Getting Started

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Getting Powered Up[edit | edit source]

Powering your F256K[edit | edit source]

The F256K is powered via a standard 2.5mm DC Connector, which takes a centre-positive 12V 2A capable Power Supply.

This type of power supply is quite common. Example 12V 2A capable power supply (#)

(#) This specific power supply has not been verified (by the author) for use with the F256K. Please update this page with verified options!

Powering your F256Jr[edit | edit source]

The F256Jr is supplied as a Mini-ITX form factor mainboard, with a standard 24 pin ATX power supply connector for power connectivity.

Since the F256Jr needs relatively little power, compared to a mini-ATX PC, a popular DC 12V 24pin Pico ATX PSU works well and is a compact solution.

The board itself has no power switch. If you do not have a Mini-ITX case, a pin header on the board can be bridged by a jumper and thereby used instead of a proper power switch as a stop gap solution. In this picture the pin header in question is shown in the lower right and is labeled with PW ON SPST Switch.

Getting programs onto the F256[edit | edit source]

SD Card[edit | edit source]

Both the F256K and F256JR have an SD card slot. The device software to read the SD card is a bit touchy (it's inherited from the Commander X16 project) and doesn't work with all SD cards

  • Cards should support the V2 protocol (HC or XC); older cards that only support the V1 protocol (typically 2GB or less) won't work. By contrast, the kernels for the C256 machines generally only work with V1 cards. Note that, in both cases, this is a software limitation -- all of the Foenix machines are electrically capable of using both kinds of cards.
  • Cards *MUST* be formatted FAT32 -- **NOT: FAT, FAT12, FAT16, or exFAT**.
  • Formatting with Windows 10/11 works fine, but make sure to force FAT32 (or use the command line: format /FS:FAT32 H:)
  • Formatting with MacOS will only work using the diskutil command line utility. An example usage looks like this: sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 [DiskName] MBRFormat /dev/[DiskNumber]. You can use diskutil list to get the disk number for the SD Card.
  • Formatting and partitioning SD cards with Linux can be done using the gnome-disk-utility (known simply as Disks) and is installed on most mainstream distributions of Linux. Disks will access all the drives on the computer so be sure you have the SD card selected when editing. Gnome/Disks wiki
  • FAT32 only supports a maximum partition size of 32Gb, on larger cards you will need to create multiple partitions -- however, only the first is recognized by DOS.
  • Some folks have had luck formatting cards with the Official SD Association formatter for Windows.

Demos Archive[edit | edit source]

Debug USB port[edit | edit source]

  • This is what most developers use as it's the most convenient. Connect the debug USB port to your PC or Mac
  • You can use:
    • FoenixMgr - works on Windows, Mac, Linux
      • A Python script to manage the Foenix series of retro style computers through their USB debug ports. This tool allows uploading files of various formats to system RAM, and displaying memory through various means.
    • FoenixIDE (Windows only)
      • Development and Debugging Suite for the C256 Foenix Family of Computers.

wget[edit | edit source]

If you have the wifi configured, you can use wget to pull programs and data right off the web!

SuperBASIC[edit | edit source]

The machine boots to SuperBASIC. SuperBASIC is inspired by BBC BASIC but offers quite a bit more.

To get started, you can type in a sample program at the command prompt:

10 for i=1 to 5
20 print "Hello world"
30 next

SuperBASIC is similar to CBM (Microsoft) BASIC but has some differences. For example, note in the sample above it's just next not next i.

The first 15 or so pages of the SuperBASIC Reference Manual are quite instructive.

SuperBASIC is actually much more powerful and supports structured programming (procedures, blocks etc.)

dir - Run this to display directory of SD card

Loading & running programs off of the SD card is similarly easy:

load "JrWordl.bas"

Similar to the C64, you can save time in loading programs from the dir listing by using your cursor keys to go up to the entry, typing load " (insert mode is active by default) etc. You can use CTRL+E to jump to the end of the line and use CTRL+K to delete any text from the cursor to the end of the line. Correctly place the closing " and hit ENTER.

CTRL+C acts as a "break" command and stops any running SuperBASIC program or LIST command.

Read built-in help/reference:

/help : But NOTE, this erases BASIC memory! Use Backspace key to go back in menus and to exit.

Explore the included demo SuperBASIC programs:

Program Notes Source
JrWordl.bas Wordle game, guess 5 letter word
mandel.bas Draws Mandlebrot set in graphics mode, takes between 2 and 3 hours @Mu0n
rpg-demo.bas UI sample that shows Zelda like RPG game. Control the character with an Atari-joystick connected to JoyPort1 @econtrerasd
Problematic_Code.bas Displays scrolling starfield
noelrl.bas Simple integer BASIC bench mark from Noel's retro lab. Completes < 3.5 seconds, compares very favourably to other retro systems! Youtube
dance.bas Animates sprite of dancer @Mu0n
luna.bas Displays simple scene
blink.bas Blinks drive access light @Mu0n
piano.bas Play some notes with the PSG @Mu0n

Running PGZ Files[edit | edit source]

/- "file.pgz"

More Resources[edit | edit source]

This Wiki[edit | edit source]

Explore all of the content of this Wiki, to expand your F256 series knowledge!

Discord[edit | edit source]

The Foenix Retro Systems Discord is the primary place to get questions answered.

Also, if you resolve your question, and you didn't find the answer here on the Wiki, please consider contributing to the Wiki, for the benefit of others with the same question!

Foenix Retro Systems Newletter[edit | edit source]

Read back issues here (also a great source for sample programs).

Issues starting at #4 cover the F256 line. Issues 1-3 cover the previous version of the hardware (C256), although there are still many salient points.