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Posted by: thesourcerer Posted on: Dec 16th, 2017, 2:24am
Thanks for your clarification Olivier. The system was well designed, but there are flaws in it. If there is a power surge (e.g. plugging in the Comms Link or external power supply when the organiser is switched on, or connecting an external device and then switching the organiser on, removing or inserting a Rampack etc) there is a chance of the dreaded “SIZING PACK” message, by which time it is too late, and all data has been lost.
The golden rule is that if you have any essential data on a Rampack, back it up to a datapack before removing it or attaching any top slot devices (including switching on or off the external PSU). If the “LOW BATTERY” meassage appears at any time it is prudent to replace the battery rather than plug an external PSU in. The internal capacitor gives enough time to achieve this without any loss of data from the Rampack. It is essential to back up the data to an eprom or flash datapack as soon as you have replaced the 9v organiser battery.
Lessons hard learnt from experience.
Once it has gone, it has gone, to the great trashbin in the sky.
Though I still believe it is still floating around in the ether somewhere!
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Dec 15th, 2017, 10:31pm
The Rampak draw power from the 9 Volt Battery rather than the on board battery cell.
 
The name of Battery cell in rampak is "Battery Backup".
 
Thanks
Olivier
Posted by: MartinReid Posted on: Dec 15th, 2017, 9:26pm
Thanks for this Peter.
 
I'm trying to ensure I understand correctly. When you say 'powered organiser' do you mean 'plugged in power supply' or does the Rampak draw power from the 9 Volt Battery rather than the on board battery cell?.
 
Sincerely
Martin
Posted by: thesourcerer Posted on: Dec 15th, 2017, 9:45am
Hi Martin, the battery should last at least a couple of years, even if stored outside the organiser. If the Rampack is in a powered organiser I believe I am right in saying that it does not draw any current. I’ve had some that have had original batteries in from the 1990s that were still OK. Incidentally, they still work when the battery is flat, but of course do not retain the memory if removed from a powered organiser.
Posted by: MartinReid Posted on: Dec 15th, 2017, 8:37am
Dear Olivier
 
256K RamPak arrived safely today - thank you.
 
Ran Testpak on B: gave 260864 (+1069 for Testpak opl) - Test Past - fantastic.
 
I know this is a 'how long is a piece of string' question but anyone got any ideas how long the battery will last in one of these RamPaks.
 
Getting this reminds me of the 80's in the time of twin floppy computers and Sinclair QL's and I bought a 512MB hard card (which cost more than the computer we put it in) and a colleague said "what are you going to do with all that space?".  
 
Sincerely and in good faith
Martin Reid
Posted by: MartinReid Posted on: Dec 9th, 2017, 8:09pm
Dear Olivier
 
Money and eMail sent.
 
Can't wait
 
Sincerely
Martin
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Dec 6th, 2017, 9:45pm
Hi Martin,
 
Now is available.
 
Send email to olivier (at) gossuin (dot) be
with your address
 
The price is 25 euro.
 
Thanks
Olivier
Posted by: MartinReid Posted on: Dec 6th, 2017, 9:07am
Dear Olivier
 
One for me please.
 
At what cost? I'll pay by paypal - to same email address as last time?
 
Do you still have my postal address?
 
Can't wait.
 
Sincerely Martin
PR3 3EP
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Dec 6th, 2017, 8:30am
Hi All,
 
The Rampak 256K will be available this week.
 
Thanks
Olivier
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Nov 5th, 2017, 6:44am
Another wait using lipo battery:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ceos88VO6p4
 
at 140 euro + shipping
 
https://www.kicksurfer.de/index.php/shop/
Posted by: starhawk Posted on: Nov 5th, 2017, 4:35am
All steels are incompatible with standard electrical solder, as are all other non-cupric metals...
 
Brass is a PITA but it can be done.
 
I must confess I've never used a capacitive welder. I can afford neither to buy one nor to build one... you need "coffee mug" size capacitors for that stuff, and that costs real money.
Posted by: Mikesan Posted on: Nov 3rd, 2017, 11:15pm
Starhawk makes a good point.
 
The problem is that people who don't know what they are doing will try to solder to lithium coin cells and as Thesourcerer notes, it is impossible to do because this is a type of stainless steel that is incompatible with the soldering process.  Because it 'won't stick', the uninformed will use more heat, for longer and eventually BANG as the pressure builds!
 
That said, a capacitive welder is even more outside the area of expertise for the average Joe and so perhaps the conductive paint and epoxy trick will work for them.
 
However, the level of technical knowledge on this forum is universally high and so the capacitive welding method does make more sense - it's what the manufacturers do.  
 
So, would anyone like to post circuits and instructions for a 'How-To' on this topic?
Posted by: starhawk Posted on: Nov 2nd, 2017, 1:48am
I'm 31.
Posted by: thesourcerer Posted on: Nov 1st, 2017, 11:49pm
Thank you for the safety information. Having soldered several hundred batteries with a cheapo soldering iron I can confirm that I have never had a problem with explosions. And no, I am not just lucky, I have an appreciation of thermodynamics, material science, metallurgy and a lot of other things.  
I suspect that you are probably 40 years behind me regarding experience, but yes, quite correctly listen to what the safety instructors teach you in high school!!!
I have never slipped on a wet floor, you can feel when you lose traction long before that happens.
Posted by: starhawk Posted on: Nov 1st, 2017, 10:21pm
...from the resident electronics hobbyist's corner...
 
NEVER EVER SOLDER DIRECTLY TO A BATTERY. You will, at best, dramatically shorten its lifetime -- and you are far more likely to have an exploded battery in your circuit than the better of the two outcomes... doubly (if not more) so with anything lithium-based.
 
The proper tool for this is a special device called a "capacitive spot welder". If all you've got is an iron -- especially a cheap 'rug-burner' (fixed temperature cheapo) -- DO NOT GET THAT THING ANYWHERE NEAR A BATTERY.
 
This is major serious safety stuff here.
 
I will note that, when the battery already has solder tabs on it, if you are careful you can probably solder the tabs without ill effects. Don't sink too much heat into the battery! Even these I wouldn't use a cheapo iron on -- you really need an adjustable-temperature soldering station for that. Set it lower than you normally would use... if you absolutely must solder directly to a battery, set the temp real low, so that it's just barely able to melt the solder. The less heat goes in that battery, the better off everyone is.
 
As for why soldering to them is hard, the casing is steel. Solder doesn't 'stick' to steel (or aluminum) the way it does copper... even aluminum-plated copper is better than steel. Use copper tape, it's cheap on eBay, and it's conductive through the sticky onto whatever's underneath -- or, at least, the roll I got there is. If you won't use tape, you might try a conductive pen, although the resistance of the traces it makes will be incredibly high...
Posted by: thesourcerer Posted on: Nov 1st, 2017, 9:15pm
Another small point. I always struggled to solder the 2032 batteries, even after filing/scoring/sanding them. Eventually I got fed up.
Now I use epoxy resin mixed with silver powder (a little bit expensive, but a great time and frustration saver, and it works perfectly)! And when you think about the actual quantity of silver involved, it actually costs peanuts.
Surely someone has done this before?
Haven’t they?
Posted by: thesourcerer Posted on: Nov 1st, 2017, 9:07pm
Have you noticed that the cover on Rampacks has cut-outs in order to accommodate the battery? Obviously Psion had a problem fitting the battery in. I’ve noticed that when I replace the battery in a 32k Rampack, it is 50/50 whether the cover fits OK (even with the cut-outs)!
A tight fit!
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Oct 31st, 2017, 10:17pm
Hi All,
 
The prototype works  . When I turned on the psion I got the message of 'creating ...', the rampak is well recognized in the utils menu, the Jaap software writes 1023 (block) and display 261888 and after some time 'test passed.  
 
http://www.gossuin.be/images/PsionRamPack/RAMPAK-256K-PROTOTYPE.jpg
 
Just small problem with height of batteries, i can not place the cover but fit without in psion. The RAM chip used is little upper of original, but i have ordered other chip, maybe is lower. Is not the ordered batteries, maybe is lower to.
 
On the 'original RAMPAK' batteries is soldered directly on PCB and i not found at lower price (2,5 euro, is many for me), i have ordered BIOS batterie with wire.  
 
Now wait all parts.
 
Thanks
Olivier  
 
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Oct 26th, 2017, 6:35pm
No thanks, I have order 1pcs of components for prototype from Farnell and use my works account (no VAT and no shipping). For the 'mass' production i order in china is 50% lower price.
 
Thanks
Olivier
Posted by: MartinReid Posted on: Oct 26th, 2017, 8:38am
Dear Olivier
 
Looking good.. Do you need some help with finacing these parts or will it keep until I buy one.
 
By the way as an aside ... The CPC warehouse / trade counter - the UK Brand of Premier Farnell is just down the road from here.
 
In anticipation
 
Martin
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Oct 25th, 2017, 9:08pm
Thanks Jaap.
 
Today i have received the PCB:
http://www.gossuin.be/images/psion/RAMPAK_256K_PCB.jpg
 
Now i wait components but, i have launch order from Farnell for assembling 1 rampak for testing.
 
Thanks
Olivier
Posted by: jaap Posted on: Oct 25th, 2017, 5:12am
on Oct 17th, 2017, 6:29pm, olivierg wrote:

OK, you can create the code for testing (not urgent), it is prudent to do a complete test.

I wrote a pack testing program. It can be found in a post on the user subforum.
Posted by: Mikesan Posted on: Oct 17th, 2017, 7:16pm
This project seems to be coming along quite nicely - can't wait to get one!
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Oct 17th, 2017, 6:29pm
on Oct 17th, 2017, 4:29pm, jaap wrote:

I don't know if the Psion's Rampack initialisation actually does a read/write test of all the pack's Ram. An even better test would therefore be to actually fill the whole pack. If you want, I can write a small program to do that, but I don't think that is really necessary.

 
OK, you can create the code for testing (not urgent), it is prudent to do a complete test.
 
Thanks
Olivier
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Oct 17th, 2017, 6:25pm
on Oct 17th, 2017, 3:02pm, MartinReid wrote:
Where does the battery sit? Will the battery be soldered on or in a holder?
When complete - will we be contributing our own pack casing?

 
The battery is soldered using wire, not space for holder.
For casing just use old datapak box.
 
Thanks
Olivier
Posted by: jaap Posted on: Oct 17th, 2017, 4:29pm
on Oct 17th, 2017, 1:27am, olivierg wrote:
Now I thought about how to test the rampak, initialization by the PSION is enough?

 
Initialisation is a good start but not quite enough. Unfortunately the INFO (or Utils/Info on the LZ) only gives precentages and not the actual amount of free space. So you cannot know if all 256K is available. For example, if the top address line was broken, the Psion would see it as a valid 128K pack.
 
To be more certain that the whole memory size is available, run the following small program. I assume that the Rampak is in slot B.
 
OPEN "B:MAIN",A,A$
PRINT SPACE
GET

The number it displays is the amount of free space on pack B. It should be about 262120 bytes on an empty 256K pack.
 
I don't know if the Psion's Rampack initialisation actually does a read/write test of all the pack's Ram. An even better test would therefore be to actually fill the whole pack. If you want, I can write a small program to do that, but I don't think that is really necessary.
Posted by: MartinReid Posted on: Oct 17th, 2017, 3:02pm
Olivier
 
That schematic looks highly impressive. Where does the battery sit? Will the battery be soldered on or in a holder?
 
As for testing / initialising - I'm out of my depth with that I'm afraid, perhaps someone more technical / knowledgeable - like Jaap perhaps
 
When complete - will we be contributing our own pack casing?
 
Still watching with interest.
 
Martin
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Oct 17th, 2017, 1:27am
I have finish the 4 Layers PCB layout ans send to production.
http://www.gossuin.be/forum/rampak256k.jpg
I have ordered the components.
Now wait 2-3 weeks.
 
Now I thought about how to test the rampak, initialization by the PSION is enough?
 
 
Thanks
Olivier
Posted by: MartinReid Posted on: Oct 16th, 2017, 11:30am
Dear Olivier
 
Looks great (but I don't really understand it). Now show me a carpentry drawing and I'm all over it.
 
I'm following you all the way.
 
Sincerely and in good faith
Martin
Posted by: olivierg Posted on: Oct 16th, 2017, 1:28am
Hi All,
 
I received the RamPak 256K Saturday.
It's 4 Layer PCB, more time for create schematic but have finish:
http://www.gossuin.be/images/PsionRamPack/RamPak_256K_V1.0.pdf
 
Now i start the PCB design.
 
The estimate price is 25 euro + shipping.
 
Thanks
Olivier

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