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A570 CDRom Frequently Asked Questions

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@index INDEX

@node MAIN
@title "A570 CDRom Frequently Asked Questions List"

The A570 Frequently Asked Questions List
Technical Hints and Tips for the Commodore Amiga 570 CDRom Drive
Revision 3.1-September 1, 1997

by @{"Calum Tsang" link 7} [email protected]

	This is, like the A2090 FAQ, an unofficial compilation of information,
hints and tips for the Commodore Amiga 570 CDRom drive.  Please send any
ideas, comments and information to me at my above Internet EMail address.

	@{"1. Introduction            - Why an A570 document?       " link 1}
	@{"2. The Hardware            - The basics of what's inside " link 2}
	@{"3. Theory of Operation     - Chips and Salsa             " link 3}
	@{"4. Programming Support     - Whole shaking going on      " link 4}
	@{"5. CD+G, CD+MIDI, CDXL     - What are they?              " link 5}
	@{"6. Your Mileage May Vary   - Me too! Me too!             " link 6}

	Please email me if you are interested in taking over this FAQ.
I haven't updated it in two years, only to change my email address!


@node 1 "Introduction"

1. Introduction
   Why set up a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list for the CBM A570?
Many users have purchased this drive, and are looking for more information
on using it.  People are attracted by it's low cost, CDTV compatiblity and
design for many uses from family resource to BBS access.

   Many people have asked around about the A570, especially on the internet
newsgroup, Comp.Sys.Amiga.Hardware.  This is a compilation of notes and
ideas from them.  Thanks to everyone who has helped out, and special thanks
again to Steve Vetzal at Commodore Canada and Dale Currie at AmiTrix
Development for their technical insight.


@node 2 "Hardware"
2. The Hardware
   The A570 CDRom unit is an external expansion box for the Amiga 500 series
of computers.  It attaches on the left side through the 86pin expansion
slot, and does not pass through.  The drive matches the styling of the A500
quite well, it has the same putty colour and vent styling as the back of the

   Power is supplied via a special power adapter box, much like the
A500/600/1200 poweer supplies, except it has a special device inside that
watches for the A500's boot.  The idea is you first turn on the CDRom power
supply and then the A500.  The power supply for the A570 will twitch if the
A500 is not powered up while the CDRom is. "That's the clicking noise, BTW."

   The front panel has a large eject button for the disc drive, a volume
switch with a disable function, a CD Access and Power LED and a 1/4"
headphone jack.  The drive itself is a single speed, 150KBps CDRom unit,
without XA or MPC capabilities.  It does not support PhotoCD, nor does it
support doublespin transfer rates.

@node 3 "Theory of Operation: Modus Operandi"

3. Theory of Operation
	The A570 is meant to be an exact copy of the Commodore CDTV, or
Commodore Dynamic Total Vision multimedia player.  It has the specialized
ROM chip for CDTV functions, such as CDXL and other CD related libraries.
This ROM are merged into the A500.  On power up of the entire system, the
A570 takes control of the A500, checking for bootable floppy disks and
CDRoms.  It does not allow devices on the expansion bus to boot, taking all
priorities.  There is no way so far to disable this "feature".  If a boot
disk is found, either on floppy or on the special SCSI Hard Disk, never
sold by Commodore, but provisioned for, the A570 goes into an AmigaDOS
mode, which allows itself to be used as device CD0:

	Onboard is a custom CDRom interface to save money, running a
Matsushita (Panasonic) or Mitsumi raw mechanism.  Also onboard is the
standard CDTV mixer, which combines Amiga RCA and CDRom audio into one
stream.  Volume and mixing are both software controlled.

	There are two mysterious expansion ports, a 40 pin header which is
for a 2 MB RAM expansion, and a small slot port with space in the back for
a SCSI HD (no space that I can see, but this looked a like a module-type
design that you'd shove in, probably 2.5" GO Drive mechanism).  They are 
mentioned in the manual, but according to CBM Canada, were never produced.
AmiTrix Development makes a thing called the A570 SCSI-TV which does the
same job.  CBM Canada has referred me to them, so give them a shout.

@node 4 "Programming"

4. Programming Support
	Apparently, there is no service manual for the 570, or they are
extremely hard to come by.  Programming wise, the 570 is identical to the
CDTV, which is very close to a 500.  The CDTV libraries, by Carl Sassenrath
of AmigaDOS fame, is placed into the system via a ROM patch-this is put in on
boot up.  It ensures CDTV compatibility.

	There are many who are working on the 570.  Some of the people
listed in the YMMV section are interested in learning and programming
this device.


@node 5 "Fun with Formats."

5. CD+G, CD+MIDI, and CDXL 
	CD+G are special CD-Audio discs which have graphical information on
them, of low resolution still images.  These are not be confused with
CDVideo discs which have about 20 minutes of video.  Unfortunately, they
are not very popular.  I have seen two discs with CD+G on them, one is
Laura Brannigan (an adult-oriented-radio, pop singer) and another is a JVC
Animé Japanese cartoon with karoake disc.

	The only other CD+G player I've seen outside of the CDTV/570 and
other computer-based devices is a JVC product in the form of a hexagonal
"tower", in grey colour.  It had an onboard mixer for microphones and mixed
karoake CD+G's with your voice in the mike.  I don't see why people
wouldn't buy a normal LaserDisc player...for the price the JVC people were
asking.  With a cheapie Radio Shack mixer and some CD+G karaoke discs, the
570 makes a groovy karaoke system.  Plus an RGB for your control panel!

	CD+MIDI is a special format that has MIDI tracks encoded along with
the CD audio portion, allowing you to play along with a synthesizer
attached to a MIDI port.  The CDTV has a set of MIDI ports, and I'm
assuming with a A500/570 setup, a MIDI interface on the serial port will
work as well.  I don't know very much about this standard.

	CDXL is a pseudo-motion video format designed by Carl Sassenrath.
It runs at 15 fps, and has 8 bit Amiga audio interleaved into it.  CATS did
provide support for it, and it has been upgraded for AGA/CD32 if I remember
correctly (at least the CD32 supports it).  Unfortunately with the demise
of CBM US, CATS is no more, and the CDXL documentation and CLI utilities to
compile them, plus the actual programming code is not available to the
	More about CDXL:

From: [email protected] (Michael Litchfield)
Subject: Re: CDXL Format ??
Date: 28 Jul 1994 09:21:05 GMT
Organization: Public Access Internet, Auckland New Zealand
Distribution: comp
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]

[email protected] wrote:
: What are the specs for the CDXL format?  I've got an A570, and I
: understand that the A570 ROM will allow me to show CDXL animations.
: Is it possible to do this from a floppy or RAM, or can CDXL animations
: only be read off of the CD?  Is this format related to the various
: Amiga Anim formats?

Hmm.. I would be keen on knowing more about CDXL formats as well.
What I do know is that the format was initially created for streaming
animations of a single-speed (150kbs) Cdrom drive, ie; a CDTV/A570.
However, CDXLs need not be resident on a CD device to be playable,
infact I have a couple of CDXLs on a harddisk that I play as a part of
a Mediapoint presentation (Mediapoint has THE best CDXL player I have
yet seen).  There is also a CDXL datatype (available in the Public
Domain) that allows you to playback a CDXL anim in any datatype aware
application, although the quality is marginal.

All CDXLs I have seen so far have been rendered in HAM6. I am not sure
if other modes are possible, ie; AGA.

Having spent quite a bit of time using both Quicktime and AVI formats
on PC's and MAC's I am more impressed, so far, with the CDXL format.
CDXL allows playback at faster frame rates and therefor looks a lot
smoother. Since CDXL was designed to run on a 7mhz 68000 with a
storage to CPU rate of 150kbs, and achieve a rate of 15fps (quite a
feat really), it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure how well
(fast) they playback on a 030 or 040.

Like I said earlier, Mediapoint is the better of all CDXL players I
have seen so far.  Mediapoint allows you to playback CDXL anims at frame
rates anywhere from 1 through 50 (fast 030 or 040 required for 28+
frame rates), it also allows you to run them at full screen!

I have not seen any CDXL utils (apart from a CDXL, single frame,
loader for ADpro), I am not sure even how to assemble them - I would
dearly like to know though - anybody?  I would also be very interested
in either an AVI or Quicktime to CDXL converter (that would solve my
need for a CDXL creation tool, as I have facilities to build AVI and
Quicktime movies).

{Calum's Note, there are, but they were for Amiga developers}

Well, there you are, hope that may have enlighted you a little.
Anybody else got anything to add?

Michael Litchfield Auckland, New Zealand [email protected]


@node 6 "The A570 Fan Club"

6. Your Mileage May Vary
	Comments and Notes from Internet 570 Users.

Stefan Berg ([email protected]) says
   -he didn't use the grounding plate/clip, but it works without.
   -Next, I had problems using the AlfaRAM memory expansion together with
    the A570.  They work fine only when both or either one of them are
    disabled.  The AlfaRAM is a regular 8MB memory expansion with
    pass-through and ON/OFF switch.  I ordered a SupraRAM memory expansion
    and hope that it will work ok.  Dale Currie said that he heard of
    people who succesfully used the SupraRAM and the A570 together.  I can
    let you know about it once I get the unit if you want to add that to
    your FAQ.
   -CDFix program by Thomas Moore, [email protected]  It's available
    on Aminet.  Before I ran his patch I could not remove and re-insert some
    CD disks while operating in standard AmigaDOS mode.  The A570 would simply
    not recognize the CD after having inserted it.  Basically I had to reboot
    my computer every time I swapped the CD and had to make sure that the CD
    was in the computer _before_ I booted with a disk. 

Tom Beuke ([email protected]) writes
    -Try booting from disk when a harddrive is connected, if that works,
     set the hd's bootpriority (with HDToolBox etc.) to a value above that
     of DF0:. Then leave a bootable disk in DF0:, the amiga from now on
     reads the bootblock from disk an than starts booting from hd. This
     worked with my A1000 and my GOLEM SCSI-2 Comtroller. 

Jim Cook ([email protected]) writes
   -he's using a 25 foot parnet cable
   -is successfully switching between digitizer, printer and parnet
    hardware with his A1200, connected to a 500 w/570.
   -the AlfaData Expansion Connector, a two place Y device,
    will not let the A570 and an A590 run at the same time.

Dale Currie ([email protected]) writes
   -his company, AmiTrix Development sells 570/CDTV products.
   -SCSI/TV570 is a RDB SCSI adaptor for the expansion slot at the
    back of the 570 chassis.  It takes a GODrive like 2.5" mechanism,
    and works with HDToolbox.
   -CD-RAM570, an upcoming board, will attach to the 40 pin header
    of the 570 for adding AutoConfig RAM to the 570 system.

Sean Curtin ([email protected]) posted
   -The 570 has the all the makings for a SCSI interface except the actual
    SCSI chip. You'd have to figure a way to hack that in yourself. There
    was a 3'rd party company that made a SCSI card for the back slot, but 
    the cost was such that it was more practical to get a Bus SCSI
    controller with a passthrough for the 570.
    [well, someone did make one, that's AmiTrix, but bus SCSI controllers
     won't boot properly-and the SCSTV570 is only $200 some Canadian.]

   -There's also fixin's in there for 2 megs of fast ram. That header on
    the left is for the board with the ram chips on it...which of course
    was also never developed. Shame too. The 570 could have been the
    ultimate 500 expansion box.

Frank Lazar ([email protected]) is quoted
   -Just pop in the CD+G disk  then move the cursor all the way to the
    bottom right.  push the A button and then Play and you're off.
    By the way, one of the latest titles is Lou Reed's New York album.

Calum Tsang (myself, [email protected]) notes
   -the Supra Corporation SupraDrive 500XP SCSI expander doesn't
    like to boot with the 570 attached.
   -grounding is crucial to the operation of the 570.  Attach the
    including grounding shield clip extender.  You may have to
    connect the shield ground further with a piece of sheet metal
    in order for a proper boot.
   -Danny Amor's CDTVPlayer works VERY well with the 570.  The
    Auto-Album recognization feature is excellent.
   -Users have recommended JukeBox, availible on AmiNet.
   -Scala has an EX now that can control a CDTV, and therefore,
    supposedly an A500/570 combo.


@node 7 "Who is Calum"

7. Calum Explained
	Please email me at [email protected] if you'd like to take this FAQ