Light up my drive : DISK II-LED

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Disk II-LEDfrom a2heaven.com is tiny customizing-kit for your Apple II, Disk II – floppy drive that allows you to control the color of the led in front of the drive as you please. For example you can choose what color it displays when it reads, writes or is in standby-mode.

Disk II-LED uses modern LED (light emitting diode) that uses RGB-color system and space, combination of the Red, Green and Blue colors. The Red, Green and Blue use 8-bits each, which have integer values from 0 to 255. This makes 256*256*256=16777216 possible colors to choose from. Now that’s plenty!

Disk II-LED is designed to be used with Apple’s Disk II – floppy disk drive, but it does fit and work in Apple //c as well.


INSTALLATION:

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It’s quick and easy to install. You just need to open the Disk II-drive and plug the tiny adapter between the incoming flat-ribbon cable and the Disk II-analog board connection. Then just need to route the attached LED with wiring, to location where the original light was located and simply replace it.

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DISK II-LED installed. There’s just enough space for the tiny adapter to fit inside.

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The wiring and the new led installed. The whole installation takes just few minutes, you just need philips screwdriver and piece of tape (if you want to relocate the original light somewhere else inside the drive).

INSTALLING TO APPLE //C:

The Disk II-LED can be installed to Apple //c as well. It’s a bit tight fit and does reguire some modification (or ghetto modification) for the LED to be placed in correct location in keyboard, but, it does work. This revision was not intended or designed to be used with the Apple //c so this was kind of “hack” and PoC installation. There might be an alternative revision of the Disk II-LED for the Apple //c made by Plamen Vaysilov. For example, the led-cable could be longer for better installation with the //c.


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The Disk II-LED is installed directly to the connector on Apple //c’s main logic board and the original cable is used connecting it to the internal floppy drive. The cable must be bent downwards in order the case to close.

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The cable then just need to be wired across the floppy drive to the location where the led is at, in Apple //c’s case, it’s located in the keyboard PCB. I wont show my “ghetto/PoC-hack” here so you need to find your way to install it.

 It does look stunning! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOcCEiN8_a0


THE DISK II-LED COLOR CONTROL PANEL:

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Accessing the setup menu is done by loading a disk image. This might not be ideal but these settings are not needed to be changed frequently so it’s not much of a problem. The disk image is available at a2heaven.com.

And in main page you can SAVE configuration. The configuration is saved in the controller itself as well on floppy. You can restore the default settings by pressing “D“.


LED CONFIGURATION:

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You can set the color settings for:
-Standby
-Active
-Write

Colors available are : Blue, Cyan, Violet, Purple, Magneta, Pink, Custom, White, Red, Orange, Amber, Yellow, Green, Teal.

Custom color format: #RRGGBB (Red|Green|Blue). For example hex value of #FFFFFF is White.

By pressing “R”,”G” or “B” will increase the hex value for either Red, Green or Blue and using the key with combination with [CTRL] will decrease that value.

This is VERY nice feature! You can adjust and have any ever desired color out of 16777216 possible colors! How do you know the hex values of each color them? For example you can check the hex. values here: https://www.rapidtables.com/web/color/RGB_Color.html

Action modes available are:
-ON (stays on as chosen color)
-Color (rotates thru rainbow colors with fading effect)
-Pulse (the chosen color pulses)
-Heart (the chosen color pulses as heart)
-OFF

As well you can adjust the brightness-levels from 10 to 100% (FULL). This sometimes does effect on colors.

Videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEOTG-NDA-8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmtMO9HOKpI

TESTING THE LED COLOR SETUPS:

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You can test the setup you’ve configured in this menu between the Standby, Read and Write modes. The results can be naturally seen from the installed led. Just remember to save the configuration at the main menu page..

 

 

THOUGHTS?

The kit is reasonably quick and easy to install and it gives more options what comes to using custom colors for the Disk II led. I found the custom setting very nice, i could choose just the color i wanted, it’s easier with the link provided, could look just color needed. It’s odd. I remember the era of custom Windows PC building where it was standard to have more leds and colors, as much as possible in some cases. I hated it. I still don’t like too bright, cold led colors. But here, when i was able adjust the standby led (or turn it off as it is normally) it was ok! I’m more tolerant with hobby computers? I liked this idea of adjusting the lights as one pleases. With the Apple //c the custom LED looks absolutely stunning. Even better than with the Disk II-drive. 

If your Apple II is already tuned-up this is great addition to the setup. May not be for the purists out there.

 

LINKS:
https://apple2online.com/web_documents/apple_disk_ii_technical_procedures.pdf

 

 

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Available from : https://www.a2heaven.com

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Microsoft Softcard

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Apple ][ CP/M
56K Ver. 2.20B
(C) 1980 Microsoft

Found the Microsoft Softcard with original packaging and with the Osbourne CP/M book. This is not the first revision of the card/package/release, but the later with different packaging released in 1983 (?).

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Already had older version of the product but without the card, in brown fake leather packaging that came in two binders with manuals, floppies in both 13 and 16-sector formats.

Background:

The Softcard is a plug-in Zilog Z80 co-proessor card developed by Microsoft to turn the Apple II into a CP/M system. The card was originally released March 1, 1980 and it was first hardware product by released by Microsoft. It enabled running business applications, including compilers and interpreters for several high-level languages. Microsoft later released a updated version, the Premium Softcard IIe for the Apple //e. That card had 80-column and 64K RAM functions added so it would be installed to AUX-slot saving one slot on your //e.

Package:

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The package seems to be localized to Germany as there’s some additional pages in German language. Otherwise it’s all English.

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With even Microsoft product catalog..

Using CP/M:

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Basicly any slot expect 0, or 6. Slot 6 must have disk contoller for drives A: and B: (as minimal setup). Ideal slots would be either 4 or 7, so i used the traditional slot 4 in this case. 

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FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Applesauce client v1.1 with 3.5″ disks

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John Morris, the developer of Applesauce device has added support for 3.5″ drives and also released sync-sensor for the drive to be used. Applesauce client v1.1 was released in (5.5.2019) and it supported fully the Apple 3.5″ drive, reading and writing back to the disk.

Installation:

It’s easiest to follow the teardown instructions by ifixit.com  
https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Apple+3.5+Drive+External+Floppy+Drive+Teardown/92324

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The sync-sensor is installed next to the spinning wheel of the 3.5″ drive in bottom. The idea is the same, basicly the sensor reads the magnet strip that is installed to the spinning wheel for more accurate location of the disk.

There is room for the sync-sensor cable to route if out of the case along with the connector cable.

Testing?

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I had only few original 3.5″ (Apple IIGS) floppies so i chose the “Marble Madness” that i had in hand. I first read the .a2r flux image out of the disk and then made .woz out of it (analyze and save). The .woz file then can be written back to blank disk.

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I booted the written copy with my IIGS (ROM3) and it worked perfectly. Pretty amazing!

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“Marble Madness” (GS) – without the sync-sensor installed vs with sync-sensor installed (both booted).

John Morris about the copy protction at twitter:
“Marble Madness has an “impossible to copy” track at $20 side 1 (400+ nibbles too big) that was clocked in a way that the IIgs couldn’t write out. Applesauce detects the abnormality and re-clocks the write on the fly. This exact protection scheme proved to be so effective that many competing publishers adopted it. It evolved a bit over the years, but largely remained the same. It is structured in a way that sector copiers think they copied it, but the sectors were actually just a decoy”.

This shows how genious the Applesauce client (and John) really is! 

Applesauce can be bought from:
https://applesaucefdc.com

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

Otto Romanowski: Apple II

Otto Romanowski is one of the electronic music pioneers in Finland who have had great and remarkable career. He’s considered as electronic music pioneer among Erkki Kurenniemi and Henrik Otto Ronner. He is electronic music composer and professor in Sibelius Academy.

I contacted him few years ago and asked if he had any Apple II material left or if he could borrow some disks to be imaged and preserved. At the time all his Apple II material was in storage but he’d be accessing them later. It took quite a bit of time but now he contacted me as he was in process of moving and had found these:

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Apple II europlus

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Board date: 0283 | F8252, Board code: 606-X-648-X

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Serial: IA2S2-693030 (Made in Ireland) 825-0187-00

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-Power supply : Astec AA11040C (230 VAC 50Hz 0.5A)

-Disk II – floppy drive (2 pcs) : One drive had drilled hole on it so you could adjust the drive speed without removing the case. Looks like bullet hole.

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Apple /// monitor : In quite good condition and clean. Few light scratches.

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Apple paddle controllers : Pair of the old black 16-pin models, one adjusment ring missing.

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Mountain Computer Sound System-cards with lightpen

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Saturn 32k RAM-card

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California Computer Systems CCS Apple II Asynchronous Serial Card 7710

-Disk II – interface card
-Epson printer – card 

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5.25″ diskettes : Some programming and music releated software.
These are now imaged to .woz (.a2r) and .dsk and available at : archive.org and asimov archives.

This particular Apple II europlus was originally used with in opening exibition of Finnish Science Center, “Heureka” in Vantaa back in 1989. It was used to let the visitors to create music and graphics with the Mountain Computer Sound system, paddles and lightpen.

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An another Mountain Computer Sound System with Alpha Syntauri-setup can be seen on video used by Otto here: https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2009/11/10/otto-romanowski-esittelee-musiikkimikron

It seems to be early Apple //e model. This setup might have belonged to Espoon Musiikki Opisto (Espoo Music Institute) as Otto remembered the Alpha Syntauri was theirs. I contacted the Institute but sadly, the Alpha Syntauri was long gone. Otto was teacher at the Espoo Music Institute for Music Theory, Solfége and Electronic Music in 1979-1990.

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Alpha Syntauri setup:

I will interview Otto later this year and release it here at FinApple.

An another piece of Finnish Apple II history saved up!

 
Alpha Syntauri:
http://www.appleii-box.de/H212_9_AppleIIalphaSyntauriPage9.htm
http://www.appleii-box.de/APPLE2/H212_AlphaSyntauri/AS%20TECH%20DOCS.pdf

Otto Romanowski:
https://romanowski.fi
https://soundcloud.com/oromanow

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Nu tittar vi närmare på Apple ///

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Found recently a Swedish microcomputer magazine issue, “Mikrodatorn – Nr. 3 April 1981”. It had preview/test of very early Apple /// with 96k. Those were imported to Sweden by Gylling System-Elektronik AB who later also published a lof of Apple II and /// Software and manuals translated to Swedish. I have few of those catalogs already (scanned at archive.org).

This short article is now scanned at:
https://archive.org/details/NuTittarViNarmarePaAppleIIIMikrodatornNr3April1981Swedish

Always looking to find more Nordic Apple II and /// material (software, hardware, manuals etc)!

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple /// Forever.

 

Kasettilamerit: rescuing Turku GameLab Apple II disk collection:

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Turku Gamelab borrowed about 80 pcs of Apple II 5.25″ floppies to be preserved. Some of the disks were original, some typical “backup” material that went from hand-to-hand among the hobbyists back in 80’s. Most likely most of the material is preserved already, but.. who knows. Just in case.

The floppies were read with Applesauce device and saved as .a2r and then converted to .woz, the format that is more useable. Most emulators read .woz files thesedays as well some hardware devices to be used the the real Apple II hardware.

Some images had personal information so they were excluded from the collection.

Most intresting find was those few graphical rolling on-screen demos made for Finnish electronics retailer “Mustapörssi”. There were demos for “Access //” and “AppleWorks”programs. Mustapörssi sold Apple II’s in mid to late 90’s, atleast //c and IIe.

AppleWorks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzAFmMdWzmY

Access //:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRv_-HY6dW0

The collection is downloadable at:
https://archive.org/details/TurkuGameLabAppleIICollection

The .woz files can be loaded with emulators like: OpenEmulator (macOS), Virtual II (macOS), MAME, microM8, EPPLEII.

Or with card readers for real Apple II’s like: wDrive or Floppyemu.

 

Finapple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever

 

Apple Plot med Apple Plot Kurvor Och Diagram:

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Recent find, this time nice sealed software with Swedish manual (to be scanned):

Apple Plot (Sealed)

-Manual (English)
-Apple Plot Kurvor Och Diagram (Gylling & Co. AB, 1981, In Swedish)

 

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Apple Plot is a program that allows you to create, manipulate, display and print graphs and charts.

 

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I didn’t open the shrink wrap and test the floppy. I do however have the floppy and manual already in my collection.

 

Hope to find more Nordic Apple II and /// material!

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Just some books:

Got few books that i’ve been looking for (reasonable priced) ages and i got them now among few others. I was specially after the “Apple II-6502 Assembly Language Tutor”, “Beneath Apple DOS” (Updated for Apple //e) the the Apple //c Owner’s Guide” as those seem to be quite hard to find thesedays. 

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Thanks to Mr. Javier “Retr0bright” Rivera for all the help & shipping these to me:

-Apple II-6502 assembly language tutor (Haskell, Richard E)
-Beneath Apple DOS (Updated for Apple //e)
-104 apple computer programming tips & tricks
-WillWriter (with floppy)
-Apple //c+ Owner’s Guide
-Merlin Pro (with the floppies)

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“Beneath AppleDOS” (Updated for Apple //e) is specially difficult to find. It was published later (1983/1984) than the first version of the series “Beneath AppleDOS” (1981 by Pieter Lechner, Don Worth).  There was also “Beneath Apple ProDOS” pubished in 1985 by QS-Quality Software”.

The first one is Chinese copy version of the original book. 

Different editions:
Ring and Plastic ring type of bounding, paper back, hardcover (is there hardcover edition?).

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I have the “Beneath Apple DOS” with Don Worth’s signature. He was kind enough to provide me a copy of his book signed several years ago. He’s really into Finnish metal music.

 

Been looking for this next book for YEARS – if you have one for sale/trade, let me know!
“Apple Roots: Assembly Language Programming for Apple IIE and IIC” (Mark Andrews, 1985)

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.