CEC-I : China Education Computer – Part 2

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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

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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):

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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.

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Revision B

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Earlier revision

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Serial number from earlier red-colored version.

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Serial number from later beige version.

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Board schematics

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Chips used.

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Logic

Using the CEC-I:

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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.

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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?

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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).

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Booted up with Chinese typing method activated.

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Booted up.

RESEARCH?

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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.