is not fast enough. An EPP Parallel port interface to a USB / DB25  converter with full LPT and COM functions would be plenty fast enough if bit banged RS-232C serial is not, and if the other capabilities available from higher speed serial are desired, some form of dedicated UART would also fill the bill.

At the cost of a USB/DB25 converter, or the cost of a UART card, an accelerated-SD2IEC solution would be more for those who already have or want an SD2IEC for a VIC-20 or C64 in their setup, so the SD2IEC is not really an extra overhead expense.

Edited by BruceMcF
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13 hours ago, Lorin Millsap said:

Valid point to a large degree. Less of an issue here if the system always closes its files, but I can see wear being an issue. To minimize swapping you will have serial. And if you do all your testing in the emulator you will not need to swap cards as much.

Why are we discussing active trasfer of files between X16 and PC? And why do testing on emulator?

X16 is not a microcontroller which essentially needs to be connected to PC for development. X16 is a freakin standalone self-sufficient computer! It should be possible to do all development directly on it.

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3 hours ago, Cyber said:

Why are we discussing active trasfer of files between X16 and PC? And why do testing on emulator?

X16 is not a microcontroller which essentially needs to be connected to PC for development. X16 is a freakin standalone self-sufficient computer! It should be possible to do all development directly on it.

I don't think that there is an implication that EVERYONE need to or want to transfer files in and/or out of their CX16 at speed faster than the built-in serial port allows, but coming up with use cases for SOME people to want to do so is not hard.

(1) Because for many people, the easiest backup for the SD-card will be to write it out to some folder in a PC's mass storage

(2) It doesn't REQUIRE cross development, but many people will do cross development.

(3) Some people have things they'd like to do that exceed their budget for bespoke hardware and see a way for an existing PC to be used as a resource to fill the gap.

(4) The amount of GPIO and freedom to program to the bare metal makes the CX16 attractive as a bench computer for some kind of work, and you'd like your bench computer to be able to talk to your laptop.

 

Edited by BruceMcF
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@BruceMcF Valid points. I also might need some od them sometimes.
What I meant, aren't we exagguratng things?
I mean, serial is fine for most of these cases. And swapping SD card someties should not wear it off.
I'm not declining anything. I just felt discussion on the topic somewhat pushy. And reasons are not that vital.

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7 hours ago, BruceMcF said:

(4) The amount of GPIO and freedom to program to the bare metal makes the CX16 attractive as a bench computer for some kind of work, and you'd like your bench computer to be able to talk to your laptop.

This peaked my interest. I'm not sure what you mean by bench computer? Are you referring to using the X16's GPIOs to do logic probing kinda stuff or something else?

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14 hours ago, m00dawg said:

This peaked my interest. I'm not sure what you mean by bench computer? Are you referring to using the X16's GPIOs to do logic probing kinda stuff or something else?

Yes, running the User port lines out to a breadboard to talk to microcontrollers or microcontroller petipherals. Bringing up a tethered Forth in a small microcontroller is one example.

And before people jump in and say, "no, the way you do it is this way with these software tools", I'm going to point back to where I said, " not everyone will want to" ... a lot of people are happy with the tottering piles of tools on development environments that run on dlls from other development environments talking to proprietary drivers, but those who are not thrilled by that approach exist. Indeed, it's almost guaranteed that if there is a mainstream approach, there will be pockets of people who are not enamored with the mainstream.

 

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15 hours ago, Cyber said:

@BruceMcF Valid points. I also might need some od them sometimes.
What I meant, aren't we exagguratng things?
I mean, serial is fine for most of these cases. And swapping SD card someties should not wear it off.
I'm not declining anything. I just felt discussion on the topic somewhat pushy. And reasons are not that vital.

Well, I am guessing that if the C64 could bit bang serial to 2400baud, the CX16 will certainly be able to hit 9600baud, maybe 19200baud.

There are lots of things wher 19200 is plenty fast enough, but I had a home internet connection on a second landline in the late 90s, and there are that situations where 56kbps is annoyingly slow. Backing up the SD card is one of those, and if I have to swap out the SD card to back up while developing, I'm going to end up doing fewer backups than I should.

Actually, for back up, even a standard Centronics parallel port would be fine, as the data is going one way, so some input status lines to handshake would be enough. That eliminates worry about the USB to Parallel port cable drivers working correctly in EPP mode.

As far as policing the tone of posts, I reviewed the thread and don't see the pushy post. Maybe you could quote the post you are reading as pushy. All I see is people talking through potential optional add ons for a project they are interested in. Indeed, I don't know who there is TO push, given that nobody is saying the project team should be doing any of this. Even the posts that were not aware that a bit banged serial port is planned were not clamoring for the project team to add X or Y chip yo fill the gap.

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8 hours ago, BruceMcF said:

Yes, running the User port lines out to a breadboard to talk to microcontrollers or microcontroller petipherals. Bringing up a tethered Forth in a small microcontroller is one example.

And before people jump in and say, "no, the way you do it is this way with these software tools", I'm going to point back to where I said, " not everyone will want to" ... a lot of people are happy with the tottering piles of tools on development environments that run on dlls from other development environments talking to proprietary drivers, but those who are not thrilled by that approach exist. Indeed, it's almost guaranteed that if there is a mainstream approach, there will be pockets of people who are not enamored with the mainstream.

 

Yeah I thought this is what you may have been referring to. It could be more fun to use than say the Arduino IDE's serial monitor and such. Could even perhaps do simple graphing of logic states? One of the 6502 computers David reviewed had some nice to haves for this sort of thing, really bridging the gap between microcontroller and computer in a cool way. I think this would be a wonderful use of the X16 myself, yep!

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If this is about getting software onto, and data off of, the X16 from (for example) a PC, without reaching around to the back of the X16 to get at the SD slot and saving wear and tear on the card and the slot... aren't there a bunch of X1541 derivatives out there with IEC on one end and variously parallel, 9-pin serial, or even USB on the other end?

This could free up the X16's user port for modem or printer connections.

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12 hours ago, kelli217 said:

If this is about getting software onto, and data off of, the X16 from (for example) a PC, without reaching around to the back of the X16 to get at the SD slot and saving wear and tear on the card and the slot... aren't there a bunch of X1541 derivatives out there with IEC on one end and variously parallel, 9-pin serial, or even USB on the other end?

This could free up the X16's user port for modem or printer connections.

Certainly. Horses for courses. Someone with a UART on an expansion card may have the User Port free. Someone with a card with 2 VIAs on it can have a full parallel port, a two serial shift register serial port that should conservatively support 38.4kbps, and still have the user port free plus something like 16 free GPIO. Someone connecting to an EPP device on the User Port without any expansion cards might be looking for the fastest & cheapest way to use the IEC port for the job.

One thing I have zero interest in trying to recreate is my daisywheel printer that sounded like a submachine gun with a silencer, but the EPP box on the User Port, I do have some interest in that. So flexibility in options is appealing.

 

Edited by BruceMcF
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Right - and just know that I’m not completely up to speed with what’s currently in the works for communications, be they serial or parallel or other.  All I know at the moment is that there’s an IEC port.

As for development:  even with the emulator, I’m doing all the development on my Mac, and then booting up the emulator for testing.  So, yeah, I would like wire transfer at any speed.  ANY speed, just about.

 

IF it’s only for software testing, then no transfer speed is needed, because most of the work is on the emulator, and one SD swap per hour probably doesn’t matter.

IF there is hardware testing involved — i.e. a card — then it might ought to do better.

Now then, if I can run a 1581 IEC burst-mode emulator on my Mac, so much the better.

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Now I want to turn back to IEC.

Will the X16 will be able to use Burst mode when talking to things like 1571s and 1581s?

 

Edited by rje

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1 hour ago, rje said:

Right - and just know that I’m not completely up to speed with what’s currently in the works for communications, be they serial or parallel or other.  All I know at the moment is that there’s an IEC port.

As for development:  even with the emulator, I’m doing all the development on my Mac, and then booting up the emulator for testing.  So, yeah, I would like wire transfer at any speed.  ANY speed, just about.

 

The word on having bit banged serial was when the UART on the Vera was dropped because they needed the pins for more register addressing. If the board is now booting up, hopefully they can start work on that so we'll know what speed we are talking about. But for testing device drivers and such in hardware, 9600bps 1.2KB/s, so 16KB in around 13 seconds, and it might be 19200bps, so 16K in under 7 seconds.

The Centronics parallel is just the pinout given of the User Port on the second prototype board ... I wouldn't automatically expect Kernel code to support that, but the VIA pins connected would mostly support an EPP parallel port. But at 8MHz, even if it was 50 clocks per byte, that's 160KB/s..

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Now I want to turn back to IEC.
Will the X16 will be able to use Burst mode when talking to things like 1571s and 1581s?
 

Yes and no. It’s wired up such that it can. But at the moment there are no burst routines.


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3 hours ago, Lorin Millsap said:

Yes and no. It’s wired up such that it can. But at the moment there are no burst routines.

Thanks!  Good enough.

And Bruce says:

Quote

But for testing device drivers and such in hardware, 9600bps 1.2KB/s, so 16KB in around 13 seconds, and it might be 19200bps, so 16K in under 7 seconds.

Even 9600 bps is good enough; more is gravy. 

Thank you both for answering.

Edited by rje

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This might be interesting for some of us:

 

Yes, there are more polished versions from established manufacturers out there, but I like that this one uses a (replaceable) MicroSD card and the antenna would be outside the (probably metal) case of the X16. Also, the firmware is open source.

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10 hours ago, Fnord42 said:

Yes, there are more polished versions from established manufacturers out there, but I like that this one uses a (replaceable) MicroSD card and the antenna would be outside the (probably metal) case of the X16. Also, the firmware is open source.

Looks like a nice solution to back up your work on X16 without removing SD card. I might actually use it. Thank you for sharing!

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On 1/22/2021 at 10:18 AM, Fnord42 said:

This might be interesting for some of us:  [video in orignal reply]

Yes, there are more polished versions from established manufacturers out there, but I like that this one uses a (replaceable) MicroSD card and the antenna would be outside the (probably metal) case of the X16. Also, the firmware is open source.

That would be just about a perfect solution to quickly get files onto the X16, without a lot of hassle (if it works as advertised).  Yeah, I know it doesn't seem like a big deal, but I'm picturing a newly purchased X16 without any peripherals purchased yet, on a desk, monitor on top, desk lamp to one side, a potted plant on the other, a mug of your favorite liquid, and having to reach back and blindly insert and remove the sd card, without knocking any of that other stuff over, when you want to transfer files.   That gets old fast.  Yeah yeah, the case could be located differently, but the design just begs to be a monitor stand 🙂

This could possibly work as well:  https://www.amazon.com/Standard-Memory-Female-Extension-Extender/dp/B01LX7VE4M/

Edited by x16tial

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