There was no “This Week in PiStorm” last week due to me taking time out with my family. Therefore this week I’m making up for it with a bumper issue. So, here we go!
Compatible HDF Files
A topic that often comes up in the support channels is “why won’t my HDF file from WinUAE work?”. The simple answer to this is that there are two types of file an HDF can be. One is essentially an image of a drive with partitions, etc. This is called “Full RDB mode” in WinUAE. The other is basically a single partition in a file and is the default for WinUAE.
The RDB mode HDF files can literally be written onto a hard drive and booted on a real Amiga, and these files are what is needed for PiStorm to work. The PiSCSI implementation does not work with the default format that WinUAE uses. This file will essentially be ignored by PiStorm with a message stating this in the log using the wip-crap version.
So, how can you tell which you have? There is actually an easy test you can do on the Pi, or any machine running Linux or macOS:
head -c3 MyHDFFile.hdf
This simply returns the first 3 bytes of the file. If it returns “DOS” then it is the type that is not compatible with PiStorm. If it returns “RDS” then it is the correct kind of file for PiStorm’s PiSCSI.
Michal has been making great progress on the Emu68 project. Within hours of the last TWiP issue he had got to a point where the Kickstart 1.3 screen partially shows. Now Kickstart works and floppy booting has started to make progress. He has also finally received my RGBtoHDMI board (thanks for the delays, Brexit!) and has a SCART cable. This means he can work in colour! Unfortunately a fault has emerged with his Amiga 500 motherboard so development has halted for now.
As always I urge people to support his work via Patreon as this fruits of his labour may well end up with vast improvements to PiStorm’s performance.
The PiStorm for Amiga 1200s which has been dubbed the “PiStorm32” has been making steps towards real prototypes. Claude has obtained a bunch of parts to assemble some of them.
He has also been playing with different ways of dissipating heat for the Pi CM4 which will be used in the PiStorm32 to the extent he has been able to overclock one using unstable (unreleased) pre-alpha firmware in an Amiga 500.
And finally we can see the JLCPCB order starting.
A lot of people are excited for the developments (as am I!), it is great to see things moving along.
CPLD Write Cycles
Both on Facebook and on Discord there have been concerns about the maximum number of write cycles for the firmware of PiStorm due to this snippet from the MAX II datasheet:
There are a couple of points to be made here:
- The PiStorm firmware does not change often. The last change was in June, it may not change again until Proto 4 is ready. You don’t need to flash it often at all, and I’ll likely post when there are notable firmware improvements.
- This “100” cycle count is for the flash memory that is on the MAX II, this is a separate small area of the CPLD which is not used for the PiStorm. This does not apply to the regular flashing of the CPLD firmware which is orders of magnitude more robust.
In short, there is nothing to worry about and this can be ignored.
_Bnu has been working on getting AHI audio processed by the Pi to work on PiStorm. The code is still in development so is not available in the usual places yet, but you can see (or hear) the progress posted in Discord of it running SCUMMVM with Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Slightly below that is some music being played on it.
This is an exciting edition to some who like to have music playing whilst working inside Workbench.
Community Blog Posts and Videos
Storm in a Pi Cup
Pillock on Discord wrote a blog post giving an overview of what PiStorm is and why you would want one. It is worth checking out if you are new to PiStorm and want to find out more.
German Installation Video
There is a German language PiStorm installation video by Franky Byte. I can’t vouch for the content because I can’t speak German, but hopefully it will be useful to some people.
English Installation Video
Not only do we have the German language video above, there is an English one too, this time by Retro32.
Retro32 also created a blog post describing how to install certain software elements of the PiStorm to complement this video.
PiStorm Fixed my Broken Computer!
Mr. Computer on YouTube created a video about how the PiStorm not only upgraded his Amiga 1000, but solved some of the problems with it too!