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Anyone Selling XT-IDE Cards?

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    #61
    Originally posted by glitch View Post
    The rev 2 board had a built-in UART for "bare metal" booting. I've had very few (none?) people request it be populated. As such, I removed it from the rev 3 board entirely. The UART was not usable as a COM port under DOS, strictly for booting. You could've used it with customized software, of course.
    I'm not sure why you would need customized software? I know at least one person that used it with a serial mouse.
    Looking for a cache card for the "ICL ErgoPRO C4/66d V"

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      #62
      EDIT Totally wrong about the lack of interrupt capability, rechecked the schematic and it does in fact have an interrupt jumper block.

      I suppose you could make the UART appear at the proper I/O port for DOS COM port compatibility, but it has no interrupt capability, so it would only work with software doing polled I/O. I don't know what percentage of software does polled COM port I/O.
      Last edited by glitch; May 16, 2016, 08:19 AM.
      Check out The Glitch Works | My Retro Projects | Vintage Computer Services | Glitch Works Tindie Store -- Vintage Computer Kits and More

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        #63
        Originally posted by pearce_jj View Post
        All this and the bus MUX timing has been solved already by my board which is available already.
        I seem to remember the Lo-Tech XT-IDE also uses a fixed I/O port address of 0x300, which for me is a pretty serious restriction.

        I think it's great that people have multiple options for open-source hardware!
        Last edited by glitch; May 16, 2016, 06:09 AM.
        Check out The Glitch Works | My Retro Projects | Vintage Computer Services | Glitch Works Tindie Store -- Vintage Computer Kits and More

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          #64
          Originally posted by glitch View Post
          I suppose you could make the UART appear at the proper I/O port for DOS COM port compatibility, but it has no interrupt capability, so it would only work with software doing polled I/O. I don't know what percentage of software does polled COM port I/O.
          I would suggest that booting programs would have a very hard time with a polled-only UART, but few such programs support a mouse anyway. When running a DOS program, I would think it is a function of the mouse driver to provide its information, whether by polled I/O or via interrupts.

          As far as the Serial UART goes, I believe most people find other ways to format a hard drive if they have no working floppy drive. I believe it is possible to format a CF drive, for example, and make it DOS bootable by a CF reader attached to a modern computer. It may be possible to do this even with DOSBox.
          Last edited by Great Hierophant; May 16, 2016, 06:23 AM.
          My Retro Computing and Vintage Gaming Blog : http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/

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            #65
            For reference, the person using a serial mouse was Sziklai and the discussion starts here. He later confirmed it working here.

            Personally, I don't understand why people don't want the serial port. Sure, the functionality is still available as long as there is a serial port in the system but having a high-speed port for a small additional cost is a no-brainer to me. I suppose it's one of those things people don't know they need/want until they have actually seen it in use.
            Looking for a cache card for the "ICL ErgoPRO C4/66d V"

            Comment


              #66
              Oops, I was mistaken about the UART not having interrupt capability! I took a look at the rev 2 schematic and it does in fact have a jumper block for it. I was probably thinking of the nonstandard crystal throwing it off for DOS. Of course you can change that out, as mentioned.

              I can't speak for everyone else, but I've never had a need for it. AFAIK the server-side software is a Windows application, so that sort of rules it out for me anyway (no Windows machines). If you solder down your ICs instead of using sockets everywhere, you're stuck with the UART if you solder down its components -- can't be disabled without cutting, even if you pull the UART the bus driver still responds on reads so you have to just map it onto an unused I/O address, consuming more I/O space.

              I could see it being useful if you were stuck with a PC and no way to create floppies or write to the drive you were using with the XT-IDE, and your machine didn't have a serial port, but how many use cases does that cover? The board layout and routing are cleaner without it. I would think most people without a way to write floppies would need a USB -> RS232 converter anyway, so why not use a CF card + USB reader?
              Check out The Glitch Works | My Retro Projects | Vintage Computer Services | Glitch Works Tindie Store -- Vintage Computer Kits and More

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                #67
                Having a 2nd serial port for a mouse would be something I'd like for my Portable, but I can easily live without it.
                My Site (under construction!) | My Apple Lisa 2/10

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                  #68
                  Originally posted by glitch View Post
                  AFAIK the server-side software is a Windows application, so that sort of rules it out for me anyway (no Windows machines).
                  There is also a Linux port available on GitHub. See this. Additional ports of the server-side software for other operating systems are more than welcome.

                  If you solder down your ICs instead of using sockets everywhere, you're stuck with the UART if you solder down its components -- can't be disabled without cutting, even if you pull the UART the bus driver still responds on reads so you have to just map it onto an unused I/O address, consuming more I/O space.
                  As I see it, everything should be socketed anyway on hobbyist boards like these. But don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing whether you should have the serial port ciruitry or not on this board. That's completely up to you. I'm just surprised that so few people find it useful, especially when there are lots of threads on here about problems booting these old machines due to all kinds of issues with floppies and floppy drives/controllers etc.
                  Looking for a cache card for the "ICL ErgoPRO C4/66d V"

                  Comment


                    #69
                    Starting to order parts through my various IC supplier sources. I'm hoping I can get the parts kit in under $20!
                    Check out The Glitch Works | My Retro Projects | Vintage Computer Services | Glitch Works Tindie Store -- Vintage Computer Kits and More

                    Comment


                      #70
                      Originally posted by glitch View Post
                      I seem to remember the Lo-Tech XT-IDE also uses a fixed I/O port address of 0x300, which for me is a pretty serious restriction.
                      It is the first time this has been raised. There is probably just about enough board space to add a selection jumper to provide another option.

                      Comment


                        #71
                        Originally posted by pearce_jj View Post
                        It is the first time this has been raised. There is probably just about enough board space to add a selection jumper to provide another option.
                        I like having the full address select option that the original XT-IDE boards provide -- it lets you map around a system already full of hardware, when you might not be able to move anything else around. A fixed I/O port is probably not an issue for many people, especially if you're building up a system and would just rejumper other cards in the system.

                        Just to be clear, I think the Lo-Tech XT-IDE and XT-CF are great boards, especially since the size has been reduced to the bare minimum, but I also think there's merit in keeping the original XT-IDE in development. I can't imagine it *hurts* the hobbyist community to have more options available.
                        Check out The Glitch Works | My Retro Projects | Vintage Computer Services | Glitch Works Tindie Store -- Vintage Computer Kits and More

                        Comment


                          #72
                          Originally posted by glitch View Post
                          Just to be clear, I think the Lo-Tech XT-IDE and XT-CF are great boards, especially since the size has been reduced to the bare minimum, but I also think there's merit in keeping the original XT-IDE in development. I can't imagine it *hurts* the hobbyist community to have more options available.
                          Of course, the more options the better. And yes Lo-tech stuff is awesome. I recently built the full XT-IDE and it works great. The performance is great too. There's also a big plus: James is a very helpful person. He will ALWAYS respond and try to help you if you find any problems. He is also very open to new ideas and his shop is getting bigger with lots of options. I'm very excited about a new line of products in his shop.

                          BTW, there is great stuff happening from Vogons forums members too. Besides the Inovation SSI-2001 replica that was an absolute success, there's also the Covox Sound Master and ARGUS (GUS Pnp enhanced clone). I believe Tronix from here is also working on a Creative Game Blaster Clone. Then there's also a favorite of mine, the Tandy Sound adapter.
                          Last edited by CarlosTex; May 23, 2016, 04:25 AM.

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                            #73
                            Parts are starting to arrive! The majority are from US suppliers, but the AT28C64B EEPROMs are coming from Taiwan as they were significantly cheaper.

                            Looks like there will be no XT Slot 8 support -- I pulled out my XT over the weekend, and there's insufficient clearance with the shortest Flash module I have. Extending the board a little bit to allow the addition of another IC would probably make it too big for XT Slot 8 anwyay.
                            Check out The Glitch Works | My Retro Projects | Vintage Computer Services | Glitch Works Tindie Store -- Vintage Computer Kits and More

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                              #74
                              Originally posted by glitch View Post
                              Parts are starting to arrive! The majority are from US suppliers, but the AT28C64B EEPROMs are coming from Taiwan as they were significantly cheaper.

                              Looks like there will be no XT Slot 8 support -- I pulled out my XT over the weekend, and there's insufficient clearance with the shortest Flash module I have. Extending the board a little bit to allow the addition of another IC would probably make it too big for XT Slot 8 anwyay.
                              What if you used an IDE cable to flex back around and then connect the CF to the cable?
                              Daniel P. Cayea - The Lyon Mountain Company - Plattsburgh, New York 12901
                              Vintage Equipment: IBM 5150 * IBM 5161 * ThinkPad 770ED
                              Modern Equipment: MacBook Pro 13 * Alienware M15R3

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                                #75
                                Originally posted by lyonadmiral View Post
                                What if you used an IDE cable to flex back around and then connect the CF to the cable?
                                That would work with the current board length, but adding a little length to accommodate Slot 8 support would probably make the board too long even for a cable. There's not a whole lot of room there, which the vertical connector of the Lo-Tech boards get around. I guess if you absolutely positively must have slot 8 support and want to use a XT-IDE rev 3, you can "dead bug" the circuit on top. I can't imagine there's a ton of demand for it, or situations where the Lo-Tech board wouldn't work.
                                Check out The Glitch Works | My Retro Projects | Vintage Computer Services | Glitch Works Tindie Store -- Vintage Computer Kits and More

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