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Old 20 October 2009, 22:51   #1
Iznougoud
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Fun things to do with an X-Surf?

I recently acquired an X-Surf 3cc. Sick and tired of the numerous difficulties attached to serial connections, I finally decided to throw a substantial amount of money at a NIC for the A2000.

After some initial DNS-issues, it went online. And I found myself asking the question - what now? Not for the first time when it comes the Amiga, I might add

Actually. It does what I expected it to. And connected to a bridged wireless router, it gives my A2000 WiFi access. Which is neat. But other than FTP, IRC and some instant messaging, it isn't of that much use. A 68040/40Mhz just isn't enough for surfing these days. And the browsers for the 68k-generation of Amigas are better off not mentioned at all.

Still. I have this feeling of doing something more with the card. Preferrably using the IDE-controller. And I thought that perhaps I'd connect a DVD-ROM to it. Although the controller is quite limited, so I'm not sure it can handle a DVD-ROM.

Suggestions are welcome anyway. Having thrown that much money at the bloody card, I'd really like to make the most out of it. Ideas? Anyone?
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Old 20 October 2009, 23:57   #2
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This is exactly what I've been telling people when it comes to Amiga's and inter-webbing. It is much easier and cheaper to transfer files to an Amiga using a flash card and a hard drive controller such as a Buddha than it is to bother with TCP/IP stacks, SANA II drivers, Subnets etc.

You can still do this with the X-Surf thanks to it's IDE ports. Use either an SD or Compact Flash to IDE adapter (~$2) and the relevant card and you've got an ultra fast way of transferring files, or even whole OS configurations between WinUAE and your Amiga.

Either mount the card at the front for easy access in one of the floppy bays, or the quickest and easiest way is to get an IDE->CF adapter which is panel mounted.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...m=150381439950

Set everything up on the flash card in WinUAE and then transfer to the Amiga. Either access the data direct from the card or copy to hard drive.

X-Surf IDE does not support ATAPI (CD-ROM or DVD-ROM).
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Old 21 October 2009, 00:04   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
X-Surf IDE does not support ATAPI (CD-ROM or DVD-ROM).
Yes it does. I have a Liteon CDRW-RW connected to my xsurf2.
I use it for reading CDs on my A4000, but more importantly I even use it to burn some backup CDs of my system.
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Old 21 October 2009, 00:08   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
X-Surf IDE does not support ATAPI (CD-ROM or DVD-ROM).
Have you tested with the latest XSurfIDE drivers on Jens site? (in the ebfinal archive)?
It creates xsurf_atapi.device if an ATAPI device is found.
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Old 21 October 2009, 00:12   #5
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My mistake. They do ATAPI for reading but not writing.

http://www.jschoenfeld.com/products/xsurf_e.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jschoenfeld
The two IDE-ports should be considered as a free add-on. The ports should not be considered as full IDE ports, because you can't boot from them and the timing is not configurable. You shouldn't use a CD-writer on these ports, because only one IO-request at a time can be issued by the X-Surf controller. That means a preemptive use of IDE devices - necessary for CD-writers - is impossible on the X-Surf.
Either they fixed the issue on later revisions or perhaps Mozzerfan is mistaken about writing CD's?
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Old 21 October 2009, 00:45   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
Either they fixed the issue on later revisions or perhaps Mozzerfan is mistaken about writing CD's?

Well I make regular backups of my a4000 using the CDRW connected to my Xsurf. I even restored my system from these backups a couple of times.
Trust me, I'm not mistaken.

Edit: I know, I've read the warning about CDRW writers on the Xsurf on Jens site. One time I just thought "Let's see...", and to my surprise it just worked !!!
I have a 4 GB Cf card connected to my cyberscsi via a scsi-ide bridge and I make regular backups of the Cf card ( previously I had a 80 Maxtor HD connected to the cyberscsi, and
I successfully made backups of that too).

Last edited by Mozzerfan; 21 October 2009 at 01:15.
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Old 21 October 2009, 07:29   #7
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The X-Surf has big problems with using it's IDE ports to read CF cards. Doobrey is working on a patch, but so far only cards that default to "removeable" mode when plugged into IDE adapters (i.e. old or badly-designed cards) work. There is no hot-swapping.
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Old 21 October 2009, 08:25   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papa_november View Post
so far only cards that default to "removeable" mode when plugged into IDE adapters (i.e. old or badly-designed cards) work.
You sure you do not mean FIXED? Hard drives are usually FIXED and newer CF cards are hitting the market with "REMOVABLE". Some SanDisk CF cards can be changed to FIXED using a PC using one of two tools : ATCFWCHG.COM or NDCFWCHG.COM

The PCMCIA compact flash driver (cfd.device) also suffers from problems with REMOVABLE CF cards. But I think the A600/A1200/A4000 IDE driver (scsi.device) is immune.

The work around is to use an SD->IDE adapter instead.
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Old 21 October 2009, 10:17   #9
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Hi Iznougoud, I use my Amigas online every day. Would you like me to recommend some software to try out? Sure, you can do most of these things on a PC and faster, but we already knew that, right? We do this for fun!
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Old 21 October 2009, 10:55   #10
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We do this for fun!
Amiga users are masochists didn't everyone know that.
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Old 21 October 2009, 11:38   #11
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Originally Posted by alexh View Post
You sure you do not mean FIXED? Hard drives are usually FIXED and newer CF cards are hitting the market with "REMOVABLE". Some SanDisk CF cards can be changed to FIXED using a PC using one of two tools : ATCFWCHG.COM or NDCFWCHG.COM

The problem is the 'preset/default' prefs in the xsurf IDE driver. IIRC it automagically mounts FAT16/32 cards with CrossDos and trackdisk.device (it patches in extra units and snoops on the IO functions). Pretty sure that's whats stopping HDToolbox from letting you do anything else with it.

I've just got to finish off the prefs program I started, it'll simply overwrite the
default prefs in XSurf/Buddha/Catweasel drivers, then it'll be possible to choose how the CF card should be handled.
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Old 21 October 2009, 18:41   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
Amiga users are masochists didn't everyone know that.
Not everyone. But the few that doesn't will find out soon enough. Anyway, the option to read CF-cards sounds attractive, so I just might look into that.

As for the X-Surf, I can't say I'm disappointed. I got what I expected to get. And I do enjoy being able to access my FTP (which IS an easy way to transfer files between the Amiga and the PC - 4 Mbit/s is plenty, when it comes to Amiga-archives). Just thought I might as well make the most out of the X-Surf.

Found myself an external SCSI-CD/RW as well. Reasonably priced at 1 (roughly). I ended up getting it for free anyway. The cable doesn't fit at both ends though (the CD-R/W having the same type of connection as the external connection on the A2040-accelerator, but the other end of the cable is obviously intended for some odd SCSI-card standard). Anyway, if the CD works, I expect burning CD's using SCSI, if anything, should be the optimal way to go when it comes to 68k. I can use the cable connecting my DAT24 though. But THAT monster of a peripheral if anything, would cause a great big "what now?" if connected

Anyway. I suppose I'm into one of those brief and reoccuring periods of upgrading the Amiga.
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Old 21 October 2009, 19:17   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
You sure you do not mean FIXED? Hard drives are usually FIXED and newer CF cards are hitting the market with "REMOVABLE". Some SanDisk CF cards can be changed to FIXED using a PC using one of two tools : ATCFWCHG.COM or NDCFWCHG.COM

The PCMCIA compact flash driver (cfd.device) also suffers from problems with REMOVABLE CF cards. But I think the A600/A1200/A4000 IDE driver (scsi.device) is immune.

The work around is to use an SD->IDE adapter instead.
I was under the impression that newer CF cards were able to tell when they were plugged into newer CF-IDE adaptors (which ground some sense pin or something) and would go into FIXED mode.
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Old 21 October 2009, 22:14   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papa_november View Post
I was under the impression that newer CF cards were able to tell when they were plugged into newer CF-IDE adaptors (which ground some sense pin or something) and would go into FIXED mode.
Most consumer grade CF cards only support removable mode. Read what sandisk has to say here. Now that doesn't mean that they can't be "hacked" to support fixed mode, but you aren't going to get the support from the vendors. It certainly isn't an automatic configuration.
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Old 21 October 2009, 23:44   #15
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I've just got to finish off the prefs program I started.
Thank ($Deity) for crappy British weather
Fingers crossed, this should work.
http://www.doobreynet.co.uk/files/amiga/IDEPrefs.lha , RTFM first.

If you're having problems with CF cards, try changing its units 'MountType' to IDE.
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Old 22 October 2009, 09:01   #16
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It's still not reading larger/newer CFs properly. I wish I could figure out exactly what's going wrong here.

Maybe it's one of those timing problems Jens warned us about?

Last edited by papa_november; 22 October 2009 at 09:20.
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Old 23 October 2009, 00:49   #17
Iznougoud
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Ah well. Threw in a DVD-ROM, with no luck whatsoever. Tried a 3.5" IDE HDD (seems the 2.5" connector is removed on the X-Surf 3), and the system froze during boot.

Looks like the IDE-controller of the X-Surf isn't of much use after all. From what I can tell, I'm not the only one having these issues.
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Old 23 October 2009, 17:30   #18
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Threw in a DVD-ROM, with no luck whatsoever.
What ISO9660 file system driver did you use? IDEFix97 CacheCDFS? OS3.5/3.9 CDFS? Asimware AsimCDFS v3.9?

Quote:
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Tried a 3.5" IDE HDD (seems the 2.5" connector is removed on the X-Surf 3), and the system froze during boot.
Did you have the X-Surf IDE drivers installed on your primary hard drive? Did you try booting with no-startup sequence to try and identify the conflict?
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Old 23 October 2009, 18:08   #19
Iznougoud
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
What ISO9660 file system driver did you use? IDEFix97 CacheCDFS? OS3.5/3.9 CDFS? Asimware AsimCDFS v3.9?
CacheCDFS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
Did you have the X-Surf IDE drivers installed on your primary hard drive? Did you try booting with no-startup sequence to try and identify the conflict?
Yes. Ran the installer on the CD that came with the X-Surf. It doesn't seem to provide me with an atapi.device other than buddha.atapi.device though. Which didn't work. Downloaded and tried the xsurf.atapi.device. Which didn't work either.

As for the HDD. No. I did not bother with that at that point in time. After all, it's the DVD I'm looking to use.
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Old 23 October 2009, 18:10   #20
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When connected to the DVD, the system does not freeze. I just get the message "could not open (whatever).atapi.device).
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