PX-8 Intelligent Ram Disk Working

I was pleasantly surprised to find that a PX-8 that I’d recently bought on Ebay (to secure a PF-10) came with the Intelligent RAM Disk add-on that sits like a wedge under the machine.  Initially however both of the PX-8’s I tried it with would continually give BDOS errors whilst it was connected.  I came to the conclusion that the batteries in the unit were causing the problems as the unit is in very good condition and shows no obvious signs of damage or harsh treatment.

I don’t have a manual for the unit, however yet again FJ Kraan’s excellent site comes to the rescue with a PDF of the manual.  As Fred Jan pointed out BDOS errors can be caused by the Write Protect Switch being in the on position however I’d already tried the unit with the switch set to off.

My original PX-8 needed charging so I decided to attach the RAM Disk again and give the machine a full charge.  On turning on I was still presented with BDOS errors.  I then did the following things, stupidly I can’t remember in which order.  I initialised the machine by pressing the reset switch whilst holding down Right-Shift and Num-Graph.  I unscrewed the RAM Disk and with it still connected by cable disconnected the PX-8’s main battery and flicked the switch next to it back and forward and reconnected the battery.  I also opened the ROM cover under the machine and pressed the Initial Reset button.

On reassembling and turning the unit back on I was presented with the Initialisation Screen and was then given the option to format the RAM disk which worked, hooray.  I now have an unfathomably large 120k RAM disk to play with!

Don’t you just love it when you try something and it works even though you were pretty sure it wouldn’t.  I’m now referring to using Filink to transfer files between the two PX-8’s.  I was attempting (again) to resuscitate one of my PF-10’s with no luck when I somehow ended up with the drive cable actually connecting the two PX-8’s together.

Fed up with the PF-10 and inspired by my cable stupidity I moved the cable from the serial ports to the RS232c ports and attempted to transfer some files between the PX-8’s confident that the cable would be incorrectly wired.

However Filink immediately sprang into life and happily transferred files back and forward between the two machines.

Going back to the PF-10’s I’m now working on the assumption that the on board backup batteries are dead.  I note in the manual for the drive on page 1-4 it states:- When using dry batteries, the PF-10 may not operate if the sub-battery is not sufficiently charged.

These sub-batteries are soldered onto the boards so swapping them out is a task beyond my abilities however it’s certainly something to consider for the future.

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