Wednesday, 26 July 2017

QUBide upgrade to 3.0x

A seller : - "zaxon" based in Poland using has offered an upgraded chipset for the QUBIDE card. This is Alain Haoui's new QubATA 3.06 driver for QUBIDE cards, fitted with the newer v2 GAL chip. Upgrading the chipset avoids the need to LRESPR the new advanced driver for QUBide hard drives. Payment is via paypal. Once ordered the chipset came by post within 4 working days. It was as advertised except that the original ROM was the 2.02 QUBide ROM. A message via the sellmyretro site to zaxon got an immediate apology and the correct ROM was rapidly posted out.

The original ROMs were carefully levered out using a small flat bladed screwdriver and the new ROMs inserted carefully in to the correct sockets with the correct orientation. The pins on the new chips had to be carefully eased in to slightly more vertical positions for the chips to slide in to the sockets evenly and smoothly. All the chips were replaced so that the QUBide card now has 2.02 GAL chips and a ROM that was thought to be 3.06. I forgot to photograph the card with all chips finally inserted but anyway the test was to power up the Aurora QL.

The driver reports itself as 3.08Q not 3.06, what the difference is is unknown at this point. Also it is not clear what the unknown/faulty device that is being detected. However the CF card hard disk and the CDROM drives are correctly detected and function correctly. As the CF card device has slots for both a master and slave CF and there is no card inserted in to the slave slot this might be the cause of the report. Otherwise it has been a painless upgrade of the QUBide card. 

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Compact Flash card IDE Adapter and the Aurora QL

The old Aurora card is getting a refurbishment. It has spent probably 10 years in a box when space became tight and the old tower case it had been installed in had to be removed. A new case for the Aurora and its supporting components was needed. A cheap £30 black case was ordered from Amazon and the Aurora card, Qubide 2.01, SuperGold card and old style backplane were installed. Amazingly the original hard drive used with the Aurora system was still fully functional and held all the installed software. Installing these cards and HDD was not simple. The power connectors from the PSU were not compatible with the backplane power sockets. Fortunately the original 1990s PC power supply had been stored as well. The power connectors were removed from this and grafted on to the power cables from the new PSU. Fortunately the colour coding of the power cables inside PCs had not changed. The original PSU was also too large to fit in to the new case.

The next major problem came with the need to fit a floppy disk, HDD and CDROM in the case, basically even when all the modern USB cables and connectors were stripped out there was not enough room for everything inside.

Browsing Amazon, there was a CF card adaptor advertised that had been reviewed by a QL Aurora user and found to be suitable for the Aurora. Checking with Dilwyn Jones QL blog suggested that he had been the reviewer. So reassured the CF card adaptor was ordered. As the card was designer to connect to a 2 inch IDE cable and 2 inch to 3.5 inch adaptor was also bought.

Getting the correct orientation of the CF card adapter and the IDE cable adapter was tricky. The location of pin 1 on the  cable adapter is marked by a small arrow seen in the image. As for the CF card adapter pin 1 was indicated on the circuit board in small print. The cable adapter had one of the central pin holes in the connector missing. This needed to be drilled out as the card had all 44 pins to be connected.

None the less it was all fitted together and here is it with an old CF card inserted in a test run copying files from the HDD to the CF card.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

QUBide 3.10 and the Q60

Alain Haoui excellent new version of the QUBide drivers for the QUBide card and with a extension version for the Q40 and Q60 which adds the ability to read and write to QUBIDE formatted hard disks and compact flash cards on the Qx0 systems. Here is a screen dump of Dilwyn Jones's Qtrans program showing the contents of win1_ alongside a copy of the contents of my Aurora QUBide system's hard disk which has been copied to a compact flash card on the Aurora and then read on the Q60 via the CF card reader. How cool is that.

By the way the .jpg used was created in 3 passes. The screen was saved as a pic file. This was converted to a .bmp using a utility called QLtoQ40gfx and then from a .bmp to a jpg using a utility called cjpeg. Here is the ram disk containing all 3 versions of the image file and their sizes.