Please HELP !!! My W&W-RAMBOX II crashed - I lost its soft operating system !


Dear HP friends and MLDL experts,

can anyone of you help me here ?

I had a FATAL accident with my most important and beloved device, my urgently needed HP-41 MLDL-RAMBOX, I am really a bit desperate. Certainly the OS crashed and I do not know how to recover it ! :-((((

Yesterday I certainly killed the soft OS of my W&W RAMBOX of my HP-41CY.
It is a built-in 64k W&W RAMBOX II which supports two 32k blocks of page 8-F, “Rambox a“ and “Rambox b“. Per software command PG<> you can switch between the blocks. Yesterday I used my HEPAX module which normally identifies and uses the visible RAMBOX-RAM as 8 HEPAX RAM pages. In the past this always worked fine (although it may not be common to use both, RAMBOX and HEPAX at the same time, but by this you can use the HEPAX functionality and have full 32k access).

This time unfortunately a conflict happened the HP-41 to freeze. I had to briefly remove the battery and make a master clear after that. Further I made a “Rambox Clear“.
After that I had lost the 4k soft operating system (page 8) of my second RAMBOX block “b“ which is normally secure from being erased.

Formerly I have had no problems because HEPAX and RAMBOX seemed to coexist very well. But maybe I used a critical slot configuration with my plug-in modules, so the HP-41 froze after HEPAX installation.
Maybe some self-mapping by the HEPAX after its installation may have mapped the RAMBOX “b“ OS into another page and there it was not safe against being erased by the Rambox master clear (the RAMBOX soft OS is located at page 8, there I had plugged in my HEPAX module in order to temporarily deactivate it for giving full 32k access to the HEPAX RAM management which normally works well. Troughout the initializing process, the HEPAX is located at page 8 very briefly, there it deactivates the 4k RAMBOX OS and after that it maps itself into page 6, thus giving free all 32k of Quasi-ROM).

This is my explanation of the fatal accident, but maybe I am wrong.

I do not believe that the RAMBOX hardware is defect. I had made a full check of every single bit of the 64k by some stored checksum program maybe a week ago. The RAM and the OS “a“ and “b“ were all working properly. I also did nothing wrong with plugging the modules. I always secured that there were NO hot-plugins, so normally the hardware was not endangered. So I believe I “only“ killed the software.

When I want to switch from “Rambox a“ to “Rambox b“ by using PG<>, nothing happens anymore. It always remains “Rambox a“ which you can check by CAT 2. This 32k (28k+4k soft OS) block is working properly.

So, what can I do here ?

1) I have not yet had the opportunity to back up the OS ROM code of the RAMBOX (because of this damn lack of spare time :-( ). So I lost the ROM code “Rambox b“ which is certainly quite similar to “Rambox a“ but with very little modifications.
Does anyone of you have the ROM images “a“/“b“ of the W&W-RAMBOX II OS ?

2) How can I reload the soft OS into the second block of the RAMBOX RAM ? So how can I recover the software to again being able to access the other 32k block of RAM ?

Certainly this is a tough problem. I hope so much that someone of you can help me in my fatal and sad situation !!!

Thanks and best regards from Germany,


Edited: 18 Nov 2003, 3:03 a.m.


Hallo Werner,

ein paar der Leute hier haben einen CY (Christoph, Matthias,...).
Wenn die HEPAX Mass Storage Funktionen ERAMCO-kompatibel sind,
sollte es also kein Problem sein, den B-Block wieder einzuladen

wenn ich mich recht erinnere, gibt es beim CY bzw. der eingebauten RAMBox auch einen 'verzahnten' Modus ('PG01'), also abwechselnd Seiten von Bank 1 und 2 sichtbar zu machen,
PG8 von Bk 0, PG9 von Bk 1, PG10 von Bk 0, etc...

Auf diese Weise kannst Du jedenfalls mit Software der einen Bank Software in die andere Bank laden. Aber das weisst Du ja schon;-)




Hallo Raymond,

Die Hepax und Ram-Box rom-image formate sind leider nicht kompatibel. Siehe hierzu auch meine Dokumentation zu EMU41 mit der Files von Hepax zu Ram-Box bzw. umgekerht konvertiert werden können.

Weiterhin hat W&W einen Schreibschutz implementiert, der verhindert, dass ein rom-image vom RAM-Box Betriebssystem erstellt werden kann :-(

Grüße - Christoph Klug


Hallo Christoph,

hmm, das mit dem Kopierschutz ist mir bekannt.
Aber es gab ja auch andere kompatible COPYROM Funktionen,
zum Beispiel von oder über ERAMCO.

Auch mit dem Profiset kann man ein W&W OS kopieren;-)
Allerdings muss man es dann auch mit der entsprechenden Funktion des Profiset wieder einlesen. Kann sein, dass die Profiset-Funktion (SAVEBL,GETBL) das gleiche Format verwenden wie HEPAX.

Abgeshen davon hat Werner ja noch mindestens eine Kopie des W&W OS . Vielleicht kann ein findiger Programmierer ja einfach den Kopierschutz deaktivieren?
Hinweis: Ist nicht sehr schwer;-)

Andere Möglichkeit: Einfach ein ROM-Image laden,
welches eine Funktion wie COPYBL enthält, die nicht auf Kopierschutz achtet.
Dann das OS damit kopieren. Geht immer.




Hi Raymond!

Wenn der CY nicht mehr tut, dann ist es egal wie schwer es war(!) den Kopierschutz zu umgehen.



Hallo Raymond,

das W&W Betriebssystem mittels einem anderen Betriebssystem wegzuspeichern habe ich in der Vergangenheit schon gemacht :
Ich verwende dazu ein Zeprom mit dem Eramco Betriebssystem.

Damit konnte ich auch schon zwei RAM-Box Systeme im Kartenlesergehäuse reaktivieren. Diese waren jedoch per Dipschalter bankgeswitcht. Beim HP41CY (mit Bankswitching per Software) dürfte die Prozedur schwieriger werden ?

Die Deaktivierung des W&W RAM-Box Kopierschutzes wäre doch eine angemessene Aufgabe für dich :-)))

Herzliche Grüße - Christoph


Ich finde eure Diskussion ja eiegntlich superinteressant.. Allerdings muss ich gestehen, dass ich da nur noch "Bahnhof" verstehe.. Keine blasse Ahnung, was ihr da so versucht.. Aber klingen tut siemlich beeindruckend

:) Matthias


I've never used a RAMBOX but that of course won't stop me from giving my comon-sense aproach to this:-

"Q-ROM is Q-ROM is Q-ROM"

So the HEPAX should be able to utilize the RAMBOX-RAM, and the RAMBOX should be able to utilize the HEPAX RAM..

This, I'm afraid, won't help our friend Werner.




Hello dear friends,

first of all I would like to thank you so much for your support and help, Raymond, Mike, Angel and Christoph! (with Christoph I already had some email exchange on this issue )

I appreciate your valuable advice very much and hope to finally find my HP-41CY completely recovered with the help of your information. I will try different of your ideas.

Angel, concerning your remark on Q-ROM and some other advice on copying the OS bank1-version: Yes, I can duplicate it to any another page at the first bank by using the HEPAX, I had already tried. There it should be compatible to W&W-Q-ROM format because it is a fully-functional 4k mcode set. In that sense Q-ROM is indeed equal to Q-ROM. But if you use the HEPAX not for internal duplication but for export to an IL mass storage device (or e.g. to virtual mass storage of PC/EMU41) it may have a different format compared to those files being exportet by W&W or Eramco (But that could be translated on a PC) ?

My problem here is more or less to address the bank 2 of the RAMBOX for copying the OS (the copy-protection will certainly not be the major problem due to this switch option, which you fortunately told me about).

BTW, thank you, Mike, for your info on the code differences between the "A" and "B"-ROMs !

Raymonds advice on using the bank interleaved functions PG01/PG10 instead of PG<> is a very good idea !
I had tried these functions but I got a strange result. In both switching states, i.e. at pg01 as well as at pg10, I "see" the OS version "A" at page 8 (via CAT2, still I have to check HEPAX multifunction #2 to ensure this result -I cannot do just here at the moment because just now I am not at home where my HP-41CY is lying around).

But isn't that strange ? I would have expected to get OS-"A" at pg 8 with pg01, but not any OS at pg 8 with pg10. What do you think on this strange behaviour ?

What I would like to check next would be to load programs or ROMS into pg01 pages and then switch to pg10. Then doing Copy again. Maybe I succeed to address memory space at bank 2 via the interleaved pg organisation of pg01/pg10. We will see.

I really hope that at the end I can be happy again ... happy to have a fully-functional RAMBOX for future activities ... we will see.
I will keep you informed on news.

Thank you and with my best regards,







Dear Sir,
most respected Esquire!

we try to reactivate a screwed HP-41CY. Any translation errors may be fatal. ;-)




Hi Werner!

That happend too to my 41CY several years ago. But I had already copies of the RAM-Box on a LIF-disk (the copy pretending routine of W&W just looks if the second character - at nFFD - of the ROM-ID is W). A phone call to W&W revealed a hidden feature of the 41CY: under the insulating foil in the bat compartment is a dipswitch which allows to write-protect page 8. As your "set a" is still OK I hope this helps.

Here the delta between RAMbox a and b:



MAT= 78
I - 804E 0C1 a RPL= 1 00079 00079
D - 804E 0C2 b
MAT= 3437
I - 8DBC 180 ENBANK2 RPL= 2 03517 03517
D - 8DBC 04E C=0 ALL
I - 8DBD 140 UNUSED 03518 03518
D - 8DBD 100 ENBANK1
MAT= 574
I - 8FFC 034 4 RPL= 1 04093 04093
D - 8FFC 035 5
MAT= 2
I - 8FFF 0BA CON 186 RPL= 1 04096 04096
D - 8FFF 22A CON 554

Lines starting with I are in ROM A, lines with a D in ROM B.



Hi Werner!

Just to give you an idea what PG<>, PG10, and PG01 do here a excerpt:
from -RAMBOX 64a

8DB8 0BE >      
8DB9 03C <
8DBA 007 G
8DBB 010 P
8DBF 0B1 1
8DC0 030 0
8DC1 007 G
8DC2 010 P
8DC3 100 ENBANK1
8DC4 180 ENBANK2
8DC5 3E0 RTN
8DC6 0B0 0
8DC7 031 1
8DC8 007 G
8DC9 010 P
and from -RAMBOX 64b
8DB8 0BE >         
8DB9 03C <
8DBA 007 G
8DBB 010 P
8DBC 04E C=0 ALL
8DBF 0B1 1
8DC0 030 0
8DC1 007 G
8DC2 010 P
8DC3 100 ENBANK1
8DC4 180 ENBANK2
8DC5 3E0 RTN
8DC6 0B0 0
8DC7 031 1
8DC8 007 G
8DC9 010 P

Hope this helps in planning your next steps.


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