I don't know if this was such a smart buy....

History and Preservation Issues

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ral-clan
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I don't know if this was such a smart buy....

Postby ral-clan » Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:57 pm

Hi....

Argh! The evil lure of Ebay has just separated me from more of my cash. But I'm not sure yet if this was such a smart buy:

http://tinyurl.com/wtn7t

At first I was excited. "Wow" I thought, "I can burn my own EPROMS!".

After reading it looks like I need a special EPROM with the firmware on it for burning ("HexKIT?"), which seems to be missing from this unit (anyone got it?). Also, since I have never burned an EPROM before I didn't realise I needed to buy an "erasing" lamp. Uh oh....sounds like extra $$$. Also, are these older EPROMs scarce now?

What do you guys think? Good buy or not?

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Jeff-20
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Postby Jeff-20 » Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:12 pm

From a collector's perspective, I would say it is a good find. Quite a famous collectable. I'm not sure of how useful it would be now. The tech guys may shed light on that.

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ral-clan
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Postby ral-clan » Thu Dec 14, 2006 6:28 pm

Well, I suppose that's a good thing....but I'd really like to be able to use this. I think Ward Shrake might have archived the ROM for this. I'll have to check my files.

It's not that common, eh? Probably the same as a Data-20 in terms of rarity?

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Postby yoyodyne » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:05 pm

Ohhhhh, so its you who outbid me??? :evil:

Oh well, glad it went to a Denial member. :D

Don't worry about an "erasing" lamp. Find a cheap
flourescent light, like a small undercounter mounted
fixture that takes a 13watt T5 bulb or such. You can find that at
any home improvement store. Next find the local light bulb
supply house, they will specialize in commercial and industrial
type bulbs. Ask them for a UV or sterilizing bulb that will fit
the light fixture you have picked out. Place your eproms under
the light for 20 minutes or so. I put a box over it so I don't
have to look at the UV light, plus I leave it in the garage.
I do 10 or so at a time, so I don't have to do it very often. Works
great. I had a fixture already, the bulb cost about $5.00.

When you get the burner, let me know what eproms you can
burn with it, I'll send you some to try.

Good luck!
Brian
If you document it, its not a bug, its a feature.
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You can have peace, or you can have freedom. Just don't count on having them both at once.
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Postby eslapion » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:08 pm

When I saw this on eBay, I quickly realised this was nothing much more than a nice decoration.

Anything that plugs in the cartridge port of the VIC to perform such a task requires a very special software (firmware in this case apparently) to perform its duty. Actually this thing has a much higher rarity than the Data-20 and that's what makes it totally useless because there is no support at all.

This thing will not program anything larger than a 27128 and only with a specific PGM voltage. And that's if you manage to have 16k expansion plugged in at the same time using a multislot expander.

The Promenade C1 by Jason-Ranheim is a much better device as it uses the user port and therefore was (is?) software upgradable to support more different chips. As a consequence, the C1 is supported on the VIC, the 64 and the 128.

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yoyodyne
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Postby yoyodyne » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:36 pm

Looks like it used 2716 or 2732's. I've got some of each. Let
me know if you want some.

Still, you will need to find the Hexkit program, and burn it to
an eprom.


But...

"...makes it totally useless"
" ....nothing much more than a nice decoration"

Kind of harsh, don't you think? Especially since it is going to
be plugged into a 20+ year old computer, with only 22 columns and
4k of memory?
If you document it, its not a bug, its a feature.

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ral-clan
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Postby ral-clan » Fri Dec 15, 2006 6:45 am

Aaah! Well, thanks. I wondered why it was getting so few bids. I'll try to track down the HexKIT software, and if not, I guess I'll have an interesting conversation piece....sigh! So much for impulse buys!

Yoyodyne: thanks for all the helpful tips.

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Postby vic user » Fri Dec 15, 2006 8:51 am

ah, i am sure it will be cool.

So much for impulse buys!


yep, been there... i just won a version of PASCAL for my Mac SE30, because i always wanted to program on the thing, then the next day after winning the auction item, i was able to get a BASIC interpreter for free, to run on my Mac

:roll:

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Postby Tepic » Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:06 am

I'd rather Pascal any day.

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6502dude
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Postby 6502dude » Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:05 am

Nice find & cool cartridge.

If you can't locate software for the unit, you may be able to write your own.

Eprom programmers are not very complex.
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Postby carlsson » Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:28 pm

I have come across an IEEE based EPROM burner and more or less sits in the same boat as ral-clan. I suppose some special software is required to use it, and I don't have that (yet, at least). For that matter, I don't know if it still is functional.
Anders Carlsson

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Postby 6502dude » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:29 pm

Just a hunch - since Ral-clan eprom's burner is cart based, it may have utility built in to do data file load, address setting, incrementing, burning, verification, etc.

If the cart was well designed, it may have additional ram for data file load. If one is limited to 3583 bytes of Vic-20 then a 2732 eprom would need a couple of data loads to burner entire eprom.

Hopefully he will post a high resolution scan of switches after he receives it. :)
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yoyodyne
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Postby yoyodyne » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:39 pm

I googled "Promqueen" and found a text copy of the Jan 1983
Compute! magazine review of the burner. It details the operation
method, and mentions the eprom with the code on it. It also mentions
built-in memory on the cart to copy eproms with.
If you document it, its not a bug, its a feature.

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You can have peace, or you can have freedom. Just don't count on having them both at once.

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There was a time, before we were born. If someone asks, this is where I'll be.

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Postby vic user » Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:25 pm

I'd rather Pascal any day.


it's been a long time for me, but now i know who to ask for help ;)

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ral-clan
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Postby ral-clan » Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:59 pm

6502dude wrote:Just a hunch - since Ral-clan eprom's burner is cart based, it may have utility built in to do data file load, address setting, incrementing, burning, verification, etc.

If the cart was well designed, it may have additional ram for data file load. If one is limited to 3583 bytes of Vic-20 then a 2732 eprom would need a couple of data loads to burner entire eprom.

Hopefully he will post a high resolution scan of switches after he receives it. :)


Yeah, as Yoyodyne said, the PROMQUEEN EPROM burner comes with built-in RAM, so that's great. But you are supposed to insert an EPROM containing the HEXKIT firmare into the unit's socket, load that into the VIC, pop it out, then put in the EPROM you burning stuff to in the socket.

I'll search around to find if someone has an image of the ROM. I know there are a lot of people in the same boat, so it would be good to archive this ROM.


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