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Forums > C64 Coding > Loader Tester needed
2018-06-14 02:22
Sparta

Registered: Feb 2017
Posts: 8
Loader Tester needed

I have been working on a loader system for a while and now it seems to work flawless on Vice. However, I do not have access to real hardware so I am looking for volunteers who are willing to test it on the real thing to see whether it shall remain a virtual loader forever. Here are some of the features:

Sparkle (AKA Sparta’s Spindle Spin-off)

- Untested on real hardware
- 2-bit + ATN transfer protocol
- 126-cycle on-the-fly GCR decoding loop
- Checksum verification integrated in the drive’s transfer loop
- 72 cycles per byte transfer
- Combined fixed-order and out-of-order loading
- LZ+RLE per-block compression
- Transfer rate 151 bytes/frame (7570 bytes/sec) raw data with screen off

I do not claim to have invented the wheel. As the name suggests, the loader is inspired by and builds heavily on Lft’s Spindle, so call it a rip-off if you want. I am a hobby coder and without his source code and tutorials on GCR decoding and bitstreams I would not have had a chance to understand the workings of a modern fastloader. Obviously, I also read a bunch of forum threads on the topic and peeked in other loaders such as Bitbreaker’s and HCL’s masterpieces and implemented what I liked. I even tried to decipher Krill’s Loader but his code was just too much for me (I mean it as a compliment).

Here is a link to a test disk image.

I am also willing to share the source code if anyone is interested.

Thanks for the help,

Sparta
2018-06-14 09:30
Bitbreaker

Registered: Oct 2002
Posts: 432
Will give it a try on a bunch of drives :-)
2018-06-14 09:56
The Human Code Machine

Registered: Sep 2005
Posts: 104
Doesn't work on my SX-64 which was used as reference for Bitfire. After "run" the step motor seeks to probably track 1 and the floppy led is constantly red, drive motor is spinning and nothing more happens.
2018-06-14 11:20
willymanilly

Registered: Jan 2016
Posts: 15
VICE bug #582 is possibly allowing your loader system to work on VICE. I tried your loader in Z64K which has that bug fixed and your loader behaves exactly the same as described on the SX-64. When I disabled the proper VIA latching code in Z64K your program loaded perfectly. I will try your loader on real hardware but I'm suspecting you will need to disable VIA latching in your drive code for it to work on real hardware.
2018-06-14 11:52
Sparta

Registered: Feb 2017
Posts: 8
Quote: VICE bug #582 is possibly allowing your loader system to work on VICE. I tried your loader in Z64K which has that bug fixed and your loader behaves exactly the same as described on the SX-64. When I disabled the proper VIA latching code in Z64K your program loaded perfectly. I will try your loader on real hardware but I'm suspecting you will need to disable VIA latching in your drive code for it to work on real hardware.

Thanks for the quick replies!
I omitted reading the sync byte in one of the last revisions, and it indeed worked in VICE. Please try this version.

Thank you very much again for the prompt responses!
2018-06-14 12:04
The Human Code Machine

Registered: Sep 2005
Posts: 104
It works now on my SX-64. Is it possible to let it run forever? To be sure that it really works it needs to run at least 12 to 24 hours.
2018-06-14 12:09
Bitbreaker

Registered: Oct 2002
Posts: 432
Quote: Thanks for the quick replies!
I omitted reading the sync byte in one of the last revisions, and it indeed worked in VICE. Please try this version.

Thank you very much again for the prompt responses!


Reads so familiar this bug :-D
2018-06-14 12:11
Sparta

Registered: Feb 2017
Posts: 8
Quoting The Human Code Machine
It works now on my SX-64. Is it possible to let it run forever? To be sure that it really works it needs to run at least 12 to 24 hours.


Great! I will make an endless test disk, and post it here again. Thanks THCM!
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