Other points to remember;
Anything following a semicolon is a comment, and is ignored
by the assembler.
The other directive ZEAP accepts is ‘ORG’, which is the location
where ZEAP is to start the assembly. Sometimes there may
be several ORG directives where parts of programs are assembled
at different locations.
An ‘EQU’ is used where lable or symbol not included in the
program has been used. Most commonly these refer to routines
in NASBUG/B-BUG which are used as part of the program. As
these do not appear in the program, you have to tell ZEAP where
they are. Also symbols like CR (for carriage return/new line)
may be defined by an EQU as, you never know, someone may come
along with a new monitor which redefines the symbols. In this
way, ZEAP can be used as a sort of ‘cross assembler’.
MEMORY PLAGUE !!
What is it?
How do I identify it?
How do I cure it?
“Memory Plague” is a euphamism for the unexplained failure of
NASCOM memory boards. “Memory Plague” seems to affect about
10% of NASCOM issue 1 memory boards, and its causes are, to say
the least, obscure. It would seem that noise caused by
switching transients from the data latches (81LS97) and the
address multiplexers (74LS157) may be breaking onto the data
bus via IC2. Poor board layout would seem to be primarily to
blame, in conjunction with chips that just happen to be on the
low side of average for noise immunity.
Identifying “Memory Plague” is not as easy as it would at first
appear because a memory suffering from mild plague will pass
both memory test programs in the construction manuals with
flying colours and will run Tiny Basic without problem. This
is because both memory tests and Tiny Basic are loading operands
to memory, and not actually executing Ml (op-code fetch) cycles.
Ml cycles are more critical on timing and hence more susceptible
to corruption caused by noise. Likewise “Memory modify” and
“Copy” commands are unlikely to cause problems except in severe
cases. So the only thing likely to reveal “Memory Plague” is a
program with lots of Ml cycles and filling a sizeable chunk of
memory. ZEAP is ideal for this. If you do not have ZEAP, then
write a simple relocatable program that may be copied throughout
memory, finishing with the printing of an * then looping back to
the start. Leave this running as long as possible (preferably
overnight). If the program “crashes”, then provided you have
eliminated next-doors’ fridge (never your own, of course) as the
cause, then it’s likely that “Plague” has struck.