[NTLK] PCMCIA for the brave...

Ionos: robowerk.de m.melcher at robowerk.de
Mon Feb 8 10:30:50 PST 2021

Hi fellow fans,

The MessagePad 2x00 has two PCMCIA ports that can hold all kinds of 
extensions. Most of us probably used a modem card, or an ethernet or 
wifi card, and many of us used Flash memory and even a few ROM cards.

Well, I am on the brink of porting your Flash and ROM memory cards to 
Einstein. The tests have been working for a while, and now I am looking 
into creating a nice user interface, so you guys can just add your 
PCMCIA image files easily.

But before I make it easy, I still need a few test images to make sure 
that this is working. I will also have to implement a way to download a 
PCMCIA image from an existing card through a physical MP2x000.

So, for those of you who have the time and curiosity, if you could 
download an image from an existing card for my, and send it to me, that 
would be helpful.

Here is what you need:

A Mac with Classic MacOS running, or BasiliskII, set up to connect to 
your MP via a serial cable.

You also need to download "Hammer" and its companion package "Debug 
Connection". And you will need the matching ROM image for your Newton 
OS, usually "Senior CirrusNoDebug image" and "Senior CirrusNoDebug high".

All this is available on Unna. The Basilisk image already has Hammer, 
but you still need to get the ROM images.

Ok, so first, we install the "Debug Connection" on the MP. It's just a 
normal package, so it should not be a problem. Also, you can test-launch 
Hammer on your Mac. Make it connect to the Modem Port, and tell it where 
to find the ROM image (you can also later simply double-click the ROM 
image to launch Hammer).

Make sure that you PCMCIA card is inserted!

Next, launch "Debug Connection" and click "Connect". You MP and your Mac 
should now be connected through Hammer (the Hammer status line changes 
from "Connect" to "Stop".

OK, no let's see if we find the PCMCIA card description. Press Apple-M 
(or use the menu [Memory > Memory Apple-M]. In the following dialog box, 
in "Display Memory From:", enter <90000000> (nine and seven zeros, don't 
enter the angle brackets).

Another window should pop up that shows a table of numbers. The first 
line should be "90000000 03030101 ...." or similar. If it is "90000000 
....", then put your PCMCIA card into the other slot and try again (the 
status bar may show "Run" and your MP will freeze. Just click "Run", and 
the MP will wake up again).

If we are this far, you have already earned the bronze medal of Newton 
Engineering. Let's go for silver.

Go to the menu [File > Save Memory...]. In the dialog enter:
   Write Memory:  <CIS> (and find a good location for that file)
   Start Address: <90000000>
   Limit:         <90001000>

After a few seconds, a file named "CIS" should pop up in your Finder. 
This is the "card information structure" that tells NewtonOS everything 
it needs to know about the card.

Now let's go for gold! Download the content of the card itself!

Go to the menu [File > Save Memory...]. In the dialog enter:
   Write Memory:  <Data>
   Start Address: <98000000>
   Limit:         <98200000> for a 2MB card,
                  <98400000> for a 4MB card,
                  <98800000> for an 8MB card, and
                  <99000000> for a 16MB card

Copying the data from the MP to your Mac will take quite a while, and 
there is nothing that indicates your progress. Sorry.

If you manage to download both files, and then send them to me, I will 
make sure that I can make them run with Einstein. This system should 
work with any Flash Memory or ROM card, including diagnostic cards, but 
not with interface cards (Modem, Wifi, etc.).

I wonder if it makes sense to make this work with Paul's SD Card driver 
as well. However, dumping SD Cards is probably very simple, because they 
can be read in any modern PC.

Anyway, got to go. Have fun.

  - Matthias

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