Difference between revisions of "REX"

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[[Image:Red_logo_small.png||center]]<br/>
 +
 +
== NEWS! ==
 +
 +
* November 2018:  I have completed a new version of REX 4.9.  (revision 254).  It is posted here and supports M100, T102, T200 and PC-8201
 +
* Multi-bank support is included for T200 and PC-8201.  This means that each bank you have, can have separate option roms and back ups.
 +
* QUAD is no longer supported. (I have not been able to debug it successfully)
 +
 +
* if you have issues, please post to m100 mailing list or to me directly. thanks.
 +
 +
== Supported Models ==
 +
*  Model 100 and Tandy 102 with either REX or REX2
 +
*  Tandy 200 with REX.
 +
*  NEC PC-8201 with REX3
 +
 +
 +
 +
=== M100 note ===
 +
 +
  In Europe and UK, and probably elsewhere, there are newer versions of M100 that have different boards.
 +
  Model numbers are 26-3801B and 26-3802B.
 +
  It isn't clear if REX works in those systems; until I can verify, assume REX does not work in anything
 +
  but a USA/Canada equivalent M100 (meaning it has a Modem, and the custom ROM pinout).
 +
 +
== For Owners ==
 +
 +
Own REX, need help Getting Started?
 +
 +
<big>[[REX Quickstart guide]]</big>
 +
 +
Current shipping software release ---> '''4.9'''!  If you are not on 4.9, please upgrade!  Visit the Release 4.9 page.
 +
 +
Keep in mind the following-
 +
* upgrade procedures have changed.  Upgrading to Release 4.9 requires a complete wipe of REX memory, and a re-install of all Option ROMs and RAM images.
 +
 +
 +
Click on these links for information on specific software releases - release notes, update proceedure, downloads, new features descriptions etc.
 +
 +
 +
<big>[[REX Release 4.9]]</big>  Latest release is available here.
 +
 +
<big>[[REX Release 4.8]] Please update to 4.9! </big>
 +
 +
<big>[[REX Release 4.7]] Please update to 4.9! </big>
 +
 +
<big>[[REX Release 4.6]] Please update to 4.9! </big>
 +
 +
<big>[[REX Release 4.5]] and older release info.  Please update to 4.9! </big>
 +
 
== What Is REX ==
 
== What Is REX ==
  
REX is completely plug and play flash memory upgrade. REX plugs
+
REX is completely plug and play flash memory upgrade for Model 100, Tandy 102, Tandy 200, NEC PC-8201 and 8300 laptops. REX plugs into the Option ROM socket, with no soldering or modifications required and no necessity to open the laptop case.
into the Option ROM slot, with no soldering or necessity to open
+
 
the laptop case.
+
REX gets it's name by being a cross between my other flash memory device, ReMem, and the original OPTION ROM (RAM) memory card, EXTRAM.
 +
 
 +
Primary features:
 +
 
 +
* REX allows for storage and quick, easy switching between OPTION ROM images.  Once the binary software images are loaded into REX, the user can easily jump back and forth between different applications. 
 +
 
 +
* REX provides the ability to backup and swap working RAM images.  At the press of a key, your current RAM contents are saved in REX.  Furthermore, you can reload any saved RAM image for use.  This creates a library of RAM images, which has a number of uses.  This offers an easy way to quickly backup all RAM to flash, or switch between multiple snapshots of RAM. It is like having multiple laptops in the same case!
 +
 
 +
* REX includes an interface to TPDD devices (like TPDD, NADSbox, LaddieCon etc) for loading and saving binary images to external storage.
 +
 
 +
* REX modifies they way MENU displays the date, effectively fixing the Y2K 'bug'.
 +
 
 +
In addition, REX is in-circuit, software reprogrammable. That means you can change, patch, or replace an Option ROM image without any special hardware or physically unplugging REX.
 +
 
 +
For advanced users, REX provides some additional features:
 +
 
 +
* REX distinguishes between traditional OPTION ROM software, and alternative OS software which runs from the option rom memory location.  This allows for some interesting future capabilities like CP/M or a FORTH based system.
 +
 
 +
* REX also supports "Main ROM Replacement".  This means that, with the addition of a single wire, the main rom on the laptop may be replaced by a version stored in REX.  This allows for flash-upgradeable main ROM images, to support patches, custom Menu and character sets, LOMEM patch, Y2K patch etc.  Facility is included to support dual Main ROM images, and the ability to switch between them.
 +
 
 +
'''REX is available exclusively through Club100.'''
 +
 
 +
'''REX for NEC may be obtained by contacting me directly.'''  twospruces  /  gmail
 +
 
 +
== REX Versions ==
 +
 
 +
The original REX module was designed for Model 100, Tandy 102 and Tandy 200.
 +
 
 +
[[Image:REX_installed.jpg]]
 +
 
 +
REX2 was a modification of REX, which augmented the 1MB Flash with a 128kB SRAM.  The intent was to use this card for CP/M in M100 and T102.  REX2 is not supported in T200 or NEC machines.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
[[Image:REX2_in_M100.jpg]]
 +
 
 +
[[Image:REX2_in_T102.jpg]]
 +
 
 +
[[REX2 - custom REX for CP/M support]]
 +
 
 +
REX3 is a modification of the original REX design to accommodate installation in a PC-8201 or 8300.  The physical dimensions changed slightly, the pinout is different and notably the ALE signal is not available on the NEC socket (which is a standard 27C256 pinout).
 +
 
 +
[[Image:REX3_in_8201.jpeg]]
 +
 
 +
== Installation Information ==
 +
 
 +
[[REX Hardware Installation]]
 +
 
 +
[[click here for current production REX images and install photos]]
 +
 
 +
[[REX Hardware Installation : T200]]
 +
 
 +
[[REX Hardware Installation : PC-8201]]
 +
 
 +
== User Information==
 +
 
 +
[[REX Manager User Guide]]
 +
 
 +
[[Main ROM Management Feature]] ***new in release 4.6***
 +
 
 +
== Technical Information ==
 +
 
 +
[[Media:Rex_OverviewV4.2.pdf|REX Overview PDF]]
 +
 
 +
[[REX Overview]]
 +
 
 +
== Option ROM Images for Download ==
 +
 
 +
 
 +
[[Media:M100_OPTION_ROMS.zip|Validated OPTROM Images for M100/T102]]
 +
 
 +
[[Media:T200_OPTION_ROMS.zip|Validated OPTROM Images for T200]]
 +
 
 +
[[Media:NEC__OPTION_ROMS.zip|Validated OPTROM Images for NEC]]
 +
 
 +
== Software Installation of the REX System- It's Easy ==
 +
 
 +
In order to initialize the laptop to use REX, you must install the REX system.  From a cold restart, power cycle the laptop and then execute the BASIC command
 +
 
 +
 
 +
(for M100/T102)
 +
<code><pre>CALL63012</pre></code>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
(for T200)
 +
<code><pre>CALL61167,2</pre></code>
 +
 
 +
(for NEC)
 +
<code><pre>EXEC62394</pre></code>
 +
 
 +
to install the REX Manager system, which uses the timer hook, CHGET and CHPUT RST7 hooks, and a program visible in MENU called REXMGR.
 +
 
 +
* REXMGR contains a short embedded machine language routine that starts the REX Manager software on command, and contains the 2 hook programs.  Running this program will always start the REX Manager software.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
After REX Manager is installed, issuing those same commands won't re-install the system, but you will be directed to the Active OPTROM image software instead, just like you would expect if you had a normal option ROM installed.
 +
 
 +
If the REX system should somehow become de-installed (like on a cold restart) simply re-install it by repeating these instructions.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
== Important Note for First Time REX Installation and Use ==
 +
 
 +
IMPORTANT!  For brand new REX installations, where REX has been unused, the user must replace the default "backup" RAM image stored in REX, with a real backup image.  Simply start REX Manager, move the cursor over the directory entry for "backup", and press <ENTER>.  Select <Y> when prompted to "Refresh backup?".  This puts a fresh RAM image for your specific machine into that entry.
 +
 
  
Rex provides support for up to 8
+
== Compatibility between REX and certain other M100 applications ==
in-circuit selectable option roms. That means, you can have 8 different
+
software packages on one Option ROM, and select between them without
+
physically unplugging anything.
+
  
In addition, REX is in-circuit, software
+
REX is NOT COMPATIBLE with certain software and devices, where software conflicts arise with hidden .BA programs in RAM, and hooks.
reprogrammable. That means you can change, patch, or replace replace an Option ROM image
+
without any special hardware or physically unplugging REX.
+
  
== REX Manager ==
+
Specifically,
  
REX comes pre-programmed with release 1 REX Manager software. REX
+
POWER-DOS
Manager allows you to pick which of the 8 ROM images is the one
+
PCSG RAM MODULES
currently in use.
+
ANY TIMER HOOK BASED SOFTWARE
  
REX Manager operates "behind the scenes" to make sure the currently
+
...and other things as well I am sure, are not compatible with REX.
selected Option ROM image is automatically enabled on every power cycle.
+
This is an impressive trick since REX does not receive power while
+
the laptop is off (unlike the RAM memory circuit).
+
  
Also, REX Manager is able to do this without using up any precious RAM space!
+
REX is incompatible with other software and hardware due to the following reasons:
  
== Advanced BASIC ROM Replacement Mode (OPTIONAL) ==
+
* REXMGR has to be located as the FIRST .BA program in RAM for the embedded ML code to function.
 +
* REXMGR relies on the timer hook to configure itself, and to enable specific features like QuickMenu and Y2K fix.
 +
* REXMGR uses CHGET and CHPUT hooks (but only in MENU).
  
For users that with the do-it-yourself spirit, an optional
 
feature of REX can be enabled.
 
  
With a single wire soldered in place, REX permits BASIC ROM replacement!
+
If you own a REX and you are using it with some other piece of
 +
internal memory system, in general I would say it is not compatible -
 +
it is one or the other.
  
This means that you can disable the built-in BASIC/TEXT/TELCOM ROM
+
== Acknowledgements ==
on your motherboard and replace it with a specific block of REX flash memory.
+
Typically, this will be the same BASIC/TEXT/TELCOM ROM image we know and
+
love, with a few changes. So, you can
+
upgrade your Model T with little tweaks like Y2K, the lomem patch, new
+
character sets, put your name on the main menu, etc.
+
  
== Installing REX Manager - It's Easy ==
+
I would like to thank those that have contributed to the project:
  
From a cold restart, simply typing
+
'''John Hogerhuis''' - for all his technical support
<code><pre>CALL 63012</pre></code>
+
  
will install the REX system.
+
'''Philip Avery''' - for his assistance in coding the MENU functions
  
To start REX Manager, press reset and hold the ESC key.  Then from
+
'''Wilson Van Alst''' - for providing the base TPDD routines
basic type:
+
<code><pre>CALL 911</pre></code>
+
REX Manager will start, allowing you to manage
+
which ROMs stored in REX can be used, and when.
+
  
== Additional Utilities ==
+
'''Kenneth Pettit''' - for VirtualT as this project would not have happened without it
  
A separately loadable utility will allow you to burn ROM images into REX.
+
'''Club 100 and Rick Hanson''' - for helping to get this gadget out there
  
== Future Roadmap ==
+
and others for their helpful comments and support. 
  
Future releases of REX will have a built in file system for managing
 
REX files, TPDD files and RAM files.
 
  
There will be approx. 512K of
+
[[Category:Model T Hardware]]
file storage.
+

Latest revision as of 17:57, 22 November 2018

Red logo small.png

NEWS!

  • November 2018: I have completed a new version of REX 4.9. (revision 254). It is posted here and supports M100, T102, T200 and PC-8201
  • Multi-bank support is included for T200 and PC-8201. This means that each bank you have, can have separate option roms and back ups.
  • QUAD is no longer supported. (I have not been able to debug it successfully)
  • if you have issues, please post to m100 mailing list or to me directly. thanks.

Supported Models

  • Model 100 and Tandy 102 with either REX or REX2
  • Tandy 200 with REX.
  • NEC PC-8201 with REX3


M100 note

 In Europe and UK, and probably elsewhere, there are newer versions of M100 that have different boards.
 Model numbers are 26-3801B and 26-3802B.
 It isn't clear if REX works in those systems; until I can verify, assume REX does not work in anything
 but a USA/Canada equivalent M100 (meaning it has a Modem, and the custom ROM pinout).

For Owners

Own REX, need help Getting Started?

REX Quickstart guide

Current shipping software release ---> 4.9! If you are not on 4.9, please upgrade! Visit the Release 4.9 page.

Keep in mind the following-

  • upgrade procedures have changed. Upgrading to Release 4.9 requires a complete wipe of REX memory, and a re-install of all Option ROMs and RAM images.


Click on these links for information on specific software releases - release notes, update proceedure, downloads, new features descriptions etc.


REX Release 4.9 Latest release is available here.

REX Release 4.8 Please update to 4.9!

REX Release 4.7 Please update to 4.9!

REX Release 4.6 Please update to 4.9!

REX Release 4.5 and older release info. Please update to 4.9!

What Is REX

REX is completely plug and play flash memory upgrade for Model 100, Tandy 102, Tandy 200, NEC PC-8201 and 8300 laptops. REX plugs into the Option ROM socket, with no soldering or modifications required and no necessity to open the laptop case.

REX gets it's name by being a cross between my other flash memory device, ReMem, and the original OPTION ROM (RAM) memory card, EXTRAM.

Primary features:

  • REX allows for storage and quick, easy switching between OPTION ROM images. Once the binary software images are loaded into REX, the user can easily jump back and forth between different applications.
  • REX provides the ability to backup and swap working RAM images. At the press of a key, your current RAM contents are saved in REX. Furthermore, you can reload any saved RAM image for use. This creates a library of RAM images, which has a number of uses. This offers an easy way to quickly backup all RAM to flash, or switch between multiple snapshots of RAM. It is like having multiple laptops in the same case!
  • REX includes an interface to TPDD devices (like TPDD, NADSbox, LaddieCon etc) for loading and saving binary images to external storage.
  • REX modifies they way MENU displays the date, effectively fixing the Y2K 'bug'.

In addition, REX is in-circuit, software reprogrammable. That means you can change, patch, or replace an Option ROM image without any special hardware or physically unplugging REX.

For advanced users, REX provides some additional features:

  • REX distinguishes between traditional OPTION ROM software, and alternative OS software which runs from the option rom memory location. This allows for some interesting future capabilities like CP/M or a FORTH based system.
  • REX also supports "Main ROM Replacement". This means that, with the addition of a single wire, the main rom on the laptop may be replaced by a version stored in REX. This allows for flash-upgradeable main ROM images, to support patches, custom Menu and character sets, LOMEM patch, Y2K patch etc. Facility is included to support dual Main ROM images, and the ability to switch between them.

REX is available exclusively through Club100.

REX for NEC may be obtained by contacting me directly. twospruces / gmail

REX Versions

The original REX module was designed for Model 100, Tandy 102 and Tandy 200.

REX installed.jpg

REX2 was a modification of REX, which augmented the 1MB Flash with a 128kB SRAM. The intent was to use this card for CP/M in M100 and T102. REX2 is not supported in T200 or NEC machines.


REX2 in M100.jpg

REX2 in T102.jpg

REX2 - custom REX for CP/M support

REX3 is a modification of the original REX design to accommodate installation in a PC-8201 or 8300. The physical dimensions changed slightly, the pinout is different and notably the ALE signal is not available on the NEC socket (which is a standard 27C256 pinout).

REX3 in 8201.jpeg

Installation Information

REX Hardware Installation

click here for current production REX images and install photos

REX Hardware Installation : T200

REX Hardware Installation : PC-8201

User Information

REX Manager User Guide

Main ROM Management Feature ***new in release 4.6***

Technical Information

REX Overview PDF

REX Overview

Option ROM Images for Download

Validated OPTROM Images for M100/T102

Validated OPTROM Images for T200

Validated OPTROM Images for NEC

Software Installation of the REX System- It's Easy

In order to initialize the laptop to use REX, you must install the REX system. From a cold restart, power cycle the laptop and then execute the BASIC command


(for M100/T102)

CALL63012


(for T200)

CALL61167,2

(for NEC)

EXEC62394

to install the REX Manager system, which uses the timer hook, CHGET and CHPUT RST7 hooks, and a program visible in MENU called REXMGR.

  • REXMGR contains a short embedded machine language routine that starts the REX Manager software on command, and contains the 2 hook programs. Running this program will always start the REX Manager software.


After REX Manager is installed, issuing those same commands won't re-install the system, but you will be directed to the Active OPTROM image software instead, just like you would expect if you had a normal option ROM installed.

If the REX system should somehow become de-installed (like on a cold restart) simply re-install it by repeating these instructions.


Important Note for First Time REX Installation and Use

IMPORTANT! For brand new REX installations, where REX has been unused, the user must replace the default "backup" RAM image stored in REX, with a real backup image. Simply start REX Manager, move the cursor over the directory entry for "backup", and press <ENTER>. Select <Y> when prompted to "Refresh backup?". This puts a fresh RAM image for your specific machine into that entry.


Compatibility between REX and certain other M100 applications

REX is NOT COMPATIBLE with certain software and devices, where software conflicts arise with hidden .BA programs in RAM, and hooks.

Specifically,

POWER-DOS
PCSG RAM MODULES
ANY TIMER HOOK BASED SOFTWARE

...and other things as well I am sure, are not compatible with REX.

REX is incompatible with other software and hardware due to the following reasons:

  • REXMGR has to be located as the FIRST .BA program in RAM for the embedded ML code to function.
  • REXMGR relies on the timer hook to configure itself, and to enable specific features like QuickMenu and Y2K fix.
  • REXMGR uses CHGET and CHPUT hooks (but only in MENU).


If you own a REX and you are using it with some other piece of internal memory system, in general I would say it is not compatible - it is one or the other.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank those that have contributed to the project:

John Hogerhuis - for all his technical support

Philip Avery - for his assistance in coding the MENU functions

Wilson Van Alst - for providing the base TPDD routines

Kenneth Pettit - for VirtualT as this project would not have happened without it

Club 100 and Rick Hanson - for helping to get this gadget out there

and others for their helpful comments and support.