Anyone want a "Brain Board" for their Apple II?

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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I didn't see a thread for this already, apologize if there is one I missed. Anyway:

Over on the VCF there's a thread in which someone is trying to get 15 commits to purchase a run of Willegal's "Brain Boards". The Brain Board is a firmware card for the II that allows you to do several tricks that are difficult to do otherwise, such as booting up a IIplus or IIe directly into cassette Integer Basic, and it also offers a way to run a mostly-compatible emulation of the Apple I. (IE, the "Woznium Pack".) Projected price is $59.

More information on the Brain Board is here. If you want one yell out loud in the VCF thread. As of today it's up to about ten commits, just need a few more to get the presses running.

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macnoyd's picture
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Re: Anyone want a "Brain Board" for their Apple II?

I'll shout out for 1 board.
BTW, it's easy to load integer basic into the language card at boot.

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Re: Anyone want a "Brain Board" for their Apple II?

macnoyd wrote:

BTW, it's easy to load integer basic into the language card at boot.

Not if you don't have a disk drive. Wink

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Re: Anyone want a "Brain Board" for their Apple II?

Bump:

It appears we've hit the minimum number, but if there's still more interest it's not too late. If you're a VCF member you can reply to the thread there, otherwise you can PM me a name and email address here and I'll be willing to pass it along. Assuming Mike W. hasn't changed his mind there will be a mailing sent out to confirm everyone who signs up's order.

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Re: Anyone want a "Brain Board" for their Apple II?

Well, it's still easy. I created an executable that loads at location $6000 that when run, executes a move routine to load up the language card. I threw in "The Inspector" and "Dr. Watson" utilities into the code as well so the language card became quite useful. I did this 35 years ago and I still have the disk I stored it on. I'll look it up and see if I can share with all.
At the time I used the moniker "Mr. Hardware" because I used to build printed circuit projects for the Apple II. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about marketing the stuff I created. Much of it was improvements made with other folks designs and software.

Would have loved a Brain board back then ...

EDIT: Here is the integer basic code (BIN file). I put this together over 35 years ago when I was a much better coder.
If you load this code at location A$6000, L$2869 then execute this code, it will automagically load your 16K Card with Integer basic along with Inspector/Dr Watson. You can also save it to cassette. Smile

IntBasicInspectorDrWatsonExecutable$6000.BIN

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macnoyd

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Re: Anyone want a "Brain Board" for their Apple II?

Cool. If you do happen to find the code for loading up Integer in a language card via cassette you should totally post it. There actually was a guy on here asking a few months ago if there was some way he could run Integer basic programs via cassette loading on a IIe, presumably that's pretty much the same problem. Smile

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Re: Anyone want a "Brain Board" for their Apple II?

Mine came in today. Couldn't wait to put it together ...

My_Brain_Board.jpg

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Re: Anyone want a "Brain Board" for their Apple II?

Got some questions regarding the brain board ... Finally getting to the ROM burning task.
First question: Is there only one bank available (say, the high bank) with the ROM that comes with the board?
It says in the instructions that you can load Applesoft and Integer into the ROM, but doing that will
clobber the code that's already there. (in the low bank) I know the Apple 1 emulation resides in the low
bank of the ROM.

Also, Switch 2 on the board isn't used. Might it be wise to expand the 27C256 EProm to a 27C512 and enable
that last address pin? (using switch #2) That way, you can actually have Apple 1 emulation, Applesoft, Integer,
and a customized (say) Applesoft all contained in the ROM.

Thoughts?

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macnoyd

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Re: Anyone want a "Brain Board" for their Apple II?

Adding a 27C512 should be doable. Usually, you will have either integer or AppleSoft BASIC on the motherboard, so not much benefit in adding two more banks unless you have something specific in mind. Also, you will not be able to softswitch without adding additional circuitry.

Regards,
Mike Willegal

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Re: Anyone want a "Brain Board" for their Apple II?

Here's what I finished tonight ...
I added a 27512 in place of the 27256 EPROM. Doing so required that I cut the trace on Pin 1 of the EPROM and
adding a resistor between Pin 1 and Pin 28 of the chip. I wanted to put the resistor on the top of the board
but there was simply no place I could put it that would be convenient for wiring. So, I stuck it on the back
side between the pins. From there, I wired one side of switch #2 to ground and the other side to Pin 28 of the
EPROM. Programming the chip was pretty easy, basically duplicating the 27256 code and substituting the D000-
FFFF reserved space from Integer in one bank to AppleSoft in the other. I made sure that for all boards without
cut traces, the choice automatically defaults to Inter Basic. (since it was a natural progression from the APPLE 1.)

Here are photos of my results:
BrainBoard_27512.jpg
BrainBoardJumpers.jpg
BrainBoardCutTrace.jpg

Even though the soft switches only work with the pre-selected bank, (Integer or Applesoft),
you at least get a choice of the best of both worlds. Most Apple ]['s will already have one or the other on the
motherboard.

If anyone else here is interested in this mod, let me know (PM me) and I can help them burn the ROM.
See the threads above if you're interested in the Integer Basic Language Card executable.

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