Category Archives: Europe

Apple IIGS “PVT/Prototype”

opened_s

I obtained this interesting and rare prototype or “Preproduction Validation Testing” (aka: Vegas PVT) Apple IIGS lately. It didn’t come with prototype memory card “Vegas” or “Zeus – RAM CARD” marked Expansion Memory card. The power supply looked regular GS powers upply just without the apple sticker on top. Astec AA13591, Model 699-0127, 230V 50/60HZ with date 8627, Revision 01. 

 


What is : “Apple IIGS Vegas PVT” ?

PVT stands either “Prototype Version Test” or “Production Validation Testing” simply meaning revision ment for testing and product/software developemtn before actual production started.

Vegas was development name for Apple IIGS – but also various other codenames while the new system was being developed including: “Phoenix”, “Rambo”, “Gumby”, and “Cortland”.” 

Few different board types were used during the “Cortland” project :
1985 Cortland board was blue, no SKA321-03 marking close to memory chips on right side.
1986 Cortland board was green, with SKA321-03 marked close to memory chips on right side.

The case and serial number:

case_front_s

The case seems to be early, regular IIGS production model.

 

case_back_s

The back seems to be standard as well.

 

case_bottom_s

The bottom.

 

serial-gs-pvt-ireland_s

Model : A2S6000W  (Wonder what the “W” stands for?)
Serial number: C63800JA2F6000 (Wonder what the “F” stands for?)

If i figured this out correctly then it would mean :
C 6 38 00J A2F6000
CORK
1986
WEEK 38
J = 18
0018 (unit no)

 

serial-gs-ireland-rom01_s

Compared to regular Ireland made GS, serial : CK9120PLA2S6000 (Year 1989, Week 12, Unit 802, ROM01) does not have “sticker” but it’s pressed to plastic directly – serial number part itself, is a small sticker. The ones made in 1987 have the same type of layout as well.

The main logic board:

 board_s

SKA321-03 board layout.

board_left_bottom_s

Left corner:

 

ska321-03_s

Close up: the motherboard pcb is green with “SKA321-03” printed in yellow below the are where the FAST RAM chips are. 

 

gs_1987_s

Close up: while the normal production revision the same position reads “Apple //GS”. 

The VGC is soldered into the main board, not socketed – just like early ROM0 boards.

Date on board : P8615 (next to SKA321-03)
P8615 is : 15/1986 (week/year) 7-14. April 1986
Close to barcone : 351 (very faint)
Close to barconde : 8618 (left side)
Code on board : 6xx-xxxx-A (top right next to slot 7)

 

Chip dates and codes:

CPU : C65SC8160-4 / G8549 
RAM : 8531 (all)
Audio – Ensoniq ES5503 : 343-0051-A / 8701  
Sound GLU : 344S0052-1 / 8605
MEGA II : 344S-0047
VGC : 343S-0046-1 / 8611 
KBD GLU : 344-S-0048
FPI : 344S0050-1 / 8641
ROM code & version : 342-0077-B / 8727 (ROM01)

Codes for early ROM are:
341-0077-A = ROM BF (=addon extension-board with 4 x 27C256 EPROM)
342-0077-A = ROM 00 (September 1986 – August 1987)
342-0077-B = ROM 01 (September 1987 – July 1989)

I’ve reason to believe when this unit was produced it came with the ROM BF. The case was obiously swapped later on – as it most likely originally came in //e case.

 

Serial number decoder:
https://debug.ninja/tools/apple2_serial/

Apple IIGS serial numbers list : https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UB9TyF1h3mDyUXQgGm3Z7gxENAGOTFwL1fwLySoBRyU/edit#gid=1

 

FinApple 2020 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

My Nordic Apple ///: Part II

apple_iii_fin_s

The previous repairs ended when the power supply started to no longer provide enough current to boot the unit so i ordered the Univeral Power Supply from Reactivemicro.com as i’ve done earlier as well. That’s the best you can get for your money. It’s designed for all Apple II and /// models. The Apple /// can be so problematic so it’s more than good idea to go the roots of the possible problems and replace that power supply in the first place. That’s where it all starts anyway.

Also needed a replacement light bulb for the power light as it was burned off. The unit CAN  be booted after pressing reset but that’s very annoying at least. Some references say the Apple /// won’t boot if the keyboard “power” lamp is burned, that’s simply NOT true. It does need just reseting the unit.

WHAT WAS LEFT TO BE REPAIRED OR TESTED?

-Ordering and installing the Universal power supply.   
-Rubber feet replacement.
-Keyboard power light bulb replacement.       
-Keyboard top cover repairs. 
-Reparing video chips.   
-Testing the keyboard layout with configuration file. 

INSTALLING THE UNIVERSAL POWER SUPPLY: 
 

rm_upsu_s

I ordered the Universal Power Supply with the new DC-output cable from reactivemicro.com and it arrived in few weeks (with some +24% tax added). It’s very straight forward to install for the ///.

1) Open and remove the basepan (main logic board) and remove the power cable from the main logic board.
2) Open and remove the power supply from the enclousure. 
3) Remove the original power supply and disconnect few cables as per instructions.
4) Install the new power supply PCB, the new power supply unit and attach the new cables as per instructions.
5) Screw the power supply back to the main chassis and attach the new DC-cable to the main logic board.
6) We’re done!

In this case i had to double check few things as the wiring was different than any of the previous /// power supplies i’ve had so i ended up swapping few cables around. But in the end, it worked perfectly.

Only thing that is annoying by design is the DC-output cable that goes from power supply to the main logic board. The opening between the power supply and the “wall” where the logic board is located, is quite small. The memory card connector hits the cable and it’s very tight fit almost damaging the cable itself. I would say that is design flaw by Apple originally.

RUBBER FEET REPLACEMENT:

new_rubber_feet_s

The two front rubber legs were missing so i replaced them with replacement ones. The ones i got from ebay were slightly smaller (but good for the Apple II) so i placed small piece of another kind of rubber sticker under it (cutting it to correct size) and the height was the same. 

 

INSTALLING THE NEW LIGHT BULB:

new_lamps_s

These lamps are available these days only online, atleast i couldn’t find any locally anywhere. Those lamps are  around $1.00 each depending where you buy them. The shipping in the otherhand… that was pricy. But what can you do? One could, if know how, replace them with modern led-lights. I just wanted to have the original style replacement at this time so i bought 10 pack of original Sylvania 7328 6v 0.2A bi-pin lamps.

keyboard_opened_s

It’s very easy and straight forward job – first need to remove the keyboard cover by just removing 5 screws underneath the keyboard and lifting the top of the keyboard part away.

lamp_removed_s

Removing the old lamp is easy, just pull it. It comes off easily.

new_lamp_installed_s

Replacing the new one is slightly more difficult as you really can’t see anything. Just push gently the new bulb in as straight as possible. The legs might get bent easily so get them straightened if needed. Replace the keyboard cover after you’re done.

I notised the keyboard cover was bit in “suffered” state, meaning the holes where the screws go (plastic pilars with hole on them in middle) had broken off from the right. Those would need fixing somehow or replacement cover. 

 

…EASY. BUT

power_and_j20_pins_s

As i had opened the /// several times over the weeks, last time i had put it together i had ACCIDENTALLY installed the DC-cable to J20 connector for some odd reason… so it would not power up. Now that’s not good! So i installed the DC-cable to correct connector (it DOES read “POWER” on PCB..) and powered it up, it DID power on but it did not display any video on LCD and very distorted image on very right side of the CRT monitor as well. BUT it did boot software so far i could see. So it’s not totally busted! We have (new) hope..

 

REPAIRING. AGAIN. (get used to it, it’s Apple ///):

page_506_small

Thanks to technical assisstance at Facebook’s Apple /// group, i was suggested to replace the first chip on line,  74LS153 (0.58€/ea locally). So i got few and replaced one. Sadly that didn’t help but i was very kindly assisted further looking into other chips in that line:

U90: LS153 @ L8 dip16 74LS153
U119: S175 @ B12 dip16 74LS175
U141: LS00 @ H2 dip14 74LS00
U146: S86 @ B13 dip14 74LS86
U147: LS11 @ K8 dip14 74LS11

Swapping these however did not help.  I had bought few more chips but didn’t test them at the time. 

Something odd happened! Later, after a long period of time, i tested the machine again, with different monitor and … it worked. WTH? What just happened? I am not sure if actually swapping the chips helped or something else happened. The “new” Samsung LCD/TV does better NTSC even not  perfectly correct colors however. But – i’m not complaining.

On thing i noticed (finally) however:

The European /// have (naturally) different crystal (50HZ) 14.25045/1970002. Making it NTSC/50HZ so that explains why no colors on most displays. It uses Video chip : 341-0060-A (instead of 341-0030-A in North America)

341-0060 – III – ROM 2kb*8 – Video scan decode ROM 50 Hz
341-0030 – III – ROM 2kb*8 – Video elements/attributes generator

https://kb.pocnet.net/wiki/Apple_Chip-Bezeichnungen

 

TESTING THE SWEDISH/FINNISH-KEYBOARD LAYOUT (configuration file)

testing_keyboard_layout_s

As this is Swedish keyboard model (same as in Finland) i thought to see how the localization works with SOS. I booted the SOS Utiltiies and with SCP i loaded up the language/keyboard configuration and saved it. It’s fun to see those ÅÄÖ on screen even i prefer US-layout in a long run. Happy to see Apple did put effort on localization this much. This leads me to thinking, there problably never were any Apple /// original manuals translated to Finnish?

Works in any SOS disk with SOS.DRIVER file on it and the driver added naturally.

Fully functional /// – is that even possible?

So after all the trouble, goofin’ around and repairs, the /// seems to be working fine. My herd of ///’s have grown since i started this article – so more repairs were ahead with two more of these. Luckily slightly easier.  /// is great machine with lots of potential. It’s great shame no more homebrew hardware/software have been released to it over the years. 

What still i haven’t figured out is that strange “humming” noise that most if not all, Apple ///’s make. It feels like it comes from the speaker… but why? Or is the the grounding in PSU causing this? 

 

FinApple 2020 (c)
Apple /// Forever.

APPLE II PLUS 1979

case

I bought these Apple II plus parts (complete case, power supply and revision 4 board – no keyboard) from a fellow kasettilamerit member in order to get my original Apple II ready and assembled as it was missing few parts. I thought just to sacrifice some parts from regular common Apple II plus to it. My ][ was missing just power supply and the main logic board.

case_serial

It turned out that the Plus i got was actually nice reasonably early unit with serial A2S2-12313 making it from later part of 1979.

 

board_serial

The board was Revision 4 from 44 week of 1979. It had also full 48k RAM and Swe/Fin keyboard character ROM “R0 3-2513-703/CGR-703/7932U”-instaled. 

Apple II+ was released in June 1979 (around weeks 22-26 in June) and the production ended in December of 1982.

 

rev_4_boad_under

The board was wired with two wires to Slot 7 in order to be able to use the PAL Encoder-card for color. This was typical practise before Europlus was released.

 

power_supply_a11040_end

Power supply was silver model of Astec AA11040 with 115/230v switch and date code APR 11 1979. Period perfect as well.

 

oyks_asset_tag

What was nice touch was that it had asset tag from “OYKS” (Oulu University Hospital) and it was entered in an inventory 31.12.1980.

asset_tag_side

I however removed the one placed in the lid, but kept the one on left side of the unit.

 

case_date

11 5 79 2 stamped inside the case. Manufacturing date of the case.

 

keyboard_cleaning

Cleaning the keyboard i had obtained earilier.

 

cleaned_open

It turned out pretty nice. The keyboard have such great touch to when typing. Really like it.

 

testing_no_colors

But as it’s Revision 4 board it wont output colors nicely, not to my LCD or my 9″ PVM.

 

So i kind of went backwards with the ][ restoration but it doesn’t matter really. That unit can use any parts as it’s never going to be 100% accurate. Revision 0 boards cost fortunes as well do the early type of keyboards. I’ll most likely use Rev.7/RFI board with it and some working keyboard when ever i find those.

Finnish Apple II history again preserved. 

This is why Finapple exists.

 

FinApple 2020 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

 

Pravetz 8M

pravetz_company_logo_s

 

setup_arrived_s
This is a unit i got from Plamen Vaysilov (a2heaven.com). Luckily it didn’t get busted by the several shipping companies on it’s way over here so i considered myself lucky. Only small crack on the power supply backpanel (plastic) but it’s not serious.

 

broken_psu_s
Power supply that took a hit during transportation. It’s just cosmetic.

 

pravetz_floppy_drive_s
Cloned Disk II – drive.

The thing i noticed right away was how heavy the thing was. The power supply is really built from old skool heavy components! Real bulgarian iron. The plastic used is similar, almost like bakelite, quite hard. They used similar plastic on those Chinese Apple II+ clones (CEC-I).


Specs:
Pravetz 8M – Integrated second CPU Zilog Z80A at 4 MHz to be able to run CP/M and its software.  The military version features integrated terminal design. It was essentially a version of Apple II+ with the optional CP/M card integrated on the motherboard. It had 48K of RAM on-board, a switching  power supply and an off-white plastic case with an improved design.

Timeline around 1985-1987
Processor – Synertek 6502@1MHz + Z80/4MHz (upgradeable to Intel i8080)
RAM 48KB 
ROM 12KB
DOS 3.1 – 3.3, ProDOS, CP/M (Z80)

pravetz_8m_video_connector_with_adapter_s
As the video output is BNC i needed to get an adapter, BNC > RCA but those are easily available, even locally.

 

switch_s
There is switch with 8 dips on board. That is for different configurations, enabling the Z80 prosessor, different  keyboard layouts as well turning audio on/off. I haven’t yet figured out how to get Z80 running and CP/M loaded.

pravetz_disk_ii_interface_cards_s
Found few floppy drive interface cards and they suit perfect for it. Naturally the original Apple II Interface card also works.

pravetz_8m_frogger_quikload_s
Tested few Apple II cards for the fun of it:

-wDrive (works)
-quikLoad (works)
-Saturn 128k rebooted (works)
-MultiROM-card (works)

 

I really like this clone! It’s design is kind of Sovjet-era style, quite bulky but technically much more advanced what the Sovjets were able to produce. Bulgaria was the leading “east block” country what came to computers and electronics.

Hope to find the Pravetz ’82 someday as well.

pravetz_and_a2heaven_logo_s
Thanks to Plamen Vaysilov of a2heaven.com!

 

FinApple 2020 (c)
Pravetz Forever.

 

 

 

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

board_fixed_by_henry_s

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

installed_s

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. 

cpm_s
Running CP/AM 4.0B

ramdrive_dos_s
RAM-Disk DOS 3.3 options.

ramdrive_prodos_s
RAM-Disk (ProDOS) options.

 

ram_test_s
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.

 

 

Aapi Juntura – interview:

I thought of interviewing a long-term Apple II user, Aapi Juntura, to my blog and to collect his thoughts and memories of early Finnish Apple II history and his career with Computers, hardware and Information Technology.

I sent few questions to Aapi by email. This is rough English translation from the original Finnish interview. 

aapi_juntura_insinoori_edit_s
AAPI JUNTURA

Who are you and where you come from?

Aapi Juntura: Siina Maria Keskinarkaus gave birth to me in April 1943. My father Otto Jalmari was a small farmer. A total of 11 children were born into the family, of wich seven are still alive. I am the middle one.

I attended elementary school in Peurajärvi in 1950-1956, secondary school in Ranua in 1956-60.

google_map_s
google maps

I got into TVH (Road and Civil Engineering Authority) as a trainee in summer of 1960 and after that i took map drawing course. In the spring of 1961 i took engineering job at district of Kemijärvi where a giant company Marion dug a new riverbed in the Kemijoki river. Served in the Finnish Army in the Oulu Artillery Regiment 1962-1963. I was a rookie from Ranua, who protested against the superiors.. According to the military passport i’m a sergeant.

I applied for Oulu University of Technology in 1960, and i got to choose wether to start in 1961 or 1964. So I rented a room in downtown from a elderly person. He heated the oven and kept the washing water in the enamel containers. In addition, he often talked about nice things about human life. In the dances of the workers house 1965 I met a postwoman who worked with IBM punchcards and got even paid for doing so. I didn’t want to live together because she was moody and only 18 years old.

poroja_s
Reindeers in Lapland

I graduated as a civil engineer in 1968. I went in the summer of 1968 to Sodankylä to work as a foreman on a forest road road construction site. Engineer Esko Valtanen from the district asked me to apply for a job in the engineering district and there i designed bridges, forest roads, drains etc. I handled the checkups of water passages in Lapland. Mikko Puronlahti advised to become a vocational school teacher for techical/map-drawing. In Lapland, vocational school students were in 1960s and 1990s the most eager to learn in my opinion. The work as of a teacher was very rewarding, the teacher learns the most. A couple of times they asked me to apply for a principal’s post but that would have ment less summer vacation time and the daily race for resources and have pecking order i didn’t care much of.

 

What was your first touch to computers and when?

VTT (technical research centre of finland) had purchased computers of the size of a closet and there Pekka Malinen taught us FORTRAN-programming at TEKU (University of Technology) in the spring evenings. The first print of the program that was run, we got “SYNTAX ERROR”. It was just colon being incorrect.. A third run produced a table with a line printer moments at different points in the beam. At that time, there were electronic calculators with the tube screen and they were able to calculate trigonometric calculations as well. The real big change happened in 1972, the HP35 calculator made spreadsheets unnecessary. It’s reverse Polish logic RPN was handy in my work for at least a decade. Popular Elektonics-magazine i found through a family friend, Hannu Ylioja. There were ads for devices and components and wiring diagrams.

hp35
HP-35 calculator

Vocational school had electrical and radio engineers and i was also interested what they studied. The first radio I built in 1974. That’s where my Electronics hobby began. In 1977 there were rumors of memory circuits and microprocessors. So the school acquired a microcomputer building kit in 1978.

apple_ii_setup_s
Apple II setup for drawing and printing

The first Apple II came to Lapland central vocational school in 1980 by a new teacher of telephone dept. Four programmable SHARP-calculators were networked in it.

At school, Markku Siivola (a psychiatrist from Muurola) held Apple evening courses about Word Processing and Spreadsheets, Magic Windows and VisiCalc. Then it became clear in seconds that typing had taken a giant leap. No scratching or correcting but proofreading and editing on screen before printing. Cost estimates and lists were redone due to minor changes. All you need to do is make changes to the spreadsheet and at the same time the total amount is done. Maybe a 90% improvement compared to the mechanical calculators.

watamabe_plotter_a3_picture_2_s
Watanabe digi-plotter, map of land division drawn (1982).

In addition, with Apple II’s graphics tablet most maps could be digitized and then edited in many ways, the scratch pen and knife became obsolete. The Watanabe Digi-Plotter was able to print A3-size illustrations. The print scale and details could be selected or added. Lots of development opportunities at once!

I was a map drawing teacher and immediately made a purchase proposal for Apple ][ despite the fact that back in 1972 the acquisition of an electronic calculator (HP35) the Principal found it unnecessary. I remembered this in my purchase proposal presentation, total cost: 40,000 FIM. The normal annual purchase limit was 2000 FIM. To my surprise, there was no quarrel and a year later, in 1981, we reached the digital age with the students. 

The jobs for the following years had been selected. I programmed just about everything about map and document production on a computer, if a good program didn’t exists. There were thousands and thousands of BASIC program lines. 

As a tool for teaching and learning, the Apple II turned out to be a great tool for about five years, the limits came against the limitations of speed, display and memory at the end naturally.

Graphics charts were used as a basic tool for digitization for surveying training in mapping. In this case, the map on paper became adaptable and versionable for different uses. Although the accuracy of digitization was not good, it was a good fit for teaching assignments. In addition to the lines were needed map characters, text size and gradient variation, color rendering was needed. Areas were created when the pattern was digitized to be closed.

Splitting the map into sub-drawings came at the same time, so it could print separately, borders, roads, buildings, fields, plots, landmarks, etc … I needed to control the printers one by one, for example the HP-GL had to be learned. The mapping software expanded to PC’s, including terrain measurement and related computing. The whole project i was able to sell to other schools for 5000 FIM from wich the taxation took 60% off …

When you obtained your first computer and what was it?

osi-80_s
Ohio-Scientific

Ohio-scientific was in used before the first Apple ][. Ohio Scientific’s motherboard ad was on the back cover of Popular Elekronics Magazine. It could be ordered from the US and paid with a VISA card. So I immediately got a credit card and an import license from the License Office, which was then needed for foreign trade. I remember the device arrived in a few months in 1980. The price was less than a thousand marks.

In addition to the boot rom, the motherboard had a BASIC interpreter. Similar to Apple without line drawing capablity. The only block graphics was the ASCII extension 128 … 255. The display has 24 rows and 24 columns. There was 8 kilobytes of static RAM-memory but the expansion seemed troublesome to get done.

The tape recorder was 150 baud for the Kansas City code, which almost could be read in the contents of the download code on screen. It took about 8 minutes to fully load the memory.

There were games from around the world, Aarvark from Canada had done a couple of cassettes of shooting games. Within a couple of year i had about a dozen of casettes

It could be used to learn the basics of programming just like any other system of its time. The children were also interested in it. Neighbors (religious) denied visits by their own children when they heard about the computer.

As a monitor i used a 14 “mobile TV which i modified with capasitor after the video selection circuit. The school’s TV-dept teacher Eero Niemelä told me how to do the modification and not get killed by electricity. TV-deflection requires a voltage of 25 kV.

Ohio Scientific had to switch to an EPROM-monitor program. It allowed you slightly editing the editable line.

apple2_s
Self built Apple II clone.

Due limited memory and display in Ohio Scientific, a better system had to be purchased. It was Apple II that was available as components and with floppy drive from Germany. Paying for an order in advance by check annoyed me greatly. Risky business so to speak.

apple_ii_setup_self_made_s
Self built Apple II with Silentype printer.

The pictures above shows the first Apple II clone built by myself from components on a circuit board. The cases were self-made with using the school’s edge machine and a cutter (damper cost 10mk/m2). Joystick has two potentiometers joined (i wrote article how to buld it at Omenahyve magazine). There is a film of both sides of the circuit board in my storage. I still could make the circuit board.

I ordered the components from Germany in 1980-81. I waited a couple of months. The guy sent a paper picture of the device and was going to ship as soon as he got all the parts (about 150pcs). The import license had to be obtained from the licensing agency. In Germany i had to pay “Vorkasse Schek” in advance 4000FIM (back then Apple II cost about 10.000FIM). When the delivery was delayed and customs numbers had to be given to customs i felt anxious. The announcement i saw in German-language magazine MC (Micro Computer).

Later, my wife’s sister’s husband was working in England at the time. He bought a used Apple II and sent it to Finland. I bought Finlux TV and a MiniTel-text terminal as a scrap in Kajaani to be used with it.

aj83_s

In this picture (from 1983) shows a used Apple II i purchased from England (it had unstable power supply). Also the 12″ green monitor came from England. The thermal printer printed on 5″ paper, but paper availability was poor. Print accuracy was moderate (the cord was twisted around the axis as on old radios).

apple-finlux_s

Pictured here is my work horse, Apple II 64KB RAM, PAL, Color TV, MV Monitor with 80 characters / line custom sync, joystick (self-made), thermal printer (silentype), 2 * floppy 143 kB Sheet metal enclosures made from 1mm sheet metal by my self.

a2-86_s

I built the last Apple II around 1985-86 for nephews as a gaming machine. I also made the power supply myself.

 

Apple II, why Apple II? What was best on it?

Apple II was selected by needs and features it fullfilled:

  * Line drawings or graphics are required.

  * Expansion, 7 slots

  * Easily expandable memory.

  * Sounds and games.

  * Applesoft was well documented and easily usable.

  * Support, that is, the network of user’s existed.

  * Clones and motherboards readily available and ROM-copying easy.

  * Peripherals available: printers, plotters, graphics tablets, PAL and RGB-color cards, etc..

  * A wealth of articles in German, English, Italian …

  * Large variety of good usefull software: VisiCalc, DB master, Word Processing.

  * Lots of pirated software available.. and copy protections easily defeted.

  * Lots of enthuastic users!

 
I actually borrowed the school machine for the weekend and came with the boys to the conclusion that we had to get it, it had colors and audio!

 

Was it difficult to get programs or hardware from Finland at the time?

A few programs were purchased with VISA from USA, for example: DB master, Spredsheet, Magic Window, Copy II Plus. There are not many original packages left. Mainly programs were exchanged with acquaintances. Cracked programs were bought from Singapore, for example.

Popular games included : Karateka, Boulder Dash, Choplifter, Chess, Space Invader, Spider, Sammy Lightfoot, The Spy Strikes back, One on One, Minit Man, The Quest, IFR Flight Simulator, Starblazer, Ultima IV..

 

What did you do with your Apple II?

Maps, databases, programming, gaming .. hardware building.

I was on vacation in Italy in 1981 and it was raining so I went around bookstores and found Applesoft the book had a whole bunch of interesting program examples. Magazines had examples of voices programming and drawing a plot map. Fine coincidence and generous rain. 

 

You have also lectured about information technology? 

In southern Finland I went to give few presentations around 1983-85 about Apple II and computer-aided design and digitalization. Some listener was amazed about where i came from. Some people were amazed that somebody from Lapland arrived and acted like expert on such matters..

Few years ago, when I bought an old mowing machine, i met a man who said that he was my course back then and had stated to his wife that “it was a futile course”. Now he had changed his thoughts about it and found that their children do everything with their computers from morning to night.

YLE (National Radio/TV) reporter made a story about me on the radio. Later, a TV-program for School-TV was shot at school for a couple of days. The program was aired a couple of times during prime time. MTV (Commercal TV station) also filmed a news clip about house design.

yle
On YLE-TV program

The YLE archive contains 1985 new school tools:
https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2014/08/14/tietokoneet-koulujen-opetuksen-tukena (only watchable in Finland, geoblocked)

There is a video on the use of information technology at the Central Vocational School of Lapland. Our part starts at about 12 min

You have made and published programs for Apple II, would you tell more about them?

aapi_juntura_3d_house_building_s

Because Apple II had better drawing and graphics features, in one Saturday morning a element-housebuilder/salesman (private constructor) arrived to my doorstop and wanted a piece of computer equipment and a program to do everyday routines for him. At the same time, it would be a good selling point in advertisements that it was “computer desgined”. We ate, bathed, and played around with the computer equipment, went to the sauna and the house salesman took the train back home.

I looked at the elements of the house suppliers. They were 30cm wide, then, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 cm. The base images of such are simple and 1/10 size would fit the entire floor plan. First you had to make the elements by manufacturing and then using them (selection, transfer, turning). Texts and dimensions had to inserted. Saving the image as a bitmap and element database was required also. I added more features to the database, such as price. Surprisingly from the ground plan pages and ends and cost estimates were also added and created. I didn’t get the process taught for the element-housebuilder, that he would have sold houses with. Result was, plain zero.

I offered the program to a software bank and set the price at 20,000FIM, same as one Apple II’s price at the time. I was surprised when they paid and so they got their first CAD software (Computer Aided Design).

You also wrote articles to “Omenahyve”-user’s magazine?

artikkeli_ho

The articles in “Omenahyve” were published in 1982-1988 and contained, among other things, the following topics:

-Automatic Drawing (Apple Graphics Tablet, Watanabe digi-plottter)
-Purchasing Ananas (Taiwanese Apple II+ clone)
-Apple for Musical Instrument (La Mela Musicale)
-Joystick building
-Making graphical patterns
-New power supply to Apple II
-Book reviews
-Databases
-TV as monitor
-Building a EPROM programming card
-Micro-Computer assisted House Design
-Terminal for Monitor
-Copy Programs (CopyII+, EDD, Locksmith etc) and protections.
-Game port expansion

Most “Omenahyve” magazine issues are scanned to pdf:
https://archive.org/search.php?query=omenahyve 

Just the file size is unreasonably large, sorry about that.

I also wrote a couple of pages of “Light Pen” magazine about a house design program.

joystickin_tekeminen_s
Article how to build your own joystick/Omenahyve.

 

You are also published author of Computer books?

kirjat

“Mikrotietokone työkaluksi” / Microcomputer as a tool (National Board of Vocational Education, National Printing Center) 1984/1991 editions. 

The Board of Vocational Education asked the school to make a textbook for group work and learning. Others refused but i collected a couple of hundred pages and asked for a opinion from the principal..  but all the material i delivered got lost by him! Maybe it wasn’t good enough, so i did an another draft, and i no longer offered it to others to review.

I wrote, photographed and rasterized the material, text printed through printer adapter of disc typewriter. I glued the rasterized pictures to the openings and my son’s line art clips as well. I sent an A5-size booklet to the subscribers. I remember that the proof-reader was the real pain in the ***. The cover image had been transformed looking like crazy person! What a butcher!

So i did the book a second time. That’s where thousands of copies were sold and taken to print an another edition. I think I got an hour’s pay for this job just like the school cleaners. Jealous double. But i did heard a couple of praises as well. A relative of mine was at the University of Oulu and he was amazed that my book was used as the basis for the lecture. I went to Jyväskylä for a course and there were 20 pages of my book copied for me to study from!

 

What happened after the Apple II?

pc-v30-1984_s
PC-V30

I searched the drawers for pictures and found some. It explains why Apple II was left aside in the end. It was better than the IBM-PC but worse than the Olivetti M21. Variability was imitated by many manufacturers. From xerox sheet metal i made PC-V30 (8086 Clone, 10MHz), with floppy drives, old power supply from HP. It had display card text 80/24 and resolution 640*240 (as far as i can remember) and the TV was used as monitor. I ordered a few 14″ monitors from Germany without a case, also for school. I made tin covers myself.  They still work, in 2019. Apple’s Macintosh wasn’t practical at school with a lack of variety of peripherals needed. So it was app IBM-PC compatibles after that.

 

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.

 

From Plus to Europlus:

apple_ii_plus_europlus_s
Yet an another Apple ][ Europlus rescued… i couldn’t help myself even i really don’t “need” any more of these. I don’t even usually use pre Apple //e models that often.. But we all hobbyists know how it is, don’t we?

Production details:

  • APPLE II – MAY 1977 > MAY 1979 – A2S1 – BLACK & WHITE label from 0001
  • EUROMOD – ???  1978 > AUG 1980 – A2S2 – BLACK & WHITE label from 500.000
  • PLUS – JUNE 1979 > DEC 1982 – A2S2 – GREEN & WHITE label from 0001
  • EUROPLUS – AUG  1979 > EARLY 1983 –  IA2S2 – GREEN & WHITE label from 600.000

Production/assembly started in Cork, Ireland, in mid 1980.

 

Apple II europlus:

serial_s
Case serial : A2S2-29471

This seems to be originally Plus-model and upgraded to Europlus to be used in Europe before the Europlus was introduced. The Cork, Ireland, factory indeed started operating in Mid 1980 so this predates that. The actual Cork made europlus would have IA2S2-prefix and serials starting from 600000.

 

board_date_s
Main logic board serial : 8005

 

revision_four_s 
Main logic board Revision 4 (with 16K memory blocks)

 

slot_seven_2_s
Slot 7 have the sticker glued on “This slot only for euro color PAL/SECAM card. Do not use any other card”

 

chips_s
ROM chips (from late 1978 to late 1979).

ROM model/date/code:
ROM F8 = 7943 341-0020-00
ROM F0 = 7919 341-0015-00
ROM E8 = 7906 341-0014-00
ROM E0 = 7903 341-0013-00
ROM D8 = 7907 341-0012-00
ROM D0 = 7851 341-0011-00 

 

Other materials:

apple_ii_plus_setup_s
-Disk II inferface card (clone)
-Epson printer card with cable 
-1/2 height 5.25″ floppy drive (Model: GYE 55-A)
-The Applesoft Tutorial (book) 1979
-Apple II reference manual (book) 1979
-Basic Programming reference manual (book) 1979
-Pair of Paddles (16-pin)

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Europlus Forever.

Nu tittar vi närmare på Apple ///

logo_s

Found recently a Swedish microcomputer magazine issue, “Mikrodatorn – Nr. 3 April 1981”. It had preview/test of very early Apple /// with 96k. Those were imported to Sweden by Gylling System-Elektronik AB who later also published a lof of Apple II and /// Software and manuals translated to Swedish. I have few of those catalogs already (scanned at archive.org).

This short article is now scanned at:
https://archive.org/details/NuTittarViNarmarePaAppleIIIMikrodatornNr3April1981Swedish

Always looking to find more Nordic Apple II and /// material (software, hardware, manuals etc)!

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple /// Forever.