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      /  MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
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roMancer 
MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 3-May-2017 10:12:04
#1 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Feb-2010
Posts: 10
From: Unknown

Any m1230xa owners around?

http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/mbx1230

Mine is not working properly, can you help me debugging it?

Last edited by roMancer on 03-May-2017 at 10:12 AM.

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Drewlio77 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 3-May-2017 15:39:18
#2 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Jan-2008
Posts: 706
From: Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

@roMancer

I did many moons ago. What issues are you having?

Drewlio77

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roMancer 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 3-May-2017 16:09:58
#3 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Feb-2010
Posts: 10
From: Unknown

@Drewlio77
hi, thanks

first of all i'd like to sort out a few issues:

1) board does not show up in early startup menu -> boards or via "showconfig"
is this correct? is this a non-auto-config board? maybe because i'm using kickstart3.0?
(i'm aware of the fact that RAM has to be added manually under kickstart 3.0)
or, more generally: are there any issues with kickstart3.0 and the m1230xa?

2) SetXA utility says "hardware version" is "0" (zero)
is this correct? or indication of an error?

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Drewlio77 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 3-May-2017 16:19:23
#4 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Jan-2008
Posts: 706
From: Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

@roMancer

Under Kickstart 3.0, the 1230XA's memory doesn't autoconfig (thus the SetXA command). Using Kickstart 3.1, the memory will autoconfig. This may be why it does not show up in the early startup menu.

This was one of the reasons I upgraded to Kicksatrt 3.1

Does the SetXA command work? As in add memory to the system?

Revision "0" most likely means your board is the first revision. My BlizzardPPC shows up as revision "0" as well.

Drewlio77

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roMancer 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 3-May-2017 17:45:09
#5 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Feb-2010
Posts: 10
From: Unknown

Quote:
Under Kickstart 3.0, the 1230XA's memory doesn't autoconfig. (...) This may be why it does not show up in the early startup menu.


as I said, I'm aware of the memory not autoconfigging under 3.0.
are you saying that the whole board may not show up under 3.0?

Quote:
Does the SetXA command work?


yes (or no, see below). settings can be changed, and are remembered by the board's eprom.

Quote:
As in add memory to the system?


no (or yes, as follows). I can add memory, it shows up for a second or two in workbench's title bar, then both chipmem and fastmem suddenly go to zero, then the whole computer becomes unusable slow, and crashes after a few seconds with some bad screen corruption.

Quote:
Revision "0" most likely means your board is the first revision. My BlizzardPPC shows up as revision "0" as well.


ok, I'll take this as a good sign...

-

here's some more info:
- i have replaced all capacitors, but the board's behaviour remains the same
- clock seems to work: time is remembered when I put in a new battery
- settings-eprom seems to work: (see above)
- processor seems to basically work, but this is the weirdest part:
"showconfig" shows 68030 (with mmu IIRC), SysInfo shows 68030 (with mmu IIRC). when I hit "Speed" SysInfo does it's speed test, shows CPU at 51.xx MHz, but gives a result of ~1800 dhrystones (IIRC) and ~1.51 times the speed of a stock A1200.

-

I just tested again with kickstart 3.1:
without memory installed (board is configured to no memory via SetXA) the behaviour is exactly as described.
with memory installed (8MB EDO RAM, board still configured to no memory) the A1200 initializes itself (power-led, keyboard led blinks, video signal) but screen stays black.

-

first of all I'd like to sort out the AutoConfig issue. (As a sidenote: http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/mbx1230 does not list an autoconfig-ID.) I have very limited knowledge about electronics, and the Amiga's inner workings, but if a working m1230xa board (without memory installed) should show up via "showconfig" and/or Early Startup, then that may point to some faulty initialization, or just a (broken) trace or connection that I might be able to look up from the expansion port's pinout. Maybe.

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Drewlio77 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 3-May-2017 18:13:37
#6 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Jan-2008
Posts: 706
From: Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

@roMancer

Definitely something odd going on. Under 3.1 there is no need for the SetXA command. The card should boot fine no matter what (without memory or using the SetXA command under 3.0).

Sysinfo's Clock speed is a bit daft so I would not pay any heed to it. The reason why the board speed is so slow compared to a stock A1200 is the fact that fast Ram is not being recognized or used.

Have you tried other memory modules? - [FPM Simms (Fast Paged Memory). Using EDO SIMMS on most Amiga accelerator cards yields undesirable results].

I would try various sizes as well, even though it says it can handle up to 128 MB modules, i would stick with 8 or 16 MB ones.

Also have you checked the jumper settings? Numper 1 is for CPU/FPU clock sync and Number 2 is for test mode.

M1230XA Manual

Drewlio77

Last edited by Drewlio77 on 03-May-2017 at 07:20 PM.

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roMancer 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 4-May-2017 9:03:26
#7 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Feb-2010
Posts: 10
From: Unknown

Quote:
reason why the board speed is so slow compared to a stock A1200 is the fact that fast Ram is not being recognized or used.

hm. that sounds conclusive.
but _that_ slow? shouldnt it be ~3 times the speed of stock A1200 due to raw clock speed (14mhz vs. 51 mhz)?
note that Amiga Hardware Database's AIBB test results for a m1230xa (no ram installed) are about 4-5 times the speed of a stock A1200. http://amiga.resource.cx/perf/aibb.html

Quote:
Have you tried other memory modules?

yes, five different ones. two of them EDO, because somewhere in some forum thread someone said EDOs work with the m1230xa.

Quote:
jumper settings? Numper 1 is for CPU/FPU clock sync and Number 2 is for test mode.

yes. test mode jumper is recognized by SetXA. cpu/fpu jumper is irrelevant in my case, I think, because the board doesnt have an FPU installed. (the manual doesnt say anything about jumper setting when no FPU is present.)

-

here's another test i just did:
inserted m1230xa board
downloaded and extracted "DeTar.lha" from aminet: http://aminet.net/package/util/arc/DeTar
used DeTar/DeTar to extract a 3.6mb tar file -> took about 3 minutes (+/- 3sec)
used DeTar/DeTar030 to extract same tar file -> took about 3 minutes (+/- 3sec)

surprisingly the 030 executable works on the A1200's 020, too.
but there is no speed increase when using it.

-

UPDATE: for comparison I just did the same thing with a (proved working) Blizzard1230 (no ram, no maprom), and extracting the 3.6mb tar archive with Detar030 takes about 3 minutes, too. I'll take that as a good sign for the m1230xa. :) (...while I dont get the aforementioned AIBB test results...?)

---> sooooo: can we draw the conclusion that most of the board is working fine, except for the RAM-(auto)config part? hmm....

Last edited by roMancer on 04-May-2017 at 09:42 AM.
Last edited by roMancer on 04-May-2017 at 09:17 AM.

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Drewlio77 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 4-May-2017 15:57:06
#8 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Jan-2008
Posts: 706
From: Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

@roMancer

I will run some tests on my Blizzard 1230 MK IV and see what it does in comparison to your results. Something must be up with your EEPROM. Perhaps some of the logic is messed up? Too bad there isn't a way to flash it back to stock.

Can you post the output from the "SetXA Show" command? This should show all the settings stored in the EEPROM

UPDATE:

My test results using my Blizzard 1230 MK IV, 32 MB of FastRam:

3.8 MB .tar file

DeTar/DeTar030

0:44 - 50 MHz, 32 MB FastRam (DeTar030 = 0:46)
3:09 - 50 MHz, No FastRam (DeTar030 = 3:17)

Using SysInfo without fastram enabled, I scored 2.99 times the speed of a stock A600, 17.65 with FastRam enabled.

Judging by these results your system is definitely not using FastRam at all. One thing that is common between both of our systems that it proves that the DeTar030 version is very lame :)

Drewlio77

Last edited by Drewlio77 on 04-May-2017 at 07:54 PM.
Last edited by Drewlio77 on 04-May-2017 at 05:01 PM.

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roMancer 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 5-May-2017 12:25:32
#9 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Feb-2010
Posts: 10
From: Unknown

@Drewlio77

by the way: thanks for taking the time!

here's a picture of SetXA in action on my board, in a Kickstart 3.0 Amiga 1200:



you can see the previous settings ("RAM Speed: 100nsec", ...), new settings("setxa ramspeed 70", ...), and the state after adding the board's memory. After "setxa addmem", it takes maybe half a second to activate the memory. During this short timespan the Amiga remains usable - e.g. a mouseclick on the workbench. But once the memory has been added, it looks like any memory access crashes the machine. That includes (re)focussing the shell-window, clicking workbench, clicking an icon. When keeping the shell window active (no workbench click), keyboard input is still possible, but entering a valid command and hitting crashes the machine.
Behaviour is almost the same with different RAM SIMMs/speeds/cycles, only the type of system crash differs: sometimes screen graphics corruption, sometimes black screen, sometimes Guru Meditation.

With a Kickstart 3.1 (=autoconfiguring) Amiga 1200 the screen stays black on powerup.

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Drewlio77 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 5-May-2017 15:55:00
#10 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Jan-2008
Posts: 706
From: Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

@roMancer

One thing I see in the screenshot that seems odd is that your Chipmem (Graphics mem) is at 0 bytes. Does this happen after the SetXA is executed? Your system has been reduced to no memory at all. That definitely would explain the system instability.

Drewlio77

Last edited by Drewlio77 on 05-May-2017 at 03:55 PM.

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roMancer 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 7-May-2017 8:32:36
#11 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Feb-2010
Posts: 10
From: Unknown

@Drewlio77

yep, that's what's happening.
as I said before, I can add memory, it shows up for a second or two in workbench's title bar, then both chipmem and fastmem suddenly go to zero, then the whole computer becomes unusable slow, and crashes after a few seconds with some bad screen corruption.

first, I was using "SetXA" from workbench - the behaviour is as described above.

when using "SetXA" from the commandline (see screenshot with previous post) the memory is added, mouse and keyboard still usable, but the next mouseclick (e.g. focussing workbench) or valid shell command (program load?) freezes/crashes the machine. IIRC, sometimes I see the zeroes (chipmem, fastmem) here, too.

looks like any memory access fails after the m1230xa's memory has been added. (that makes some sense to me when there's zero mem left.)

-- -- --

doesnt anyone around have a M1230XA, and could confirm or disprove the board showing up via Early Startup -> Boards and/or "showconfig" when there's no memory installed on the board?
(I suspect this could point to a different source of malfunction that the memory issue - maybe it's just a followup error.)

Last edited by roMancer on 07-May-2017 at 08:43 AM.

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Drewlio77 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 7-May-2017 20:27:57
#12 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Jan-2008
Posts: 706
From: Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

@roMancer

Is it possible to try your card on another A1200 Motherboard? The behavior of this card is very odd.

Drewlio77

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roMancer 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 7-May-2017 21:54:14
#13 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Feb-2010
Posts: 10
From: Unknown

@Drewlio77

yes, I'm testing with two A1200's, at least one of them works fine with a Blizzard 1230.
(the other one I'm not 100% sure right now, but I'll check again with all features installed (memory, maprom))

by the way, for future reference I've put the subject on my blog:
http://amigaalive.blogspot.de/2017/05/help-microbotics-paravision-m1230xa.html

I think I'll create a "M1230XA support page" over there, so others may benefit from my (and your!) research.

looks like there are not many M1230XA users/owners around.
(note to self: Timothy DeGroote (Hyperion Entertainment) seems to have one.)

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Drewlio77 
Re: MIcrobotics/Paravision MBX1230XA / M1230XA accelerator board repair!
Posted on 8-May-2017 1:02:17
#14 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Jan-2008
Posts: 706
From: Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

@roMancer

Thanks for the info. I wish I still had mine. The funny thing is I don't remember when I was parted from it.

Hopefully we can find out what is going on. The fact your system wont't boot with Kickstart 3.1 is not a good sign. That rules out the software patch, SetXA. Either the EEProm has bad code in it or something is wrong with the memory controller logic circuits or perhaps a bad simm socket.

Have you given the board a good look over for any signs of damaged traces and components? USB microscopes and magnifying glasses help a lot for close examinations like this.

If I find any additional information I will let you know.

Drewlio77

Last edited by Drewlio77 on 08-May-2017 at 01:06 AM.

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