Category Archives: Real Time Clock

“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.