One of my favorite hardware projects in the last couple of years is where I figured out how to use the Starboard2 equipped with a SCSI Module (called the StarDrive) to semi-autoboot Workbench on an attached Iomega Zip drive, which then acts as a 100MB hard drive. Seeing it come to life was a massive thrill, and still is even today.
The video above was captured before the StarTime clock was repaired, but shows how the custom WB floppy disk passes control over to the Zip drive.
It’s one of my favorite Amiga setups. (That machine is also using a 2MB chip Rejuvenator board with a Kickstart 1.3 ROM).
And, as a part of the SCSI Module is a Real Time Clock (RTC) called the StarTime Clock. The issue with that clock is that it has a date limit of December 31, 2017. At midnight on Jan. 1, 2018, the Starboard RTC rolls back zero, which is Jan. 1, 1978.
If you try and go beyond that, the year will flip to ancient times and even sometimes crash.
Now, because I love my RTCs to display the time on virtually all of my machines, I would set the clock back 10 years or so. What I mainly wanted to see was the date and the time of day on boot, and via the iconified DOpus strip. I didn’t really care about the DAY so much. But it was a thing always in the back of my mind.
And then along comes AL member Crispy, who’s in a very similar situation. He has a Starboard2 with the Multifunction Module with StarTime clock.
And what does he do? He does a deep dive analysis of the StarTime Clock and learns all of the ins and outs of it at the molecular level.
He then codes a brand new fix for the StarTime clock that - as I understand it - the Starboard RTC pushes the date back to 1980. Any date later than Dec. 31, 2017 causes the RTC to roll over, and back to an offset from 1978.
The year 2020 is actually stored in the RTC as two years past the "beginning of time" as the RTC sees it. So, when the StarTime software reads the year from the RTC, it gets a value of 2. It takes that value, adds it to 1978, and then sets the Amiga system time accordingly.
My software then comes along, and pushes the Amiga system time forward forty years.
Crispy provided his program with me and I tested it out for myself. And it works!
I added his custom patch to my A1000 setup last weekend and nearly shed a tear of joy to see my computer display the proper time again. It’s just so fantastic and one of the coolest little gifts I've received in ages.
Thank you SO much, Crispy, for what you did. This fix should last me decades.
I realize there are probably just a few dozen Starboard users in the world these days. And in that pool less than half have a SCSI or Mutifunction Module with an RTC StarTime clock.
But for those who do, and want to set that clock, attached is Crispy's fix, his source, and a text README on how to apply the fix to your own machines.
Take his little program and put it in your C folder (either on your hard drive that semi-autoboots, or on your Workbench floppy if you don't have a hard drive).
The original StarTime program also needs to be in the same C folder.
If you have a hard drive, you'll modify your Startup Sequence like this:
Code: Select all
StarTime FixStarTime echo NOLINE "System time is " date
In the Archive below is his patch, the original StarTime program, his Readme and his source code.Note that this program is bare bones, and doesn't attempt to do anything fancy
such as adjusting for daylight saving time. All it does is move the system
time forward forty years.
I've included the source code in case you want to see how it works. If you want
a good understanding of the code, then read pages 287-293 of the Amiga Devices
ROM Kernal Reference Manual. In fact, if you look you'll see that it's taken
almost verbatim from the example code on page 291.