Category Archives: Hardware

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.

 

 

 

The Ultimate Universal Power Supply for Apple II’s:

FIGHT THE POWER!

top_1_s

“The Ultimate Universal Power Supply” is the real ultimate solution to your Apple II what comes to power supplies. It have new case, “Ultimate Enclosure” by UltimateApple2 and the Universal Power Suply v1.3 bulit-in from ReActiveMicro. It supports voltages from 90-240V AC making it useable anywhere in the world. You just supply the correct power cable used in your country. There’s //e and IIGS versions available (different power connector) or you can choose “Universal DC output cable-set” for it as well. It provides both different power connectors and USB-A connector. (Reactivemicro.com)


INSTALLATION:

I wanted to replace the power supply i had in my “main rig” (Platinum //e) even it did have recapped “heavy duty” Applied Engineering Power Supply already. I have other plans for that one later. The “main rig” is filled with cards, mainly modern so they might not draw as much current as vintage cards would but still, i feel more confident with modern power supply solution installed. And it looks so modern too.

The installation itself couldn’t be any easier, just needed to unscrew and remove the original power supply and replace it with the universal one. It would have been nice if the package would have had the installation screws too, still very much of Plug-n-play.

power_connector_back_s

Universal DC Output Cable supports all models: II, II+, IIe and IIgs in the same cable. It also also has a 4-pin Female Molex and a USB-A Female connector for extra connectivity if ever you should need such.

installed_1_s

The cables that were not used, i just tide together and pushed aside. It was bit tight fit as i have the RamWorks IIII (reactivemicro) with the VGA-extender addon-board (a2heaven.com) installed, just where the power cables come out from the power supply’s enclousure.

It IS the ultimate solution!

rm_logo_jpgUltimate Universal Power Supply is available from https://www.reactivemicro.com/shop/

a2heaven_logo

Ramworks III VGA add-on extender is available from https://www.a2heaven.com/webshop/ 

Preview at Finapple at https://finapple.hho.fi/finapple/index.php/2018/11/24/ramworks-iii-vga-add-on-extender-palntsc/

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

Tillbehör till Apple!

booket_card_s

Just few finds lately,

Apple II & /// brouchure “Tillbehör till Apple” (Gylling System-Elektronik AB), Febuari 1982, In Swedish. In English it would be translated as “Accessories for Apple”. It lists all kinds of producs that were available for Apple II and /// in Sweden, late 1981-early 1982.

Disk II analog board, for repairing some Disk II drive i have with missing analog board/broken parts. Never have too many of these. Actually i could use complate DISK II-drive without the enclousure, to replace one early DISK /// (in Disk II enclousure) mechanical parts. Contact me if you have one?

 

“Tillbehör till Apple” PDF (OCR in Swedish) is available here: https://archive.org/details/Tillbehor_Till_Apple

The quality is not perfect. This is first scannings with the new CZUR AURA book scanner and i’ve not got the setup pefected as of yet. I might rescan this but here it is for time being.

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II 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.

VGA-scaler for Apple II

a2vgascaler_jpg-100374-500x500
Picture by a2heaven.com

This is bit older product, but still available (atleast occationally) from a2heaven.com 

There’s now also VidHD-card available for Apple II’s so there’s more options to choose from. VidHD requires however 1080p capable display (and those are 16:9) so if you want more authentic user experience with 4:3 display, this is option for you. VGA-displays are around and very easy to get, any type, color and size, be it CRT or LCD. 

VidHD add’s new graphics modes to Apple II, where VGA-scaler does not. It just grabs the video signals and converts it to VGA. Glad there’s many options for the hobbyist.

There’s also similar product available, add-on board for RamWorks III card – Ramworks III VGA extender that does the same trick. It’s installed to AE RamWorks III card and outputs VGA signal as well. That solution saves you a slot if you already have RamWorks III or IIII (by Reactivemicro).

So basicly, 
It is a card that takes the Apple II video signals and converts it to VGA signal output. It works with several Apple II models from II, II+ to //e models, PAL and NTSC. It can be installed in any regular slot of Apple II. Depends of which slot it’s installed, different cable setups must be installed.

It outputs the standard VGA 720×480 output. So the monitor must support that resolution. The VGA-scaler supports 20 different dispay modes with: color, color alternative, monochrome (green, white, amber – regular or bold modes for each), and emulation of scan lines for each mode (emulating CRT monitors for more retro feel).

The color modes can be changed with by pressing the button and the default mode can be chosen with dip switches at the card itself.

-40 and 80 columns text, with 24 lines.
-Low-Resolution, 40×48 (15 colors)
-High-Resolution, 280×192 (6 colors)
-Double-Low-Resolution, 80×48 (15 colors) * enhanced //e only 
-Double-High-Resolution, 560×192 (2 colors) * enhanced //e only 

It would be very interesting to find if this could be used with Apple /// ?

package
picture from a2heaven.com


The package comes with:

-VGA-scaler card 
-VGA-extention slim-cable and VGA-adapter
-Purple cable with clip
-Red cable with clip
-Yellow cable with clip (shielded cable for 14M signal)
-White cable with clip 
-5 jumpers, white, red, green, blue and yellow.
-Switch mode cable with button

Detailed installation manual pdf can be downloaded from a2heaven.com 

 

INSTALLING:

installed_s

I had it installed in an another unit earlier but now i installed it to my “test/hack” Apple //e UK PAL (unenhanced). I replaced the hook-cables as well as i found better type that are easier to install in tight spots like those IC’s that aren’t installed in sockets.

It’s relatively easy to install after you get the idea from the manual. It’s good idea to read it few times to be sure what you’re doing. There’s several revisions of each board made.

In this case, using //e and installing it to Slot 7, it required 3 wires to be installed:

– SEROUT > D12 74LS10 PIN 3  
– GR > C8 344-0022 PIN 2  
– 14M > C13 74LS166 PIN 7

The VGA-cable can be attached to the card by either directly to the VGA connector, or using the supplied slim-cable that allows you to get the cable out of the Apple II case and attach the VGA cable outside of the unit. The regular VGA cable wont fit inside the case from the slot openings of Apple //e.

 

DIFFERENT DISPLAY MODES:

modes
Picture from a2heaven.com

 

zaxxon_closeup_lines_s
With scan-lines

zaxxon_closeup_no_lines_s
Without scan lines.

 

zaxxon_closeup_lines_green_s
Monochrome green

 

The modes can be changed with by pressing the button. The default mode can be chosen with dip switches at the card itself.

-Color modes | with scanlines on/off
-Mono / regular / bold | with scanlines on/off

 

THOUGHTS?

The installation is bit tricky but if you take your time and carefully aproach the task, it’s not that complicated. There’s just different Apple II models and main logic board types that are different.

vga_card_installed_s

It does take one precious slot from your Apple II but that is not serious sarcifice as the result is much clearer video output. Another option would be the Ramworks III VGA extender if you already have the RamWorks III or IIII-card. One gains also different models of video, monochrome models, different color modes and as a extra feature, the scanlined modes that do look nice, emulating the good ol’ CRT.  So basicly the product is no-brainer to get unless you want the HDMI then you need to look into the VidHD card instead. It’s up to you.

I have the Ramworks III VGA-externder in my “main” //e and it works great, it needs naturally the Ramworks III or IIII-card but i happened to have one. That way i could save a slot and have RAM-card. Not bad. This VGA-scaler works similary, it just needs the slot and setting up is slightly more complicated (board variations). Both solutions have worked for me as i do not need right now the 1080p HDMI output. That might change however someday, if nothing but curiosity. But right now, i am very happy with VGA. The color modes are neat! Switching between them is quick and easy even i found myself stuck in few modes most of the time and not changing them. But, the option is there.

 

 

 

a2heaven_logo

VGA-scaler is available from a2heaven.com

 

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.

 

Microsoft Softcard

ad_of_z80card

Apple ][ CP/M
56K Ver. 2.20B
(C) 1980 Microsoft

Found the Microsoft Softcard with original packaging and with the Osbourne CP/M book. This is not the first revision of the card/package/release, but the later with different packaging released in 1983 (?).

old_package_inside_s
Already had older version of the product but without the card, in brown fake leather packaging that came in two binders with manuals, floppies in both 13 and 16-sector formats.

Background:

The Softcard is a plug-in Zilog Z80 co-proessor card developed by Microsoft to turn the Apple II into a CP/M system. The card was originally released March 1, 1980 and it was first hardware product by released by Microsoft. It enabled running business applications, including compilers and interpreters for several high-level languages. Microsoft later released a updated version, the Premium Softcard IIe for the Apple //e. That card had 80-column and 64K RAM functions added so it would be installed to AUX-slot saving one slot on your //e.

Package:

setup_out_s
The package seems to be localized to Germany as there’s some additional pages in German language. Otherwise it’s all English.

setup_in_s
With even Microsoft product catalog..

Using CP/M:

setup_cards_s
Basicly any slot expect 0, or 6. Slot 6 must have disk contoller for drives A: and B: (as minimal setup). Ideal slots would be either 4 or 7, so i used the traditional slot 4 in this case. 

cards_setup_apple_iie_s

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Applesauce client v1.1 with 3.5″ disks

devices_s

John Morris, the developer of Applesauce device has added support for 3.5″ drives and also released sync-sensor for the drive to be used. Applesauce client v1.1 was released in (5.5.2019) and it supported fully the Apple 3.5″ drive, reading and writing back to the disk.

Installation:

It’s easiest to follow the teardown instructions by ifixit.com  
https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Apple+3.5+Drive+External+Floppy+Drive+Teardown/92324

installed_edit_s

The sync-sensor is installed next to the spinning wheel of the 3.5″ drive in bottom. The idea is the same, basicly the sensor reads the magnet strip that is installed to the spinning wheel for more accurate location of the disk.

There is room for the sync-sensor cable to route if out of the case along with the connector cable.

Testing?

writing_disk_s

I had only few original 3.5″ (Apple IIGS) floppies so i chose the “Marble Madness” that i had in hand. I first read the .a2r flux image out of the disk and then made .woz out of it (analyze and save). The .woz file then can be written back to blank disk.

working_copy_booted_s
I booted the written copy with my IIGS (ROM3) and it worked perfectly. Pretty amazing!

marble-madness-disk-1-side-0_s marble-madness_sync-disk-1-side-0_s

“Marble Madness” (GS) – without the sync-sensor installed vs with sync-sensor installed (both booted).

John Morris about the copy protction at twitter:
“Marble Madness has an “impossible to copy” track at $20 side 1 (400+ nibbles too big) that was clocked in a way that the IIgs couldn’t write out. Applesauce detects the abnormality and re-clocks the write on the fly. This exact protection scheme proved to be so effective that many competing publishers adopted it. It evolved a bit over the years, but largely remained the same. It is structured in a way that sector copiers think they copied it, but the sectors were actually just a decoy”.

This shows how genious the Applesauce client (and John) really is! 

Applesauce can be bought from:
https://applesaucefdc.com

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.