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TOEPROM programmertransparantNEtransparantEN

TOEPROM programmerThis part is about the TOEPROM programmer, a piece of hardware me and some other MSX club members (Roadfighter and Albert k.) have been experimenting with last club days every month. The TOEPROM programmer is an EPROM programmer (burner) for MSX. As you might know EPROM stands for 'erasable programmable read only memory'. So with this tool you can reprogramm ROM chips. I honestly have to say that I am no hardware-guy and even though some fellow club members are, it was a big challenge for us working with this TOEPROM programmer. We still expirimenting with it and still don't know all ins and outs, but we've managed to burn some EPROM's and get some working data into it. Future club days we hope to find out more about it. Here a report.

2x TOEPROM programmerFebruary 2012 I purchased a TOEPROM programmer for only 12 euros on the Dutch online marketplace site Marktplaats. I did not know if it was functioning, but well for that amount of money…. what the heck. I had no experience with this kind of hardware or with programming EPROM's, that's why I took the TOEPROM programmer to the MSX club in March.

When we started the TOEPROM, it was not possible to read data from any of the IC's I received with the purchase. The only data we managed to read was from the EPROM which was on the EPROM programmer itself (the EPROM built-in software). Was the EPROM programmer defect? A fellow Club member therefore advised me to replace the other IC's on the EPROM programmer for new, so that's what I did (afterwards it turned out to be not necessary, because the EPROM programmer functioned correctly).

Hyper Rally op EPROMNext club day in April I took the EPROM programmer with me, however there was unfortunately nobody that time who could help me with it. Another club member (Malz) had a nice piece of interesting hardware; a MSX Cartridge Print. This is a pcb with a socket (connector) to place an EPROM. If the circuits (dip switches) are right, it functions as a normal cartridge. In other words; a perfect tool to test your homebrewn EPROM's. Since I had no ROM's myself, I started to test some EPROM's from Malz. And it worked! One of the ROM's contained a copy of Konami's Hyper Rally game. (see photo).

Yab Yum op EPROMIn May we were prevented from the club day, but in June I took the EPROM programmer with me again. Also Roadfighter brought his EPROM programmer. And I brought some printed TOEPROM manuals from internet. Again we could not get managed to read data out of IC's. Roadfighter had some empty EPROM's, but using the 'blank check' function the program claimed they were not empty, although they were empty. Anyway we tried to program an EPROM using Roadfighter's EPROM programmer. To do this, we had a ROM file on diskette, we put an EPROM in the programmer, put the EPROM TYPE on 25128, put the PROGRAMMING MODE on INTELL, PROGRAMMING VOLTAGE on 21V (this we had looked up in the manuals) and entered the correct start and end addresses. Unfortunately the EPROM programmer did not start to program the EPROM. Then we put the PROGRAMING MODE on NORMAL and tried again … and now, the programmer started to program. In approximately ten minutes up to a quarter of an hour we had programmed an EPROM with the Konami game Roadfighter. Now we only had to test if the EPROM worked, so we put it into the MSX Print Cartrige (EPROM reader). And yes, it worked! After this now, we tried another one using my EPROM programmer. And yes, within ten minutes we made a working ROM with the game Yab Yum (see photo).

Expirimenteren met de EPROM programmerTOEPROM programmer (sequel1)

After the above experiments and tests I became very enthousiastic about it and went looking for a MSX Cartridge Print and empty eproms. A MSX Cartridge Print was difficult to find. Lucky enough a fellow MSX collector and lover Marcel S. responded saying he had a simulair print for me. I received it by regular mail and I'm Marcel S. very thankful for it. Thanks again, Marcel! Super! I tested it immediately with the Yab Yum eprom we recently made and it worked!

And then... You are questioning; Is 't possible to get it solded on a print to work as a real cartridge? Then again, I never soldered. But what the hack, once has to be the first time. So I bought me a solderingkit on internet and went soldering. Demolished a Turbo5000 cartridge. Carefully desoldered the existing eprom from it and replaced it for the Yab Yum eprom. For the first time soldering, I think I did a good job (see picture). unfortunately the cartridge does not work, so I have to take another look at it with my fellow clubmembers in the near future. No more soldering for now, maybe it's possible save the print.

Yab Yum EPROM on (ex-)Turbo5000 printLet's try something else. With the printed manuals, there was one which took me interest. It was about the programm 2EPROM.COM. Wthout setting the preferences manually, this programm could programm an eprom. Meanwhile I bought some empty eproms on the Dutch online marketplace site Marktplaats, so why don't we give it a try...? The DOS command is very simple; 2EPROM GAME.ROM after that, the programm would start it self. After strange code on my screen, I got the message I had to put a 27256 eprom into the TOEPROM, so I did. Again some strange code appeared and I got the message the eprom was programmed. Very strange, because it went very quick and the eprom wasn't warm like the last time. I checked if the eprom worked in the MSX Cartridge Print, but unless a good dip switch setting, the eprom didn't work. So I don't have good experience with this programm.

July there was another MSX clubday. I expirimented with the TOEPROM programmer. Roadfighter took the Yab Yum print to fix it at home. Further I didn't do much with the TOEPROMM programmer, instead I started expirimenting when I was back at home. In my experiences I see to make a good and working EPROM, the ROM size and start- and end addresses do matter very much and are very important. Sounds logic, but for me it is new and I'm just getting used to working with it. In the near future I hope to publish schematics of the values and settings programming the EPROM's I made here on this website. After a lot of expirimenting, I managed to programm some 8K and 16K EPROM's like Chiller and Manic Miner. I do not violate any copyrights with it, because I only make them for myself and I have the games original on cassette. So it is more of a backup copy. Next to that for me it is a tribute to great cassette games which deserve to be put on ROM cartridge. I quit soldering for now and just create nice labels and covers for the games. Till now I didn't succeed in programming 32K ROM's yet.

Chiller and Manic Miner on ROM cartridgeAugust there was another MSX clubday again. I took the EPROM erasers with me which I ordered for me, Albert K. and Roadfighter on the internet. Again I did some expiriments with the EPROM programmer. Roadfighter had managed to repair the Yab Yum game. Also he did solder Chiller and Manic Miner on PCB. I'm very thankful for it. The result: 3 cool cartrige games complete with label and cover artwork (see picture). From LDH I got another Turbo5000 cartridge, so ofcourse I'm gonna put a nice game on this one also. At the moment I'm expirimenting some more with the TOEPROM programmer. I'm testing diverse things, like for example programming 32K ROM's.

I managed to programm 32K roms! For the 32K roms I programmed there is a special work around. I wrote down my expiriences. Soon this story will go to the background and I will inform you here about working with the TOEPROM programmer, more technical information about it including choosen preferences for specific roms.

Thanks to Road Fighter, RetroTechie and Albert k. for all the help and advice. Thanks to Malz for borrowing the MSX Cartridge Print and for making all pictures shown here. More photos of the MVM clubdays are available at:

Special thanks goes out to Marcel S. who provided me a working MSX Cartridge Print!
Special thanks goes out to Albert B. who provided me an (even better) working MSX Cartridge Print!

Also thanks to everyone who has helped us or given advice.

Thanks to the people who have made the TOEPROM and MSX Cartrige Print manuals, scanned them and put them online. These manuals can be found on the website of Hans o.; MSX info pages, Toeprom userguide, Toeprom besturingsprogramma, 2eprom en MSX Cartridge Print (Sorry, all in Dutch!)

On page 58, issue 27 (year 4, 1988) of the Dutch MSX Computer Magazine there was a review about it: TOEPROM programmer review MSX Computer Magazine

New IC's for the EPROM programmer I have a.o. bought on eBay, but most I have purchased from Technika Nijmegen. A fun electronics store that is certainly worth to pay a visit:

 MSX collection
 MSX information
  Copying directories on MSX
  Malfunctioning diskdrive
  MSX .ROM files
  CF ATA-IDE cardreader (Sunrise)
   SCC+ SD
  Zapp's birthday MSX virus

 MSX game reviews

 MSX emulation


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