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Old 17 February 2009, 03:15   #1
Supamax
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Lo scrigno del software

Hi,

here in Italy the first A500s were marketed with a bundled A520 and a software package: a box called "Lo scrigno del software", copyright 1987 by C.T.O.
This box contained 8 original floppies, three manuals (for the 3 main programs: Logistix, Superbase personal and The Music Studio) and a hardware dongle for Logistix/Superbase.

I dumped this floppies and uploaded them to The Zone .
Please read the included .txt file.
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Old 12 September 2009, 19:07   #2
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Hi mates ,

does anyone know the schematics of the SuperBase/Logistix dongle?
If not, do you think (Toni, too) that it would be useful if I tried to carefully open/dismantle it in order to see its components?

If it's simple, I can draw its electronic scheme so that anyone could build it.
Or Toni could include its support in WinUae (perhaps).
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Old 12 September 2009, 19:12   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
If it's simple, I can draw its electronic scheme so that anyone could build it.
Great suggestion, Supamax!

They're not usually too difficult to draw (normally just a few wires).

Thanks for your effort!

Last edited by prowler; 15 September 2009 at 00:49. Reason: Typo
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Old 12 September 2009, 20:41   #4
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Not much help if (highly likely) there is nothing else than single unmarked IC..
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Old 14 September 2009, 21:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toni Wilen View Post
Not much help if (highly likely) there is nothing else than single unmarked IC..
Mmm, I was hoping it has a few resistors and/or capacitors and NO ICs...
It's a red solid plastic block, I cannot (obviously) see the insides .
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Old 14 September 2009, 21:33   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
Mmm, I was hoping it has a few resistors and/or capacitors and NO ICs...
It's a red solid plastic block, I cannot (obviously) see the insides .
So, it's all encapsulated inside the shell? That's bad news.

Please don't get tempted to start probing with a multimeter set on a resistance range to find out what it contains. If Toni is right and it contains an IC, then you will risk zapping it with the test voltage which will exist between the meter probes.
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Old 14 September 2009, 21:42   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prowler View Post
So, it's all encapsulated inside the shell? That's bad news.

Please don't get tempted to start probing with a multimeter set on a resistance range to find out what it contains. If Toni is right and it contains an IC, then you will risk zapping it with the test voltage which will exist between the meter probes.
Hi Peter,

Alas no, it's a SOLID block. It's a little red cube, with a protruding 9-pins joystick-like plug which has to be inserted in joystick port 2 of the Amiga.

If I want to see the insides, I have to carefully "peel" the red plastic until I find something. It's like digging in an archaeological site .

EDIT: don't worry, I will not probe its pins
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Old 14 September 2009, 21:49   #8
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Hmm... That doesn't sound like any dongle I've seen. Those I'm familiar with are built inside D-type plugs for connection (usually) to the parallel port of a PC and incorporating a pass-through socket for a printer.

The wires/components inside these devices can usually be seen with the shell removed.
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Old 14 September 2009, 22:12   #9
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Hi, here are some photos.

The first one is the SuperBase+Logistix dongle (completely ermetic!).

The second one is the Italy '90 Soccer dongle (note: it can't be inserted in the Amiga 600 joyport ).
The third one is the same, seen from the rear. It's full of some black resin. I suppose I could open the shell and then sink the black resin part in Acetone, but I fear that it could corrode the external part of the components...

Did someone ever managed to "decode" the Italy '90 Soccer dongle?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	SuperBase+Logistix.jpg
Views:	231
Size:	56.6 KB
ID:	22701   Click image for larger version

Name:	Italy '90 Soccer.jpg
Views:	195
Size:	60.3 KB
ID:	22702   Click image for larger version

Name:	Italy '90 Soccer - rear.jpg
Views:	256
Size:	54.4 KB
ID:	22703  

Last edited by Supamax; 14 September 2009 at 23:21.
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Old 14 September 2009, 23:35   #10
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Thanks for the pics, Supamax!

I've certainly seen nothing as well sealed up as those dongles!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
I suppose I could open the shell and then sink the black resin part in Acetone, but I fear that it could corrode the external part of the components...
If you are serious about trying this, immerse a few selected components and types of sleeving in acetone first to see whether they are eroded by the solvent.

If they survive, there is a good chance that those inside the encapsulation will do so as well.

Last edited by prowler; 15 September 2009 at 00:50. Reason: Typo (same one again!)
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Old 02 October 2009, 23:01   #11
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Hi,

at last I successfully dismantled the dongle of Italy '90 Soccer .
(http://eab.abime.net/attachment.php?...3&d=1252956506)
First I had to crack it open to reach the internal solid block of resin.
Then I tried many kind of solvents on a sample piece of that resin: alcohol, acetone, "acquaragia", "trielina".
That resin was a very tough one: hard as rock!
I discovered that only trielina could soften it. So I:
- 1) submersed the resin in trielina for some hours
- 2) took out with a little screwdriver (used as a scalpel) a small layer of resin
- again 1)
and so on for many times.
At the end I forced the remaining "little" (but fu*king hard) block of resin with screwdrivers and took out the last pieces using all my patience and strength.
Unfortunately, during the process, I broke in half a component (a resistor).
However, I went on so to fully see what was inside that damned black resin.

I found out this:
- the dongle has only 1 component, very simple: a 220Kohm, +/-5% resistor (I had to patiently clean the resin from it without erasing too much the color bands, so that I could see them). Its color bands are RED, RED, YELLOW, GOLD.
- the resistor is connected to pin 5 and 7 of the DB9 Joystick plug.


@ Toni:

Do you think it would/will be simple to emulate this dongle's presence in WinUAE?
With a selectable hardware option, maybe.

I'll soon do the same with the Logistix/SuperBase dongle.

Last edited by Supamax; 02 October 2009 at 23:16.
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Old 03 October 2009, 16:45   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
Do you think it would/will be simple to emulate this dongle's presence in WinUAE?
With a selectable hardware option, maybe.

I'll soon do the same with the Logistix/SuperBase dongle.
This dongle would be really easy to emulate, it is basically stuck single axis analog joystick..

But I won't do anything dongle related until (much) more than one dongle type has been reverse-engineered. Dongle support needs to be designed well, I am not going to rewrite it each time new dongle has been found..
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Old 03 October 2009, 16:51   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toni Wilen View Post
I won't do anything dongle related until (much) more than one dongle type has been reverse-engineered. Dongle support needs to be designed well, I am not going to rewrite it each time new dongle has been found..

I hoped you could add it to your next beta...

P.S. so, do you think that my next analysis of the Logistix/SuperBase dongle would be pointless (until someone else will decode a big number of various dongles)?

Last edited by Supamax; 03 October 2009 at 17:10.
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Old 03 October 2009, 17:55   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
do you think that my next analysis of the Logistix/SuperBase dongle would be pointless (until someone else will decode a big number of various dongles)?
Hi Supamax,

I don't think that a similar analysis of the Logistix/Superbase dongle would be pointless. It would help to substantiate whether these dongles are quite simple devices, as I suspected and you had hoped, or whether there are indeed some which contain only unmarked ICs, as Toni has suggested.

Please give it a go, mate, if you can find the time to do it.

Last edited by prowler; 03 October 2009 at 19:20. Reason: Typo
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Old 03 October 2009, 18:16   #15
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Sorry but I am not going to break/rewrite input handling just for single dongle, it isn't worth the trouble. (and rewrite it yet again after next different dongle was found with digital sequential logic for example)

More dongles required first
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Old 03 October 2009, 18:53   #16
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Ok then, I'll analyse the other dongle and... let's hope that some kind mate will have the time/skill to do the same with other dongles .
P.S. They will be willing to "ruin" their dongles, though, as I ruined mine...
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Old 03 October 2009, 18:57   #17
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Quote:
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They will be willing to "ruin" their dongles, though, as I ruined mine...
Yours is not "ruined", though, as you are surely able to replace the resistor?
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Old 03 October 2009, 18:58   #18
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Yours is not "ruined", though, as you are surely able to replace the resistor?
Yes, of course .
BUT - for the purists - it's not as it was before, internally. No more resin and some (many!) scratches because I had to scrape off all that filthy resin!
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Old 03 October 2009, 19:02   #19
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Hmmm... It would be interesting to know how many games/applications did require a dongle to run.
Perhaps I could open a thread about it .
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Old 03 October 2009, 19:05   #20
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Yes, that would be the quickest way to gauge the likelihood of gathering sufficient data.
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