Note: PDF version available – click to to download the PDF version here: Optimizing Poseidon for AmigaOS 4.1 Classic.
We are quite lucky as Amiga users that we have Chris Hodges who has programmed the excellent USB stack for the Amiga, Poseidon, and also E3B computers which makes the high quality Deneb and Subway USB controllers. And, best of all, both the controllers (Deneb and Subway) and Poseidon will work under AmigaOS 4.1 Classic! But there are some tips you should follow to get it working properly.
This article will mostly centre around the Deneb USB Controller, because I actually own two of them, but most of it should also apply to the Subway (although the Subway has no Flash memory).
Preparing your Deneb
First of all, on your Classic machine, it’s probably best to setup and configure the Deneb under AmigaOS 3.x. Since the Deneb was released there have been several firmware revisions. I would recommend you upgrade to the latest V11 Deneb firmware, which can be downloaded from E3B’s site.
Follow the excellent instructions that come with the Deneb to set it up and download and install the latest Poseidon USB stack (currently version 4.4) from Chris Hodges’ site, and do the Deneb firmware update as described above.
Once you have Poseidon 4.4 installed and working, you should download the flash utility named Luciferin, also found on Chris Hodges’ site. Luciferin will allow you to add the Poseidon USB stack (and other modules) to the flash memory of the Deneb so that the contents are available from a cold-boot.
Using the Deneb and Poseidon with AmigaOS 4.1 Classic
Boot into AmigaOS 4.1 Classic and install Poseidon 4.4. During the install you can follow all the defaults, except for one point: When you are asked which hardware drivers to install, make sure you only select the drivers for which you have hardware. For the Amiga 4000, only select the Deneb PIO driver. There have been reports that selecting the Subway driver (when installing on an Amiga 4000) can lead to crashes later on). When the installer asks if you wish to start the USB stack automatically you can say yes. The installer also asks if you wish to extract some extra programs – you can do so and I’ll come back to those later – just choose a directory somewhere on your hard disk and leave them for now. Under AmigaOS 4.1 Classic you presently have to use the Deneb PIO (programmed IO) driver (Photo 1). The DMA driver is not supported as of this writing under AmigaOS 4.1 Classic.
After Poseidon is installed, start the Trident prefs program – there will be a new icon for it in Sys:Prefs (Photo 1). The other photos below show the recommended configuration to disable popups (Photo 2), the recommended Massstorage Class settings (Photo 3) for USB memory sticks or external hard drives, and the Trident GUI showing a list of connected USB devices and hubs (Photo 4). Once you are happy with the settings you should save them and close the Trident GUI.
Flashing your Deneb’s 4MB of flash memory with Luciferin
Download and install Luciferin from Chris Hodge’s website. The current version is Luciferin 4.1. Once you have downloaded and extracted the Luciferin archive to a directory on your hard disk, go into Sys:Prefs/Compatibilty and add Luciferin to the list of Blacklisted applications. We need to do this because the flash process is not compatible with AmigaOS 4.1’s JIT (just in time) 68k emulator (Photo 5).
Next, you can start Luciferin and you should see a blank window (nothing is in your Deneb’s flash memory (Photo 6). It is recommended to add Poseidon to the Deneb’s flash memory so it is available at cold boot. Remember how we previously saved our settings in the Trident GUI? If we use the menu option in Luciferin “Quick Setup – Poseidon”, Luciferin will load all the Poseidon modules into the flash memory based on our last saved settings from the Trident GUI. This is an important thing to remember – any time you update or change Poseidon’s settings in the Trident GUI, you shoule re-flash your Deneb to ensure you are getting the latest settings at cold boot. Photo 7 shows Poseidon ready to be flashed into the Deneb’s flash memory.
In Luciferin there is a tab called “Bootloader” which allows you to adjust various boot-time options. For AmigaOS 4.1 Classic Photo 8 shows the recommended settings – “Reinstall on every reboot”. This means the flash contents are re-installed into memory upon every boot. This setting seems to work best.
When you are ready, you can click back to the “Local” tab and click “Upload”. Luciferin will upload modules to the Deneb flash memory. When it is complete you can close Luciferin and power off your machine. Wait 15 seconds and power back on. When you power on your Amiga Poseidon will be resident and your USB devices will be initialized. This means that if you have a USB mouse connected to the Deneb it should already be working.
Using Devices with Poseidon
Poseidon supports a large array of USB devices and has many classes for things like mice, hubs, USB network adapters, USB sound cards USB memory sticks and hard drives (massstorage), and various others.
You can partition USB memory sticks using AmigaOS 4.1’s MediaToolbox utility. This includes the capability to prepare a RDB (Rigid Disk Block), file systems, and partitions. When using removable USB memory sticks or hard drives it is recommended to use FastFileSystem (FFS DOS7) with long filenames as your filesystem. SmartFileSystem (SFS) does not fully support removable devices so it is not recommended. If you are using a USB memory stick formatted on a PC in FAT or FAT32 filesystem, you can still use it as long as Fat95 is installed (see below).
USB Ethernet adapters based on the Asix chipset are natively supported by Poseidon and are automatically detected in the Internet Connection Wizard of AmigaOS 4.1, as long as Poseidon is started. The D-Link DUB-E100 is one such adapter that is compatible. Expect speeds approaching 1MB/sec with this adapter.
USB Sound adapters also work, providing you install a special stub file named usbaudio.a.main in LIBS:. After copying this file into LIBS:, power off your Amiga, wait 15 seconds, power it back on. Boot into AmigaOS 4.1 Classic and your USB sound card should be available in AHI prefs. Poseidon must be started in order for the sound to work.
Remember those extra programs that the Poseidon installer asked if you wanted to extract? Well, one of them is called Fat95. You should extract that archive and put the fat95 program in your L: assignment. Once this is done if you insert a FAT formatted USB memory stick from a PC it will be visible on your Workbench.
This is by no means a complete article on Poseidon and the Deneb, but it should be enough to get you up and running. Both the Deneb and Poseidon come with excellent documentation and there are many threads online, and great support is provided by Chris Hodges and E3B. The best thing to do is to start exploring and testing your setup to make sure it is working the way you want it to.