Flash Cards for the operating system

- a better card technology than EPROM's

It has been a long journey from making the first Flash card and updating the OZ software. One could not have happened without the other, so in this section we will cover the historical aspect of the hardware developments as well as what are the advantages of using the latest software. 

Initially, the Flash card was just going to replace the EPROM card. A BBC BASIC program was used to FORMAT, Save and Fetch the files. Just having these functions without listing files that were stored on the Flash card quickly required the software to be written as an application.

In parallel with this, users were updating their Z88 with OZ v4.0. It was available via Z88 Users Club. To use it, the motherboard needed to be modified.

Hardware wiring modifications were then needed to replace the existing ROM on the left and expand the internal memory (32K) on the right.

It was known that there was a 'software hook' in OZ that would allow the Z88 to boot into software written in the external slot 1. The 1M Flash card was the ideal candidate for this, there would be no need to do any hardware modifications on the Z88 at all. Before this could happen, the binary code of OZ 4.0 ROM needed to be reverse-engineered, re-organised, documented and understood.

During this discovery stage it was found that RAM and Flash could be on one device, hence the 512K/512K Flash/RAM card was developed.

This allows users to add

  • a new operating system
  • increase the RAM
  • and have an area for storing files

all in one device externally.

None of this would have happened without the support of all the people, past and present, who have been involved in this project. They know who they are, thank you for all your efforts.

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