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IIgs, CFFA 3000, can’t boot from USB any more


Smokeless Joe
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Apple IIgs ROM 01 with CFFA 3000 v1.0 Rev C and GGLABS RAMGS/4.  I was screwing around with putting different cards in different slots, and I probably broke something.  But maybe someone here can tell me how to fix it.

 

Yesterday, I installed a VidHD in slot 3 and it worked great.  CFFA 3000 is in slot 7.  Disk II slot is assigned to 6.  USB stick in CFFA has a bunch of .DSK files on it.  MECCVol6.dsk has the original version of Oregon Trail.  I assign MECCVOL6.dsk to Disk II S6, D1.  Boot from slot 6.  Hooray, I’m playing “Oregon” like I was back in 1982.

 

Last night, I’m reading up on ReactiveMicro’s TransWarp GS, and it needs to be installed in Slot 3.

 

This morning, I move the VidHD to slot 5.  Now the System 6.0.1 I have installed on the CF card won’t boot.  I move the VidHD back to slot 3.  System 6.0.1 boots fine.  I try to boot from slot 6, and I get:

 

“Not a startup disk!”

 

No matter which .DSK file I choose I get the same “Not a startup disk!”  I tried downloading a new disk from Asimov, same error.  Tried a different USB stick, same error.  Removed the VidHD card, same error.
 

The CFFA sees all the .DSK file in the USB stick, but it won’t boot any of them.

 

Any ideas?

Edited by Smokeless Joe
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Have you tried to reflash the CFFA firmware? Mine corrupts itself from time to time. I suspect that it lies on voltage surges, given that some of my power supplies were requiring some maintenance.
Now I keep a 16MB CF card inserted all the time with the firmware in it so that I can trigger the operation as soon as the CFFA starts misbehaving.

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Oo, that’s why I post here; there’s always someone who thinks of something I haven’t.  Thanks!
 

I can’t seem to find the firmware at ReActiveMicro.com.  They have a Downloads page, and Apple II Items > Hardware > CFFA looks promising, but no firmware.


R&D Automation (the creator of the CFFA) have firmware here, but it looks like it was last updated in 2014.  Have there been any more recent updates?
 

I’ll give the 2014 firmware a try, once I find where I hid my CF card reader…

 

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Reflashing didn’t work.  Maybe my method was wrong?

 

Here’s what I did, trying to follow the steps in the manual (page 69):

 

1. Downloaded CFFA3000_CFv1.5.zip from here

2. Copied both files from Firmware > V3.1.1 (CFFA.bin and CFFA.xsv) to my CF card

3. Inserted the CF card into the CFFA

4. Set DIP switch 8 to ON (the only other switch ON is 7)

5. Powered on the IIgs

6. Waited for the LED to flash 3,7

7. Powered off the IIgs

8. Set DIP switch 8 to OFF

9. Powered on the IIgs

10. Tried to load a .dsk file from the USB stick

 

Same error:  Not a startup disk!
 

I’m a little concerned about step 6, above.  The manual says “Watch the blinking LED on the CFFA 3000. After a minute or two it will settle down.” It was much less than a minute before the LED settled down. 
 

Just to check, I tried using the very same .dsk file from the USB stick in AppleWin1.29.16.0 and it loaded right up, so the file itself isn’t corrupt.

 

Am I reflashing the firmware correctly?  Any other ideas? 

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10 minutes ago, Smokeless Joe said:

Reflashing didn’t work.  Maybe my method was wrong?

 

Here’s what I did, trying to follow the steps in the manual (page 69):

 

1. Downloaded CFFA3000_CFv1.5.zip from here

2. Copied both files from Firmware > V3.1.1 (CFFA.bin and CFFA.xsv) to my CF card

3. Inserted the CF card into the CFFA

4. Set DIP switch 8 to ON (the only other switch ON is 7)

5. Powered on the IIgs

6. Waited for the LED to flash 3,7

7. Powered off the IIgs

8. Set DIP switch 8 to OFF

9. Powered on the IIgs

10. Tried to load a .dsk file from the USB stick

 

Same error:  Not a startup disk!
 

I’m a little concerned about step 6, above.  The manual says “Watch the blinking LED on the CFFA 3000. After a minute or two it will settle down.” It was much less than a minute before the LED settled down. 
 

Just to check, I tried using the very same .dsk file from the USB stick in AppleWin1.29.16.0 and it loaded right up, so the file itself isn’t corrupt.

 

Am I reflashing the firmware correctly?  Any other ideas? 

Assuming that you are trying to boot the .dsk image from slot 6, do you perhaps also have a disk image in slot 7?  If so, the IIgs will attempt to boot slot 7 before attempting to boot slot 6.

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Yes, I don’t have much on there, maybe six .DSK images, but none of them work.  They all work when loaded in the AppleWin emulator (from the same USB stick), so it seems unlikely that there’s a problem with the files or the USB stick.  Still, I’ll download some new images and get another USB drive and see what happens.

 

What really puzzles me is how the CFFA sees all the files on USB.  I can assign them wherever I like, but it just refuses to boot from any of them.

 

I tried the CFFA menu option to reset to factory settings (a few times), but the .DSK images are still assigned.  That doesn’t seem like a very thorough reset to me.  Is there a way to completely reset the CFFA? 
 

I’m still not convinced I reflashed the firmware.  Seems more like I made the firmware available, but since it was the same version, it left everything the same.

Edited by Smokeless Joe
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9 minutes ago, Iamgroot said:

Have you checked on Rich Drehers Forum if that is a know issue?  Seems to me someone on Facebook had the same issue after switching things around.  I still have my CFFA 3000 unused in its original packaging and haven't played with it yet.

It may also be worth reaching out to ReActive Micro, which now has a license to manufacture and sell the CFFA3000.  Even if he does not know how to fix it, he will probably want to look into the issue in order to avoid having it crop up for other users in the future.

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9 hours ago, Iamgroot said:

Have you checked on Rich Drehers Forum if that is a know issue?

I was reluctant to check since it doesn’t have much recently activity, but yeah!  That’s a great idea!

 

This thread sounded promising, and it led to this other thread.  Looks like others have had the same problem, but I’ve found no indication that any of them solved it.

 

Reaching out to ReActiveMicro is a great idea too.  On it!

 

I think I just broke it in a very small but significant way.  I won’t be switching cards around again.  Not for a LONG time anyway.

 

It might be worth it to remove the CFFA and reattach a physical disk drive, to make sure it can boot of ANY floppy, virtual or otherwise, and to see if I broke the IIgs itself.  The CFFA is not easy to replace, but it’s easier than getting another IIgs.

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On 3/26/2022 at 4:05 PM, Smokeless Joe said:

Apple IIgs ROM 01 with CFFA 3000 v1.0 Rev C and GGLABS RAMGS/4.  I was screwing around with putting different cards in different slots, and I probably broke something.  But maybe someone here can tell me how to fix it.

 

Yesterday, I installed a VidHD in slot 3 and it worked great.  CFFA 3000 is in slot 7.  Disk II slot is assigned to 6.  USB stick in CFFA has a bunch of .DSK files on it.  MECCVol6.dsk has the original version of Oregon Trail.  I assign MECCVOL6.dsk to Disk II S6, D1.  Boot from slot 6.  Hooray, I’m playing “Oregon” like I was back in 1982.

 

Last night, I’m reading up on ReactiveMicro’s TransWarp GS, and it needs to be installed in Slot 3.

 

This morning, I move the VidHD to slot 5.  Now the System 6.0.1 I have installed on the CF card won’t boot.  I move the VidHD back to slot 3.  System 6.0.1 boots fine.  I try to boot from slot 6, and I get:

 

“Not a startup disk!”

 

No matter which .DSK file I choose I get the same “Not a startup disk!”  I tried downloading a new disk from Asimov, same error.  Tried a different USB stick, same error.  Removed the VidHD card, same error.
 

The CFFA sees all the .DSK file in the USB stick, but it won’t boot any of them.

 

Any ideas?

I know your issue was something else, but just an FYI, the vidhd is only supported in a ROM 01 in slot 3 (i know you moved it back but just for future reference).

 

I put my slotted accelerators in slot 2 usually (though i'm guessing it depends on if your cpu cable will agree with that, but theres always replacement ones...). 

 

I don!t know that the twgs needs to be installed in slot 3, it's just that it's easiest to reach the cpu socket there. It should work in any slot (and doesn't need "Your Card" so in say slot 2 you can still use your serial port).

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