May 162016
 

Now that I had the Data I/O 29a in a working state I attempted to see if I could get it to communicate with a PC using the Promlink programming software. Unfortunately I fell at the first hurdle as my unit did not have a remote mode available. This can usually be accessed by using the command, “Select”, “F”, then “1” then “Start”, and “Start” again. On my unit this command was not even valid! Interestingly the manual does state that remote mode is “only in models equipped with this option”.

I then noticed that my device had a rom set labelled “324-0029”, whilst my friends unit, which could go into remote mode, had a rom set labelled “324-1024”. Both prom sets were exactly the same and these were labelled “324-1980 Rev A”. So I decided I would copy the 324-1024 roms and try them in my system. Luckily several collectors had some of these roms spare they could post to me (TMS2716’s) and I was pleased to see that once they were burnt, my unit now had the ability to go into remote mode aswell.

Next step was to build the serial port lead to make the connection. This required a 25 pin Dsub male connector and a 9 pin DB9 female connector. I found details of the pins used and connection settings at the following page www.retroclinic.com

Once the lead was made I then had to find copies of the software. After a bit of searching I found a FTP site that had what I needed. The link for the site was ttl.arcadetech.org

This site had various versions of the programs. Most notably 341-1991, and 61. What I discovered is that the unipak works best with 341-1991, and unipak2 or unipak2b works best with 61.

The site also had txt file lists of all the roms, and proms it could burn on each pak, so that was incredibly useful information.

I installed the software on an old laptop running Windows 95, and on my first attempt I was greeted with the message of “contact with programmer established”.

I wanted to try and get the unit running on a Windows 7 PC, soley for the reason that I didn’t want to use multiple PC’s or laptops to run all of my test equipment. I downloaded the software DOSbox www.dosbox.com and installed it on my Windows 7 box. The trick to get this working is to make sure that the serial configuration in the dosbox.conf file is configured correctly. I used the settings:

serial1=directserial realport:com1 irq:4 bytesize:8 stopbit:1 parity:E

Once that was configured I copied the promlink software to the root of my C:\ drive and launched DOSBox. Once the folder was mounted using mount c c:\promlink I was able to launch the Promlink software and establish a connection.

I’ve dumped both rom sets and prom set, and made them available below. If someone else comes across the same issues with remote mode it should be fairly easy to sort out with these files, as I could not find copies anywhere else:

324-1980 Rev A Proms (106 downloads)
324-0029 Roms (103 downloads)
324-1024 Roms (110 downloads)