RomWBW Option Card

For discussing Les Bird's RomWBW option card
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LesB
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2023 1:28 am

RomWBW Option Card

Post by LesB »

The RomWBW Option Card plugs into any of the 4 option card slots in your NABU and turns your NABU into a fully standalone CP/M computer.

For details see my Github page here: https://github.com/sebhc/sebhc/wiki/NAB ... ption-card

On the Github page you can download the Gerbers and ROM and compact flash images so you can build your own card. I also posted links to parts you'll need when building it yourself.

What is the RomWBW?

For details about RomWBW you can visit this page: https://github.com/wwarthen/RomWBW

RomWBW is a generic boot ROM for Z80 based computers. It is full featured and supports booting to a wide variety of CP/M operating systems with built-in support for common hardware components. It is constantly being improved opon by Wayne Warthen and is extremely well documented. I worked directly with Wayne when designing my RomWBW Option Card for the NABU and with his help we were able to make the card very robust.

The Option Card includes the following features:
  • Boot to several versions of the CP/M operating system - CP/M 2.2, CP/M 3, ZSDOS, NZCOM
    512K RAM
    512K ROM
    RS232 port via a 16550 UART
    IDE interface with compact flash card (via IDE to CF adapter)
Boot to any of the above mentioned CP/M operating systems directly from the included compact flash card. You can boot to a CP/M prompt from the compact flash card in less than 5 seconds.

See this link for instructions on how to boot to a CP/M OS: https://github.com/sebhc/sebhc/wiki/NABU#boot-to-cpm

The compact flash has a FAT partition on it so you can copy files to/from the compact flash from a PC or Mac. On the CP/M side RomWBW includes a software utility called FAT so you can copy files to/from the FAT partition. This is a somewhat easy way to get files to your CP/M computer however it does require that you power down your NABU and pull out the card. When the cover is on your NABU this is not so easy so there's another way to get files to your CP/M computer without pulling out the compact flash. You can use the RS232 port and the RomWBW "XM" utility to transfer files via Xmodem.

You plug the card into any of the Option Card slots in the NABU and run a 40 pin ribbon cable to the Z80 CPU socket on the NABU motherboard. The Z80 CPU is moved to the Option Card. The Option Card interfaces with all of the NABU peripherals (such as the VDP and PSG) through the Z80 CPU socket on the motherboard. This gives the Option Card full control of your NABU PC. No need to remove the NABU ROM on the motherboard as it is bypassed when the Option Card is in control. There's a single jumper on the Option Card to switch between NABU mode (enabling the NABU ROM) and RomWBW mode. In NABU mode your NABU PC works just like it did before.

Fully assembled card:
Image

Installed in a NABU Personal Computer:
Image

Configuration jumpers:
Image
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intangybles
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2023 12:32 am
Location: Australia

Re: RomWBW Option Card

Post by intangybles »

Looking forward to getting my card!
NABU Away! and going strong so far...
www.amigaretro.com - NABU Board https://www.amigaretro.com/index.php/board,88.0.html
GTAMP
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2023 4:53 am

Re: RomWBW Option Card

Post by GTAMP »

Mine arrived quickly. I made a video:

Nightengale
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2023 2:02 pm

Re: RomWBW Option Card

Post by Nightengale »

When I am in ROMWBW mode everything works great. When I go to Nabu Mode I consistently get a VIDEO ERROR. I wonder why. Could it have something to do with I'm using a F18A instead of the Tang Nano? Right now it has jumpers 1 and 4 open, and 2 and 3 shorted. For the life of me I can't figure out the jumpers, even when I read about them here: https://dnotq.io/f18a/intro.html

I originally tried the tang nano that came with the ROMWBW but my HDMI monitor make all the fonts look double vision
LesB
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2023 1:28 am

Re: RomWBW Option Card

Post by LesB »

I thought they would be the same core just running on different FPGAs. One way to test would be "suffer" through the double vision with the Tang Nano just to see if you still get the VIDEO ERROR. That would give a clue maybe. If it works with the Tang Nano then it most likely is some difference between the two that's giving the VIDEO ERROR although I'm not sure what that would be.

From what I understand I think the switches on the F18A were very confusing and somewhat corrected with RenderEng's Tang Nano version. However, if it's working without the RomWBW then it should be configured correctly.

Les
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