Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 49 / JUNE 1984 / PAGE 70

Promenade EPROM Programmer For VIC And 64

Sheldon Leemon

Most computer users would agree that cartridge-based software, which plugs right into the computer and is ready to run instantly, is the most convenient to use. In order to create software cartridges at home, however, you need a machine to store programs on EPROM (Erasable, Programmable Read Only Memory) chips.

Some EPROM programmers are difficult to use or prohibitively expensive. One notable exception is the Promenade from Jason-Ranheim. Most programmers in its under-$100 range are little more than bare circuit boards which may be difficult to install. The Promenade, however, is a professional-looking unit which comes in a compact aluminum case approximately 4½ inches square.

It plugs directly into the user port on the back of the VIC or 64, and since it takes all of its power directly from the computer, no other connections are necessary. On the top of the case is a high-quality Zero Insertion Force socket. There are also three colored LEDs, which indicate when the unit is receiving power, when the socket is activated, and when actual programming is taking place.

Versatile Programmer

Its performance is even more impressive than its looks. Most programmers in its price range will only program a few lower-capacity EPROMS such as the 2716 or 2732 types. Others require that "personality modules" be added for each additional EPROM type. The Promenade, however, has several different programming voltages available under software control, so that it can program almost any type of EPROM OR EEPROM now available.

The PROMOS 1.0 programming software, which accompanies the programmer, adds several new commands to BASIC. These commands are used to transfer data between the computer and the EPROM in the Promenade's socket. Besides being convenient to use, these BASIC commands offer several "smart" programming methods. This means that instead of taking seven minutes or more to program an 8K 2764 EPROM, the Promenade may be able to finish the job in eight or nine seconds.

The only part of this package that is less than first-rate is the instruction manual. Though adequate for the more experienced programmer, it is probably too brief for the total novice. Update sheets have recently been sent to registered owners, however, giving step-by-step instructions for saving BASIC and machine language programs on autostart cartridges. Further revisions of the manual are on the way.

Besides offering Promenade programmer, Jason-Ranheim also sells an assortment of blank EPROMS and cartridges.

Promenade EPROM programmer
580 Parrott Street
San Jose, CA 95112
$99.50, including PROMOS 1.0
programming software for VIC and 64 (on tape)