ROMX

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Another piece of good news -

Another piece of good news - the ROMXC+ prototype is working! Just needs a single connection to the MMU. Looking fo rthe best way to accomplish that. Flying leads ARE NOT AN OPTION.

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Is there a place on the motherboard ...

Is there a place on the motherboard that has a via where you can solder a single pin to?  That way, you can place a removable jumper from the via pin to the Rom-X.

2nd suggestion is to make the Rom-X board cover the MMU  as well, but It's likely to affect placement of other add-ons if  the Rom-X takes up too much space.

I don't have a C+ but offering suggestions.  :-)

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macnoyd wrote:Is there a
macnoyd wrote:

Is there a place on the motherboard that has a via where you can solder a single pin to?  That way, you can place a removable jumper from the via pin to the Rom-X.

 Thanks for the great suggestions! I did consder this, and had the vias not been solder filled it might have been possible to just insert a correctly sized pin in there. But I don't think most users would want to solder to their precious motherboard. Currently we plan to expand our board to insert into the MMU socket as well; the transplanted MMU will move to a zero-profile socket on the ROMXc+. Another option would be to include an FPGA version of the MMU on our board but I doubt that makes sense.

 

What I was really hoping for was some sort of thin, flexible PC Board that could insert between the MMU and its socket. It would have pass-through holes for all of the pins and some type of captive connection to the single pin that we need.

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Just a thought...

Just a thought...

I know there are board manufacturers out there that make Kapton Film "boards" that you can solder directly to, but I don't know how sturdy it would be in this application.  I've not priced these out but I'm guessing they would be more expensive and with a minimum order to boot.  (unintentional pun)   Might not hurt to inquire though ...

I think extending the board to the MMU is likely the least hassle to the user provided it doesn't take up space for other existing options. (memory extension, etc)

For me personally, adding a vertical pin to the motherboard wouldn't be an issue or detract from the board if you were to later choose to uninstall the ROMXC+ but I do understand your concerns.

 

Regarding filled vias, (off topic a bit)  you can easily clear a via by using a regular paper straw (preferred) and heat the via with your soldering pencil while blowing a pulse of air through the straw (aimed at the via) after heating the via molten.  Clears them quick and easy without solder wick.  If the hole is messy, you can re-fill with fresh solder and repeat the process.  Works like a charm.  Clean-up with Isopropyl alcohol.  Easy-peasy!  ;-)

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The issue in not really with

The issue in not really with the flexible PCB. There's lots of options there. But having one pin go through some sort of connector that allows contact with the motherboard socket as well as the IC leg is tricky. I envision some kind of grommet that the pin passes through, but have never seen such a thing done before.

 

Your via trick is nice but again would require a soldering iron. If we did use a flying lead it would have a grabber on the end. If you wanted a more secure connection, you could cut off the grabber and solder to the motherboard. But I HATE FLYING LEADS ON ADD-IN BOARDS! So tacky, unreliable, and in many cases I have found, unnecessary.

 

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ATTN: ROMXc users

Anyone with a ROMXc is welcome to beta test the new software/firmware that is currently running on the ROMXe. Most important new feature is the ability to upload from DOS or ProDOS disks.

 

Drop me a message if you're interested...

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If you haven't seen it,

If you haven't seen it, Javier Rivera did a first look at the ROMXe.

 

There were a couple of glitches with the beta firmware:
1. The Choplifter issue had to do with the FASTChip. We noted in our beta testing that using the &A0 command with this board would indeed disable it but it could cause issues. Other accelerators have a similar problem (software selection of the motherboard CPU) and we have eliminated the complete disable function for them. The final Ver 1.00 firmware will now select 1MHz speed with this option.
2. Updating the ROMXc from Ver 0.994 to Ver 0.995 should be done with the ROMXCE.DISK program. Otherwise, the board will freeze after the update, requiring a power cycle as was shown. It is perfectly OK to do it that way however. The final Ver 1.00 software will be up on our site shortly and anyone with a ROMXc will be able to download and update their board. Updates after 0.995 should all work fine from either the DISK version or the firmware.
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Version 1.0 Released!

The new Software/Firmware for ROMXc and ROMXe is now available on theROMExchange.com. This can be used to update your ROMXc to the new Dual DOS functionality. And ROMXe now includes compatibility with FASTChip, UltraWarp, VidHD, CFFA, MD/T, etc. The ROMXe boards (along with the original ROMX and ROMXc) are available from ReActiveMicro.com.

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ROMXe Menu
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Will there be a Version 1.0 Release for the ][+ version?

Inquiring.  Thanks in advance.

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Not at this time

 

macnoyd wrote:

Inquiring.  Thanks in advance.

 So much has changed since the original ROMX was released. We are considering some options to upgrade those, but for now Ver 1.0 is only for ROMXc and ROMXe.

One consideration: ROMX will work in a 16K Apple II. That severely limits what we can do. How important do you think that is? If we came out with new software for the ROMX that required 48K would that be OK? Of course those wishing to run in less memory could stay with the current version.

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Personally, I think 48K is

Personally, I think 48K is reasonable.  The computer was designed for that. It was only the expense of those memory IC's  back in the day that prevented folks from loading a full bank of memory.

Again, personally, I see no nostalgic value in using less than the 48K Apple.  Just because you can doesn't mean you should IMHO.  :)

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macnoyd wrote:Personally, I
macnoyd wrote:

Personally, I think 48K is reasonable.  The computer was designed for that. It was only the expense of those memory IC's  back in the day that prevented folks from loading a full bank of memory.

Again, personally, I see no nostalgic value in using less than the 48K Apple.  Just because you can doesn't mean you should IMHO.  :)

 Next question. Would it be worth adding a Real Time Clock to the ROMX board?

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Re: adding a Real Time Clock to the ROMX board

In a word, "Yes" but it would be a big plus (no pun...) if you could enable/disable it with a jumper.

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macnoyd wrote:Personally, I
macnoyd wrote:

Personally, I think 48K is reasonable.  The computer was designed for that. It was only the expense of those memory IC's  back in the day that prevented folks from loading a full bank of memory.

Again, personally, I see no nostalgic value in using less than the 48K Apple.  Just because you can doesn't mean you should IMHO.  :)

I think 48k is reasonable from the standpoint that probably most ][ and ][+ systems were upgraded to at least that even if they were originally shipped with less.  I think few machines with less than 48k were sold after the first few years, and probably most of them were likely to people who were very price conscious and bought cheaper 3rd party RAM.

 

I also think that most machines with < 48k are probably owned by collectors who probably don't use them much.  Machines people use will likely get upgraded because so much software required 48k.  If people are going to buy and install an upgrade product like ROMX, probably they won't have a problem with upgrading the memory too.

 

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macnoyd wrote:In a word, "Yes
macnoyd wrote:

In a word, "Yes" but it would be a big plus (no pun...) if you could enable/disable it with a jumper.

 Yes , we would probably call this the ROMX+ !!  The clock would not need to be disabled. You could use it or not. And a ProDOS driver would be available if you wanted to use it for that.

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48K is standard

I think a ][+ with 48K or 64K minimum is fine for a product like ROMX.  I own mulitple ][+'s and all have or had 48K+.  My 16K ][+ is only 16K because the sticker on the bottom says it came out of the factory  that way.  I pulled the other 32K for the "early, orginal experience" because it had a matching sticker and because I needed parts to replace failed RAM in other machines.  I never use it and if I want to play with mulitple ROM configs, it will certainly be on a 64K machine.  If you are able to maintain an older ROMX wihich works with <48K, all the better.  I don't think it will cost you any salses. BTW, I love my ROMX!

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Version 1.0.1 Firmware Released

A new release of software for the ROMXc and ROMXe has been posted to our website.

 

Changes:

  • ROMXc Only: Fixed SmartPort initialization to access SP drives from firmware menu.
  • ROMXe Only: Changed VidHD initialization to delay ROMXe countdown until VidHD boots.
  • Cosmetic change only: I) command in main menu changed to read "I)mage Info and Settings."

No other changes made. If you do not have the devices mentioned above there is no need to update from version 1.00.

 

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NEW STUFF!

Check out Dean’s latest blog post on our site. He shows pics of the ROMXc+ which should be available soon. He also shows off our ROMX Interrupt Generator board for the Apple II slotted machines (a similar board will be available for the Apple //c and c+). This board can be used to generate IRQ or NMI signals to the CPU. It does so using either the Reset key or an external switch. The reset key operation is especially convenient for the //c since there is no need for an ugly cable and switch to come outside the case.

 

This  board is particularly useful in conjunction with the Senior PROM image on the ROMX boards. Currently this image provides only the Reset functions described in the Sr. PROM documentation. With this board however, you can now take advantage of the NMI features as well. After a few simple steps you can set the Senior PROM image to activate whenever the NMI signal is triggered. This can be used to save the state of the computer and later restore it back (e.g. to save a game just before you go into a difficult battle; if you die you can then restore the game to that exact point and try again)!

 

It can also be used to change memory locations while a program is running as shown in the short video below:

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ROMXc+ now shipping!!

The ROMXc+ for the Apple //c plus is now shipping.

And here's our first review by Javmaster.

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COPY II PLUS

A new version of the COPY.II.PLUS image is now up on our site. This version works on the ROMXc and ROMXc+ as well as the ROMXe. When linked to the ROM 4X or ROM 5X System image, it will also keep your REII+ RAM disk intact so you can immediately copy from/to that at power on.

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I have a few quick questions

I have a few quick questions.

At a high level, what can the ROMx do for the unsophistacted Apple II user? For example, I've already got myself a CFFA3000 in my IIe platinum, and I boot into a ProDOS volume containing most of my favorite software.

Would the IIe support the Apple I emulation ROM i have seen mentioned on the original RomX? Similar to Mike Willegal's BrainBoard?

What are the benefits of having the various differen ProDos and Dos images in ROM? Is it merely load time? 

 

Just curious, I'm looking to rationalize purchasing this because it seems cool, but if you've got some suggestions that would be appreciated.

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The ROMXe has a few other

The ROMXe has a few other features that might interest you. First there is a basic ram test that will run even if you have missing or dead ram chips. If that passes, you can then also run a comprehensive memory test. And loop continuously for thorough testing.  

Then there's also the built-in Real Time Clock which is very handy with ProDOS. And a small amount of NVRAM if you need it. For some, the extra fonts are the most important feature.  Especially when changing between the enhanced and non-enhanced versions. This might allow you to run some programs that only work with one or the other. 

Finally, even if you don't plan to make your own images, there's a growing list of pre-built ones like the MD/T utilities and Copy II Plus. Which launch really fast but also can run even if your disk drives aren't fully working. 

 And finally, the fact that it doesn't take up a slot is important to many users.  

Oh, and the Apple-1 emulation image should also be easy to make run on the IIe. 

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New ProDOS Clock Driver

The ROMX.CLK.SYSTEM Prodos driver has been updated on our site. Anyone with a ROMXc, ROMXe, or ROMXc+ should consider upgrading their ProDOS clock driver to version 0.95. This addresses an issue that a few programs have with use of $02xx space. The new driver now leaves all of page 2 untouched.

 

You can get the new driver  here.

 

And new ProDOS 2.4.2 images embedded with the new driver  here.

 

 

 

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New ROMX Pricing

For those who wished they could buy just the ROMX boards (without being bundled with a Text ROM), we have some good news. All ROMX products will soon be available unbundled for significantly lower cost. You'll also be able to add the Text ROM later if you so desire. Stay tuned for an announcement soon with the new pricing.

Due to the ongoing chip shortages and other supply chain issues, the bundled prices will be going up slightly. So if you're contemplating the purchase of any current ROMX bundles, now would be an excellent time to do so! All products are available from ReActiveMicro.

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I just ordered my 1st ROMX,

I just ordered my 1st ROMX, looking forward to putting it in a II+. It will be my 1st rodeo with a II that isn't an IIe or IIgs. 

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IIc issues with the ProDOS images

Hey gang!  I'm wondering if anyone has any insight as to why I might not be able to get the ProDOS images to work when I pick Rom4X with &S5.

Any of the first 4 rom versions can &S fine.

I'm using a Canadian Apple IIc which may have been frenched prior to me getting it if that matters.

ROM255 originally, so I've cut the appropriate jumper and bridged the other one as per install instructions.

I'm on the 1.1.2 firmware now

Everything else seems to work fine... I can boot prodos in the disk drive if I just pick image 5 to get just the firmware....

Anyone got any ideas? :)    (This message originally was a bit different, but I figured out the other thing...)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The ProDOS images supplied

The ProDOS images supplied with the ROMX were written for the standard Apple images. Thus the &S directive must point to one of those (ROM $FF, $00, $03, or $04 for the //c). A different version of the ProDOS images could be written to work with the ROM 4X. Is that something you'd be up to doing? If so, I'd be glad to help you with that. Otherwise, I'll add it to our list of things to get done in the future!

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ProDOS images

Ah ok.. I will have a look at the 'how to romify' docs/demo disk and see if I can... I suspect it'll be above my pay grade though ;)

Thank you for clearing that up, at least I know nothing is broken.

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Text Rom programming

I'm looking for the gerbers for the text/video rom programming adapter... are they published anywhere yet?

I want to put font 0 in all 16 of the secondary slots so I can use the hardware switch as a 'get out of jail free'. Thanks again, super cool device! Hope everyone's having fun.

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If you haven't already done

If you haven't already done so, consider joining our #romx channel on slack:  https://apple2infinitum.slack.com/archives/C01J91LFSQ3 .

Complete info on programming the Text ROM was discussed there. You can also find this on our website under the documentation tab: https://theromexchange.com/documentation/romxce

There is a comprehensive manual showing how to do this as well as the gerber files.

 

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Thanks!

Ah! I had looked all over the website and couldn't find it... but sure enough there it is :) Thanks

Your slack community seems to be closed to signups... will try again later, but think someone locked the doors.

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Yeah, they've turned off ythe

Yeah, they've turned off the self-invite feature for now.

 

Send me your email address (or username if already on slack). I'll send you an invite.

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 jeffmazur wrote:The ProDOS

 

jeffmazur wrote:

The ProDOS images supplied with the ROMX were written for the standard Apple images.

I should have tested this before writing this reply. The ROMX ProDOS images do work with the ROM4X. I remembered that there was an issue but that has to do with the ROM4X RAM disk preservation when used with a battery-backed memory card. If you need this feature, then the ROMX ProDOS images should not be used as they will not restore the RAM disk on boot.

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ROMXe Installation on a IIe platinum?

I've in stalled a ROMXe (firmware v1.1.2) into a IIe platinum according to the installation guide, and most things seems to work just fine except for a few things :

 

5) Senior PROM

Pressing 5 only generates a beep, nothing more nothing less. Should the Senior PROM option work out of the box, or are some hardware modifications neccesary to make it work?

 

F) DOS 3.3 Fastload + LC Link

Pressing F will show the message "This is a DOS image and cannot be launched". Shouldn't this work, or am I missing something?

 

a VidHD card causes a scrambled screen and a Disk I/O Error during upload

I have a VidHD REV 1.3 card in slot 3 and in 9 out of 10 boots my IIe platinum just boots into a garbled screen where I have to press ESC and wait for a few seconds to get a readable ROMX menu. Without VidHD card installed the ROMX menu appears instantly at each boot without any scrambled screen.

Having the VidHD installed also messes with the Upload image from Disk option. As soon as I select U (pload) I get a disk I/O error message. I removed the VidHD card and the Upload image from Disk option works like a charm... so something weird is happening here.

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to ROMX!Senior PROM -

Welcome to ROMX!

Senior PROM - What you are seeing is normal. Please see the Senior PROM Documentation for keyboard controls. Note that this emulates the Reset usage.

 

DOS 3.3 Fastload - This is also normal. This image is meant to be linked to another System ROM image using the &Dx command.

 

VidHD - Does your board have the latest fimware version which is V1.15?

 

 

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Thanks, loving the ROMx :) I

Thanks, loving the ROMx :)

 

I should have rtfm concerning Senior PROM, everything is clear and working now.

 

Concerning VidHD : Yes I am running v1.15 15-Feb-2019

AND... I found a way to solve the DISK I/O issue when trying to upload... tested and confirmed working :

According to the VidHD manual : "On the Apple IIe and IIGS, some storage devices may freeze during VidHD startup, requiring a Ctrl-Reset reboot. This can be avoided by holding Ctrl-Reset for about six seconds while powering on your Apple"

So, in order to use the ROMX upload feature I have to hold Ctrl-Reset while powering on my IIe for about six seconds.

 

I'm considering getting rid of the VidHD, it causes too many issues and never gets any fw updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amon_RA wrote:Thanks, loving
Amon_RA wrote:

Thanks, loving the ROMx :)

 

I should have rtfm concerning Senior PROM, everything is clear and working now.

 

Concerning VidHD : Yes I am running v1.15 15-Feb-2019

AND... I found a way to solve the DISK I/O issue when trying to upload... tested and confirmed working :

According to the VidHD manual : "On the Apple IIe and IIGS, some storage dev

 

If you need RGB out the Apple II VGA adapters that are covered in another thread may be an option.  I've had issues building one but you may have better luck than me.

 

 

 

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New ROMX* Firmware

In preparation for the next (and final) incarnation of the ROMX product line, we are releasing the latest firmware Ver 1.1.9. This version is for all ROMX* boards except the original ROMX product for the Apple II/II+. This is not on our website yet, but you can download it below.

Ver 1.1.9 fixes a few small bugs and adds one new feature: When the BootDelay is set to ’F” it will no longer do a countdown on power on. The menu will stay up “Forever” until you press a command key. This is useful if you need more time for your display to warm up or for an expansion card to initialize first before launching an image.

As always, you can update the ROMX firmware directly from the boot menu or using the ROMXCE.DISK program on this disk. If you use the disk version, you can ignore the Version Mismatch warning as long as you only use the U)pload command to update firmware bank 0.

This disk also contains a couple of ROM images with Integer BASIC and the Non-Autostart F8 monitor. While not particularly useful on the Apple IIe and above, they do run. And by allowing instant access to the monitor (that can’t be trapped or disabled), early users found this helpful in cracking copy protection of many programs. It certainly did make debugging of this new firmware much easier!

 

Package iconROMXCE 1.1.9 w INTEGER.dsk_.zip  If you have any issues with this new firmware, please report them here as soon as possible. Thanks.

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@Baldrick - did you get ROMx

@Baldrick - did you get ROMx working with your Apple II+ clone? It's been a while since I've been on the board, as I moved twice, and put all my gear in storage. I have everything back now, and may try to get my clone II+ working with the ROMx.

 

My board looks a bit like your Blue unitron. I did read there's a DIP plug option which might be what I need. But I don't know if my ROMS are 93 or 27 series. I'm not that good with this era hardware. My clone is from the 1980s.

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 aliam wrote:But I don't know

 

aliam wrote:

But I don't know if my ROMS are 93 or 27 series

If the ROM chips have a sticker on them covering a transparent opening, then they are EPROMs. Also can check the writing on them for something like 2716.

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jeffmazur wrote: aliam wrote
jeffmazur wrote:

 

aliam wrote:

But I don't know if my ROMS are 93 or 27 series

If the ROM chips have a sticker on them covering a transparent opening, then they are EPROMs. Also can check the writing on them for something like 2716.

Thanks, they all have stickers on them, including the character ROM. They are a quite stuck, so I couldn't see under the label, but I'm pretty sure they are the 27 series. I don't have a chip in H11 to bridge pins 8 an 9. In my older posts we identified a chip in E2. Since then, I think I have the schematics, and photos for the front and back of a board that looks almost identical to mine (Unitron).

 

I'm not used to reading schematics, but I couldn't see where the 74LS02 chip in E2 was in the document. From what I've read, this inverts the enable signal for the 2716 EPROMS.

Does this give you any help in determining what I need to do to get the ROMx working in my II+ clone?

https://archive.org/download/apple-ii-clone-pcb-bare-overlay

 

I think the answer might be in this highlighted schematic, but not 100% sure.

 

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You have 2716 EPROMS, like

You have 2716 EPROMS, like most clones.  Mind you - one of your photos showed someone else's (Unitron) motherboard with only 3 ROM chips - that one would have have 2732 EPROMS, and some traces cut and others bridged to allow the use of 2732s.

 

I don't use a ROMx with my clone - it's true to its early 80s origins.

 

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The schematic linked to above

The schematic linked to above does not seem to use the INH line from the expansion slots. Perhaps that is what the circled modification is for although it is not clear where that gate is or what the connections to it are. Nevertheless, if this is impemented on your motherboard, then it looks like bypassing the inverter there would work for you.

 

Probably not the answer you want to hear, but we are just about to launch the ROMX+ board which also can address these clones using two configuration switches on the board. You would just need to select the pin 6 and inverted options of the ROMX+. The ROMX+ also includes a RealTime Clock and shares images with the other ROMXc, ROMXe, and ROMXc+ products. Of course, it also costs a little but more:

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I got a ROMX+ here and I have

I got a ROMX+ here and I have only tried it in one of my ][+ clones so far.  It physically fits but with it installed I get no beep or video.  I put the original chips back in and it works.  I am sure that this has INH inverted because it uses 2732 type EPROMs.  Do I need to remove J1 from the ROMX+ for it to work?  Something else I need to change?  I haven't put the machine back together so I can give it another try before I move on to the next clone that I have.

 

Oh, FWIW, this machine is a very typical period clone made with mostly components that are labeled as Made in Taiwan.  It came with a label "Micro ][" on it and when it powers on it says "MICO ][" (yes with no R) instead of Apple ][.  The EPROMs are 3 2732 type.  The motherboard is labeled "SOLARTRON".  When I bought this machine it had a credit card receipt in it, it was bought new for around $540 back in the day from a store called "BOB' ELECTRONICS" somewhere in New Jersey and shipped to the original owner somewhere out west.  I don't remmeber.  I've still got that receipt around here somewhere.

 

I looked at the web site listed on the little card that came with the ROMX+ but I didn't really find anything that looked like installation instructions.  Maybe I missed it.  I was in a hurry on Friday when I was looking at it because I had to go out of town over the weekend and just now got home a bit ago.  I imaged the EPOMs with my TL866-II+.   The zip of that is attached.

Package iconmicroii-eprom.zip

 

Edit to add, thanks to jeffmazur for letting me help test this with some of the clones I have.  I have a few others I will also be trying it out with.

 

 

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I just tried it again in the

I just tried it again in the Micro ][ with J1 removed and it behaves differently -- I get video with rows of inverse gibberish in bars.  Unless there are other suggestions it looks like it doesn't work in this board.

 

One more question... I only removed the chips needed to install the ROMX+ on that last test.  Do I need to remove the other two EPROMs?  Previously I had always removed all of them but I haven't tried that with J1 removed.  Maybe I should give it another try?

 

 

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 softwarejanitor wrote

 

softwarejanitor wrote:

Something else I need to change?

There are switches on the underside of the board to select the INH options. I'll DM you the details but want to make sure you also got all of the documentation that I emailed you.

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Thanks @baldrick - that

Thanks @baldrick - that confirms what I thought. I have 2716 EPROMS, as I have a full set in the banks. I have seen similar boards with only the 3 ROM chips, which you're right are the 2732 EPROMS.

 

@Jeffmazur - the new ROMX sounds great, but I may just decide to leave my II+ clone as it is. I don't have drives for it, and I have to use my Wdrive.

I do have my original IIc that I had as a kid, and that works great with ROMXc, which my fellow Aussie Dean was good enough to send me a few ROMS to test. The IIc does everything I need in an Apple II - smartport support, 128kb, now expanded to 1024kb RAM, real time clock, and with some hunting around I finally found a PAL colour adapter, so I can replay the games of my youth in colour now. Plus I'm using a bluetooth joystick with a IIc joystick adapter. Apart from mockingboard support, my IIc is "pimped out".

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jeffmazur wrote:
jeffmazur wrote:

 

softwarejanitor wrote:

Something else I need to change?

There are switches on the underside of the board to select the INH options. I'll DM you the details but want to make sure you also got all of the documentation that I emailed you.

 

For some reason they went to my SPAM folder, but I found them and will make another look at ROMX+ soon.

 

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Here are the EPROM images

Here are the EPROM images from my other clone that is similar to the Micro ][.

 

Package iconclone-1-EPROMs.zip

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