Difference between revisions of "REX"

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== NEWS! ==
 
== NEWS! ==
* April 15, 2011: A firmware revision is required to address the T200 problem.  This will be phased in for all new product, and will be retrofitted into T200 units already out there. M100/T102 models do not appear to be affected.  An up-release to software version 4.8 will be released shortly to address minor bugs.
 
  
* April 9, 2011:  a minor bug has been idenfitied with ROM ReplacementThe Primary ROM image remains blank after loading an image, so this feature will not work.  
+
* November 2018I 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)
  
* April 6, 2011:  A serious issue has been identified with T200 REX that causes an unstable system after power up.  Work around is to always run REXMGR.BA after power up OR switching to a new RAM bank.
+
* if you have issues, please post to m100 mailing list or to me directly. thanks.
  
* Feb. 14, 2011: Working on a solution for REX for PC-8201 that is plug and play, and will sit directly on the Option ROM socket. It will work identically to the original REX.
+
== Supported Models ==
 +
Model 100 and Tandy 102 with either REX or REX2
 +
* Tandy 200 with REX.
 +
*  NEC PC-8201 with REX3
  
* Jan. 24, 2011:  Happy New Year!  Release 4.7 is available now for M100/T102 installs.  T200 support is done, and Club100 will be offering T200 REX modules shortly (as soon as I'm done making them).  This new software has some big improvements!
 
  
* Nov. 10, 2010:  On the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, release 4.6 for M100/T102 is made available on the web.  Hmmm ... timing is everthing.
 
  
* Sept 23, 2010:  A few months back REX2 was finally put together for M100 and T102.  It is available by custom order, please get in touch if you are interested.
+
=== M100 note ===
  
* Sept 23, 2010:  4.6 is out for beta testing.  Let's hope this goes well.  Some important fixes here, and some feature improvements.  Main ROM management is supported now.
+
  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.
* June 13, 2010:  Check out the new info on what do to if you delete REXMGR.BA by mistake, posted below.
+
  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).
* Sept. 1, 2009: Seems that Business Analyst option rom does not work in T102 for reasons unknown.
+
 
+
* Aug. 31, 2009: I realize that it may not be clearly stated, but REX is not compatible with any other M100 system that uses LOMEM software.  Programs like power dos and PCSG RAM modules that place a basic program in memory typically are in conflict with REX.  My apologies if people have had problems.
+
 
+
* Aug. 7, 2009: ROM Replacement feature is being integrated into REX Manager.  Specific M100/T102 main rom images will be required, so I have removed M100.bx and T102.bx from the downloadable rom image .zip.
+
 
+
* Aug. 5, 2009: An updated image set is online.  I stupidly forgot to make Multiplan and Integrated Solutions ROMs impervious to removal detection by the M100 ROM.  These 2 roms have "AB" at locations 0040 and 0041 hex.  The patch is to place 00 in locations 0040 and 0041 hex.  Corrected binaries are now in the file.  This should only affect M100, as T102 OS looks for "TC" rather than "AB".
+
  
 
== For Owners ==
 
== For Owners ==
Line 34: Line 29:
 
<big>[[REX Quickstart guide]]</big>
 
<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-
 
Keep in mind the following-
* If you are on release 4.5, do not fill REX beyond 1/2 full (12 remaining blocks must be free).
+
* 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.
* make sure you put real data into the default BACKUP entry in RAM group
+
* if you still are using 4.5 --> upgrade!
+
  
  
 
Click on these links for information on specific software releases - release notes, update proceedure, downloads, new features descriptions etc.
 
Click on these links for information on specific software releases - release notes, update proceedure, downloads, new features descriptions etc.
  
<big>[[REX Release 4.8]]</big>
 
  
<big>[[Installing REX Manager in a T200]]</big>
+
<big>[[REX Release 4.9]]</big> Latest release is available here.
  
<big>[[REX Release 4.7]]</big>
+
<big>[[REX Release 4.8]] Please update to 4.9! </big>
  
<big>[[REX Release 4.6]]</big>
+
<big>[[REX Release 4.7]] Please update to 4.9! </big>
  
<big>[[Main ROM Management Feature]]</big>
+
<big>[[REX Release 4.6]] Please update to 4.9! </big>
  
<big>[[REX Release 4.5]]</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 into the Option ROM slot, with no soldering or necessity to open the laptop case.
+
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.
+
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:
  
The primary features of REX are:
+
* 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 allows for quick and 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.  16 OPTION ROMs may be loaded, stored and used.
+
 
+
 
+
* 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. This is similar to the "fast switch environments" on Remem: it is like having multiple laptops in the same case!  16 RAM images may be stored.
+
  
 +
* 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 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.
 
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:
 
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 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 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.
+
'''REX is available exclusively through Club100.'''
  
 +
'''REX for NEC may be obtained by contacting me directly.'''  twospruces  /  gmail
  
 +
== REX Versions ==
  
REX may be installed in Model 100 and Tandy 102 currently.  Tandy 200 support is not yet available but is in development.
+
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.
  
  
'''REX is available exclusively through Club100.'''
+
[[Image:REX2_in_M100.jpg]]
  
 +
[[Image:REX2_in_T102.jpg]]
  
 +
[[REX2 - custom REX for CP/M support]]
  
[[Image:REX_installed.jpg]]
+
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).
  
[[Media:Rex_OverviewV4.2.pdf|REX Overview PDF]]
+
[[Image:REX3_in_8201.jpeg]]
  
[[REX Overview]]
+
== Installation Information ==
  
 
[[REX Hardware Installation]]
 
[[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]]
 
[[REX Manager User Guide]]
 
[[REX Software and Utilities]]
 
  
 
[[Main ROM Management Feature]] ***new in release 4.6***
 
[[Main ROM Management Feature]] ***new in release 4.6***
  
[[REX2 - custom REX for CP/M support]]
+
== Technical Information ==
  
 +
[[Media:Rex_OverviewV4.2.pdf|REX Overview PDF]]
 +
 +
[[REX Overview]]
  
 
== Option ROM Images for Download ==
 
== Option ROM Images for Download ==
  
[[Media:M100_REX_tested.zip|REX release 4.5 Validated OPTROM Images for M100/T102]]
 
  
[[Media:M100_REX_4_6_tested.zip|REX release 4.6 Validated OPTROM Images for M100/T102]]
+
[[Media:M100_OPTION_ROMS.zip|Validated OPTROM Images for M100/T102]]
  
[[Media:M100_REX_4_7_tested.zip|REX release 4.7 Validated OPTROM Images for M100/T102]]
+
[[Media:T200_OPTION_ROMS.zip|Validated OPTROM Images for T200]]
  
[[Media:T200_REX_4_7_tested.zip|REX release 4.7 Validated OPTROM Images for T200]]
+
[[Media:NEC__OPTION_ROMS.zip|Validated OPTROM Images for NEC]]
  
 
== Software Installation of the REX System- It's Easy ==
 
== 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 simply type
+
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)
 
(for M100/T102)
<code><pre>CALL 63012</pre></code>
+
<code><pre>CALL63012</pre></code>
  
  
 
(for T200)
 
(for T200)
<code><pre>CALL 61167,2</pre></code>
+
<code><pre>CALL61167,2</pre></code>
  
to install the REX system, which installs one hook in the timer, includes two short programs.
+
(for NEC)
 +
<code><pre>EXEC62394</pre></code>
  
* first, an invisible file called RXHOOK which contains a special machine language routine that interacts with the timer hook in the laptop, to ensure that REX is properly configured on power up.
+
to install the REX Manager system, which uses the timer hook, CHGET and CHPUT RST7 hooks, and a program visible in MENU called REXMGR.
  
* and a visible basic program called REXMGR.BA.  This program contains a short embedded machine language routine that starts the REX Manager software on command.
+
* 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.
 
+
 
+
You should see a program in the Menu called REXMGR.BA.  Running this program will always start the REX Manager software.
+
  
  
Line 149: Line 149:
  
 
If the REX system should somehow become de-installed (like on a cold restart) simply re-install it by repeating these instructions.
 
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 Note for First Time REX Installation and Use ==
Line 157: Line 158:
 
== Compatibility between REX and certain other M100 applications ==
 
== Compatibility between REX and certain other M100 applications ==
  
REX is NOT COMPATIBLE with certain M100 software and devices, where software conflicts arise with hidden .BA programs in RAM.
+
REX is NOT COMPATIBLE with certain software and devices, where software conflicts arise with hidden .BA programs in RAM, and hooks.
  
 
Specifically,
 
Specifically,
Line 163: Line 164:
 
  POWER-DOS
 
  POWER-DOS
 
  PCSG RAM MODULES
 
  PCSG RAM MODULES
 +
ANY TIMER HOOK BASED SOFTWARE
  
 
...and other things as well I am sure, are not compatible with REX.
 
...and other things as well I am sure, are not compatible with REX.
  
The incompatibility lies in the software.  REX requires that a
+
REX is incompatible with other software and hardware due to the following reasons:
specific invisible .BA program called RXHOOK be present as the "first
+
basic program" at the lowest memory location, making this a form of
+
"LOWMEM software".
+
  
These incompatible applications also use LOWMEM software, and as such
+
* REXMGR has to be located as the FIRST .BA program in RAM for the embedded ML code to function.
they overlap and will cause problems. So, you cannot use REX today with those applications.
+
* 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).
  
I will look into changes I can make to allow these things to coexist,
 
but I don't have all variants of what is possible, so it is hard for
 
me to ensure it works with everything.
 
  
 
If you own a REX and you are using it with some other piece of
 
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 -
 
internal memory system, in general I would say it is not compatible -
 
it is one or the other.
 
it is one or the other.
 
If this incompatibility is causing you problems, I apologize for the lack of clarity.
 
 
 
 
== Starting REX Manager if REXMGR.BA is accidentially deleted or quits working... ==
 
 
What to do?  You accidentally delete REXMGR.BA from the menu, and now you can't start REX Manager because the active ROM is always accessed.
 
 
OR
 
 
For some strange reason, REXMGR.BA does not work as it should, and you get an error in BASIC.
 
 
The best course of action is to delete the timer hook, which de-activates the auto configuration of REX.
 
 
For M100/T102, in BASIC type the following commands:
 
 
  POKE62975,201
 
 
Now, power cycle the laptop, enter BASIC and type
 
  CALL63012
 
and you will start REX Manager again, which will reinstall the software.
 
 
 
For T200, in BASIC type the following commands:
 
 
  POKE 61122,201
 
 
Now, power cycle the laptop, enter BASIC and type
 
  CALL61167,2
 
and you will start REX Manager again, which will reinstall the software.
 
  
 
== Acknowledgements ==
 
== Acknowledgements ==

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.