Category Archives: Apple //e

Ramworks III repair

errors_80col_s
My good old AE RamWorks III card that i had used with several Apple //e’s with the handy VGA-adapter (a2heaven.com), started to give strange graphical errors, kind of missing lines and waves when using 80-column mode. Only in the few top lines of the screen (a2osx shown here).

fixing_s
Luckily Mr. Plamen Vaysilov figured out quickly what could be done, small mod of soldering capasitor of 22-33pf (of any voltage) could be just soldered and get it fixed. It however took few weeks to get the part as just my local electronics supplier had IT-system issues and they were forced to close their shop… Luckily most hobbyists have other projects too so it was’t that much of a big deal, just shift of focus for other things.

repaired_s
But later i got the parts and i soldered 27pf capasitor as shown. Might not be the best of soldering work but it works… Yeah the legs could be.. shorter.

fixed_80col_better_s
No more missing lines or waves. 

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever. 

 

APMSX-card: MSX for Apple II – Part 1

board_details_s

APMSX-card is “Turbo Speed” MSX-computer-in-a-card solution for Apple //e enhanced (ntsc) and Apple IIGS. It doesn’t work in Apple II, II+, //c (no slots.. sorry Javier).

It is deloped by Ian Kim of Apple2.net out of South Korea, who is prominent Apple II hardware developer who have made many other products in a past, like the following :

-SEGA/ColecoVision-card (Z80+VPD)
-Mockingboard 4d (for Apple //c)
-Joypad for Apple II
-Z80 CP/M card
-SD Disk II+ 
-PS/2 adapter
-SD Smart Drive
-SD Music Card
-Hyperion 512k RAM-card

Ian used years in order getting it all together. Being in edge for abandoning whole project but with strong will he pulled it together! That was major task. It was risky project as it was known it would not be cheap card to develop, produce or sell.

What is MSX?

800px-msx-logo-svg

MSX was a 8-bit home micro computer standard founded by Microsoft and ASCII in 1983 trying to create standard for home computers like VHS was at home video tape machines.

MSX was specially popular in Japan even it was sold around the world – being moderately popular in europe, specially The Netherlands. 

MSX hardware was built around Zilog’s Z80 processor and usually 64k of RAM.

More can be read from : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSX

MSX is also very much alive among hobbysits around the world, with new hardware and software coming out all the time. 

My first computer was Spectravideo SVI-728 MSX so this is like coming to the roots for me. The SVI-728 MSX was quite popular in Finland at the time, but nothing like Commodore 64 was. I only had the MSX for some years and it got replaced with Commodore 128 soon after and shortly with Amiga 500. The games i remember playing with the MSX were “Yie Ar Kung Fu 2”, “King’s Valley”, “Zoids”, “Oh Shit!” (later renamed to “Oh No!” for obious reasons) and some games translated from Spectrum. Getting games was difficult in my circles as everybody had Commodore 64.. so i was kind of was forced to get Commodore. I did like those Konami module games (even expensive) they were really smooth running.


APMSX:

apmsx_card_delivery_s

APMSX comes with:

– APMSX-card
– Joypad and extension adapter-cable  
– PS/2 extension cable for PS/2 keyboard (for full MSX usage)
– Video cable (APMSX to Apple //e)

You need to supply your own video and audio cables.

Originally APMSX-card was supposed to have slot for cartridge games but it was dropped due high cost and not 100% proven compability. That would have been really amazing if that could have worked for sure.

The APMSX-card can be used in many ways and purposes:

1) MSX computer with loading .ROM images directly from card reader.
2) MSX computer with HDD support (SD Disk II+ is needed)
3) Z80 Softcard Compatible CP/M 80 card.
4) 512k RAM card for Apple //e (even during the MSX runnning software)
5) Z80 CPU as co-prosessor, graphics accelarator or sound processor … etc etc…

The processor can be run in different speeds (MSX software) 4MHz, 8MHz and 16Mhz. The 3.58 and 7.16Mhz work only with DMA access of Apple II BUS (i.e. accessing SD Disk II+ in HDD mode).

Conviniently the MSX and Apple II can run at the same time. APMSX basicly is overclocked MSX computer up to 16MHz!

 

APMSX V1.23a
-MSX1 compatible
-VDP: TMS9918 (NTSC)
-PSG: AY3-8910
-RAM: 512KB SRAM
-CPU: Z80 Clock speed; 3.58Mhz, 7.16Mhz, 4Mhz, 8Mhz, 16Mhz.
-Mega RAM Mapper support: 256KB Mega RAM Mapper
-Mega ROM Mapper support: 256KB Mega ROM Mapper (Konami ROM Mapper, ASCII 8K/16k)
-DMA BUS share of Apple II resources RAM and I/O peripherals.
-Keyboard: 1 x PS2 Keyboard port
-Joystick: 1 x MSX DB9 standard port

Compatible with *NTSC* Apple //e enhanced and IIGS. With IIGS it however have some limitations with dual working with APMSX, limited memory card access, but general running MSX games or programming doesn’t have a problem on IIGS.

ROM images can be load from ProDOS .HDV hdd file where they can be launced from any suitable sd/usb/cf-card that supports HDD images.

To use the HDD in MSX mode, you need SD Disk II+ device, as there’s drivers/support only for it.

 
Installation:

apmsx_card_installed_1_s

I installed it to my Apple //e enhanced (ntsc) with just minimal cards on it. The power supply is pretty strong (AE Heavy Duty) but i do not remember if it was recapped or not.. so ..

– Apple //e enhanced (ntsc).
– My LG LCD/TV does not accept correctly the NTSC color signal. Some games did load with colors occationally,  but the colors are not correct in all titles. Need one that does PAL and NTSC correctly..
– APMSX works in any slot expect 3) but but suggested slot to use is 4 as the ready loaders (made in basic) are assuming slot 4. Easy to change however. I had the free slot so i went with the slot 4 here.

AUX – RamWorks8M (a2heaven)
SLOT 7 – Apple disk i/o card
SLOT 6 – SD Disk II+ (4GB SD-CARD) + ext. dial with display unit 
SLOT 4 – APMSX 

sdpluscard_s
SD DISK II+ for HDD in MSX mode support.

apmsx_and_connectors_s

Connections to be made:

-Joystick – extension cable with adapter to joystick 
-Audio OUT 1.5mm
-Video OUT RCA 3.5mm
-PS2 keyboard – Keyboard PS/2 connector for external keyboard
-Apple II video in – Video IN  > connected to //e board mudulator output
-Choose between IIgs/IIe

I used composite-SCART adapter to get video and audio to my LCD/TV.

 

Using the MSX:

PS/2 keyboard is needed if you need any keys pressed for the software/games or you want to use the card as actual MSX-computer.  The PS/2-USB adapter will NOT work. Luckily the PS/2 keyboards are still pretty easy to get. I obtained two different models, both basicly new. Sadly they were swe/fin layout so it’s hit-and-miss using it. If there would be more frequent use i’d get US/UK layout model for sure.

Ian Kim, the developer of the APMSX-card, provides few sample .hdv images to buying customers only as well complate user’s guide.

“APMSX.HDV” HDV-image is for starting the APMSX card. It is Prodos format including lots of .rom and other MSX-files.

If you want to use the MSX hard disk image, you need to connect it to D2 to be used by SD Disk II plus-device (no drivers for other hardware card reader solutions as of yet).

It is possible to use both computers with their own displays! This is somehing i didn’t yet test of. I only focused on playing games from the .rom files 🙂

 

MSX software:

As my display does not display NTSC correctly some colors are not correct. As well for some reasons, occationally starting the games they were black/white. Not correct sync on NTSC signal. This is something i need to invest on.

Switching from MSX mode back to Apple II is done by CTRL+RESET.

game_screen_colors_s ntsc_game_loaded_bad_s
With colors (not correct ntsc) – Black & White (ntsc)

game_screen_colors_2_s
But playability on games such “Yie Ar Kung-Fu II” (Konami) was absolute fun! This game i had as a cartridge back in the day. And yes i’m not that good on it even after all these years… These popular kungfu games were all bascily the same, fighting against enemy screen by screen and finally the big boss. The graphics just changed as well the movements. These cartridge games by Konami are really top-notch quality!

Video in youtube: https://youtu.be/tOPQe0SgrLs

msx_game_knightmare
Another MSX-favorite of mine “Knightmare” played great. It have very clear and arcade styled graphics and very enjoyable gameplay. This is one of the games i come back and play few rounds with.

 

msx_demo_screen_1_s
There were even some MSX-demos on hdv image file. I’ll need to find more of these – i have not followed the MSX-scene for years..

 

msx_demo_unleashed_s
“MSX unleashed” – demo.

 

Thoughts?

The card is NOT cheap investment if you want to use it for gaming and in real MSX-computer mode, you’ll need the SD Disk II+ device as well. With that money you can actually buy an real MSX/MSX2 – computer, not sure what those MSX sd/usb solutions cost but possibly still cheaper. But remember, it took years to develop the card as well, building this card is not cheap either. But for simple MSX game/rom playing, you don’t need SD Disk II+ device, just some device that does ProDOS HDD emulation is enough.

But it really depends. This is extermely compact and convinient solution with lots of other possiblities for hacker-mindeded persons as the card lives alongside the Apple II. It can be made to be much more what it currenly is in the future. The one minor setback is that only SD Disk II+ card is supported if you want to have HDD in MSX-mode. Somebody for a task to write driver for CFFA3000? 

Playing games was easy. Just needed to boot the ProDOS HDD-image and start the game by loading the ROM. For some games there’s ready made basic loader but with APMSX-loader program you could load any ROM easily. For some reasons they do not always start. I am not sure if it’s my setup or what’s the problem. But Ian’s manual mentions this as well. But after reloading or even rebooting, all the games/software on the image worked and were fast as they should to be playable. I didn’t notise any graphical or audio issues. Only my display lacking the real NTSC support was issue for me. For playing i used either the pad that was supplied with the card or my old-favorite, TAC-2. 

The actual MSX-computer mode i didn’t use much yet. That i will get into later as well the CP/M and using the card as RAM expansion etc. More in Part 2.

..i hope someday somebody would do Atari2600/5200/7800 card as well.. that would be neat as well! Why? Because, why not!

 

logo_ians_dream

APMSX is available from:
apple2.net

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Some Apple //e’s that came from trade-in

Like i’d need more of Apple II’s?

Made an trade with some Commodore stuff that i didn’t need to some “project condition” Apple //e’s. Still kind of need those parts for the “Stealth GS” (Apple //e->IIGS) modification i have planned, so these come in handy.. so i’ll use one of these for that project and maybe sell the other two. Good justification isn’t it?

All of them were really dusty and dirty with spiderwebs and god know what else (please wear gloves when cleaning such “barn finds”!). Got some compressed air, lots of IPA, took all of them to parts, washed everything and put together again for testing. Fun stuff.

One of them was of of those “early” models, different case material and design, reminds of ][ plus. Never have too many of those!

pickup_s
Pickup and way to home..

sauna_s
So all units taken to parts, washed and put to dry up in a sauna.

ipa_bottles_s
Bought some more IPA. This is 99.9% clear stuff, liquid and in spray form.

keyboard_keycaps_assembly_2_s
That was lots of keys 🙂 

different_keycaps_s
One set of keys were shaped slightly differently. I had not personally seen such before.

serial_date_version_2_s
The “early” model had again these handwritten date codes. Why? Stamped “2083” but handwritten “8336”.

 rusty_connectors_s
Quite a bit of rust in those connectors. Glassfiber pen is good for removing that rust. Those are cheap in ebay if needed.

wiring_mod_s
Interesting video mod (?) of some sort made. There were Taxan RGB card installed but this wire didn’t go anywhere.

color_swith_blue_s
The color switch was different type i had seen before.

board_corroted_s
The other two //e’s were both from week “8450”. The other one had some corrosion on the bottom pan.

black_bottom_pan_and_a2e_board_pal_6502_s
..so i painted it black. Looks better!

The results?

Apple //e 6502 “early” 
Board date: 2083, 8336 written in board
Serial : 2A2S2-128111
Board : 820-0073-B (c) 1982 B-607-0264-
Board stamp: R8314
CPU = R65C02P3 8439
CD ROM = 342-0135-A
EF ROM = 342-0134-A
Video ROM = EPROM
Keyboard ROM = EPROM

Cards:
+Disk II – Interface card (made in ireland)
+Kaga Taxan II EV8 – 80col RGB card 

-Basic cleaning for the case, keyboard caps removed and washed etc. 
-No retr0bright treatment
-New keyboard cable made.
-Hardware test (diagnostic card) run and everything OK!
-Original power supply not tested.

-Still needs the Apple //e logo repainted.

 

Apple //e 6502, non enhanced, PAL, Swe/Fin
Board date : 8450 
Serial : 2A2S2-342311
Board : 320-0073-B | B-607-0264-F 
Board stamp: R8449
CPU = R65C02P3 8439
CD ROM = 342-0135-B
EF ROM =  342-0134-B
Video ROM = 341-162-A 
Keyboard ROM = 341-0152-A

Cards:
+Disk II interface (made in ireland)
+Apple 64k/80col (607-0103-J)

-Basic cleaning for the case, keyboard caps removed and washed etc. 
-No retr0bright treatment
-Bottom pan have corrosion > painted black
-Case ok. Marking “A” on side.
-Corrosion on motherboard connectors > removed.
-Resistor blown at R43.
-New main logic boad swapped with swe/fin rom and 6502 CPU
-Hardware test (diagnostic card) run and everything OK!
-Original power supply not tested.

 

Apple //e 6502, non enhanced, PAL, Swe/Fin
Serial : 2A2S2-342223
Date on board : 8450
Board : 320-0073-B | B-607-0264-F 
Board stamp: R8448 
CPU = R65C02P3 8439
CD ROM = 342-0135-B 
EF ROM = 342-0134-B
Video ROM = 341-162-A
Keyboard ROM =341-0152-A
Long original power supply

Cards:
+Disk II interface (made in ireland)
+Apple 64k/80col 

-Basic cleaning for the case, keyboard caps removed and washed etc. 
-No retr0bright treatment
-2 x new 3M legs swapped.
-Corrosion on motherboard connectors > removed.
-Original long power supply not tested

 

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

Apple /// – The ReActiveMicro Drive/Turbo IDE Controller

“We offer the ReActiveMicro Drive/Turbo IDE Controller in several configurations. It can come fully setup “Plug And Play” ready with a presetup 512MB CF Card and Dual CF Card Adapter. Just install the card in your Apple //e enhanced and boot to ProDOS or GS/OS. Or you can buy the card with or without the IDE to Dual CF Adapter and CF Card”. (reactivemicro.com)

 

card_s

Thanks to Henry Courbis/Reactivemicro, i got my hands on the latest (under development) firmware that should allow the card to be used with other than Apple //e enhanced and Apple IIGS -models.

I tested the card with ][+ and ][ europlus (64k), and it worked fine as ProDOS hdd and all software loaded up nicely what i went thru of. My good ol’ europlus give it’s magic some while testing – that was first time for me ever. It gave nice popcorn smell for the room..

There is no driver for Apple /// so it would not obiously work with the /// but, as i happen to have the Titan Plus /// and Titan Plus //e cards installed, i thought to try the card under //e 128k emulation.

installed_s
Installed in vacant slot 4.

It does work, kind of. It crashes occationally, not totally sure why as of yet. But i was able to load bunch of software and games from the ProDOS 32Mb partition. 

prodos_loaded_s

-Titan //e emulation floppy booted
-Start //e emulation
->RESET<
-PR#4,1 (Slot 4, Partition 1 for the ProDOS hdd partition)
-Loads up the ProDOS 2.4.2 menu system
-Loading software/games (Karateka, Choplifter etc).

karateka_a3_s

“Karateka”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHctOJn8Jmk

The built-in Apple ][+ emulation mode would not work with the card due the silly limation of 48k RAM on it.

So.. hope somebody makes driver for the card so it can be used as HDD in /// mode as well….
 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

 

Hack/test Apple //e upgrade?

appleiiepalsetup_s
Apple //e non enhanced 6502 PAL

I have one Apple //e that i use for testing cards and generally playing & hacking around, as my main rig is Platinum //e that have the parts installed permanetely. This system is PAL, non enhanced 6502, Apple //e with UK-keyboard but i wanted to upgrade it to NTSC. As the position of AUX connector on PAL //e aligns up with Slot 3 and that wont allow installing long cards to Slot 3. I find that bit annoying. And i had one NTSC board available so i thought to just swap it around and as well, install better, in this case, Applied Engineering heavy-duty power supply to it.

Original cards setup:
#1 FastChip //e (a2heaven)
#2 quikLoader (D.Mutimer)
#3 -empty-
#4 TimeMaster II H.Q. (a2heaven)
#5 -empty- 
#6 Disk II (apple)
#7 VGA-scaler (a2heaven)
AUX RAMWorks 8M (a2heaven)
+MultiFont custom ROM (a2heaven)
+Regular original Apple gold long model power supply

Putting in parts and suprises!

boards-ntsc-pal_edited_2_s
NTSC vs PAL board differences

So i removed all the cards and put the case in parts. Then, it’s easy to just put it back together with new PSU and board… but, NO. I had totally forgotten that the design of the NTSC board is pretty much different to PAL one. So.. the keyboard connector and speaker connectors are in different locations wich means.. they have longer cables. Oh no!

keyboard-cable_s

OK, not biggie. Making longer (abx. 32cm) keyboard cable isn’t really that difficult, so i got 1 meter of 26pin flat cable and some IDC26P female connectors. It took few minutes to get one done with correct tool i luckily had bought few years ago when i made new Disk II drive cables for myself. 

cable_s
PAL vs NTSC board keyboard cables.

I however did not get longer cable for the speaker (i tend to keep it unplugged anyway) but that’s something maybe needs to be done later.

 

AE heavy-duty power supply:

ae_psu_installed_s

It really looks good doesn’t it? Applied Engineering is one of my favorite companies that made products for Apple II-line.

ae_psu_specs_s

And it’s beefier than the regular, stock power supply that Apple used.

VGA-scaler installation:

vga-scaler_setup_ntsc_board_s

As i used the VGA-Scaler (from a2heaven.com) i installed that too. It’s installed the same way as in PAL board, but just the chips are in different location. I had to use longer cable to reach the chip in location F5 that i was using with the PAL board.

Installed in : SLOT 7
Board type: Apple IIe NTSC 1982, 620-0064-B/607-0164

Installation:
– SEROUT > C5 74LS10 PIN 3  
– GR > D5 344-0022 PIN 2 
– 14M > F5 74LS166 PIN 7

New cards setup:

AUX RAMWorks 8M (a2heaven)
#1 -empty-
#2 -empty-
#3 Transwarp (AE original)
#4 TimeMaster II H.O. (a2heaven)
#5 MicroDrive/Turbo CF-HDD (reactivemicro)
#6 Disk II interface (apple original)
#7 VGA-Scaler (a2heaven)

I might change the keyboard too, i feel one of the other //e’s i have does have better response keyboard… different switches?

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Yet an another Apple //e “early” PAL:

setup_s

This Apple //e “early” (PAL) model i happened to find during my summer vacation. There was one old MicroComputer shop that had closed up and they were emptying their warehouse from excess material. The owner was also a PC collector so there were lots of mainly, PC stuff around. But after seing few pictures i thought that there were “early” //e model and Apple Monitor /// (the later with beige front panel) so arranged the time and drove there. It was about 400km round trip but i had the time.

Luckily i had agreed beforehand to buy this set (without seeing it actually any closer) as when i got there, there were other people interested in Apple II’s  as well (!). There were two quite dusty and yellow //e’s that they grabbed before me. Anyway, it turned out to be an another of those “early” 1983 models with different case (Jerry Manock designed). Those are not so common over here so naturally iwas happy to add one to my hoard… collection.

Details
board_serial_s_2

All chips socketed (thank god).

Board date: 1883 (also have : “8333” hand written)  
Board code: 820-0073-A 1982 (c)
Board model: B-607-0664
Board manuf: R8316
Case serial : A2S064P : 2A2S2-138295
Serial Label : 825-0472-A / 220V, 50Hz, ~0.5A
Case date stamped inside : 6. MAI 1983 (Friday, Week 18, 1983)

case_serial_stampe_s6. MAI 1983

Chips :

chips_rom_dates_s

-Keyboard ROM 341-0152 (Rev.A Apple 82) 
-Video ROM *label missing* should be 341-0162 REV.B 
-EF ROM 342-0134-A 
-CD ROM 342-0135-B 
-CPU R65C02P3 II450-I3 8439 
Interesting! The other “early” unit i have it also have the same CPU R65C02P3 II45-I3 from the same week! 8439 (!) 

-As the ROM’s are not enhanced, i’ll swap the CPU to regular 6502 when i find one.

-Power supply: Astec AA11040C (230V, 50Hz. 0.5A)


Cards:

Very basic cards. Nothing excting.

-Disk II interface card
-Apple 64k/80col card (607-0103)

Testing:

Cleaned the system thoroughly, good place to dry things up is naturally the Sauna! The keycaps were cleaned in a soap liquid for a day and then brushed with toothbrush.

sauna_1_s
At sauna.. no heat on.


Crepairs_booted_s

As the power supply is old and i really don’t want to blow it up right now, i tested this unit with known good recapped AE Heavy Duty PSU.

Booted fine with AE psu. The color picture was bit shaky. The video connector would need some cleaning.

Used the “Apple //e diagnostic card” -to check if the unit had any obious issues.

Keyboard: worked otherwise but “H” -keyswitch seems to be broken. Will be replaced.

Diagnostic was 100% otherwise.

Glad to have an another of these early ones added up to my collection.

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple //e Forever.

 

Retr0bright by sunlight?

001_s

I heard and saw a video about doing the retr0bright with just sunlight few months ago : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P1OVj0IcqY

I was curious to test it, no matter it being hoax or not. Risks were low. However, I had to wait To get good weather here in Finland. When the weather got better, I chose the piece to be tested with: Apple //e 65c02 (Nordic, swe/fin) unit’s lid was good candidate. It had yellowed but in the middle where the monitor had stand for years, was not much so. Therefore, there would be great contrast In addition, should get good results.

002_s

Therefore, I removed the logos from the lid, cleaned it and placed in the sun. After first day, maybe 5 hours of direct sunlight blasted the lid, but I could not see any difference. So I kept going, on and off when I had the time, for days, actually few weeks, total maybe being somewhere between 30-40 hours. Then I gave up.  I thought it did nothing… but when i compared it to the case (indoors), there was quite a big difference! 

There is talk how it makes the plastic brittle, aging it faster and turning it to dust etc… But if this is not happening over weeks, months or a year, I really do not care. If the sunlight would break things in short time, there would be serious warning about it to consumers.

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Custom fonts for your Apple II : MultiFont-ROM

setup_1

MultiFont-ROM is custom ROM in a adapter that comes with push button & potentiometer to change the font that is currently used by the system. The font can be changed on-the-fly. There is total of 8 different fonts pre-installed and selectable by the user. 

It is designed to work with Apple //e, //e enhanced – PAL or NTSC.

It comes with:

– The adapter with the EPROM chip installed and preprogrammed (27256).
– Potentiometer with adjusting knob and wiring.
– Push button with wiring.

 

INSTALLING:

installation_pal_e_s

The PAL and NTSC Apple //e’s are little diffferent so the installation is a bit different to each as well. When installing, some revisions of the main logic board might have the lower quality plastic sockets that require more force when installing the adapter. Be carefull not to break any pins.

PAL Apple //e
Locate the VIDEO ROM (341-016X-A) and replace it with the MultiFont-ROM.
On PAL Apple //e the main logic board the socket is 28-pin so you need to install the adapter so that the pins 1,2 and 27, 28 are NOT CONNECTED.

NTSC Apple //e
Locate the VIDEO ROM (341-016X-A) and replace it with the MultiFont-ROM. On NTSC Apple //e the main logic board the socket is 24-pin so it can be installed directly.

Buttons/Potentiometer:

The push button cable can be connected to either of two pins of the adapter (it doesn’t matter if it’s left or right alligned).

With potentiometer the orientation doesn’t matter either, you can install the cable either way to the connector. The MultiFont-adapter will auto-detect type of connected control device.

The buttons can be routed out of the case in few ways, either from the back side and out using the slot holes, or simply thru the vent holes. Unless you’re Hot Rodder and run your Apple //e without the lid .. 

 

HOW ABOUT USING IT?

With the push button installed, when you press the button, the font changes to next one. When you hold it for more than 2 seconds, the chosen font is saved as default and it is set as default font even after power cycle.

With potentiometer you can change font by rotating the wheel and the chosen font is defaulted.

The preprogrammed fonts on the ROM look like the following:

 font_8_s

font_7_s

font_6_s

font_5_s

font_4_s

font_3_s

font_2_s

font_1_s

 The fonts are useable in any software, anywhere. I played “Zork III” text adventure with different fonts and it was surely looked different. Not all fonts are suitable for such use as of playing games for example, but as the fonts are edit- and replaceable, the possiblities are endless.

zork_iii_5_s 
Zork III

zork_iii_4_s
Zork III

zork_iii_3_s
Zork III

zork_iii_2_s
Zork III

zork_iii_1_s
Zork III

 

SOFTWARE FOR MAKING/REPLACING FONTS:

There is downloadble software available for Windows, from a2heaven.com, writen by Plamen Vaysiov:

apple-ii-font-editor-software_s
FontEditor : to edit or design fonts of your own

combine_fonts_software_2
CombineFonts : to combine several fonts to single combined binary file.

You can add 8 different fonts to the binary. The ready binary then can be then burned to suitable EPROM-chip (eprom programmer needed) and used with the MultiFont-ROM adapter. I didn’t have any suitable EPROM-chips at hand time time, but i’ll be testing this when the order arrives from China..

 
THOUGHTS?

It is cool little device. It’s installed in the Video-ROM socket and you are able to use the Apple’s default font as well. The preprogrammed fonts are all different, including one Japanise. Design your own, edit the existing ones – possibilities are endless. Add your Apple II to have fonts from C64.. Atari… Spectrum… anything you want.

Change fonts because you CAN! Hackin’ away.

 

a2heaven_logo

MultiFont-ROM is available from a2heaven.com 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

“Welcome to the world of real time!” – Timemaster II H.O. by a2heaven.com

timemaster_ii_ho_top_s
Timemaster II H.O. by a2heaven.com

timemasterho_med
The original Timemaster II H.O. by Applied Engineering

 

…before

Back in the day, Apple II’s didn’t have real time clocks so you couldn’t see from files when they were created or use the date/time in your programs, calculate time intervals and so on.  Several companies released their own Real Time Clock card solutions for the Apple II. Most popular being the Thunderclock Plus from Thunderware Incorporated released in 1980. It quickly became the standard “clock cards” of the time that majority of different software supported. An another popuar card was AppleClock by Mountain Computer. Later Applied Engineering released Timemaster II H.O. – the fourth generation of clock cards – most likely, the most advanced clock card relased for the Apple II. It was capable of showing 24 hour format or 12 hour with AM/PM format, millisecond timekeeping with an accuracy of 0.00005%. It had a onboard timer which could time down any interval up to 48 days. It also maintained an internal calendar, separate of the 7 year cycle which ProDOS mapped. The Timemaster H.O. was 100% ProDOS and DOS 3.3 compatible.

The H.O. was for “High Output”. This referred to the 8-pin Digital I/O port on the card for remote commands. Through this port, one could hook up Applied Engineering’s BSR X-10 interface and “command console” to remotely control for example lights and electrical appliances. The BSR-system could send signals over existing 120 volt wiring.

…and now:

Timemaster II H.O. by a2heaven.com is modernized, smaller, if not tiny, clone of the original Applied Engineering card with the I/O connector for for home automation X-10 -devices. 

The card is designed, manufactured and sold by Plamen “Bulgarian Woz” Vaysilov of a2heaven.com

It was tested to work with Apple II+, //e, Laser 128 (ext.slot 7 enabled), CEC-E (ext.slot/slot 2 setup) and Pravetz 82, 8A, 8C, 8M.

There is SOS-driver for Thunderware Thunderclock Plus Clock card for Apple /// that is supported by the Timemaster II H.O.

card_small_ready
1 = Switches for modes/interrupts
2 = Pins for BSR/X10 devices
3 = Jumpers for enabling/disabling the LED’s
4 = Adjusting the quartz crystal
5 = CR1220 battery holder 

 

INSTALLATION:

battery_holder_s

You need to supply the battery yourself, it is common type CR1220. There’s holder for it in the card PCB. I had to press & bend the small metal fingers in top side of the battery holder so they would keep the battery in place and it not dropping off.

The card be installed in any slot, expect 0 in II+ or AUX in //e. Preferred slot is 4. Some commerical software expects a clock to be in slot 4 but it does work in any slot.

Make certain the switch #1 is ON (closed) in order to be able to setup the time. After setting the time you can if you wish, so you wont accidentally change it, turn it OFF.

SWITCHES:

switches_s_3

There’s Four switches:
#1 Set the time ON/OFF (must be CLOSED when setting the time)
#2 Mode: of the clock : Appleclock/TimeMaster II (selects the display mode)
#3 Enables the Non-Maskable Interrupt
#4 Enables the Interrupt Request 

OPEN – OFF. Push down towards “OPEN” to turn Switch off. The normal settings are switches 1 and 4 CLOSED, and 2 and 3 OPEN.

JUMPERS:

There’s three jumpers on the card, all with jumper inserted. You can controll the led’s of the card with these jumpers inserted/removed.

When jumper inserted (LED is “ON”) or not inserted (LED is “OFF”):

– First jumper = GREEN accessing the clock 
– Second jumper = RED write access 
– Third jumper = BLUE interrupt access  

When powered the GREEN or BLUE led is light, depends of the mode of the chosen clock card type. This works with or without jumpers inserted.

USAGE:

The Timemaster II H.O. supports fully DOS 3.3 (patched), ProDOS, Pascal and CP/M.

The current time information is available from the clock via DOS 3.3, ProDOS, Pascal etc to your own programs. Also there’s suppport for CP/M if you have such card installed on your system.

It supports:
-Time in hours (24 or 12 with AM/PM format), minutes, seconds and milliseconds (the only ProDOS compatible card with millisecond capability). 

-Date with year, month, day of week and leap year.

But,there’s a marjor bug in original firmware..
When you setup the date, and you can do it up to 2083 (1984-2083) but it will only dislay the year up to 1999. But if i saved the year “2019” it turned out to be “1919” or show’d as “15-MAY-19”.

The different modes:
Dip switch #2 : Mode of the clock : Appleclock/TimeMaster II (selects the display mode)

– AppleClock = (CLOSED) support for older types of Clocks and formats. Format : MO/DD HH:MM:SS:WYY
– TimeMaster II = (OPEN) support for many other more modern types of Clocks and formats. 

Supports various output formats & Thunderclock (Applesoft, Integer) compatible.

(CLOSED)
APPLE CLOCK MODE : 
MO/DD HH:MI:SS:WYY
12/14 15:30:23:384

 

(OPEN)
TIMEMASTER MODE :
W MO/DD/YY HH:MI:SS
3 12/14/83 15:30:23

THUNDER CLOCK APPLESOFT :
WWW MMM DD HH:MI:SS PM
FRI DEC 14 04:30:23

THUNDER CLOCK APPLESOFT :
WWW MMM D HH:MI:SS
FRI DEC 14 15:30:23

THUNDER CLOCK APPLESOFT : 
MO,OW,DD,HH,MI,SS
12,03,14,15,30,23

THUNDER CLOCK INTEGER :
WWW MMM DD HH:MI:SS PM
FRI DEC 14 03:30:23 PM

THUNDER CLOCK INTEGER : 
WWW MMM DD HH:MI:SS
FRI DEC 14 15:30:23

The Timemaster II mode is clearly prefered mode with it’s larger variation of supported output formats. TimeMaster II H.O. is really 8 clocks in one with it’s different modes!

 

READING THE CLOCK?

Reading the time can be done by Basic easily. You can call the clock easily and get different formats of time to be used in your own programs. That does depends however what mode your card is set on. Clearly the TimeMaster mode is superior.

It’s also possible search in your basic program the actual slot where the card is installed and what mode it is currently at. Other languages can be used to fetch the time and date from the clock as well.

The card supports milliseconds, for that the interrupts are needed (setting up the switch for it). DOS 3.3 canbe made to support it with “Patch DOS 3.3 for Interrupts”.

Automatic time/date stamping (DOS 3.3):
To use time/date stamping with DOS 3.3, there’s patch for it “INSTALL DOS DATER”. The card must be in TimeMaster mode (#2 open)

Automatic time/date stamping (ProDOS)
With ProDOS it’s already automatic there’s no need for patching. It shows already the info as : Date and time of original creation of the file, and date and time of last modification.

 

REMOTE CONTROL:

The BSR X-10 interface for the TimeMaster II H.O. allows you to send remote control signals to your BSR Ultrasonic command console. The command console sends the commands to your 120 Volt AC wiring to remotely controll appliances or almost any electrical device plugged with BSR remote module with. So you can turn on ligts or heating. Real high tech for mid 1980’s!

I have no such devices..  and not sure if it would even work with local current (230V) but the support is there.. So go ahead and try it yourself 🙂 Controll your home from your Apple II!

 

CALIBRATION:

Over the time the clock quartz crystal oscilator may slighly need to be adjusted, this can be done with the trimmer top of the 18-pin chip in the middle by using small screwdriver.

 

THOUGHTS?

dos_dater_s

After the DOS 3.3 is patched, the files got date stamped correctly. This is something every modern computer user is used to, as there’s no need for these kinds of clock cards anymore. It’s odd feeling to have this feature with Apple II as i didn’t think i was missing anything. I have few clock cards but i haven’t used them frequently simply due lack of free slots..

But it is usefull. With cases like programming where you might have many similar files and the version control might be difficult without the time/date stamping. Depends of your methods and processes of cause. Also it is handy feature when you write lots of text documents with i.e. AppleWorks or such.

Getting correct time/date for your own program or calculating the time intervals can be now done. We take that for granted these days.

The build quality is good. The PCB is white as it being an signature of a2heaven.com. Only the battery holder needed some adjusting but that’s nothing major. The card i had for testing was Revision 1.0.

I do not have the original AE Timemaster II H.O. so comparing to it is not possible. I however believe this is accurate and fully working clone of the original (with the same firmware).

qr_code_s 
The QR-code on back of the card’s PCB takes you to a2heaven.com – see you there!

 

a2heaven_logo

TimeMaster II H.O is available from a2heaven.com 

 

LINKS:
User’s Manual and Timemaster II H.O. software:
http://ae.applearchives.com/all_apple_iis/time_master_ii_ho/

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Light up my drive : DISK II-LED

led_setup_1_s
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:

disk_ii_and_diskiiled_s
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.

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

installed_disk2led_s
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.


disk_ii_led_installed_apple_iic_s
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.

led_installed_s
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:

main_menu_s

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:

control_panel_led_configuration_s
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:

control_panel_testing_led_s
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

 

 

a2heaven_logo

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

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.