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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:29 am 
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specifically, the space between a C64 and a wifi access point.

I think it is fair to say that wired ethernet + tcp is now a 'solved problem' for the c64 - the only glaring gap I can see is in the "secure" protocols (i.e. ssh or ssl), and I suspect that the crypto involved (e.g. RSA and DES) in those would make it unbearably slow on a 6502.

But a wifi equivalent of the 64NIC+ would be at least as "useful" the 64NIC+ itself.
There would be some interesting engineering challenges to overcome, but the net result would be something that allowed pretty much all the existing c64 network apps to be ported without too much effort.

I have done some preliminary research, and haven't yet found a wireless equivalent of the cs8900a chip (as used in the RR-NET and workalikes such as 64NIC+), where the defining characteristics are
- cheaply available both as stand alone chips (for production runs) and on breakout boards (for development)
- support a direct interface to a 6502 (i.e. a 5v parallel I/O bus)

Closest things I have found seem to be devices that would interface either via SPI (i.e. 1 bit at a time), or maybe a Compact Flash adaptor.

Any thoughts / interest in this project?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:07 am 
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Use a regular ethernet to wireless adapter?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:54 am 
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hollowman wrote:
Use a regular ethernet to wireless adapter?

that would achieve the objective of getting a C64 connected to wifi, but my objective is actually to spend time on an interesting hardware and software development activity :-)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:27 pm 
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So after a few more hours rtfw-ing, I think the most promising avenue may be to try to integrate an SDIO Wifi card - it looks as if these implement some kind of standard interface, such that if you get a generic driver written it will work with any manufacturers card.

These seem to be pretty freely available at around $40-$50. So apart from suitable software, what would be needed is something that interfaces between the C64 and an SDIO slot.

As it turns out, I may already have such a device - the MMC/SD slot on my MMC Replay. Relevant docs are:
http://www.schoenfeld.de/inside/mmc64doc.txt
http://www.schoenfeld.de/inside/mmc64prog.txt
http://retrohackers.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=374

Unless I'm missing something, $DF10 on an MMC Replay or MMC64 lets you read/write to any SD device

The biggest issue may actually be finding the specs for the standard wlan interface. The SDCard website has some specs available free of charge, but I can't find the one for the WLAN interface.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:16 pm 
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I use a wireless adapter. So technically my Commodore is wireless.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcA5F3JkOc8

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:53 am 
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so after further reading, it would seem that the SDIO specs are all proprietary (i.e. only available to members of the SDCard organisation, which costs $2000/year) :(


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:50 am 
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maybe a CF interface will be the way to go. seems like someone has got a CF WLAN card connected to an 8bit AVR which is roughly equivalent in CPU grunt to a C64 - http://www.harbaum.org/till/spi2cf/index.shtml
Hopefully one of the existing C64<->CF adapters can be used to handle the physical interface.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:08 am 
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I see where your coming from.

It would be nice to have a wifi cartridge for the c64, certainly i would buy as long as it's remains RRNet compatible.

Only it would need to be some kind of hardware bridge between a RRNet type Ethernet Nic and a wifi ibridge i fear.
due to restraints inherent when dealing with a 1mhz 8bit computer.

As i am not a programmer i will sit and listen to your ideas and encourage your development of such a device.

enjoy.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:18 pm 
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Kinda' interesting. I have a wireless bridge connected to my 64. Which, in turn, is connected to a CradlePoint that has my USB Aircard connected to it. So I guess you can say I have the first Commodore 64 running over 3G. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:30 pm 
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In seriousness, I was think of a small linux board (powered by 5 Volts) that had both a NIC connection and a wireless connection and used some type of flash memory for storage. Then you would some how create the system to 'bond' to the NIC and the wireless connection together.

Problems that I ran into were:

1) How to you program it for a encrypted SID?

Was thinking of an on screen display kinda' like a wireless printer to where you enter the information.

2) Size is the key. Keeping it small enough.

3) Making sure there is enough voltage getting to it.

Kinda like:

Space Cube

Fit-Slim <-- added [edited]

I also seen one that just a card with usb ports, had wireless, and a network jack. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find it now when I Google it.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:00 am 
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zap wrote:
I see where your coming from.

It would be nice to have a wifi cartridge for the c64, certainly i would buy as long as it's remains RRNet compatible.

Only it would need to be some kind of hardware bridge between a RRNet type Ethernet Nic and a wifi ibridge i fear.
due to restraints inherent when dealing with a 1mhz 8bit computer.


What I have in mind will not be compatible with the RR-NET, although I intend to make an ip65 driver for it, and a version of the KipperKart API.

As mistermsk points out, it is already possible to connect an RR-NET device to a wifi bridge, and get a wireless c64 that way.

Current state of play is, I have found the ZG2100 wifi chip, which has an SPI interface. The docs for the chip itself don't seem to be publicly available, but there is a TCP/IP stack (with C source code) for the PIC that includes drivers for the ZG2100, so it should be possible to work out from that how to do the important things (i.e. initialise, select an SSID to connect to, set encryption mode & key etc).

There are also at least 2 breakout modules that include this chip, e.g. http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/tec ... 136-2.aspx (for PIC) or http://www.asynclabs.com/store?page=sho ... egory_id=6 (for arduino) - approx $55 which seems reasonable. Both of them are for specific MCU dev boards but I expect it will be possible to hook them up to a generic SPI interface without too much effort.

I've taken a punt and ordered on of the PICtail boards. Once I get it, my plan is to experiment with the SPI interface using my bus pirate and some ruby scripts - If I manage to work out the necessary incantations to get the module talking to my wifi network that way I will attempt to hook it up to the SD port on my MMC Replay and have a crack at an ip65 driver.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:42 pm 
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I think the lack of RR-net compatibility would seriously hurt the demand of such a product. RR-net could be emulated though...


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:58 am 
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RaveGuru wrote:
I think the lack of RR-net compatibility would seriously hurt the demand of such a product.

I'm sure you're right, but this is a research project for me, not really a 'product'. I'll be happy to get a single prototype up and running - if anyone else wants to build one too that would be great but not a priority for me.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:33 pm 
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It's an interesting project though. It could serve as a proof of concept for a "real" product. Much as the NIC64 was a result of early design work done by mr Till.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:54 am 
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At current rate of progress (approx 4-6 hrs per week) it will be many months before I have anything close to working on a real C64. But I will post the odd random updates here for as long as I'm interested....

My PICTail board has arrived, but I haven't tried to connect it to the Bus Pirate yet - there board came with a schematic showing what each pin in the header does, but it's hard to determine which of the 4 possible orientations of the header the schematic is referring to, so I want to check with a multimeter before hooking up, but my multimeter is broken so will need to wait till I can replace it.

In the meantime I am trying to collate whatever info I can about the ZG2100 chip - my data sources are
1) a very stripped down datasheet from the zerog website (it shows some generic SPI timing diagrams, but doesn't have a list of all the registers or commands that the chip supports)
2) C source code for the ZG2100 drivers for the AVR and PIC TCP/IP stacks - I am slowly working through the function to e.g. init the card, or read the MAC address, and noting down the SPI transfers used for each function.

I've started a wiki page to collect whatever I can determine - https://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/ ... tle=ZG2100


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