Monthly Archives: November 2018

Apple solid brass belt buckle (reproduction):

The original was offered in the Apple Gift Catalogs in late 70’s to early 80’s.
“This attractive , 2-3/16″ diameter, die-cast solid brass belt buckle is perfect for everybody (belt not included). Order no. D-001 for $8.00”

What a cool family!

This one is recent reproduction and is very close reproduction of the original one.

In the back there’s BASIC software listed (engraved) & listing the copyright and manufacturer with the serial number.
It is delivered in a nice bag made out of soft cloth-fabric.

It is great (reproduction) item if you can’t find (& afford) the original one. 


FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.


Apple //c donation!

I got this nice set of Apple //c goodies from ex. Apple II user, let’s call him here “Rancher Paul”. He used to be very active user and had Apple //c with 8Mhz Zipchip and even Apple IIGS (one of those few that got importedhere) but those are long gone now.

There were also bunch of floppies, but mostly private Appleworks-data disks so i imaged those first and delivered them to Paul.

So this nice Apple //c then, i did what i usually do, i took it in parts, checked all details and parts and did basic cleaning and tested to be sure if it works or if there would be some repairing to do. 

For the case and the keycaps, i disassembled the whole unit and washed the whole case from all dirt it might have collected over the years. I don’t do retr0bright.. should try it some sunny summer? The sauna is good place to dry things up..

I removed the caps and washed them well. I don’t use (should i?) the keycap puller tool, just regular screwdriver will do.

..they do collect all kind of dirt on them over the years, or decades.

One thing i hate with the //c is that darn spillover rubber protection mat.. 

External drive,

Took the exeternal drive to parts and cleaned the case and the inner parts, the head and adjusted the speed.

The external drive, Disk II, had quite clever adapter to DB19.

The motherboard,

The board was quite clean but did some cleaning but not with isoprophyl alcohol in this case. It looked fine. It had the original ROM255.

Things back together and testing (with my own laptop-powersupply to be sure) and it worked fine. I did not attach VGA or composite color adapter so there’s no colors on screen.

Nice Apple //c with original ROM255 (The Apple ][+ logo there just for the fun of it..)


Thank you Paul!

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.


Apple II – Disk II -drive extension cables:

These are very handy extension cables for Disk II-drive users. You can swap the drives if needed much easier without opening the case. I found them very usefull when you’re preserving disks (even Applesauce have now taken over this process quite perfectly). These can be made yourself as it’s pretty straight forward if you have the tools.

Connected to regular Disk II interface card.


FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever


Apple //c – Color video Modulator/Adapters:

There were several diffrent color adapters for Apple //c produced by Apple:


PAL Modulator/Adapter
Model A2M4023 

The adapter is for PAL models for color video output and has composite out as well as RF-out. 



PAL Modulator/Adapter
Model A2M4020
P/N 825-0830-A

This will generate PAL colour (RF) output from NTSC //c.  With PAL //c with this adapter will only produce a monochrome picture. 

Model A2M4020
P/N 825-0817-A / 825-0816-A 

This is for NTSC model to generate color RF-output.


Le Chat Mauve : //c RVB Peritel 
Model AM2M4020F
Made in France

 This is for PAL models and it have RGB, SCART-connector. 

back_both_s front_both_s connectors_s
Comparing the models in different angels.

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Custom ROM for the Apple //c and //c+

Now, what about the custom ROM then?

ROM 4X and 5X are enhancements to the Apple //c (4x) and Apple IIc+ (5x) firmware ROMs.

It adds the following features to the Apple //c and IIc+ firmware:

Identifies and reinstates a bootable (it must have something that looks like a boot block!) RAM disk from battery-backed expansion memory (see below), such as the RAM Express II+ from A2Heaven.

Provides a menu of various tools upon pressing CTRL+CLOSED-APPLE+RESET (or holding CLOSED-APPLE when powering up), that let you:

*Enter the monitor unconditionally.
*Reboot the machine (enter standard boot sequence).
*Zero the RAM card, in case it is corrupted.
*Execute the machine and RAM card diagnostics.
*Tell the machine to boot the SmartPort, the internal floppy drive, or an external floppy drive.

IIc only:
*The system drops to BASIC if no bootable device is found (this is the default behavior in the IIc Plus).
*Configure default boot device by saving a file on the RAM Disk.

IIc+ only:
*Menu control the built-in accelerator.
*Accelerator settings persist across resets.
*Build option to default the system to 1 MHz.

This firmware enhancement identifies a ProDOS boot block on the RAM disk and, if found, restores the appropriate screen holes to make the RAM disk bootable and prevent firmware or ProDOS from re-initializing it.



It is easy to install. Just open the case and lift the original firmware ROM-chip from it’s socket, with tool of your choosing and insert the newly made ROM (EPROM) in same socket.


I also installed an never used, Applied Engineering RamExpress to my Apple //c+ as the unit was opened. The card originally had 256k RAM (soldered) so i added some more. I was able to find from my stash just two (original) sets of (8 chips per set, 256k) “Apple II 256k Memory Expansion” boxes. Those were sealed but really they are ment for using so i had no ethical issues opening them. I could possibly lift some RAM from i.e. slinky //e RAM-card but that could be done later. Or most likely, i’ll replace this card with modern version, like A2heaven’s “Apple IIc RamExpress II+” that is the good option for the //c and //c+ users right now.

RamExpress installed:

My Apple //c+ now holds some modern upgrades:

-Universal Powersupply (from Mark Wise)
-VGA-adapter (
-Applied Engineering RamExpress (768k RAM) 
-FloppyEmu w/adapter (first rev.)



All these features are very welcomed to //c and //c+ users. For //c+ users, setting the CPU to 1 MHz even after reset is very handy when you want to keep the speed at 1 MHz. This is BIG plus feature. The annoyance of choosing the speed after every reset is infernal when you need to remember to do that!

Boot-control is really nice, there’s different needs for different media and options so choosing it from menu is so much more convinient. Loving this bigtime!

The RAM-card options are handy if you’re using one. 

This is everything in one place upgrade and absolutely MUST for //c+ users. Wonder what else there might be what could be accessed and configured?

More information & ROM-file downloads:

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II forever.


Ramworks III: VGA add-on extender (PAL/NTSC):

This is an VGA add-on extender adapter for the Ramworks III (by Applied Engineering, or clones like Ramworks IIII by Reactivemicro) and with Apple //e, it generates VGA-compatible, 720×480 pixels, video signal. This new version supports both NTSC and PAL Apple //e-versions. 

The location for the AUX-slot in NTSC and PAL Apple //e models is different:
-NTSC model the AUX-slot is in left bottom side of the board (from keyboard) 
-PAL models it’s closer to middle of the board alligned with Slot 3.

Using this adapter you can save one slot in NTSC-models compared to using product like “Apple II VGA Scaler” also by or upcoming VidHDMI but with PAL-models the AUX-slot is however alligned with Slot 3 that can’t be then used sametime as Ramworks III-card is long enough to block the slot.



-Apple //e-VGA add-on extender board
-Push button with cables to switch video modes 
-Extension able with DB15HD-connector
-Manual can be downloaded from site.


from manual at

RW3VGA-uses 2 LSI devices, a CPLD and 256k x 16 static RAM. The CPLD is configured as a scan line doubler, in that it stores the video information from the Apple //e (15Khz) frame by frame and the outputs the video as VGA 720x 480 (shows as 640×480 in some VGA-monitors) at 31Khz. The 256k x 16 static RAM is used as video frame buffer.

Setting the default mode:
You can set the default video mode using rotary selector on RW3VGA-board. The selected number is set default mode on power-up. It’s preset to “1” that is Color VGA (no scan lines).


-40 and 80 columns text, with 24 lines 
-Low-Resolution: 40 × 48 (15 colours) 
-High-Resolution: 280 × 192 (6 colours)  
-Double-Low-Resolution: 80 × 48 (15 colours) 
-Double-High-Resolution: 560 × 192 (2 colours) 

1 – Colour
2 – Colour Alternative
3 – Shades of Green
4 – Shades of White
5 – Mono – Green
6 – Mono – White
7 – Mono – Amber
8 – Mono – Green (Bold)
9 – Mono – White (Bold)
10 – Mono – Amber (Bold)

Different color models in a running demo:



It is very easy to install, just be carefull when instaling the add-on board to your RamWorks III or IIII-card, there’s lots of pins and they should not be bent. Also attach the push-button with the cable to the card’s connector. You can route the wire thru the ventilation holes in the Apple //e’s sides outside.

There’s two different ways to get the video signal out of the adapter:


1) The adapter’s built-in VGA connector where you can attach the VGA-cable directly (but usually the regular VGA-cable wont fit inside the openings in the back of the //e). Or you can use adapter of somesort, VGA-cable-VGA to get the signal outside of the case – or like i once did, used VGA>ethernet adapter and cable (it worked amazingly well).


2) Use the small connector and provided cable-adapter to get the signal out of the case. 


And getting the connector out of the enclousure (would need some work to make it prettier).

So how does all those modes look like?

color_s  white_s  

green2_s  amber_s

Donkey Kong:

Apple II DeskTop:

Apple II DeskTop:

Apple II DeskTop:

Closer look at 80col mode/AppleWorks:


I’ve been using the earlier revision of this adapter (NTSC) for few years now without any problems. It gives really nice and sharp picture to your VGA-monitor. I’ve used small 4:3 Sony (15″) and 4:3 Lenovo (19″) and both have worked flawlessly. The difference between composite output and VGA naturally is remarkable and with this adapter, you can choose the color-modes as you please with the push button. 

The 80columns mode is best used with any of the bold modes, the text is more readable that way.

The only annoyance with PAL Apple //e is however the fact that the Ramworks III card is so long it does block the slot 3 from being used. This is not the case with the NTSC model where the AUX-slot is located in the left bottom corner of the board.

What else could be asked for? VGA-monitors are still easily available in various sizes and shapes, but it’s a fact that many new, modern displays are lacking VGA or even DVI-connectors these days.

There is, when writing this in November 2018, a HDMI-card from John Brooks coming very soon. So there’s more options out there.






Ramworks III VGA add-on extender is available from 
for $85.00 with free shipping everywhere.



FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.


Go see the doctor! – Apple //e Diagnostic Card:

The original card: (821-0188 Rev.A, Rev.B) (picture: asimov)

The card was used by service technicians to make diagnostic on Apple //e systems.  It contained a diagnostic program in Eproms and was able to find many basic hardware problem in the Apple //e. It was ment to be used by service technicians and it wasn’t publicly sold, therefore it’s naturally very rare.

New clone card: (821-0188 Rev.B)

This is close to 100% clone of the original Apple //e diagnostic card made by Jay Graham with help of the retro computer community and introduced at KansasFest 2018.

Other (Apple internal) similar cards:

A2e Functional test card (1982)(SKA011-01) (picture:

A2e Slot tester card (1982)(SKA012-01) (picture:

How to use the Diagnostic card?

Insert to any slot. The card by original design, on purpose, is too tall, so the lid can’t be closed. Push the red switch away from the keyboard to activate the ROM and start the unit. When turned on it tests the CPU and ROM’s (D8,D10) right away and you can see results on screen.

From the menu you can run different hardware releated tests and get error messages if something fails.

(P) Processor test
(R) Read only Memory Test
– Are both executed when powering up the system and result can be read from bottom of the menu screen. Here those tests can be re-run if needed.

(M) Random Access Memory Test
-Each RAM of the board are been tested. The screen clears and alternates three times between two graphics pages and then screen alternates then times between a graphcs page and a black page, $D000-$FFFF. If an error occurs, it shows the location of the chip.

(C) Character Set Test
-Shows all (four sets of) characters on screen.

(K) Keyboard test
-Shows the keyboard on screen and by pressing each key, you can test the operational status of the each key (US-layout).

(V) Video Test
-High and Low resolution graphics are tested. Low Resolution test alternates two identical “lores” graphics  pages that have different message on bottom. The graphics should stay constant regardless of the displayed message. High Resolution is similar expect “1” or “2” alternates in the upper left corner of the grid.

(L) Loop ROM RAM and processor test
-This is continuous test of three first tests, ROM, RAM, Processor.

(S) Speaker test
-Plays five tones incrementing from low to high.

Usefull card for testing your just found Apple //e pile of computers or parts. Those other diagnostic cards look very interesting, SlotTest and FuncTest but those are even more rare. Haven’t heard anything them being cloned or taken apart.

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.

Once there were Apple II clones:


This is again part of the Finnish Apple ][-history that i’m interested in very much of. I really enjoy finding these gems and hearing stories or the users, what they used these machines for and even finding software written by Finnish users and in Finnish. This setup in hand, was once used in Virrat, Westcoast of Finland in Graphical desing company at actually still exists today.



The computer itself, Apple ][+ is an clone (Made in Japan, unknown brand). The board have lots of custom wiring done from Slot #7. I’m not sure what they are ment to do, but i assume it’s done for getting color signal out of the board. Like an “Europlus-modification” they did for the ][+ boards before Europlus was released. There were few cards installed inside: 16k language card and Interface card for the plotter.


The keyboard looked great, there were lots of “macros” printed to them. The spacebar seems to be needing some repair work as it’s somehow stuck. Hopefully the switches are not broken.


Also, finally got the Apple Graphics tablet! I had previously had just the interface card that came with the Apple II (1978, Rev.2) some years ago. The owner had just earlier thrown away the tablet he had.. good timing but glad finding original Apple II that time. Also have the original software floppy (13-sector) and the manual but now i was finally able to get the actual tablet. So, let’s DRAW! I’ve been waiting for this.. more about this later in another blog-post.


The set also had WATANABE MIPLOT WX4675-plotter with manuals. This thing is quite big and heavy! I have no idea how to operate it but i’ll try later and see what happens. I found an old advertisement that had these for sale around $1000. If the manuals are not scanned, i’ll scan them.



The floppy drive was typical (what came with the clones if you bought one) half-height 5.25″-drive and had naturally, cloned Disk II-interface card with it.


The nice suprise was that there were very nice WICO Joystick “The Command Controll” with Apple II-adapter for two joysticks (16-pin Apple connector used with Apple II+).

Loose cards that came with the set, were common 80-column card, that was even boxed (plain white box with the name of the product).  There were also “PAL-encoder” -card (for color video output) for the Apple II+/europlus-era what they used to get color output.

There were few books:
“Apple Opas – DOS Basic/DOS 3.3/Pascal/Apple II+” – in Finnish. This is pretty great local original publication by Apple. Forewords by CEO of Apple Finland Oy at the time, Seppo Nykänen. I had this already but haven’t got around scanning it yet. Might actually scan this from the decent A4-copy i have, easier & much faster and less destructive. The common “The Applesoft Tutorial” -were there also.


“Mikrotietokone työkaluksi” book by great electronics and Apple II-wizard, Aapi Juntura. He and his son, wrote for Finnish Apple II user magazine “Omenahyve” for years. He’s still around but just not active anymore. This is also onebook i’m “in process” of scanning.. someday.

Some floppy disks:
One of the most intresting part of obtaining these old collections, or setups, is always if you get software on floppy disks. You never know what you might find from them! I imaged all floppies that were possible to read. Few of them were in really bad shape and the surface of the floppy started to fall off when tried to read them. The disks contained a lot of different kind of software releated to making maps and making measurements for them. Software were Finnish made written in Basic. Some were by the great Aapi Juntura.

Graphics Tablet software in Finnish (i believe this was by Aapi Juntura as well!).

Once again Finnish Apple II history saved!


FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever

Apple //e keyboard repairs:


Got this Apple //e (on right) among other things from Sweden last year. All of them had some issues, this //e had broken keyswitch and the cap had gone missing so it needed repairing. Otherwise it was fully working so i went ahead and desided to fix it up. I had never actually replaced a switch before so it was nice to get such work done as i had the tools for it.

Before starting to repair the switch, i did general cleanup and dusting around and washing the keycaps. Sauna is great place to dry them up 🙂

Thanks to Eduardo in Canada, i got the switch and the keycap so i could start the repairs. The repair would be quite simple, if you’ve soldered before. Just desolder the broken switch and replace it with the working one. If you want information how to do it, you can watch the great repair video by Charles Mangin at : . I watched this as well before doing anything, just in case. 

Tools needed:
-Desoldering iron station, wick or pump.
-Soldering iron and solder.
-Pliers for removing the switch.
-Multimeter for testing continuity afterwards (optional).

Depeding of your tools and experience, it’s either super easy and quick or annoyingly slow and messy. That’s why i got the Desoldering iron station. With it, it takes only seconds to remove soldering.

Replacing the switch:
When the solderjoints are desoldered, the old switch should be removed easily. Using pliers it comes out easily.

Soldering the new switch:
Insert new switch and solder the joints.

Checking the soldering joins:
If you have multimeter set it to continuity and test the connections between the newly soldered joint and  next join in same line.


Other observations:


-Board model : 920-0073-B // B-607-0264-F
-Board date : 8449
-CPU R6502-40
-All ROM’s are UK non-enhanced //e
-Video ROM : 342-0160-A
-CDROM : 342-0135-B
-EFROM : 342-0134-B

Regular European Apple //e Assembled in Ireland.

Oddly this have the switch underneath the keyboard! Usually that would indicate the unit was ment for market area where they had other languages than english, i.e. Nordics or Belenux-countries. With the switch you could swap the keyboard layout i.e. from SWE/FIN to ENG. So this might be just an unit with some swapped parts to get one working one.

All done.


FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.



Apple //e 65C02 > International NTSC

Obtained this setup from a friend as a trade. It had served it’s life in book printing house in Tampere for long period of time. I saw few floppies they had used in production (too bad i did not get those) from early 1992.

I believe it was originally regular 65C02 (“Enhanced”, as it’s called english-speaking countries”) model but was upgraded to “International NTSC”-board with Titan Acceletor IIe-card (the original 65C02 processor was removed from the board). The original board might have broken and they replaced it with new and only new board available might have been the “International NTSC” at at time. Maybe. Who knows. I’ve never seen these boards in any machines over here, nor the “Euro Platinum – as they are often referred” (the term however is not completely correct as so far i know of these were sold atleast in Australia as well). 

The case had model number that was regular A2S2064_-serie, assembled in Ireland.

I was specially happy to get (original, used in Finland) Titan Accelerator IIe-card with this setup! Apple II accelerators were not very common over here at all. As well it was nice to obtain an another nice duodisk-drive.

GSP Graphix Design station-interface card:

Somesort of a dongle-card? It’s perfectly sealed in metal casing. No way opening it up, it’s also quite heavy for it’s size.

Dongle/ROM-card are pretty useless on their own, but maybe someday they come in handy, worth saving up.

Saving local history.

The setup was as follows:

Apple IIe “65c02″/”Enhanced”>International NTSC
-Platinum board: “International NTSC 1986(C)”
-Apple Monitor II & video cable
-Apple Duodisk-drive & cable
-Apple Disk controller-card
-Titan Accelerator IIe-card
-GSP Graphix Design Station-interface card
-Dongle/ROM-card for the Graphix Design Station
-Apple 80col/64k-card

The board & ROM’s:


-Video ROM : 341-0328 Apple ’85 8502
-Keyboard ROM : 341-0325 Apple ’84 8502
-Board :  Apple //e International NTSC 1986(c)
-Board code  : B-607-0288-C / 820-0188-C
-Board date  : 8653

I was very happy to add this to my collection of Finnish Apple II history.

FinApple 2018 (c)
Apple II Forever.