New Gigatron with 128K expansion. Boots from SD!

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at67
Posts: 329
Joined: 14 May 2018, 08:29

Re: New Gigatron with 128K expansion. Boots from SD!

Post by at67 »

lb3361 wrote: 22 Feb 2021, 01:00 Just to be clear: Marcel designs always gives you bank 0 in the low memory 0x0000-0x7ffff. The video buffer leaves there. The bank bits B[1..0] select what you see in the high memory 0x8000-0xffff. If B[1..0]=0, then you have a copy of the low memory in high memory, like a 32KB Gigatron. If B[1..0]=1, which is what the rom does by default, then it looks like a 64KB Gigatron. Switching to bank 2 or bank 3 does not fundamentally change how the video is generated. Everything works, except that what appears in 0x8000-0xffff is changed.
Ok, that makes sense, a little disappointing, but I get why Marcel did it this way.
lb3361 wrote: 22 Feb 2021, 01:00 The entry code essentially, (1) saves the current bank, (2) switches to bank 3, (3) maybe saves VSPH, (4) calls the proper routine, (5) maybe restores VSPH, (6) restores the original bank, and (7) returns. Now the remaining problem is that the os code needs zero page variables. Let's say 64 bytes. Swapping 64 zp bytes takes at least 128 clock cycles, that is almost a full scanline. This has to be done on entry and exit. This cost prevents us to have small grain services such as reading one byte from the current file. This is doable, but clumsy and slow.
There are three App's that do nasty static initialisation within zero page, if those three App's were re-written to avoid static initialisation of zero page function call pointers and instead do them in an initialisation phase during their code execution, would this free up 0x44 to 0xBF for SDCard vars? Is this a simpler solution, (I could modify those three App's in an hour or two), than trying to page swap a portion of zero page in hardware?
lb3361 wrote: 22 Feb 2021, 01:00 Suppose now that switching to bank 3 switches a part of the zero page, say 0x80-0xff that is not touched by the main gigatron loop. That solves the problem. Suppose also that the 0x8080-0x80ff area always shows bank 0. That gives a place where to put the jump code that is accessible from every bank. Meanwhile programs that don't use these services can remain happily ignorant of all this. They can even overwrite the entry point since they are not using it. They just see a 64KB Gigatron. If they start to use banking, then that is another story....
This last section sounds quite good in terms of compatibility issues if I am understanding it correctly, a fixed area of memory, (0x8080-0x80ff), that contains SDCard vectors that can be used or ignored/written over depending on the application?
walter
Site Admin
Posts: 117
Joined: 13 May 2018, 08:00

Re: New Gigatron with 128K expansion. Boots from SD!

Post by walter »

Thanks Leon!
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lb3361
Posts: 52
Joined: 17 Feb 2021, 23:07

Re: New Gigatron with 128K expansion. Boots from SD!

Post by lb3361 »

Meanwhile I made a new one. This one does the zero page banking I was advocating earlier. No SMT on the back side. Just two GALs 22v10, a 74HCT244, and the 128kx8 SRAM of course. See https://github.com/lb3361/gigatron-lb/t ... sion-retro for all the info.


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- L.
Last edited by lb3361 on 07 Mar 2021, 11:54, edited 2 times in total.
at67
Posts: 329
Joined: 14 May 2018, 08:29

Re: New Gigatron with 128K expansion. Boots from SD!

Post by at67 »

Mine arrived today, much appreciated Leon!

Now I am going to have to find some time to add all of it's capabilities to the emulator/assembler/compiler, maybe with some help from Leon? :twisted:
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Hans61
Posts: 27
Joined: 29 Dec 2020, 16:15
Location: Saxonia
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Re: New Gigatron with 128K expansion. Boots from SD!

Post by Hans61 »

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Thanks for the new 128k expansion. I took the liberty of building it right away. I find it very beautiful. After I was more concerned with the hardware of the Gigatron at the beginning, I want to deal more with the software. For the extension a small test in BASIC would be nice. When booting with an SD card, I get the table of contents listed with the new one, just like with the old expansion, then an infinite loop follows when trying to boot from the card. (Program smaller than sector, I think rather software).
However, I'm just painstakingly trying to learn the programming of the Gigatron. Unfortunately I have only limited time for the Gigatron. I also already have some ideas for a few games. A BASIC command reference would help me for the first one, but I can't find it?
walter
Site Admin
Posts: 117
Joined: 13 May 2018, 08:00

Re: New Gigatron with 128K expansion. Boots from SD!

Post by walter »

Funny you should post this today. I also just soldered and installed the expansion today. I had to wait for a new programmer to arrive, I had a TL866 but that cannot program these GALs. So I got a TL866IIplus, but this turned out to be problematic.. I ordered in China, but made sure to use a seller that would be shipping from Germany, so I would get the programmer quickly. They did not ship however. On the 10th business day (last day for them to ship), they sent me a tracking link for an unrelated shipment. I had to wait quite some time to be able to file a complaint (the seller would persist in sending the programmer, even though I asked for a refund, and subsequently did not ship). After I finally could file an official complaint, it was resolved quickly and I ordered at another supplier and I received the programmer in 1 day..
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Hans61
Posts: 27
Joined: 29 Dec 2020, 16:15
Location: Saxonia
Contact:

Re: New Gigatron with 128K expansion. Boots from SD!

Post by Hans61 »

I also have a TL866IIplus, I think directly from China. I find the part better with each passing day. I had the extension ready last week, just no time to post. I also have to thank lb3361 for the idea with the GAL/PAL. I didn't have that in focus and didn't know those things existed back in the 80s.
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