Discussion Forum for all things Microbee
An update to my 512kb Microbee booting off a Compact Flash - Printable Version

+- Discussion Forum for all things Microbee (https://microbeetechnology.com.au/forum)
+-- Forum: Microbee Forum (https://microbeetechnology.com.au/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=1)
+--- Forum: Microbee Software and Documentation (https://microbeetechnology.com.au/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=7)
+--- Thread: An update to my 512kb Microbee booting off a Compact Flash (/showthread.php?tid=400)

An update to my 512kb Microbee booting off a Compact Flash - ChickenMan - 25-11-2021

I've been recently playing with my 512k CF Microbee (a Premium mainboard with a Suzy Jacksons coreboard updated to v0.5) and wanting to update one of my CF Sandisk 32mb cards that has 4 x 5mb partitions filled with all or most of our games on it and all menu driven for easy access.  A friend also has the same but with a Suzy Jackson v0.4 coreboard and hoping the same CF will work on his also.

The latest CF files, version 0.59, when assembled produces an image that I can then write to the CF using Win32 DiskImager.  It boots up to this :


The distortion in the top few lines are remnants left over from the previous screen before the Shell loads.  The SHELL is version 2.34, I originally changed that to SHELL v3.00 and that problem disappears.  However, v3.00 is larger then v2.34 and there is not enough room for the CCP.SYS to load (as displayed on initial boot up) so you are unable to get to a command line prompt A0>.  Change the SHELL to v2.36 and both problems are fixed, SHELL distortion gone and I can still get to a command prompt. Now boots to


The directory lister L.COM is an old version 2.2.  This version runs extremely slow so have updated it to ver 2.5, 2.8 or even 4.0 and they all run at expected high speed.  I then used PART to create the B:, C: and D: primary partitions of 5mb each.  I also added BASIC ver 3.00e to A:.  A floppy drive attached then appears as drive E:.

I decided to leave A: alone and fill B: with the floppies ARCADE_1, 2 & 3 and some others. A major problem found that trying to use ubee512 emulators to transfer files to the CF image, I get "Disk Full" error or "Cant close xxxx" when trying to copy files across.  I had another CF image file that I could copy files across to using ubee512 but then it would not boot in a real Microbee.  So I ended up copying the floppy DSK images I needed to a USB key and put in my spare Gotek. I plugged it in Microbee and was then able to copy the files from E: Arcade 1, 2 & 3 to B0: drive but had renamed their Basic Menu's to M1.MWB, M2.MWB and M3.MWB prior to copying.  I then modified a copy of Easy Menu to run them.  I also copied a few other game disks to A1:, A2:, etc, so the MENU boots to


I soon found that the Easy Menu can't handle User Areas, like A1:, but USR.COM can.  So the Easy menu now runs USR 1 which runs whats in A1:.  Second problem found was that you cant run Easy Menu out of Easy Menu on another disk, so a Turbo Pascal menu was compiled for the disks where that was a problem.  Also, the old problem that you cant run a second program from Easy Menu after running the first one without re-booting the Microbee is still there.  Has always been an issue but the CF boots pretty quick so not a real problem.

Next was to copy the 9 Games disks, being Games 1, Games 2, to Games 9 to C: drive as well as Adventures 2 disk which has the Zork Adventures on it, as asked for from my friend.  Its Menu boots to


The last thing to do was to copy the files off another 8 games disks (because Easy Menu only has 8 positions) to disk D: using all the issues found above. So D: Menu boots to


So in all, a few issues resolved, new Menus etc created, but now have all the games in an easy to run place.  Could use a SD card for the Premium Plus+ but limited by the number you can see in the Menu.  I could have also just put all the images on a Gotek but when you have to hunt for the right one which is time consuming when you have 30+ images.  To run the copy protected Honeysoft disk, they need to booted from a Floppy either a real floppy or Gotek, so holding down the F key while you Reset the Microbee will make it boot from the Floppy or Gotek attached.

My friend sent me 5 x 32mb Sandisk CF cards and I wrote the finished image to all 5.  He also sent me his Microbee and only 3 of the CF cards would boot in his Microbee but the other 2 would boot in mine.  So I swapped him 2 Sandisk CF cards of mine that also worked in his Microbee.  So everyone now happy Smile

Next project is to make an Educational CF card similar to the Games card or maybe 2 to get them all on. Then there are all the Adventure Games that will definitely need 2 CF cards to fit them all on.  All waiting for a rainy day Smile

If anyone wants any more detailed information on any of the about, just ask.

RE: An update to my 512kb Microbee booting off a Compact Flash - CheshireNoir - 26-11-2021

Nice work!

RE: An update to my 512kb Microbee booting off a Compact Flash - Suzy - 27-12-2021

Hi Chickenman,

I’d be very interested in one of your flash cards. My CF bee currently doesn’t work, as I accidentally trashed the card without a backup.

RE: An update to my 512kb Microbee booting off a Compact Flash - ChickenMan - 27-12-2021

No problems Suzy, will email you the Games CF image.  This image was generated on a Sandisk 32mb CF but also works on a CISCO 32mb CF as well as it has the same C/H/S layout. These are also available at a good price off an Aussie eBay seller but even cheaper from China if your prepared to wait.

RE: An update to my 512kb Microbee booting off a Compact Flash - Ernest - 27-12-2021

Easily done, only needs a timing problem or lockup during writing an bingo it gets corrupted and wont boot no more.
I do regular image backup tapes keep from getting caught out.
Great job to see you still about in the Microbee circles Susy.


RE: An update to my 512kb Microbee booting off a Compact Flash - ChickenMan - 06-01-2022

Well I had some time to make an Educational CF for my Microbee.  I used the same files and processes as above so was relatively easy to make it up.  Really need to make a second one as there are still lots of files to add to another CF.

Again, I just setup drive B:, C: and D: and using a modified Easy Menu, so for B: drive I ended up with


and for C: drive with


and for D: drive with


The Goddison, J&H Beesware and Nectar disks load up their own Basic menu with a great range of Educational programs on each. Tunning the "Australia 2020" program certainly got the prices of houses wrong for 2020, like MODERN HOUSE WITH A LITTLE LAND, This house is comfortable and modern inside.  Outside you have a BBQ, Vegie patch and some flowers.  ($55,000), wow, out by a factor of x20.

So if anyone would like a copy of this CF image (for a Sandisk or CISCO 32mb CF), just ask here or elsewhere.