Category Archives: Computer

gcc for TI 68k calculators

I created couple of packages and script to make cross toolchain, gcc and binutils, to TI 68k calculators easier. Script from cvs didn’t work without changes.

What I had to do:

  • get gcc package from calcforge:s source rpm. Any 4.1 gcc from GNU site didn’t work.
  • get and repack tigcclib from calcforge:s source rpm
  • combine two cvs trees to one

See script for details: http://koti.kapsi.fi/jvaltane//gcc-ti/gcc-ti-build.sh

You can probably use source rpm to provide everything, but if you use the script do not forget to export TIGCC environment variable. After installation you also should add ${TIGCC}/bin to PATH.

Test configuration: 64-bit Ubuntu Oneiric, gcc v4.6.1
Tested TI examples: Hello World1 and Catalog

I got a lot of errors while compiling with gcc-4.6. calcforge provides binaries also to 64-bit Fedora so I think tools should behave well in 64-bit environment,

Source rpm: http://repo.calcforge.org/fedora/16/SRPMS/tigcc-0.96b08r1-2.src.rpm

Parallel transfer cable for TI calculator

Long time ago I made simple ski jump game to TI89 calculator. There is English also instructions at the start of the game. DoorsOS is required. At that time I used some IDE tool with Windows98 to create the game.

Couple of days ago I have an idea to check what applications and games people have made to TI calculators. A lot has happened. The current situation of Linux tools looks pretty good and TILP2 looked good application to transfer applications. So I decided to solder my own transfer cable. Previously I have used my friends Serial cable. Now for some reason I decided to build Parallel cable.

Result was quite good. Picture is not. I took that.
ti-parallel-small.png

Cable also worked pretty well after I found compatible parallel port and settings. First PC didn’t work at all. Second worked after tweaking parallel port type. Cable should also be compatible with many transfer tools.

Pros are:

  • easy to build
  • works with quite many transfer tools

…and Cons:

  • new machines does not have parallel ports anymore
  • does not work with all setups

A3000 memory problem solved

I have had problems with A3000 memory. When I bought it as used several years ago it had ZIP type chips added to motherboard. Then these started to loose and popped out twice per year. Finally I get enough for playing and removed ZIP:s and moved 1MB of chip DIP:s to fast memory side. 1MB chip and 1MB fast is not much. My A3000 have still so called 1.4 ROM which reads rom from disk to fast memory. ROM takes half megabytes of memory. A3000 project went to the ice for several months, because I didn’t find good and cheap solution to add more memory.

Then one day I found used GVP 4000 HC+8 SCSI Zorro board with 4MB of fast memory. Solution worked but I think it is stupid to have two SCSI-controllers in so small box. Another problem is to find suitable memory to GVP. 5MB fast memory is not enough for everything, but machine was usable.

Finally I found perfect solution for me: ZorRAM Zorro3 memory expansion. ZorRAM is produced and sold by Amigakit. There is 128MB and 256MB versions available. ZorRAM requires Buster V11, which fixes problems with Zorro3 DMA. Amigakit sells also Buster chips. I decided to order ZorRam 128MB and of course new Buster. Delivery from UK to Finland was very fast. If I remember right order was made at Thursday and next Tuesday I had memory expansion and chip at the post office. Nice.

Installing was easy. First I opened A3000 and removed all Zorro-cards. Then was turn of the equipment platform where power is sitting. Underneath equipment platform there is for example fast memory sockets, ROM:s and Buster. I removed old Buster carefully from socked without proper tools (with small screwdriver). Replace old one with new and putted equipment platform back. I started to add Zorro-cards from bottom to top. First I added GVP Spectrum 28/24. Spectrum have nice pass trough to video. By the way it is very usable with A3000 internal scandoubler. Second was ZorRam and last XSurf. XSurf have IDE-controller which I use. ZorRAM is small Zorro-card, as big as Zorro-connector on daughterboard. Memory expansion had nice markings which way it should be installed. “Backside” etc. You can not fit it wrong way if you keep your eyes open.

I turned A3000 first time without cover, because every time I have tested almost anything I have had to open it again. Not now, early startup show that everything was working. Then cover back over the machine and boot. I had never used Amiga with over 64MB fast. It worked and I was happy. I haven’t had time to test speed of the memory yet. It might be little slower than memory on cpu-expansions. Anyway 030@25Mhz is not so fast anyway. At least compared to my Mac mini with MorphOS or even 1200 with 060@50Mhz.

As soon as I get 3.1 ROM:s at the same I move 1MB fast RAM back to chip side. With A3000 I have never had any other than this memory problem. It is quite nice Amiga.

Picture of ZorRAM