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Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:25 am
by Godzil
Yes the HxC is an option, but like Chema say, you still need a Microdisc/Cumana. And as far as I know even the Microdisc is not working on all Orices.

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:18 pm
by Steve M
Ah, I thought something seemed to be missing. Oh well - back to the Cumulus it is then.

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:24 pm
by Godzil
But the HxC have an advantage against the Cumulus, as we are using a real microdisc, we can plug at the same time a real floppy drive and the HxC and dump real floppy with that setup. It's not possible with the current Cumulus (and wouldn't on the Rev2)

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:11 pm
by Chema
Yes, of course Godzil. Cumulus emulates the 4 disk drives simultaneously and, besides, it does not provide a way to plug a real drive (or SD-based emulator).

Both solutions have advangates and drawbacks. Using a microdisc clone (I have one) is nice and you can plug 3", 5 1/4 or 3,5 floppies as well as an HxC or similar, and copy between them. Of course the retro experience is incredible!

Problem is it needs an external power source, needs more room, cables, etc. And using real disks is not a real advantage now, as there are less and less PCs able to read/write them and drives are difficult to find (and will be nearly impossible in the future). I guess soon everybody will be using disk images.

Using disk images with an HxC is not as easy as it is with cumulus (you have to use an external program on a Windows box to convert them, and create a special file with the images on the SD card, etc), and it is more expensive in the end (controller+Amplibus+PSU+HxC).

Using Cumulus is really easy and straigthforward. Just copy all your DSKs on a SD card and you are ready to go. And you can carry it in your pocket.

The worst problem is it is not really reliable for everybody, but that is what you are trying to solve :)

EDIT: Oh, by the way, Silicebit's microdisc clone with amplibus is working perfectly on every Oric tested (provided it does not have an EPROM without the needed hack)

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:08 pm
by Godzil
For the real drive, I may provide for the StratoCumulus a floppy connector alongside an expansion connector and the internal floppy emulator. But the SC is an absolute different beast and will provide much more function than just what the Cumulus provide, that's also why I'm going to make a cumulus Rev2 that will be compatible with the original Rev1 cumulus, it's just a simple update, not a total rework.

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:42 pm
by Steve M
There's a place near me that has a 3D printer. I might be able to get the cases printed there. it is 60p per cubic CM so may cost a few pounds each case.
I've enquired to see if they can' use the files Boris had online.

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 5:48 pm
by raycomp
Survey done.
Ray :)

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:11 pm
by chriss
Survey done :)

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:32 pm
by 79gilles
I don't know if it's possible, but I want to buy a complete Cumulus kit for my Oric...? How can I do ? Thanks :wink:

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:30 pm
by Godzil
Hello everyone!

Sorry for the lack of news on the Rev2 of the cumulus for the last month, différents problems on my side slowdown me a lot, and I've run into a large number of problem on the current design of the Cumulus that led me to reconsider how the rev2 will be.

Unfortunately I will not be able to provide a universal firmware for existing cumuluses and the Rev2, the hardware differences will be too high, but on the other end, we will win new functionality for the Rev2.

The Rev2 is going to be between the original Cumulus, and my project StratoCumulus, not all fonctionality will be here of course, but most of the important concerning the floppy will be there, plus maybe a few bonuses.

Here the list of changes:
- Screen will change, not in resolution or size, but the current used one is an old part, hard to source and mount
- The CPLD will change, to a higher end one (more block inside, so potentially more logic in it)
- The Microcontroler will change too, I'm going to change to a TI Tiva, an ARM cortex M4 chip. More processing power, more memory, more IOs, easier tu program, ...
- I will remove the EPROM and put SRAM in place, the idea is to store the ROM you want to use in the SD card, but don't worry there will still be a ROM hidden in the CPLD, so the cumulus will be able to let the oric boot without an SD card/ROM like if the floppy drive was not connected, or in the Jasmin way
- The SRAM will be at least of 16K, maybe a bit more, will depends on the price of components and how easy they could be sources and if more memory there will be, it will be accessible, no worries :)
- The CPLD will be upgradable from the microcontroller, so, gain of time during manufacturing, and being able to update it on the fly by you the end user, so no longer any excuse if there is a bug in there
- Some nice flashing indicators LEDs, because it's necessary... :D

What we will gain:
- Flexibility of the firmware development as we can upgrade both the CPLD and the uC
- The possibility to support Jasmin drives!
- Run any custom ROM
- Currently the SRAM chip I've selected is 32K, so maybe 16K more of SRAM paged along the existing overlay and ROM
- The whole design will be cheaper from my current estimations, which is a really good point!
- A direct access to the SD card could be imagined, but I will not work on that at first, and if some people want to do that, I will be happy to provide upgrade/support on the Cumulus side, to let this happen :) (Maybe in Sedoric 5.0? ;))

The drawback:
- Large part of the firmware will need to be updated/rewriten
- Same for the CPLD
- The "ROM" loading into the SRAM will be done by the Oric, so it will not be instantaneous, but it will not take hours too, and even maybe less than 1s, so I think there is no worries on there. I can also add some nice display for the impatients during loading ... ;)

The first prototypes for the Rev2 will be an add-on card ("BoosterPack") for the TI Tiva LaunchPad (a bit like the "Shields" in Arduino terminology) so the prototype will be faster than when doing a full design. The will not be the final design unless it prove to be cheaper than doing the full thing.

So, we are getting closer to the final design of the Cumulus Rev2, need to finish the add-on card for working on prototyping the firmware, and see if it could work as expected and will try to keep you informed more often

(Funnily, the project architecture looks like other project I have.. :D)

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:33 pm
by Steve M
Are you still interested in an Atmos that won't work with Cumulus? (I sent you a message but got no reply. )

I had my monitor repaired and found an Atmos that boots but won't works with the old ULA or a NEW one. (With my other Armoses the Cumulus worked with a new ULA).

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:24 pm
by Godzil
Steve M wrote:Are you still interested in an Atmos that won't work with Cumulus? (I sent you a message but got no reply. )

I had my monitor repaired and found an Atmos that boots but won't works with the old ULA or a NEW one. (With my other Armoses the Cumulus worked with a new ULA).
Oops sorry, completely forgot about that.. yes I'm still interested as it will be a good subject to test new hardware.There is still something unclear on why the original cumulus badly behave with some Orices. I start to have doubt on the potential explanation that Retromaster was giving and that the real problem is in the CPLD code, which is a bit fishy, I've discussed with a friend about the code and he agreed with me that some part are incorrect. But updating rev1 cumuluses in the field will not be easy at all :/

Steve if I can get your oric, I may be able to find more about this issue, so yes I'm still interested

I fear it's more timing oriented than ripple oriented as Retromaster suspected at the time, and the cause could be the way the CPLD handle the Phi2 clock, which is I think done incorrectly, because it could add some slight undesirable delays and the fact that some ULA solve the issue on some Oric but not all is showing that I'm may be right on that as the two main part for timings are the CPU and the ULA, as we have different version of the ULA (with unknown changes, I don't know it there really are different revision) and different 6502 form different manufacturer. The way the ULA use the memory bus is a bit awkward because it give the main clock for the 6502, and make assumption that the 6502 is perfect and use exacly the first third of the clocking time and there is no check on how Phi1 and Phi2 from the 6502 are behaving, there is no feedback.

I suppose that if the ULA was reading Phi2 and use it for the video output, it would make the Oric a bit more reliable.

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:44 pm
by Steve M
I'll send it down when I can get some packaging sorted. I suspect it is a timing issue but I'm just guessing.

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:12 pm
by baz67
Hi guys,

Baz here over from a new UK retro-computing forum which as well as Atari machines also caters for the Oric -

I would DEFINITELY be interested in pre-ordering a Cumulus.

Please put me down on the list and kindly update me on progress.

Do I need to complete a survey first?

Cheers, chaps - brilliant to see the Oric still alive and kicking here in 2016!


PS. Please come over and see us at the new forum - we aim to make everyone very welcome with daily updates, loads of hints and advice and we like to also indulge in some humour as laughter is the best medicine! Joining us is entirely FREE and takes about 30 seconds! Steve has already come on board and we would love to see you there too adding a thread or two!

Re: Next Cumulus batch

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:38 pm
by Dbug
baz67 wrote:Do I need to complete a survey first?
Godzil is the one to ask, but I think you have to :)