There are signs that Summer may be here in the UK. But in the Amiga world there is always a storm brewing. Welcome to the second edition of “This Week in PiStorm”.
More Denise Work
Claude has continued his work on the Denise digital RGB video capture. Whilst he managed to get the prototype to work, it is extremely difficult to flash the required FPGA due to some restrictions in the I2C drivers. So, there is going to be a redesign to use a more off-the-shelf part along with an easier to program CPLD.
This should also free up the camera port I2C so that in-theory it could be used for things like a virtual hard drive LED. Watch this space as further developments happen.
More Amiga Compatibility
The current release firmware appears to have timing issues which affect the Amiga 600, CDTV and some Amiga 2000s. These issues appear to be due to very sensitive timing incompatibilities on the edges of signals. There are new prototype firmware releases which can fix issues with some of these machines. They are currently being tested by a few people with problematic machines and so far the signs are generally good.
The issue some are experiencing that causes multiple floppy drives to appear is also being looked into.
A few popular Amiga sellers have started building and selling PiStorms in their shops. This can be a great way of obtaining a PiStorm sooner if you don’t mind paying more than the PCB vendor built group-buys will cost. Just be aware that there are also people who can charge too much for one. People selling for excessive profits can damage this community.
More CPLD Support
A few people building PiStorms have had success with the “GT” variant of the MAX II CPLD used. Whilst the build is slightly different due to the different voltages used, it does increase the amount of compatible models and availability of parts.
Kickstart 1.3 PiSCSI Work
_Bnu has been digging deep into the depths of PiSCSI and boot ROMs in an attempt to add a few features. First of all there is Zorro III RAM support for Kickstart 1.3 initiated by the PiSCSI ROM. This is probably the first time ever that Workbench 1.3 has had 128MB of RAM!
PiSCSI should now “work” in Kickstart 1.3, but the work to make it bootable without crashing is still a work in progress.
AmiTen has done a whole series of YouTube videos in the last week. Instead of linking to each one you can find the whole list of their videos here: https://www.youtube.com/c/AMITENRETROTV/videos
Next up with have P-O with a real time video of getting PiStorm up and running
Finally we have 10+ Minute Amiga Retro Cast with an almost brutal review of PiStorm that is definitely more than 10 minutes 🙂.
A quick word about pricing, this will be covered more next week but suffice to say, when JLCPCB were assembling PCBs for the group buys they were in the £11 – £15 region. Now that we have the global chip shortage this isn’t an option. So people with overheads are having to hand-assemble them which takes time and increases the cost (let alone the shortage driving prices of parts up). Please be forgiving those who are supplying in the £40-£50 region. Right now it is difficult for anyone to manufacture and supply them cheaper.