Automatic DTV bootstrapping with mini-mod and dtv2ser

The upcoming version dtv2ser 0.3 will contain a bootstrapping command.

What’s this all about?

Bootstrapping means to initially load some software or tools on a system.

Unfortunately, a fresh and unmodified DTV joystick device has no easy way of adding software. Only by wiggling the joystick left and right during boot you can enter the basic command prompt. There the C64 blue screen is available and allows to enter basic code. There is no keyboard available so a virtual keyboard is used by pressing the joystick and moving around until the desired key is highlighted.

The idea of DTV bootstrapping is now to enter a short boot basic program that then receives more tools transmitted via the joystick port. For this to work, you will need a mini-joy-mod. This mod of the DTV only adds a DB9 connector for the joystick port 2 and requires to solder 6 lines…
With this mod you can bootstrap with a dtv2ser device and run dtvtrans on the device! With dtvtrans you can upload any tool to the memory of the DTV and run it. With TLR’s flash tool you can then alter the flash file system and add new programs or games…

Automatic in the title now means to take the burden of manual typing in the initial basic boot code. This is done by simulating the input via the virtual keyboard with the dtv2ser device connected to the new DB9 joystick connector. This technique is called AutoType and was invented by Spaceman Spiff and is already implemented in dtvtrans+.

Here is the first version that uses dtv2ser 0.3 and a DTV with the umodified virtual keyboard and its slow timing to enter the boot code (My first capture attempt with a web cam positioned directly in front of the monitor ;):

Boot Time is 480 seconds

This one is a more advanced version that uses some pre-pokes (thanks to TLR!) to speed up the virtual keyboard first. Entering the boot code is then much faster (Second capture with frame grabber):

FAST Boot time now is 270 seconds…

There is still room for improvement there, as the basic code is not in minimal syntax yet.

Now I am busy finishing dtv2ser 0.3 and preparing it for release. Stay tuned and be ready for your own DTV bootstrapping experience… and maybe some new and more optimized fast boot code 😉

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