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X3 Switch Information

Easy To Understand X3 Switch Information

X3 Guide - X3 External Switch Information


Easy To Understand X3 Switch Information

Switch Introduction

The new switch on the X3 is completely different than all previous chips, so naturally there is some confusion as to how to properly use the switch. Fortunately once you understand the features, you can understand the switch. First, let's recall the features of the X3 as per the BIOS flashing.

"2MB Flash Rom With 15 Bios Storage Options 
Dedicated 256K Backup Rom (Can be upgraded to any bios you wish)"

"Bank Modes: 

This information was pulled from this thread on the TeamXecuter forums. Reading this post we can see that it appears that the X3 can handle up 15 different BIOS options and has 2MB of memory built in. This is where the switch comes in.

Each 'bank' of the chip is divided into the smallest components. Per the post, 256K is the smallest amount of BIOS data that can be flashed to the chip. Given the fact that the X3 has 2MB or 2048K (remember 1024-kilobyetes = 1 megabyte) of available flash memory, using simple math we can determine that we have 8 banks of 256K memory ( 2048K / 256K = 8 ) available to use. This is where the dipswitch on the front of the unit comes into play.

Let's take a look at the switch:


As you can see the front of the X3 switch contains 5 different little white switches. This allows us to change the different banks on the chip for flashing. 0-3 are the banks we have and the last switch determines if we will use flash protection or not.

Now, when you received your X3 chip, all the switches were to the left, and everything flashed and booted just fine. But to fully unlock the potential of the chip we need to understand how to switch banks.

Switching Banks

Per this post on the TeamXecuter forums Xecuter tells us the proper settings for the switch in order to tell the X3 chip which bank to flash to. Here is the quote:

"256k Bank 
Bank 1: on on on on 
Bank 2: off on on on 
Bank 3: on off on on 
Bank 4: off off on on 
Bank 5: on on off on 
Bank 6: off on off on 
Bank 7: on off off on 
Bank 8: off off off on 

512k Bank 
Bank 12: on on on off 
Bank 34: off on on off 
Bank 56: on off on off 
Bank 78: off off on off 

1MB Bank 
Bank 1234: on on off off (Set to this when flashing first time with FlashBIOS) 
Bank 5678: off on off off 

2MB Bank 
Bank 12345678: off off off off"

Now I know that you are sitting there wondering what the hell all of this means, and that is understandable, so let's get into it.

If you recall the X3 chip can support a BIOS from 256K through 2048K in size, so, if you think about when you acquired the X3 BIOS, regardless of version, the file size was exactly 1024K. Now, using simple math again, if the available flash memory we have is 2048K and the X3 Config Live BIOS is 1024K, we need to 'bank' 1024K of memory in order to flash the BIOS correclty.

Per the switch info posted by Xecuter, the 1024 or 1MB bank is accessiable by pushing the Bank 0 and Bank 1 switch to the right - the 'on' position - in order to enable memory banks 1-4. Now before you freak out, think about what I just said.

If the lowest common BIOS size is 256K and the max we have is 2048K, then we have 8 banks of 256K memory available for flashing. Now, since we need 1024K to flash the X3 BIOS correctly, we use the switches on the front to select those banks.

To add to the confusion, we still have 1024K of memory available to us for flashing since we have a max of 2048K available. Which could be in either memory bank 1234 or 5678. Make sense? If not, maybe this little image will help. Click to enlarge.


Lastly take a quick peek at both the switch and the chip itself:



The X3 has built in flash protection to prevent the accidental flashing of the chip. Now this protection is two-fold. So, if the switch on the X3 itself is set the off, the setting on the external switch determines if the X3 can be flashed. If the switch is set to the on position, the chip is not flash-able regardless of the external switch settings.

See the X3 switch isn't that bad.




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