Monday, February 23, 2015

Signs of Life

Of course, where to start debugging a library which is officially encrypted? Well, in the distant past some people already wrote a decrypt program for the pci.library (the background story of the 'why' is also interesting, but maybe for some other time).

After a bit of digging the culprit was found (and accidentally, also the spider recognition code. Again, another story).

The Sonnet is a PCI card based on the MPC107 chip set, also known as the TSi107 chip set (at least mine is). This makes the Sonnet actually a non-transparent PCI-bridge. This means that the Amiga cannot directly communicate with the resources on the card.

To achieve this, these kind of PCI-bridges have address translation units (ATUs) on board so you can address the card through PCI memory. This is different from 'normal' PCI cards.

The Mediator treats the Sonnet as a normal PCI card. It writes all ones to the Base Address Registers (BARs) of all the PCI cards it can find. The PCI card responds with setting up a mask in the BAR to indicate how big the needed address space is. This will be allocated in PCI memory by the Mediator.

However, BAR0 of the Sonnet is actually an ATU. Writing all ones to this register does not result in what the Mediator expects. The value returned causes an infinite loop in the Mediator as it cannot allocate the appropriate size of memory it thinks it needs by reading back the ATU.

We insert some code to skip BAR0 if the PCI Vendor/ID matches the Sonnet and we add the approriate info to the vendors.txt file... et voila:

The Mediator reads all the values in one go and stores them inside a big array. As you can see, I inserted a dummy value for Memspace0 (BAR0) in this array.

Now we have the card detected without crashing, we are going to try to get it to execute code. The next task is to read up on how to program the MPC107 chip set. That's for another day.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Messing about with a Sonnet Crescendo 7200 G3 500 MHz

Well, in the end I just bought a second handed A2000 Mobo for like 5 euro's.... On to the next project :-) Here we have a Sonnet Crescendo 7200 model 500 MHz G3. It is fabled that this is the infamous SharkPPC from Elbox. Anyway, here it is installed in an A3000 with a Mediator board.

Took me a while to find the 5V EDO or FPM memory for it, but Ebay (and patience) is your friend. It has now 3x16MB installed on it. Doing a pciinfo (a tool from the mediator package) just hangs the A3000. We'll look at the problem in the pci.library next time.