Category Archives: Preservation

“Bridge Challenger” (Personal Software, Casette):

casette_sBRIDGE CHALLENGER 
By George Dulsman. A bridge playing program for the Apple II. 16K RAM. $14.95

whole_set_s
Local, Finnish Apple II history at it’s best! Got this with the recent Apple II-clone “BOSS-1”.

cover_s
-Apple II 16k RAM.
-Clear plastic box cover missing. Will try to find replacement for this somehow.
-Box have marking of original price of “100,-” in backside.
-Original receipt for “100mk” (Topdata Oy, Helsinki, 2/10/82)
-Original manual, loading instructions and warranty card.

original_receipt_s
Original receipt

loading_s
Loading instructions

The digitized file of the tape is available from Brutaldeluxe already:
https://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/projects/cassettes/personalsoftware/

The game manual and and paper stuff from the box scanned here:
https://archive.org/details/BridgeChallengerPersonalSoftware1978InstructionsLeaflet

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

wDrive by KbooHK

World of .woz:

I must admit. Even i obtained the AppleSauce device from the first run in summer 2018, i did not have any rush to get the .woz files running in real hardware. Emulators were covered quite quicky and the support was added to OpenEmulator, Virtual II, MAME, microM8, EPPLEII. Just that “most” files read with AppleSauce to .a2r and then converted to.woz do exist on cracked .dsk format already. Most? What an excuse?! I was happy (still am) using .dsk ,as it really doesn’t matter what format i load the software in, if it works. But i do see .woz as important preservation/archive-format absolutely. It is the future.

John K. Morris have done absolutely phenomenal job with the .a2r and .woz formats as well with the AppleSauce-device itself and the software supporting it. This is absolutely what we needed in the Apple II community hands down! The other preservation efforts have not been as successful what comes to Apple II software by far sight – and we do not have too much time to loose in sake of preservation either. John also did upgrade the .woz format and the board PCB lately and you could get the upgrade board from him directly for nominal fee if you bought the first revision device.

We own you a lot John.

About the wDrive:

product_s

BUT. As “wDrive” got also .dsk, .po, .do support lately, i thought to give it a try. Why not. I’ve had heard mostly only (if not all) positive comments about the device and the developer have been actively updating the firmware that is good for the users. 

“wDrive” is designed and manufactured by “KbooHK” out of Hongkong, China. It was the first device to support the new .woz format in 2018 that are created with AppleSauce-device (.a2r -> woz). The support for .woz arrived for the Floppyemu as well, about the same time i received wDrive from Hongkong.

wDrive specifications are as follows (from kboohk.com):
-5.25″ disk image formats: .dsk, .do, .po, .nib, .edf, .woz (version 1.0 & 2.0).
-Disk image read/write.
-FAT16, FAT32 formatted SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.
-Maximum files in each folder limited to 100.
-Maximum levels of sub folder limited to 10.
-Firmware is upgradeable.
-Dimensions are : 70mm x 40mm x 20mm.
-It comes with 20-pin flat ribbon cable.
-Includes also a 3D Printed case (color of chosing) with buttons and display.

KbooHK offers online file converter tool at their webpage, http://kboohk.com/dsk2woz/  for converting files to different formats (some format-to-format conversions are not yet supported however as of today):

.edd > .nib, .woz, .edf
.dsk > .nib, .woz, .edf
.po > .nib, .woz, .edf
.do > .nib, .woz, .edf
.zip > .nib, .woz, .edf

I’d like to see this released as offline tool as well. You never know how long this tool get’s supported, or maintained in online location. There’s however other tools for these conversions available as well, .dsk to .woz.

I however fail to see the need to convert non copyproteced disk images to .woz, but it’s available. Maybe i’m missing something here?

INSTALLATION:

The wDrive is very easy to install as any Disk II drive would be. Just look at the orientation of the cable and plug it in the Disk II interface card.

idc20todb19_adapter-s
or with adapter :

..or with suitable adapter if you’re using //c, //c+ or IIGS. I tested the wDrive with Apple //e, //c and //c+. Using the wDrive required adapter with //c and //c+, IDC20>DB19 (thanks to a2heaven.com)

THE wDRIVE ITSELF:

display_s

The display:
Nice thing about the wDrive’s display is that the chosen file, the font, get’s bigger and highlighted when it’s chosen. The built-in LED shows when the file is accessed. If anything to improve, the display could be upgraded to OLED for better quaility reading like in WiModem232-OLED but that might be more expensive option. The display have great feeling of old Nokia phones that is very nice and suits the use very nicely actually.

The Buttons:
UP – SELECT – DOWN + RESET (on right side)
Navigating thru the files and folders is done by buttons in front of the enclousure. UP, SELECT and DOWN and in the right side there’s the RESET button. The buttons however are quite slow and unresponsible in my opinion and need pressing harder that one would maybe expect. But that’s something to get used to.

3d_printed_case_3_s

The Case:
The 3d-printed case is good quality (at the time of odering only frosted-transparent was available) and it’s really nice small and light weighted. The print quality is fine, as it’s 3d printed you can see the printhead marks but i don’t see that as a issue of anykind. The casing is very smooth, cute and small.

3d_printed_case_2_s

SD-card slot:
The SD-card slot is in the front and the card it inserted upside down (label facing down). The drive looks like an small 3.5″ drive.

USAGE:

apple_iic_romx5_gaming_wdrive_woz_s

Using the wDrive with Apple //e was very straight forward. Just plug it in and use. Every .woz file i used loaded perfectly and worked fine. The device is using regular SD-cards as storage medium.

With Apple //c and //c+ (both had custom ROM’s on them) it was different. The //c would not boot every .woz image due the restrictions of the model, as it’s external drive and some software are hardcoded to boot from internal drive only. With the //c+ this wasn’t the case, it booted everything i could throw at it and the loading times were quite fast. 

wDrive vs Floppyemu disk image loading times differences?

I tested few .woz files with both (Apple //c+@4MHz), wDrive and the Floppyemu (Rev.A with latest “beta” .woz firmware) and both were about the same. I’d say there’s no performance differences between these two drives.

online_converter_too_s
Converter software online:  http://kboohk.com/dsk2woz/ 

.edd > .nib, .woz, .edf
.dsk > .nib, .woz, .edf
.po > .nib, .woz, .edf
.do > .nib, .woz, .edf
.zip > .nib, .woz, .edf

Usefull converting might be the .edd > .woz (but it isn’t supported yet). Converting non protected format to .woz would serve no purpose in my mind.

I tested several (known good) .edd-files and converted them to .edf with this tool and the .edf files booted fine with the wDrive. Edd-file format might be pretty much obsolete now as everything is moving towards .woz but there might be some cases it might be proven usefull.

OTHER TOOLS:

Other tools for manipulating WOZ-files:
https://applesaucefdc.com/woz/

wozardry
A multipurpose tool for manipulating WOZ disk images.
https://github.com/a2-4am/wozardry

dsk2woz
A tool for converting DSK images to WOZ format.
https://github.com/TomHarte/dsk2woz

Apple II Disk Browser
A tool that allows you to view the contents of disk images.
https://github.com/dmolony/DiskBrowser

DskToWoz2
A tool that converts DSK images into WOZ 2.0 format.
https://github.com/cmosher01/DskToWoz2

THOUGHTS?

floppyemu_and_wdrive_s
wDrive reminds a lot of FloppyEmu, the design is similar, the size is similar, the display is similar.  Differences come from the connectivity. Both are connected with IDC 20-pin (or DB 19-pin connector with adapter) but Floppyemu have support for smartport 3.5″ and HDD devices/images as well. wDrive have support for .edf (from .edd). Both use sd-card as storage medium, wDrive uses the older (regular) sd-card and Floppyemu (B) uses the micro-SD card. It would be nice if the wDrive would support 3.5″ devices/images as well HDD images. Doable with future firmware update maybe?

For the future, as i’m mainly using //e and IIgs, i’d hope, possible “wDrive 2” that would be .. slot based, with on-screen menu, USB-connector for mass storage instead of SD-card and keeping the features what it have now naturally with added smartport support.

Overall, the wDrive does what it is advertiseed for. It’s cheaper than other similar SD-reader solutions for your Apple II and if the external device design doesn’t bother you or lack of smartport device support, this is the product for you. Sadly as when i’m writing this the wDrive is no longer available but it should (?) be available again some time soon.

kboohk
wDrive retails $69.00 + shipping from http://kboohk.com [currently unavailable]

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Sealed floppies: Maxell MD2-D (5.25″ DSDD)

 

box_s
Useless but fun blogpost.. Today i got sealed box of Maxell MD2-D 5.25″ mini-floppy disks (formatted 360KB IBM PC/AT/XT) DSDD floppies from a old friend who found them from his office. I thought to take few pictures of the box and do unboxing of it…

box_opened_s
Maxell as a brand for the magnetic products have never been that good.. i’ve had different issues with them in the past from Compact casette’s to 3.5″ and 5.25″ floppies.. their quality was “questionable”. Hope these are old  enough to be from the better era of their production. Or even work.

So i decided to copy one Apple /// game (yes, there are Apple /// games!) to one of them and see if it works.. but before that, i looked in of the box what these boxes contained. It’s been AGES since i bought new 5.25″ floppies. It must have been around 1987 just before i got Commodore Amiga 500 that already used 3.5″ disks. But even with Amiga, i used external 5.25″ drive and boot selector, as 5.25″ disks were much cheaper than 3.5″‘s.

opened_1_s
The floppy boxes contained stickers where you could write contest of the floppy (just don’t it with SHARP pen) and some stickers to cover the write protection notch.

notching_s
First thing we did, was naturally to make an another notch so the flip-side of the floppy could be used as not all drives could write bothsides in single-run.

floppy_notched_s
There. Both sides useable now for Apple II or ///.

ready_floppy_s
Disk written and to be tested…

atomic_defence_1_s
Yee! It worked. Nice. What an smooth scroller there. Great code Andy!

atomic_defence_2_s
Too bad i don’t have joystick that would work in Apple ///..

I really like 5.25″ floppies.

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple /// Forever.

 

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.

Apple //e : “Early PAL”

I was looking for suitable Apple //e with atleast: case, lid, bottompan and keyboard for the Apple //e->IIgs upgrade project.. and this one was offered to me and the first pictures looked that it was really reasonably clean and nice non enhanced //e. Perfect candidate for the hack!

received_the_early_e_s
After receiving more pictures of it, it was clearly notiseable that it was “early model” with similar case used with Apple II/II+’s, that is totally different material and the good thing with it is that it doesn’t yellow. So no retr0bright process is needed. I had one of these early //e’s before but that was North American NTSC model. I never had or seen these early PAL models before so i got more interested. I actually never thought there were this “early” PAL model been manufactured in Europe but when you think of it surely they must have. I don’t know why but it had flied under my radar the whole matter. Glad to realize and learn new things.

I received the unit after a week and cleaned it up, took closer look of it and did some repair work as it was needed to get it running.

THE CASE:

compare_cases_s
Early model vs. later //e cases.

compare_cases_top_s
from top.

compare_cases_sideways_s
from side

 

compare_cases_back_s
from backside

date_on_case_s
These painted II+ styled cases are nice as they do not yellow. So it was easy to just put the unit in parts and washed the case, the lid and the bottompan. Notised it had stamped date inside of the case when it was made: “JUN 30 1982”.

serial_number_bottompan_s2
Serial label from the bottompan. Not the missing A2S2064 T – model number as it appeared soon after. Also the label had it’s own code 825-0472-A.

THE MOTHERBOARD:

removing_rust_fiberglass_pen_s
There were quite a bit rust on the screws that held the case and the motherboard in the basepan. I used some Coca-Cola to remove the rust, it worked somehow. Also the connectors on back were quite rusty a well, specially the paddle/joystick port and video output. The fiberglass pen is good tool for removing surface rust so i used that (it’s good idea to use respirator).

cleaning_the_rust_s
The result was quite good actually.

board_codes_s
The board revision : 820-0073-A | B-607-0664 (C) 1982.

colorkiller_modification_s
That had Color killer switch soldered to vacant oscillator position on PCB. All chips are socketed. I had never seen this early version before.

serial_number_board_s
The date on it was “1083” (10th week of 1983, March 7-13,1983). 

board_dates_s
..and stamped date of “R8308” so it’s even earlier than what’s those dates would indicate at wiki, if they mean the week they started to implement those changes?

board_closeup_s
There’s also a signature and some number where the an another label with numbers should be.

wiki:
Early : week 26 1983: 820-0073-A (c) 1982 / B-607-0664 Color killer switch soldered to vacant oscillator position on PCB. 
Normal : week 38 1983: 820-0073-B (c) 1982 / B-607-0264 Color killer switch near RHS of PCB. All chips socketed. 
65C02 : week 07 1985: 820-0073   (c) 1984 / B-607-0264 PCB marked for enhanced ROMs & 65C02 (may have old ROMs and 6502). RAM & some TTL soldered in. Layout same as above. 

week 38 1983: 820-0073-B (c) 1982 / B-607-0264 Color killer switch near RHS of PCB. All chips socketed.
-I have few of these revisions but mine doesn’t have ALL chips socketed. Only few sockets.

There were also the Platinum model made in Ireland with “International NTSC”-board on it (these are from my collection):

Platinum : week ?? 1986: 820-0188-C (c) 1986 / 607-0288-C / 8653
Platinum : week ?? 1988: 820-0188-E (c) 1986/87 607-0288-D / 8820
Platinum : week ?? 1988: 820-0188-E (c) 1986/87  / S-607-288-D / 8809

There isn’t any information actually, WHEN, they started the production of the Apple //e in Ireland. This would be really interesting to know. What day/week in 1983 ?

Fixing and diagnostics the board:

white_bars_at_beginning_s2
Some repairing was needed as it would not power up without giving vertical white bars on screen at first. I swapped first chip-by-chip starting from CPU, IOU and MMU but it didn’t make any difference.

random_chars_at_screen_1_s2
Next i swapped the EF-ROM chip (to date code: “8325”) and i got rid of the vertical bars but got screen full of random characters instead. That would usually indicate the board having issue with the RAM chips but i could not figure out what chip at what location was actually bad so i installed the “Apple //e Diagnostic card” and fired that away.

testing_with_diagnostic_card_s
Apple //e Diagnostic card:

error_at_f09_s
It showed that it had error at board location: F09, that’s RAM chip location, so i replaced that.  It’s nice to have such board with all chips socketed.. but no change!  Ah!.. it assumes the NTSC board layout?! I compared to NTSC and PAL board chip locations and realized: F09 = F06 in PAL board. Tried again and got error in board location F12. There’s NO RAM in F12 location in PAL board but comparing the NTSC board again, F12 = F09 in PAL board. I got an another RAM chip and swapped that and everything worked fine.

PROCESSOR:

The main processor was supposed to be regular 6502 but it was clearly replaced with R65C02P3 (450-13 8439). Swapped this to regular 6502 from date code “8309” so it was period perfect fit for the manufacturing date era.

ROM-CHIPS:

rom_chips_s

The Keyboard ROM : 341-0152 REV.A Apple 82 (eprom)
Video ROM : 341-0162 REV.B Apple 82 (eprom)
EF ROM : 342-0134-A Apple 82 ( > swapped to 342-0134-A “8325” Apple 1982)
CD ROM : 342-0135-A Apple 82 “8313”

So all look period perfect for this unit been made in early 1983. If i’d aim for more accuracy i would swap the EF-ROM “8325” bit earlier one from 1983 but that was what i had available.

THE KEYBOARD:

Few of the switches got easily stuck so i cleaned it with electronics cleaner spray and tried to twiggle and press repeatly the switches to get them working. The keyboard was the regular //e keyboard and there is the switch underneath the case for switching the character sets. What made me wonder, when the //e was released they used different keyboard in the beginning, atleast in North America. That keyboard had white letters and looked quite different to this common, later model. I have not however seen any early PAL model keyboards so i am not certain if there were this earlier style keyboard used in Ireland. 

keyboard_pcb_differences_s
The keyboard PCB was clearly different than the later one. The traces were much thinner. Maybe just different keyboard manufacturer.

keyboard_diagnose_errors_s
After cleaning it up i tested the keyboard. The keys “7” and “Open Apple” had issues even all traces seem to be OK – checked that with multimeter. The “7” occationally get’s stuck so hopefully more cleaning and pressing the switch will resolve that matter but for the “Open Apple”, it was all dead. So i swapped the switch (luckily i had one spare left) for it and it worked.

The Keyboard ROM : 341-0152 (REV.A Apple 82) did give me correct versions, Swedish/Finnish and English characters when flipped the switch underneath the keyboard. That was nice it was all original and working.

 

THE POWERSUPPLY:

psu_original_s
The powersupply was the regular, short, gold colored, Astec AA 11040C, 230v 50Hz 0.5 Amp model. Opened it and it looked clean and no caps leaking or bulging. I made the initial testing first with good known recapped //e (longer model) powersupply and tested the original one later. I should have either recapped it or removed the RIFA’s from it.. but this ones goes to collection not for daily use.

DETAILS:
(i like details collected, so this is mainly for safekeeping this information)

Case serial : A2AS2-100190 (Assembled in Ireland)
Case date : JUN 30 1982
Powersupply : Astec AA 11040C, 230v 50Hz 0.5 Amp
Board code : 820-0073-A | B-607-0664 (C) 1982
Board date code : 1083
Keyboard ROM : 341-0152 (REV.A Apple 82)
Video ROM : 341-0162 (REV.B Apple 82)
EF ROM : 342-0134-A (Apple 82) > broken > swapped to 342-0134-A “8325” Apple 1982
CD ROM : 342-0135-A (Apple 82) “8313”
CPU : R65C02P3 (450-13 “8439”)  (>swapped to 6502 “8309”)

Cards : 
-Disk II card (Apple, Made in Ireland)
-Apple //e 80col-64k card (Apple 1985, 607-0103-I)
-Printer Interface card (Taiwanese clone)

80col64kcard_earlier_revision_s
I swapped in an earlier model of the 64k/80-col card : 607-0103-I/820-0067-C (1985) to 607-0103-E/820-0067-B (1981) so it looks more period perfect.

case_early_3_s
All done.

What about my “//e->IIgs upgrade hack project” then? .. looks like this is all too good unit to be sacrificed for the IIe>IIgs upgrade hack project so it goes to my collection directly.. so need to find an another //e for this.

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple //e Forever.

 

LINKS:
http://wiki.apple2.org/index.php?title=CSA2_Part_1
http://www.hackzapple.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=8952&sid=ce5e21e35de0066c985d114abc3d14d0
https://www.mac-history.net/apple-history-2/apple-ii/2008-05-25/apple-iii-nd-apple-iie
https://www.applefritter.com/content/apple-iie-serial-number-variations
http://www.harrowalsh.de/APPLEBOX/APPLE2/appleboxkeypage.htm

 

Lucky bid, Apple /// manuals!

books_top_of_apple3_sAtleast once i had luck with the ebay and won some interesting and missing manuals from my collection. Especially i was after the “Apple Business Basic Refence Manuals”.

All of them are in English expect the “Apple /// Handboek voor de gebruiker” that is in Dutch. That’s very interesting and needs to be scanned. Will do that when i get the new book scanner sometime in early, i hope, 2019.

books_s
Apple Business Basic – Reference Manual – Volume 1
Apple Business Basic – Reference Manual – Volume 2
Pascal Programmer’s Manual – Volume 1
Pascal Programmer’s Manual – Volume 2
Pascal Program Preperation Tools
Pascal Introduction, Filer, and Editor
Pascal 11 Update
Apple /// Owner’s Guide
Apple /// Handboek voor de gebruiker (Dutch)
Universal Parallel Interface Card Manual
Apple Writer /// Operating Manual (no floppy)

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple /// Forever.

 

BASIC Programmierhandbuch Applesoft BASIC

book_cover_s
I recently found one nice early BASIC programming book in German language, “Apple II Plus – BASIC Programmierhandbuch Applesoft BASIC” from 1978.

printed_in_switzerland_s
It was printed in Switzerland that was kind of strange but maybe they printed these for the German language area there. Interesting however in European Apple II collector/preservation’s view point. Not sure if this has been scanned, but if not, i’ll get it done when i receive the new book scanner in 2019.

two_editions_s
German vs. English versions.

FinApple 2018 (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.

 

From Belgium with Floppies

“Floppies! Floppies! Let there be FLOPPIES.”

Bryan Bogaert sent these floppies to be preserved. One never knows what there is to be found.

box_s

What software were used:
-As most of the disks were not originals, not protected ones, i just used CFFA3000 to read the disk images (.dsk) out of the floppies. That’s the most easy/realible way to get the images read quick. For more difficult ones, or slightly protected ones, ADTPro could be used to read the .nib file, but currently i don’t have ethernet based network setup in my mancave/hobby/work-room so i had to skip that in this moment.

floppies_around_s

Any intersting finds?
Lots of basic stuff. Cracked game collections (i’m specially interested finding software cracked by European, less known, groups or persons), AppleWorks, DOS-masters -the basic stuff really.

ghostbusters_crack_screen
Cracked by some Dutch group/person:

itt_floppy_sBut atleast something very interesting, i found software made for the Apple ][ clone, ITT 2020!
Basic-Couse and some financing products labeled as “Bell Telephone Mfg. Co. Retail Management Program – Verkoop en Facturatie and Stock -en Klantenbeheer”. There were versions 1.0, 2.0 and 2.1 but all i could find were version 2.0 and 2.1. Those disks were really in bad shape, the mylar surface was badly grooved in few tracks. Cleaning did not help on that.

passported_sFew i could read with the Passport by 4am and it revealed that those were actually protected with DOS3.3P.

Also found some Dutch PD-collections:
-Apple Gebruikersgroep Amsterdam : Het Diskschift
-Software Bibliotheek Stichting Apple 2 Support
-IAC Klok-series

Images that did not contain any personal data, were uploaded to archive.org and asimov.

FinApple 2018
Apple ][ forever.

A little bit about: Preserving Apple II casette-based software:

Apple and other publishers, released software on c-casette tapes since 1977 to early 1980’s
The c-casette tape was the only way to save your data until the Disk II became available in June 1978 ($495). And of course, it took time when it became dominant format for saving data on your Apple ][.

casette_2_s
Recently i obtained some Apple ][ software tapes that did require preservation. All others
but “Mimic” were already preserved by Antoine Vignau of the great Brutaldeluxe,
http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr so i took the task to preserve the “Mimic”-casette release. To me, this was first ever (original) casette software for the Apple ][, so this was all “new” to me even i knew the process more or less.

Last time i’ve copied software tapes was back in mid 80’s when i realized i could actually copy
the software tapes with double-deck c-casette players. That was start of something.. wonderfull (and brought to me lots of new friends).

These came with the box (rather rare to happen thesedays) so i will scan them and the manuals as well and they’ll appear on Antoine’s collection later on.

software_tapes_s
Instant Software-releases from 1979:
-Math Tutor I 20k (0073A)
-Sahara Warriors: Commando, French Foreigh Legion 8k (0080A)
-Mimic 24k (0025A)
-Manual for : Math Fun 6 32k (0160AD)

Also additional tape came with these, it seems to have Star Trek game on it which i had to preserve as well. It was one of these “just in case” situations. Save everything, analyze later.

What is required in order to preserve the software tapes?
-Casette deck/player
-Audio cable
-Audacity -software
-Ciderpress -software

The setup:casettedeck_s
Nothing odd or difficult. Connecting the casette-deck to your computer, in this case, Pioneer CT-F650, i obtained from a colleque at work to laptop (Macbook Pro) with suitable cables (2*RCA->minijac). See that the possible DOLBY-setting is OFF.

Reading:
-Using Audacity (WAV, 22kHz, 8-bit mono) to read the casette (or the data off it if you know excatly how much there is) to single, non-compressed .wav file. Reading “too much” (i.e. whole side of the casette) doesnt matter.

We are going to save the .wav file(s) as master/original file, but also, convert the .wav back to file-format in order to keep it (and it’s easier to be used) in DOS 3.2 or DOS 3.3 disk image.

Converting (to disk image):import-files-from-wav_2
Create empty DOS 3.2/3.3 -disk image, and using Ciderpress, import the files from the .wav file to the  disk image. Import : actions > import file from WAV, choose the file and press >IMPORT<

import-files-from-wav_3
You can setup when importing the files the file-name, if it’s Binary, aAplesoft or Integer BASIC.
-Mimic loader
-Mimic program

instant_software_presents_sLoading program:

mimic_start_screen_s
Mimic-menu:

mimic_game_screen_s
Mimic-the game:


Some good ideas:

-Do fast forward the tape back and forth few times if the tape have not been used for long time. The tape might be stuck due heat and lack of usage.

 

Links:
Collection of Apple II tape software:
http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/projects/cassettes/index.html

By Apple: The format of data on the tape
http://support.apple.com/kb/TA40730

By Apple: Read and write routines from the monitor
http://support.apple.com/kb/TA40737

 

FinApple 2017 (c)
Apple ][ forever
http://kasettilamerit.fi

Special thanks to Antoine Vignau of Brutaldeluxe.fi