The EPROM holding the NAS-SYS BOOT software also holds the ‘MENU’, key
selection and ‘copy across’ software for the selected program. In my case this
is in a 2716, and there is over 1K still free so I have incorporated a number
of ‘utility’ routines, some of which are described below. The program required
to copy ‘SIMON’ across is very short and the remainder of the EPROM may be
used to hold whatever other software the user desires. (This may be software
not relating to CP/M, such as more utilities). SIMON is the BOOT software for
the Gemini CP/M 2.2 implementation which may be overwritten once it has done
it’s job. Users of CP/M 1.4 could copy the relevant software across, but it
has to be available the whole time, and so the top 4K of RAM would have to be
Whilst it is normally the practice to copy programs across to RAM, it
is quite possible to ‘page in’ the EPROM card and run software on it (provided
it’s address is correct), but if there is any quantity of software on the
card, this soon becomes impracticable since all software on the ecard will be
on at the same time.
The Gemini G809 CP/M system, once booted, needs no further interaction
with the EPROM card, since all the software including the operating systems
are on disk. The NAS-SYS system needs frequent access to the card. Indeed the
speed of access and clean memory map are amongst the main reasons for using
the system. It is therefore necessary to be able to access the “MENU” easily.
One method is to use the *E’ command to access the card via a small ‘turn on’
routine. A better method is to change the allocation of a command key. This
can be done either by modifying the EPROM card copy of NAS-SYS , or by adding
a little routine to the software in the BOOT EPROM that alters the copy of
NAS-SYS that it has just copied into RAM. I decided to use key ‘D’ to access
the MENU since the ‘cold start’ of ROM ZEAP is now redundant, so location
0789H needs to be changed to 08H. (NSI users change 078E and 078F to OOH, 08H
respectively). The software needed to turn on and jump to the MENU is only 7
bytes long (p44 INMC80-4). I placed this routine in the VIDEO margin at 08008
– Q806H, and have not had any problems by so doing.
To give an idea of the versatility of the system, the ‘utility’
routines that I can access from the MENU at present are:
1) Handshake for the Imp printer (see below).
2) Memory test (see below).
3) Basic renumber.
4) Set PIO ports.
5) EPROM programmer (home-brew).
6) Block compare.
7) Find bytes.
8) Improved cassette read.
(The last three were described in recent issues of the MICROPOWER mag.)
Firmware that can be instantly down loaded includes at present, T4 (so
that the old favourites like LOLLIPOP LADY can be run to amuse the juniors),
ZEAP (RAM version), NAS DIS-DEBUG, and NASCOM ROM BASIC. In the near future IT
hope to add POLYDOS 2 to the firmware; and a real time clock and auto line
numbering for BASIC to the utilities.
Refer to the circuit diagram. It will be seen that the wiring is very
simple. In my equipment, a three pole three way switch (obtainable from most
electronics catalogues) is used to perform three functions: