Development of PC to MSX hardware & software! (PC2MSX)

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Par losje

Resident (34)

Portrait de losje

10-09-2009, 19:40

Guys,

I am currently making a utility (inluding the hardware) to be able to:

  • * Transfer .dsk images from your PC to MSX
    * Transfer separate files from PC to MSX

To achieve this goal, I've created a (buffered) cable conecting to the PC's printerport, and the 2 Joystick ports.

Preliminary results are that I was able to transmit up to 3 kbyte per second over the cable!

I would like to know if there is anyone who would be interested in a professionalised version on this transfer tools, if yes I will certainly make one...

Please leave your comments on this project, and of course you can also include requests for features here...

Thanks!

!login ou Inscrivez-vous pour poster

Par jltursan

Prophet (2619)

Portrait de jltursan

10-09-2009, 19:53

Nice; but I guess that it would be useful only for users with diskless (and I mean floppy) PCs, diskless MSX or both, right?

Also, what kind of printerport are you using?, if it's the parallel one is even harder to find than a floppy drive...

Anyway, I'm sure that could be useful!

Par losje

Resident (34)

Portrait de losje

10-09-2009, 23:01

For Diskless MSX this is not useful, it's especially useful if you exchange files with PC often.
When developing software, or when your MSX drive alignment is not 100% (I have an MSX with this problem) you can exchange files anyway.

You DO need an LPT parallel printer port for this! I assume most people still have a PC with this feature around Wink

Par MicroTech

Champion (387)

Portrait de MicroTech

11-09-2009, 08:37

Hi losje,
maybe also Acrobat232 cable can be of interest for your goal.
A232 (for short) is a simple voltage level adapter (using MAX232) useful to connect an MSX joystick port to RS232.
Tx and Rx must be software driven (but this doesn't seem a problem for your application).
If you wish I can send all material @ my disposal.

About your project:
- why using both MSX joystick ports? Sound quite "invasive", although this could permit huge file transfer rates from PC to MSX.
- you need to develop also PC-side software, are you going to design your own file transfer protocol?

Best Regards
MicroTech

Par losje

Resident (34)

Portrait de losje

11-09-2009, 12:41

Hi losje,
maybe also Acrobat232 cable can be of interest for your goal.
A232 (for short) is a simple voltage level adapter (using MAX232) useful to connect an MSX joystick port to RS232.
About your project:
- why using both MSX joystick ports? Sound quite "invasive", although this could permit huge file transfer rates from PC to MSX.
- you need to develop also PC-side software, are you going to design your own file transfer protocol?

@jltursan, thanks for your reply and usefull additions.
For file transfer (especially whole 720kb .DSK) you will need an acceptable transfer rate. That's the reason why I chose to use 2 joystick ports (one full byte of data possible with one handshake)
You are right about the protocol, that's something that I wrote already (I'm working on this together with my father, who is really experienced in assembly programming) for both MSX and PC. I see 2 good reasons to also use the 232 port:
1. Both ways data transfer possible
2. No printer port neccesary
The drawback obviously is the capacity for data throughput. This will be roughly around 1/8 of my own protocol, some small calculations:
LPT+2xJOY ==> 3000 bytes per sec ==> 720kb takes 4 minutes
COM+1xJOY ==> 400 bytes per sec ==> 720kb takes 30 minutes

I have the MAX232 on stock here, but thanks for the offer.
Do you also have the software that drives this communication cable?

Par RobertVroemisse

Paragon (1322)

Portrait de RobertVroemisse

11-09-2009, 13:20

Nice project, but maybe a bit too late. We already have the Nowind interface that does the same...

Par MicroTech

Champion (387)

Portrait de MicroTech

11-09-2009, 14:38

I have the MAX232 on stock here, but thanks for the offer.
Cool
Do you also have the software that drives this communication cable?
IIRC original A232 package contained XModem and YModem file transfer utilities but they were completely in Japanese and without sources.

I rewrote a my custom driver to use A232 inside Ghibli (my own debugger).
I could transfer @ 19200 bps on a 3,5MHz Z80 (using turboR system timer for perfect sync) so I think you could theorically transfer from PC to MSX @ 19200 * 8 bit = approx 150Kbyte/sec.

Hint: new PCs do not provide parallel port... so it could be great if your PC file transfer protocol could support USB-to -parallel adapter.

Par jltursan

Prophet (2619)

Portrait de jltursan

11-09-2009, 18:55

@jltursan, thanks for your reply and usefull additions.

It's not me, I'm afraid that the useful additions came from MicroTech. Also I'm with MicroTech when he says that later PCs doesn't mount parallel ports; I have a great eeePC that doesn't have any. USB is the king now.

Nice project, but maybe a bit too late. We already have the Nowind interface that does the same...
Reply Reply Reply with quote Reply with quote

More alternatives, more fun... Smile

Par losje

Resident (34)

Portrait de losje

12-09-2009, 00:56

I think that it will be hard at least to make a program for MSX which will support all FDD controllers, there is an extra bit of hardware that differs on several MSX platforms...
I'm currently working on a 8280 and also the 8220 seems to have the same controller...

Anyway: it works :-) I am now able to flawlessly send floppies around.

Some cosmetic changes are still needed of course, but it turned out to be really useful!

Par Vampier

Prophet (2405)

Portrait de Vampier

12-09-2009, 10:21

Losje ever heard of nowind?

http://www.nowind.nl/

Par losje

Resident (34)

Portrait de losje

12-09-2009, 11:29

Losje ever heard of nowind?

Yes, certainly heard of it, but it's very vague where to get it, what the cost is and what exactly the SW features are.
Also, it seems like a complex solution to my simple problem (Transferring .DSK or files to the MSX).

Anyway, We'll probably meet in Nijmegen 2009 ;-)

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