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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Fri Mar 26, 2021 1:21 pm

An engineer by the name of Roc Vallès Domènech has released a new piece of software called amigaXfer that is a serial port-based Amiga disk and file transfer tool.

What's so intriguing about this software is that it can be used on an Amiga that lacks any original disk software. This software, released in 2021, actually seems quite focused on the earliest Amiga 1000's, which is kind of fascinating in its own right.

Roc Vallès Domènech:
It is able to read/write/compare floppies, install bootblocks, send/receive files and dump the kickstart rom.

By disabling interrupts and polling the serial port directly, speeds as high as 512kbps are achieved, even on a basic Amiga 500 with its 7MHz cpu clock. The integrity of data is protected by CRC-32/ISO-HDLC.

Unlike most serial port transfer tools, it does not require installing and running an agent on the Amiga side, as it uses the kickstart rom's debugger to take control of the Amiga.
Software requirements:
  • An Amiga with a 1.x kickstart, in good condition. 34.5 (1.3) is confirmed to work. Newer kickstarts are not tested, and might not work. If the Amiga is an A1000, the kickstart will have to be loaded first.
  • A supported platform running amigaXfer.
  • A null-modem serial cable or an USB <-> RS-232 adapter, connecting both computers together. Only three wires will be used: GND<>GND straight and RX<>TX crossed.
  • A few blank floppies, verified to be good e.g. by a verified formatting done on another computer. DD is preferable over HD.
  • ADF images of any desired floppies to be written (e.g. Workbench and Extras 1.3.x).
He goes into quite a bit more detail to explain the process and how it is done - definitely worth a read. If any of you decide to give it a spin, let us know your experience!

User avatar
nullsleep

Posted Sat Mar 27, 2021 8:12 am

Author here. Quite happy the tool is being discussed.

amigaXfer is an easy to use GUI tool for lightning fast serial-port floppy and file transfers.

All Classic Amiga models are supported. All AmigaOS (1.x/2.x/3.x), all Kickstart versions (I have tested 34/37/39/40/45/46).
All you need is an Amiga, another computer and a serial cable (any null-modem will work, only 3 wires used).

It does achieve 512kbit/s on a basic A500, no expansions. Most PC serial ports only go up to 115200, but it is possible to get these higher speeds with usb-serial adapters.

As it uses the Kickstart built-in debugger, no software is needed in the Amiga side. Just loadwb -debug, select the Debug/RomWack/SAD option in Workbench's extra debug menu and enjoy.

I provide Win32 binaries, they should work on Windows 7 or higher.

https://github.com/rvalles/pyamigadebug/releases/

Otherwise, other platforms will work if using the source code. This is Python 3.8+, PySerial and WxPython based.

Open Source, MIT License.


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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Posted Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:21 am

Wow this is really cool. I did not know this was possible. I have used Amiga Forever Explorer in the past so I already have a Null Modem cable. My current PC has a serial port so this will be fun to check out.

My Amiga Forever Explorer installation is set up on a Windows ME system that I have used for old software since I built it in 1999 and transferring to my Amiga 1200 I owned back then. I know it won't run on that system but thats ok.

Thanks!

User avatar
nullsleep

Posted Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:43 am

Zippy Zapp wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:21 am
I know it won't run on that system but thats ok.
The computer can likely do it. Windows ME won't, due to the Python 3.8+ requirement, but Linux should be able to.

Regardless, you're better off with a dirtcheap usb-serial adapter. They can do ~512kbit, which is much better than a standard PC serial port, which is limited to 115200.

Amiga rules, so any Amiga can do 512kbit.

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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

Posted Fri Apr 02, 2021 7:49 am

Right on! I will give it a shot. I do have a few USB to serial adapters so that shouldn't be a problem. Thanks!

User avatar
nullsleep

Posted Mon May 17, 2021 11:49 pm

amigaXfer 1.1.0 is now available.

https://github.com/rvalles/pyamigadebug/releases

Most notable change is that the floppyless bootstrap should now work on all kickstart versions. I tested 34/37/39/40/45/46.

There's other minor features and changes, and two important bugfixes: If you tried the floppy tool and got a "FCh" error, it is time to test again.

All users are recommended to update.

User avatar
JoeUser
Dallas, TX

Posted Tue May 18, 2021 6:07 am

Thanks very much for your efforts, I'm definitely going to try this out sometime this week! I have a couple of USB-to-parallel adapters I purchased a while back, and planned to get them working with Amiga Forever to transfer files to my Amigas.

But, your program appears to be much more compact and efficient. Looking forward to trying it out!

User avatar
nullsleep

Posted Tue May 18, 2021 6:23 am

JoeUser wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 6:07 am
planned to get them working with Amiga Forever to transfer files to my Amigas.

But, your program appears to be much more compact and efficient. Looking forward to trying it out!
Actually, I don't own that stuff and I am somewhat curious how my tool would compare.

Note that amigaXfer uses serial, not parallel.

If you were to actually try both and give feedback, that'd be awesome!

User avatar
JoeUser
Dallas, TX

Posted Tue May 18, 2021 7:09 am

nullsleep wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 6:23 am
Note that amigaXfer uses serial, not parallel.
Oh, my bad, sorry. I meant serial, doh!





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