help! with loading difficulties on the Ace

help! with loading difficulties on the Ace

Postby Richard Butler » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:32 pm

Ive been having some trouble loading in on the real ace seems to be random i write code on the emulator save it to tape and load it in, I have several tape decks but only had success on one of them also its seems now not loading off this one, ive tried loading from soundcard on PC but no success, the tape deck I use loads fine on to several other computers including spectrums etc... are they always this awkward ? any tips ?

a new tape ?
an amplifier ?
a filter ?
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Re: help! with loading difficulties on the Ace

Postby DuLac » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:30 pm

Hello Richard,

If I remember correctly, the altered circuit affected the 367 buffers.
Are you using it still "patched?
If you do... that should be the problem.

You see, Z18 and Z16 use an electronic hack that seem to be known
by some circuit designers so that the chip would work in a different
way from the usual and designed mode.

The hack injects Vcc to pin 12 in both cases, altering the logic state
of the 367 so that it can work in a way that would need a lot of
circuits. It is an electronic hack in a digital circuit, so to speak.

I've never received confirmation of the change in behavior.
It is fully deduced from the apparent nonsense of the connections
AFTER those being confirmed. If someone checked my findings,
nobody ever posted a feedback on the matter. Someone MUST
have checked, but I'm still based on observation and deduction.

But I'll stand for the explanation of the hack as it makes total sense.
I do repeat: If working with the patched 367's... the only way would
be to re-inject a 5v in a spare input.

I believe you have none and the results on the remaining workings
of the ACE could be bizarre. (I do not remind the situation properly
to make any assumption. Just to remind that should be the reason
IF working with the patched ACE.

IF you do not mind to loose the video for some moments, you
COULD try to send a VCC to one of the pins used with the video
TEMPORARILY so to get a good load (simulating usual work)
THEN suspend the VCC... to resume to the present mode.

I'm not seeing the map of you ACE, but this could be the "thing".
If you find a near pin12, or pin14 that (though not free) is being used
for video ... Try it during a load.
If this shows to work (I'm confident it will) you could solder a small
wire with a switch... and still have the coolest ACE around.

I've never had a load error when loading... with the exception of
some time trashed tapes... and even then, maybe some over
recording that corrupted a file. IT MUST BE THE 367.
(The worst in a solid information... is that it is usually is incomplete
without us knowing it... That is why I do not listen "News"... and
only now come to this "solution" - the situation was missing behind
the distress requests)

BFN,
DuLac
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Re: help! with loading difficulties on the Ace

Postby DuLac » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:39 pm

At the end of the following link, you'll find an alternative load circuit using a spare gate in the ACE.

That way you 'may' avoid the absence of the changed logic of the buffer.
This 'may' the the solution for your trouble, while keeping your ACE's ... uniqueness.

Info ENDING http://www.jupiter-ace.co.uk/hardware_ace_inteface.html ... Quoting:
---8<---
Tape Port and Keybeep
The standard Ace tape port input circuit is shown in Fig. 7a. R1 biases the gate input to about 2V, and R2 acts as a tape recorder output load resistor. If the gate is omitted, it is possible to feed straight into the interface connection from the circuit of Fig. 7a, but gate buffering is desirable.
A suggested circuit for an alternative tape port is given in Fig. 7b. The spare three input NOR in IC1 is pressed into service (the inverted signal works) and C1 is increased in value to improve sensitivity. A higher value for R2 makes it possible to feed from DIN plugs on some tape recorders. With DC access to the tape port, you can experiment with input filtering, etc.
---8<---

Blind suggestion though!
Attachments
ace_interface_page4_1.jpg
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Re: help! with loading difficulties on the Ace

Postby Richard Butler » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:16 am

Hi dulac,
thanks for the info,
Im using a differnent ace one which looks standard well, I say "standard" although it was brought new in a 4000 case and I brought it from the original owner its the original ace board dated 83 but the memory is soldered on the board so looks like some transition board between the ace and 4000 anyway ive ben able to load on it 90% of the time now i cant seem to, I wrote a short MC routine to show port FE on the screen so I could see what the port was seeing and looks pretty messy seems lots of noise but then i dont know what a working one looks like, i can see the tape noise setting bit5 but i assume its not clear enough, again i tried the routine on my other other ace with the patch which i can see now definately affects the screen as my other one doesnt act in the same way, again I can see the bit5 being set from the tape signal but ive not managed to load anything on that one, as the other one did i thought this would be the best to look closer at.

been very busy had little time to do anything, i shall take a look at getting my meter out and checking the capacitors
would have been nice to be able to buy the interface board kits! my hardware skills are pretty limited!

Ive started collecting all the components to build an ace from scratch so I can just use it for testing... !
Richard Butler
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Re: help! with loading difficulties on the Ace

Postby DuLac » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:21 pm

Hello,

Now it is a bit clear.
I do maintain the the previous suggestions in relation to the patched ACE.

In regard to the 4000, It seems the capacitor C3 or Or resistance R6 (both on a regular ACE - similar in the 4000)
were destroyed due to excessive signal. I mean one or both!
This may have affected the first buffer, hope not.

You should can that capacitor and test for a 10k resistance. Value should be zero.
Test resistance for 1K(Ace) or whatever is used (in the 4000). Value should be near.

After checking... also try a different Z80. And that leaves the 2 buffers, but they are soldered.
I think this covers all.

BTW,
What is the value of the components you are collecting to build a new ACE?
Is there time to get all double so you could send me a collection?
Reason:
I would like to try some variations on the ACE, and that would give me a chance, (with a full one build in a breadboard).
Just do not need the Z80... I think... But I do need one or two 6809B, or 68B09, or maybe an Hitashi 6309 (6809+).
It would be interesting to build an ACE with a different CPU. The 6809 is a dream when it comes to FORTH.
But it was much more expensive than the Z80... at the time! A piece of history:

The 6809 was so efficient... it shadow the 68000.
Considering the battle between VHS and Betamax (Video tape recording standards)...
.... not the same thing, but close to see a half-similar pattern (not the same though)

BFN,
DuLac.
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Re: help! with loading difficulties on the Ace

Postby DuLac » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:24 pm

Hitachi 6309, not hitaShi.
Note: I cannot import here, too much restrictions. But a pack from Europe is ok.
If it is possible to get a collection, great! If not... No problem!
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Re: help! with loading difficulties on the Ace

Postby DuLac » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:26 pm

Missed it again... the 6309 was also known as "Hitachi 63C09E", and it seem to have clones.
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Re: help! with loading difficulties on the Ace

Postby Richard Butler » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:26 pm

sorry Dulac, been so busy!!!!!!

I shall test the cap and finish reading the post, im still working now and will let you know! it was all going so well! :cry:
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Re: help! with loading difficulties on the Ace

Postby Richard Butler » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:59 pm

Thanks dulac,
Replace 47nf Cap and 12k resistor is still ok, the old cap seem fine, i need a real tape from someone that tests it on theres and then i can test it on mine to check its not the tapedeck, unless any other ideas ?
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SORTED.

Postby Richard Butler » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:59 pm

With lack or real guidance and help from the ace community bar a couple was time to take things in my own hands!
So I brought a 2 channel scope from china at a bargain price of £13.50 and had a play!

worked a treat, I was able to see the Z17 (367 hex buffer) wasn't firing correctly as I originally suspected, seemed to only fire occasionally, So I build a small circuit to mimic the sound input of the Ace, the filter 1k and 12k resistors, 47nf Cap and the 367 kind of used like an A2D, when I tested this circuit on the scope it acted completely different and as expected

So I carefully/painfully de-soldered it and at the same time accidentally split it in 2 :| soldered in a replacement and it now works like a charm put a scope back on the pins and its perfect, so does seem the 367 chips can be an issue, with few people having aces, fewer turning them on and even fewer attempting to load anything this could be a common issue Ive seen many go for sale when they say "not tested the tape side!" the 2 Ive had both have had loading issues and either bypassed 367 or faulty 367.

I'm now chuffed, got a fair amount of ASM to test for emulator development to continue.

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