|Re: Sandbox ROM|
Message #7 Posted by Diego Diaz on 3 Nov 2003, 3:47 a.m.,
in response to message #6 by Matthias
Hi all, Mathias,
I'll try to answer your question as well as provide some general info about the Clonix 41 module.
Now, when I've read my previous post I realizaed that it sounds like a commercial ad. Nothing to do with it.
So, I'm going to start telling some things my Clonix module cannot do: it has no RAM so it cannot emulate an HEPAX module or other such MLDL-like devices, you can programm the ROM code of this modules though, but the behavior is not as expected. The ROM contents of peripheral devices is also suitable to load but again you cannot espect it to work properly.
Yes it's a new piece of harware, namely a PIC microcontroller with Flash memory, it's the same idea that John Ioannidis proposed, my goal has been making it fit inside a standadr module housing, make it handle the three power status of the 41 (SLEEP, STAND BY and ON) thus drastically reducing the power requirements (by far the more dificult task of the proyect), modify the code to manage early machines (those that insert two negative pulses inside the SYNC), manage the four BANK-SWITCHING instructions, and built the hole thing in a way it can be reprogrammed trough the same connector.
Obviously the 41 cannot program flash eproms by its own means it must be made by a PIC programmer, but they a very common nowadays and fairly cheap ($10 - 15), also the required programming software is free at IC-Prog.com.
It uses the same .ROM image files than the well known V41 emulator, and can hold up to five pages.
Regarding the benefits, the most obvious benefit is reducing the port usage, if you want to plug for example Advantage + CCD + Ext I/O you'll end with a single port left; but with a cClonix module you can load this configuration and still have three free ports.
You'll also can keep those expensive ROM modules in a safe place while using ROM images of them without risk. Can also load your own programs: Angel's SandBox is the best example of that. And with a little bit of imagination can even built some "impossible" configurations, Advantage + HP-IL Dev.?? You only need to change one byte (the XROM) for one module to avoid the conflict in the programmer's editor and... voi-lá, (of course you'll need to re-code the previous written programs to match the new XROM number.)...
Ok, it's starting to sound commercial-like again, sorry.
I can send you pictures of this new child, anyhow there's not too much to see, it's a module with a label that identifies it as a Clonix 41.
I'm now trying to prepare an adequate manual to properly document the programming process.
And hope to have some units available about Xmas, they'll be very few due to the lack of the module shells needed for housing. And three of them are going to be sent to my contributors (they will become -by this way- into involuntaries Beta-testers... :-), the rest will of course run at eBay.
Cheers by now.