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2005/03/19

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Installing Add Ins

Maybe a beginner's question often is how to install Add Ins to his calc at all or how to prepare Add In packages. Don't despair, here you get help

Apparently the PC programs brought up below are unavailable at the UCF File Sharing. You can get them from Mohamed's Algebra FX 2.0 Site within the Tools - section however (get the Add In Installer from Add-Ins - section though or also from official Casio website directly).

Casio Add In Installer

Established Comm software such as FA-123 or CasioCom can manage user data area formats only (e.g. Basic programs, pictures, lists et.c.), but is unable to transmit Add In packages to the calc (.CFX files, also called ROM disks as they occupy a whole ROM disk of 128KB on the flash each), so special software is necessary for it.



The original program designed for this job is "Casio Add In Installer" made by Casio. It provides the easiest way to upload Add Ins, though not the best (besides the disk itself, main menu and shortcut data is up and downloaded. Furthermore Add In Installer doesn't use maximum COM speed of 115200bps and a whole transmission takes about 3 minutes thus).

Usage: Just select the COM port you plugged your linkage cable into (Link->Port), load a .CFX file you want to transmit, switch your calc into "Recieve" mode and click Link->Communication (or that button with the calculator you can see in the screenshot).

When your calc's flash is full, Add In Installer asks you whether to delete an existing disk or abort transmission.

Packaging Add Ins

Besides that .CFX files you can download from official Casio website, you can create your own ones using CALiPSO Add In Packager.



This is the program created by dscoshpe (Walter Hanau) and BradN (Brad Normand) in 2002 when they hacked .CFX format and the transmission protocol. Usage: a ROM disk consists of several files (filename should be in established DOS 8.3 format, meaning 8 chars for filename and 3 chars for extension at utmost), where there is no limitation but maximum disk size is 128KB (131072 Bytes; current disksize is shown in the box above file list). Click "Add" button to add a file to current disk, the checkbox in front of it specifies whether a shortcut in main menu is to be created or not (only check it for executable files!).

Enter the package's name and destination folder and click "package" button. Add In Packager asks you to select an icon (30x19 monochrome bitmap) beeing displayed for the shortcut and generates a .CFX file in the specified destination folder. Load this file into Casio Add In Installer and just transmit it (btw Add In Packager can create packages for FlashCOM and others, too).

Flash related comm software & file browsers

Two other Comm programs very similar to each other and much faster than Add In Installer are Libthium's FlashCOM and Flash100 by dada66 (David Quaranta). Both work nearly the same and provide a kind of "low level" access to the flash as System and all drives are accessible seperated.



Rom disks are 6 drives L: to Q: with 128KB each, they can contain any file. Before sending a disk to a drive (note that you have to select the drives which are to recieve a disk before hitting "Send"), you must assemble it similar as in Add In packager (with Flash100 you don't need to store it but can transmit it directly however). "System" is drive A: with 32KB only, and contains no ROM disk but data for the main menu such as menu titles and shortcuts (= menu icons linked to executables in ROM and flash).

A shortcut contains the following data: Hence System doesn't contain shortcuts linking programs within the flash only but also those located in ROM (thus all icons you have in main menu), you shouldn't create a completely new system for your Add Ins, but download it once, store it anywhere (so you need not to download later again) and modify it depending on your needs. Note that even if downloading a system to PC you have to switch your calc into Recieve mode.

FlashCOM and Flash100 need under one minute for transmitting a disk (significant below the time that Casio Add In Installer needs), whereas you also can use these programs with GComm decreasing the time down to about 16 seconds



GComm is a quite nice tool, also written by dada66 (David Quaranta). It's an Add In that you can install to your calc and once there, you can use it instead of the Link menu. It's much better as it doesn't provide user data (basic programs, lists, matrices, ...) and flash memory only, but also allows you editing the system directly (shortcuts, icons, menu title), has a memory manager for flash and RAM integrated and you can select data rates up to 115200bps speeding up communication seriously.

Of course it was possible to link every of the flash's executables into main menu, though not that profitable as too complex menus might become uncomfortable and especially each update of the system needs extra time for communication.



Thus you should install a file browser such as Casioworld's CW-Explorer onto your calc and link it to main menu. It lists any file contained within the flash (not executables only) and allows to start any executable, even if not linked to main menu. Besides there are some special features such as file and drive information and reading BMP and TXT files.

Copyright (C) 2005 by Marco Kaufmann