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Se30 - help identifying an expansion board


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Hi Guys,

some years ago I got myself a lovely se30. It had some problems with the screen, so me and a friend we opened it, fixed it (well, he did it :) ) and in the process we removed an already  installed board. I then proceeded to forget about it until now that it came to my attention again.

 

I can't find a single reference to this model everywhere. Either I'm not that good at searching or this board wasn't that good/famous/ whatever. It might help saying that I am in Italy.

 

I'm posting 2 pics. It's obviously a board to connect an external color monitor /any idea which monitor eventually?) but that said I have zero other information about capabilities, drivers, software or whatever!

 

Any help?

 

Thanks,

Ivan

 

 

IMG_9198.jpg

IMG_91977.jpg

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thanks. That thread is quite old and unfortunately didn't bring me any useful answer.

On gamba's site I found a nutmeg BW driver but nothing for my board.

 

Either it's a unusual/unsuccessful board or for some reasons it's rare. Fact is, no driver no joy! It's weird I don't find a single reference in the whole net.

 

I hope someone else reading this in the future will have some hints!

 

Thanks.

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Even without a driver the card "should" show up under the Monitors control panel.  All the video cards I've seen at least are at least recognized in there even if advanced features are unavailable without an enabler/extension/control panel/etc.  Have you tried connecting an external monitor to see if you get a signal?

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There are cards that don't show up if there is no monitor connected.

That behaviour is particularly useful in the SE/30 so the main screen won't set itself to a ghost display.

My Radius IIsi Pivot does it as well as the SE/30 B/W Pivot.

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  • 8 months later...

Missed this thread the first go-round. For a Slot-Manager Mac (anything after the SE) the basic drivers for card function should be in the Card's DeclROM, else it cannot function as a startup screen. Any "drivers" would be for implementing additional features a/o providing a proprietary, card specific alternate to the Monitors Control Panel.

 

Did your card come with cable/breakout panel? What connector does it use?

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
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  • 1 month later...
  • 11 months later...

Hey, I have the same card and have been trying to get it to work. I've made some progress but still no video on external display.

 

- Confirming that no software install is needed - the driver loads from the ROM on the board

- Confirming that a compatible monitor must be connected to the card at startup in order to activate it

- Confirming that it behaves this way under system 6.0.8, 7.1 and 7.5.5

 

I'm using a Mac to VGA adaptor from Retroshopbox, which has DIP switches to emulate various monitors.

However, I'm getting no picture - I've used a Dell E178FPb 15" LCD, and an old Sony 32" TV.

I suspect something to do with the sync or refresh rate not being compatible with these displays, but it's above my head.

 

I'm thinking I might need to buy an Apple monitor - but not 100% sure if that's the silver bullet.

Anyone have an idea what might work? I prefer not to have a boat anchor - was hoping to get this going on my big screen TV!

 

Edited by BurgerTrench
Clarity
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I have a pds video  (rasters color 264 from memory) card and it wouldn't display a external video unless I set it to I believe 31khz output as it defaulted to 15khz

worth checking but you may have a pin on the Video out pinheaded that is directly connected to 5v, if so you may be in luck and if so you can short it to ground to enable the other output mode.

its a long shot and you would need to understand some electronics but if so its something ive seen a few times on different cards and that may help enable video out.

 

please though if you're not sure or don't understand what im talking about do not go wildly shorting out random pins on that header as you could damage the card

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I finally got this Nutmeg 30/8 card working in my SE/30.

The key is using a VGA adaptor with DIP switch settings set to emulate a period correct apple screen such as 13" High Res monitor, and a monitor which can adapt to the resolution and sync signal. I'm using an old Samsung multisync from around 2009, aside from being wide screen it's perfect. My dell monitor which is older and correct aspect ratio did not work - so try a few different screens until you get one that works. I'm going to try to source an older square Samsung multisync, preferably beige for the right aesthetic. I'm very happy to have colour from my little Mac!

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Curious card. It's built with two FPGAs (the Xilinx chips), a GAL, some 74000 logic, memory, and a RAMDAC - and the RAMDAC is the only part that's video specific. There are no other ASICs involved. So, if you could get ahold of the right software, in principal you could program it to be just about anything you wanted (well, within it's capabilities).

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On 6/9/2021 at 6:36 PM, bdurbrow said:

Curious card. It's built with two FPGAs (the Xilinx chips), a GAL, some 74000 logic, memory, and a RAMDAC - and the RAMDAC is the only part that's video specific. There are no other ASICs involved. So, if you could get ahold of the right software, in principal you could program it to be just about anything you wanted (well, within it's capabilities).

It would be really nice to be able to flash it so it could output regular VGA signal. RGsB is a pain. I'm guessing this would require access to source code for the ROM chips.

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I'm guessing this would require access to source code for the ROM chips.

 

In principal, one could reverse-engineer the PCB enough so that you had enough information to figure out what the ROM on the card was doing when you disassembled the 68000 code on it. From there, you could figure out where in the ROM image the FPGA bit-streams were located, and how they were getting loaded onto the FPGAs at boot; as well as if there are any toolbox handlers that it's patching.

 

From that; it would be a fairly straightforward process to write a new configuration for it in Verilog or VHDL (assuming that you can get ahold of the programming tools - I think it's Xilinx's XACT 6.1? Might have to ask Xilinx for a copy). Merge the new bit-streams into the ROM image, burn a new EEPROM to fit the socket, and see what happens when you plug it in.

 

It would definitely be a non-trivial project, though.

 

:)

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When you go through the trouble to rewriting new VHDL code there's no need to stick to an old hardware design.

Unfortunately the opposite direction of reversing the bitstream into actual cell/connection configuration of the FPGA itself isn't easily possible either.

On similar cards that I have seen so far the bitstream is fed into the FPGAs right from the EPROM. No software loading happens there at all which makes sense since at least one of the two FPGAs on there is also going to be involved into interfacing to the host bus.

 

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When you go through the trouble to rewriting new VHDL code there's no need to stick to an old hardware design.

Which is one reason why I'm not attempting that. ;) The FPGA design that I've been working towards on-and-off is based around ICE40 and ECP5 chips; which are still in production (good luck actually getting them right now though; due to the general shortage of chips worldwide).

 

 

 

OK, so I went back and read the datasheet for the XC2018; and it supports a mode where it can a) load the configuration from a parallel ROM, b) grab it from the top of the ROM's address space, c) pass the data thru to another XC2018 connected in a daisy-chain, and d) hold the host system (the SE/30's 68030 in this case) in reset while it does so. Based on the parts that are on the board, this is probably what's going on. Grabbing the FPGA configuration data from the top of the ROM that's on the video card would allow the same chip to contain the firmware that the 68030 is looking for.

 

What strikes me as a bit odd, looking again at the board; is that there are four 74245 bus transceivers on it - that's enough to isolate either the 32 bits of the address bus, or the data bus - but not both. Given the way the XC2018 would load it's configuration data; I would tend to think that one would want both address and data buses isolated from the main system's logic board during FPGA configuration, even when /RESET is being asserted?

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On 6/11/2021 at 4:55 PM, bdurbrow said:

 

In principal, one could reverse-engineer the PCB enough so that you had enough information to figure out what the ROM on the card was doing when you disassembled the 68000 code on it. From there, you could figure out where in the ROM image the FPGA bit-streams were located, and how they were getting loaded onto the FPGAs at boot; as well as if there are any toolbox handlers that it's patching.

 

From that; it would be a fairly straightforward process to write a new configuration for it in Verilog or VHDL (assuming that you can get ahold of the programming tools - I think it's Xilinx's XACT 6.1? Might have to ask Xilinx for a copy). Merge the new bit-streams into the ROM image, burn a new EEPROM to fit the socket, and see what happens when you plug it in.

 

It would definitely be a non-trivial project, though.

 

:)

No doubt this would be possible for someone with the right skills, knowledge and time. I'll stick with finding another solution - it's looking more and more like I need to build something to convert RGsB to VGA, not many products around that do it that aren't total overkill. I could attach a diy build inside the Mac and replace the old connector with VGA for a nice dongle free solution.

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2 hours ago, BurgerTrench said:

No doubt this would be possible for someone with the right skills, knowledge and time. I'll stick with finding another solution - it's looking more and more like I need to build something to convert RGsB to VGA, not many products around that do it that aren't total overkill. I could attach a diy build inside the Mac and replace the old connector with VGA for a nice dongle free solution.

yeah unfortunately the Devices that do sB aren't very common sG is more common. possible the OSSC would do it (not confirmed though) but still that's a costly device, but a good one none the less. 

the other option would be the RGB2HDMI device, if it supports sB its pretty cheap to build/buy and from my uses it works pretty well. I think someone posted here on the forums that Adrian Black did a review/test of it fwiw

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