StratoCumulus Project

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Godzil
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StratoCumulus Project

Post by Godzil » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:17 am

Hi everyone!

I'm currently trying to contact Retromaster to know the current status of his project, and try to help him, or forking his project (it's GPL after all ;)) with the ultimate goal to produce some batch of boards for enthusiasts Oricians.

I will post this message on comp.sys.oric and on the defence-force forum. I may send a mail to Andre to put something in the next number of the CEO Mag, I want to be able to contact the maximum of Orician, such a project could be quite expensive, and I need to be sure that it will interest a lot of people or board price will be higher (the smaller the batch, the higher the price will be)

Anyway I don't searching right know for final orders, only to know how many people can be interested, I will ask for pre-order after, when things become more clear, and the project more concrete.


If I fork the Cumulus project here is my ultimate goal for this it (all are not necessarily inclusive) :
- Make it compatible with both Microdisk and Jasmin floppy controller
- Reduce it's size to fit inside an Atmos/Oric1 shell with the minimum of cut on the shell (none is better) and without zillions of wire
- Allow a third working mode that will allow for example to only have the overlay ram without needing to run a DOS
- Maybe make the overlay paginable (using some SRAM on the extension board, and paginate between the ROM, the internal RAM, and the SRAM)
- Allowing "custom ROM" by using the overlay mecanism without the need to resocket the internal ROM
- Maybe add some function like for the HxC "harddisk mode" and "remote mode" to be able to select a floppy directly from the Oric without using the cumulus buttons/screen

I estimate the price for such a board (without the goal for including it in an Oric shell) to around $50 to $60 per board excluding taxes. This price is only an approximation of the raw material. It could be higher than expected, but again the more board produced at once, the lower the price will be.

So please if you are interested answer me either by mail, on the newsgroup or on the Defence-force forum, see it as a motivational interest ;-)

Manoel / Godzil
Last edited by Godzil on Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Chema
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Re: Cumulus Project

Post by Chema » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:21 pm

I am definitely interested in one, if it does not go too expensive (anything below $100 is indeed not!). I wouldn't mind if it is built as an external device, and I also don't care about the extras too much. A simple emulation of Microdisc with SD cards is OK for me.

If you want to reduce the cost I think (forgive me if what I say is stupid) that putting Cumulus and CumulusBus in a single board will do the trick. A simpler, cheaper, display (monochrome with a couple of lines to display the disk image name) may also help.

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Re: Cumulus Project

Post by JonB » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:23 pm

If it is compatible with Sedoric and Shugart interface disks (I have a set here that I use on a QL and Electron) then you can count me in!

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Re: Cumulus Project

Post by Godzil » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:01 pm

OK, I've contacted Retromaster, he stop dev on the cumulus, and I've his approbation to name my "fork" of his work :

StratoCumulus

so it will be the name of this project :)

By the way, please tell all the Orician you know that does not goes frequently (or at all) on the comp.sys.oric or here about this project, I really need to know how much people this project will touch.

JonB: For a Shugart connectivity it was not planned, but doesn't sound impossible. Need to check, but for a full fledge external version it could be possible.
Chema: I think I never reach the $100 limit, even on the most complex scenario, the BOM souldn't go so high. Even with a nokia type 2" screen, I'm under $80. I wan't to keep the support for the LCD screen, because it is cool on an external device, but I want to support for something like on the HxC where the host can navigate on the SD card to select the floppy image, and better, have access to the SD card as a whole :)

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Dbug
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Re: StratoCumulus Project

Post by Dbug » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:08 pm

If you are targeting to make it even more than what Cumulus was, then perhaps you could be interested by the ideas I had on the subject:
http://oricsd.defence-force.org/index.htm

Image
What is OricSD?

OricSD is a device you connect to the back of your Oric 1 or Atmos. It's first mission is to act as a reliable and practical floppy disk drive unit. It is compatible with the Oric Microdisc and Cumana drives, but could possibly emulate Jasmin drives or more exotic models (example: Apple II drives used on the Pravetz 8D computers).

OricSD could also provide additional features, like native support for the hardware vsync, composite video output, VGA output, software speech synthesis support trick... the hard part is the controller board and the disk emulation, the rest is probably doable for very little additional work.
Basically my idea was that if people have to spend a significant amount of money for one device, it would make sense to try to make it the ultimate Oric device, the one that you have to have.

The idea I had was basically that the complicated part is really the controller and disk part, adding connectors and cables should not be much more difficult or costly, so it could make sense to add the two DIN cables to plug in the TAPE and RGB connectors, which would make the device handle by itself things like the hardware VSYNC, provide the voltage for the SCART cable, would allow possibly to use a pass-through to get the SD selection menu shown on the screen of the Oric instead of on a separate LCD screen, have a jack connector for easy audio out, etc...

The mockup picture shows a D-SUB connector because I was toying with the idea of having a convert to output to a video projector :)

Godzil
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Re: StratoCumulus Project

Post by Godzil » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:30 pm

Hum most of thoses addon are part of my second tier oric project ;)

Some part of the OricSD are easy, that's right, but the usefull one, like a VGA output can be tricky. I prefer to use the Oric CPU & software to have a floppy virtual drives, this could allow game/software supporting the StratoCumulus to automatically eject/insert floppy (for exemple) or extend the Sedoric to have such commands.

Anyway, I currently I will concentrate on the Floppy/memory part the video part is another development by itself.

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barnsey123
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Re: StratoCumulus Project

Post by barnsey123 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:57 pm

I want one.

new disk drive = lots of happy bunnies = more coders

If installation involves soldering it might be a problem for some (but then they can attend the CEO meetings and have it done and tested on the spot! And you get money in your hand!)

I'm sure we could all think of a million things we want to include on it but probably best to keep it simple. But as a minimum it probably has to be flash-upgradeable, say from a bootable SD card and key-combo. And you want VGA output....and more memory....and...oh God, here we go... :D

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Symoon
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Re: StratoCumulus Project

Post by Symoon » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:12 pm

Less than 100€, I sure would buy one, probably two, maybe three.

The idea of having an "ultimate box" allowing easy plugging to modern hardware is excellent, maybe for a further version !

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Re: StratoCumulus Project

Post by Antiriad2097 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:08 pm

I'd certainly buy one at that price. I'd love to be able to take my Atmos to shows with an SDCard device like the other 8 bits.

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Re: Cumulus Project

Post by JonB » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:17 pm

Godzil wrote: JonB: For a Shugart connectivity it was not planned, but doesn't sound impossible. Need to check, but for a full fledge external version it could be possible.
If it reads FAT formatted SD cards that is fine for me.. My bad for not reading the related posts.

Count me in...

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Re: StratoCumulus Project

Post by coco.oric » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:25 pm

Symoon wrote:Less than 100€, I sure would buy one, probably two, maybe three.
Like Symoon, i'll be happy to be two, may be three.
Very good idea of putting a vga output. :D
coco.oric as DidierV, CEO Member
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ibisum
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Re: StratoCumulus Project

Post by ibisum » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:32 pm

Count me in for four or five!

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Re: StratoCumulus Project

Post by Godzil » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:32 pm

Barnsey: For it involve nothing ;) and the first build will be like the original Cumulus, by using the external IO port. So no soldering ;)

Symoon: Even if at some times I eventually make a "all in one" version, there will be too multiple version, at least for testing :D

JonB: Of course at least FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 cards! But having a shugart connector on the board is not stupid it could be a good solution to build real floppy, or make backup of floppy.

Ibisum: :)


Wow with Symoon, Ibisum and coco.oric I have already more than 10 boards ;) Maybe I may come to make 20 board ;)

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Dbug
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Re: StratoCumulus Project

Post by Dbug » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:07 am

I guess I would take two of the standard 'as is' Cumulus type, and if later on there's a more complete version (heck, it could even have joystick ports), I would order one or two of the new type.

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Re: StratoCumulus Project

Post by JonB » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:39 am

Shugart is useful only if the Oric software is distributed in that form. It may have been previously, but isn't it true that it's all downloadable, because nowadays we share via te Internet?

In which case, don't worry about it if it would lead to delays and additional cost / complexity. I'll happily buy an SD card only version (like te joystick idea though..).

Can I presume it might be compatible with existing software for file access? What I want is some assembler with source saved / loaded from the SD card.. And BASIC programs too. Of course..

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