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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 5:40 pm 
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Yes, there has been such a cart around for a while now. Problem is that only 10 of these were ever manufactured since demand at that time (2004) was very sparse. Now there are a lot more useful tools and applications around so I figured perhaps there is a market for such a cart. I've heard many people wanting to buy RR-net but can't afford or don't want to pay the extra €50 for a Retro Replay or MMC64.

I've talked to Till Harbaum, the inventor of the Net64 cartrdige. The cart seems to be very professionally designed and produced. At a producion-run of only 10 carts, the costs ended up quite high (about €30-€40 a piece if I understand it correctly) and in the end, Till basically had to give these babies away for free on Ebay due to lack of demand.

My point is, if there are at least 10 people willing to buy these carts for a price of about €50 it might be possible to persuade Till to make another run. Even better would be if any of our beloved retro hardware retailers would be intersted in stocking up a few, to reduce economical risks for Till.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:17 am 
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and this little beast is compatible with rr-net??! so any software designed for rr-net will work on this piece?! (same chip, same registers...?!)
well, if this is so, i might be interested!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:48 pm 
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Well, currently it's compatible with TFE which also uses the CS8900A chip. The only difference between TFE/64Net and RR-net AFAIK is the fact that the upper/lower half of the registers are swapped on RR-net because of the RR registers at $de00/01. Hence, it's only a matter of changing a few bytes to make your programs work. Note how TFE/64Net has the "correct" register mapping according to the CS8900A specs, while RR-net's registers are swapped:

Code:
RR-net:

   rxtxreg      = $de08
   txcmd        = $de0c
   txlen        = $de0e
   packetpp     = $de02
   ppdata       = $de04


TFE/64Net:

   rxtxreg      = $de00
   txcmd        = $de04
   txlen        = $de06
   packetpp     = $de0a
   ppdata       = $de0c


In other words the difference for RR-net registers low byte could be expressed as something like rr-net_reg = (original_reg+8) AND 15. I'm sure it's possible to figure out some fast and clever code to write a "combined" driver by using indirect instructions and pointers. But essentially, all you need is the above register definitions to be able to compile your programs for RR-net or TFE/64Net.

Also, care has to be taken to the fact that since TFE/64Net registers begin at $de00 where RR registers are located, all RR related code should be omitted when running/compiling under TFE/64Net.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 12:12 am 
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ok.
i am asking because i have trouble using RR+RR-Net plus my REU over a exp-port-switch. now since the only usage of my RR is to hold the rr-net, i might be better off with a standalone network card and maybe this one will work together with the REU. if this is the case - is there anybody who can test this????!!! - then i would sell RR+RR-Net to someone who needs it better than me and stick with this card.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 12:56 am 
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RaveGuru wrote:
My point is, if there are at least 10 people willing to buy these carts for a price of about €50 it might be possible to persuade Till to make another run. Even better would be if any of our beloved retro hardware retailers would be intersted in stocking up a few, to reduce economical risks for Till.


Ok well now you have 10 people :) . It seems that hannenz will take 1 you might get one and I will take the other 8 for C64reloaded.com Unless someone else speaks up.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:47 am 
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Before I talk to Till again about another production-run, I'd like to point out that this card is currently NOT supported by, for instance WarpCopy, CodeNet and of course other tools depending specifically on Retro Replay. Most RR-net programs could be easily fixed to work though.

It IS however currently compatible with Contiki, GuruTerm, Singular Browser and I'm sure there's a bunch of programs and tools that will be supported in the near future, as of the ETFE.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:40 pm 
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Heh. Till and I were discussing this exact topic over a year ago and he eventually stopped replying to my emails :wink:

Would you mind asking him if he would consider making the slight change required to make it RR-Net compatible? Or better yet, a jumper to switch between RR-Net and TFE compatibility?

If he can, I am interested in around twenty (yes, 20) units. There are a lot of people here who want to try getting their C64 online, but are turned off by the cost and mechanical fragility of the Retro Replay/RR-net combination. Plus, like myself and hannenz, they don't need the Retro Replay itself.

By the way, Warpcopy does not depend on the Retro Replay. It runs just fine without it.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:54 pm 
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Schema wrote:
There are a lot of people here who want to try getting their C64 online, but are turned off by the cost and mechanical fragility of the Retro Replay/RR-net combination.


That is very true. Alot of people don't like the idea of having to use a RRcart plus RRNet. Acutally, I have had better luck selling the MMC64 with the RR-net. Using the RR-Net with the MMC64 give people more options. ie storage, running games, etc..

So, if he is interested in making a production run let me know!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:22 pm 
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A few people have suggested that the next Ethernet cart for the C64 should support interrupts.

Which is more important? RR-Net compatibility (with fixes if need be), or support for interrupts?

My preference would be for RR-Net compatibility - most of the apps are written to work with it. Plus we should really avoid having two "camps" of Ethernet applications for the C64 - the community is small enough as it is :wink:

The interrupt issue has been discussed before, not surprisingly it was in Till's original Net64 announcement thread on comp.sys.cbm. I don't think there was ever a consensus. But, the RR-Net seems to work all right without them.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:36 pm 
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Schema wrote:
My preference would be for RR-Net compatibility - most of the apps are written to work with it. Plus we should really avoid having two "camps" of Ethernet applications for the C64 - the community is small enough as it is


I'd also prefer RR-Net compatibility (and if it's just to spare me from 2 different versions of my network code :).

Maybe it's a little late, but as we are talking about features: I'd really love to have some ram for code on this device. This would be a true replacement for rr+rrnet.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:48 pm 
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Doc Bacardi wrote:
I'd really love to have some ram for code on this device.

Hmm.. I suddently seem to remember that one of the Ethernet chips I touched some years back had a read/writeable ring-buffer of about 16kb.. I wonder how much ram those modern Jumbo Frame capable chips have and if they are usable for 8bit application...

just wondering ;-)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:19 am 
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Schema wrote:
Which is more important? RR-Net compatibility (with fixes if need be), or support for interrupts?

I definitly vote for RR-net compatibility. I don't see the point where interrupts would be really beneficial code- or performancewise. Instead bigger frame buffer would be of much more importance for the C= platform.

Schema wrote:
Heh. Till and I were discussing this exact topic over a year ago and he eventually stopped replying to my emails :wink:

Well, Till didn't seem too keen on the idea when I first asked him. But on the other hand, the schematics are freely available so anyone could infact produce these carts. And perhaps adding a RR-net compatibility jumper while at it?

---
Edit: While thinking of it, I recently got in touch with a small company that builds PCBs. I'm gonna ask if they're interested in making a run and what the cost would be.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:26 am 
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RR-Net compatibility is by far the best option. The only improvement I'd make is add a config ROM, so you have a decent default MAC address.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 1:43 pm 
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Config FLASH ROM, please ;-)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:11 pm 
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Naturally done so that ROM can be mapped out after init. Even better if it can be mapped in later with some magic sequence :)

I haven't used Brandner myself yet, but I know several people who have used them for small hobby board runs and they've been very satisfied with the company. You can put as many boards as you can fit onto single 460mm x 360 mm panel, so designing board with this in mind might give you couple of "free" boards from one panel. (Best part of course is that they understand Finnish ;))


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