Monthly Archives: December 2018

MEGA Audio with Apple /// in ][ emulation-modes:

Based on preview copy of the MEGA Audio-card!

a3_setup_ma_desk
As there’s different ways to emulate Apple II with the Apple ///, i went ahead and tested the new MEGA Audio-card by a2heaven.com with the Apple /// and it’s native built-in Apple ][ 48k RAM and the Titan //e 128k RAM-emulation modes. The regular Mockingboard card is known to work in built-in emulation mode (so far it physicly fits inside) but i wanted to know if the MEGA Audio would work as well and it’s all emulated built-in, audio-cards: Mockingboard, A.L.F. and S.A.M.

I configured the card to use slot 1 and for testing, also slot 4 as Mockingboard, the Titan cards occupy the Slots 2 and 3 in Apple /// the stock, 256k model had all slots free.

I tried also installing the actual Mockingboard cards i have, but no luck.. because:

Mockingboard (reactivemicro) does not physically fit inside. The Apple /// area where the cards are inserted is actually pretty small (shorter). The cards can be taller, but have to be shorter in order to fit inside.

Mockingbogard Tube (a2heaven.com) does fit, but the RCA-connectors it have in the end of the card, touch the bottom of the slot opening hole, and prevent the card been pressed down in the slot. Some riser card could be used but at the moment i didn’t have one.

The Mockingboard from Ian Kim (apple2.net) does fit but i do not have it anymore but it’s been proven to work.

TESTING INFORMATION:

1) Apple /// with:
-OnThree 512k Memory expansion-card installed.
-Titan ///+ & //e-cards (in slots #2 & #3) installed.

2) Apple ///
-Stock 256k model.
-Battery clock installed.
-No cards (all removed for testing purposes).

(POSSIBLE) SLOT ASSIGNMENTS IN TITAN //e (128K) – EMULATION MODE:

SLOT | NAME USED FOR: 

#1 I/O CARD
=J4 /// plus //e board, BOTH POST = output from Slot 1 will be redirected to builtin RS-232-C serial port.
=J4 /// plus //e board, ONE POST = output from Slot will NOT be redirected to serial port.
#2 I/O CARD
= Titan ///+ – card (must be installed in #2)
#3 80 COL. CARD
= Titan //e – card  (must be installed in #3)
#4 PROFILE
=For modified ProFile card (in //e mode):
-J5 jumper BOTH POSTS = ProFile in //e mode.
-J5 jumper ONE POST = other devices.
#5 PROFILE
= For /// RAM-disk usage only.
#6 DISK DRIVE 1,2
= Only drives 1,2 as in Apple II.
#7 USED
= Clock/calendar chip. Slot is marked “USED” either it’s installed or not.

SLOT ASSIGNMENTS IN BUILT-IN 48k – EMULATION MODE:

#1  
#2 
#3  
#4     
#5 SUPER SERIAL CARD  
#6 DISK DRIVES 1,2
#7 COMMUNICATIONS CARD 

ACCESSING THE CONFIGURATION MENU:

Accessing the MEGA Audio-configuration menu in Apple II:
]CALL -151
*CFFF (not needed)
*CX00 X = number of the slot where the MEGA Audio card is installed.
*C800G

Accessing the monitor in Apple ///:
Hit the “CTRL-OPENAPPLE-RESET” -key sequence to get the monitor command line interface after booting.

Working or not?
– 48k (YES) 
– 128k //e (YES)
– /// (NO)

THE CARDS / SLOTS / TESTS:

a3_setup_ma_4

Mockingboard:
1) TITAN 128k
-Mockingboard in Slot #1, #4
-No audio. Only speaker. Equalizer works.

2) ORIGINAL 48k
-Mockingboard in Slot #4,3,2,1
-No audio. Only speaker. Equalizer works.


ALF:
1) TITAN 128k
– Slot #1
– ALF Disk – Menu audio (setup) OK but when the player is loaded up, it freezes.
– ALF Music Album disks worked.

2) ORIGINAL 48k
– Slot #2
– ALF Disk – Menu audio (setup) OK but when the player is loaded up, it freezes.
– ALF Music Album disks worked.


SAM:
1) TITAN 128k
– (not tested)

2) ORIGINAL 48k
– Slot #5
– Works fine. 

Internal speaker – is it forwarded to the external speakers?
-Apple II 48k (NO), Apple //e 128k (NO)

Accessing the menu?
-Apple II 48k (YES), Apple //e 128k (YES)

Slot settings for the different cards?
-Apple II 48k (YES), Apple //e 128k (YES)

Equalizer working?
-Apple II 48k (YES), Apple //e 128k (YES)

Card led settings?
-Apple II 48k (YES), Apple //e 128k (YES)

Saving the configuration?
-Apple II 48k (YES), Apple //e 128k (YES)

Adjusting the speaker volume?
-Apple II 48k (NO), Apple //e 128k (NO) seems to come from both.

 

So the MEGA Audio-card works quite well with the /// – just the Mockingboard-emulation is not working. It would be nice to have it with Titan //e emulation. Maybe later there will be MEGA Audio Pro?

a2heaven_logo
Available at: https://www.a2heaven.com/webshop/
$85 + $20 for the Equalizer display (free shipping everywhere) 

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II & /// Forever.

DIPA – Apple II+ clone:

dipa_apple_ii_clone_s
This is one Apple II clone i got several years ago from Germany. It looks like it’s a II+ clone from the looks of it. It’s not per say pretty by it’s design but so often the clones had… well, “interesting design choices”.

dipa_view_from_back_s
From the back.

dipa_motherboard_text_s
There’s no name badge or serial number on the case anywhere but it reads “DIPA” in motherboard.

ram_chips_s
Most chips seems to be mostly from 1983 on the motherboard expect some RAM that have 1978 (!) dates.

dipa_missing_ic_s
One IC is missing from the motherboard, 74LS259.

dipa_green_slots_s
The green slots look always cool!

dipa_psu_s
The powersupply’s cable wont fit to the connector on motherboard. So is the powersupply or the motherboard been swapped? So i haven’t been able to test this if it works or not and i have not put any extra effort on it trying to figure that out either..

I’ve found out that there are these models made but nothing more specific like specs. I assume here that they are Apple II+ (48k) and possibly //e (64k) clones.
DIPA 109
DIPA 209

German computer magazine “Computer Persönlich” had (in early 1983) some information about these models but i have not find any of these magazines scanned nor pictures etc.

Computer Persönlich:
http://www.kultboy.com/Computer-Persoenlich-Zeitschrift/43/

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

 

ITT 2020: Offical Apple II+ clone from England:

apple_system_logo_s
Last year I was able to find one of the holy-grails for me, the “ITT 2020”. It was British made Apple II/II+ offical clone made by british company called ITT in England. These do not come across very often and very rarely, they do can be found with any accessories like Disk drives (ITT branded the typical Disk ][ drive with their own logos) or anything else.

itt_disk_and_tape_drives
Not mine. The ITT 2020 branded Disk II drive and tape player.

web_itt_2020_drive_back_s
Back of the ITT 2020 branded Disk II-drive.

web_paddles
ITT 2020 branded paddles.

itt_2020_unit_full_s
Here i can only show few pictures i took before i actually sold it.. I’m now kind of in a market of finding an another again. I released this post just in sake of saving these pictures somewhere.

serial_s
Serial number at bottom.

itt2020_user

The ITT 2020 was an Apple II clone manufactured by ITT under license from Apple Computer (the first licensed clone),  specifically for the European market. In the Benelux, it was distributed by Bell Telephone mfg. company. In the United Kingdom, it was distributed by Microsense Computer Limited. 

The major difference, and the reason ITT believed this personal computer would be a success, was that the color video signal conformed to the European PAL standard, rather than the American NTSC standard. This meant color graphics could be viewed using a standard European monitor or TV set, rather than having to import an NTSC monitor from America or Japan as was the case with the Apple II. ITT sold this computer starting 1979 for only a few years. When Apple Computer started shipping the Apple II Europlus, ITT withdrew from the market, despite the fact that the Europlus did not support color.

ITT also supplied a floppy disk drive that was identical to the Apple II disk drive with 13 sectors and DOS 3.2. They never supplied the upgrade to 16 sectors and DOS 3.3. The drive itself was also painted silver and had ITT logo’s on it (Model SP 2/4). 

The model had an 175-250V  powersupply built by ITT for the european continent usage. It was much bulker and larger than the power supply Apple ][ had.

The case was painted silver matte and the keyboard was black. There were two different styles of the case, one that was shaped as Apple ][ but only painted silver with different logos, and an another that was bulkier and more square one with larger name plate and tag “Apple System (tm”) in the right bottom corner.

The reset switch only worked in combination with the Control key. This was done to avoid the many accidental resets Apple II users complained  about.

itt_2020_board_open_s
The ITT 2020 i got had few cards on it installed;
-Epson Printer card
-RGB-card (modded) and wired to the board.
-80col-card (?)

switches_s
The case have four switched modded into the front panel, under the keyboard, i have no idea what they are supposed to do but they are wired somehow to the RGB-card. Maybe for color or graphics models?

ROM:

The ROM-files are not preserved so far i know of. Atleast i have not been able to find binaries of them anywhere.
ROM-codes are:

D8:341-0022-00
E0:341-0023-00
E8:341-0024-00
F0:341-0025-00
F8:341-0020-00
D0:341-0021-00

Next, even more rare clone i’d like to have, would be the Bell & Howell Apple II+. Be it the next dream of mine as well, the nice German tank, BASIS 108.

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II forever.

 

Lucky bid, Apple /// manuals!

books_top_of_apple3_sAtleast once i had luck with the ebay and won some interesting and missing manuals from my collection. Especially i was after the “Apple Business Basic Refence Manuals”.

All of them are in English expect the “Apple /// Handboek voor de gebruiker” that is in Dutch. That’s very interesting and needs to be scanned. Will do that when i get the new book scanner sometime in early, i hope, 2019.

books_s
Apple Business Basic – Reference Manual – Volume 1
Apple Business Basic – Reference Manual – Volume 2
Pascal Programmer’s Manual – Volume 1
Pascal Programmer’s Manual – Volume 2
Pascal Program Preperation Tools
Pascal Introduction, Filer, and Editor
Pascal 11 Update
Apple /// Owner’s Guide
Apple /// Handboek voor de gebruiker (Dutch)
Universal Parallel Interface Card Manual
Apple Writer /// Operating Manual (no floppy)

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple /// Forever.

 

BASIC Programmierhandbuch Applesoft BASIC

book_cover_s
I recently found one nice early BASIC programming book in German language, “Apple II Plus – BASIC Programmierhandbuch Applesoft BASIC” from 1978.

printed_in_switzerland_s
It was printed in Switzerland that was kind of strange but maybe they printed these for the German language area there. Interesting however in European Apple II collector/preservation’s view point. Not sure if this has been scanned, but if not, i’ll get it done when i receive the new book scanner in 2019.

two_editions_s
German vs. English versions.

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Apple //e Platinum International edition? (Part II)

logo_s
I was able to obtain this model that i had wanted ever since i became aware of such model had been made, but it was very hard to find. Luckily was able to get one from Sweden where it seem to have been more common than over here in Finland. Not actually even sure if it was sold here at all, most likely not. It came also with SWE/FIN-keyboard that is very nice and proves it was indeed localized as well!

A2S2080 S Platinum:

img_8727_0_s

-A2S2080 S Sverige Platinum 
-International NTSC-board
-Board codes: S-607-288-D/820-0188-E 1986/1987
-220-240v Powersupply (699-0161-A) 240v, 50Hz, 0.5A, 70W
-Swedish/Finnish-keyboard layout (& switch).
-Video ROM: 341-0111-A ’85/86
-Keyboard ROM: 341-0110-A ’82,’85/86
-CPU 338-6503 (11453-27) “65C02”
-Board date: 8809
-Serial : 2A2S2-928023 (Ireland)

I have also just the board that i got earlier from Sweden, but it might be broken as well missing the CPU:
-International NTSC-board : B 607-0288-D/840-0188-E 1986/87
-Video ROM: EPROM
-Keyboard ROM: 342-0150-A 
-CF ROM : 342-0349-B 
-Board date : 8820

And one other Apple //e “65C02” that have “International NTSC”-board inside:
-Board :  Apple //e International NTSC 1986(c)
-Board codes  : B-607-0288-C / 820-0188-C
-Video ROM : 341-0328 Apple ’85 8502
-Keyboard ROM : 341-0325 Apple ’84 8502
-Board date  : 8653


Differences?

compared_to_other_models_s
From left: Apple //e 65c02 PAL , Apple //e Platinum “International NTSC” , Apple //e Platinum (USA)

compared_to_other_models_backside_s
From top: 
Apple //e platinum (USA) , Apple //e Platinum “international ntsc”, Apple //e 65c02 PAL

motherboard_s
INTERNATIONAL NTSC – uses the PAL IOU to get 50Hz, but the video signal is a 50Hz NTSC rather than PAL.

codes_s
Board codes:

date_s
Dates:

powersupply_s
Powersupply:

serial_s
Serial number:

Elsewhere?

So far i know these were sold in Europe in various countries as well in Australia but very few of them seem to pop out in public or the internet for some reason. It would be interesting to learn the history of these hybrid-machines as well  reasoning for the choise of different case and parts and not creating an similar product as in the States.


LINKS:
http://appleclub.pl/index.php/en/2018/04/18/apple-iie-european-platinum-2/
http://www.arcadecomponents.com/f/Apple_Chips.txt

 

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Titan Accelerator IIe

titan-accelerator-iie-ad-1_s
“The Accelerator //e was released in 1984 by Titan Technologies (formerly Saturn Systems) and was an upgraded version of the original Saturn Accelerator, in response to the introduction of the Apple //e. The card maintained the 64 KB of RAM of the original card and added the newer 65c02 microprocessor. This card solved the Auxiliary RAM incompatibility problem of the older card, however it did not speed up this second bank of RAM which was common on the Apple //e”.

Platform: Apple II, Apple II Plus, Apple //e
Form Factor: 50-pin slot card
Speed: 3.58 MHz
Cache: 64 KB on board RAM + 16 KB shadow ROM
DMA compatible: No
Upgradeable: No
CPU : 65C02 4MHz / mine had: R65C02P4 II450-I4 8715

titan-accelerator-iie_s
This card came to my posession with the Apple //e 65C02 “International NTSC” -board set i got earlier this year. That set was used in some old book printing house so no wonder they might have neeed some extra CPU power. Finding accelerators in Apple II’s over here is not exatly common.

titan-accelerator-iie_back_s
Backside:

Setup:

setup_cards_s
In Apple II or //e you can install the card in Slot 0. Replaces possible Language 16k-card. with //e any slot works out but suggested slot is 3. There’s DIP-switches for adjusting the slot settings, time sensitive: “FAST or SLOW”.

Using:

When installed, the accelerated speed is now activated in all applications. For the 1MHz usage, use preboot disk and choose “slow down” option before booting the software disk. With CP/M card installed the Accelerator //e wont accelerate these programs. Note: Some older software might not run with 65c02 processor.

Thoughts?

The card does what it should do, accelerate the processes nicely, but the ease of use is not up to date naturally. Using preboot disk to use the regular, 1MHz, speed is kind of annoying. Depending of your needs however, if you want vintage, old skool experience then it’s quite fine. But for modern everyday usage, there is other cards that do this easier. It’s matter of personal preference i guess.

LINKS:
Testing against other Apple II 8bit accelerators results:
https://wiki.reactivemicro.com/Accelerator_Speeds

 

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Mountain Computer Expansion Chassis:

mountain-computer-expansion-chassis-advertisement_s
I was able to find this very rare piece of hardware for the Apple II recently. I was told it did work but i had to take a gamble on this as you never know if they do when they arrive. I know it’s for Apple II/II+ only so it won’t get much usage as //e is my main rig, but.. it is super rare collectable. You really don’t see these floating around anywhere, not even eBay.

box_frot_s
I was suprised of it’s size, from the pictures i had seen i’ve always thought it was bigger. The design of the case clearly reasembles of Apple ][ with the wents in the corners.

box_back_s
Backside. The later revision had the backside panel not painted but baremetal.

revision_s
There are few revisions known to exist. This one i got is first and early Revision A (14-000174-00) (C) 1980.

serial_s
Serial 00306 that is quite low. The serial badge at back however looks different than the ones i’ve seen. Is it due it’s pretty eary one, or just exported model? Who knows.
 

board_from_top_s
I’m not sure how many of these were made, but there’s discussion for example at applefritter and estimates are somewhere in up to 1000+ pcs. I’ve seen later revision with serial 1025 (model : 01-00166-02, 220v 60HZ, 1,0A). Difference seems to be also with the enclousure, the back of the unit in later models seems not painted. The board inside is quite different as well.

Later revision product codes (from Mountain Computer Catalog 1981):
01-00166-01 (120V)
01-00166-02 (220V)

psu_bottom_specs_s
The powersupply interestingly looks like it’s US-model but the plug itself is clearly for the European markets as it’s two prong but rounded.

What there were?

chassis_top_s
-Expansion Chassis enclousure 
-Powersupply (clearly marked as 120VAC, 60Hz, 1.25A, 24VAC, but the wallplug is German, so i assume it’s 220V model.. but i’m not sure if i dare to test that..)
-Interface card (+50-pin connector cable, 16-pin header cable)
-The user’s manual was missing.

There are two different manuals for the product released (scanned pdf’s are available at archive.org/asimov):

1981-catalog
Mountain Computer Expansion Chassis (1981) : first revision

1982-catalog
Mountain Computer Expansion Chassis (1982) : new revision 

What it is used for?

The Expansion Chassis is ment to be used with Apple II and II+ as external enclousure to house 8 more cards you wanted to use, not in the same time of course. It was even possible to have even up to four Expansion Chassises installed. You can switch either by hardware (switches/jumpers) the setup or by sofware. More likely this kind of setup would be used by developers or industrial needs and not in general household.

 
The setup:

There is few led’s in front of the chassis indicating what mode the Chassis is at:
GREEN = power on/off
RED = selected on/off

Jumpers & Switches:

Jumpers on interface card:

PP1
Settings of multiple expansion chassises (1 to 4)

PP2
Settings how the Slot 0 is been used.


The interface card:

interface_card_s
The interface card is inserted to any of the Apple II/II+ slots, also in slot 0 if you’re not using the 16k language card. The 50-pin cable needs to be installed between the chassis and the interface card and also the 16-pin cable is attached to location “J2” and the chip removed first.


Installing cards:

There is lots of potential usages for the Expansion Chassis and the cards inserted to either the Chassis or in Apple II. Scenarios with DOS, CP/M, Pascal etc. Possiblities are almost unlimited.

Usage:

The expansion chassis, even power chord attached, will not receive power unless the Apple II is powered up. There is select mode and deselect mode that can be altered with either the button on the chassis or by software at any time:

-Integer basic : POKE -16352,254 (select), POKE 16352,255 (deselect)
-Applesoft basic : POKE 49184,254 (select), POKE 49184,255 (deselect)
-Monitor (CALL -151) : C020:FE (select), C020:FF (deselect)

It’s not suggested to use the casette port as the switching uses the same memory space locations. The selection can be done from Pascal language as well.

More detailed usage scenarios are explained in the user’s manual.

Thoughts?

If only similar product would have been made (would that be possible?) that would work with Apple //e as well. I don’t see myself using this so much as i don’t keep II/II+ in my desk as daily reqular setup but it’s historical as well and it’s collector’s value is essential.

There’s project to reverse engineer it at applefritter and at:
http://www.appleii-box.de/H054_1_MCEB01.htm

 

 

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

p.s. I might trade this to nice Bell & Howell Apple II+ with backpack and black floppy drive. Contact me.

China Education Computer – CEC-Expansion-model (CEC-E)

cec_e_box_s
I was finally able to obtain this model i only few years ago became aware of, CEC-E, to my collection. I don’t as such, collect Apple II-clones, but in this case it’s little different as i have ties to China from my wife’s side. Also these are not very well documented (in the west atleast) so i kind of had to get into this. And, it is fascinating!

cec_e_from_top_s

So i was able to get one CEC-E for myself this summer, thanks to Mr. Djordje Mitic, the great ZX Spectrum OMNI 128HQ – creator, living in South China. I visited him as we happened to be in the same city for our summer vacation and we tested it and it powered up fine. We tried also repairing my CEC-I’s like i mentioned earlier in an another blogpost as well. Djordje is super nice guy originally from Serbia but have lived in China for over a decade for business reasons. He have nice retrocomputer collection as well but he’s speciality is ZX Spectrum’s.

I had luck and managed to buy an another one (with the box!) but that went to an another friend in USA as a trade. Before this i actually even didn’t know the CEC-E standed “China Education Computer – Expansion”.

cec_e_from_behind_sBasicly it’s Apple //e 64k – clone without as many slots built-in. From right the connectors are : integrated Disk II – connectors 1 and 2, printer, joystick, color/b&w-switch, CGA-video, RF, composite and tape-connectors.

cec_e_from_left_side_s
There’s one slot in the left side of the enclousure that can be adjusted (switch inside) to be either 5 or 7. Reminds me of vTech Laser 128 in that sense.

cec_e_from_right_side_s
Right side there’s the power switch.

cec_e_rom_s
ROM-chips:

display_slot_assignments_s
Listing of the slots usage.

keyboard_s
The keyboard is different to CEC-I. The CEC-E uses better keyswitches (feels like Apple //c+) and it’s actually very confortable to type with. 

keyboard_bottom_s
Keyboard pcb backside.

cec_e_with_numeric_keyboard_s
There’s also model from CEC-E that have numeric keypad in the right side, but it seems to be really rare. Not sure if it’s an upgrade or actual variation of the CEC-E. Only saw few of those ever. I’d like to get one of these.

I don’t think CEC’s were sold outside China. Not sure about Hongkong, Taiwan and Singapore. There were lots of clones made and sold in these regions already so CEC’s might be ment for “Mainland China Only”.

INFORMATION FROM THE RETAIL BOX:

cec_e_box_specs_s

CHANG AN
xk-09-002-030
Production Permit: xk-09-002-030

Chang An CEC-E (China Education Computer Expansion) not only containts all functions of CEC-I, also expans two floppy disk drive ports and printer port. It has good electromagnetic compability and high safety reliablity. With new model lower price, high quality. CEC-E is both the best tool to intellectual development and good teacher and helpfull friend of pupil and student.

Shaanxi Computer Factory
Add: No.15 Friendship, East Road, Xian, China.
Tel. 334462,335008 Postcode: 710054

SPECIFICATIONS:

cec_e_board_s
The main board.

Information from the box:

64k RAM

64k ROM (can be expanded up to 96k, with built-in BASIC, LOGO (Subset), monitor and Chinese Character management program.

Chinese Character functions: built-in GBI,II level chinese characters (6763 chinese characters and some foreign letters) and three kinds of input models; letter, phonetic alphabet and area code. If neccessary, WBZX and some other input modes can be supplied.

Display port: Supports NTSC & PAL system color & black’n’white televisions, monochrome monitors and CGA monitors.

FDD: Support two 5.25″ Floppy disk drives (20 pin connector)

Printer port : Support dot-matrix printers with centronics standard.

Joystick port: Supports one joystick

Tape recorder port: Support one tape recorder

Keyboard: 73 key standard ASCII keyboard or digital keyboard with 87 keys.

Bus Slot: Compatible with all cards of Apple IIe

Powersupply: Switching powersupply, 220VAC, 50hz, 25W (120-260V, 50Hz)

Powersupply specs from the label of the powersupply enclousure:

HG-902A
120-260V, 50HZ
+5v/2A, +12V/1A, -5V/0.1A, -12V/0.1A

USING THE CEC-E:

I could not get it to boot from original Apple II Disk II-drive. It does power up, but it wont boot from it. With CEC-I the Disk II-drive worked fine. I tested several different Disk II-drives so it was not a hardware issue or one bad drive. However the half-height 5.25″ drives worked fine.

The SDFloppy2 (a2heaven.com) also worked fine. Everything booted up just fine. Too bad i don’t own SDfloppy2 anymore but i’m hoping a2heaven.com will produce more of these (or even with .woz support?).

keys_test_swap_mode_sThere’s the same RAM/ROM-test built-in as well as it’s with CEC-I’s that you can access from the boot by pressing “TEST”-button. The buttons to the right of it, are for switching the imput method and screen mode.

memory_test_s
The RAM/ROM-test. There’s also LOGO-programming language built-in ROM.

cec_e_booted_westerm_s
“Western mode”

cec_e_booted_chinese_s
“The Chinese mode”

cec_e_gaming_s
I found that there were issues with output video colors with composite-connector. The colors are not 100% correct for some reason. I am not sure why this is happening, is it that the frequence is not correct (monitor) the cable or the board is failing. The picture starts to degenerate after some minutes after the CEC-E is turned on. There might be some capasitors failing on the board that might need replacements.

However all the software worked fine that i tried booting (64k) without any issues. But who knows, Apple II software catalog is big..

4

There’s some Chinese made software for the CEC-models made. Using those is big challenge as i do not read Chinese. Hope someday my daughter can assist me on this.

OTHER CEC-MODELS?

There are several known models of the CEC-line of computers made. Some is just speculation but if you have better knownledge about these, please contact me. I am NOT CEC-specialist..

Here’s a short list of details that i am aware of:

cec-1a_specs_s
CEC-IA – 128k model. Seen this listed as CEC-1A but not released, or this was this later released as CEC-E (64k) or CEC-2000 (128k?).

 cec_2000_top_s

CEC-2000 -This one looks like vTech Laser/CEC-hybrid. I’d assume it has 128k RAM on it. Maybe even same specs as Laser 128? Not much is known about this model. I have seen the user’s manual for this but it’s not scanned anywhere so far i know of.

 cec-m

CEC-M – More simple, cost cutdown model. Very little information available. It had Printer port?

 cec-g

CEC-G – More simple, gaming orientatied model with cartridge port in right side. Speculation, possibly FC/NES-compatible?


cec_development_machine_s
And interesting development CEC-I for FC-gaming console games.

Cards:

Some interesting cards were made for the CEC-line of computers in China.

cec_printer_z80_card_s
Z80 + Printer card (in same pcb)

z80-printr-drive
Z80 + Printer + Floppy drive controller (2 ports). I think this is pretty awesome!

cpm_for_cec
So the CEC-serie could run CP/M.

slot_raiser_card_s
Slot raiser card.

Hardware:

cec_yj
Gaming paddles CEC-YJ.

I’m not sure if they ever released under CEC-branded products like Half height 5.25″ floppy drives, Joysticks, Monitors or Casette drives.

cec_software_s
But there seems to have been software for it in China. These are kinds of hard to find more information about..

THOUGHTS?

The built quality is better than the CEC-I model. The plastic is softer and the keyboard is actually pretty good. No wonder this model was called “expansion”. This model reminds a lot of CEC-2000 (that i would like to learn more about) with design as well, kind of vTech Laser 128. The case design reminds a lof of later Atari XE line of models, not sure why excatly. Maybe Atari got their cases made in China back in the day?

The oddity is the support for CGA-monitors. Too bad i do not have such monitor in hand so i could not test that. I’ll see if i can get that tested somwhere, sometime.

I wish i could find more about the history of these models. All material is in chinese naturally so it’s bit tricky to get it translated correctly. There’s always google translate.. So there might be an another blog post coming about the history later.

If you have more information about the CEC-models, please contact me and i’ll update the information here. I am looking for CEC-releated material always, please contact me if you have any. Specially : CEC-2000, CEC-G, CEC-M.

如果您有关于CEC型号的更多信息,请与我联系,我将在此处更新信息。我一直在寻找CEC相关材料,如果您有任何问题,请与我联系。特别是:CEC-2000,CEC-G,CEC-M。

Xiexie ni!

Thanks to: Djordje Mitic, SK Leung, Lysander Leung & others.

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

CEC-I : China Education Computer – Part 2

cec_logo_badge_s

It took quite a bit of time to continue with the CEC-I’s i have. The first one i got, just would not start up (the red one) and i was not able to fix or diagnose the PSU myself, so the whole matter was put aside for time being. Later i got an another CEC-I (beige) and also, had PSU non working condition.

djordje_mitic_s

However, luckily i was able to meet Mr. Djordje Mitic, the great inventor and builder of Spectrum ZX Omni 128HQ – computers in China. He happened to live in same city we stayed while our vacation so we could arrange meetup. Nothing’s better than have a retro meetup with likeminded people on your vacation!

Djordje was able to diagnose the PSU’s but with time in hand, could not fix them for me. He however very kindly, gave two of his own PSU’s from his CEC-I’s to me so i could get mine working. It was very kind of him! Xiexie ni Djordje!

cec_i_red_top_s

When we got back home, i cleaned the cases and put them back together. I swapped the keyboards from Beige one to the Red one, as it was nicer less yelloewed. I somehow prefer the red model (feels more Chinese).

There seems to be (atleast) two revisions of the main board. The red i have, does not have any indications of revision numbering. The beige ones reads “Rev.B” in the PBC’s backside. The revision differences that i could spot were quite minor.

Rev.B

board_white_disk_ii_connector_s
Floppy drive, 20pin-pin styled connector was replaced with real connector, not just pins. Also different DIP-switch (what’s it used for?) next to the floppy drive’s 20-pin idc-connector.

white_roms_2_s
Keyboard connector, 20pin-connector was replaced with real connector, not just pins.

made_in_shantou_china_s
Made in Shantou, China. REV.B

Power supplies:

The power supplies i have, are made in different factories (these are replaced from different units but original CEC-I production line models):

cec_i_psu_s
SWENCO – South West Electronic (Shekou) Co, Ltd. Shenzen

red_psu_sWATT Manufacturing Co, Ltd. My previous Red unit had powersupply also from WATT: WP-4022, 180-260v, 47-63HZ.

board_white_s
Revision B

board_red_s
Earlier revision

red_badge_back_s
Serial number from earlier red-colored version.

white_badge_back_s
Serial number from later beige version.

board_schematics_s
Board schematics

board_chips_s
Chips used.

board_chips_2_s
Logic

Using the CEC-I:

red_playing_zaxxon_s

Sadly for the red unit i have, i can not get it outout perfect colors. I tried trimming the colors from W1 and W2, but i could not get it perfect. This needs some work and diagnostics. The Disk II-drive worked fine with the CEC-I as well the half-height slim drives that i assume they were used originally. There were CEC-branded half-height 5.25″-floppy drives made as well joysticks.

The built quality of the CEC-I’s is.. how to put it, clone-a-like. The plastic used it hard and toy-a-like almost like balelite from the early 1900’s. The keyboard is quite decent actually, i’ve used much worse. Technically it’s localized clone with few interesting specialities like the slot in top (reminds of Laser 128 about in same time), built in casette (DIN) connector and joystick port.

red_cec_i_and_sdfloppy2_s

Also the sdfloppy2 (a2heaven.com) worked fine with the CEC-I. Too bad the product is sold out. Hope more will be made, maybe even with .woz format support?

ProDos 2.4.2 would not boot either, the ROM id-code is different. John Brooks is looking into it and i hope it can be solved and added in the upcoming version 2.5?

memory_test_rom_s

What is handy is that there’s built-in RAM/ROM-test. CEC-I/E-models have LOGO-programming language in ROM as well different typing methods (ASCII, Chinese).

cec_i_boot_screen_cn_s
Booted up with Chinese typing method activated.

white_booted_s
Booted up.

RESEARCH?

different_models_s
Different models: CEC-I (Rev.B), CEC-I (Rev.A?), CEC-E.

There’s research done about the CEC-computers in Hongkong, currently there’s 17 different (!) factories identified that made the CEC-computer models. This is stunning! Wonder how many of these were made then and where are they? CEC-I really WAS the Apple II of Chinese education, just like in USA.

It would be so interesting to learn more about the history of the CEC-computers and how and where they were used. I know there’s collectors in mainland China that collect and save these but they dont seem to have access to facebook or other places where international hobbyists share their information.

If you have more information about the CEC-computers, plase do contact me.

Xiexie ni!

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.