13th April 2021
Wow - nearly half way through April already. So much for having these available "early in the new year"! The good news is that a limited number of prototype ROMXc's will be heading out to a few Beta testers/reviewers in the next week or so, while i finish off laying out the production PCB panels and order all the boards, stencils, and components. By the time the reviews are out, we should have hardware available for purchase. Focus will swing back to finishing off ROMXe at that stage, and we are hoping it wont lag too far behind.
We are still to finalise the text ROM layout for ROMXc/e (they will use the same hardware and flash image), but this is what we are thinking :
Enhanced fonts means that they have MouseText.
The fonts in the Alt Switch column are switched in via the keyboard switch on a //c, or via the switch under the right side of the keyboard of international version Apple //e's (28 pin video ROM). For US Apple //e's without the switch, we have a 24 pin Video ROM module with a header that would allow a switch to be attached to toggle the second bank of fonts. The same 24 pin Video ROM could be used on a //c BTW, by placing it in the rear of the 28 pin socket however its more of a challenge to get a switch installed (or run one outside of the case) thus we thought the better option is to use the inbuilt keyboard switch.
Now, the other thing to be mindful of is that the keyboard switch on an Apple //c not only switches an alternative character set, but is also wired to the keyboard MAP ROM. US MAP ROMs contain the Dvorak keyboard map in the second bank so that would likely not be too useful to many. A solution is replacing the keyboard MAP ROM with an international one (such as 341-0150A which effectively has the same MAP contents in each bank), else installing an adapter in the MAP ROM socket that would force the MAP ROM to ignore the position of the keyboard switch and instead be driven by a jumper. So thats another little board I'm doing! Some //c's have the MAP ROM soldered in though, so we are looking at another solution for that. Hopefully we have enough ROMs in the first bank anyway, and we'll also make the gerbers for the programming adapter available to anyone that wants to reorganise the Video ROM flash image or swap fonts in/out etc.
Thanks for your patience - we are getting there!