Setting up your brand new FPGA Replay board for the first time

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Estimated reading time: 3 min

Background

First, you may check out the great video from Adam about unpacking and using the Replay board:

To understand how to set up the board and cores, here’s a short overview what the board does when you switch it on:

First the ARM bootloader checks if the button on the Replay board is pressed (checked directly at power up)
– if yes, it initialises the USB port and awaits commands from the PC for flashing, see here about this process:
http://www.fpgaarcade.com/punbb/viewtopic.php?id=126
– if no, the Replay firmware is launched
– this stage does not use any Replay hardware except the USB port and the button (so no video activated)

The Replay firmware initialises the hardware and checks for a SDCARD inserted
– in this stage, still no keyboard or video is available
– if a card is found with a Replay loader in the root directory, it is transferred to the FPGA
(to be accurate, it looks for a “replay.ini” file in the root, which loads then the FPGA *.bin file and an optional image)
– if not, an emergency setup is transferred to the FPGA to set up video with a basic OSD, asking to insert a SDCARD

When a proper loader is set up from the root of the SDCARD, the OSD menu is initialised
– the user can now select the “load target” menu, and browse through the SDCARD to select a core INI file

When a INI file is selected, the ARM parses the file and executes it content
– this either loads a Replay application (“rApp”) like the firmware flasher or it loads a core, like the AGA Amiga
– cores may define their additional OSD menu entries for configuration

If one wants to start a core directly (w/o OSD), it is possible to copy the whole core setup to the root directory;
– Rename the INI file which needs to be started at power up to “replay.ini”, as this is the first file the firmware looks for in the root directory.

Prerequisites

You will need:

  • A 5V power supply (a 5V 1A wall supply is just fine for a plain Replay board, see also FAQ on power supplies)
  • A PS/2 keyboard
  • A video cable (with DVI adapter)
  • Optional: joysticks, PS/2 mouse and other equipment (depends on the cores you want to use)
  • An actual ARM firmware (see HOWTOs on upgrading the Replay ARM firmware, if required)
  • An actual Replay loader (an exemplary version is attached to this post)
  • Cores and rApps – otherwise the board won’t do very much…
  • – For now there is only one rApp for flashing in the SVN …\sw\arm_sw\Replay_Apps\rAppFlashUpdater\sdcard
  • for debugging (not needed for operation!): a serial cable (or USB serial adapter) plus a terminal program like PUTTY

Procedure

  • Set up the SDCARD, do a FAT16 or FAT32 format (NTFS or ext2/ext3/… won’t work)
  • Copy the Replay loader to the root directory
  • Set up sub directories for each core and rApp and copy the data there
  • Set up your board with a monitor and a keyboard
  • Insert the SDCARD in the Replay board slot and power the board up
  • With “F12” you can open/close the OSD menu
  • With “F11” you can (cold-)reset the running core
  • Navigate in OSD and file browser with the cursor keys
  • Use ENTER to select and ESC to cancel
  • now you can open the OSD menu and load a core INI file (via the “load target” menu item)
  • depending on the core, you may find additional menu items for configuration
  • you can also save a certain configuration and load it again (but you can safe only one file yet, so you may want to take the SDCARD out and rename the file on a PC for preserving several core configurations)
  • the loader offers also some basic tests for your setup, like a test video frame and a audio test

PRO TIP: you may follow the Replay boot process when connecting a serial cable (or USB adapter) on the single 9-pin connector on the back of the Replay board and launching a terminal program with the setting:  115200/8/N/1 (cores may use the serial line as well, for this set the jumper near the connector from ARM to FPGA)

Further notes on video output at startup: SD versus HD mode

By default, the loader starts up in 60Hz progressive mode (“HD mode”). Thus, you need to connect a DVI monitor or – via adapter – a VGA or HDMI monitor.

If you want to use the composite or s-video output on power-up (if equipped), you need to edit the “replay.ini” file found in the root directory of your SDCARD:

Find these lines:

item = "Video Mode",       0x00000020,dynamic
option = " HD 720x480p60", 0x00000020,default
option = " SD 720x480i60", 0x00000000

And change the “,default” as shown below:

item = "Video Mode",       0x00000020,dynamic
option = " HD 720x480p60", 0x00000020
option = " SD 720x480i60", 0x00000000,default

This will start up your board in “SD mode”, which will work on a TV (with NTSC support) using a composite, s-video or – via adapter – HDMI or  SCART cable.

Have fun!

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