Installing Sofarun on a Carnivore2

By bartre

Supporter (12)

bartre's picture

12-07-2022, 07:36

Hey all,

I'm trying to get my little msx2 setup where I want it to be but I'm running into a hiccup.
What I'd *like* to do is have sofarun installed on the main menu of my carnivore2 cart so I can pick it like any other option on boot, while still having the 5-10 games I most often play right there.

So reading the documentation I follow the instructions to unzip and expand the zip file, then install the sofarom.ROM file using C2MAN. Everything appears to work just peachy, but when I select sofarom it kicks me to the system BIOS.

I'm running a Panasonic FS-A1 with a 1GB CF card.
Any clues what I'm doing wrong?

The command I used to reserve space was:
SUZ E CARNIROM.ZIP SOFAROM1.ROM

I have tried sofarom 1-4 from scratch each time with no change

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By Haze

Master (148)

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12-07-2022, 10:06

You're not doing anything wrong, but you might have the wrong expectations!

SofaROM is the launcher to load and run ROMs, and can use the supplied ROM-images (SOFAROM1.ROM, etc.) to reserve space for the loading in your Carnivore2. However, this ROM-image doesn't contain the actual program itself, as far as I'm aware.

SofaRUN is the the all encompassing GUI, which uses SofaROM and other tools. It is best installed on the flashmedia you're using with your C2. To my knowledge, there is no direct way to get it into the C2 and the closest you can get is to make a separate menu entry in the C2 menu that loads your desired config and then boots to your media. Using an autoexec.bat you can have that point straight toward SofaRUN.

If you set it up like that, you should get the situation you're describing. Mind you, I'm happy with my default C2 configuration so I don't use a separate menu entry and just press ESC from the menu to boot my flash media straight into SofaRUN.

By bartre

Supporter (12)

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12-07-2022, 15:09

Hmm, okay. So I currently have the sofarun4 ROM flashed in my C2
I'm able to load the software after I back out to Nestor.

So where is the disconnect on my end?
If the ROM isn't a self contained package of the software, what is it looking for when I load the entry?

By sdsnatcher73

Prophet (3665)

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12-07-2022, 15:28

The sofarom entry is not meant to be run from the C2 boot menu. It is just a reservation of flash space really. SofaRun is a program you need to install on your CF card and runs from Nextor. When you start SofaRun (through the SR command in Nextor), you can select and start ROM files that reside on your CF. If the ROM is not too big SofaRun will use the C2’s MegaRAM to load and start the game, if it is bigger than 720kB it will use the reserved area.

By Haze

Master (148)

Haze's picture

12-07-2022, 15:33

bartre wrote:

If the ROM isn't a self contained package of the software, what is it looking for when I load the entry?

Nothing! The ROM files (SOFAROM1.ROM, etc.) are basically reservations of flash memory, where the actual loader can load game ROMs to.

Quote:

SOFAROM4.ROM is basically like a "reserved" sign on a table at a restaurant, where the waiter (SROM.COM) will seat you to have your dinner (the game ROM). The reservation keeps the table clear and ensures there's enough space for a big 1MB, 2MB , 3MB or 4MB meal, but the reservation is not a meal (game/software) itself.

You now have memory reserved, to load game ROMs to via SofaROM (SROM.COM) on the command line or via SofaRUN (SR.COM) with a GUI. You'll need to install either or both of these on your flashmedia for that; most likely the Compact Flash inserted in your C2.

Note that SofaROM and by extension SofaRUN don't need the reserved memory in order to load ROMs, but it is recommended as it allows them to use more flash memory than the default allocation of 720kB, if I recall correctly.

By bartre

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12-07-2022, 16:13

Okay, sounds like everything is working as it should and I was trying to do something that's just just not in the design.

The reason I wanted to do it this way is its been something of a pain to load sofarun.
What I'm running into though is that the only way I can seem to get to nextor is on the first boot after inserting my C2.
If I power off for whatever reason and try to get back to nextor, instead it boots to the built in basic on my msx.

I was reading another thread on the FS-A1 models and their bios, could that be the problem? It sounds like my best bet is to replace or otherwise bypass the bios

By sdsnatcher73

Prophet (3665)

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12-07-2022, 17:20

Ah the FS-A1 indeed has an onboard firmware that can be annoying. But it is weird that it works initially but has issues after the second power on. Who made your C2?

By bartre

Supporter (12)

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12-07-2022, 21:43

I got mine off eBay a while back, the sticker says manufactured by maxiol

By bartre

Supporter (12)

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13-07-2022, 01:44

So I pulled out my other MSX, this time an FS-A1 MkII
Everything is the same but I did notice that the boot to nextor only booted when the cart gave me the screen showing firmware versions.

So experimenting around, I turned off the "dual-reset on cold boot" option and it straight up would never go to nextor.
I turn the option back on and it works like before.

If I wanted to bypass the firmware, what would my best bet be?

By sdsnatcher73

Prophet (3665)

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13-07-2022, 17:04

Press and hold DEL key (directly) after you press space in the boot menu should work. You can also have the firmware removed (remove the ROM and replace with 64kB EEPROM). On a sidenote Alexey is working with some guys here on the forum to figure out a way to skip firmwares. But it is work in progress but there may be a solution in the future.

By bartre

Supporter (12)

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14-07-2022, 15:33

Sadly the holding DEL method doesn't always get me to the installed Nextor, seems something is goofy because after the first boot it just goes to the installed msx-basic

Swapping the firmware chip I can do.
Would a 27C512 be the correct chip?
And does anyone have the pinout handy so I can verify if I need to swap pins around?
And what kind of editing do I need to do on the firmware file, or is there a premade file floating around?