New board: MonSTer

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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby Fujiyama » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:58 am

Aha! JBLOCK = "jumper block"! :)
So it should be like this:
megaSTe_jumpers_pinout.jpg

A picture usually explains things better :wink:

Troed: there's no Fuji logo in the top left, so that must explain why I can't boot with the CF drive.
Hold on..... (inserting FLASHON jumper, then rebooting)... yes, you're right -the Fuji logo now comes up and my Swedish TOS appears as before, so I'm definitely in TOS 2.06.

But why the CF card still won't boot is a puzzle :?
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby alanh » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:13 pm

I'd attach directly to pin 10 on the ACSI port itself, the clip will fit into the DMA port on the right side to ensure you are picking up the correct signal.
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby troed » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:17 pm

Fujiyama wrote:But why the CF card still won't boot is a puzzle :?


TOS 2.06 can only autoboot IDE from port 1 IIRC. Unless you're sure that's how your CF adapter is connected, you can try jumpering IDESW as well (swapping ports).

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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby Fujiyama » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:59 pm

Success at last! :D
The problem could be a combination of things (likely also a wrong installation of CBHD on the boot drive), but somehow I've succeeded in partitioning and booting from the CF card with a "C" and "D" partition. I've also had the same success with making the IDE hard drive bootable, so that's great news!

DMA interrupt worked fine from resistor R525, but a direct connection was worth trying. Also the CF drive was already attached to the "primary" IDE connector on the MonSTer board, but I did mess around with the IDE-CF card jumpers along with the "IDESW" jumper. I ended up removing one CF card, setting the IDE-CF card's jumper to "Master/Slave" (instead of "Slave/Master"). I'll see about installing the other CF card, then look into why HDdriver won't work because HDdriver (a recent version) is needed to handle the ALT-RAM, isn't it? In any case HDdriver has lots of useful features which will probably come in handy.

UPDATE: I now also have the second CF-card working as additional partitions, and even booting up (from the first CF-card) with HDdriver 8.13!
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby Fujiyama » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:29 pm

After all that it's time to give something back.
Here are a some photos with instructions on how to attach the various wires, jumpers etc, in case others are wondering as well...
(this is for the MegaSTe version of the MonSTer).

DMA interrupt wire (for booting from an IDE drive connected to the MonSTer)
This is pin 10 of the ACSI connector, but finding it difficult to solder in a wire there, I used one side of R525 instead, as shown here (I'll be soldering it to the resistor later).
20170308-183834_IMG_1263-Edit.jpg
20170308-183600_IMG_1247-Edit-2.jpg

The other end of the wire goes to one of the two "ACSI" pins of the MonSTer's JBLOCK (see photo further down)

Re-enabling the Blitter chip
You need to attach wires from 2 ICs on the MegaSTe main board which go to the MonSTer board.
First locate these ICs on the Mega STe main board:
  • U1 (74F244) found underneath IDC-cable attached to the VME-port
  • U6 (22V10) found just right to the MonSTer IDE ports
  • U11 (22V10) found just right to the MonSTer IDE ports
20170313-233849_IMG_1342-Edit.jpg

20170313-234016_IMG_1346-Edit.jpg


You need to connect the wires from U1 to the MonSTer.
Then connect a wire from U6 or U11 to the MonSTer.
Here are the connection pins of the MonSTer which goes to those ICs. You also need to insert a jumper to actually enable the Blitter as shown here:
20170313-114228_IMG_1335-Edit.jpg


JBLOCK connection pinout
The JBLOCK (jumper block) contains the two ACSI DMA interrupt pins (see "DMA interrupt wire" above), connections for activity LEDs (for each of the two IDE buses), connections to a realtime battery backed clock and jumpers for various functions. The MegaSTe already has a built in battery backed clock so this is probably not of much interest to most people, but I'm considering one of those cheap DS1338 based modules (available on eBay etc) because of the more handy battery
20170308-134223_IMG_1215-Edit.jpg


MonSTer orientation/placement and CPU insertion and removal
This information should probably be in the beginning, but anyway...
20170308-132332_IMG_1200-Edit.jpg

The removal part of the 68000 is mostly when you unplug it from the MegaSTe main board, then insert it (the correct way -see photo) into the MonSTer which in turn is inserted into the (now) empty 68000 CPU socket on the main board.

If something's incorrect please let me know :)
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby Fujiyama » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:40 pm

As nobody else can confirm if the connections in my previous posting is correct I can now confirm it myself as I just wired it all up and added the "Blitter" jumper as instructed in the "MegaSTE-solders.txt" text-file :)
20170419-225302_IMG_2158.jpg

All seems to work fine initially (the TOS 2.06 desktop's "Blitter" option in my Mega STe is no longer greyed out, so I can turn it on and save the desktop settings).

I do have another problem (though this may be at my own ignorance): when I run M_ALTRAM.PRG from the AUTO folder I get these strange black boxes replacing icons and other window elements. This happens whenever I select one of the memory options (2 MB ALT-RAM, 4 MB ALT-RAM or 6 MB ALT-RAM) then reboot (as instructed earlier in this thread I believe). If I choose "No ALT-RAM" I don't have this problem. The messed up graphics can even be seen in M_ALTRAM.PRG after rebooting.
N_AHBLTR.png

N_AH0002.png

N_AH0001.png


Another strange thing is that whenever I run M_ALTRAM.PRG I'm told that the firmware is obsolete.
N_AH0000.png

How do I update the MonSTer's firmware? I just re-downloaded all the MonSTer software from the Alan's site, just to ensure I hadn't ruled out any updates and can't find any info about the MonSTer's firmware.

My setup: a 4MB Mega STe with the MonSTer's re-enabling of the Blitter (as per the wiring instructions), "Blitter" jumper enabled, "Flash off" jumper enabled (to run TOS 2.06 ROMs already present in the computer as I haven't yet looked into how to flash TOS into the MonSTer) and the MonSTer's DMA interrupt pin connected to pin 10 of the ACSI connector to allow for booting from a CF-card. A dual (master and slave) IDE to CF board is attached to the first IDE port with HDdriver 10.02 installed on the primary CF-card for booting on its own.
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby joska » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:02 pm

Fujiyama wrote:All seems to work fine initially (the TOS 2.06 desktop's "Blitter" option in my Mega STe is no longer greyed out, so I can turn it on and save the desktop settings).

I do have another problem (though this may be at my own ignorance): when I run M_ALTRAM.PRG from the AUTO folder I get these strange black boxes replacing icons and other window elements. This happens whenever I select one of the memory options (2 MB ALT-RAM, 4 MB ALT-RAM or 6 MB ALT-RAM) then reboot (as instructed earlier in this thread I believe). If I choose "No ALT-RAM" I don't have this problem.


Disable the blitter or use NVDI.

Fujiyama wrote:Another strange thing is that whenever I run M_ALTRAM.PRG I'm told that the firmware is obsolete.


Send a mail to Alan. There has been some changes to the MonSTEr firmware with better support for MSTE.
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby Fujiyama » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:21 pm

Thanks Joska. So you're pretty much ruling out any hardware mistakes I might have made when hooking it all up?
Hopefully Alan's reading and will comment here (so other people can read it as well).
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby alanh » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:22 pm

Fujiyama wrote:I do have another problem (though this may be at my own ignorance): when I run M_ALTRAM.PRG from the AUTO folder I get these strange black boxes replacing icons and other window elements. This happens whenever I select one of the memory options (2 MB ALT-RAM, 4 MB ALT-RAM or 6 MB ALT-RAM) then reboot (as instructed earlier in this thread I believe). If I choose "No ALT-RAM" I don't have this problem. The messed up graphics can even be seen in M_ALTRAM.PRG after rebooting.


This usually means the cables to the MonSTer are incorrect for the BliTTer to function. Can you show me a full picture of the connections to the MonSTer board ?

Fujiyama wrote:Another strange thing is that whenever I run M_ALTRAM.PRG I'm told that the firmware is obsolete.
N_AH0000.png
How do I update the MonSTer's firmware? I just re-downloaded all the MonSTer software from the Alan's site, just to ensure I hadn't ruled out any updates and can't find any info about the MonSTer's firmware.


If this happens, there is some newer firmware that I haven't released yet, but I can provide it. The problem is you'd need appropriate software like Xilinx IMPACT to flash it to the device.
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby Fujiyama » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:06 pm

Here's how I made the Blitter connections in my MegaSTe:

First, ACSI (MonSTer) to pin 10 (ACSI connector).
20170419-225449_IMG_2171.jpg
20170308-134306_IMG_1219-Edit.jpg


Then various pins from the U1 chip (74F244) to pins on the MonSTer:
pin 12 BRW (U1) to BRW (MonSTer, yellow wire)
pin 14 BUDS (U1) to BUDS (MonSTer, red wire)
pin 16 BLDS (U1) to BLDS (MonSTer, orange wire)
pin 18 BAS (U1) to BAS (MonSTer, brown wire)
20170419-225306_IMG_2159.jpg
20170419-231419_IMG_2179.jpg
20170313-234016_IMG_1346-Edit.jpg


Then pin 9 BDTK (U6 (22V10) ) to BDTK (MonSTer, blue wire)
20170313-235149_IMG_1361-Edit.jpg


And finally, a jumper placed across the two "Blitter" pins (MonSTer) -not pictured, but here's an overview I made earlier showing where it goes:
20170313-114228_IMG_1335-Edit.jpg


It looks very messy after securing the wires with bathroom silicone, but being relatively stiff wires and delicate connections I had to do something to prevent them from breaking loose. The only possibly flaky connection could be the wire going to pin 9 on U6 as I didn't want to solder directly on a hard-to-replace component, so I tightly wrapped a wire around one of its pins and covered it with a heat shrink tube. It should be OK, but could a bad connection there cause the black box graphics I showed earlier? Note that the problem only occurs whenever I enable Alt-RAM.

Is the "MonSTer firmware obsolete" message common with MegaSTe computers or am I the only one who's getting this every time I run the Alt-RAM program? I don't know anything about Xinlinx impact -is it a matter of connecting certain pins of the MonSTer board to a USB port which goes to a PC and running the software to put in a new firmware, or something else?

EDIT: it looks like I might have mixed up the wire colours. I'm doing a double-check now, but feel free to comment the above.
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby czietz » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:22 pm

Note that silicone (the bathroom variant) is probably one of the worst ideas to secure electronic components. While curing, this type of silicone will usually produce acetic acid that will corrode copper wires and traces.

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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby Fujiyama » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:24 pm

czietz wrote:Note that silicone (the bathroom variant) is probably one of the worst ideas to secure electronic components. While curing, this type of silicone will usually produce acetic acid that will corrode copper wires and traces.


Ouch!!! 8O
Obviously I didn't know, so thanks for telling me. Apart from ripping/cutting it off, how do you recommend I get rid of everything to avoid any corrosion?
Hot glue might be a better solution then.

Aha! Having re-checked the wires it looks like I've flipped the 5-pin connector (BDTK, BRW etc.) around, so I'll flip it back and see what happens (and remove the silicone)
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby piku » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:30 pm

I believe for this job hot melt glue is the best choice.
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby alanh » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Fujiyama wrote:EDIT: it looks like I might have mixed up the wire colours. I'm doing a double-check now, but feel free to comment the above.


Yes, it looks like your header connector is completely reversed, making all the connections wrong. Please double check them.
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby Fujiyama » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:42 pm

I'm on it!
The silicone had fortunately not cured completely so it was easy to remove. Out with the hot glue gun instead :)

I'm not that happy with the wire I've wrapped around pin 9 of U6 (PAL22V10) but I'm not comfortable soldering it directly on to the (hard to replace) IC either. Does anyone have any good suggestions for a permanent connection? I've gone through the schematics and apart from pin 21 of U11 (also a PAL22V10) there doesn't appear to be anywhere else (on the component side) to solder a wire (yes, there's a tiny via but I'm afraid it'll get ripped out and being so small won't give a good connection anyway).
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby Fujiyama » Wed May 10, 2017 8:52 am

It appears to be working fine now :D
And I carefully soldered wires directly to the IC pins this time (carefully removing any dirt/oxide etc. before soldering using a fibreglass pen).

How about that error message I get whenever I run M_ALTRAM.PRG? Should it just be ignored or is it cause for concern?
Joska said a few posts ago that there were some improvements to the MegaSTe with a newer firmware -what are those?
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Re: New board: MonSTer

Postby Fujiyama » Mon May 15, 2017 10:04 am

erhm.... and after posting the above my MegaSTe has started getting its hickups and coughs of sorts and it's time time do some troubleshooting :x
It's one fine machine, so I'm aiming for a total recovery soon :wink:

I'm wondering: what was the final verdict on using a MegaSTe version of the MonSTer inside a regular STe?
Apart from the obvious physical differences (which won't allow the case and/or power supply to fit -doesn't matter to me anyway), are the two boards electrically the same and use the same firmware (which I'm confusingly told is obsolete)?
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