SMD ROM Replacement for Apple ][, ][ plus, ][ europlus

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As far as a test bench tool,

As far as a test bench tool, I think the ROMX will be very capable with the 1.0 software. Running in as little as 16K and with the appropriate images it can load DOS and the Language Card immediately at power on. The "no screen" RAM test in the recovery image can also test machines that have no working RAM. And there are lots of diagnostic programs out there that could easily be put into one or more of the ROMX banks. We're just getting started!

 

Not sure what you meant by waiting to reflash the firmware and images in one go. There is no simple way to do that in one sweep anyway. We will release firmware updates as needed but they do not touch any other images you may have loaded on the board.

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Oh, and not having to worry

Oh, and not having to worry about "phantom memory" warm starts is another big plus when testing. You can imagine how many times I needed to reboot the machine while developing the ROMX firmware. If I had to deal with false cold boots it would have slowed me down considerably.

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jeffmazur wrote:As far as a
jeffmazur wrote:

As far as a test bench tool, I think the ROMX will be very capable with the 1.0 software. Running in as little as 16K and with the appropriate images it can load DOS and the Language Card immediately at power on. The "no screen" RAM test in the recovery image can also test machines that have no working RAM. And there are lots of diagnostic programs out there that could easily be put into one or

I meant that I will wait for one final firmware 1.0 release, and a set of images that I want to use, and update all of the kit in one day, rather than by piecemeal. I absolutely look forward to 16K and no RAM tests, and any other diagnostics tools. It's too bad that you could not circumvent the autostart ROM and /INHIBIT w/o modding the cards.

 

Is there any chance for an extended RAM test for 16K and Saturn 128K cards?

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Timelord wrote:It's too bad
Timelord wrote:

It's too bad that you could not circumvent the autostart ROM and /INHIBIT w/o modding the cards.

Is there any chance for an extended RAM test for 16K and Saturn 128K cards?

 Unfortunately, Apple's LC took this approach to overriding the mothertboard F8 ROM (no other 16K or higher expansion cards did that). So some modification to the board is necessary to make that work. If you want a solderless modification, we do provide instructions on how to do that.

 

As for extended RAM tests, there is absolutely the possibility of having one on the ROMX. Hopefully, someone will adapt one of the existing programs to reside in a ROM image. Is that up your alley? If nobody else does it, I will eventually do it myself after v1.0 is finished.

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jeffmazur wrote:Timelord
jeffmazur wrote:
Timelord wrote:

It's too bad that you could not circumvent the autostart ROM and /INHIBIT w/o modding the cards.

Is there any chance for an extended RAM test for 16K and Saturn 128K cards?

 Unfortunately, Apple's LC took this approach to overriding the mothertboard F8 ROM (no other 16K or higher expansion cards d

I simply followed the guide with a reasonable value res. I wasn't happy about modding the card, but it is easily a revertable mod.  In fact, with any 

][+, it should also be safe. 

 

I wish that I had the time to contribute to a +16K test, but my committment to a variety of open src prpjectds eatss up most of my free time., hence why I asked about this. 

 

Testing 4116s is a painstaking process, which is why I asked. 

 

FWIW,a 0K system test would be orgasmic, 

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Timelord wrote:FWIW,a 0K
Timelord wrote:
FWIW,a 0K system test would be orgasmic, 

 Interesting... What exactly would you want such a test to do?

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jeffmazur wrote:Timelord
jeffmazur wrote:
Timelord wrote:
FWIW,a 0K system test would be orgasmic, 

 Interesting... What exactly would you want such a test to do?

CPU, and video generation tests. (Then RAM bank tests starting at 4K up to 64/128K.) 

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 Timelord wrote:CPU, and

 

Timelord wrote:

CPU, and video generation tests. (Then RAM bank tests starting at 4K up to 64/128K.) 

 So if I understand you correctly, you'd like something that starts off assuming no good RAM. Checks basic CPU operation (not all opcodes could be tested here) and video generation (which also might not be fully operative) and reports any issues found. Just like the test we already have in our Recovery mode.

 

Then if that passes, it continues with more extensive tests of the RAM - including any extended RAM - and other video tests. Which, except for the extended RAM, is covered by our stock Apple Diagnostics image. So we're almost there. I know that there are much better RAM tests as well as other hardware utilities to help align monitors, check disk speed, etc. Let me see how much I can combine into one image.

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Sort of OT, but what header

Sort of OT, but what header pin specs did you use for the DIP  to socket connection? I know that typical machine pin sockets tend to break those old mainboard sockets, and I need to repair three Videx softswitch boards. Knowing the exact metrics or a P/N for a good 16 pin DIP or 8 pin row connector that won't crack them, would be fantastic. 

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I can confirm the pins are robust

I can confirm the pins are robust.   Got 2 units from Jeff and the pin construction was / is a great choice.  You won't be disappointed.

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macnoyd wrote:I can confirm
macnoyd wrote:

I can confirm the pins are robust.   Got 2 units from Jeff and the pin construction was / is a great choice.  You won't be disappointed.

 

I also have two of them.

 

I'd like to know what he used so that I know an exacty metric that will make good contact without damaging sockets, when I repair the Videx subcomponents or other piggyback boards.

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Now available from ReactiveMicro!

Hard to believe it’s been 6 months since Dean first posted here about his SMD ROM replacement idea. Back then it was just going be a simple two bank switchable ROM replacement. So much has changed since then and now we have a very capable product that is in production and has received great reviews. And is now being distributed by Henry in the ReactiveMicro store!

After introducing the DOS 3.3 FAST + LINK.RMX  image last month, I’ve had a few requests to show how it works. So I thought I would demonstrate the DOS + LC load feature that can boot your machine with both DOS and the Language Card loaded - instantly upon power on.

Now if you don’t need both BASICs, it’s also possible to load DOS into the Language Card. There are programs out there to do this (e.g. ProntoDOS) so I challenge someone to create a ROMX image and submit it to theROMExchange.com. The details for such a project are covered in the ROMX API Reference.

 

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Jeff, I made an executable that would load integer basic

Jeff, I made an executable that would load Integer basic along with Inspector & Dr Watson to the language card like 35+ years ago.

It was a single executable that could be bloaded and run or loaded from a cassette.  There was no magic to it really but it came in handy at times.

Are you using that with your Integer basic load in your demo or are you just loading Integer Basic by itself? 

I found those utilities quite useful back in the day, especially with DOS already loaded.

LOVE what you're doing with this BTW.

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macnoyd wrote:Jeff, I made an
macnoyd wrote:

Jeff, I made an executable that would load Integer basic along with Inspector & Dr Watson to the language card like 35+ years ago.

 We have several images that combine  Integer BASIC with The Inspector and either Watson or Programers Aid #1. So yes, whatever image you choose you will get those utilities loaded along with Integer as either the Motherboard ROM or loaded into the Language Card.

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Timelord wrote:macnoyd wrote
Timelord wrote:
macnoyd wrote:

I can confirm the pins are robust.   Got 2 units from Jeff and the pin construction was / is a great choice.  You won't be disappointed.

 

I also have two of them.

 

I'd like to know what he used so that I know an exacty metric that will make good contact without damaging sockets, when I rep

 Hi Timelord,

 

the pins are known as Arduino Stacking Headers. They are approx 0.4mm in thickness, and 0.6mm wide. A typical leadframe pin is closer to 0.2mm but I've found them to be far too easy to bend. 0.4mm seems to be socket safe, but sturdy too.

 

The stacking portion gets snipped off once soldered in place.

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jeffmazur wrote: Timelord
jeffmazur wrote:

 

Timelord wrote:

CPU, and video generation tests. (Then RAM bank tests starting at 4K up to 64/128K.) 

So if I understand you correctly, you'd like something that starts off assuming no good RAM. Checks basic CPU operation (not all opcodes could be tested here) and video generation (which also might not be fully operative) and reports any issues found. Just like the test we already have in our Recovery mode.

 

Then if that passes, it continues with more extensive tests of the RAM - including any extended RAM - and other video tests. Which, except for the extended RAM, is covered by our stock Apple Diagnostics image. So we're almost there. I know that there are much better RAM tests as well as other hardware utilities to help align monitors, check disk speed, etc. Let me see how much I can combine into one image.

 

That would be blissful. It could be in two banks for all that matters, as once a basic 0K test passes, then there is no reason not to reboot and start with a 16K test, and then 32, 48 and 64, &c. 

 

Regarding the RAM tests, I presume these are fill and check with both 0 and 1, so four passes, two each r/w?

 

Something else with having is RAM test, continuous, for overnight burnin. 

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New at TheRomExchange.com

Several new items for ROMX. Up on the site is the beta V0.992 software which we have previously shown here. Open for public comments before we lock everything in for V1.0. Please read the blog post before upgrading but this is a major improvement to the previous releases. Also, in the ROM Images section we have added a smartport compatible Applesoft/F8 ROM which will allow autobooting of devices such as the MicroDrive/Turbo card from ReActiveMicro.com.

 

Per Timelord's request we are also working on an extensive RAM test image that will check all motherboard, Language Card, and Saturn 128K memory. Stay tuned...

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Clearly the winner of most innovative product in 2020

Clearly the winner of most innovative product in 2020 for the Apple ][ series.  Thank you for investing your talents into this development.

Between you and Dean, you guys rock!.

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Seconded. 

Seconded. 

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One other thing: Will you

One other thing: Will you offer a version for the earlier mainboards with the 8T28 chips, or does this design already work on those? 

 

The docs only refer to the 74LS138, but earlier mainboards have two 8T28s in series, not a single 74LS138. Thus, this design works fine on a ][+, but not a base ][. 

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Timelord wrote:One other
Timelord wrote:

One other thing: Will you offer a version for the earlier mainboards with the 8T28 chips, or does this design already work on those? 

 

The docs only refer to the 74LS138, but earlier mainboards have two 8T28s in series, not a single 74LS138. Thus, this design works fine on a ][+, but not a base ][. 

 

 

ROMX will work on all Apple II's.

 

The 8T28 is a quad bus transceiver, and yes early Apples used two of these in parallel to drive the bus. They were replaced by a single 8304 in the RFI version. This is totally separate from the LS138 address decoder which the ROMX uses to replace all of the ROMs with a single Flash memory chip.

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This thread seems a bit out

This thread seems a bit out of date so I'm going to start a new ROMX thread. The "SMD ROM Replacement for Apple ][..." is dead. Long live ROMX!

 

For those that loved the ROMX for the II / II+, wait till you see what we've got in store for the IIe. And all on a tiny little board that just plugs into the 1 or  2 ROM sockets!

 

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jeffmazur wrote:Timelord
jeffmazur wrote:
Timelord wrote:

One other thing: Will you offer a version for the earlier mainboards with the 8T28 chips, or does this design already work on those? 

 

The docs only refer to the 74LS138, but earlier mainboards have two 8T28s in series, not a single 74LS138. Thus, this design works fine on a ][+, but not a base ][. 

 

D'oh. For some reason I thought that the ROMX used the 138 used in place of the serial 8T28s. did not recall that the 8T28s were supplanted by the 8304; getting old is bullocks. This will greatly streamline some future trests for you, as I will likely use a base ][ for that. I will upagrade the second board set with your betas, and try to use it to diagnose some boards in the interim. 

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New Memory Test Image

Per Timelord's request for a more extensive RAM diagnostic utility, we have just posted the Apple II Memory Test V1.4RX image on theRomExchange.

This is a version of Ivan Hogan's APPLE ][ RAM TEST UTILITY v1.4 that has been modified to work with ROMX. You can get details of that program here.

The main differences with our version is that it will run with as little as 16K and will identify/test all RAM sizes from 16K-64K as well as any Saturn 128K compatible memory. It will also test memory banks that are faulty due to bad RAM or logic chips which would otherwise prevent them from even being recognized. Although the extensive help screens had to be removed, it should be fairly intuitive. You can use the + and - keys to have tests repeat for up to 100 times or Infinitely. Or use the Group keys to select one particular area of memory to exercise. One "hidden" command is CTRL-A which will check all memory including bank-switched-RAM (BSR) even if the program has not recognized that those banks exist. Give it a try!

 

 

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Awesome!

Awesome!  Will be trying this later on today.

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