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f18a firmware update


chart45
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i did find this posting by matthew.

 

matthew

Unfortunately right now the only *in-system* software updater I have is for the 99/4A computer. However, the F18A has a JTAG header (the 2mm 2×7 14-pin connector) and can be updated via a USB to JTAG programming cable, such as the Digilent HS2 (http://store.digilentinc.com/jtag-hs2-programming-cable/) or HS3 (http://store.digilentinc.com/jtag-hs3-programming-cable/). There are also JTAG programmers available on EBAY, but you need to be very careful and know what you are buying. I also offer an update service on my web store for $1 plus the cost of shipping.

someone already update his f18a firmware???

i have a xilinx programmer but dont know if i need to move the jumper or do something elese before updating the file

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Matt and I have been talking about porting the updater to the Coleco... if there's actually demand I can bump up the priority on my list... you'd need a megacart to load it. (Or anyone else is welcome to, it will still take me a while).

could it be done via the atarimax... i need to update my f18a for beta test game... so people who have a f18a for 2 or 3 years will have to update theire f18a... i know matt offer to update for 1$ but for me its like 15$ to ship x2 + custom fee of 20$ each time matt ship to me in canada.

i can buy a new unit for almost the same price..

 

if someone have a new f18a with the 1.8 firmware and ready to sell it now let me know...

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Well that would be cool. I think many would use it. I currently am at 1.8 firmware but he might update again in the future.

 

 

 

Matt and I have been talking about porting the updater to the Coleco... if there's actually demand I can bump up the priority on my list... you'd need a megacart to load it. (Or anyone else is welcome to, it will still take me a while).

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could it be done via the atarimax... i need to update my f18a for beta test game... so people who have a f18a for 2 or 3 years will have to update theire f18a... i know matt offer to update for 1$ but for me its like 15$ to ship x2 + custom fee of 20$ each time matt ship to me in canada.

i can buy a new unit for almost the same price..

 

if someone have a new f18a with the 1.8 firmware and ready to sell it now let me know...

F18as should be in stock again in the next week or two.

Edited by Bmack36
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Sorry, I seem to always be late to these threads.

 

If you update via the JTAG port, you don't have to change any jumpers. The jumpers are only for selecting user options and enabling / disabling the CPUCLK and GROMCLK outputs.

 

I know shipping is expensive to other countries, I wish there was a cheaper way. If anyone wants to be a reseller in any country, let me know.

 

I'm also looking at getting / building a cheap JTAG board. While not as convenient as the in-system updater, it would allow people to update no matter what system.

 

The current version is 1.8. I tried hard not to have updates, but there were bugs, and V1.6 did a major overhaul to make a lot of the enhanced features actually useful. I'm not sure if there will be more updates, but certainly getting the latest firmware will be important for people to take advantage of the major changes (and bug fixes) introduced in V1.6.

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Yeah. we noticed a few testers who had older firmware had a problem with the tile layer2 in my planes section. Because it was using some of the new features in firmware v1.8

 

So if you come up with a cheap JTAG board or even better flashing program which could run from the atarimax sd cartridge. I think the flash cartridge would be best. For that matter depending on the size of the rom needed it might be cheaper to just put it on a normal coleco cart.

 

I would consider including it on my game cart too if there is room and if I could get it to work without interterferring with the current game. Mine will be on 256kb board with probably most of 90 kb available.

 

So that way if you happen to buy the newer game that requires it the rom could be flashed with that cartridge. would work best if the rom is 16kb or less due to bank switching.

 

 

Sorry, I seem to always be late to these threads.

 

If you update via the JTAG port, you don't have to change any jumpers. The jumpers are only for selecting user options and enabling / disabling the CPUCLK and GROMCLK outputs.

 

I know shipping is expensive to other countries, I wish there was a cheaper way. If anyone wants to be a reseller in any country, let me know.

 

I'm also looking at getting / building a cheap JTAG board. While not as convenient as the in-system updater, it would allow people to update no matter what system.

 

The current version is 1.8. I tried hard not to have updates, but there were bugs, and V1.6 did a major overhaul to make a lot of the enhanced features actually useful. I'm not sure if there will be more updates, but certainly getting the latest firmware will be important for people to take advantage of the major changes (and bug fixes) introduced in V1.6.

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The change log is here:

 

http://codehackcreate.com/archives/511

 

It is also in my F18A thread on the 99/4A subforum. V1.8 happened on Aug 24, 2016. It was a bug fix. V1.7 was in Jan 2016 and also mostly a bug fix, but also introduced the version-on-startup graphic (see image below). V1.6 happened in April of 2015 and was the really big change that added the second tile layer and lots of other stuff.

 

If you have V1.7 or later you will know because I added a version graphic that displays on power-on. Also, the "green screen" is gone and replaced with a more informative display (happens when system power is applied but the host system is not communicating with the VDP).

 

As for the update itself, the 99/4A update program is small, about 8K, and I would expect a CV update program to be similar. However, the FPGA's bit-stream file (which is loaded by the update program) is 166K and the "extras" file is 46K.

post-24952-0-39986200-1487455881_thumb.png

post-24952-0-76941600-1487456025_thumb.png

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The change log is here:

 

http://codehackcreate.com/archives/511

 

It is also in my F18A thread on the 99/4A subforum. V1.8 happened on Aug 24, 2016. It was a bug fix. V1.7 was in Jan 2016 and also mostly a bug fix, but also introduced the version-on-startup graphic (see image below). V1.6 happened in April of 2015 and was the really big change that added the second tile layer and lots of other stuff.

 

If you have V1.7 or later you will know because I added a version graphic that displays on power-on. Also, the "green screen" is gone and replaced with a more informative display (happens when system power is applied but the host system is not communicating with the VDP).

 

As for the update itself, the 99/4A update program is small, about 8K, and I would expect a CV update program to be similar. However, the FPGA's bit-stream file (which is loaded by the update program) is 166K and the "extras" file is 46K.

 

Bummer, looks like I still have 1.6. Are the bugs that were fixed in 1.7 and 1.8 common? Either way I should probably upgrade my chips.

 

Did I read that correctly, that there's a way to update the firmware using a TI-99? Or does it have to be done via a JTAG device?

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@artrag: Yes, the F18A implements the GM2 register masking. The F18A implements all the documented functionality of the 9918A except the video *input*, i.e. the overlay. It also ignores some settings that are irrelevant like the 4K/16K memory size selection (the F18A always has 16K).

 

@Tempest: yes, there is an in-system updater for the 99/4A. It requires a CF7+ or NanoPeb. Download the latest firmware files from the first post of the F18A thread in the 99/4A subforum, or from my website. Instructions are here: http://codehackcreate.com/archives/418

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And... ? Did your update go ok?

yes perfectly great tutorial... the hardest part was to find the right cable 2x7 2mm to suite my programmer

 

the hs3 cable you show us is really nice but they ask 72$ US to ship to me. i did'nt find a supplier in canada for the hs3 cable... probably the hs2 could work too...?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I need Matt to help me with testing and run on a few more consoles, but I have the ColecoVision version of the F18A v1.8 updater working. In addition, the loader is written in C with the hope that it will be easier to port to other systems that support the F18A (maybe MSX ;) ).

 

I do not recommend anyone else run it yet as it's only had two tests on one piece of hardware, but a video demonstrating it works:

 

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great news and great work... cause its pretty simple when you have the hardware to update the f18a with the jtag but if you dont have anything it cost more than a new f18a... i had to do it fast for a project but for cv player there is no rush to update the f18a

 

i have spare unit if you want me to test your software let me know

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