Acorn RiscPC700

Version Française

The Acorn, mouse and keyboard are not the original ones.

What's in the box? The ZIP drive PC Emulation Change the ROMs EtherLAN card

I wanted one to learn about the RiscOS world.

What's in the box?
  1. Strong ARM CPU
  2. Risc OS 4.39 system in Rom
  3. 80MB RAM
  4. 1024x768 32768 colors
  5. serial , parallel, PS/2 keyboard, bus mouse, sound output
  6. 40GB hard drive
  7. CD burner
  8. Etherlan500 network card
On the right, the mother board with:
  1. CPU slot 0: here is plugged the Strong ARM
  2. CPU slot 1: here is plugged the emulation 486SX card
  3. RAM 64MB
  4. RAM 16MB
  5. VRAM for extended resolutions
  6. floppy unit
  7. CD Burner
  8. CPU card with the StrongARM
  9. two connectors for cards, I use one for my EtherLAN
  10. ROMs for the OS, here the 3.70 but replaced with OS4.39

The two processor cards
The Strong ARM
Main RISC processor

The 486SX/40
Processor for PC emulation

The PC emulation card is built around the 486 SX/40, you can use the image of a hard drive (up to 2GB) and use as mch RAM as your RiscPC can give to the application.

You'll need some drivers to use it, they all can be found here:
PC Card Software
  • Binaries for version 3.06
  • Divacode to get a registration code
  • PCConfigpatch if your system uses Adjust/Select

Here is the folder I get with all the software uncompressed. First, run Divacode to get a code!

Then the installer located into the Release folder. Then, if needed, the patch for PCConfig before any utilisation. Finally, you get this folder containing the software to emulate a PC. A good thing is to start with PCConfig to create your Drive C partition.

Then run MkBootDsc to create a boot disk with the requiered drivers for DOS/Windows. Keep the floppy inserted and run PC to boot with DOS. This boot gives you access to the CD Rom as drive M:, then just type M:INSTALL to install Windows 95 for example, as I did it!

So, here is a configuration under Windows 95 with:
  • Hard drive with 2GB
  • 32MB RAM seems enough
  • True Color graphic card
  • CD Rom unit
  • Sound Blaster card
For the graphic card and the sound card, the installation must be done manually using the drivers located on the floppy disk.

On the right, everything works, video with sound!
I set the display in 16 bits, the same as the RiscPC to speed up the emulation!

The desktop
You can see the results for the BogoMIPS test

The ZIP disk

The RiscPC uses its own file system : the ADFS. ZIP disks formatted with ADFS can't be read under otheroperating systems. So, I wrote a little tool to read those files on an Atari.

On the right, under RiscOs, I saved two files on my ZIP disk:
  • The little windows shows the two files (a text and an archive) on the ZIP disk
  • The large window shows the content of the texte file
  • The medium window, shows the files included in the archive (with SparkFS)
My program READZIP

Then I insert the ZIP disk into my Atari. My program shows the catalog of the disk in a simple manner, the two files are present with some infos for each.

Then, the program waits for a simple number (here 0 or 1) to know wich file to save on the Atari disk.

The program is written in FORTH with assembly routines to convert WORDS and LONGS from little endian to big endian, it accesses directly the sectors of the disk.
After saving, you can read the text file:
Or uncompress the archive, you can see the same file structure as above:

Changing the ROMs

The installed system; when I got the machine, was nor up to date, neither stable. ROMs were the RiscOS 3.70 but the system 4.02 was softloaded at boot time. The !BOOT folder wasn't organized as the other ones and it was always hard to adapt the advices from other Acorn users.
Next, you can see the two components of the system 3.70.

So, I acquiered the RiscOS 4.39 with its installation CD. This last is easy. First, you must swap the ROMs! Pulling them off requieres some patience as there is not a lot of room to insert something under the IC's.
Once this is done, boot with DEL depressed to reinit the CMOS with the new organization as values have changed compared to the previous system.

Then, you reach the desktop. You may have to modify some settings (screen resolution, CD...).

Then, insert the CD and run the Install program. A new !Boot folder is created with the last functionnalities of the system 4.39.

There you are, just reboot and use it !

La carte EtherLAN

The EtherLAN500 card lead to big problems as soon as it was inserted:
  • The serial mouse was not seen anymore
  • the CD drive disappeared
  • no more sound!
As this was not enough, even when I could change this, none of this settings would resist to a boot! The answer came when we discovered the module CMOSlock run by the ROM of the card : it was the responsible.

The solution was to go to the command line (F12) and to type:

According to someone, those cards came from the educational world and were designed to use a network preventing the pupils from modifying the essential settings.

This card was kindly sent to me by John W. who took a lot of his time helping me to configure it..!

This being done, I open the control pannel, select NETWORK and then INTERFACE.
I select the EtherLAN500 card.
Then, I clic on CONFIGURE and select the VIA DHCP protocol. That's all to use my LiveBOX from Orange.
To browse the WEB, everyone agreed that Netsurf was a good choice. Fast and easy to use.

Since december 15th 2007