X68000 Help

Neo Alec

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My brother's X68000 CZ-601C stopped booting games a couple years ago. We changed the CMOS battery, but that had no effect. You can hear the system and floppy drive running when powered up. I've measured voltages off of the power supply, and it appears to still be supplying power.

My main question at this point: We no longer have the CRT VGA monitors we used to use with this thing, so I bought this SCART cable on ebay:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/RGB-SCART-Sharp-X68000-cable-x68k-/331636530283

I hooked it up to the Framemeister and it's doing nothing when I power on the X68000. Does the X68000 work with the Framemeister at all? Googling doesn't seem to give a definitive answer.
 
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ShootTheCore

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SCART and the X68000 don't get along. I use a VGA adapter running into an OSSC upscaler on mine. Skip the SCART and figure out a way to do VGA.

Since you've swapped the CMOS battery, the settings have been lost and you'll want to boot off of a Master Floppy and run "switch.x" to configure the CMOS settings again. If you need a Master Floppy, write me a PM and I can send one to you.

I strongly recommend recapping the entire X68000 computer. The caps dry out after 20+ years and stop buffering power properly. With the floppy drives, dried out caps can cause them to stop reading and writing properly.
 

Neo Alec

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Thanks for the replies.

I don't think the Framemeister can do VGA. That's why I need one of the new 480p RGB cables for Dreamcast.

I can try the 1080p Samsung TV instead of the 4K one I'm using now. I noticed when I turn off Auto sync mode on the Framemeister it can lose picture.

We'll probably send the system away for recapping. The last system I tried to recap was the Turbo Duo, and I fixed the audio caps and stopped before I burnt anything up or lifted any traces.
 

Dr Shroom

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Get a japanese X68000 multisync monitor or a western multisync monitor and build your own cable/adapter because japanese RGB is different.
 

Neo Alec

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I had an American CRT a long time ago that worked great with the X68000. For some reason I assumed it would work with the Framemeister. We used to use it with an XRGB2.

If I have to keep an extra CRT monitor around just for the X68000, then that's probably going to be too much of a burden, which is a shame, since my brother has such a sweet collection for it, and I haven't played most of the games.

I've already seen that link.
 

ShootTheCore

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Using an OSSC upscaler is less hassle than keeping a CRT around IMHO. You can get one off of AliExpress for around $130. Not only will it give you a VGA upscaling solution that handles all of the X68000's resolutions, it's higher-quality than your Framemeister at RGB SCART and Component video as well.
 

Neo Alec

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The PC-88 works with the Framemeister.

How do I know an OSSC is going to work any better? There seems to be no consensus on this.

Since you've swapped the CMOS battery, the settings have been lost and you'll want to boot off of a Master Floppy and run "switch.x" to configure the CMOS settings again. If you need a Master Floppy, write me a PM and I can send one to you.
As I mentioned, we're unable to boot disks.

I will find the VGA adapter out of storage to verify there's any video output.
 
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Neo Alec

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Anyway, putting aside the video signal for a moment, the error that appears on screen when the video was working is:

"エラーが発生しました。リセットしてください。" ("An error occurred. Please reset.")

I realize this error message is normal. Back when this system worked we would get this message, then resetting at this screen would make the system boot from floppy. Resetting no longer does the trick.

I can't get anything off a floppy. Even holding a key, I can't get it to attempt a boot from floppy.
 
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Dr Shroom

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You drive might be fucked. Maybe the head isn't aligned properly anymore or the belt is done. These machines are getting old.

Do yourself a favor and invest in a compact flash solution and don't bother with dying floppies. Had a CF setup in my Super before I sold it, worked great and the installation was easy enough. Not sure, but I think you can just install the image via PC and directly boot from it on the CF card without having to use the OS to setup the boot order. A 2GB card is big enough to hold most of the games. RAM expansion required though.

If you're using any machine below the Super (like the Pro, Expert or the orignal X68000) with the SASI interface instead of the SATA one, getting the setup done is a bit harder.
 
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ShootTheCore

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How do I know an OSSC is going to work any better? There seems to be no consensus on this.

I’ve used an OSSC with my X68030 with VGA for over a year. It works great-it handles every resolution that the X68k uses. If you don’t believe me, I can refer you to other folks in the X68k Facebook page and SIG X68000 forums who are using an OSSC successfully as well.

As for your floppy drives not reading, recapping the computer and drives should address that.

I also agree with Dr. Shroom on using a flash drive setup. I have the entire games library running off an SD card and it’s marvelous. You will have to get your floppy drives working so that you can boot off a Master Floppy, install the SCSI driver and set the boot order.

Alternatively, you can purchase an FDX68 and use that in place of your floppy drives. It uses a Raspberry Pi to load floppy disc images from an SD card.
 
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awbacon

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Japanese floppy drives break basically every time you even look at them the wrong way. Having dealt with the Towns floppies...if a game isn't booting and the system powers on and displays an image...misaligned / bad belt / dead floppy drive
 

DaisyAge

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Using an OSSC upscaler is less hassle than keeping a CRT around IMHO. You can get one off of AliExpress for around $130. Not only will it give you a VGA upscaling solution that handles all of the X68000's resolutions, it's higher-quality than your Framemeister at RGB SCART and Component video as well.

How solid is the AliExpress Ossc? I was tempted to get the knock off to save some money if it's good build quality.
 

ShootTheCore

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How solid is the AliExpress Ossc? I was tempted to get the knock off to save some money if it's good build quality.

The popular console modder Voultar investigates an AliExpress OSSC here: https://twitter.com/Voultar/status/1146136463945416704

In short, he says that the quality looks good - at least on the unit he ordered.

FWIW, the "official" source for the OSSC has dropped their price to be competitive with the AliExpress OSSCs. Looks like there's only a ~$20 premium for an official model with warranty and support.

https://www.videogameperfection.com/products/open-source-converter/
 

Neo Alec

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According to the Japanese seller we're ordering a new JP21 cable from, the X68000 needs a cable with a powered sync cleaner to work with the Framemeister.

I'm sure I'll get an OSSC at some point. I'll stick with the Framemeister for capturing video though.

I'm going to double check the cmos battery we installed with a multimeter. If that's the problem, I can try holding opt.1 to boot from a floppy again and run switch.x.
 

ShootTheCore

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OK if you insist on using SCART, be aware that the SCART spec only officially supports 15hz, so games that use 24hz or 32hz likely won't display through the Framemeister.

Also, an improperly-made SCART cable will burn out your Framemeister or the SN74ALS05AN sync inverter chip inside the X68000, so make sure that your SCART cable builder has experience with the X68000 specifically.

First, the video signal lines on the X68k put out 5 volts of current (VGA PC spec) while the SCART spec and Framemeister expect 0.3 volts of current. The SCART cable will need to step that voltage down.

Secondly, X68k puts out RGBHV - the horizontal sync and vertical sync signals are seperated (again, following VGA PC spec). RGBS (which SCART uses) requires H and V to be combined properly.

More details here: https://gamesx.com/wiki/doku.php?id=x68000:fixing_rgb_output
 
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Neo Alec

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I've got a small update. I did figure out that none of the devices I was using was able to display the X68000's non-standard signal on any of my HDMI TV's or monitors. I found some advice online, and was able to get a picture by running the OSSC through the Framemeister. This has gotten us back to an error screen that I recognize from back when the machine was working:

Retrotink 5X Screenshot 2021-09-27 00-24-06.png

Unfortunately, putting bootable disks in the system does nothing. I'm following some advice from this page, and I've gotten nowhere. I just replaced the SRAM battery, but that hasn't helped:


The disk drives won't boot any bootable disks. After a hard power up, the drives make one tick, and then stop. Both drives have power, are able to eject. Holding Opt 1 or CLR at boot both don't do anything. And I can't do the more involved SRAM reset instructions because my disk drives aren't doing anything.
 
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awbacon

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I've got a small update. I did figure out that none of the devices I was using was able to display the X68000's non-standard signal on any of my HDMI TV's or monitors. I found some advice online, and was able to get a picture by running the OSSC through the Framemeister. This has gotten us back to an error screen that I recognize from back when the machine was working:

View attachment 52499

Unfortunately, putting bootable disks in the system does nothing. I'm following some advice from this page, and I've gotten nowhere. I just replaced the SRAM battery, but that hasn't helped:


The disk drives won't boot any bootable disks. After a hard power up, the drives make one tick, and then stop. Both drives have power, are able to eject. Holding Opt 1 or CLR at boot both don't do anything. And I can't do the more involved SRAM reset instructions because my disk drives aren't doing anything.
Id probably attempt to bypass the drives entirely. Get a SCSI2SD adapter and set up a bootable environment on it. Technically its SASI and not SCSI for the 68000 but it works fine. If that won't boot its something on the MOBO. Seems like once the SRAM gets corrupted its a pain to get back up and running. The lack of a booting disc may still interfere with a SASI emulator though...not sure
 
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awbacon

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I've got a small update. I did figure out that none of the devices I was using was able to display the X68000's non-standard signal on any of my HDMI TV's or monitors. I found some advice online, and was able to get a picture by running the OSSC through the Framemeister. This has gotten us back to an error screen that I recognize from back when the machine was working:

View attachment 52499

Unfortunately, putting bootable disks in the system does nothing. I'm following some advice from this page, and I've gotten nowhere. I just replaced the SRAM battery, but that hasn't helped:


The disk drives won't boot any bootable disks. After a hard power up, the drives make one tick, and then stop. Both drives have power, are able to eject. Holding Opt 1 or CLR at boot both don't do anything. And I can't do the more involved SRAM reset instructions because my disk drives aren't doing anything.
 
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