Setting Up the M3SE

What's in the Box

Each M3SE has been fully tested with all the exact same components shipped with it.

Setup Instructions

M3SE comes partially disassembled for shipping. No electronic knowledge or experience is necessary to put it together. No soldering is required.

  1. Important: Before opening the anti-static bags containing the M3SE components, ground yourself with an anti-static wrist strap to avoid damaging any of the semiconductor devices. If possible, place the M3SE on an anti-static mat. At the very least, touch a grounded surface (such as a metal PC case) to drain off any static electricity before proceeding.

  2. Place the M3SE PCB on a non-hard surface. If not pre-installed, insert the CR2032 battery into the holder. The positive (+) side (the one with the writing on it) should face upward.

  3. If not pre-installed, insert the FPGA module (the blue board) into the four 28-pin headers, making sure to align the pins properly. The outermost 10-pin programming box header should extend off the side of the board that has the 9-pin joystick connector. Press the module down until there is no gap on any of the four sides.

  4. Mount the WIZ830MJ Ethernet module on the two receptacles, pressing it down until there is no gap. The RJ45 connector should extend off the side of the board.

  5. If the Compact Flash card is not already inserted into the adapter, do so after reading the warning here. The card goes on the side of the adapter with the three LEDs, with its label facing outward. If you have a secondary CF card you'd like to use for system backup, insert it carefully into the socket on the back side of the connector. Insert the adapter into the 40-pin box header, being careful to align the bump on the adapter to the notch on the header.

  6. Double-check that all submodules (FPGA, Ethernet, IDE/CF adapter) are inserted properly. It's very easy to mistakenly insert them one pin spacing off. Despite the notch, the IDE/CF adapter can easily be inserted backwards.

  7. Push the four plastic board feet through the holes at the corners of the M3SE PCB from the solder side.

  8. Clean any oxidation off the TRS-80 expansion edge connector using DeoxIT or a non-abrasive pencil eraser (aka deoxit classic.) For Models III, 4, and 4D, the expansion connector is on the bottom of the computer. Gently tip the computer onto its right side to access the connector. For Model 4P, the connector is on the back.

  9. Attach the card edge connector on the ribbon cable assembly to the TRS-80. For Models III, 4, and 4D, the cable should exit the connector toward the back of the computer, and the colored "pin 1" stripe should be on the right side with the computer upright. Depending on where you want your M3SE physically located, you may have to fold or twist the cable to get it out from under the computer in the correct orientation. I prefer my M3SE sitting on the left side of the machine, so I fold the cable over the edge connector so that it's facing the front, then do a 90-degree fold so it comes out from under the computer on the left and rightside-up.

    For Model 4P, the ribbon cable should exit the connector toward the bottom of the computer, with the colored stripe to the left when facing the front of the computer.

    In all cases the "connector" includes any strain relief that might or might not be attached.

  10. Plug the other end of the ribbon cable assembly into the 50-pin box header that runs along the edge of the M3SE PCB, being careful to align the bump on the connector to the slot on the header. Press down firmly.

  11. Connect your VGA and Ethernet cables to the M3SE. Connect your Atari 2600 compatible joystick to the 9-pin D-SUB connector.

  12. Connect the AC adapter to the M3SE power jack. The AC adapter should not be powered on until you are ready to use the M3SE. It is strongly recommended that you plug the AC adapter, your TRS-80 and peripherals, and your VGA monitor into a single power strip that is switched off when the TRS-80 is not in use. If this is not possible, unplug the AC adapter when not in use rather than just disconnecting it from the M3SE.

  13. System powerup sequence for Models III, 4, 4D: Open all floppy drive doors. Make sure all floppy drives are empty or floppies are fully inserted into them, leaving doors open. Power up the M3SE and TRS-80 (with its power switch off). Place a bootable floppy diskette into the first drive. Switch on the TRS-80. Close the drive door. The floppy will boot.

    System powerup sequence for Model 4P: Open all floppy drive doors. Make sure all floppy drives are empty or floppies are fully inserted into them, leaving doors open. Power up the M3SE and TRS-80 (with its power switch off). Switch on the TRS-80. M3SE will boot from the hard drive.

    If you wish to boot from a floppy diskette instead of the hard drive on the 4P, press <1> during the approximately 3-second pause after system powerup or reset. This will load the Model III ROM from the hard drive then boot the floppy. If you wish to boot from a floppy that doesn't require the Model III ROM, press <2> instead.

  14. Install sequence for Models III, 4, 4D: Power up and boot the M3SE install floppy. FORMAT a double-density, single-sided, 40-track floppy. Use the LDOS BACKUP utility to copy the install floppy onto the newly-formatted floppy. Label this copy "M3SE Boot".

    Boot the M3SE boot floppy.

    This requirement has been removed but I'm leaving this here for reference for those who have older M3SE install floppies. If you are using M3SE with a Model III, enter the command "SYSTEM (SLOW)" at this time. This is necessary because install floppies have mistakenly shipped with fast operation enabled--which Model III computers do not have--the result being that the system clock is updated too slowly.

    Enter the command "DO SETUP". This script will install drivers for the CF hard drives and real-time clock/calendar. When complete, it will write the new configuration to the boot floppy. Re-boot the boot floppy to test the new configuration. You should have six CF hard drives, :0 through :5, with a total 64MB space. You can now remove the boot floppy.

    Model 4P: No installation procedure is necessary.

  15. At this point you might try typing DO AUTOEXEC to configure the network module and set the real-time clock/calendar. If this works properly, you can type the command AUTO DO AUTOEXEC to run this script on every boot. Edit the file AUTOEXEC/JCL if you wish to modify its commands. It is recommended that you always at least run DHCP at boot, to set up the network adapter. Hold down <ENTER> while booting to bypass any AUTO command.

  16. Prepare for system recovery:

    Don't become overly obsessed with this stuff--as far as I know, no M3SE customer has needed system recovery yet. If your CF becomes corrupted, it's easily fixed or replaced.

  17. System powerdown sequence: Remove all floppy diskettes. Switch off the TRS-80. Finally, power down the M3SE.


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