Chapter 28 - The system variables

The bytes in memory from 16384 to 16508 are set aside for specific uses by the system. You can peek them to find out various things about the system, & some of them can be usefully poked. They are listed here with their uses.

    These are called system variables, & have names, but do not confuse them with the variables used by BASIC. The computer will not recognize the names as referring to system variables, & they are given solely as mnemonics for you humans.

    The abbreviations in column 1 have the following meanings:

X   The variable should not be poked because the system might crash.

N   Poking the variable will have no lasting effect.

S   The variable is saved by SAVE.

    The number in column 1 is the number of bytes in the variable. For two bytes, the first one is the less significant byte - the reverse of what you might expect. So to poke a value v to a two-byte variable at address n, use

      POKE n,v-256*INT (v/256)

      POKE n+1,INT (v/256)

& to peek its value, use the expression

       PEEK n + 256*PEEK (n+1)

Notes  Address  Name  Contents
1 16384 ERR_NR 1 less than the report code. Starts off at 255 (for - 1), so PEEK 16384, if it works at all, gives 255. POKE 16384,n can be used to force an error halt: 0  14 gives one of the usual reports, 15  34 or 99  127 gives a non-standard report, and 35  98 is liable to mess up the display file.
X1 16385 FLAGS Various flags to control the BASIC system.
X2 16386 ERR_SP Address of first item on machine stack (after GOSUB returns).
2 16388 RAMTOP Address of first byte above BASIC system area. You can poke this to make NEW reserve space above that area (see chapter 26) or to fool CLS into setting up a minimal display file (chapter 27). Poking RAMTOP has no effect until one of these two is executed.
N1 16390 MODE Specified K, L, F or G cursor.
N2 16391 PPC Line number of statement currently being executed. Poking this has no lasting effect except in the last line of the program.
S1 16393 VERSN 0 Identifies ZX81 BASIC in saved programs.
S2 16394 E_PPC Number of current line (with program cursor).
SX2 16396 D_FILE See chapter 27.
S2 16398 DF_CC Address of PRINT position in display file. Can be poked so that PRINT output is sent elsewhere.
SX2 16400 VARS See chapter 27.
SN2 16402 DEST Address of variable in assignment.
SX2 16404 E_LINE See chapter 27.
SX2 16406 CH_ADD Address of the next character to be interpreted: the character after the argument of PEEK, or the NEWLINE at the end of a POKE statement.
S2 16408 X_PTR Address of the character preceding the  marker.
SX2 16410 STKBOT See chapter 27.
SX2 16412 STKEND See chapter 27.
SN1 16414 BERG Calculator's b register.
SN2 16415 MEM Address of area used for calculator's memory. (Usually MEMBOT, but not always.)
S1 16417 not used
SX1 16418 DF_SZ The number of lines (including one blank line) in the lower part of the screen.
S2 16419 S_TOP The number of the top program line in automatic listings.
SN2 16421 LAST_K Shows which keys pressed.
SN1 16423 Debounce status of keyboard.
SN1 16424 MARGIN Number of blank lines above or below picture: 55 in Britain, 31 in America.
SX2 16425 NXTLIN Address of next program line to be executed.
S2 16427 OLDPPC Line number of which CONT jumps.
SN1 16429 FLAGX Various flags.
SN2 16430 STRLEN Length of string type destination in assignment.
SN2 16432 T_ADDR Address of next item in syntax table (very unlikely to be useful).
S2 16434 SEED The seed for RND. This is the variable that is set by RAND.
S2 16436 FRAMES Counts the frames displayed on the television. Bit 15 is 1. Bits 0 to 14 are decremented for each frame set to the television. This can be used for timing, but PAUSE also uses it. PAUSE resets to 0 bit 15, & puts in bits 0 to 14 the length of the pause. When these have been counted down to zero, the pause stops. If the pause stops because of a key depression, bit 15 is set to 1 again.
S1 16438 COORDS x-coordinate of last point PLOTted.
S1 16439 y-coordinate of last point PLOTted.
S1 16440 PR_CC Less significant byte of address of next position for LPRINT to print as (in PRBUFF).
SX1 16441 S_POSN Column number for PRINT position.
SX1 16442 Line number for PRINT position.
S1 16443 CDFLAG Various flags. Bit 7 is on (1) during compute & display mode.
S33 16444 PRBUFF Printer buffer (33rd character is NEWLINE).
SN30 16477 MEMBOT Calculator's memory area; used to store numbers that cannot conveniently be put on the calculator stack.
S2 16507 not used



1. Try this program

        10 FOR N=0 TO 21

        20 PRINT PEEK (PEEK 16400+256*PEEK 16401+N)

        30 NEXT N

    This tells you the first 22 bytes of the variables area: try to match up the control variable N with the description in chapter 27.

2. In the program above, change line 20 to

        20 PRINT PEEK (16509+N)

    This tells you the fist 22 bytes of the program area. Match these up with the program itself.

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