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Thread: Exidy Sorcerer error

  1. #1

    Default Exidy Sorcerer error

    Hi,

    I have an Exidy Sorcerer in the HomeComputerMuseum and it doesn't do what I expect it to do. It's connected to a S100 and that connects to a dual Micropolis drive.

    As soon as I give the command:
    go bc00
    (or any other "go" command)

    it drops into the 9[] error which never stops. Reset doesn't work. I already reseated the IC's and tested the memory, no change. This also occurs without the S100 attached. The fact that the drive is responding means the S100 get the command to read (right)?

    Any idea what to search for next?



    If you click on this, I hope a video will show.
    Founder of the HomeComputerMuseum in the Netherlands. Fully interactive computermuseum dedicated to the home computer.

  2. #2

    Default

    Yours doesn't have the BASIC PAC does it, so all you can get without the S100 box connected is the Monitor prompt to poke around in RAM and load things from tape. Mine too gives the 9[] error but I know I have bad RAM and a bad BASIC cart which I'll look into tomorrow. Wish I could help!
    www.binarydinosaurs.co.uk - UK home computer history
    Where RIFA capacitors come to die
    facebook.com/binarydinosaurs

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    223

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by whizzi View Post
    Hi,

    I have an Exidy Sorcerer in the HomeComputerMuseum and it doesn't do what I expect it to do. It's connected to a S100 and that connects to a dual Micropolis drive.

    As soon as I give the command:
    go bc00
    (or any other "go" command)

    it drops into the 9[] error which never stops. Reset doesn't work. I already reseated the IC's and tested the memory, no change. This also occurs without the S100 attached. The fact that the drive is responding means the S100 get the command to read (right)?

    Any idea what to search for next?



    If you click on this, I hope a video will show.
    Fantastic system! Certainly the most complete working example of a Sorcerer system I've ever seen. Love the 70's wallpaper

    1. Obvious question first for debugging computer problems with systems ancient or modern - has it just failed or has it never worked correctly?
    2. Do you know for a fact that BC00 is the correct GO address for this system ie as per documentation?
    3. How did you test the memory?
    4. What exactly 'also occurs without the S-100 unit attached'?
    5. What do you mean the 'drive is responding'? I don't see any activity lights on the drives (and don't know if there should be any) - I do hear a loud 'click' in the video - is that what you mean by 'responding'? Perhaps this is the head trying to move out to the first track to try and load CP/M.
    6. Do you have a known good CP/M system disc in the correct drive?

  4. #4

    Default

    From the monitor you can check if there is a rom at BC00 by doing a hexdump:

    Code:
    DU BC00 BCFF
    Depending on the code it should look something like this:
    hexdump_bc00.jpg

    My guess is that there is a bad connection to you drive/S100 subsystem or maybe bad ram in the Exidy.
    The monitor has a built in memory test option:

    Code:
    TE start end

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by exidyboy View Post
    Fantastic system! Certainly the most complete working example of a Sorcerer system I've ever seen. Love the 70's wallpaper
    Thanks . Our whole museum has these kinds of setups with different machines. You should visit someday when you're around (we're close to Eindhoven Airport (20 min drive) and Dusseldorf (45 min drive) ).

    1. Obvious question first for debugging computer problems with systems ancient or modern - has it just failed or has it never worked correctly?
    Understandable question. I got this machine roughly 1.5 years ago in a box labelled 'CP/M computer' when I got some Atari stuff, he asked if I wanted it. I took it home and tried the monitor + computer first (first checking obvious signs of possible things that could release smoke). The computer booted up into this, same for the monitor.
    I actually found a basic cartridge somewhere in the boxes I got from the guy, but when I pop that one in.. the only thing happening is a cursor showing. Nothing more, nothing less. I assume the ROM is gone so I need to flash those (when I have the time and material).

    Anyway, since I couldn't do much else it's stored (conditioned) for a while until 5 months ago when I opened the museum. It's been part of the museum ever since, but as being 'off'. Recently I finally got around testing the S100 and drive (which was also part of the collection) and that's where we are now. So, nope.. never got it working or seen it working.
    2. Do you know for a fact that BC00 is the correct GO address for this system ie as per documentation?
    I found this somewhere online. There's a CP/M (hard sectored) bootdisk (and I have a ton more, including games etc) and this is the command to boot from the drive.

    3. How did you test the memory?
    Removing them one by one and test it. Same error every time.

    4. What exactly 'also occurs without the S-100 unit attached'?
    The 9[] error after the command.

    5. What do you mean the 'drive is responding'? I don't see any activity lights on the drives (and don't know if there should be any) - I do hear a loud 'click' in the video - is that what you mean by 'responding'? Perhaps this is the head trying to move out to the first track to try and load CP/M.
    Yes. The drive is on (both of them) and not making any sound until I enter the command on the Exidy. The drive responds by starting the sequence to read (that's the click) and it looks like the Exidy just crashes out at that moment. This is the only time the drive does that, even when I power on the Exidy with everything attached (and on), it won't do the seeking of the drive, only this command will do that.

    6. Do you have a known good CP/M system disc in the correct drive?
    [/quote]

    Never got around to test it, but it immediately stops booting when the 9[] error shows. The driveheads are cleaned and it's a direct drive, no belts and I have at least 20 discs to test with (came with the collection), most of them have CP/M bootdisk written on it's label (even one called CP/M Master). Even if the disk is not bootable, I don't think the people at Exidy decided that a scrolling 9[] would be the 'hey, I can't boot from that disk'-error (unless they copied it from the Tandy TRS80 ).

    Perhaps useful information, the 9[]-error actually hangs the system. Reset won't work (both reset buttons) and I have to power it down completely.
    Founder of the HomeComputerMuseum in the Netherlands. Fully interactive computermuseum dedicated to the home computer.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gertk View Post
    From the monitor you can check if there is a rom at BC00 by doing a hexdump:

    Code:
    DU BC00 BCFF
    Thanks. Will give that a try today

    My guess is that there is a bad connection to you drive/S100 subsystem or maybe bad ram in the Exidy.
    The monitor has a built in memory test option:

    Code:
    TE start end
    Since the error is the same without the S100 connected, I doubt it has anything to do with the S100. I'm assuming that since the drive is responding to a command that should boot into CP/M, it's something in the Exidy and the S100 looks like it's working.
    Founder of the HomeComputerMuseum in the Netherlands. Fully interactive computermuseum dedicated to the home computer.

  7. #7

    Default

    The bootrom is on the disk controller and not in the Exidy so if the result is the same with and without the disk system connected it looks like the bootrom is not readable or at a different address. Depends on the controller used.

  8. #8

    Default

    Dump of BC00 BCFF
    20180909_143905.jpg

    Here's a test from BC00 to BCFF
    20180909_144246.jpg

    And the dump of BA00 BAFF which seems to be empty:
    20180909_144352.jpg

    Not sure if the test indicated something?
    Founder of the HomeComputerMuseum in the Netherlands. Fully interactive computermuseum dedicated to the home computer.

  9. #9

    Default

    I also did a
    Code:
    te FF90 FFFF
    because the Exidy states memory start at FF80 at bootup. It went directly into the 9[] - thing..
    Founder of the HomeComputerMuseum in the Netherlands. Fully interactive computermuseum dedicated to the home computer.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    223

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by whizzi View Post
    Dump of BC00 BCFF
    20180909_143905.jpg

    Here's a test from BC00 to BCFF
    20180909_144246.jpg

    And the dump of BA00 BAFF which seems to be empty:
    20180909_144352.jpg

    Not sure if the test indicated something?
    If you are TEsting ROM then a RAM test would be expected to fail.
    Do you have any information on the disk controller card in the S-100 expansion box so your screenshot can be compared to dumps of the same ROM?
    @Witchy from binarydinosaurs got his Sorcerer up and running overnight my time so we might be able to compare the behaviour of the two machines.

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