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Old 26 February 2012, 13:46   #2361
1time
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MR B.... "and there is no meaning to try and find someone to put the blame on" Im not blaming anyone.. Read before you write please.

I have created a DF0: Boot disk with ACATUNE on it with the correct parameters and this "fix" as you say is not working.

We are not flaming och blaming anyone. We are just thinking it is a little bit strange that modern harddrives are to slow for ACA1231. It works flawless on Apollo 1240, Blizzard 1260 PPC, Blizzard 1230 IV, ACA1230/56, E-Matrix 1230/50 with IDE-Express connected.

Sure, they cant keep up with the ram speed but still, this is a top modern harddrive. SCSI.DEVICE or not, i continue to run my rig on my beloved ACA1230/56.

Last edited by 1time; 26 February 2012 at 13:52.
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Old 26 February 2012, 14:08   #2362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toni Wilen View Post
In my opinion the only thing that should be blamed is ROM scsi.device. It is old, written when ATA-1 was the latest and greatest spec, this driver can have timing bugs (for example assuming bus speed is always "slow enough") or not detecting drives properly. ATA has changed greatly in last 20 years.
Your the next thing to a god as far as i'm concerned, but right here, right now, your "wrong". Sure, it may very well be that the scsi.device is the reason that the ACA1231 can create this issue. But the ACA1231 is a device aimed at this hardware with all it's flaws, and identity crisis. If it cant cope, it's still at fault. In all fairness i'm not blaming Jens for it, i mean com on, just making hardware for a 20 year old hardware is a long stretch to start with. Being able to test with every piece of hardware created since then isn't in the real of possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1time View Post
this is a top modern harddrive.
Which is why it fails in the first place. "most" older drives doesn't pretend to be green, they grab as much power as they need, to spin up, and get ready as soon as possible. Cost-reductions, and proclaimed environment aspects of usage has introduced limitations to how fast the drive can spin up, go through it's self diagnostics, and get ready for use. It's possibly a better drive, but it's still starting slower then a lot of other drives. If you want, i can trade you a small old drive that most likely will work... Yeah, didn't think you'd go for it.

B!
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Old 26 February 2012, 14:14   #2363
1time
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MR B, the almighty hardware guru, i have a old 120mb hard drive .. i will try it just to prove your wrong. But this is still a thread about ACA turbo cards and not about you and me.

So if you wish to continue your nonsense please do that in another thread.

Any news on a ACATUNE update?
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Old 26 February 2012, 14:31   #2364
Toni Wilen
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I don't care if I am wrong or right (or something else). I only suggested how to confirm/test the problem, before starting to blame everything possible. ("It does not work" helps no one)

Problem may be easily patched _if_ the problem is in scsi.device.
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Old 26 February 2012, 14:34   #2365
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vroom6sri View Post
I'm a 3.0 ROM user with one of the new 1231/42 cards and had noticed a few problems which I hope is what Jens was referring to - it has crashed with software failures at different times, most noticeably when loading up a game or application after just having exitted another one.
I've had another customer from Sweden (or DK? sorry, I only remember that the name was Scandinavian). He had three software-related problems:

1. Faulty ACAtune which added too much memory. Please use the V1.4 that I posted recently.

2. some datatype that required an FPU. He replaced it with a non-FPU version.

3. an old version of WHDload that made it's own (faulty) FPU detection. An update to the latest WHDload version fixed that.

However, there's another thing that we've investigated this last week, and that's reports of crashes from a few customers. We managed to reproduce these crashes on *some* cards and found that the 030 CPU gets too hot.

I now have two of those failing cards back in the workshop, and it's currently runnig an endless LHA-loop with a small 30mm x 30mm cooler, which in turn is placed on some styrofoam, so it doesn't cool too well. When I left the shop friday evening, the card was already running for about 9 hours without a crash, where it would fail after some 20 minutes without the cooler (even sooner if the PSU was set to higher voltage). The current test is done with a PSU that's set to output 5.4V, so test conditions are even harder. I'll be back in the shop on monday morning and will make a decision about a cooler on *all* cards by then (yes, also those that are in the field).

I'll also look into the "harddisk access too fast" issue tomorrow.

Jens
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Old 26 February 2012, 14:39   #2366
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1time View Post
MR B, the almighty hardware guru, i have a old 120mb hard drive .. i will try it just to prove your wrong. But this is still a thread about ACA turbo cards and not about you and me.
I'm not sure how that proves anything, but go ahead.
If you really wanted to do something useful, you'd grab your drives, and make a list of what drives that work, and what drives doesn't. But why should i dictate what you are to do with your spare time. Make your case, and see if it helps anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toni Wilen View Post
Problem may be easily patched _if_ the problem is in scsi.device.
Of course, using a set of custom roms might appeal more then buying a band new drive, that is true for sure. I'm guessing it's all semantics, but as far as i'm concerned the "reason" for the upgrade/workaround will remain the ACA1231.
B!
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Old 26 February 2012, 15:18   #2367
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr B View Post
I'm not sure how that proves anything, but go ahead.
If you really wanted to do something useful, you'd grab your drives, and make a list of what drives that work, and what drives doesn't. But why should i dictate what you are to do with your spare time. Make your case, and see if it helps anything.

Of course, using a set of custom roms might appeal more then buying a band new drive, that is true for sure. I'm guessing it's all semantics, but as far as i'm concerned the "reason" for the upgrade/workaround will remain the ACA1231.
B!
With updated ROM, with all the latest patches, mine refuses to see drive after boot, but it sees it fine, if I dont load ROM.
If I underclock my ACA630, it sees drive fine all day long, wether with ROM or not.

If I change to another drive, some work fine, some dont.
I think the Amiga main boards can be so unpredictable. They are 20 years old and if you told commodore that in a future people would be still using / upgrading their Amiga's, they would think your nuts, .
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Old 26 February 2012, 22:31   #2368
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Jens - Are you able to confirm the symptoms of the adding-too-much-memory error and the getting-too-hot error please? I was getting Software Failure resets on the old version of ACAtune but, so far, running the newer ACAtune I've not had any (apart from a guru meditation with Nigel Mansell World Championship which seems to be a known issue with that WHD install of the game) in the few hours here and there I've been using it. I would like to know what issue I was encountering.
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Old 27 February 2012, 10:26   #2369
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You have most certainly experienced trouble because of the "adding too much memory" bug in ACAtune. The heat issue, which is only present on a few cards, means random crashes on all kinds of occasions.

The test with the tiny cooler was successful: The A1200 with ACA1231 and the over-voltage power supply was still running it's endless LHA loop when I came into the shop this morning (note that this particular ACA1231 was failing without the cooler after about half an hour). I will describe the whole test procedure later today. The short version is: Since we don't know which card really requires a cooler, every customer will get another shipment from Vesalia with a free cooler and mounting equipment.

Jens
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Old 27 February 2012, 10:58   #2370
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Fantastic support, Jens. Your hardware and customer service is outstanding.

One more thing to update on my situation... Last night I loaded up numerous programs in workbench and, with them still running, I loaded up a few games and all was well. However, when I closed all running games and programs I only saw about 54meg of memory freed up. I only say this in case it means the new ACAtune isn't configuring memory properly. Of course I really know and understand next to nothing technically so this could just be workbench or the programs themselves holding on to the memory. I'm only sharing this information in case it may be of some assistance.

Cheers.
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Old 27 February 2012, 11:36   #2371
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Originally Posted by vroom6sri View Post
However, when I closed all running games and programs I only saw about 54meg of memory freed up. I only say this in case it means the new ACAtune isn't configuring memory properly.
ACAtune is responsible for adding memory, but it is NOT running in the background. Anything that happens to memory after the ACAtune tool has been launched is the resposibility of the programs that are running.

Some programs allocate memory, but never release it. This is annoying, but not damaging - the memory will be back after a reboot. Other programs release memory twice, which corrupts the free memory list and leads to the same instabilities that the buggy version of ACAtune caused. You normally get a guru (yellow guru? someone help me out!) in that case.

Another possible reason for seeing "not enough memory" after closing all programs is libraries that still remain in memory. The OS is holding on to them in memory because they "may" be used by other programs, so they occupy memory for a reason. You can flush these artefacts out of memory with the avail command if you add the parameter "flush":

Code:
avail flush
It will list the known output with available chip/fastmem, but also kick out anything that has "open count=0" in memory. However, this command cannot free memory that has been allocated by other programs. Such memory leaks can only be fixed by the author of that respective program. This is clearly a weakness of the Amiga OS: It does not have resource tracking.

Jens
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Old 27 February 2012, 11:49   #2372
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I'm no coder, I ahve no idea what I'm looking at when I look at code, especially the "lower level" languages when they start referencing adresses and hardware and whatnot....

But anyways: If someone was adventurous anough to patch EXEC to give the resource tracking and stuff... how ahrd would that be? would all tools (like Avail) also need to be updated to be able to utilise the tracking system?
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Old 27 February 2012, 14:54   #2373
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But anyways: If someone was adventurous anough to patch EXEC to give the resource tracking and stuff... how ahrd would that be? would all tools (like Avail) also need to be updated to be able to utilise the tracking system?
Isn't that a nice question to be discussed in the Coder's forum? Doesn't really have a relation to a specific accelerator.


Anyway, we investigated the reported crashes from some ACA1231 customers in the past few days and followed each hint systematically.

1. power supplies
Some power supplies deliver a slightly higher voltage than the 5.0V that the Amiga and accelerators are made for. We found that we could make the board crash faster if the voltage is higher. We have therefore continued our tests with a little more than 5% over-voltage of 5.3V.

2. ACAtune
The ACAtune tool had a bug that added memory to the system that does not exist. If this non-existent memory is accessed, the computer crashes immediately. This can take a few seconds, but it may also take half an hour, so the reason is not obvious. I have posted a new version here last week, and that's also available on the Vesalia site - please only use this latest version.

3. variation of boards
Vesalia has conducted a large test of all cards where they found that some cards work without any problems, and others crash pretty quickly. They have separated the cards into stability classes, where about two thirds of the cards worked without any problems, and about one third showed frequent crashes after warming up. We have continued our tests with these cards.

4. Power supplies and instable cards
The boards that were prone to crash were tested again with a lower voltage of 5.0V. The surprising result was that these cards remained unstable, only the time until they crash was longer. This shows that power supplies are not the root cause of the crashes.

5. cooling
We have now created an especially critical setup with a power supply that was set to 5.4V. One of the "quickly crashing" cards was equipped with a tiny 30mm by 30mm aluminium sheet, thickness was 4mm. This was a plain aluminium sheet with no cooling fins. To further reduce heat flow, the metal was placed on styrofoam (which is known to be insulating). This setup has run an endless LHA-loop over the whole weekend without any crash.

This test has shown that even with a minimal cooling sheet metal, one of the most unstable cards is taken to a reliability level that we had already reached during devlopment. Vesalia and I have therefore decided to add a cooler that's considerably larger than the one that we have successfully tested: With an area of 22.7 square centimeters it's more than twice as big as the one we've tested. In addition to that, we will use a high-tech heat transfer pad, which has much better properties than the glue I have used in the test setup. The cooler is mounted with two screws that may only be tightened by hand - no tools required, and even "no tools recommended", because these screws should not be tightened too hard.

All customers who already have an ACA1231 will get the cooler, the heat transfer pad and mounting material free of charge in a separate shipment from Vesalia. There is no need to request it - you will get the cooler automatically. New cards will be shipped with the cooler pre-installed.

We apologize to everyone who had temperature-related problems. Nobody of us has expected such a huge variation in CPU temperature sensitivity, especially as all these CPUs are from the same production batch. The extremely fast memory interface of the ACA1231 is obviously taking the processor to the edge of it's ratings: With "little to no waitstates", the CPU has a lot less time to cool down and thus produces more heat than any other 68030 accelerator did before. With older memory interfaces inserting up to five times as many wait states, temperatures on older cards are considerably lower.

Maybe this is the reason why Freescale is not listing the 68030FE40 any more - the fastest processor in CQuad-Pack that they're listing is 33MHz. However, a little added cooling (yes, very little) helps bringing the processors to the specifications that Motorola published before they became Frescale.

Jens
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Old 27 February 2012, 15:25   #2374
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Thank you Jens and Vesali. It really is a great level of service . I can't praise you enough.

I guarantee I will be keeping an eye on what new products you develop and will be more than happy to order from Vesalia again if I see something I can justify buying for my A1200.
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Old 27 February 2012, 20:30   #2375
Schoenfeld
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Startup-slowdown is now implemented. It's a logic update that can only be installed here. If you have trouble with a harddrive not being recognized, please send your card back for an update to Vesalia.

During the start phase, I am now limiting mainboard access to half the normal chipram access speed, regardless of "express" functionality (which includes kickstart rom and IDE controller). Startup now feels a second slower (not actually measured..), which is considerably slower than any version of the ACA1230 (28, 42 or 56MHz are all faster than that).

Speed in normal operation is not affected by this logic update.

Jens
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Old 27 February 2012, 21:55   #2376
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schoenfeld View Post
Startup-slowdown is now implemented. It's a logic update that can only be installed here. If you have trouble with a harddrive not being recognized, please send your card back for an update to Vesalia.

During the start phase, I am now limiting mainboard access to half the normal chipram access speed, regardless of "express" functionality (which includes kickstart rom and IDE controller). Startup now feels a second slower (not actually measured..), which is considerably slower than any version of the ACA1230 (28, 42 or 56MHz are all faster than that).

Speed in normal operation is not affected by this logic update.

Jens
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Old 27 February 2012, 22:54   #2377
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I hate to say this, but i cant help but feel that "everyone" should return their units to have them fixed. The Amiga might be immortal, but we aren't. Sooner or later these things will start changing hands, and at that point, having to guess if yours will be more or less finicky with what drives it accepts...
That said, i understand why Jens isn't promoting this idea. He doesn't hold any obligations against a second hand buyer down the line, and lets face it, all he cares about is first hand costumers that are happy with their purchase.
I don't hold that against him, but i know if i had one, i'd send it in to get "fixed".

If nothing else, nobody knows for how long Jens will be able, and willing to provide the service, what do you do when your replacement drive isn't working?
B!
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Old 27 February 2012, 23:19   #2378
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and lets face it, all he cares about is first hand costumers that are happy with their purchase.
...which is why I keep manuals and software downloadable from my site, so 2nd hand buyers can make use of their purchases? True, I am my own biggest competitor if I look at eBay, but that also means that people get to know my service through a 2nd hand purchase, opening their eyes (and wallets) for a 1st hand purchase.

In short: A 2nd hand buyer is not a 2nd class customer. It's just that the very old products (Graffiti, Catweasel MK1, Buddha) aren't my favourites to repair, but while they work, you'll have all the use out of them.

Jens
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Old 27 February 2012, 23:46   #2379
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I rather meant that the offer to fix the product by firmware updating, isn't going to be around for ever. Once all first hand buyers are done and dealt with, the issue is gone, and a second hand buyer coming up with a second hand card in 6 months, or 10 years isn't necessarily able to get your help with the fix.
B!

Edit
Which is also true for a first hand buyer that has a issue arise in a few years time...
As i said, it has nothing with frowning on second hand buyers or seeing them as a second class customer, it's just that your responsibilities as the manufacturer has at that point long since ended. To some extent you can still provide services for a fee, or as goodwill, but it's not worth counting on it. Even if we have grown accustom to manufacturers being able to provide manuals for decades, and then some...
/Edit
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Old 28 February 2012, 08:43   #2380
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I have the heat related issue with ACA 1231. My magic number is 55C CPU surface temperature, crashes start then. At 57C I have endless crash/reboot loop. 100 % repeatable.

1D1 mainboard, 3.0 kickstart, NTSC, A500 power supply, stock machine, only a laptop harddrive. Those temps are reached at idle. During the reboot cycle temp reaches 60C.

Jens, couple of questions:

1. Is it possible to downclock the CPU at all?
2. Do you have official support forum?
3. This heatsink kit from Vesalia:
a. Is there a timeframe for its delivery?
b. There is a piece of tape with something that looks like serial number on the CPU, does it have any special meaning or can I just get rid of it?

Thanks
 
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