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Old 13 May 2018, 12:24   #1
robsoft
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Protracker doesn't 'play' on A1200, CF, 8Mb

Hi folks, hope you can help. This might be really obvious but my searching choices haven't uncovered anything yet...

I've got an A1200 with 8Mb trapdoor Fast Ram and a 4GB CF set up in the usual way. It's got KS 3.1 roms inside, and I'm running in PAL Hi Res going out from RGB->Scart and then Scart->HDMI into a monitor. Not ideal, but it does work and it's stable.

If I run Octamed, I can load a module and play it just fine. I'm not a fan of Octamed, but if I don't resolve the following problem I guess I'll just have to suck it up...

If I run Protracker 2.3d, pressing 'Play' does nothing. It thinks it's playing, but nothing moves on the track lists and no sound is generated. It's like it's waiting for something to happen. If I mess around with the settings page, changing the timing from CIA to VBLANK will allow me to play the module (though that brings in new issues with respect to the BPM setting etc).

If I run Protracker 3.15, 3.62 or 4, the same symptoms are shown (won't play modules out of the box), but on these versions changing the timing from CIA to VBLANK has no effect. The modules still won't play.

I wondered if Workbench might have something to do with it, so I got a crude bootable disk just with 3.15 and 2.3d on, to see if things were different without whatever it might get from the CF/boot process on there, but no difference. At the end of the day, PT just won't 'play' modules.

Now I don't understand much about TVs and Amiga displays - but is this something to do with it not getting signals it needs because I'm going through an SCART->HDMI box? The same brand and model of signal conversion box works fine with my A500, and Protracker 2.3d and 3.15 run ok on there, playing and behaving as normal.

I don't have a Gotek on the A1200 but this afternoon I'll convert some classic demo ADFs into real floppies and see if there is anything weird about the machine. Is this a possible symptom of a faulty CIA chip perhaps? I've had an external floppy working on the A1200, and other than a slightly lazy N key and no caps lock light, there aren't any obvious issues with the keyboard...

Would really welcome any thoughts. I've been away from Amigas since about 94 and didn't expect that I wouldn't be able to get Protracker running on an A1200 again - I used to have it on my old A1200 HD and used it just fine.

Cheers!
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Old 13 May 2018, 13:17   #2
daxb
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Your guess with faulty CIA could be right. I would also guess that the problem is something hardware related. You or someone else should have a look at the board. Leaking battery or caps, cold solder points, .... I think it doesn't change anything, but remove the 8MB fast ram card and boot Protracker from floppy. However, if PT is loaded you should a least able to load a sample or module and see some pattern data and samples in sample editor.
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Old 13 May 2018, 13:20   #3
meynaf
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I've used PT3.15 successfully on my A1200 so there's no reason why it shouldn't work.
You may try programs such as DeliTracker and check if they play mods properly or not - and if not, then hardware issues are quite likely.
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Old 13 May 2018, 13:50   #4
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Thanks, both - it does modules, sample data etc. In every respect it looks and seems to operate fine, and when you press 'play' (or hit shift) the pointer colour changes. It just doesn't do anything, and you end up pressing 'stop' etc. It very much looks like it's waiting for some kind of 'ok, go on, actually start playing, then' signal from something.

I'll have a go this afternoon without the trapdoor ram in, that's a decent suggestion. Thanks
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Old 13 May 2018, 14:03   #5
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IIRC Octamed uses another timing method than Protracker (VBlank?) so that there is more freedom in setting diverse tempos than PT, so maybe your CIA is faulty...

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Old 13 May 2018, 14:13   #6
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Ok, so there are developments to report :-)

1) Removing the trapdoor expansion makes it work. It just works now, exactly as it's supposed to. Hmmm.

2) 4-Mat's Phantasmagoria, pumping unexpectedly loud through the hifi, is a beautiful thing of power and awe. I'm sure the neighbours agree.

regarding 1 - sadface. I am hoping it's an issue with the card (it's an Analogic 1209 Issue A with an 8Mb Texas Instruments simm that appears to be fine under normal use, I've been using plenty of it as a ram disk under WB while setting up a HD etc etc).

If it's an issue with the expansion card, I can rest easy as at some point next week it will go in a box for rainy day use, and I'll be installing an ACA1221ec.

However, if it's an issue with the main board, then I guess it will have to take a leave of absence for repairs. So that would be a bummer. I could maybe replace the CIA myself, if it's socketed, but anything more adventurous requires the help of 'an adult'.

I've got a suitable 4mb simm coming from ebay anyway, for other reasons - I don't know if this particular board only works with 8mb but the simm should arrive on tuesday so I'll pop that in and see if it makes any difference. I'm not expecting the ACA1221ec until the end of the coming week (I ordered it directly from them).
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Old 13 May 2018, 16:07   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robsoft View Post
Ok, so there are developments to report :-)

1) Removing the trapdoor expansion makes it work. It just works now, exactly as it's supposed to. Hmmm.

2) 4-Mat's Phantasmagoria, pumping unexpectedly loud through the hifi, is a beautiful thing of power and awe. I'm sure the neighbours agree.

regarding 1 - sadface. I am hoping it's an issue with the card (it's an Analogic 1209 Issue A with an 8Mb Texas Instruments simm that appears to be fine under normal use, I've been using plenty of it as a ram disk under WB while setting up a HD etc etc).

If it's an issue with the expansion card, I can rest easy as at some point next week it will go in a box for rainy day use, and I'll be installing an ACA1221ec.

However, if it's an issue with the main board, then I guess it will have to take a leave of absence for repairs. So that would be a bummer. I could maybe replace the CIA myself, if it's socketed, but anything more adventurous requires the help of 'an adult'.

I've got a suitable 4mb simm coming from ebay anyway, for other reasons - I don't know if this particular board only works with 8mb but the simm should arrive on tuesday so I'll pop that in and see if it makes any difference. I'm not expecting the ACA1221ec until the end of the coming week (I ordered it directly from them).
Plug it all back in again, and in the CLI type the following.

RUN NOFASTMEM

and then try and run Protracker and see if that fixes it.
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Old 13 May 2018, 17:36   #8
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Run some memory checker tools might also help to isolate the causer.
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Old 13 May 2018, 21:28   #9
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Disable caches in the early start-up?
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Old 14 May 2018, 00:29   #10
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Thanks folks - here goes;

a) disabling caches in boot makes no difference
b) sysdiag and memcheck both found nothing to complain about when running FASTMEM checks
c) having NOFASTMEM makes no difference either

the one thing I didn't get round to doing was to get some demos onto real floppies. And also to get a standalone PT player on there too. Hopefully tomorrow night, then!

I'm honestly of the opinion that at a low level, 'something' on this expansion board is causing the issue. Fingers crossed that the 4Mb simms (there are 2 on the way) might shed some light on things but really I'm just hoping that when the ACA1221ec arrives, all is good and I can put it down to something odd on this old Analogic board.
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Old 14 May 2018, 13:17   #11
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If there are still problems with ACA1221ec then I would check PSU, cups and check if board fixes are necessary.
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Old 14 May 2018, 14:31   #12
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Are you able to disable the board in the early startup or in software, and does that make a difference, or must the board be physically removed?
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Old 14 May 2018, 23:08   #13
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Are you able to disable the board in the early startup or in software, and does that make a difference, or must the board be physically removed?
I'm not able to disable the board from anything in software/startup etc as far as I'm aware. Is there a way of disabling boards from the boot-menu stuff on an A1200? It just seems to show me the board is working, but that's not to say I'm not missing something obvious somewhere!
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Old 14 May 2018, 23:50   #14
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Weren 't you able to disable it in the early startup menu by clicking on the line? (If my memory doesn't fail me, you could toggle it)

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Old 15 May 2018, 16:42   #15
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Fingers crossed that the 4Mb simms (there are 2 on the way) might shed some light on things but really I'm just hoping that when the ACA1221ec arrives, all is good and I can put it down to something odd on this old Analogic board.
Did you try connecting the board but unpopulating the RAM?
If you have 8MB I thought some cards gave issues with PCMCIA.
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Old 17 May 2018, 23:15   #16
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So, update.... the 4Mb SIMMs didn't help - but upon arrival they turned out to be EDO, which the original 8Mb one didn't appear to be. Either way, plugging them in rendered the whole machine dead at a dark grey screen - visibly on but non-responsive and not trying to boot.

Then, today, the ACA1221ec arrived.

And I'm happy to say that not only does my Amiga now register a 'Cowabunga' in SysInfo, a little over 4 times as fast as a stock A1200*, with 2mb chip and 9mb fast ram available after booting to Workbench (in about 8 seconds from cold).... but yeah, both the PCMCIA card *AND* Protracker work correctly.

Awesome, hugely made-up. Highly recommended.

Now to try and get a C compiler set up... I used to use DICE back in the day, with a side of Hisoft Pascal. I'll have to see what is in Aminet. :-)



*I haven't messed with the settings yet, that's out of the box. I'll try the settings to copy the rom into ram and maybe see what overclocking is there... although I'm happy I don't really need to stress the wee beastie!
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Old 18 May 2018, 05:34   #17
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Excellent!

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