firmware version V52 now available

Discuss the new Altair 8800 Micro

firmware version V52 now available

Postby vbriel » May Wed 08, 2013 9:05 am

After testing for a while, Garry and I feel that this version is stable. Please read the changes to find out everything that has been updated. Some of the new features include baud rate change option so you can change the CPU baud and the onboard terminal baud rate. Increased disk image transfer rate for much faster disk image loading and storing to/from SD. I think it is somewhere around 90 seconds to load a disk image from SD to RAM drive. The improvement is with the transfer rate, changing it from the set 9600 to 115K baud on disk transfers. This is a static rate and is independent of your CPU-terminal baud rate. This upgrade is automatic, so even if you keep the terminal at 9600 the transfer rate for the disk images will be at the new high speed rate.

Other changes include improvements to the system for external terminal usage. You can now setup the system to autoboot, it will turn off the onboard terminal used to upload the boot file and then you can run external terminal mode. After the system is setup for external terminal usage, the keyboard is no longer required.. yeah!

Rollback to 5.1 is included so if you don't like or you run into problems, you can roll back to the old firmware versions.

Big thanks to Garry as the work was all his on this.

http://www.brielcomputers.com/files/AltairMicroV52.zip

Please read the text files for changes and instructions and use caution when performing updates.
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby elchucko » May Fri 10, 2013 2:49 am

Thanks guys!
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby vbriel » May Fri 10, 2013 3:25 pm

Everything update ok? Which version are you using, VGA or composite?
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby hal2710 » May Sun 19, 2013 1:48 am

Hi, I've flashed the VGA version. Everything went ok.

The new speed is fantastic.

Big thanks to Vince and Garry for their work bringing this to use.

Michael
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby Kevin Adams » Jun Tue 25, 2013 8:57 pm

Hi Guys!

I installed v5.2 without issue. I used the VGA option.

Huge speed increase on loads immediately obvious.

I like the new "micro command shell". Thanks for your work!!

Kevin
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby mthomas » Jul Wed 17, 2013 7:21 pm

Hi,

I installed 5.2 successfully too - VGA option.

I noticed that with 5.2, and the prior versions too, something peculiar happens when I reach the last (bottom) line of the screen. I kept assuming this was a firmware bug that would be fixed, but now I'm wondering if in fact it's either normal behavior that everyone else already knows about. Or, maybe it's a feature I just don't fully understand?

I'm seeing 39 lines of text on my screen at a time. When the cursor reaches the last visible line, I then can't see the 40th (virtual) line outputted by the computer, until I hit an extra <enter>, and of course I can't see whatever I'm typing echoed anymore either because now it's on the line below the cursor and off the screen. This isn't a monitor adjustment problem, because I'm seeing the cursor -- it's not out of sight. It's as if the scrolling buffer is 40 lines long but the screen only shows 39. Is there a terminal setting I can change? I like being able to see what I type and typing "CLS" when I reach the bottom of the screen seems clunky.

Mark Thomas
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby garryj » Jul Wed 17, 2013 8:35 pm

I noticed that with 5.2, and the prior versions too, something peculiar happens when I reach the last (bottom) line of the screen. I kept assuming this was a firmware bug that would be fixed, but now I'm wondering if in fact it's either normal behavior that everyone else already knows about. Or, maybe it's a feature I just don't fully understand?

The 8800micro's 80x40 VGA driver code for the Propeller chip has been solid since the built-in terminal's first firmware release, as its code comes directly from Parallax's own object exchange. Although your symptom description suggests otherwise, I'm still inclined to think that your issue is with your monitor's vertical height and/or position adjustment.

You can use the VT100/102 sequence ESC#8 to display a test pattern that fills the screen with "E" characters and an "X" character in each of the four corners. If you don't see all of the "X" characters, then it's almost certain that it's a monitor adjustment issue.

Load 16KBASIC or, if you're running CP/M, start MBASIC and type the following line and press ENTER:
PRINT CHR$(27)+"#8"

If you don't see the four "X" characters, go into your monitor's adjustment menu and tweak the vertical and/or horizontal size/position values until you see them. If you DO see all four "X" characters without having done any adjustment then I'm at a loss for an explanation, as there are no firmware bugs that I know of regarding the 80x40 VGA display. If that's the case posting some pics showing the symptoms you're seeing would help a lot.
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby mthomas » Jul Thu 18, 2013 8:27 pm

Hi,

This is making me feel like such a newbie, or oldie, or something. These flat-panel VGA monitors don't behave like their CRT predecessors! Yes, by fiddling with the monitor vertical position adjustment I can now see the bottom line of text -- including the cursor and text, not just the cursor.

Thanks for the suggestions and patience.

-Mark
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby elchucko » Dec Tue 17, 2013 2:15 pm

I've been away for some time and just got back to load the current firmware. I've have a problem. I go through the whole process up to loading the bootload.bin file. Loading that file goes OK but when I power cycle the machine it comes back with a screen looking for a file to load. there is no indication the bootload file was loaded. I reload the bootload file and it shows a successful load up to waiting at the a> prompt. Maybe my batteries are shot?
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby elchucko » Dec Tue 17, 2013 8:54 pm

OK I 've resolved (operator) problem. ;)
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby garryj » Dec Wed 18, 2013 6:24 pm

If you've upgraded to v5.2 of the terminal and you are using CP/M 2.2 with a BIOS version prior to v1.1, the TUTILS.DSK image that's in the v5.2 update .zip file won't be readable, as it has the disk sector skew that's used by CP/M 3 and CP/M 2.2 BIOS v1.1 and newer.

To upgrade your CP/M 2.2 BIOS to v1.2 and install the new T* utilites, if you use them, please read this thread:
New T* utils do not work with CP/M 2.2

The TUtilsUpgrade.zip file in that thread will help you get your CP/M 2.2 system updated to BIOS v1.2.
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby wd5gnr » Oct Sun 12, 2014 11:25 pm

I know I'm late to the game, but I just upgraded to 5.2. Seemed to work ok, but....

I load 8K Basic. Seems to be fine. Then I load any of the example BAS programs using Ctrl+Alt+F1 (or whatever). It seems to work, but the programs won't run. A little exam shows that it is dropping some character from the line number, but not the first character. So like 3200, 3210, 3220, 3230 will all show up as 320 (drops the 10's digit). Very strange.

I am going to try another SD card and if that isn't good, I am going to roll back to 5.1 and investigate a little, but it almost looks like it is going too fast. Tried the 4K interpreter and also tried the console speed setting.
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby wd5gnr » Oct Sun 12, 2014 11:36 pm

Hmm downgrading to 5.1 made it worse. There must be something I've forgotten about pacing the output from the terminal. I'll go look at the manual....

Odd... my memory is bad... it is just Control+F1. So holding the Alt key down did something "bad". I will try again with 5.2. Bad to get old ;-)

Ok 5.2 is fine, you just can't use Control+Alt+F1 which is strange because it shows the same prompt and seems to work but it doesn't pace with the BASIC interpreter.
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby garryj » Oct Mon 13, 2014 2:49 am

wd5gnr wrote:you just can't use Control+Alt+F1 which is strange because it shows the same prompt and seems to work but it doesn't pace with the BASIC interpreter.


Hi Al, long time, no read <g>. It looks like I left Ctrl-Alt-F1 undocumented, other than some comments in the Terminal code. It's a text file transfer mode also, but it only sends a CR character for line termination. I suspect that's probably what was making the BASIC transfer go bonkers.

My memory is more than a bit fuzzy as to why I put it in -- I think it's the CP/M "ED" text editor that uses this funky EOL, and at one point in time I must have been using it enough that I thought it worthy of adding the Ctrl-Alt-F1 mode...
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Re: firmware version V52 now available

Postby wd5gnr » Oct Mon 13, 2014 8:36 am

Hi Garry. Yeah, I've been on hiatus but I'm back ;-) Looks like you've kept busy. I never did get CP/M booted, but that's my goal this time around. I have an early disk board so I don't know if it is actually up to the task or not, but we'll see.

Leave it to me to find an undocumented command ;-)

Edit: The answer is yes, it does work.
Last edited by wd5gnr on Oct Mon 13, 2014 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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