Networking Orics.

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ibisum
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Networking Orics.

Post by ibisum » Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:17 am

Recently there's been a bit of progress on other-platforms, with regards to getting the machine communicating with the modern Internet. Case in point, symbos on MSX:

http://www.msx.org/nl/node/4993?page=358

(And of course the C64 and other worlds have light-years leaps ahead of us in this regard..)
EDIT: like this crazy contraption: http://www.retroswitch.com/products/flyer/

In our scene, iss and others have been discussing networking-like features for the Oric here:

http://forum.defence-force.org/viewtopi ... 09&start=0

(.. which thread is a little off-topic ..)

So, I thought I'd start a thread here about how we can some day realize the idea of putting an Oric online and communicating with the rest of the world.

At the moment, my favoured approach would be to have MIDI working. MIDI is a great and simple networking protocol, and can be realized with little effort on the Oric. What is needed is some hardware hacking (not my forté) to produce a functional interface of MIDI IN and OUT ports, and then we can get cracking at a protocol implementation. MIDI gives us network addresses (channels), messaging (SYSEX/NRPN), direct near real-time control (games/music-making etc.) (CC msg's), and a way of sending raw packets around that could formulate the basis of a simple shared filesystem .. I'd love to have my telestrat set up as the file-server to a small collection of Orics, some day .. it would be an astonishing act of art to see real Oric's networked, swapping software, and so on .. ;)

Another idea is to port Contiki to Oric/Atmos. Contiki 1.0 even had a port to the Atmos, but it wasn't quite complete. However, iss and a few of us think that porting Contiki 2.7 to the Atmos is feasible, and so maybe this is another good option:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/contiki/files/Contiki/

If we port Contiki, we get a brand new OS which includes such things as simple TCP/IP networking, coroutines, standard UI, and so on ..

http://www.contiki-os.org/index.html

Well, it may be a large task to cram it into our 64k Atmos machines, and so on, but it does seem feasible with a bit of effort and the rewards would be big. Direct TCP/IP access to an Oric with a Cumulus onboard? Again, the concept is mind-boggling as an act of art for the Oric world.

So what do you guys think? Lets share thoughts on where this could go? I know a few DF'ers are probably already also thinking along these lines, and doing too ..

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by Steve M » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:02 pm

Fabrice was working in this direction some time ago. I don't know how far he got with it.

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by Chema » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:28 pm

Well, I am not sure the "Midi" port is usable at all. I think we had talked about this in another thread. Fabrice "demonstrated" that years ago.

But as this "fake Midi" port is only available in the Telestrat, why not use the RS-232 port that comes with it too? Or attach a serial add-on such as:
http://www.48katmos.freeuk.com/serial.jpg

Then, something like an ESP8266 could be used to give the machine internet capabilities (through WiFi!): https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13678

This has been done with other micros, as shown here (sorry, in spanish): http://www.retrowiki.es/fororw/viewtopi ... 76&t=32578

Just my two cents :)

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by Chema » Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:54 pm

Mmm.. I really thought there would be some kind of hype with my last post, specially from those interested in networking with Oric ;)

People have connected, using the chip I mentioned an just some extra circuitry, an Amiga, a BBC, a CPC and an MSX. The most complex part for the Oric would be it lacks a serial port, but there are already quite simple solutions (see my post or the Oric mouse thread).

So, let's see if this comment makes he thread more visible and someone jumps in!

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by polluks » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:10 pm

Chema, I like your idea :)
cc65 development
Oric Atmos + Cumulus
Acorn Electron

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by ibisum » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:28 pm

I've been doing a lot of programming with the ESP chip lately .. using it to build an IoT system .. and you're right Chema - it would be a pretty easy way to give the Oric wifi capabilities! The only thing holding me back is not knowing how to wire it up properly to the Oric without doing damage .. and then of course there'd have to be some work to make a client of some sort (Telnet, at first, I imagine) on the Oric ..

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by Dbug » Tue Nov 10, 2015 5:37 pm

The big issue with this kind of device is as usual the way it's interfaced.
If it was directly visible in page 3 with some addresses you can read/write to like the disk drive interface - with some buffering -, that would be relatively per formant, but if it's implemented as something you need to access through the VIA, then all bets are off and bandwidth would drop catastrophically (and programming difficulty increase proportionally).

Clearly having this kind of device could provide a host of practical features:
- directly load games from the web
- make it easy to transfer games and save them to the PC
- easy way to cross develop/debug (at the point you can run the real code on the Oric, and trace/debug from the PC)

plus of course the obvious: networking, "browsing", etc... :)

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by Godzil » Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:53 pm

Dbug wrote:The big issue with this kind of device is as usual the way it's interfaced.
If it was directly visible in page 3 with some addresses you can read/write to like the disk drive interface - with some buffering -, that would be relatively per formant, but if it's implemented as something you need to access through the VIA, then all bets are off and bandwidth would drop catastrophically (and programming difficulty increase proportionally).

Clearly having this kind of device could provide a host of practical features:
- directly load games from the web
- make it easy to transfer games and save them to the PC
- easy way to cross develop/debug (at the point you can run the real code on the Oric, and trace/debug from the PC)

plus of course the obvious: networking, "browsing", etc... :)
That one use of a potential serial port on the OricMouse, to be able to run the main software that will output debug information on the serial port instead of the screen, quite handy on embedded software development

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by Chema » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:39 am

The serial interface in MUSO's schema (link above) uses a 6551 ACIA which is interfaced through the expansian port, and easily accesssed through its registers mapped in page 3. It handles everything to transmit/receive bytes through a serial line with speeds up to 125Kbps (http://archive.6502.org/datasheets/mos_6551_acia.pdf).

For what I understood its outputs are 0-5V (usual RS-232 devices can go from -12 to 12V and need some adapting stage such as the MAX232 chip (https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAX232), but only if you are connecting an external RS-232 device).

Main problem is that the ESP8266 works at 3.3v and you can't power it or provide input signals at 5v, so some adapting (with simple resistors) is needed. Only in the input lines of the ESP, because the output of 3.3v is recognized as a logic 1 by the ACIA chip, so no problem here.

From there, it is a matter of sending configuration commands (I think AT commands) and letting the ESP do all the work. The Oric should only read/write the data registers of the ACIA when new data comes. The people at RetroWiki have written Telnet clients in Basic, for instance for the Amstrad CPC (it uses a different ACIA, btw). Check the last two videos in this thread:
http://www.retrowiki.es/fororw/viewtopi ... 76&t=32631

The only ugly thing is that they are powerig the ESP through an USB cable.

Not my domains, but I bet it is quite easy to build one for our Orics...

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by Godzil » Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:11 pm

Chema wrote:The serial interface in MUSO's schema (link above) uses a 6551 ACIA which is interfaced through the expansian port, and easily accesssed through its registers mapped in page 3. It handles everything to transmit/receive bytes through a serial line with speeds up to 125Kbps (http://archive.6502.org/datasheets/mos_6551_acia.pdf).

For what I understood its outputs are 0-5V (usual RS-232 devices can go from -12 to 12V and need some adapting stage such as the MAX232 chip (https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAX232), but only if you are connecting an external RS-232 device).

Main problem is that the ESP8266 works at 3.3v and you can't power it or provide input signals at 5v, so some adapting (with simple resistors) is needed. Only in the input lines of the ESP, because the output of 3.3v is recognized as a logic 1 by the ACIA chip, so no problem here.

From there, it is a matter of sending configuration commands (I think AT commands) and letting the ESP do all the work. The Oric should only read/write the data registers of the ACIA when new data comes. The people at RetroWiki have written Telnet clients in Basic, for instance for the Amstrad CPC (it uses a different ACIA, btw). Check the last two videos in this thread:
http://www.retrowiki.es/fororw/viewtopi ... 76&t=32631

The only ugly thing is that they are powerig the ESP through an USB cable.

Not my domains, but I bet it is quite easy to build one for our Orics...
This is basicaly something that the OricMouse will be able to provide, a way to interface a chip like the ESP to the Oric, without the need for an ACIA or other.

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by Dbug » Wed Nov 11, 2015 7:03 pm

Godzil: So are you thinking of adding wifi to the Oric mouse?
If yes, that would definitely improve the value of the device :)

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by Godzil » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:40 am

Dbug wrote:Godzil: So are you thinking of adding wifi to the Oric mouse?
If yes, that would definitely improve the value of the device :)

I've put the extension connector for a reason, add hardware of the OricMouse :) and as I said this can be virtually anything as long an it match with the extension connector (which is of course different from the Oric expansion connector)

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by Chema » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:47 pm

I love your idea Godzil, though if I understood correctly it *will be able* to interface with such a chip, but won't include it by default, isn't that right?

Anyway I really think that only the serial addon+Wifi chip would be something really simple to do (even on a proto-board!). If I had the time I would even try myself! :)

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by ibisum » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:20 am

I think Godzils' board will allow us to interface to anything that might be usable with a UART, or even I2C. The ESP chips can be wired up easily enough.. and then its just like good old modem "AT commands" to do any wifi control, or we can even write a custom driver *on the ESP* (it has an Arduino onboard) specific to our needs, i.e. buffered i/o, app loader, etc. .. and then we can put the Oric on the Internet. What a mind-blowing idea.

Basically, giving the Oric a means of doing RS232 opens a lot of doors.

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Re: Networking Orics.

Post by 8bit-Dude » Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:00 am

Hey guyz, I would like to contribute my views on the topic.

For the past 18 months I have been programming a cross-platform online racer for Apple//, Atari, C64 using cc65 and IP65. The disks for these 3 platforms will be released next week (see: http://8bit-slicks.com).

I am now starting the port to Atmos. After some research, I believe that there is as simple way to imlement ethernet support: interfacing the printer port with an arduino + ethernet module. The TCP/IP layer is all handled by the Arduino, and the atmos only exchanges bytes for setting up requests and receiving answers.

I have all the necessary hardware at home, and plan to work on this over the next 2-3 months. The solution being arduino based, it should mean that it will be very easy to distribute the game disks for people to enjoy.

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