My First and Final Attempt at Creating an Atari ROM Port Ethernet Board

Hey guys,

I wanted to give out a sort of update regarding the ethernet boards that I was building to adapt the Genius E3000-II to work with the Atari rom-port. Elmar Hilgarte already sells these adapters, but as he is overseas, I was hoping to create a cheaper solution for Americans. Also I have found that at times, he is unable to answer his email very quickly. More or less this is the story.

Originally on ebay, I found what I believed to be a Genius E3000-II, when in fact it instead was a Genius E3000. The difference between these two, besides the E3000-II having the pass-thru parallel port is that the E3000 uses the 8002 while the 3000-II utilizes the RTL8012 chipset. The problem with this is that no matter how much I check and recheck my connections, I cannot even get my falcon to boot with the adapter I built connected. What do I mean? I mean that I can have the romport adapter to create the new parallel port hooked up... And the machine runs fine with that interface, but if I have the ethernet adapter hooked on, the machine crashes. My theory is that the difference between the two adapters is substantial enough that the adapter doesn't communicate properly with it and causes the system to hang. A valid prospect considering the romport interface is not an additional parallel port, but instead rather a device designed specifically to communicate with this adapter.

To make life even more wonderful, I have tried to test my RTL8002 based adapter under windows and linux and it doesn't seem to work on either. So if I were to create this romport interface, it would be for other people.

But let's talk about that. I purchased 20 sheets of press-n-peel blue iron transfer paper from a company called Techniks I used literally 2 sheets with 15 prints on them ironing at different times and temperatures trying to get a good pattern on the PCB to etch. Not a single one of them was remotely good. I tried on precut PCB, on full uncut PCB. I seriously tried to get this stuff to work and it does not. It is horrible. I can only assume that something is "not quite right" with the laser printer image that my printer printed to it but even so, it seems kind of silly to me. So in the end I ended up breaking apart a ribbon cable and using LOTS of wire and LOTS of solder to create my adapter. I used an etch marker to create the connections to the romport. You can see this in my illustration below.

You may click on any of the pictures to get an ultra-zoomed in version.

I am fairly confident that this adapter will work given I attach an RTL8012 to it, but unfortunately, no matter how hard I hunt I can't find one.

So, I officially withdrawl my efforts on this mission too. I realize that between this and the SCSI ethernet project I have created a list of somewhat vaporwarish things, even though I feel I specified completely that I was only attempting to do the undone. I apologize for not being able to provide, but I am hurting as much as you guys are ;) luckily, there is a project in the works that will utilize an ethernet adapter that is available in much larger quanties and will be for a long time. The author of this project would not like me to release details about it. Why? Because he's not sure he can complete it, nor does he want to create any vaporware, which I will respect. All I have to say regarding this and regarding possible future attachments to the CT60 is that there is hope. For now though, I think we'll have to stick to our serial cables until I can find a distributor who has a big big box of E3000-II's lying around :)

So again, I apologize for this. If I am able to find an E3000-II I will continue work on this adapter, or if someone can give me practical advice as to using this press-n-peel stuff I can create PCB's fairly easily. I also need a small drill bit to drill holes with, but that's another story ;)

Take care everyone.

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