Category Archives: CHINA

Apple II finds:

picked_up_some_apple_ii_materials_s
Just for the sake of history:
I got these parts locally from a guy i once bought Apple II europlus several years ago. These belonged to his father who passed a way few years ago. He was real electronics professinal and hobbyist. He’s house was covered with all kinds of electronics stuff from tubes, amps, guitars, computers, you name it – he had it or could build or repair it. I’ve never seen so much electronics in one place. Not even in shops.

mpf_iii_keyboard_swefin_s
I was lucky to get the MicroProfessor III (MPF-III) keyboard (localized, Swe/Fin) and hope he’s able to find the whole unit as well someday. MicroProfessor was made by Multitech (later known as ACER) and it was close to, but not, 100% clone of Apple II+ or //e (48k(64k). I really hope to get complate working set of this model to my collection!

 

paddles_bebek_closeup_s
Common Atari-styled paddles. What makes it interesting for me, is that they have stickers from “Bebek” on them. Bebek was and still is, electronics shop operating since 1970’s. They sold some Apple II clone products back in the 1980’s. The owner of the Bebek-stores was family friend of the owner of these Apple II materials.

all_tapes_s
Nice set of original Apple and ITT, tapes.

floppy_drive_and_controller_s
Slim, half-height floppy drive, controller card and some (CP/M i believe) floppies. I have few of these drives and they are nice and quiet when operated. Specially nice for the clone modes if you have such.

multitech_mpf_310_cpu_schematics_s
There were LOTS of photocopied manuals, books and schematics. This is for MPF-III-310 model.

tape_2_insert_s
Chinese pirated games on tape! How cool is that? They might have sold these back in the 80’s quite openly in electronics stores..

card_1_s
Appears to be ALF MC16 -music card clone.

corvus_card_s
Corvus interface card (for hdd?).

all_things_s
All that there were:

Apple II+ clone case with lid
Several binders full of Apple II-documentation
Radio Shack Catalog – 1990
Slim floppy 5.25″-drive
Disk II interface-card (clone)
Paddles (Bebek-labeled)
Joysticks (2 pcs) of different condition
Some 5.25″ floppy disks (CP/M software)
The Apple II Circuit Description-book
ALF MC16 -sound card (clone)
Corvus interface card (HDD?)
Few Apple stickers
Macintosh 512k keyboards (3 pcs)
Multitech MPF-III keyboard Swe/Fin 
Synthetizier cable for Apple II 
Software tapes:
Apple:
-Renumber/Append | Alignment Test Tone (600-2024-00)
-Color Demosoft | Little Brick Out (600-2023-00)
ITT:
-Basic Test Program 16K | Ram Test
Chinese pirated tapes:
-Catch | Star Avenger
-Choplifter | Sea Fox

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

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.

 

Half-height slim-floppy drives:

top-front_s
Got these from a friend as a trade. He had saved these from the 80’s and not used them ever since. These were once used in a local textile factory close by his home. 

bottom_s
Bottom-view. Just different color from the bottom. The mechanism looks the same on both however they do sound totally different when reading the floppy.

cec-e_with_two_drives_s
I wanted these as the original Apple II disk drive, Disk II-drive didn’t boot for some reason with the CEC-E (it did with CEC-I). Disk II-drive did power up, but it would not boot or read anything from it. These drives work just fine (as i thought) and they are quite quiet as well. And they do look nice with the clone that CEC-E certainly is.

cec-e_with_one_drive_saxxon_s2
Zaxxon time! The colors look bit off. I think some component on the board is having issues as the picture starts to degrade after few minutes when the CEC-E is been turned on untill it’s totally unreadable mess. An another project then with another time…..

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Chinese pirated Apple II manuals (中国盗版苹果ii手册)

chinese_copy_manuals_s

These Chinese pirated/copied Apple II books/user’s guides were obtained from Sweden (Peter Fuks) last year. These are quite faithful copies of the originals, only printed in cheaper paper and all copyrights/product info removed as one would imagine..

– Apple II User’s Guide
– Visiterm User’s Guide
– Apple 6502 Assembler/Editor
– Apple Writer
– Apple Writer II
– Bag of Tricks
– Beneath Apple DOS
– User’s Guide Lisa 2.5

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple ][ forever.

CEC-I (beige/white)

img_20170729_1835272_sThis beige/white colored CEC-I i got from China as well. This must have been manufactured in different province and factory (if somebody know in which provinces & cities these were made at?). My knownledge of chinese relies on google translate, my wife and help of other Apple II-enthusiasts.

beige_board_s
The board looks pretty much the same as in the “red” one i got earlier. Sadly both CEC-I’s i have, do not power up. I have had no time to investigate (i am not so skilled with electricity afterall) why.

img_20170730_0911082_s
All the connectors are well marked. Left: joystick, Right: Casette port.

img_20170730_0911163_s
The backside is pretty much identical to the “red” one.

img_20170730_0911164
This is the “Disk II” port in the back. The connector is integraded into the main logic board.

img_20170730_0911302_s
Manufacturing information.

img_20170730_092034_s
ROM-chips.

img_20170730_092042_s
More ROM-chips.

img_20170730_0920122_s
Power supply specs.

img_20170729_2010082_s
Also came with slot extender (yes, externder as height!) as the slot is inside the machine and there’s an slot where you put the card inside, IF you actually could. But.. the card would be really small. So there’s this slot extender that allows you put cards to it as it extends outside the case…. like this:img_20170730_0913342_s
It does extend outside of the case. Wonder if something like FASTchip //e would work on it…. 🙂

img_20170730_0958232_s
The in the main logic board you can actually setup the slot what number it is. Good idea, BUT you need to open the case in order to change it.

Got also few manuals (copies/reprints) but they are rather ok quality. Originals seems to be difficult to find in China. Lots of those are scanned and now in Archive.org.

Luckily there is now some CEC-I enthusiasts around the world to seek and preserve
these obscure and rare pieces of Chinese computer history. So much more specially software
should be found. If you can help, please contact using email address on this blog.

Now only if could find the CEC-E and CEC-1A.

If i ever get to go the KansasFest i’ll bring one along if somebody wants to take an shot repairing one.  Or any volunteers before that? 🙂

CEC-I : China Education Computer – Part 1

Most of us are aware of Apple ][ -clones made mainly in Taiwan, but also other countries like Bulgaria, Brazil etc but how many of us have heard of Apple //e clone made in Mainland People’s Republic of China? 

There are two models that i am aware of (Apple II clones that is) made by the Shaanxi Province Computer Factory and Huaming Computer Co.
– CEC-I – made in beige and red colors
– CEC-E – made in beige color, more rare of the two.

I’ve collected some information what i’ve been able to gather around with google/translate:

CEC-I Chinese learning machine is organized by the Ministry of Electronics Industry Computer and Information Bureau, Tsinghua University presided over the joint design, the electronics division six, state-owned 734 plant, Shaanxi Province Computer Factory and Huaming Computer Co.., Ltd. to participate in the development of a smart Type microcomputer. The CEC-I Chinese learning machine is compatible with the Apple IIe computer and has the same functionality as the Apple IIe.

The CEC-I Chinese learning machine is compatible with the Apple IIe computer, and its functionality is comparable to Apple IIe, which can run a variety of software running on the Apple II , including numerical and non-numerical software, primary and secondary school teaching software , As well as games and other software. Host has a solid monitoring program, BASIC language, Chinese BASIC language Words, and LOGO language , so a boot user can use these languages, without having to read from the floppy disk or tape memory.

CPU 6502, 8-bit microprocessor, 64K addressing space, 1MHz frequency.
Memory 64K bytes of RAM, two 50464 (64k x 4).
ROM 32K bytes, curing monitor and BASIC, LOGO (subset) language, one piece 27256.
Chinese character system GB2312 one, two Chinese character font (two one trillion ROM)
Chinese character management system (to provide location and Pinyin input method, another piece of 27256)
Display interface PAL system RF signal (RF), PAL system TV video signal (CVBS)
The recorder interface is used as a memory. Output voltage 25mV, output impedance 100O (MIC).
Input Signal Peak – Peak Voltage 1V, Input Impedance 12kO (EAR)
Keyboard 69 key, on the panel of the host
9-pin joystick interface.
5.25 “single-sided floppy drive interface. 0.25W, 😯 speaker.
A [apple] series of 50 lines of expansion slots compatible with APPLE II.
25W switching power supply.
Half of each clock cycle is read by the display interface for display, and the memory is refreshed at the same time.
The other half of the time by the processor to read and write memory.
ROM contains a small assembler. ROM in the BASIC is APPLESOFT, adding a few statements

I was lucky enough to find an CEC-I thru a collector in Mainland China.

cec-i_manual
“User’s Guide for the CEC-I”

cec-professors
Looks like some Chinese teacher investigating the CEC-I (red version of it).

cec-class-cn
Full class of CEC-computers. That does look like CEC-E model in the desk.

box_1
My CEC-I came in a box, however in really bad shape (possibly have mold on it, so i must throw it away). They seem to have produced the CEC-I’s in Red and beige colors.

box_end
End of the box. All wet at sometime.

01_cec-i_outside_s
So this is it: the CEC-I Chinese Education Computer 1 in it’s all RED glory. It does have an feeling of Japanise MSX computers at the time as the arrow keys are arranged in grid, like in some Sony MSX computers had. And there’s an slot opening in top for expansion cards/modules.

02_cec-i_logo_s
CEC-I XUE XI JI

03_cec_i_connectors_s
Connectors in the right side are: Joystick (left) and “Casette player” (right). Oddly the casette port (DIN) have been covered by manufacturing sticker (or moved there).

04_cec_i_connectors_power_s
And another side we have the switch for the power.

05_cec_i_back_connectors_s
In the back we have connectors for : disk II drive, monitor and composite video input.

08_cec_i_bottom_s
The bottom of the case is missing few rubber feet and there’s no serial badge either. The plastic is hard and i can imagine it breaks easily and scratches easily.

09_cec_i_opened_keyboard_s
When opened, there’s just 6 screws to remove, we can see the keyboard and the logic board. There is one slot for expansion, but i am not sure how you can add any cards to it as the space so small.. it should fit outside the case. Some sort of module maybe?

10_cec_i_keyboard_pcb_s
Keyboard pcb from the bottom.

12_cec_i_logicboard_closeup_serial_s
Model number, serial number and two ROM chips.

13_cec_i_logicboard_rom_s
ROM chips.

14_cec_i_logicboard_chips_sChips of the board.

15_cec_i_logicboard_chips_2_s
Keyboard controller & other chips.

16_cec_i_rfmodulator_sRF-1 modulator.

17_cec_i_disk_ii_connector_s
There’s the Disk II drive connector integrated on the logic board directly.

18_cec_i_powersupply_s
Close up of the power supply.

19_cec_i_speakers_s
And of cos we need an speaker.

In Part 2 i’ll have the CEC-I cleaned up and will boot it up and see what happens….