MFX mass-storage add-on

Modern, Memotech inspired, hardware projects
Martin A
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Joined: 09 Nov 2013 21:03

Re: MFX mass-storage add-on

Post by Martin A »

Teaser update:

No work has been done on the sorftware, so MFX is currently using the rememorizor boot rom in CPM. The main screen and SD card components seem to be working correctly and have had limited testing over and above being able to boot CPM and load games in basic.
CPM running.jpg
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The Wiznet network module has also had some basic checks and is responding as it would on the NFX test board.

The prototype board itself is, crowded, for want of a better description, there's another 20 pin chip hidden under the SD card. The prototyping board is smaller than ideal, so the daughterbords overhang and some of the sockets at the back of the MTX come pretty close to components. Clearance under the keyboard is also very tight, however with the ZIF socket for the boot rom removed the case will close. The FPGA board (blue) and Network module (white) are particularly restricted, and will be a fun job for Dave to place if we get to a PCB production stage :D .
Crowded board.jpg
Crowded board.jpg (123.55 KiB) Viewed 423 times
Work on the CPM boot rom and SDX basic extensions rom to include the CFX-II command set has yet to start, and there are still issues to iron out with the VDP shadow display. However progress to date is encouraging.
stephen_usher
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Re: MFX mass-storage add-on

Post by stephen_usher »

Looks interesting!
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gunrock
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Re: MFX mass-storage add-on

Post by gunrock »

Exciting times! Thanks for the preview.
Steve G
Danish-keyed Memotech MTX 512, CFX II and loving it
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Dave
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Re: MFX mass-storage add-on

Post by Dave »

Well, still way too early to make any promises, but things are moving on - the MFX PCB might look something like this . . . . .

Image

:)
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MFXv8.jpg
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Martin A
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Re: MFX mass-storage add-on

Post by Martin A »

OK time to post some more detailed spoilers!

A previous post showed the 80 column board in action.
Well now the VDP emulation is:
VDP emulation.jpg
VDP emulation.jpg (66.76 KiB) Viewed 355 times
I can't claim any real credit as 90% of the VHDL comes from Andy's Rememotech but the output on VRA does look so crisp compared to a TV.

Stepping up from text mode to Grahpics mode we present Sprites & Co...
G2 plus sprites.jpg
G2 plus sprites.jpg (90.96 KiB) Viewed 355 times
The ultimate test of the VDP emulation and the SD card
Hextrain Too.jpg
Hextrain Too.jpg (61.15 KiB) Viewed 355 times
I think we can call the display and storage elements done!

Just in case anyone was thinking maybe it was all done in emulation on the A7000 in the first photo here's the current state of the dev MTX. Bill's PS2 keyboard emulator on the right MFX on the left and naked PCB in between. With ZIF for software development plugged into the rom socket there's no way the case will close.
Dev MTX.jpg
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Dave
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Re: MFX mass-storage add-on

Post by Dave »

And now we can reveal Martin's development efforts . . . .

http://primrosebank.net/computers/mtx/p ... fx-dev.htm
Martin A
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Re: MFX mass-storage add-on

Post by Martin A »

Spoiler part 2 Ethernet:

As Dave anounced on his website recently, the extra special bonus item on the board is a Wiznet WIZ810S, the white plug in module on the board photo's.

This is an updated version of the network module that appeared on the NFX development board from Memofest 2017 http://www.nyangau.org/nfx/nfx.htm

Consequently it's 100% compatible with Andy's NFX.COM web server and Bill's FTP server http://primrosebank.net/computers/mtx/p ... fx/nfx.htm

With FTPD.COM running on the MTX, The FTP client on the PC is able to negotiate a connection
ftp2.jpg
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.
This is the directory view from the PC
FTP view.jpg
FTP view.jpg (65.31 KiB) Viewed 352 times
The PC can then push and pull files as required.
Copy something.jpg
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Copying over "only" 240k and it did take more than a few seconds to copy over. But still WAY faster than transferring 240k would have been from tape or over serial (15 mins at 2400 baud ??)

More of Bill's coding skills to show off, here then is Infocom's bureaucracy running on the MTX using his CMPZVM.COM. Both that and the game data file having been copied off the PC over ethernet first.
Ta Da.jpg
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SO what's left to do ?

Software:

Quite a bit of it.

Currently both CPM and the SDX basic extensions are running on copies of the ReMemotech/Rememorizor roms. There's no commands to control the VGA display. It's all configured using OUT commands to the FPGA in basic, the CPM side needs the least work to be tweaked so it can configure the screen on boot up etc.
The SDX basic extensions need the bulk of the work if they are to include all the addtions from the CFX-II. That will involve quite a lot of code, as CFX-II has the luxury of the propeller doing a lot of the display work which will have to be done by the Z80 on MFX.

Hardware:

Dave's job (lucky him)

Take all my cryptic notes and and last minute wiring changes, there were 2 more yesterday! and make a sensible PCB design that will fit in the confined spaces under the MTX keyboard.

Parts sorcing:

Dave's job too

In the current chip shortage, try and find suppliers that actually have stocks of the part's I've used.
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gunrock
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Re: MFX mass-storage add-on

Post by gunrock »

Fantastic update, Martin. Looks amazingly mature for a prototype that's not even close to alpha, let alone beta ready.

Fitting that all in under the keyboard looks like a tough job :shock:
Steve G
Danish-keyed Memotech MTX 512, CFX II and loving it
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Dave
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Re: MFX mass-storage add-on

Post by Dave »

Steve,

you might have missed my terse update between Martin's posts - follow the link for more detail on how things developed to this stage

regards
Dave
Martin A
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Re: MFX mass-storage add-on

Post by Martin A »

gunrock wrote: 28 May 2022 20:33 Fantastic update, Martin. Looks amazingly mature for a prototype that's not even close to alpha, let alone beta ready.

Fitting that all in under the keyboard looks like a tough job :shock:
It's millimetres in clearance, but it -should- fit. But I'm glad it's not me doing it!

If you look at the dev MTX photo, the FPGA board and the video board are similar in size and importantly height. As the keyboard clears the video bord, it will clear the FPGA, as long and it’s no nearer the front of the case than the video board.

The network module is more fun, that socket needs to be squeezed into a region where the keyboard PCB isn’t, so right at the back or right on the end, or possibly both.
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