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Book 8088 discovery and modification thread

Krangerich

New Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2023
Messages
7
I'm new to this so I apologize for my noob-ish question, but is there a walk-thru or description of how to do this? I recently saw the v. 2.0 Book 8088 and was looking into Gotek or actual floppy drive compatibility. I'm still going through these forums so maybe I'll stumble across a floppy solution.
My orders arrived now and to my surprise, it just works!

Important to mention is that I swapped the Book 8088 BIOS before to the version from here: https://github.com/skiselev/8088_bios
I don't know if this is necessary. Probably not.

As already written, I ordered a Texelec QuadFloppy, a pimped Gotek (FlashFloppy 3.42, OLED, rotary knob, buzzer) from amigastore.eu (was just the first random option with all the enhancements already done) and a floppy cable. Thus Gotek turned out to have only the AT32F415 inside (less CPU / SRAM than the AT32F435), but whatever.

- connect the ISA slot expansion to the Book 8088
- put the FDC into a slot. The sides of the ISA slots are labeled with A and B. The chip side of the card must be facing the A direction.
- connect the Gotek to the FDC. I used a straight cable with no twist
- The Book 8088 is plugged in with my own 12V 1.5A DC power supply (the included one has no CE marking and is a death machine, don't use in europe). This already lights the Gotek up, but it still needs it's own 5V power supply as mentioned.
- Regarding the 5V for the Gotek, I used an external 5V power supply (from a breadboard power connector, because that was lying around). Ground goes to one of the middle pins of the 4 pin power connector of the Gotek (they are both connected, doesn't matter which one). 5V goes to the inner pin - it's labeled with "+5V".

Then, format a random USB stick with FAT32. Download FlashFloppy from https://github.com/keirf/flashfloppy/wiki/Downloads - but you only need it for the configuration files "ff.cfg" and "img.cfg". In the "ff.cfg", you need to change one setting to "interface = ibmpc" (instead of "jc"). Copy both files to the USB stick.
Then copy all the .img files you want to the USB stick. They must be the exact size (360k, 1.44MB, ...), so the Gotek automatically emulates the correct disk geometry.

Then put the USB stick into the Gotek, turn everything on, press "A" during boot in order to boot from the floppy. Done!

Something regarding power supplies:
- I would not recommend using the Book8088 on battery. I had a unfortunate moment after switching the BIOS, where it didn't boot and did buzzing noises instead. Turned out that just the battery was too low.
- When using two different power sources, you should usually always ensure both have a common ground. I did not verify that because I was too excited.

If there are any open questions, feel free to ask
 

sorphin

Experienced Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Messages
342
- I would not recommend using the Book8088 on battery. I had a unfortunate moment after switching the BIOS, where it didn't boot and did buzzing noises instead. Turned out that just the battery was too low.
I've ran both of mine on battery for hours at a time with zero issues. I make sure they're fully charged, however. When it arrives it's not fully charged (you don't keep a lithium battery fully charged for transport or storage for safety reasons (and simply because the batteries hold their charge for storage at a more specific charge range (usually about 40-50%))
 

mparson

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Joined
Feb 7, 2024
Messages
2
Signed up so I could join in on this thread.
I've had my Book 8088 v2 for about a week now. Not sure what I was expecting, but I think it pretty much met expectations.

Based on what's been posted on this thread, I have a few questions:

1) The updated LCD driver that fixes the VGA modes - How does one go about getting one? Just contact the seller via AliExpress? It looks like the main difference is what's flashed on a chip on that board, has anyone figured out how to re-flash one of the boards that shipped with the device?

2) I've tried a couple of the 8088 demos - 8088MPH and Area5150. Both of them are aimed at CGA graphics, but my v2 came with VGA and it looks like these demos bang on the CGA low-level stuff so I get a lot of garbage on the screen. Any known fixes for that? Or should I see if I can track down one of the CGA cards if I want to be able to watch those? (DZT seems to be the only seller on AE and he's sold out).

3) Is it worth it to try and update the BIOS? If it is, is there anyone in the greater Austin, TX area in here that has an EPROM programmer? :)
 

Yrouel

Member
Joined
May 2, 2016
Messages
25
Location
Pisa, Italy
Signed up so I could join in on this thread.
I've had my Book 8088 v2 for about a week now. Not sure what I was expecting, but I think it pretty much met expectations.

Based on what's been posted on this thread, I have a few questions:

1) The updated LCD driver that fixes the VGA modes - How does one go about getting one? Just contact the seller via AliExpress? It looks like the main difference is what's flashed on a chip on that board, has anyone figured out how to re-flash one of the boards that shipped with the device?
Yes you just ask the seller or if you feel comfortable with some DIY and soldering, someone on Vogons figured out how to reflash the firmware through I2C https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?p=1227721#p1227721


2) I've tried a couple of the 8088 demos - 8088MPH and Area5150. Both of them are aimed at CGA graphics, but my v2 came with VGA and it looks like these demos bang on the CGA low-level stuff so I get a lot of garbage on the screen. Any known fixes for that? Or should I see if I can track down one of the CGA cards if I want to be able to watch those? (DZT seems to be the only seller on AE and he's sold out).
The CGA card won't work with the fixed firmware apparently

3) Is it worth it to try and update the BIOS? If it is, is there anyone in the greater Austin, TX area in here that has an EPROM programmer? :)
You can also buy a programmed EEPROM from Sergey, he posted a link in this thread
 

Krangerich

New Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2023
Messages
7
Does anyone have schematics for the Book 8088 v2.0?
I'd like to remove the provided VGA / CGA cards and see, if an ISA card with an external screen works. I'd /guess/ there will be no bus contention, but it wouldn't hurt to look at the schematics first, if there are any.
 

mparson

New Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2024
Messages
2
Yes you just ask the seller or if you feel comfortable with some DIY and soldering, someone on Vogons figured out how to reflash the firmware through I2C https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?p=1227721#p1227721
Thanks, I've messaged the seller, will wait on response.
The CGA card won't work with the fixed firmware apparently
OK. Maybe best to have both drivers then, if the CGA card ever becomes available, I can swap between them. Not sure what I'd need CGA for though, other than these demos and maybe a few games?
You can also buy a programmed EEPROM from Sergey, he posted a link in this thread
Yup, had the link, but he'd been sold out. One showed up, just ordered it.
 

sorphin

Experienced Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Messages
342
Does anyone have schematics for the Book 8088 v2.0?
I'd like to remove the provided VGA / CGA cards and see, if an ISA card with an external screen works. I'd /guess/ there will be no bus contention, but it wouldn't hurt to look at the schematics first, if there are any.
They won't send any updated schematics or the CPLD files. Already tried.

If the card is removed, there'd be no contention to have. the v2 video connectors are basically like 'mini isa slots', so removed and it should just move to what you have plugged in externally.
 

Yrouel

Member
Joined
May 2, 2016
Messages
25
Location
Pisa, Italy
OK. Maybe best to have both drivers then, if the CGA card ever becomes available, I can swap between them. Not sure what I'd need CGA for though, other than these demos and maybe a few games?

I don't think you need the CGA card at all, I got it only because it was super cheap in that period (around black friday).
You can still use CGA video modes with the VGA card installed and the fixed firmware (the issue seems to be specifically with the CGA card and not CGA modes in general)
 

Krangerich

New Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2023
Messages
7
They won't send any updated schematics or the CPLD files. Already tried.

If the card is removed, there'd be no contention to have. the v2 video connectors are basically like 'mini isa slots', so removed and it should just move to what you have plugged in externally.
Ok, then I'll just try it. Probably it will work as expected


Regarding the CPLDs: I just stumbled upon an "ISA CGA" on ebay, which looks like an ISA version of the book8088 CGA card. The card has "www.8086cpu.com" written on it. This site contains schematics for the CGA adapter, as well as for the CGA CPLDs: http://www.8086cpu.com/lm6/79.html
Not as interesting as the schematics for the main CPLD, but thats something :)
I also suspect, that this card represents the serial / parallel part of the book8088 v2: http://www.8086cpu.com/lm6/97.html
 

sorphin

Experienced Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Messages
342
Ok, then I'll just try it. Probably it will work as expected


Regarding the CPLDs: I just stumbled upon an "ISA CGA" on ebay, which looks like an ISA version of the book8088 CGA card. The card has "www.8086cpu.com" written on it. This site contains schematics for the CGA adapter, as well as for the CGA CPLDs: http://www.8086cpu.com/lm6/79.html
Not as interesting as the schematics for the main CPLD, but thats something :)
I also suspect, that this card represents the serial / parallel part of the book8088 v2: http://www.8086cpu.com/lm6/97.html
Interesting finds... and interesting way to 'document it'.. you basically have to engineer the cpld from schematics.. heh.. I have a CPLD dev board on the way to play with, so that level is more at @sergey et al's levels. lol
 

Electronizer

New Member
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
4
Has anyone been able to update the keyboard controller firmware?

I have a Book 8088 v2 with BIOS version 1.0.6. It's fun reliving my DOS game days, however, it's often difficult to play games that use the arrow keys. In particular, I am having trouble with two games where you use the arrow keys to move a cursor: Gunship and Simcity Classic.

In Gunship, the cursor movement is extremely slow. I remember when I played the game on a 286, the longer you held down the arrow key, the faster the cursor moved. However, this isn't the case on the Book 8088. It seems like the problem is even worse with turbo mode. Thankfully, once in the game, everything works smoothly and the EGA graphics are great.

In Simcity, the cursor moves more quickly, but if I hold down the arrow key longer than a second, it just keeps moving when I release the key.

I'm assuming it would be possible to fix these issues with updated firmware (and maybe fix the pause key/enable ctrl-break, etc.). Thoughts?


I looked at several popular microcontrollers and I think it might be a STC8 series by STC Micro with an 8051 core and ISP programmable.
The unused pins match up with the SPI port. But it looks like it is programmed using UART on pins 19 and 20.

The BATIN pin comes directly from the battery and lines up with ADC0 adding further to the suspicion that this is the correct micro.


View attachment 1266272

If it is possible to download and reverse engineer (or just re-write from scratch) that firmware, it could be possible to make use of the un-used keys (like Windows key to launch windows?) But also with the unused pins which have an SPI or I2C interface, one could probably also control a digital pot to adjust the volume and use the volume keys.
 

n0p

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2023
Messages
83
Location
Kyiv, Ukraine
Has anyone been able to update the keyboard controller firmware?

I have a Book 8088 v2 with BIOS version 1.0.6. It's fun reliving my DOS game days, however, it's often difficult to play games that use the arrow keys. In particular, I am having trouble with two games where you use the arrow keys to move a cursor: Gunship and Simcity Classic.

In Gunship, the cursor movement is extremely slow. I remember when I played the game on a 286, the longer you held down the arrow key, the faster the cursor moved. However, this isn't the case on the Book 8088. It seems like the problem is even worse with turbo mode. Thankfully, once in the game, everything works smoothly and the EGA graphics are great.

In Simcity, the cursor moves more quickly, but if I hold down the arrow key longer than a second, it just keeps moving when I release the key.

I'm assuming it would be possible to fix these issues with updated firmware (and maybe fix the pause key/enable ctrl-break, etc.). Thoughts?

Those issues might be fixed with firmware, but so far we don't even have a dump/disassembly of current one.
I connected external keyboard to Book, and quite satisfied with end result (Loderunner and Shamus work quite good), but modification itself is not a simple one.
Basically XT-IO chip expects eight bits of scancode on it's eight pins and signal INT 01 to interrupt controller.
Other functions of STC microcontroller are turning off/on Turbo, speakers and blinking red leds.
 
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