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Thread: Sidecar, Janus, Bridgeboard, Workbench, KickStart

  1. #1

    Default Sidecar, Janus, Bridgeboard, Workbench, KickStart

    Hi, all

    I'm currently fighting with an A1000 (with A1050 and internaly soldered 1Meg Chip RAM expansion), an A1060 sicedar, a "standard" WD filecard and a "modern" XTCF card.

    All hardware appears to be working properly, the filecard contains 1 (non bootable ?) DOS 3.2 volume, and 3 AmigaDos volumes. Unfortunately, when I run DJMOUNT, I can see 3 AmigaDos volumes arriving but I receive a guru within few seconds. [hardware or software issue ?]

    I had no floppy disks comming with the A1000, and nearly no remaining Amiga floppy around me. I've been able to build a KickStart 1.3, a WB 1.3, and an unknown Sidecar/Janus setup disk using a Catweasel from a "modern" PC, peeking around the web what I've been able to find. I have no other Amiga hardware around there than a CTDV (pretty unusefull for the while !).

    My first request there is to find a place where I could find convenant reference disks and proper setup of the sidecar from the Amiga side. I would apreciate details on Janus disk version, Janus handler version, and Janus library as I know that there have been lots of hardware changes on Janus hardware (A1060, 2088, 2088T, 2286, 2386), there might be some backward incompatibilities somewhere.

    From the PC side, I wanted to replace the tired WD filecard with a "modern" XTCF (more reliable and successfully tested over tons of normal vintage PC compatibles). I'm facing an issue where the XTCF board doesn not initialize properly with the normal sidecar setup [IE : with sidecar's dip switches, when E000 segment is defined as shared memory, XTCF is not initialized and ignored but Janus does (idem with D000 segment) - when A000 segment is defined as shared memory, XTCF is properly initialized and works correctly but Janus is not initialized]. Note that I've found an error in A1060 manual with dip switches setup for A000 and D000 segments; they're reversed ... also, I've found no change with "preference" setup of shared memory segment.

    My second request is to find deep details on Janus operation [at least from PC side], and if someone succeded in sidecar's HDD substitution with some modern hardware.

    The "ultimate" goal would be to have an "original" A1000 running with an HDD (even if not bootable) and able to "do something" over the web taking advantage of an EtherLink board .... I already succeded having the A1000 + SideCar (PC) + TrackStar (Apple][) working together ; 3 hardwares in 1 !

    Any help or suggestion welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Taradale, VIC, Australia


    I have an A1000 and Sidecar, and while not exactly the same problem you have, I did have trouble accessing Amiga partitions on the PC hard drive.

    See the thread here for details and a cure for my problem:

    Basically, in my case, I had to use the correct version of Janus for the Sidecar, and have the jumpers set correctly.

    Some more info on the Sidecar, and a link to the installation disk:
    Last edited by A4000Bear; April 10th, 2014 at 06:05 PM.

  3. #3


    Thanks , A4000bear, to reply to this bottle in the sea !

    I've done some progress since my last post .... The version that I was using (completely instable) was most probably the one you've pointed : Handler 2.63/Library 33.1. Since then, I've deeply searched the web and found numerous Janus disks ... I had good results (no more gurus) with the previous (??) version as handler 2.20/Library 32.2, may be mostly due to less requesting on memory as I also suspect an issue on my 1Meg expansion.

    Here is what I've found until now :
    Disque (DMS) Taille Fichier Amiga Fichier PC Dossier (DMS) JanusHandler /Dev/JDiskDevice /Expansion/JanusLibrary
    _system1 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 3220 3352 33.1 22/02/86
    _system2 8192 Pc.Boot /Sidecar 2.13 1972 3340 32.2 25/04/86
    _system3 8192 Pc.Boot /Sidecar 2.20 3244 3456 32.2 25/04/86
    CBM_PcInstall 12288 Pc.Boot /PC+/System 2.63 ?? 3244 10024 33.1b5 25/10/88
    Janus2.1 12288 Pc.Boot /PC/System ??TBC?? 3220 10888 36.83 21/08/91
    Janus2.1 16384 Pc.Boot.2386sx /PC/System ??TBC?? 3220 10888 36.83 21/08/91
    JanusSetup 8192 Pc.Boot /Sidecar 2.20 3244 3456 32.2 25/04/86
    Diag 8192 Pc.Boot /Sidecar ??TBC?? 3244 3456 32.2 25/04/86
    [N/A = JanusHandler file not found in the DMS image]
    [??TBC?? = ToBeConfirmed]

    1) I'm searching now more deep/technical details on the sidecar and Handler(PC)/Library (Amiga) operation
    2) I'm searching the "PC" diag disk image
    3) I'm almost 100% certain that my XTCF issue it caused by rought handling of INT19 (boot strap) on XTIDE universal BIOS and that Janus does perfectly it's job as it should. Now, my only solution is to go to 8088 code as no one from XTCF support seems to be ready to have a look to this problem and give the proof that it'll work with a correct initialization sequence as :

    - When XTCF ROM init arrives at C800, initialize all HDDs and hook INT13 accordignly/setup correctly BIOS vars for present HDDs - Hook INT19 only for real bootstrap task [currently, all HDD init job of XTCF BIOS is done by INT19 bootstrap, even in the case of "very late init" option]
    - When Janus ROM init arrives (after) at E000, it'll be able to take advantage of hooked INT13 HDD usage and perform it's normal INT19 hook/bootstrap, looking for whatever thing is needed at Amiga side

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Taradale, VIC, Australia


    Yes, I'm using using Janus handler 2.20 and library 32.2

    The BIOS in the sidecar was originally 2.05, I updated it to 2.06, which was the last version.

    I notice you are after the PC diag disk. Do you mean the PC Janus disk?

    There was a circuit schematic and service manual for the Sidecar on ebay a few years ago. I wasn't the successful bidder.

  5. #5


    OK for Handler 2.20/Library 32.2 ... Did you successfully tested more recent versions on the SideCar ?

    I'm currently using BIOS 2.06 what should be correct.

    When I'm talking about "DIAG", there are several points :
    1) There is a test jumper on the sidecar - I've not understood it's purpose; when activated, the sidecar just cycles booting, nothing more ...
    - Is this normal behaviour ?
    - What could be done with that ?

    2) While searching for sidecar softwares, I've found a DMS image called "DIAG"
    - It's an Amiga image
    - It seems to embeed handler 2.20/library 32.2 and no workbench
    - While booting, it goes to a sidecar test phase but ont point reached, it waits for another diag disk from the PC side - No idea of what it expects

    3) Even without service manual and schematics, do you have indeep knowledge of operations between PC side and Amiga side ?
    - How to program "something" from PC side to do "something" to the Amiga side and reverse ?
    - What "exactly" does the sidecar while Amiga side is booting, until the "handler" code is loaded to shared RAM (visible as ROM from PC side) - It seems that BIOS just waits until the library is setup !
    - Could it be possible to softly initialize "handler" ROM once the PC side has booted
    - What could be avantages of using handler/library over 2.20/32.2 ?
    - Did you already experienced with "AT Utilities" (that I've found on a german site) ? [seems to be some replacement tools for PC/Amiga sides - don't know if it'll need Handler/Library]

    Regards - Hervé

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Taradale, VIC, Australia


    I did try the latest versions, which were for the A2386 Bridgeboard, but the Amiga cannot access the PC hard drive as an Amiga partition.
    I don't know if intermediate versions will work.

    I did try the diag jumper, and had exactly the same results as you. I suspect it was for factory testing.

    I haven't seen those diag disks, so I know nothing about them.

    I know very little about how the Amiga and sidecar communicate, however, I can confirm the Sidecar does not start until Janus is loaded on the Amiga.


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