Category Archives: Apple //c

Applied Engineering: Z-RAM II for Apple //c

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Bought one Apple //c few years ago with Z-RAM II-card installed but i could not get it working. It had broken pins and some were replaced with wiring. It could not get it running so i sent to to Henry Courbis at reactivemicro.com for repairs. He did splendid job and got it working in notime! Big thanks to Henry!

 

What is it?

Z-RAM II is combined co-prosessor and memory expansion card that can be expanded from 384k to 1024k. The basic comfiguration is 256k (soldered to board) so you get 384k of RAM with basic setup. The expanded memory can be used in programs like AppleWorks and many others as well as high-speed solid state (RAM) disk. The card have also a Z-80 prosessor on it so it can run programs from large CP/M program library. The card was originally supplied with CP/AM 4.0B disk.

 

Installation

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The installation is fairly easy. Obiously needed to open the //c and then needed to remove the disk drive and the keyboard to have good access and have everything in sight.

-CPU -> removed and moved to empty socket in Z-RAM II  
-MMU -> removed and moved to empty socket in Z-RAM II  
-Also needed to attach the “pin grabber wire” to TGM chip (pin 2). I found out that the cable had to be covered with tape in order not to intefere the belt of the floppy drive.

Then just insert the card (carefully!) to the sockets of CPU+MMU by pressing the card down. i tried to take extra care and not to bend any pins.

There were one additional connetor for extra RAM but at the moment i do not have such RAM module that would work in this card.

 

Usage?

So what could be done with it then? Addional memory for the AppleWorks usage is obious, if that’s something you would be still doing, as well using the extra memory as RAM-disk – but maybe using the CP/M is more usefull, or is it? Depends your interests. 

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Running CP/AM 4.0B

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RAM-Disk DOS 3.3 options.

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RAM-Disk (ProDOS) options.

 

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There’s also RAM-test to ensure your card is running with all RAM working.

I must admit this card is more like collector’s piece, actual usage might be quite limited. But running CP/M is kind of cool with the Apple //c. Ramdrive is quite handy only if it would be backed with battery.. this system had ROM0 on it, i could upgrade it to the custom ROM to have more options enabled.

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple //c Forever.

 

 

Let there be S-O-U-N-D! – Mockingboard 4c for Apple //c

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Mockingboard 4c is Apple II mockingboard version specially made for Apple //c. There were Mockingboard D for the Apple //c made back in the day, and it was placed in external enclouse. It however wasn’t 100% compatible with the other Mockinboard-supported software or games. The same goes for the Mockingboard 4c.

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Mockingboard D (apple.asimov.net)

The Mockingboard 4c works as it would be installed in Slot #4, but does not support the speech-chip. It have also possiblity to adjust the audio levels from Apple //c’s own audio knob, by just soldering one cable. There’s also set of two speakers, you can install inside your Apple //c for stereo output. There’s also a cable provided you can install to have the audio output to external amplifer/speakers.

Mockingboard 4c is developed, manufactured and sold by Ian Kim of apple2.net in South Korea and it comes in complete package with :

-The Mockingboard 4c card with 65C02 installed
-User’s Manual (printed)
-Set of two speakers with wires
-Wiring for adjusting the audio level of the Mockingboard 4c (needs soldering).
-Ext. audio cable 

 
INSTALLATION:

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-After opening the Apple //c it’s pretty simple and straightforward.

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-If you have model A2S4000 – you need to remove the keyboard bracing due lack of space otherwise and the board wont fit inside. It’s matter of just pushing two connectors and removing the bracing.

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-Remove the 65C02 CPU and insert the CPU to the Mockingboard’s CPU-slot. Mine however came with 65C02 already installed. 
-Solder the supplied wire to UA14 4th pin (red circle) and attach to the board. I tried using “hook cables” but there’s not enough space installing one properly.
-Install supplied set of two, speakers inside the case, front in each side. I used hot glue to keep the speakers in place.

The Mockingboard 4c is actually installable to Apple //e as well (confirmed by Ian Kim) you just need 40-pin DIP-connector cable to move the board further away from the processor slot itself as there’s no space for the board. Why would you do it is then again an another question.. but it could be done. It could save you a slot in //e..

I tried replacing the 65C02 with ZipChip 4000 but i could not get it to boot. It went totally garbage screen directly either 4MHz or 1MHz modes. There’s no space either for it under the keyboard, even with the braces removed.

My setup: Apple //c (PAL, Nordic):
+ Custom ROM 4x (by https://github.com/mgcaret/rom4x/blob/master/rom4x/README.md)
+ Mockingboard 4c with two speakers (by apple2.net)
+ A2CVGA-adapter (by a2heaven.com)
+ wDrive (by kboohk.com)
+ Internal-External Drive Switcher for Apple IIc (by bigmessofwires) 
+ Laptop replacement powersupply (from ebay)

 

USAGE?

Some software/games needs patching to work correctly, mainly those with hardcoded Mockingboard slot-coding (5 instead of 4). Ian have released many of these at his webpage : http://quick09.tistory.com/search/mockingboard?page=4 in .nib format.

Mockingboard 4c uses the Slot 4 but the //c is already using it permanently. It needs to be configured when Mockingboard 4c is wanted to be used.

From applesoft:
POKE 50179,255:POKE 50100,255

or from monitor:
]CALL-151
*C403:FF FF

Restart:
PR#6 
or *C600G 

for booting the Floppydisk or Diskimage.

I played several games that had Mockingboard support on them and they worked fine and sounded as good as they should. Also tried several of music disks/demos as well and most of them worked as well. 

The small speakers are not very high quality but you can install the cable and use external speakers as well if you want. I didn’t install that as i wanted to kept the setup minimal by size, everything installed inside. 

THOUGHTS ?

It is great that also Apple //c user’s can enjoy better sound quality in form of Mockingboard 4c, eatleast in some extent. Some software however do require patching in order to work or manual configuring before booting. So it’s pretty much matter of trying how to get the title running and working. 

Installation is not that difficult if you follow the instructions. But it does block the possibity to use memory expanions or clock-chips. 

My unit does make some static hum when it’s turned on. Not sure what causes it, the design, installation or vintage parts being just old.

There’s something so cute to have Apple //c with mockingboard installed!

 

LINKS:
Video: https://youtu.be/9QXbLK3mdUQ
Mockingboard manual & disk images at: http://wwww.apple2.net 

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Mockingboard 4c is available from http://www.apple2.net or http://www.ebay.com 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple //c Forever.