Eazylink2 question

Discussion forums for users of the Cambridge Z88 Portable Computer
pyoorkate
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2023 2:04 am

Eazylink2 question

Post by pyoorkate »

Hi folks,

So, I am attempting to connect my Z88 to my Mac (ancient MacBook Pro running OSX 11.7.4). I installed Eazylink v. 1.0.3 - and initially it ran fine (opened, offered me choices of serial port to connect to...), but it turned out that OSX no longer supported my USB->Serial port.

Having got the a new (FDTI based) USB->Serial port adapter, I attempted to start EazyLink on the mac, but it now doesn't appear to do anything after loading. The icon appears on the task bar, it doesn't show a window, and the only menu it displays is this:
Screenshot 2023-04-16 at 10.30.56.jpg
I tried deleting it and pulling a fresh copy from the zip archive, but that had no effect. Does anyone have any suggestions?
patters
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:34 pm

Re: Eazylink2 question

Post by patters »

Hi, yes this is an unfortunate problem with the existing binary with current versions of macOS. The only way I can get EazyLink working once this happens is to delete the prefs file and reboot the entire Mac which is very tedious.

To Fix EazyLink
In Finder type Shift+Ctrl+G (Go To Folder) and enter "~/Library/Preferences"
Now delete the file "com.z88.EazyLink2.plist"
When the system reboots EazyLink will behave as if it has never run and you'll see the application windows as usual.


To Use Y-Modem Batch Transfer Instead (3x Faster Than EazyLink)
My 'solution' is to ditch EazyLink altogether now that I have found a free multiplatform serial terminal app WindTerm:
https://github.com/kingToolbox/WindTerm ... /tag/2.5.0

Z88 Setup - Configuring XY-Modem
  • If you're using OZ < 4.5:
    Use the app XY-Modem which is bundled in a single 16KB ROM with ZipUtilities:
    https://sourceforge.net/projects/z88/fi ... lications/
    XY-Modem app has its own serial driver and will be usable at 38400 baud on any OZ version though you will need to set this baud in Panel ([]S).
    In the XY-Modem popdown press Y for Y-Modem, K for 1K blocks, and C for CRC16. This only needs doing once as the settings persist.
  • If you're using OZ > 4.5:
    Use the Imp-Export app. It uses the same keyboard shortcuts as XY-Modem (described above).
  • If you're using OZ 5.0:
    Filer now has support for Y-Modem batch transfers using <>RB to receive a batch, and <>SB to send a batch (use Tab to select multiple files).
Mac Setup - Configuring WindTerm
New Session, then pick the Serial tab at the top. Pick your serial device. Leave "Data" set to binary.
new-session.jpg
Choose Serial Protocol, then configure Baud Rate to 38400 and Flow Control to RTS/CTS as shown.
protocol.jpg
Finally, select X/Y/Z modem on the left, then set the drag & drop default protocol to YModem. Note the default Packet Size is 1024. The "Upload Command" here is irrelevant since we're not sending it to a remote shell.
xyzmodem.jpg
Now you can drag and drop files to the Z88 at much, much faster speeds than EazyLink
xfer-speed.jpg
To receive a batch of files from the Z88 use Tool > Transfer Binary > Receive YModem.
receive-batch.jpg
You can select multiple files (with Tab) and send them using <>SB in OZ 5.0's Filer. On older OZ versions it's probably easiest to use ZipUtils to bundle your files into a single Zip file first before sending with XY-Modem.

Note that, as explained on the XY-Modem author's page,
proper X- and Ymodem programs expect the sending side to be started first and then the receiving side. Else you have to wait up to ten seconds for the receiver to timeout and retry.
As a final note, your mileage may vary using an FTDI serial adapter. I found that it only worked to transfer TO the Z88 and not the other way around. The same device worked fine on Windows. I reported the issue here but no fix was forthcoming:
https://www.ftdicommunity.com/index.php ... 04#msg1904
I ended up buying a Keyspan adapter which, though more pricey, works fine every time. My total cost outlay would have been lower if I hadn't wasted £15 on the poorly supported FTDI one. Buy cheap, buy twice, as the old saying goes.
Last edited by patters on Sat Apr 22, 2023 11:30 am, edited 3 times in total.
pyoorkate
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2023 2:04 am

Re: Eazylink2 question

Post by pyoorkate »

Thanks! That's all super helpful. Eazylink2 is now loading again, and I've got WindTerm installed. I'm running OZ 4.7 at the moment, and don't currently have any means of transferring anything to/from the Z88. I bought a preflashed chip with OZ 4.7 on it (along with 512K of Ram). It did come with an EPROM (32K) but I've not really got as far as investigating that.

Annoyingly, from first initial impressions it doesn't look like my FTDI adapter works - I'm going to dig out some cables from the workbench in the next couple of days and do a loopback test, but just connecting it up and trying it doesn't look hopeful :(
pyoorkate
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2023 2:04 am

Re: Eazylink2 question

Post by pyoorkate »

Feh, yes. The adapter works well enough if you loop back rx/tx, but does nothing at all when connected to the Z88. Back it goes :-/
patters
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:34 pm

Re: Eazylink2 question

Post by patters »

Hang on, do you know that the Z88 port is not wired per the RS-232 standard (since it pre-dates it)?
https://cambridgez88.jira.com/wiki/spac ... rial+Cable
okto
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2023 7:48 am

Re: Eazylink2 question

Post by okto »

patters wrote: Wed Apr 19, 2023 10:19 pm Hang on, do you know that the Z88 port is not wired per the RS-232 standard (since it pre-dates it)?
RS-232 is from 1960. TIA 574 is the standard for the DE9 pinout.
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1024MAK
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Re: Eazylink2 question

Post by 1024MAK »

Yes, the RS-232 standard has been around long before Sinclair got into computing. It used 25 pin DB-25 connectors.

IBM PC compatibles used a 9 pin DE-9 connector for their RS-232 serial port, and the pin out for that has become the common one for this type of connector.

But other computers and interfaces also used a 9 pin DE-9 connector for their RS-232 serial port, however each used a different pin-out. Sinclair even did this on the ZX Interface 1 for the ZX Spectrum in 1983.

TLDR - you have to use a cable made specifically for the Z88.

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pyoorkate
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Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2023 2:04 am

Re: Eazylink2 question

Post by pyoorkate »

Somehow, despite having a vague awareness of this from reading something about it I'd totally failed to put that information anywhere useful in my brain. Guess I better make an adapter for my null modern cable then. :)
pyoorkate
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2023 2:04 am

Re: Eazylink2 question

Post by pyoorkate »

Just before I go all off piste and create something incorrect, I just want to check that this is right (based off of this https://cambridgez88.jira.com/wiki/spac ... rial+Cable) for an adapter to go from modern serial port via a null modem cable (which iirc switches tx and rx and is the only sensible length serial cable I have) to the Z88...

Code: Select all

9-pin DIN Connections:
Z88		Modern Serial
===		=============
1		Not connected
2	--	3
3	--	2
4	--	8
5	--	7
6		Not connected
7	--	5
8		Not connected
Does that look right to folks?
Jbizzel
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:58 pm

Re: Eazylink2 question

Post by Jbizzel »

The information on the link is accurate, and I have used it to make cables that works.
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