A tool for modifying the firmware on your WDC W65C816SXB Development Board

The SXB development board has a 128K Flash ROM that can be updated under software control. The design of the SXB board divides the ROM into four 32K banks and maps one these into the memory area between $00:8000 and $00:FFFF.

On reset the choice of default bank is controlled by two pull up resistors on the FAMS and FA15 signal tracks. Once your SXB is running you can change the bank by configuring one or both of CA1 and CB1 as low outputs using the PCR register of VIA2.

One or both of the LEDs next to FAMS and FA15 test points (beside the Flash ROM socket) will light up when one of the reprogrammable banks is enabled. If both LEDs are off then the WDC firmware bank is enabled.

Reprogramming the ROM must be done very carefully. If you erase the WDC ROM image in bank 3 then your will not be able to use the WDC TIDE tools to recover your system.

UART Connections

The hacking tool uses the ACIA to communicate with your PC and download new ROM images. You will need a USB Serial adapter (like one of the cheap PL2303 modules with jumper wires sold on eBay) to establish a connection. You must connect the TXD, RXD and GND lines between the SXB and the USB adapter. In addition you must place a jumper wire between RTS and CTS on the ACIA connector.

You also need a terminal program like AlphaCom or Tera Term on your PC that supports XMODEM file transfers. Configure it to work at 19200 baud, 8 data bits, no parity and 1 stop bit.

Using W65C816SXB-Hacker

Use the WDC debugger to download the hacking tool to the SXB board and start execution. The tool will respond with a message in the terminal software.

W65C816SXB-Hacker [15.11]

The ‘M’ command allows you to display memory, for example ‘M FFE0 FFFF’ will display the vectors at the top of the memory

00:FFE0 FF FF FF FF 1C 81 08 81 19 81 0C 81 24 81 16 81 |............$...|
00:FFF0 1F 81 1F 81 10 81 1F 81 13 81 04 81 2B 81 00 81 |............+...|

Using the ‘R’ command you can pick another ROM memory bank, like 0

.R 0
00:FFE0 FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF |................|
00:FFF0 FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF |................|

The ‘E’ command will erase a ROM bank from 8000 to FFFF ready for a new image to be loaded. After erasing the entire region should be set to FF values.

The ‘X’ command starts an XMODEM download to the specified address. You can download into any memory area including the ROM as long as the WDC firmware bank is not selected.

.X A000

Waiting for XMODEM transfer to start

You can start execution of downloaded code using the ‘G’ command. You can either specify the address to start at or omit it to tell the monitor to use the reset vector as the target address.

.G A000

You can write a single byte of data into memory manually using the ‘W’ command. The program will prompt you to enter another byte at the next address.

.W 4000 FF
.W 4001

You can leave byte entry mode by pressing escape, deleting the command with backspace or pressing ENTER.

The ‘B’ command sets the memory bank (e.g. bits 23 to 16 of the address bus) when displaying or altering memory. I’ve added this command to support a hardware project I’m working on to add additional RAM via the XBUS connector. On a standard SXB board you can only access bank 00. Attempting to accessing other banks will crash your SXB.