Author Archives: Dilwyn

Dennis Briggs Hardware Guide

A PDF file version of this article from the late Dennis Briggs is now available, making it easier to read. The article lists most of the early QL disk interfaces and other cards, complete with simple diagrams to aid identification. The diagrams are now embedded in the PDF file rather than having to be viewed individually as QL PIC files. View the PDF file at http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/hardware/intfaces.pdf

HAL Chip Article

I’ve added a document about IC38, the HAL chip in a QL to the hardware documents page on my site.

A document with equations and JEDEC for the HAL chip in a QL (based on issue 5.3 and 6), from information by Robert Klein in the original document QL_clones_hardware.pdf , with small modification by Marcel Kilgus (fixed pin names)  and JEDEC listing from Miroslav Werner, originally published on Sinclair QL For Everyone Facebook Group. Read the article at http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/hardware/HALic38.txt

ZX8301 Chip Documentation

Derek Stewart has compiled a document from postings made by Nasta (Zeljko Nastasic) on QL Forum about the ZX8301 chip used in the QL. The ZX8301 is IC22 on the QL circuit board.

It’s available to download as DOC, ODT and PDF files in a single zip file from the Hardware Documents page on my website:

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/hardware/index.html

or from the backup site at

http://www.greybeardz.com/docs/hardware/index.html

QLTools Revision 2.15.5

Norman Dunbar has been busy revising the QLTools file transfer software, updating it to handle ED disk images, for example. He writes:

1) Now compiles under Windows with Gcc. I used CodeBlocks with the built in 32bit gcc to do the builds. There’s also a makefile for shell usage.

2) Fixed 32bit bug in formatting an ed image file. It would segfault on Windows 64bit when compiled as 32bit, but not as a 64 bit build. Turned out to be a bug in my ‘ed’ formatting code.

3) If the image file doesn’t exist, it will now be created when formatting an image.

4) Files were being corrupted when extracted from an image with the ‘-n’ option. This was because the ‘DOS_LIKE’ define was not being done on modern C compilers/operating systems. It is now! The corruption was to add a CR in front of every LF in the file.

5) When changing the dataspace of a file with ‘-x’ the dataspace size was allowed to be an odd size. I’m sure this causes trouble on a QL, so it now gets rounded up if it is odd.

6) The ‘-M’ option to create a level 2 directory wasn’t working. This was because it was opening the image file in read only mode. I may have been responsible for breaking this – but don’t quote me. It’s fixed now.

7) Dumping an ED cluster with the ‘-u’ option (ASCII dump) was only dumping 32 lines of 16 bytes – 512 bytes in total. The number of lines was hard coded. It has been changed to calculate the number of lines from the sector size. This option now works for ED drives as well.

8) Windows uses the ‘/’ character for command line options, unlike Linux which uses ‘-‘ and while there was some code that allowed the ‘/’ when ‘DOS_LIKE’ was defined, it wasn’t in all the places it needed to be. Now it is. Windows users have the choice of whichever flag symbol they like. (Well, ‘-‘ or ‘/’ is all the choice actually!)

9) Slightly weird. If the ‘-w’ option was used to write a file into an image, and that that file was already there, it didn’t prompt to overwrite. I spent ages tracking it down and it turned out that running in a Windows command session does prompt, only running in a bash shell, on Windows, does it not prompt. As most users won’t be in my development bash shell, I’m not fixing this.

10) Source Code is available from https://github.com/NormanDunbar/qltools

11) Compiled binaries for 32/64 bit Windows and Linux are also available from https://github.com/NormanDunbar/qltools/releases  – along with a new user guide.

If you enjoy using this half as much as I’ve enjoyed amending it, then I’ve had twice as much fun as you!

QStripper

Norman Dunbar writes:

QStripper, a utility that extracts text (only) and text formatting, from a Sinclair QL “Quill” document, has moved house. It’s now on GitHub at

https://github.com/NormanDunbar/QStripper

There’s a new release out today, version 1.16, which is an enhancement requested by Derek Stewart over version 1.15. It now allows you to use your own background image rather than the one I installed at version 1.13, a NASA image of Jupiter.

Windows users, I’ve noticed that 1.15 onwards requires a new set of Windows Support Files. Sorry about that, circumstances beyond my control I’m afraid. The release area is https://github.com/NormanDunbar/QStripper/releases

A new image is specified by having a file called background.png in the directory holding the executable file QStripper.exe.

background.png if found is loaded as the background image.

It defaults to the inbuilt image if background.png is not found.

Note that the filename of the image is case sensitive – must be in lower case.

Marcel Kilgus Site Updates

Marcel Kilgus writes:

For those that don’t monitor my blog or the QL-Forums, here are a few updates that happened the last few weeks:

I’ve decoded the GoldCard boot/patch ROM code

https://www.kilgus.net/2018/11/14/supergoldcard-boot-sequence/

I’ve hunted down a crash in Minerva

(includes comments by the man Lau Reeves himself!) and released a new version “1.98a1” accordingly

I’ve released QMON/JMON for free

I’ve released a picture of the QMON successor SMON that was unfortunately never finished

https://www.qlforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1392&start=60#p25802

I’ve uploaded an update to my PNGConv tool as the 13 year old binary exhibited some problems:

I’ve released a new QL-SD demo disc that now includes many QL games, some for free for the first timehttps://www.kilgus.net/2018/12/17/ql-sd-demo-update/