|★ HARDWARE ★ PERIPHERIQUES ★ Eprom Programmer ★|
|Interface Rom - Eprom Programmer - John Morrison|Amstrad Action)||Hardware Peripheriques|
This is the only advertised eprom blower for the Amstrad machines at present. Available in kit form at £6.75 less than the full asking price, it is possibly an item of minority interest.
It appears in a sickly brown case with equally distasteful green edge-connector. The only thing preventing you from throwing it in the bin, mistaking it for a bit of Lego left over from your childhood, is the 28-pin DIL (dual in-line) connector lying flat aqainst one side.
The DIL socket is a major flaw in design. Pressing an eprom into the socket and then prying it out with a screwdriver puts a lot of strain on its legs - many get weak, bent and broken. To overcome this problem I did what John Morrison ought to have done. I added a ZIF (zero insertion force) socket - cost me about £o. but he could have got it at bulk rate and done without the DIL. With the ZIF you just open a little lever to release the eprom.
The software to blow your eprom is supplied on cassette but easily transfers to disk. It has options to read and write 8k or 16k roms, or program single locations and blocks. Once programming has finished, the software will verify the ROM to check that everything went according to plan.
There is an editor with which you can alter any byte before blowing the eprom. Or complete rom-files can be loaded into the editor - once loaded they can be blown.
The accompanying manual - several photocopied sheets -assumes you have a very good knowledge of assembler and how the Amstrad operating system works. This is not for the faint of heart. Included in the documentation is a small "If all else fails" section which is worth viewing when things don't and they won't - work.
After reading through several advanced Amstrad programming books, ruining several dozer, eproms and overdosing on coffee I managed to program an eprom successfully. If the Morrison eprom programmer was a little more user-friendly, contained a manual taking you step by step through each procedure and looked slightly more presentable, I would have no doubt in recommending it. But as it stands, only users with fluency in code and warped minds should attempt to tame this beast. It's by no means an exceptional product but it carries out without too many glitches what it was set to do.