New NC100 user exploring zcn

Started by Baracus, 07:31, 24 May 22

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Baracus

Greetings,
I've been trying to buy a NC100 or 200 for ages, and finally found a NC100 in good conditions, so I pulled the trigger :) It has both the manual and a 1 mb card, so the first thing I checked was if it was possible to run CP/M on it, like you can do on a NC200; and found ZCN; which seems to be a CP/M made specifically for the NC100.

Got the ZCN archive and ordered a null modem cable plus a serial to USB cable; so I can use my windows pc to transfer the files, although I am not sure how is the whole installation working. I saw some videos on youtube but they were not showing how you actually do the installation, just the final result.
Anyone here used ZCN or another CP/M port for the NC100? Would appreciate some tips and tricks to get started. Thanks

pelrun

You need to carefully read the docs/zcn.txt manual in the archive. It's fairly involved, especially if you aren't already familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the NC100.

Baracus

Thanks; I didn't realize that the archive had the docs and was looking at the github readme.

Can I switch between the original rom and the ZCN easily? I can't find a way to totally shut down the NC100, so I am not sure how to boot in the standard rom if I want, or if it is safe to remove the sram card to avoid to have the device to run on ZCN? Have been reading the txt file but I don't seem to find a clear statement about how to swap between OS and how safe it is to unplug the memory card

pelrun

The NC100 doesn't do "off", as there's no non-volatile storage (even the memory card is a battery-backed SRAM, and if the battery is good it's safe to remove.) It just goes into a low-power mode.

The docs go over how to switch between modes quite explicitly, with "rrinit" to back up any existing documents on the unit (probably unnecessary since you've just got it) and "runrom" to switch back to the ROM software.

Baracus

Thanks, after reading the text file (gotta love old school docs with no chapters :) ) I found my way around a bit.

I skipped the rrinit since I started fresh; got ZCN installed and then ran "runrom" to switch to original rom; which created a rom file on the A disk of ZCN. So far switching between original rom and ZCN has been pretty simple; and if I need to move files between the 2 I use rrxfer. The annoying thing is that running runrom from another drive end up creating another rom file on that drive too; but it is easy to fix by just removing the newly created file.

At this point I never find myself in the situation where I remove the SRAM card; since all my files are saved on the ZCN rom image partition, I need the SRAM card in it all the time. I just wish there was a way to leave 256K on the ram card to be used by plain NC100 Rom; but it seems that you can't do that... Either you use the whole card for ZCN drives or if you don't format the drive space, that space won't be visible from the original ROM.
As now I am just using 2 drives so technically the remaining 512K of RAM are just there to save files I may need to move back and forth. It is an extra passage to copy with RRXFER but it is acceptable.

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