Otto Romanowski: Apple II

Otto Romanowski is one of the electronic music pioneers in Finland who have had great and remarkable career. He’s considered as electronic music pioneer among Erkki Kurenniemi and Henrik Otto Ronner. He is electronic music composer and professor in Sibelius Academy.

I contacted him few years ago and asked if he had any Apple II material left or if he could borrow some disks to be imaged and preserved. At the time all his Apple II material was in storage but he’d be accessing them later. It took quite a bit of time but now he contacted me as he was in process of moving and had found these:

setup_s
Apple II europlus

board_serial_s
Board date: 0283 | F8252, Board code: 606-X-648-X

unit_serial_s
Serial: IA2S2-693030 (Made in Ireland) 825-0187-00

power_supply_backside_s
-Power supply : Astec AA11040C (230 VAC 50Hz 0.5A)

-Disk II – floppy drive (2 pcs) : One drive had drilled hole on it so you could adjust the drive speed without removing the case. Looks like bullet hole.

monitor_back_s
Apple /// monitor : In quite good condition and clean. Few light scratches.

paddles_s
Apple paddle controllers : Pair of the old black 16-pin models, one adjusment ring missing.

mountain_computer_music_system_s
Mountain Computer Sound System-cards with lightpen

saturn_32k_ram_card_s
Saturn 32k RAM-card

synch_card_s
California Computer Systems CCS Apple II Asynchronous Serial Card 7710

-Disk II – interface card
-Epson printer – card 

floppies_s
5.25″ diskettes : Some programming and music releated software.
These are now imaged to .woz (.a2r) and .dsk and available at : archive.org and asimov archives.

This particular Apple II europlus was originally used with in opening exibition of Finnish Science Center, “Heureka” in Vantaa back in 1989. It was used to let the visitors to create music and graphics with the Mountain Computer Sound system, paddles and lightpen.

images
An another Mountain Computer Sound System with Alpha Syntauri-setup can be seen on video used by Otto here: https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2009/11/10/otto-romanowski-esittelee-musiikkimikron

It seems to be early Apple //e model. This setup might have belonged to Espoon Musiikki Opisto (Espoo Music Institute) as Otto remembered the Alpha Syntauri was theirs. I contacted the Institute but sadly, the Alpha Syntauri was long gone. Otto was teacher at the Espoo Music Institute for Music Theory, Solfége and Electronic Music in 1979-1990.

setup_of_alpha_syntauri_system_s

Alpha Syntauri setup:

I will interview Otto later this year and release it here at FinApple.

An another piece of Finnish Apple II history saved up!

 
Alpha Syntauri:
http://www.appleii-box.de/H212_9_AppleIIalphaSyntauriPage9.htm
http://www.appleii-box.de/APPLE2/H212_AlphaSyntauri/AS%20TECH%20DOCS.pdf

Otto Romanowski:
https://romanowski.fi
https://soundcloud.com/oromanow

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II 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.

 

Kasettilamerit: rescuing Turku GameLab Apple II disk collection:

screen-shot-2019-02-13-at-22-44-59

Turku Gamelab borrowed about 80 pcs of Apple II 5.25″ floppies to be preserved. Some of the disks were original, some typical “backup” material that went from hand-to-hand among the hobbyists back in 80’s. Most likely most of the material is preserved already, but.. who knows. Just in case.

The floppies were read with Applesauce device and saved as .a2r and then converted to .woz, the format that is more useable. Most emulators read .woz files thesedays as well some hardware devices to be used the the real Apple II hardware.

Some images had personal information so they were excluded from the collection.

Most intresting find was those few graphical rolling on-screen demos made for Finnish electronics retailer “Mustapörssi”. There were demos for “Access //” and “AppleWorks”programs. Mustapörssi sold Apple II’s in mid to late 90’s, atleast //c and IIe.

AppleWorks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzAFmMdWzmY

Access //:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRv_-HY6dW0

The collection is downloadable at:
https://archive.org/details/TurkuGameLabAppleIICollection

The .woz files can be loaded with emulators like: OpenEmulator (macOS), Virtual II (macOS), MAME, microM8, EPPLEII.

Or with card readers for real Apple II’s like: wDrive or Floppyemu.

 

Finapple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever

 

Apple Plot med Apple Plot Kurvor Och Diagram:

002_s

Recent find, this time nice sealed software with Swedish manual (to be scanned):

Apple Plot (Sealed)

-Manual (English)
-Apple Plot Kurvor Och Diagram (Gylling & Co. AB, 1981, In Swedish)

 

001_s

Apple Plot is a program that allows you to create, manipulate, display and print graphs and charts.

 

003_s

I didn’t open the shrink wrap and test the floppy. I do however have the floppy and manual already in my collection.

 

Hope to find more Nordic Apple II and /// material!

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Just some books:

Got few books that i’ve been looking for (reasonable priced) ages and i got them now among few others. I was specially after the “Apple II-6502 Assembly Language Tutor”, “Beneath Apple DOS” (Updated for Apple //e) the the Apple //c Owner’s Guide” as those seem to be quite hard to find thesedays. 

books_s

Thanks to Mr. Javier “Retr0bright” Rivera for all the help & shipping these to me:

-Apple II-6502 assembly language tutor (Haskell, Richard E)
-Beneath Apple DOS (Updated for Apple //e)
-104 apple computer programming tips & tricks
-WillWriter (with floppy)
-Apple //c+ Owner’s Guide
-Merlin Pro (with the floppies)

editions_s

“Beneath AppleDOS” (Updated for Apple //e) is specially difficult to find. It was published later (1983/1984) than the first version of the series “Beneath AppleDOS” (1981 by Pieter Lechner, Don Worth).  There was also “Beneath Apple ProDOS” pubished in 1985 by QS-Quality Software”.

The first one is Chinese copy version of the original book. 

Different editions:
Ring and Plastic ring type of bounding, paper back, hardcover (is there hardcover edition?).

signature_s

I have the “Beneath Apple DOS” with Don Worth’s signature. He was kind enough to provide me a copy of his book signed several years ago. He’s really into Finnish metal music.

 

Been looking for this next book for YEARS – if you have one for sale/trade, let me know!
“Apple Roots: Assembly Language Programming for Apple IIE and IIC” (Mark Andrews, 1985)

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

My Nordic Apple ///

closeup_keyboard_1_s_s

One thing i’ve wanted to find for ages, but with such a little luck so far, was Apple /// that would have the localized keyboard (Swedish/Finnish) but those have been oddly difficult to find. Apple ///’s were not by far popular (business) computers in Nordics area and most ///’s seem to have have.. failed and recycled long long time ago.. 

In Sweden, they must have sold more ///’s than elsewhere in Nordics area as they did produce and translate software manuals in Swedish. I have few software packages that have Swedish manuals included in the package. This makes me wonder, what other products there might have been released?

But yes, patience is a virtue.. and i was finally able to find one! With the strike of luck i was able to locate one from Sweden and it was very kindly, shipped to me.

The case is in fairly good condition but naturally some yellowing is evident. There’s some sticker glue residue that should be easy to clean off as well one sticker that have fell off and reveals much lighter color beneath it. The Apple /// logo oddly seems to loose it’s color so often but it’s easy to repaint with silver paint pen.

..and with the ///’s, one should not expect to have stable unit.. very easily.

DETAILS AND SPECIFICATIONS:

bottom_plate_s
Bottom pan metal – “wavy” kind = early A2S1-era of models.

keyboard_layout_s
Swedish/Finnish keyboard layout is quite different from the typical US model.

apple_iii_keyboard_swedish_s
Swedish/Finnish-layout:

apple_iii_keyboard_us_s
US-layout:

 

serial_s
Serial number: A3S1-020817
12v, 128k model originally according to the serial label. It looks like it’s been upgraded to 256k (markings)so the board would have been upgraded to 5v as well.

psu_back_codes_s
Regular european power supply: PSU 220VAC | 50-60HZ | 0.5AMP
Should really replace the powersupply with universal powersupply from reactivemicro.

OPENING AND CLEANING:

Just basic cleaning to be done before testing.

I opened the case and removed things that actually can be removed. The Apple /// case is one heavy construction that weights about 12 KG when assembled. The only parts that come off easily are : the top case (plastic), keyboard cover (plastic) and the keyboard assembly itself, floppy drive, the main logig board (with the base pan attached) and the power supply (with base pan attached).

case_empty_opened_s
The rest of it is the very heavy, one piece, casing that holds all these components. I don’t know what they were thinking when they designed this case – it makes so little sense to create such closed enclousure without basicly any ventilation holes anywhere. Not even for the power supply, expect in back, but if you have four cards installed… no holes anywhere. They might have been thinking passive cooling with the basicly one-piece heavy metallic enclosure but.. it just doesn’t work very well.

apple_iii_arrived_condition_s
Top case:
Removed the top case and cleaned it. Some label-off spray was good choise for removing the sticker glue residue. There were also one sticker that was obiously removed and underneath the plastic was lighter in color. Only Retr0brightning would solve that one if would retr0bright whole enclousure. It doesn’t bother me that much really. It is kind of mark of the past, lived life.

case_empty_opened_keyboard_s
The keyboard seems to be missing few screws underneath the case. Need to find replacements for those. Used some wipes and compressed air to get rid of all that dust and crust from the there. I was lazy at this point to actually wash the keycaps (will do so before putting it back together…). The spacebar seems to have some issues as it seems to lock down from left side easily. Need to investigate that mechanism how it works and give it good cleaning.

main_logicboard_s
Removed the board from the case and investigated it. It looked fine and normal. While it was removed, it’s always good idea to press down all the chips.. (remove static electricity first or use the wrist band) and clean it up with isoprophyl alcohol if available.

upgraded_chips_logicboard_s
The board was originally 12v model but it was upgraded to 5v operation by swapping few IC’s at locations:
C11 (341-0044 > 341-0061)
C13 (341-0042 > 341-0063 (for 256K memory board)

position_r58_modification_s
Also the location R58 have been modified as it’s clearly been desoldered.

“Also the R58, which is located just above location C13. On a 12-volt logic board a 27 ohm, 1/4 watt resistor will be present. On a 5-volt logic board R58 will be missing and a solder bridge will connect the small solder pads on the logic board under R58’s mounting position on the board.”

ram_expansion_5v_256k_s
As the main logig board was upgraded to 12v > 5v – the memory board were upgraded to 256k 5v board.

 floppy_drive_s
Just removed the protective cover and the analog board, cleaned it with compressed air and some parts with isoprophyl alcohol. The read-in head was really amazingly clean, but cleaned it as well.

internal_floppy_drive_serial_s
Floppy drive serial nnumber.

 psu_manuf_date_s
Power supply ooked really clean. Made in week 51, 1980. The protection around the power cable seems bit worn, but i’ll put an another layer in top of it for time being.

apple_logo_s
Repainting the logo. Silver paint pen is great for this. Paiting with slightly dry tip of the pen gets it done. Easy fix.

 

So.. let’s hope it works….

 

SOME BASIC TESTING:

12-volt models have diagnostic’s in ROM so that’s what it goes into when it’s botted without the disk. It passes it OK.

first_hardware_test_ok_s
I tested booting the /// with the test disk, “Confidence test”. It booted fine and tested the system without any issues. The RAM test went thru nicely, i didn’t however run it with extensive period of time in this point but long enough to see if there would be any instant issues.

However when rebooting, sometimes the unit feels like it’s not receiving enough current so it seems to fail loading the screen and it get’s all messed up. Also some buzzing sound (getting louder) could be heard. I think all ///’s make strange noises..  Also the keyboard light seems to have been burned off. That means when the unit is started, it goes directly to the diagnostics mode and in order to boot it, one needs to hit reset+control to boot it. The burned lightbulb does not prevent using the computer, it’s just annoyance.

But i went for the safe way and ordered the proven, high quality, “universal power supply” from reactivemicro.com.  It’s very easy to install and you can order new connection cable as well. Should receive it in few weeks, i hope.

adjusting_the_drive_speed_s
I kept testing the unit with known risk of the power supply releasing the “magic white smoke” anytime.. and realized the floppy drive might need some mainantace, so i just did what i’ve done with my other ///’s. Started with obious reasons, swapped the IC “CA3146” and it helped the loading process. Then adjusted the speed and the disk hardware test went thru just fine. Booted also the Apple ][ Emulation mode and “Oidzone” the game by Michael Packard, played fine. It’s still picky when/what type of disks it would read..

adjusting_knob_s
Adjusting the drive speed: 

logo_repainted_s_s
The original logo was worn off so i painted them with silver paint pen. It wasn’t perfect and might need some rework, but it’s pretty ok so far.

wap_disk_keyboard_files_s

After i found the Swedish/Finnish -keyboard layout file (apple3.org: APPLE-3-WAP-SYS-02B.dsk) i tried to make working disk that the Nordic one would read. No dice. It just wont read them! I does read mostly all other floppies i have made for the ///’s but the new ones, no. Odd. ADTPro works with Uthernet II but for some reason when i try to Receive the file, it crashes ($A01). All hardware tests are ok. After a while (kept it running for longer time) it starts to refuse booting, giving random video errors and characters on screen. This is a sign to put it aside, and wait, for the Universal power supply to arrive. I could.. of cause, borrow one power supply from an another /// of mine. Let’s see if i get around doing so. 

What is left to be done?
-Install the new Universal Power supply.
-Keyboard light bulb replacement
-Test the keyboard layout.

 

NORDIC MATERIAL WANTED!

I hope to find more Nordic Apple /// software and manuals etc. I have the devices to preserve the materials either by scanning or reading floppies to disk images (.dsk/.ar2/.woz) with Applesauce.

Any help is very much appreciated with this task. It would mean a lot for me.
Thank you.

 

LINKS:

Apple3.org 
https://www.apple3.org 

Universal Power Supply
https://www.reactivemicro.com

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple /// Forever.

Apple III PFS report med Handledning för användaren:

booklet_and_keyboard_s

Found an nice boxed copy of “FPS: Report” for Apple ///. What makes it interesting (to me) is that it’s complete set (it looks like it) and it’s localized version and have two manuals in Swedish. These localized materials are very interesting to me.

 

box_opened_s

PFS: Report (Apple ///)
-Two software floppies “Report”, “Softwork”
-FPS: Software Catalog
-FPS: Report – Manual (Ringbound, In English)
-FPS: Report – Handledning för användaren (Two Swedish manuals/are the same)

 

The disks are now imaged to .dsk and .woz and available in “ususal places”.

I’ll scan the Swedish manual when i finally.. someday, do receive the new book scanner i’ve ordered.

 

These kinds of finds keep me going with this hobby!

Please contact me if you have more Nordic Apple II or /// software, manuals – or anything.

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple /// Forever

Atari 130XE vs CEC-E:

cec-e_and_atari_130xe_s

THAT .. IS .. ATARI?!

I recently bought an nice boxed, Atari 130XE from Sweden that was quite complete. The model is quite nice as it’s with the new XE-case design as well it have 128k RAM already built in. Sadly the built quality of  the XE-line was somehow questionable.. specially the keyboard is absolutely horrible compared to 600/800XL-models.. 

My goal was to be able to play the recently ported version of “Stunt Car Racer” (128k) with the 130XE and compare it, first hand, to the “Chinese Education Computer Expanded” (“CEC-E”) as they kind of look alike. Too bad i had no early Atari ST in hand for this.

“UNBOXING”

 boxed_stuff_lq_s
Kind of have to do it. So here it is..

-The original box and styrox
-Atari 130XE
-Power supply 230v
-Manuals (German)

 

PICTURES:

atari_130xe_vs_cec-e_r_side_2_s
Atari 130XE vs CEC-E from Right side.

 

atari_130xe_vs_cec-e_backside_both_s
Atari 130XE vs CEC-E, backside. Clearly very different connectors used.

atari520st_interfaces_s
Clearly early Atari ST is closer by design. I just do not have one in my collection (it’s 16-bit!).

 

atari_130xe_bottom_s
Atari 130XE bottom:

cec_e_from_bottom_s
CEC-E bottom:

 

 

Testing / playing:

I connected the Atari 130XE with it’s video output and used a composite-to-scart adapter and LCD/TV that had scart connector. HDMI or VGA sure would be nice to have with Atari’s as well.

The power supply is a new one from lotharek proven to work great with 600XL and 800XL and is compatible with 130XE as well so that was safe choise to be used. My original Atari power supply burned all the RAM chips from my 800XL a while ago.. luckily they all were socketed and it was easy job replacing them.

For loading the software, i used the neat sd-card reader solution “SIO2SD” from lotharek as well. Playing the games i used my favorite joystick the legendary TAC-2 from Suncom.

atari_130xe_stunt_car_racing_s

Testing with playing the “Stunt Car Racer” that was never released to Atari 8-bits but it got ported early 2018. It requires 128k RAM so either stock 130XE is needed or modded model with 128k RAM on it. The display have some issues with RGB signal/composite at times..

I found out that there’s several homebrew/conversions that require more RAM up to 320K so that’s something i might need to look into later. Unless i finish the memory upgrades for my 600XL (16k ->64k + 512k) someday.. still not done!

The Stunt Car Racer run pretty nicely! I’d need to test the game on C64 and BBC Master 128k as well now as it got ported to BBC as well. This game is fun!

 

Links:
About the Stunt Car Racer Atari port:
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/276082-stunt-car-racer/

Lotharek products:
https://lotharek.pl

Youtube video of Stunt Car Racer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kRUkl7G7Oc

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Apple II clones: “BOSS-1″ – Multi-System Personal Computer”:

boss_logo

I got few months ago keyboard for the Microprofessor III (MPF-III) among other Apple II pieces and the original owner, or actually he’s son. We thought obiously he’s father also had the MPF-III somewhere. But, now he actually found clone of it, “BOSS-1”. It’s basicly somekind of clone of the MPF-III so far i can tell. So i picked these Apple II-releated parts:

set_of_things_s
-BOSS-1 (“TYPE C”)
-Z80 processor – as the seller had bunch of processors available i added the Z80 to the empty slot.
-Apple ROM-card with 6 x EPROM’s 
-MPF-III RS-232-C adapter-card 
-ALF MC16 bare, clone, PCB-board
-Apple II prototyping board (empty PCB)
-Apple II RGB-card 
-“Bridge Challenger” (Personal Software, Casette) Apple II plus 16k. Incomplete. Box cover missing.
-Joystick enclousure and parts. Looks like the “Joystick”.
-Marconi RB2/PC-3 trackball controller (For what platform, no idea yet)

“BOSS-1 – Multi-System Personal Computer”

setup_s
Not much information could be found from this model..
This is one of those more complex and interesting Apple II clones from Taiwan. 
This clone had several different configurations or types, with 6502 prosessor or with 6502 and Z80 prosessors together in same board. So it does seem to be clone/licenced of Microprofessor (MPF-III) as their product was pretty identical by hardware and seem to use the same keyboard with some alternations to keyboard by funtionalities.

case_side_1
The enclousure is made out of fiberglass:

Different types/models:
TYPE A = 6502 – 9 slots including system slot at “J” , 48k RAM (?) 
TYPE C = 6502+Z80A – 7 slots includes system slot at “0”, 64k (RAM (?) 

board_s
Type C board layout: interesting cutout for the speaker in the right corner.

Multi OS system, either by System card (ROM) or loading from floppy. OS ROM = U24 (Type A) or U6 (Type C) if inserted no need for System card (ROM).

Video output:
Either NTSC or PAL (need PAL Expansion card)

What system cards were available:
-System Card (Apple DOS)
-Forth System card (Forth DOS)
-FP System card (Frankin DOS, CP/M, MS-DOS)

back_s
Backside:

What periphals/cards were available:
-Fan
-Joystick
-Graphics tablet
-12″ Green monitor
-12″ Amber monitor 
-Light pen
-192k RAM-card
-Z80-card 
-80-Column-card 
-Parallel printer-card 
-Serial RS232-card 
-PAL Color-card 
-Casette drive 
-Floppy disk drive 
-Floppy disk controller-card 
-Ram Expansion board-card
-Eprom writer-card
-ALF AD8088 CPU-card
-6809 CPU-card 
-Communications-card 
-Robot Controller-card 
-Chinese Character Interface-card 
-Replica interface-card 

The manual metions how you *could* write your own OS for this “Multi-System Personal Computer” if you
wanted and use it and System Card.

Testing & smoke?

psu_pins_s
I managed to get the system to startup (boot) few times and got “APPLE ][” on top of the screen with the usual beeb! The ROM-card was working obiously. Then i wanted to test booting from floppy so i attached the DISK II interface card (cloned one naturally) but that caused the system to make clicking noise… and then, nothing. It just died. The powersupply went totally dead. The extra stress to power the card and floppy drive was jus too much for the old powersupply.. I inspected the other clones i have, and the //e clone have just the same type of powersupply and pinouts – hope it works. That’s for later testing.


ROM:

eprom_s
The eprom on the board (U6 location) is preserved now.

Some pictures, information and the manual PDF at:
http://quartdepomme.fr/quartdepomme/Hardware_Apple_II_Clones/Pages/BOSS-1.html#9

Few pictures of the BOSS-1:
http://apple2.org.za/gswv/a2zine/GS.WorldView/Resources/A2.ALL.NEW/BOSS-1.An.A2.Clone/

It’s very possible that local hobbyist/electronics store “Bebek” imported and sold these. They are still around after all these years.

And yes, i’m still interested in finding that MicroProfessor III (MPF-III).

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

 

“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.