Category Archives: CPM

Apple II and CP/M:

digital_research
CP/M being very popular Operating system back in the 70’s and early 80’s, lots of CP/M (soft) cards were made for the Apple II as well. One of the first ones was released by Microsoft, called “Z-80 Softcard” in 1980 and being first hardware product released by Microsoft. That card then was obiously cloned by Taiwanese and other manufacturers.

Wikipedia:
The Z-80 SoftCard is a plug-in coprocessor card developed by Microsoft to turn the Apple II personal computer into a CP/M system based upon the Zilog Z80 CPU. Becoming the most popular CP/M platform and Microsoft’s top revenue source for 1980, it was eventually renamed the Microsoft SoftCard and was succeeded by Microsoft’s Premium Softcard IIe for the Apple IIe.

Introduced in 1980 as Microsoft’s first hardware product, and bundled with the Microsoft BASIC programming language, the Z-80 SoftCard is a coprocessor card enabling the Apple II to run the Digital Research CP/M operating system, which was the industry-standard operating system for running business software. This gives Apple II users access to many more business applications, including compilers and interpreters for several high-level languages. CP/M, one of the earliest cross-platform operating systems, is easily adaptable to a wide range of auxiliary chips and peripheral hardware, but it requires an Intel 8080-compatible CPU, which the Zilog Z80 is, but which the Apple’s CPU, the MOS Technology 6502, is not. The SoftCard has a Zilog Z80 CPU plus some 74LS00 series TTL chips to adapt that processor’s bus to the Apple bus.

 Recent additions:my_cards_s
I came across few interesting cards made by Applied Engineering (Z-80 Plus) and Personal Computer Products Inc. (APPLI-CARD) and those run either 4 or 6mhz. These are the high-quality cards and not just plain clones.

setof_s
I think this picture of the set was from ebay:

floppy_s
Software:

box_s
Box of the set:

Applied Engineering Z-80 Plus (Z80 @ 4mHz)
http://ae.applearchives.com/all_apple_iis/z-80_plus/z-80_plus_brochure.pdf

Personal Computer Products Inc. APPLI-CARD (Z80 @ 4mhz or 6mhz)
http://apple2online.com/web_documents/appli-card_manual.pdf
http://apple2online.com/web_documents/pcpi_mini_manual.pdf

CP/M by Digital Research:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP/M

FinApple (c) 2018.
Apple ][ forever.

Roadtrip: Swedish Apple’s

It all begins when i was contacted by Peter Fuks, who was an Chairman of the AUG (Apple User’s Group Sweden) in 1999-2002.

http://A2central.com
Apple User Group of Sweden – formed in the early 1980s, the AUG still has 30-35 enthusiastic members. The group usually meets twice a year in Stockholm and Gothenburg, usually 5-10 people each, and has an extensive software library, ”mostly older games on 5.25? disks. To join the group, the fee is 150 Swedish crowns (US $10) per year. For more information, visit the group’s web site at http://www.appleusergroup.org.

So Peter offered some Apple ][ material he needed to dispose due need of space and lack of time as well other hobbies taking time when he got retired and he knew i could preserve the software and if there were, anything else, paper material for the other users and for the future.

I was very honored and we figured out the dates as i’d need to travel from Finland to Sweden with ferry and take my car with me. It took some months to find the suitable dates and i booked the tickets to Viking Line-ferry that goes from Helsinki to Stockholm. It’s about 16.5 hour per side with the boat so it would take about two days for the trip in total.

Leaving: “It was Roadtrip time!”on_boat_s
So it was roadtrip time! My friend Marko joined me to the trip and i picked him from train station and we headed to the ferry. I booked the tickets so i could drive the car in the boat first, and get out, first. That would save time and nerves.

leaving_boat_inside_s
Lots of cars and trucks use the ferries to get over the sea to Sweden.

Arriving: “Så här är vi i sverige”
Arriving at 10:00 to Sweden. Weather was nice but slightly clowdy. Nice and dry compared to Finland when we left..

Driving to: “On our way to Järfälla”
Järfälla is about 20km away from downtown Stockholm to north-west so it’s rather easy task to drive there and back. There’s not that much time as the boat leaves back in afternoon but enough for quick round trip there. Or so we thought.. My GPS-navigator is about 10 years old that was however ok, it did work out well. Just IF i would have believed the route it offered.. I tried to use my own very easy, very fast route that i could now however track from the GPS-device itself…  so we drove some 15km to wrong direction first then i started to actually pay attention to the GPS and changed the route… and we found the place. Rather easily in the end 🙂

At Peter’s home: “Meeting Peter”
jorma_peter_marko_s
Me, Peter and Marko:

Peter and his wife, Gunnel, were waiting. So we drinked some coffee, talked about the tech in general (Peter collects old radios and those are so beautiful!) and the loaded up the car. We were sadly bit on a tight schedule so there were not so much time i was hoping. Peter and Gunnel were as nice people as you could think of.

Peter’s Computers:
peter_fuks_s

Peter have/have had, lots of Apple ][ computers over the years. He had kept two i think, of Apple //e’s. The main unit he had was really COOL hacked one with just motherboard inside, external keyboard, HDD, 5.25″ and 3.5″ drives with powersupply in another external case!
He had Slotbuster, Phasor cards on his board among PC Transporter setup. What an great period perfect hack-unit!

peters_apple_iie_s
Inside of the Peter’s Apple //e with SlotBuster-card.

 

Leaving: “Heading back to Stockholm”
apple_ii_from_sweden_packed_s
Car packed with Apple ][-goodies..

leaving_sweden_s

Getting back to the ferry thru downtown Stockholm was easier than i tought. The GPS took us thru the oldtown of the Stockholm and thru the  construction area of Slussen, but the route was so FAST. We got in time to the ferry and even had to wait quite a bit to get in.

getting_into_ferry_s
Waiting to drive the car inside the ferry at Stockholm harbor.

At home:
Roadtrip was over! Took about 40 hours for the total trip or so.

Of cos when getting home, i unloaded the material to my work/hobby/mancave-room but only few hours later, had time to start looking into them (i was exicited of cos).

What were there?apple_iis_s
Apple ][-case : REAL ][ but no serial number on bottom for some reason, only reads “2000”, Apple //e (taiwanese clone), Apple //e.

pineapple_board_s
Pineapple : Apple II+ clone motherboard + ROM card

boards_cards_sApple //e international NTSC board, CP/M card (Microsoft card clone) with Microsoft Softcard manuals & floppies. The //e board reads “broken” so it might need some work to get it working again.

user_news_swedish_s
The Swedish Apple User’s Group (AUG Sweden) “User News” – magazines from 1982-1983.
These are very interesting! These all will be scanned of cos.

books-catalogs_2_s
Manuals of all kinds and some game manuals for various games (copied), Apple II books etc. Some of the books “Bag of Tricks” and “Beneath the Apple DOS” seems to be Taiwanese/Hongkong copies. Deep Dark Castle Magazine’s are interesting, somesort of BBS-user’s magazine i think?

books-catalogs_s
Few books, catalogs, Beagle Bros. manuals, Pineapple catalog/magazine.

books-catalogs_3_s
Apple Answer Books Vol.1 and 2 and some manuals and catalogs.

softcard_s
Microsoft Softcard manuals with disks (13-sector).

original_software_s
Original games (EPYX)) and Apple Special Delivery title and even one Apple /// software.

software_tapes_s
Early (1979) original games in casette with boxes (!). These things are quite rare.

magazines_sMagazines of all kinds: Call A.P.P.L.E., Nibble, Byte, InCider, User’s News (Swedish) etc.

broderbund_sBroderbund – catalogs.

hdd_s
Heavy-beast, HDD-drive (assuming 5MB) with the interface card. Never have had an “real hdd” with Apple ][ before.

hdd_back_s
Connections in the back. Made in Sweden i’d say.

card_connection_s
Interface-card.

scsi_card_s
Model/number.

floppies_s
Floppies : about 50 pcs (Apple II and CP/M).

Lots of material to be preserved! It’s like christmas for geeky Apple ][ guy like me.

FinApple 2017 (c)
Apple ][ forever.

 

Sega SG-1000 & Colecovision on your Apple //e ?

SEGA SG-1000:

 

SONY DSC

Was the very first video-gaming console released by SEGA in 1983.
Running with Zilog’s Z80 3.58MHz with amazing 1kB of RAM and 2kB of VRAM and capable of displaying up to 16 colors.

 

COLECOVISION:

colecvision_1

Was Coleco Industries’s second generation home video-game console released in August 1982.
Running with Zilog’s Z80A at 3.58MHZ

So what is this “CP/M Turbo 7 with VDP-1000 Plus”-combo then?

01_cards_front_s

Ian Kim of Apple2.net from South Korea have made very interesting board-add-on to his previously released, CP/M Turbo 7-card. It’s called “VDP-1000 Plus” wich is an VDP-option board which you can add to your CP/M Turbo 7-card. If you add it later, it requires some soldering or if you buy them together as a kit, they come completely ready product.

Basicly it allows running SEGA SG-1000 and Colecovision games on your Apple //e at 2MHz.
Both of those systems were Z80 based (and this opens interesting thoughts..) so the add-on card CP/M Turbo 7 acts as an processor for those two systems and the VPD-1000 Plus-add-on works as video generator for both. Currently they sell about 160 dollars + shipping at Ian’s Webpage (see link in the end) as a combo.

Explanations from Ian Kim:

vpd_1
CPLD chip have logic circuits to act as the SG1000 and Colecovision same I/O address decoders for Joypad, TMS9918 and SN76489. TMS9918 require 1bit DRAM 8pcs but, 1bit 16Kb DRAM is rare andmore it required negative voltage so, changed non negative DRAM but,
finally I decided to use 8bits one SRAM. it is much easier to find hence, the circuits should be much different than original.  Finally I’ve used one 9bit 32K SRAM. it is still oversize but cheap and one SRAM required. Three latch used and one Not chip. It were used to split data I/O and Address.

Sound generator chip is SN76489 which is used by SG1000 and Colecovision. it have three tones and one noise and it has some strange behavior it made sound after power ON not accessed but it generating noise maybe it is too much small to put reset function.

So, when I apply this sound chip and power ON the APPLE II, it start making annoying noise as beep… so, I must OFF this so used switch. Now, It is ON when the board start to work. Also Video output can be switched from APPLE II and VDP side. It active when  data come to VDP address.

vpd_2

So how it all fits in yer Apple //e then?

04_all_cards_assembled_sInstallation : you install the both cards together and then put the combined cards in SLOT #1. There’s the joystick connector you need to connect, and video signal you take to the internal video connector on the Apple //e motherboard as well the audio+video cables (red and white rca-type) you need to connect to your monitor for video and audio output.

video_connection
Internal video cable connection to motherboard:

05_installed_sInstalled.

speed
Set up of speed Z80-card to 2mhz “normal” otherwise the SEGA or Colecovision-modes are not working.

 

sega-or-col
Set up of system VPD-mode, choose which mode you wish to use (from the VPD-card). “SEGA” or “COLV”.

So, how you use it?

The card came with links to few disk images (.nib and .hdv) that contain the basic bootup (ProDOS) software you need to boot first from. I used the .hdv file (hdd image) with Apple //e Enhanced NTSC with CFFA3000. At boot you need to choose wich system you are using:

10_booted_menu_s
1. SEGA SG-1000
2. COLECOVISION

11_files_s
And after choosing it lists you the rom files that are included – or you have transfered to the disk image yourself. It asks what ROM-file you want to load up, and after you type the filename, it loads it up. The software itself is very simple basic program so you can modify it at will.

Then you’re, with luck, good to go!

 

It works! It works!

13_sega_sg1000_hero_s
H.E.R:O. (Activision) running with SEGA SG-1000-mode:
https://youtu.be/ecZ9xUZzejg

14_sega_sg1000_loderunner_sjpg
Lode Runner (Broderbund) running with SEGA SG-1000-mode:
https://youtu.be/__5Yh0QvcKA

And one more gameplay video:
https://youtu.be/bODOZRQZq8w

Some games do not work, some games freeze or are too slow due the 2MHz mode the emulation works. There’s however coming an upgraded CP/M Z80-card wich should fix these issues with speed. Audio works great on those rom-images i was tested playing with.

By no any means it’s perfect of 100% compatible with all titles, but it’s close and i see lots of fun with these kinds of projects! Maybe the upgrade of the CP/M Turbo 7 card to faster speeds will make difference?

 

Afterwords .. and more:

15_msx_s
There’s a “APMSX” (AppleMSX) -card in development wich is an standalone card which emulates the MSX (Z80) and allows playing (some) MSX-games on your Apple //e. There’s also possibility of MSX2 (!) card coming after the MSX-card is released. This picture is static rom file loaded up with the card, it does not support the keyboard so it’s not usefull as of yet.

msxcard
EARLY APMSX development/prototype-card from Ian’s webpage.

This is SUPER interesting implementation for the Apple //e for sure, i personally can not wait for the MSX/2 card to be released!

This is absolutely one of the most interesting cards and ideas for long time in Apple ][-community!

We truly live the golden-age of the Apple ][.

LINKS:
Ian Kim : http://apple2.net
CP/M Turbo 7 and VPD : http://quick09.tistory.com/1376
User manual : http://quick09.tistory.com/attachment/cfile9.uf@245A6F405957414B121465.pdf
SEGA SG-1000 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SG-1000
Colecovision : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ColecoVision

(C) FinApple 2017 & Apple ][ forever!