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.

 

 

 

Hack/test Apple //e upgrade?

appleiiepalsetup_s
Apple //e non enhanced 6502 PAL

I have one Apple //e that i use for testing cards and generally playing & hacking around, as my main rig is Platinum //e that have the parts installed permanetely. This system is PAL, non enhanced 6502, Apple //e with UK-keyboard but i wanted to upgrade it to NTSC. As the position of AUX connector on PAL //e aligns up with Slot 3 and that wont allow installing long cards to Slot 3. I find that bit annoying. And i had one NTSC board available so i thought to just swap it around and as well, install better, in this case, Applied Engineering heavy-duty power supply to it.

Original cards setup:
#1 FastChip //e (a2heaven)
#2 quikLoader (D.Mutimer)
#3 -empty-
#4 TimeMaster II H.Q. (a2heaven)
#5 -empty- 
#6 Disk II (apple)
#7 VGA-scaler (a2heaven)
AUX RAMWorks 8M (a2heaven)
+MultiFont custom ROM (a2heaven)
+Regular original Apple gold long model power supply

Putting in parts and suprises!

boards-ntsc-pal_edited_2_s
NTSC vs PAL board differences

So i removed all the cards and put the case in parts. Then, it’s easy to just put it back together with new PSU and board… but, NO. I had totally forgotten that the design of the NTSC board is pretty much different to PAL one. So.. the keyboard connector and speaker connectors are in different locations wich means.. they have longer cables. Oh no!

keyboard-cable_s

OK, not biggie. Making longer (abx. 32cm) keyboard cable isn’t really that difficult, so i got 1 meter of 26pin flat cable and some IDC26P female connectors. It took few minutes to get one done with correct tool i luckily had bought few years ago when i made new Disk II drive cables for myself. 

cable_s
PAL vs NTSC board keyboard cables.

I however did not get longer cable for the speaker (i tend to keep it unplugged anyway) but that’s something maybe needs to be done later.

 

AE heavy-duty power supply:

ae_psu_installed_s

It really looks good doesn’t it? Applied Engineering is one of my favorite companies that made products for Apple II-line.

ae_psu_specs_s

And it’s beefier than the regular, stock power supply that Apple used.

VGA-scaler installation:

vga-scaler_setup_ntsc_board_s

As i used the VGA-Scaler (from a2heaven.com) i installed that too. It’s installed the same way as in PAL board, but just the chips are in different location. I had to use longer cable to reach the chip in location F5 that i was using with the PAL board.

Installed in : SLOT 7
Board type: Apple IIe NTSC 1982, 620-0064-B/607-0164

Installation:
– SEROUT > C5 74LS10 PIN 3  
– GR > D5 344-0022 PIN 2 
– 14M > F5 74LS166 PIN 7

New cards setup:

AUX RAMWorks 8M (a2heaven)
#1 -empty-
#2 -empty-
#3 Transwarp (AE original)
#4 TimeMaster II H.O. (a2heaven)
#5 MicroDrive/Turbo CF-HDD (reactivemicro)
#6 Disk II interface (apple original)
#7 VGA-Scaler (a2heaven)

I might change the keyboard too, i feel one of the other //e’s i have does have better response keyboard… different switches?

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II Forever.

 

Yet an another Apple //e “early” PAL:

setup_s

This Apple //e “early” (PAL) model i happened to find during my summer vacation. There was one old MicroComputer shop that had closed up and they were emptying their warehouse from excess material. The owner was also a PC collector so there were lots of mainly, PC stuff around. But after seing few pictures i thought that there were “early” //e model and Apple Monitor /// (the later with beige front panel) so arranged the time and drove there. It was about 400km round trip but i had the time.

Luckily i had agreed beforehand to buy this set (without seeing it actually any closer) as when i got there, there were other people interested in Apple II’s  as well (!). There were two quite dusty and yellow //e’s that they grabbed before me. Anyway, it turned out to be an another of those “early” 1983 models with different case (Jerry Manock designed). Those are not so common over here so naturally iwas happy to add one to my hoard… collection.

Details
board_serial_s_2

All chips socketed (thank god).

Board date: 1883 (also have : “8333” hand written)  
Board code: 820-0073-A 1982 (c)
Board model: B-607-0664
Board manuf: R8316
Case serial : A2S064P : 2A2S2-138295
Serial Label : 825-0472-A / 220V, 50Hz, ~0.5A
Case date stamped inside : 6. MAI 1983 (Friday, Week 18, 1983)

case_serial_stampe_s6. MAI 1983

Chips :

chips_rom_dates_s

-Keyboard ROM 341-0152 (Rev.A Apple 82) 
-Video ROM *label missing* should be 341-0162 REV.B 
-EF ROM 342-0134-A 
-CD ROM 342-0135-B 
-CPU R65C02P3 II450-I3 8439 
Interesting! The other “early” unit i have it also have the same CPU R65C02P3 II45-I3 from the same week! 8439 (!) 

-As the ROM’s are not enhanced, i’ll swap the CPU to regular 6502 when i find one.

-Power supply: Astec AA11040C (230V, 50Hz. 0.5A)


Cards:

Very basic cards. Nothing excting.

-Disk II interface card
-Apple 64k/80col card (607-0103)

Testing:

Cleaned the system thoroughly, good place to dry things up is naturally the Sauna! The keycaps were cleaned in a soap liquid for a day and then brushed with toothbrush.

sauna_1_s
At sauna.. no heat on.


Crepairs_booted_s

As the power supply is old and i really don’t want to blow it up right now, i tested this unit with known good recapped AE Heavy Duty PSU.

Booted fine with AE psu. The color picture was bit shaky. The video connector would need some cleaning.

Used the “Apple //e diagnostic card” -to check if the unit had any obious issues.

Keyboard: worked otherwise but “H” -keyswitch seems to be broken. Will be replaced.

Diagnostic was 100% otherwise.

Glad to have an another of these early ones added up to my collection.

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple //e Forever.

 

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.

 

 

Retr0bright by sunlight?

001_s

I heard and saw a video about doing the retr0bright with just sunlight few months ago : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P1OVj0IcqY

I was curious to test it, no matter it being hoax or not. Risks were low. However, I had to wait To get good weather here in Finland. When the weather got better, I chose the piece to be tested with: Apple //e 65c02 (Nordic, swe/fin) unit’s lid was good candidate. It had yellowed but in the middle where the monitor had stand for years, was not much so. Therefore, there would be great contrast In addition, should get good results.

002_s

Therefore, I removed the logos from the lid, cleaned it and placed in the sun. After first day, maybe 5 hours of direct sunlight blasted the lid, but I could not see any difference. So I kept going, on and off when I had the time, for days, actually few weeks, total maybe being somewhere between 30-40 hours. Then I gave up.  I thought it did nothing… but when i compared it to the case (indoors), there was quite a big difference! 

There is talk how it makes the plastic brittle, aging it faster and turning it to dust etc… But if this is not happening over weeks, months or a year, I really do not care. If the sunlight would break things in short time, there would be serious warning about it to consumers.

 

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.

Internal-External Drive Switcher for Apple //c:

parts_s

The Internal-External drive switcher from bigmessowires.com is two piece adapter kit for the Apple //c. It allows choosing the boot device with using a switch between internal or external device as the default booting (Slot 6) drive. This is specially usefull with emulators such as wDrive and Floppyemu as it allows booting the new format, .woz, copy-protected disk images created with Applesauce.

There is that Custom ROM x4 but it doesn’t solve the fact that some software are hard coded to boot from Slot 6. For //c that means installing the wDrive to the internal drive connector, OR using such hardware device as this one.

I wanted this to be used with the //c that i have the Mockingboard 4c installed already. This would make spendid, small, gaming machine (with VGA output added).

 

INSTALLING

adapters_installed_s

Internal:
Installed between the main logic board and the cable that leads to floppy drive. The smaller connecting cable from the adapter is then routed out of the case and installed to external adapter. The cable can be routed either thru the DB19 connector opening, composite adpater opening or vent hole of the case (might need some modding), anyway you choose.

External:
Installed into external floppy port and the cable is installed that comes from the internal adapter.

switch_s

The switch:
Switch in external adapter is ment for choosing what device/drive is active. Internal or external.

 

USING

setup_ready_s

I have the adapter installed with //c that have Mockingboard 4c as well. I had to remove the DISK-II-LED adapter as it would not fit with the adapter installed nor i was sure if it would work either. I put the switch to “swapped”-mode (ext->int) and booted lots of proven working .woz files and they naturally loaded up OK. So the switch does what it’s advertised for. Also copied one floppy with booting from wDrive and writing it back to internal drive with CopyII+. Works perfectly.

The titles with Mockingboard support are bit hit-and-miss with the Mockingboard 4c. Either you need to try adjusting the slot before booting (from monitor) or use premodified images, but some do work directly as well after chosing the correct slot for the Mockingboard (4).

It is great feeling to have //c with .woz booting possibility, mockingboard and VGA output! This combination makes it great, small Apple II – gaming setup. Not sure what else even could be added?

Only waiting now for the Fastchip //c from a2heaven.com to be added to this setup, IF it fits.. it might be tight fit as it’s already pretty tight fit with the Mockingboard 4c… but it’s possible.

 

THOUGHTS?

The adapter works as promissed. Booting .woz files using wDrive works as one would expect. The installing is veryeasy. On the 20-pin connector on the main logig board installed adapter side was quite tight to install. Be carefull. If you want to load any disk images with the //c then this is kind of must. There’s otherways to boot from external devices, but this is baremetal option for that and it works always. This device is of of those kind of “must” have for Apple //c users.

 

bmow-title
Internal-External Drive Switcher for Apple //c is available from https://www.bigmessowires.com

 

FinApple 2019 (c)
Apple II 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.