Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Nagging hardware related question? Post here!
User avatar
Doug
Chuggy Microdrive
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:25 am

Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Postby Doug » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:30 pm

Hi guys,

Since my introduction to the forum and occasional foray into the discussions (generally to champion various proposed bits of hardware!) I've been gradually buying up bits and pieces to get my QLs back into a usable state with modern media etc, but have hit a bit of a snag - though I'm not sure if it is to be expected or if there is anything I can do about it!

In aiming to set up a system that could read a hard disk (or equivalent) and floppy disks at the same time, I bought what was available at the time of looking and then recently got hold of Tetroid's backplane kit to put it all together.

Of course, at this point, the above can be achieved very easily with the Tetroid disk interface, but that wasn't available at the time I snaffled the initial hardware last year, nor was the QL-SD - the only hard disk-related hardware I could find was Zaxon's QubIDE, which does not have a pass-through. I may still get a TDI, but besides that, I also wanted to try to use a Gold Card I got from eBay as part of this setup, to improve performance as well as disk access, and open up possibilities such as trying SMSQ/E...

So what have I ended up with? Well here's my list of hardware I planned to test the backplane in conjunction with:

Hermes ROM from RWAP
Tetroid ROM switcher with Minerva (not external switch version)
Eidersoft mICE ROM dongle with mouse
Miracle Systems 512k Expanderam
Miracle Systems Disk Card
Gold Card version 3 (flat battery!)
Zaxon QubIDE (v 2.02 with 512k ram expansion)
Tetroid backplane kit

I started out with my standard QL without the rom switcher or Hermes, and tried my older stuff in the backplane - the 512k ram and the Disk Card. Both worked perfectly, either in separate slots on the backplane, or stacked on top of each other in one backplane slot. So far so good.

Then I tried the QubIDE on its own in the backplane and that also worked fine. In both cases the ICE environment also loaded fine.

However, everything else from here on out didn't work. Trying the QubIDE and the Disk Card together in different slots didn't work - the post screen ends up repeating a corrupted version of the Disk Card text, calling it 'Truap card' instead of 'Trump card' amongst other anomalies, and nothing about the QubIDE status would appear. Despite showing the F1/F2 dialogue, you cannot boot.

Never mind combinations with other hardware, just putting my Gold Card into the backplane on it's own didn't work - I got the two-stage memory/boot check but the post screen gets stuck after the Gold Card text, and you never see the F1/F2 bit at the bottom. I was disappointed by this as the Tetroid Gold Card clone is supposed to work in it, so is there an issue with my GC (which otherwise appears to work fine, flat battery aside) or is it only the clone GC I can expect to work in the backplane for some reason?

Next I wondered if upgrading the internals would make any difference, so I started with the rom switcher (as that was the easier chip to install!) - removing the other two roms. Minerva booted up perfectly and is new to me so I will look forward to seeing what it can do/improve later...

Alas trying it with the mICE dongle, I only got a black screen. The dongle is a little temperamental, so it may just be me, but that was a strange one. All other tests as above gave the exact same results. Then I added the Hermes chip. mICE now working fine again (though could just be coincidence), pressing keys makes a noise(!), but again all other tests produced the same results.

So is this all as expected and I am silly for hoping any of this would work?! Or does it sound like there is a problem somewhere/something I could troubleshoot?

Cheers,

Doug


User avatar
Dave
SandySuperQDave
Posts: 2011
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:52 am
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Postby Dave » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:03 pm

Can you repeat the tests with just the backplane board and not the buffer board?

This will tell us which aspect of the backplane you're struggling with. I have some items that do not like the buffer arrangement and refuse to work, but the backplane part works fine alone.


User avatar
mk79
Trump Card
Posts: 208
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:54 am

Re: Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Postby mk79 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:51 pm

Doug wrote:However, everything else from here on out didn't work. Trying the QubIDE and the Disk Card together in different slots didn't work - the post screen ends up repeating a corrupted version of the Disk Card text, calling it 'Truap card' instead of 'Trump card' amongst other anomalies, and nothing about the QubIDE status would appear. Despite showing the F1/F2 dialogue, you cannot boot.
I'm not very familiar with these cards, but that sounds like they are fighting the bus for the same address space. Quite possibly they cannot be used at the same time or at least need to be somehow configured differently.

Never mind combinations with other hardware, just putting my Gold Card into the backplane on it's own didn't work - I got the two-stage memory/boot check but the post screen gets stuck after the Gold Card text, and you never see the F1/F2 bit at the bottom. I was disappointed by this as the Tetroid Gold Card clone is supposed to work in it, so is there an issue with my GC (which otherwise appears to work fine, flat battery aside) or is it only the clone GC I can expect to work in the backplane for some reason?
The clone is very similar to the old cards, just with maybe a little less current consumption. Not sure what's happening here.

Next I wondered if upgrading the internals would make any difference, so I started with the rom switcher (as that was the easier chip to install!) - removing the other two roms. Minerva booted up perfectly and is new to me so I will look forward to seeing what it can do/improve later...
Once you go Minerva, you never go back ;) Until you use SMSQ/E at least...

Marcel


afx
Chuggy Microdrive
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Postby afx » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:37 pm

I have similar problems with Tetroid Backplane kit + QubIDE + (Super)GoldCard.

I have tried different configurations as it appears in QubIDE manual, but don't work.

However, I have a QubIDE with a pass-through connector (made by jose_leandro) and it works fine with my GoldCard (but this QubIDE version with pass-through don't work with Super GoldCard).


User avatar
Doug
Chuggy Microdrive
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:25 am

Re: Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Postby Doug » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:01 am

I return following more tests!

Leaving the Gold Card out of it for a minute, part of it was my own eagerness to try everything out that was at fault. I hadn't re-read the instructions for the QubIDE and so had forgotten about the jumpers, which hadn't needed changing previously as it wasn't sharing with anything. Putting these in the configuration suggested for (S)GCs and Trump Cards allowed me to run the Trump Card and QubIDE together for the first time, and I was able to copy some files from one of my old floppies over to an SD card I'd previously set up. Breakthrough!

This setup seemed to work with and without the buffer board, at least I think it did. Unfortunately I couldn't get mICE working with this setup at all. I could boot to mICE if just the Trump Card was plugged in to the backplane, but not with QubIDE in too.

Further to that, I could also not boot to ICE with *only* QubIDE plugged in to the backplane - though it does work with mICE when the QubIDE is plugged in to the QL directly - and even though ICE (at least my version of it) wasn't built to support hard disks, with a WIN_USE FLP command I could see the top level of the drive as if it was just a large floppy (directories don't work). Perhaps I should experiment further with the QubIDE jumper? Forgive my ignorance with these things, but could there be another memory conflict that only occurs when using a backplane that could be solved with the jumper?

This is all a bit of an aside, but the mICE is the only thing I have with a mouse, so I was keen to get it working in tandem with these other peripherals in the hope that it could also be used for other pointer environments like SMSQ/E... though I've no idea if that is actually possible or whether this particular device only works specifically with the ICE GUI? What do others use mouse-wise when working with SMSQ/E on a real QL?

Finally, the Gold Card. Dave, it did actually post without the buffer board, but it was not pleased about the arrangement at all! Anything other than the first slot on the backplane and it would do anything from producing strange patterns on startup, flashing up two big hex numbers over the memory map screen (different each time, presumably some kind of error code) or even making a crash noise, a bit like hitting the deck on Q-Flight! However in the first slot it did *seem* to be ok.


User avatar
Pr0f
Gold Card
Posts: 287
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:54 am

Re: Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Postby Pr0f » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:27 am

Gold card does work with backplanes, but from my experience it doesn't like long connections, so some backplanes work better than others. Have you tried taking out the 68008 from the QL when you use the Gold card ? I made a flip over backplane for my gold card and ran that on top and upside down of the QL mainboard, all in another case. This worked well without the original processor in it's socket. But the backplane was only 2 slots and about 1.5" of pcb track length. This also used a seperate power supply for +5, +12 and -12, as power usage may be an issue too, when using a backplane. Both the trump and gold card are quite power hungry


User avatar
Dave
SandySuperQDave
Posts: 2011
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:52 am
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Postby Dave » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:16 pm

The Trump and Gold Card won't co-exist unless the memory is disabled/removed on the TC. Then it is just duplicating functionality of the GC anyway.


afx
Chuggy Microdrive
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:23 pm

Re: Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Postby afx » Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:22 pm

Doug wrote:What do others use mouse-wise when working with SMSQ/E on a real QL?


I use SerMouse.

Reviewed here:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=977&p=8035

Here is an old demo of my system (QL + GoldCard + RomDisq + SerMouse). You can see SerMouse in action.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... 0VGlRl3S-8


User avatar
tofro
QL Wafer Drive
Posts: 1423
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:53 pm
Location: SW Germany

Re: Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Postby tofro » Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:40 pm

afx wrote:I use SerMouse.

And that is, along with SuperHermes and QIMI (which are both hard to come by these days) probably the most standard way to connect a mouse.

Tobias


ʎɐqǝ ɯoɹɟ ǝq oʇ ƃuᴉoƃ ʇou sᴉ pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ʇxǝu ʎɯ 'ɹɐǝp ɥO
Derek_Stewart
QL Wafer Drive
Posts: 1110
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Runcorn, Cheshire, UK

Re: Testing Tetroid backplane and GC

Postby Derek_Stewart » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:36 am

Hi,

Nice video, your setup is nearly like mine, I use Qascade to launch all GUI programmes and the main purpose of my setup is programming or trying to programme...

I have some QIMI interfaces that need some repair, which I will repair and make available, also the Aurora has a builtin
QIMI interface, which I had planned to build more Auroras, maybe just personal use.


Regards,

Derek

Return to “Hardware”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests