MiSTer is an FPGA platform for which a lot of retro computer cores, including the Sinclair QL, exist. Unfortunately the QL is not as popular as other platforms so the core is still only a pretty basic port of the MiST board.

So in late 2018 I improved the core in several ways:

  • Switched the 68k core to the fx68k CPU core, which perfectly models a 68000 (though not a 68008, so still not perfect for a QL)
  • The different bus of the fx68k allows QL-SD to run correctly with all CPU speeds
  • I implemented a “MiSTer Gold Card”, which is more or less a SuperGoldCard with a 68000 (and minus floppy controller and stuff). For this I created a special MiSTer Gold Card boot ROM, which is integrated into the core.
  • The MiSTer Gold Card allows booting of (a special) SMSQ/E!
  • I implemented a special memory speed controller that emulates the memory contention of a real QL in order to try to match the original speed. Activated when CPU speed “QL” is selected.

In the end I even tried to implement an Aurora graphics card, which worked most of the time but never got stable enough to actually release, at which point I stopped because of other projects. A few weeks ago in late 2019 I resurrected the code and transplanted it onto the latest MiSTer framework. The plan is to integrate it into the main MiSTer distribution, but until then, enjoy it here:

My updates are now part of the official MiSTer core
Updated to latest MiSTer core
Improved QL speed thanks to Daniele Terdina, updated to latest MiSTer core
Fixed MDV and possibly keyboard problems
Updated to latest MiSTer core
Allow mounting .WIN on main SD (needs qlsd109 driver below)
Added support for SDRAM v2 board
My first core
MiSTer_QL_OS_qlsd109.zipUse one of these files as MiSTer’s boot.rom.
The “g” in 1g98 stands for “German”.
qlsd_win_demo.zip The QL-SD demo also works fine with MiSTer. See below for details how to use.
smsq_mister_3.37.zipSMSQ/E for the MiSTer v3.37.
Contained in a readily mountable .WIN file

The source code is currently available at my GitHub at https://github.com/MarcelKilgus/QL_MiSTer

Accessing .WIN files

Previously the QL core only accepted the same SD cards as the original QL-SD and this card must be in the secondary SD slot on the I/O expansion board. The card preferably must be freshly formatted (to avoid fragmentation) using FAT32 and then the .WIN file copied onto it.

The latest core now offers support for virtual SD images on the main MiSTer card, so the I/O board is not strictly needed anymore. But as images are more difficult to handle on the PC I have changed the QL-SD driver (now v1.08) to accept a .WIN file directly as the image. So you can now mount any .WIN file using the MiSTer menu and it will be available as “win1_” for the QL. Press backspace while in the mounting menu to unmount the file.

When a virtual image is mounted the SD slot on the I/O board is still available, but it is remapped to “win2_”.

Optionally by renaming the .WIN file to boot.vhd in the QL directory (or QL.vhd in the main directory) it will be mounted automatically on boot.