Cumulus Preorder Thread

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Dbug
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Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by Dbug » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:17 pm

[More details about what Cumulus is at the end of the post]

This is the official Cumulus Preorder Thread, if you want to order one, please post a reply to this message or your risk being missed.

The reason we do it this way, is that we can centralize the requests instead of having random posts or mails sent all over the place.
It is highly recommended to post the link to this thread to the places where you can think of people will be interested, I doubt there will be many more 'large scale' batches of Cumulus devices :)


Preorder Queue:
The current list (by chronological order) is:
- fandenivoldsk (1 sure)
- bloguidice (1 sure)
- billdooruk (1 sure, potentially 2)
- polluks (1 sure)
- PsychShaman (1 sure)

- peterb55 (1 sure)
- leduigou (2 sure)
- razzmoket (1 sure)
- marksmith34 (1 sure)
- christian (2 sure)
- Alav (1 sure)
- WDA (1 sure)
- markerror (1 sure)
- tingo (1 sure)
- coolman66 (1 sure)
- JonB (1 sure)
- Atlantis (1 sure)
- Slator (1 sure)
- AndyGarton (1 sure)
- pinace (1 sure)
- weirdocollector (1 sure)
- uniforix (1 sure)
- Star42 (1 sure)
- philou (1 sure)
- JihemB (2 sure)
- Thcm (1 sure)
- flip (2 sure)
- musepat (1 sure)
- ES59 (1 sure)
- tonio8bits (1 sure)
- nanofo (1 sure)
- Igotafro (2 sure)
- ntrs (1 sure, potentially 2)
- MarcelPentium (1 sure)
- Hialmar (1 sure)
- iainjh (1 sure)
- Genius (1 sure)
- laios (1 sure)
- steph-tux (1 sure)
- Owen2471 (1 sure)
- Dirk (1 sure)
- robione (1 sure)
- Peter Flan (1 sure)
- fog (1 sure)
- Chipyto (1 sure)
- drpsy (1 sure)
- PAWI (1 sure)
- kenshigros (1 sure)
- Pluto63 (1 sure)
- Vyper68 (1 sure)
- ephy (1 sure)
- kerkyra2007 (1 sure)
- enthusi (1 sure)
- sjm (1 sure)
- Bieno (1 sure)
- EamonShoot (1 sure)
- geo1977 (1 sure)
- bonux (1 sure)

Additional orders for people who wanted more than 2
- Symoon (1 sure)
- coco.oric (1 sure)
- carlsson (2 sure)
- Godzil (1 sure)
Total units so far: 98 sure (potentially 112)

Received units:
- 2x Dbug - One unit tested fine on an Oric 1 and on an Oric Atmos.
- 1x barnsey123 - Working fine on Oric Atmos
- 2x Ibisum - Working fine on three Atmos and one Oric 1, one Atmos not reliable with it
- 2x Chema - Working on an Oric 1 converted to Atmos (some issues with some games)
- 2x Symoon - (Some issues, check his full report in the other thread)
- 2x coco.oric - Working fine on Oric Atmos
- 1x AndyRCM
- 1x Antiriad2097
- 1x Peacer - (Some issues, check his full report in the other thread)
- 1x jorodr
- 1x iss
- 1x OxMikeinMI - Worked fine, used a 1.5 amp psu for the oric
- 1x Steve M - Works fine with 3 Atmoses. Fourth one seizes up when the disk boots.
- 2x Marq - Working
- 2x freaktmp - Worked on two Oric 1 and two Atmos (issue with a disk version of Ultima Zone)
- 1x 65c02 - Working on Atmos
- 1x StarshipUK - Worked after swapping the PSU to a beefier one
- 1x britelite - Worked on one Atmos
- 1x mmu_man
- 2x NightBird - Some SD card issues, will try with new cards
- 2x jede
- 1x pocket
- 1x bovik - Working fine on an Atmos
- 1x Dom - Working on some machines after doing some mix and match of motherboards and keyboards (see the Issues Thread)
- 1x dolarfred - Working fine on an Oric 1 modified with an Atmos Rom
- 1x Godzil
Total delivered so far: 34 units

Tested SD Cards:
Working fine
- PNY 8GB Class 4 Premium
- Lexar 4GB Class 4 Premium 60x
- Lexar SDHC 16GB Class 4
- Transcend SDHC Class 6 16GB card.
- Samsung SDHC Class 4 4GB card.
- SanDisk SDHC 8GB

Not detected
- Kingston 2GB 120X Ultimate

What is Cumulus, and why we are producing it:
A significant number of people own Oric computers, but due to the lack of availability of Disk Drive units, most have to use emulators in order to watch floppy based software.

It is true that back in the days there was not a lot of available software on disk, but this is not the case anymore, and having a disk unit gives access to a significant number of software, such as the hundreds of CEO discs compilations, most of Twilighte's tools, games (suchs as Space 1999, Pulsoids, 1337, Murder on the Atlantic), demos (Barbitoric, Buggy Boy, Quintessential, ...), sound compilations, slideshows, etc...

Some people have been trying to find alternative solutions, such as using the HxC floppy emulator to replace aging and difficult to source 3" disk drives, but unfortunately this does not solve the main problem: Finding controller boards is very difficult and build new ones requires hard to find components.

The best solution so far, is Cumulus.

Originally designed by Retromaster (http://retromaster.wordpress.com) the project was unfortunately stopped in its tracks for various reasons, but he gave us all the design documents so somebody else could try to get the project alive and kicking (The design documents are hosted at http://miniserve.defence-force.org/svn/ ... e/cumulus/).
Fortunately, Boris Kaminski (aka Metadata) took over, downloaded the design documents, and managed to build his own Cumulus (you can read - in German - on his blog at http://www.boriskaminski.de/2013/11/07/ ... n-starten/). And he is ok to produce a batch of Cumulus for all of us, at what I think is a pretty reasonable price considering how a 'must have' this product is.

Cumulus specifications:
- it is a modern reimplementation of the Oric Microdisc disk unit
- it is fully compatible with it (it was tested with the existing games and demos)
- the virtual floppies format used is the standard DSK format supported by all the Oric emulators
- the usage is simple, thanks to a menu based system using a color screen and some selection buttons allowing you to select the floppies you want to run
- it has a nice black and red casing (3d printed) so nicely fit with the design of your Oric Atmos

Now, something to consider is that most hardware on the Oric expansion bus is having problems due to the absence of buffering and low quality of the signal, so for some machine there may be difficulties to run and may require a bus amplifier in order to run fine.
The bottom line is: It is not possible to guarantee a 100% success rate out of the box on a particular machine. (This is not specific to Cumulus, as an example my official Oric Microdisc unit works fine on my Pravetz but does not work on my Atmos and Oric 1 without an AmpliBus).

I want one, how do I proceed
Thanks to the number of pre-order we got, the price has now been fixed to 70 euros, including the case (paid either by bank transfer or Paypal when time comes.)

The delay will depend on how long it take to build and test the units, Metadata is building them by hand, one at a time, so expect some delay; but well, you've been waiting for three decades you can probably wait 6 more months!

If you want your name to be added, please post a message stating how many units you want - a maximum of 2 units per person has been decided for practical reasons -.
(Make sure that your informations are correct on your profile, correct email, country, etc... we want a reasonable chance to avoid fantasy requests :)

If you have always dreamt of playing all these games and watching all the demos on your real hardware, today is the day!

Questions and Answers:
A quick question: will this controller allow the use of full 64k of memory like the original Oric controller does?
The standard cumulus is (as far as we know) 100% compatible with the original Oric controller, so yes it has support for the overlay memory control. Without that the whole operating system would not load because it hosts itself in the top 16k of the Oric memory map. Also demos would not work, because they tend to use these additional 16k for their own purpose
I am fairly new to the Oric and Oric Scene, but wondered if the Cumulus would work with a Joystick or perhaps someone knows where I could get a Joystick Expansion that would work with this. Or should I just stick to using the keyboard?
Most Oric joystick interfaces are using the printer port, so at least there's no conflict with Cumulus.
Can Cumulus handle non standard/very large floppies?
The entire logic is in a firmware that can be updated later on, so it's possible to extend the possibilities, like for example allowing the usage of DSK files containing 256 tracks of 256 sectors, for a total of 32 megabytes (256 bytes per sector) or 64 megabytes (512 bytes per sector). That could help doing things like a decent Minix or KonTiKi Operating System port.
Be aware that existing operating systems may not work with such values (or would require a complete re-writing). For instance Sedoric is already at its maximum with 101 tracks, due to the bitmap size.
Can we add cumulus to Oric as secondary drive after real microdisc?
No, this will not work. Cumulus emulates both the controller and the floppy drives as one single unit.
You can achieve what you want if you have a real disk drive controller, then you can have up to four different floppy devices that you can mix and match, so you can perfectly have a 3", a 3.5" and a 5.25" together and copy from one to the other. And of course one of these units can be a HxC floppy emulator (see: http://torlus.com/floppy). If you do not have a controller you can contact jorodr who rebuilt some Microdisc compatible controller boards (see: http://forum.defence-force.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=953 http://forum.defence-force.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=984 and http://forum.defence-force.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1013)
Note: The only problem is that must transform .dsk images to .hfe files, but the software with HxC do it.
What are the shipping option, how much does shipping cost?
The devices are shipped from Germany, here are the prices (as of today) for shipping 1 or 2 devices using DHL:
- as a letter without trackingnumber but with insurance:
  • Germany: 4,45 € (Maxibrief)
  • EU: 7,00 € (Großbrief International)
  • World: 7,00 € (Großbrief International)
- as a parcel (faster and with tracking):
  • Germany: 6,90 €
  • EU: 10,90 €
  • World: 17,90 €
So, what does this Cumulus thing looks like?
Here is a set of photos that should help you visualize what the product is.

Here are the various parts that forms the complete Cumulus kit.
These elements will be provided for sure:
  • Cumulus incl. LCD (ready to use & tested)
  • CumulusBus (ready to use & tested)
  • 3D Printed black and red case.
  • 80wire IDE cable
  • 4pin power/resetcable
What is not provided is the SD Card that you have to get yourself (on which you will store the DSK files such as SEDORIC.DSK)
cumulus_parts.png
cumulus_parts.png (563.15 KiB) Viewed 21801 times
When the whole package is assembled, it will look like that:
cumulus_assembled.png
cumulus_assembled.png (325.41 KiB) Viewed 21801 times
And here is a view of the menu/selection system (it's a picture of a prototype, yours will probably have the screen properly aligned with the board!)
cumulus_selection.png
cumulus_selection.png (392.45 KiB) Viewed 21801 times

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by peacer » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:36 pm

Add me to the list with one unit please. I would definitely buy one. (EDIT: DONE)

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by iss » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:16 pm

+1 for me (EDIT: DONE)

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by Antiriad2097 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:16 pm

I'm up for one of these. (EDIT: DONE)

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by AndyRCM » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:20 pm

Could you put me down for one (maybe two - depending on price) please? (EDIT: DONE)
They will be for the Retro Computer Museum - http://www.retrocomputermuseum.co.uk
Cheers
Andy

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by StarshipUK » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:38 pm

Could you put me down for one please? (EDIT: DONE)
It will be for use on my French Oric Atmos at Retro Gaming Events in the UK - Not that it matters or will get me a discount like computing museums often do!

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by Marq » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:17 pm

Two for me, please! (EDIT: DONE)

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by bloguidice » Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:04 am

Please add me to the list! (EDIT: DONE)
========================
Bill Loguidice
http://about.me/billloguidice
http://ww.armchairarcade.com

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by Steve M » Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:45 am

I'm very interested but not 100% sure. (EDIT: DONE)
Pencil me in for 1
(Sorry to be vague.)


[I do have Cumana controller boards and about half the compnents if anyone fancies having a go and building a Cumana Floppy interface.]

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by OxMikeinMI » Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:22 am

Please put me down for 1. Cheers. (EDIT: DONE)

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by freaktmp » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:00 am

Please put me down for one for certain, perhaps two depending on final pricing. (EDIT: DONE)

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by JamesD » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:57 am

Since I'm in the US I'd need to know about power requirements, shipping costs and payment method before I could commit to one. (EDIT: DONE)
So possibly 1.

*edit*
I missed the paypal comment. That would work for me just fine.

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by bovik » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:56 am

Definitely one for me please! (EDIT: DONE)

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by billdooruk » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:21 am

Yes for one please. ..maybe two depending on final price ;) (EDIT: DONE)

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Re: Cumulus Preorder Thread

Post by jorodr » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:26 am

1 for me too :) (EDIT: PENDING PRIVATE MESSAGE ANSWER)

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