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OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:30 pm
by iss
I have the great honor to announce officially with this post the birth of OricExos.
The beginning was set exactly before one year with Dbug's idea to somehow "merge" two Oric's RGB video outputs. The first attempts for synchronization were not good although optimistic. Then ULA was reverse engineered and thanks to this incredible work we succeeded to make two Orics to work together!

You can follow the progress at github.
There is not much yet but I'll try to document everything at least with pictures.

This topic is open for any discussions else you can use:
Do not hesitate to contribute with ideas, opinions, knowledge and skills! Everything is highly appreciated.

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:35 pm
by iss
The four Oric's are prepared!
UHF and 7905 removed, VSync hack mounted and some holes drilled ...
The_Four_Orics.jpg

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:18 am
by waskol
:D This project is incredible !

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:05 am
by ibisum
Go OricExos, GO!

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:58 am
by Chema
Oh God. As interesting and impressive as this is, please do not damage any original motherboard!

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:53 pm
by iss
Chema wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:58 am
...please do not damage any original motherboard!
Well, I think only one broken track is not so bad ;).
Here is the Master Oric - ready for action:
Master.jpg
More info at github

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:23 pm
by Chema
Argh... Those motherboards survived 35 years and you are drilling holes and cutting tracks on them! :cry:

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:31 am
by ibisum
It is really painful to see these boards being modified, so I hope you guys know the pressure is on to make this project really awesome. Which it already is, just .. waiting with baited breath to know that those poor old Oric's have suffered lobotomies for good reason.. :)

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:03 am
by Chema
The project is awesome, don't get me wrong. The thing is that there are two lines in the retro-scene: those who like to mod their machines so they get new features or are more comfortable to use, and those who'd prefer to keep those museum pieces as mint as possible.

I am on the second. I hated to add a home made Oric logo sticker, but it was worse to see the empty space. I also hate to have my warranty label (the one covering one screw at the Oric's bottom) missing. I repaired my sound (Silicebit repaired it for me) and did not install a jack or a volume control, because that'd mean drilling the case.

But those of the first (most of them in the Amiga scene) love to add volume controls, extra outputs, extra switches to switch from 1.0 to 1.1 ROMs, whatever.

It is a matter of opinion, of course, and I am most probably wrong, but these machines are no longer just outdated computers. They are 35 years old pieces of history. There are not new cases or keyboards or motherboards for sale (except a few!), the motherboard's need caring and conservation more than drilling.

I am not against those mods that are needed to make the machine work, or use modern hardware (such as the spectrum composite video out mod, or modding so you can use an EPROM to replace a new ROM with Microdisc), or anything that is reversible; but whenever I see somebody drilling, painting, squashing or smashing an old computer, something inside my cries out.

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:36 am
by iss
Chema, I totally agree with you about the need to preserve Oric in their original shape and look!
I like Oric as is and definitely will never drill a hole in the case ... I swear! :)

Firstly when I bought these 4 Oric from eBay they were "not working for spare parts" full with dust, hairs and grease. Now the boxes are clean and shining (no holes!) and all 4 boards are fixed and working - my little contribution to the history :). Then working on OricExos I reveled lot of Oric's secrets - priceless for me. And at end OricExos is a way to make Orics live. Yes, bit extreme but in my opinion it's worth and this really small "damages" are not in vain.

So don't sorrow - there will be no more vandalism and please be positive and share your ideas about any possible video and audio effects which we can do with OricExos.

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:08 pm
by Chema
Will do!!! As I said I really find this very interesting and you are doing magic.

And if you revived old rusty non-working boards, then you are fully redeemed... And praised :D

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:23 pm
by ibisum
Plus there's the fact that there are now 4 cases to be used in restoring other Orics. ;)

Anyway: full support for OricExos from me! Can't wait to see the madness produce fruitful results ..

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:39 pm
by Dbug
Regarding the use of multiple oric motherboards, there are multiple ways of seing the situation.

The way I see it is that:
- Orics are not rare, at all. It was not "Computer of the year 1983" in France for nothing: Every week you can find some on ebay, right now there are about ten Pravetz and Atmoses as well as eight Oric 1
- If you could ask them, would they rather be kept in a drawer, shelf or cardboard box, or actually been used in some exciting new hardware project?

Plus it's not like they were damaged beyond repair, most of the changes are minor (that's a part of the exercise: Try to get the maximum bangs with the minimum amount of changes) and easy to revert.

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:54 am
by iss
This is how OricExos looks like:
20181007_234339.jpg
20181007_232751.jpg
... and it WORKS!

Master's Tape-Out is connected to Slaves's Tape-In and with this simple 'master' program:

Code: Select all

10 HIMEM#3FFF:CLS
20 CLOAD"":ST=DEEK(#2A9):EN=DEEK(#2AB)
30 CSAVE"SLAVE",A ST,E EN,AUTO
40 CALL ST
I was able to "CSAVE" to slaves sample code and execute it thanks to the ",AUTO" param!
Which means - we have working Tape-Slow Oric Network! :lol:

Attached are sources and the TAP file which contains concatenated master and slave code.
Here HIMEM#3FFF is because the slave's code starts at #4000.
You can try it in Oricutron - as result you should get "ORIC #0 READY", where '#0' is the master Oric.
In the assembler code you can see how every Oric gets its number - the byte at #EDB0...

I found the limitation that I can "upload" to slaves only machine code programs (i.e. Basic programs are not accepted). And this is because the used patch - jump to CLOAD ROM routine at #E874 - may be some BASIC variables are not initialized... This is not big problem, but if someone has a solution how to use CLOAD in more proper way - it would be very helpful!

Additionally I connected the Master's STROBE to Slaves's ACKNOWLEDGE (printer port) and the idea is to use this as "kick" to start synchronized code in slaves... so, stay tuned for upcoming video feeds :).

Please, don't hesitate to share ideas for possible usages - let's test its abilities.

Re: OricExos - making the impossible

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:41 pm
by Chema
That rocks!!!