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MEGA65 DevKit - Getting started - the experience

  • Hi people,

    I got my M65 up and running tonight. Very exciting. Quality hardware. Very nice. I did not like the plexi chassis though - it's way too fragile, but hey - it's a devkit so what can you expect :)

    Once the machine was on, I was like "now what?". I went to the files.mega65.org website, registered, entered my code, then .... nothing. There was no devkit area or anything. Argh, felt pretty lost at that point :)

    So I thought I'd start this thread to help my fellow man.

    I found this website: https://mega.scryptos.com/sharefolder/MEGA/MEGA65+filehost (which is actually also linked in the menu on the mega65.org website. There you will find manuals and a bunch of videos. Good stuff to get started.

    I found my Devkit runs in NTSC even though the config menu says PAL. Really odd. In order to fix it I just selected PAL again in video settings (even though it was selected) and saved the settings. Viola! Running PAL now. How to get into the config menu? Hold Alt down and turn on the machine, then select 1.

    Next fun thing to play around with (which was actually where I found it was running NTSC - the Freeze menu. Just hit Restore. I like that there is a built in Monitor. Very nice.

    Now, on with the exploration. If I find something useful for other virgin M65 devkit owners, I will share it in the thread. Feel free to do the same if you find something useful.

    First thing I really want to figure out - how do I set up a cross compiler environment to my pc? (Does the Mega65 only have LAN cable or is there WIFI too? - I hope there is).



    ps: Dear makers, what is the best way to report bugs and problems to you?

    pps: Stupid Forum turns my avatar upside down :(

  • ok, so from what I've gathered so far (I just read the entire book that's on the mega file server) ...

    In order to cross dev, I need to install Vivado and connect the M65 to my pc. When I have that, I can use the M65 tool to start remote programs. With that I have some questions:

    How do I send my compiled files over there? Is TFTP my only option? (Where do I get that program?)
    Is there a way to inject into memory to speed up loading so that I don't have to wait for the machine to load my prg?
    Is there an option in m65 to reboot the machine or is that done when I tell it to run a prg?

  • Hi Trap/Bonzai and welcome

    OK, let's start:

    - the configure menu is for the default settings of the MEGA65 video mode (when powering on), you can change the video mode on the fly in the freeze menu too.

    - To report bugs, please use our GitHub page

    - we do not own Vivado so we can't give it out without registration. The legal owner is Xilinx. (But tbh, you only need Vivado, if you want to change the bitstream of the MEGA65). Since all Devkits come equipped with the TE0790 programmer, you have several options on transfering data (even bitstreams) to the MEGA65.

    - m65connect is our main tool, that we use at the moment to quickly send a PRG or a Bitstream (BIT) to the MEGA65

    you can find a link to download it (MAC/LINUX/WIN) at the m65connect Github.

    VERY IMPORTANT: m65connect uses the JTAG/Serial connection of the TE0790 programmer.

    so atm use the USB cable via TE0790 programmer, to connect the MEGA65 to your PC. That'sall you need.

    (Not even Vivado !)

    So please continue to ask your questions, we will do our best to get you sorted. Even Paul is regularily over here, so if we are not able to help you immediately, i normaly point Paul towards such questions. Have fun and join our Discord server (Link should be on the MEGA65 Website as well) there you can directly communicate with all of us as well.

    PS: i took the fredom and changed the Thread title slightly.

  • adtbm

    Changed the title of the thread from “Getting started - the experience” to “MEGA65 DevKit - Getting started - the experience”.
  • I also got my MEGA65 up and running tonight after receiving the DevKit earlier today.

    The kit is really nicely built. The PCB looks amazing. The keyboard is great to type on. It looks really cool when assembled. It is extremely convenient that a working SD-cart is included.

    I have had the following successes so far:

    - I tested a C64 cartridge (the C-64 diagnostic rev 586220) and it works without problems. That is very nice!

    - I got m65connect working on my Mac (I had to install libusb first) - and I got it connected to the Mega65. Using m65connect I can now transfer PRG's from my Mac to the Mega65. That seems very promising!

    I have experienced the following issues so far:

    - I unfortunately broke the part of the plexiglas-plate that goes over the ports while assembling the case. I don't feel I was very rough with it, but it broke below the DVI/Ethernet ports. My advice to others is to be very careful when assembling that part - and to make sure the motherboard is only screwed in very loosely when you put the plexiglass-part over the ports on the back.

    Does anyone know if there is any possibility of getting a new non-broken piece of acrylic plexiglas to cover the ports?

    - My two "old" monitors (Samsung Syncmaster 940mw and Dell 2005FPW) that work really well with my other retro computers cannot display the DVI video. Both monitors display DVI from the Ultimate64 without problems. At first I was afraid the mega65 was defective, but testing on the living room TV I got a working DVI. Fortunately VGA works on both monitors without problems.

    - I have had a few freezes in the CONFIG and in the "MEGAMAZE". I do not know what the cause is.


  • Hi JesperGravgaard,

    nice to hear, that you have fun already with the MEGA65 DevKit !

    To get an replacement acrylic part for the backplane, you can contact Plexilaser

    directly -> info@plexilaser.de with your DevKit Serialnumber and i am certain, that Michael from there will be able to help you.

    The Digital video out, we are still working on it and with the most recent Bitstreams the video display compatibility increased immense (since Paul bought the Digital video analyzer).

    We shipped the DevKits with a very compatible bitstream but we know, that there are still some displays that don't work... ---we're on it :-)

    The MEGAmaze is working on this bitstream, but we encountered as well, that it breaks from time to time (Paul already knows about this)

    - what do you mean by you had freezes in CONFIG ? The config menu (MEGA65 BIOS) when holding ALT while switching MEGA65 on ? is it reproduceable ? please report on GitHub if not done already

    We know, that the MEGA65 doesn't like it, if you're in the freezer menu (holding RESTORE for ~0.5s)

    and pressing RESTORE again. but this is also known and we're working on it.

    The expansion port works quite reliable with most standard games already, but we knoiw, that there are cartridges that are having problems. (Eazyflash3, or the 1541U (II(+)), i.e.) but again, this is a DevKit, we're on it !

    Thanks for letting us know that the diagnostic cartridge works, that's something we didn't tested.

    This is the good thing that the DevKit is out now, we now have a bigger team already for testing and developing.

    If you encounter bugs, etc. we would kindly ask you and all other new DevKit owners to please check on our GitHub page, if it has been reported already and if not please create an issue. this will make it easier for us, to keep track.

    Thanks and we wish all of the new DevKit owners alot of fun with this machine !

    Please keep asking and posting if you got questions or something intersting to share !!!

  • Thank you for the answers. I haven't really understood what bitstream is? What does it do?

    I would much rather use the commandline m65 tool than a gui interface. I want to be able to compile from my PC as fast as possible and for that, commandline is needed. I assume both tools do pretty much the same thing :)

    I also got a cracked piece. The plexi is very fragile so I have a crack on the top piece. I totally accept that - it's a devkit so no frownie here :) ... and yes, this is a fantastic piece of hardware. I already love it. Can't wait to get started coding the VIC-3/4.

  • Thank you for the answers. I haven't really understood what bitstream is? What does it do?

    Bitstream is what configures the FPGA to behave as the desired hardware wanted to be implemented (in our case, to implement the MEGA65 hardware). So if there is some bug fix, new feature, or whatever, you need a newer bitstream. On power-on, the system loads the bitstream from the on-board flash memory. But that flash memory can be re-flashed for newer bitstream, or optionally as a temporary test or something you can push newer bitstream without flashing it, just trying it etc, but on next power cycle, surely the one from the flash will be presented again. Also in theory, if you someone is keen to do - let's say - a C128 implementation working on the physical MEGA65, it needs the specific bitstream which configures the FPGA to behave as a C128 hardware (but this is a side-topic, and nothing to do with MEGA65 too closely ...). Others may well call bitstream as "firmware", but I really don't like that, since firmware usually means a software, run by a CPU of some kind, while FPGA realizes more like a hardware solution, based on the details described by the bitstream. But anyway maybe that's too much details and care on my side at this point ;)

  • OK, assembled (mostly - I'll have to buy a CR 1220 battery somewhere). Broke off a small part of the bottom acrylic element while attaching the left rear element - but it doesn't affect the look from normal angles :) Problems so far:

    1. My 4:3 1600x1200 LCD HDMI monitor I was using with Ultimate 64 for some reason does not display the picture (music plays normally).

    2. Anyone managed to use SD2IEC with MEGA65? Mine does not work - when I'm trying to load a directory, with C65 ROM (both C65 mode and C64 mode) green LED on SD2IEC gets turned on and the system hangs. Tried the same with Open ROMs delivered with the MEGA65 - also does not work (but problem looks differently - the red led of SD2IEC red led starts flashing). Definitely not the SD2IEC power supply problem (same one works perfectly with Ulimate 64).

    OK, I'm tired. Enough experimenting today :)

  • Hi FeralChild

    We can send you a battery, send me a PM.

    there are known issues with certain HDMI displays (Sony i.e. is a problemchild), if possible try VGA or another monitor with digital video in.

    Also in the latest Bitstream we made immense improvements regarding the HDMI compatibility (since Paul bought the HDMI analyzer).

    So once you can confirm, that your MEGA65 is working, i am happy to help you, getting the latest bitstream on the machine.

    SD2IEC we are still working on it. i am able to load single PRGs but i am having issues getting D64 mounted. Paul knows about this. we're on it

    I even had the SD2IEC version of Sams Journey running already.

  • I'll probably get the battery much faster by going to local watchmaker. It definitely is working, my workhorse monitor can display the picture (but MEGA65 can't stay nearby, I don't have space on this desk due to permanent home office since the COVID outbreak).

    Definitely - try the current bitstream, current Open ROMs (with the build-in one the GO 64 does not work, if it reproduces with current builds I'll have to investigate it), in a few days I should get a different SD2IEC model too (problem might be related to timing... more experimentation needed). Just not today :)

  • The Go64 should work on all versions, also the "holding MEGA key" while switching on.

    the automounted D81 only has an autoboot build in, that's why MEGAmaze starts immediately.

  • I mean "GO 64" implemented by Open ROMs (with C65 ROM the command works). Holding MEGA key during the startup definitely won't work with Open ROMs, it's not implemented (and there is no need for it; switching to compatibility mode should happen automatically if C64 cartridge is detected or Open ROMs unaware program is launched).

  • You can download the latest bitstream from Scryptos (check the link in my signature 2nd from bottom)

    Browse to MEGA->MEGA65 filehost->ShareFolder->Bitstreams->Jenkins-Out->mega65-core->issues ->138

    choose by date and please refer to the manual for instructions how to flash. if you encounter problems let me know

  • I would much rather use the commandline m65 tool than a gui interface. I want to be able to compile from my PC as fast as possible and for that, commandline is needed. I assume both tools do pretty much the same thing :)

    Yeah, a commandline m65 tool would be great, so I can just press F7 in SublimeText to compile and run it directly on the hardware.