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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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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