This is the place to discuss our glorious C64/128 machines and their very active scenes. Other C= 8-bits welcome, too!
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BloodyCactus
Lexington VA

by BloodyCactus posted Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:36 pm

Ah this is my most favourite cartridge I had as a kid, The Warpspeed cart! It took a long time to find a complete in box copy, but this one popped up on ebay last year some time. Often you only find the carts themselves.

Front of the slip case box. Pretty bland if you ask me! That 39.96$ sale price in 1988 is worth 85.38$ in todays dollars.
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Back of the box, one thing to note, they did not change anything between V1 and V2 of the cartridges, they did update the manual, but I guess that was cheaper than a new run of full colour box slip cases.
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Sliding the slipcase off we get a standard Cinemaware box cover, and inside a cartridge (does not come with two, but I have two carts, only one was complete in box).
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You'll see a very convenient switch to toggle from C64 to C128 mode, I dont know any other reset carts that were C128 compatible! Things to note here, they are identical, but one has a V1 ROM and one has a V2 ROM. (The cleaner one is a V2). There is no way to tell by just looking at the box or the carts if they have a V1 or V2 ROM inside.

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Under the carts you get a registration card, I used to love filling these with false information as a kid.
Check out that "Number of computer games owned, 0-2" and uh, apparently the dog decided to sleep on the couch when nobody was looking. doh!
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With the registration card, you get a nice manual, its pretty slim (ie: no real breakdown of all the commands in the machine language monitor etc). We also get a copyright date, 1988. I dont know for certain if the V1 also had a 1988 or 1987 date.

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Ah, here is the first paragraph in the manual and we know for certain it is for V2 because it specifically calls out C1581 drives, which V1 did not support. I belive that was about the only improvement of V2 over V1, and some of the loader routines were tweaked/fixed.
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Aah the shot of the entire ensemble!
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So the cart was pretty sweet, and was much like other carts of its time, but probably was just too late to the party in 1988. It had built in fastload that was dang sweet. Reset button (very handy!). Some file copy + disk edit utils. A very sweet inbuilt machine language monitor and of course the ubiquitous dos wedge (how did we ever live without a dos wedge?).

The ROM itself is "encrypted", and I put that in quotes because really all they did was swap data lines around. If you read the rom you get bytes that are bit shifted. Looking over the schematics it looks like all the C64/C128 toggle switch does is preload the value going to the GAME/EXROM (pine 8+9) of the cartridge port from high to low. (C64 sets high, C128 sets low)..

That all this works in 80 col mode on the C128 make it super worthwhile imo!
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:21 pm

This is awesome.

Have you ever tried the Mach 5 cart for 128?
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BloodyCactus
Lexington VA

by BloodyCactus posted Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:55 am

intric8 wrote:This is awesome.

Have you ever tried the Mach 5 cart for 128?


No, I thought Mach5 was a C64 cart only? (googling..) hmm I was not aware they made another variant of it. But it seems a bit shallow as far as carts go.
--/\-[ Bloody Cactus :: http://kråketær.com :: http://mega-tokyo.com ]-/\--
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:43 am

It had 128 acceleration and a reset button. I don’t know if it did much else. Your Warp Speed sounds more full featured.

To be honest, I didn’t know until very recently the EPYX Fastload cartridge had so many hidden features. I always just plugged it in and used the speed bump.
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

by Zippy Zapp posted Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:00 am

I have one of these but I think mine is a V1 ROM. IIRC you can pull the ROM, burn V2 to EPROM and install it back in to upgrade. I could be wrong but I think that is all that is needed. This was a very good, more advanced, alternative to EPYX Fastload. I used fast load mostly exclusively from the time it was released until about 1988 when I sent away for an Action Replay that just blew me away.
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BloodyCactus
Lexington VA

by BloodyCactus posted Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:45 am

Yes a V2 rom can be dropped in, there are no hardware changes between V1 + V2 support. You just have to burn the scrambled rom, not the decrypted rom.
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

by Zippy Zapp posted Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:54 am

Good to know, I didn't recall anything about the encrypted ROM.
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BloodyCactus
Lexington VA

by BloodyCactus posted Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:31 am

Zippy Zapp wrote:Good to know, I didn't recall anything about the encrypted ROM.


Its not encrypted, basically what they did was, on a ROM chip, you have data and address lines. These are 8bit roms so you have D0 .. D7. What they did was instead if wiring it from the C128 D0 to Cart D0.. They used a matrix and went like C128.D0 to Cart.D5, etc, they swapped all the lines around so when you dump the rom it looks all scrambled.

Here is the layout (A address, D data). You can see they swapped the first 5 data lines and such.

Code: Select all
Warpspeed128 layout according to RajW:

Chip pin --- Cartridge port
A0 --------- Y/A0
A1 --------- X/A1
A2 --------- V/A3
A3 --------- U/A4
A4 --------- S/A6
A5 --------- P/A8
A6 --------- M/A10
A7 --------- L/A11
A8 --------- N/A9
A9 --------- R/A7
A10 -------- W/A2
A11 -------- T/A5
A12 -------- J/A13
A13 -------- K/A12
A14 -------- VCC

D0 --------- 17/D4
D1 --------- 18/D3
D2 --------- 20/D1
D3 --------- 21/D0
D4 --------- 19/D2
D5 --------- 16/D5
D6 --------- 15/D6
D7 --------- 14/D7
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

by Zippy Zapp posted Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:34 pm

Oh I gotcha. So they did it on the PCB, So if I dump the ROM with a programmer, outside of the cart it should be fine? Same with programming a new ROM as long as it was dumped via a programmer?
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BloodyCactus
Lexington VA

by BloodyCactus posted Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:51 am

Zippy Zapp wrote:Oh I gotcha. So they did it on the PCB, So if I dump the ROM with a programmer, outside of the cart it should be fine? Same with programming a new ROM as long as it was dumped via a programmer?


if you dump the rom with a programmer it will be scrambled. As long as the rom you program is scrambled as well, your ok. If the rom file is "readable" and unscrambled, you cant burn it and have it work.
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