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Posted By

ken
on 2016-02-04
18:20:03
 Blank cartridge boards

I have talked about making cartridge boards for the P4/c16 several times in the past.
I have fully drawn up the basic cartridge from a game I tore apart.
What I would really like to know is... is there anything special people are looking for in a cartridge board for the P4/c16?
I only ask because I am having a batch made for the test harness I am building,
and adding whatever ?????? may be easy enough to do.
I have made LOTS of C64/128 cartridges, so this is not a hard project.
I am NOT new to C=, just new to the P4/c16 system.
Ken.

Posted By

crock
on 2016-02-04
19:03:56
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

On a normal 264 cart, the /OE on the ROM's is attached to pin B (C1 low) and pin 6 (C1 high) respectively, meaning the cartridge is made addressable by accessing $fdd2. C2 low and C2 high are also available on pins 7 & 8 respectively, but not used on any 264 cart I have ever seen, which is made addressable by accessing $fdd3.

The easy addition would be jumpers to map the ROM's to C1 or C2. The deluxe option would be the ability to take a pair of 32k x 8 EPROMS addressable as bank 2 and 3, meaning 64k of ROM on the cart.

Not sure you could do this without additional gates on the board though, as a combination of C1 and C2 would need to drive A14 and /OE.

Posted By

Blake 7
on 2016-02-10
23:35:10
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

64k memory cartridges for a C16 would be the No.1 cart for most people. There could even be a nice little profit in it for you if you can make them cheap enough.

One thing to keep in mind which you may need to follow up if you fancy doing 64k Ram Packs for C16's...

A 64K memory cartridge should work out of the box on a Rev.B C16 motherboard.
However a couple of wires/jumpers and the odd resistor may need to be soldered to the motherboard to make it work on some Rev.A C16's. Some 64k ram packs released in Germany came with the extra components and instructions to do the fix just in case you had a Rev.A, (the components were nothing special or expensive I recall).

Posted By

Chicken
on 2016-02-11
11:19:18
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

Blake 7: I think, ken was talking about ROM cartridges and not about external RAM extensions.

The hardware modification for "REV. A" boards you are refering to doesn't require soldering or additional components. You just need to cut pin 9 on U5 and U6 to make those external RAM extensions work on early C16s.

Here's an example which also describes the modification:
http://plus4world.powweb.com/hardware/64K-RAM_Speichererweiterung

Posted By

MMS
on 2016-02-11
19:10:43
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

Hi Ken

Thank you for being interested in this machine too!
Actually, I really like the idea of the Game Cartrides the ZX Spectrum and C64 had: no loading time,
just Plug & Play (hey, really!)
I think fir C16 and Plus/4 there were almost no official cartrides did exist, while on C64 there were TONS

On the other hand, I think there is no ONE specific game of program the people are som emuch interested.
Even more, if I understood well, the maximum size of the PRG should be 16K, right?

(for me, as a weak graphicin, the Multibotticelli and Botticelli are the main tools. Some disc tools, copy tools could be nice too. The best would be one BIG EPROM,and you could choose your one)

Or the other way that you produce ONE cartridge with a socket has the same locker mechanism as the EPROM burners?
And with one Cartride, but with dozens of (E)EPROMs I have the HW to boot up the C16 games in seconds (If bigger ones, like the converted games, like Head over Heels, etc will not work).
There could be a small box with full of GAME /utility EPROMs and I would just quickly pick and install the one I want (I think nowadays a 16K EPROM should be much smaller thanin the past, right? Those 8 legges tiny monsters may work with Commodore? or only the big housing ones have so many legs I cannot count?)

Posted By

crock
on 2016-02-12
04:41:14
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

Hi MMS, the standard size of a 264 series cartridge is 16 or 32k, but the maximum size natively supported is 64k, with two banks of 32k ROM overlaying the basic and kernal ROM spaces from $8000 -> $FFFF, excepting the IO areas. This is all under software control by writing to the quasi-ROM select registers at $FDD0 - $FDD3.

As I said in my earlier post, the signals to select banks are exposed on the cartridge port but the only cartridge I know of that made use of them was Dave Haynie's prototype 264 mega-cartridge which he sold on ebay a couple of years ago.

I had dinner with Dave a couple of weeks ago, would have been an interesting topic to discuss.

Posted By

gerliczer
on 2016-02-12
06:20:07
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

@MMS

http://skoe.de/easyflash/doku.php This should be adapted instead of you silly ROM plugging idea.

Posted By

Chicken
on 2016-02-12
12:21:21
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

gerliczer and crock: Have you checked out Solder's sRAM-Card? Well, it's an "old" design from the 90s and uses buffered sRAM. Still, it's pretty neat and lets you select ROM banks (a/f) as well (and many other things ).

http://plus4world.powweb.com/hardware/SRAM_Card_256Kb

crock: There have been various homebrew cartriges (e. g. 64kb, pseudo 128kb etc) around here in Germany. Lots of this is unknown to ppl who haven't been active "sceners" in the early-/mid-90s. I don't own any of these carts (except the external sRAM cart mentioned above, I got that in 2006 ) but I know that these were not that uncommon. I remember a chart showing the different types. Propably, I have that somewhere.

Posted By

gerliczer
on 2016-02-12
15:47:03
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

@Chicken

I do know that Solder made EPROM/SRAM expansions. I'm not telling to abandon all his creations, but EasyFlash is easy. Easy on the user. Why not adapting a "modern" design to our machines while retaining compatibility to the old hardware expansions? (The control registers for these expansions were mapped in the $FD1X region IIRC.)

Posted By

Chicken
on 2016-02-12
16:19:43
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

gerliczer: I was just pointing out that something somewhat similar already exists. Plus, it uses banks a/f – something Crock wondered about. The sRAM card is more than just an "emulated" EPROM card. Plus, there's existing software that supports using it.

On a side note: It requires the expansion port splitter, anyway. Though, at least that addressed the unavailablility of expansion port connectors and suggested a solution by introducing a connector that's available. A problem many ppl don't think about. If you just need one cart, that's fine. But if you want a SID-card and a cart?

I totally agree that there are more modern designs, which are sometimes easier to use (given the software support on our platform – which is another story) and most likely cheaper to produce. My only problem with C64/Spectrum/(INSERT ANY OTHER PLATFORM HERE) hardware add-ons – we had many discussions on numerous devices before and NONE of them were put into a C16 prototype, leave alone a production version. Btw, BSZ's awesome SID-card doesn't count, it's a "homegrown" plus/4 project. And if it wasn't for BSZ, we'd still be waiting for Jurek's SID-Card rendition like 10 years ago.

Long story short: If you find someone to build and sell it, I'm willing to sign up for 2–3 carts. If it's just another link to an interesting hardware project on a different platform, (from my experience) it's not worth bothering about.

Posted By

MMS
on 2016-02-13
10:22:27
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

I agree, that EasyFlash is a nice and modern card, with USB support and it is a nice feature to have 8 Kernals at once.
(and if you buy one, it os only 30-35 €)
But it does NOT exist on Plus/4, and there serious differeces between a C64 and Plus/4 in this aspect. It is not a big surprise, that there were no converted C64 cards to Plus/4. There are some lines just do nor exist at all on the Plussy expansion port. So the chance it will be realized on Plussy, is rather low. The HW is different, and need the SW to be rewritten (as usual). Also, we have no standard CRT format to load.
Or what do you think? There was no PDF about the hardware to investigate it deeper.

In fact, if we want something really BIG, then the http://www.ide64.org is much better and bigger with a compact Flash
card. As I read, even CDROM , LS120 or ZIP drive cn be connected...Oopps, no IDE DOS SW for Plussy.

For the silly plugin ROM version idea:
It is straighforward, simple to swap and cheap, no? 1-1 128KB 8 legged DIP/PDIP (if may work with Plus/4) you can program via i2C could do the job it a small package, with low power. What is the price, 1 or 2USD/piece?

Those classic games (even the converted ones, or TCFS games) do not support the SID sound, this swappable "games" cartridge will not need an expander, simply because they cannot do anything with BSZ's SID Card (I have one too).
And if you swap the EEPROM, it will become a TOOL cartridge. And swapping the ROM is way faster, than continuously burn again and again that limited Flash content of the Easyflash. 8 position is not SO much.

On the other hand, you need an EEPROM burner for this task, or do a more complex burner device. OR someone who will do the job for the scene for a certain price. I think the EEPROM is 1USD, and the postage cost is significantly reducing if more cartridges ordered at the same time. I would be happy to pay 5USD per a burned 16K EEPROM.

For Solder's SRAM card: how it works in practice, when you switch it on? Does it have a starter PRG?

Posted By

Chicken
on 2016-02-13
11:20:39
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

I'm not at home, so I don't have my files here. That's why I can't go into details.

Well, there is/used to be a semi-standard for carts/proms on plus/4: "burn files" (starting at $4000). These are supported by at least two different eprom burners (probably by all burners on plus/4) and by the various internal and external sRAM expansions. It's just that this is not widely known (anymore). I didn't have the sRAM cart in the old days and didn't have the time use it a lot when I finally got it. Though, that goes for all my plus/4 hardware

Solder coded a tool to create these burn files and a starter menu etc. There's a English manual for his "Modulgenerator" out there. The process sounds complicated but it's pretty straight forward. It's just that the software has a couple of features that need to be explained. You can use carts that already exist or use other programs and create "cart versions" (there are some "burn files" around which include collections of tools etc).

His sRAM expansion can be used in different modes, e. g. to test carts (it acts like a cartridge then) before burning them into eproms (which you don't have to do if you own the sRAM expansion ). Or you can use it as buffered RAM (as simple as using a T command in monitor). Furthermore, you can store some setup data for OS96 in sRAM. I don't have OS96 on any of my machines, so I can't really tell you anything about this feature.

If you work on real machines, it doesn't hurt if you can use a SID-card and a tool collection on a cart at the same time. That's why I got the expansion port splitter.

I do like EasyFlash's simplicity (and the small price) but it's for ther wrong machine. I'm not saying something like that can't be adapted for plus/4. (In fact, I think many of the hardware expansions out there could be adapted for plus/4.) But I can't do it and I don't know anyone who will do it. The plus/4 "scene" is small and a bit fragmented – meaning many of the ppl who have hardware knowledge and skills are not here but active on other "less plus/4 oriented"/local forums. Well, it's getting pretty off topic now.

crock: I found the chart I was talking about:
http://solders-home.de/pub/files/commodore/plus4/hardware/MODULE.GIF

And cbmhardware has been working on C16 carts, too:
http://www.cbmhardware.de/c16/schematic/c16cart_board.jpg

It's probably not the latest version, I just copied the link from a different forum. Might save some time to contact him.

Posted By

MMS
on 2016-02-14
01:47:07
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

wow, 32K or even 64K! that's good news! On ZX Spectrum the original HW allowed only 16K ROM.

Posted By

ken
on 2016-11-16
11:53:16
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

ok after a long time of putting it off.......
I spent the last few days laying out the cartridge board
I went with the 2 eprom layout , like the c= cart
but added A reset and added parts to make the board handle multiple cartridge images
it can hold a single 27128 or the dual 27128, single 27256 or dual 27256, single 27512 or dual 27512
you can use a single rom image or easily switch between 2 or 4 different eprom images
it would be very easy to redo the board and add 1 meg support so the board can handle up to 64 16k/32k images
but does the P4 have 64 different cartridge ?

Posted By

gerliczer
on 2016-11-17
07:07:18
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

What does that reset do?

Edit: Deleted a sily unrelated part of the post.

Posted By

Gaia
on 2016-11-16
15:32:50
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

I am not sure we even have 10 original cartridges...

Atomic Mission, Pirate Adventure, Strange Odyssey, C16 Tutor, Viduzzles, Jack Attack, Logo, Octasoft BASIC 7.0 aaand that's it I guess.

Posted By

JamesC
on 2016-11-16
17:39:15
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

Script/Plus and Calc/Plus are cartridge-based. And the 3+1 ROMs work in a cartridge, if one is so inclined. We also have the Speech ROM (not that it would work, since the custom circuitry is still missing) and some aftermarket operating systems like New-ROM, OS96, and JiffyDOS.



Posted By

siz
on 2016-11-17
03:12:38
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

Yes but those "aftermarket operating systems" replace KERNAL, they can't run from an external cartridge. But we have some cartridge based homemade software. For example tape and disk turbos, monitors and so on.

Posted By

ken
on 2017-02-22
18:29:24
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

well today I had some fun and soldered 1 up https://s4.postimg.org/ia6w9hxl9/p4_cart.jpg

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-02-24
00:30:24
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

Cool! How big are these little folks?

Posted By

gerliczer
on 2017-02-24
01:09:12
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

It is almost completely unreadable, but the one on the right reads something like AM27C512. Or at least that's how I could decipher it.

Posted By

ken
on 2017-02-24
10:00:22
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

the board can handle a single 27128 or a dual 27128 for standard rom images
or you can use a single or dual 27256 and put 2 single or dual rom images and switch between the 2
or you can use a single or dual 27512 and put up to 4 single or dual rom images and switch between the 4
the board pictured has dual 27512's
or if you are asking about the size of the board , it is about 2in x 2in
I wanted to go with a 27801 but I could not find enough cartridge images to make it worth the effort
now if I could only find the info on the external memory board , I would make a batch of them to

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-02-24
16:50:19
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

External memory board? you mean the RAM expansion for C16?
Right now I have only Plus/4, but in my childhood I used a C16, and i really liked those hard buttons. But noone is producing such RAM expanders any more, not possible to buy it, and without inner modifications noone knows (as far as I know) how to do expand them to 64K
So if you do so, I am in (I mean if you find the info).

Posted By

gerliczer
on 2017-02-25
08:31:37
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

@ken, Regarding "now if I could only find the info on the external memory board , I would make a batch of them to":
Maybe you should try to contact Chris. The hardware shop used to stock memory expansion over at http://www.commodore16.com. Maybe he could acquire the schematics form that Jurek guy.

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-02-25
13:43:23
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

I checked it one year ago and since then, and now again. They do not offer the RAM expansion unit, and the last remark on such device from was in 2014...
So no, as far as I know it is not available from anyone.

BTW have you ever noticed, that the Plus/4 back side says MEMORY EXPANSION, though only the ROM could be expanded only. Although that is a memroy too, I think the name Cartridge port better fits to the reality.

Posted By

ken
on 2017-02-25
20:07:30
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

I do 4-5 board runs a year so I am sure you will find the memory expansion in my store soon
now that I have 160 cartridge boards made , I can finish up the project I have been working on for 3 years...lol

Posted By

Comprisma
on 2017-10-09
09:22:24
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

I would need two expansion boards ready to use.
Any chance to order @Ken?

Posted By

Ken
on 2017-10-09
13:11:43
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

I still have some of the blue boards that I can solder up
I also just sent in another huge board order that included some new purple carts that have some minor changes, should have them by the end of the month
you can contact me on the coprolitecomputers facebook page or email me at coprolitecomputers@att.net
and let me know exactly what you need
and I will make sure it is way cheaper than from our ebay store
Ken

Posted By

Ken
on 2017-10-31
18:32:38
 Re: Blank cartridge boards

finally got another board order in with about 15 different projects on it
here is the newer purple cart boards with a little tweeking to make it look better https://www.dropbox.com/s/9gqm5yoiun9yncv/p4.JPG?dl=0



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