Basis 108 Clone

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Joined: Jan 23 2013
Posts: 21

Yesterday i was invented to a old stock clearance of a nearby university.
They had masses of electronics and measure quippment and some old computers.
I paid too much for a car full of "old garbage" but i was very pleased to finaly find a Basis 108 apple clone there in good condition.

This clone has a heavy weight german tank style case with EMI protection.
The keyboard is custom made for Basis by Cherry
The board contains 128K Ram, Z80, seriell, parallel and 3 video ports: B/W, color and RGB.
The eprom places are fully poulated with the Apple II+ roms, unfortunately the original BASIS Roms are missing.

It works very well with one exception: I cant activate the 80 char mode. There must be an incompatibility.
I have a bad copy of the Base 108 manual, but it refers to the original roms.

So i´m looking for a better (and complete with schematics) copy of the manual, images of the original roms and the system disk with the compatibility tools.

b108_01.JPG
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b/w output
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rgb and color
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seriell and parallel
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b108_01.JPG49.67 KB
b108_04.JPG27.53 KB
b108_05.JPG33.21 KB
b108_06.JPG99 KB
b108_07.JPG101.15 KB
b108_08.JPG89.35 KB
b108_09.JPG69.15 KB
b108_10.JPG82.87 KB
b108_11.JPG50.62 KB
b108_12.JPG31.69 KB
b108_13.JPG58.72 KB
b108_15.JPG22.69 KB
b108_16.JPG42.21 KB
b108_17.JPG56.44 KB

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gsmcten's picture
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Joined: Oct 4 2005
Posts: 2609
Re: Basis 108 Clone

AndreLev,

Wow!
That thing is HUGE! lol

The 80 Column problem could be solved with the cards made specifically for the II and II Plus.
I am not sure where you could find original ROMs for this.

I will be going through my website information later today. I remember a site that had this type of clone listed.

If I find it I'll place the URL up here for you.

Are you In Germany, or elsewhere?

Speedy may know something. Smile

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Steven (gsmcten)

"Apple ][.....It's ALIVE!!!!!"

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Joined: Feb 17 2013
Posts: 149
Re: Basis 108 Clone

I am jealous. I had one of these aluminum bodied monsters back in the day, although I don't recall where I got it. The Z80 "looked" like a Microsoft Softcard, as I recall. The Cherry keyboard was sublime...

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Joined: Jun 10 2014
Posts: 4
Re: Basis 108 Clone

Sorry for necro-posting in my first message, but I have two questions about the Basis on picture:

1. Where do the additional (white) DB25 connectors lead? I can't see any expansion cards, perhaps they were unplugged and outside of the picture. Of course it goes both for serial, parallel and disk controllers.

2. Which diagnostic software was used, or which one would be recommended to check the configuration? I believe the unknown card in slot 1 should be the internal 6551 RS232, but based on what I could find on the Internet, few or no Apple ][ applications recognize or can use it. I tried a few ways to get some action from the serial port on my 108, but didn't get any meaningful results.

My unit also only has the Apple ][+ ROMs, no external switches connected. I also haven't got 80 cols to work, but at least the onboard Z80 works out of the box as it happily boots Softcard CP/M. Basis had their own CP/M too, I got access to the disk images but didn't try that version yet.

It appears mine is unusually fitted with two half height floppy drives instead of two full height ones. It means a huge chunk of empty space inside, to the point that I've toyed with the idea to install some Nano-ITX board (or a Pi?) next to the motherboard, if there is some meaningful use of one.

speedyG's picture
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Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2377
Re: Basis 108 Clone

Hello Steven,
in this case it´s a shot in the sky...
i only faced this "german tank" twice in my "Apple Days".....
- it was known that it had a lot of incompatibility issues...
therefor i didn´t collect anything about it...
speedyG

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In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

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Joined: Jan 24 2005
Posts: 356
Re: Basis 108 Clone

Weird - the Basis 108 is considered highly compatible in the USA. Better than most.

stynx's picture
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Posts: 182
Re: Basis 108 Clone

You have to consider the meaning of 'compatible'. The Basis 108 has pretty good compatibility to 48k Apple II Software. But if you wanted to use the full 128k or the advanced Serial, Parallel and Video features, you had to use specially designed Software or a patched Apple DOS. There are serious problems with later Versions of ProDos and auto-patch Hardware would not work in some cases as well. I have yet to get my BASIS 108 to work properly (one of the ROMS seems to be corrupt).

-Jonas

speedyG's picture
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Re: Basis 108 Clone

well the problem is related to the term "compatible".....
the term is "stretchable" like chewing gum.......
Although i did not collect material related only to Basis 108...
- but i have the entire annuals of the British and the German User Magazins....
and the are filled with contributions related to compatibility problems of
the "tank brick"....in old days we used that term with 2 things:
the bassis 108 and the Volvo 440 GL
in both cases you might drop the item from a bridge...
and after it smasched on the ground
- the ground will be damaged but the unit will be working....
in both cases the case is made of solid steel....
i´ve seen an accident of a Volvo with an electrical steetwagon...
the Volve left the place of the accident with it´s own power and engine ...
...the electrical streetwagon was a total damage and had to be removed with a special crane...
that´s just the story behind the way the Basis 108 got here in Germany it´s nickname in the
user groups.... anyhow it won´t bring you ahead except 2 points:
along with the BASIS 108 came 3 Disks:
One special "initial" Bootdisk containing a patched DOS containing the prgrams to switch the video
from 40 col to 80 col and reverse ( the usual pr#3 ) won´t work correct..The utilities for use of
the parallel and serial interface and the utility for switching the memory banks ( this was quite
similar structured like the 128 kB Saturn Ram Disk card, and the "preboot" for the next disk
- if you wanted to boot CPM..... You can boot CPM without that preboot... but without preboot
you will remain in 40 col mode.... and the second disk contained the patched CPM starting correct
by toggeleing on the 80 col mode.... and the third disk contained utilities for UCSD Pascal
and toggeling there the 80 col mode and supporting the additional RAM as RAMdisk....
and the second thing:
this 3 disks only work correct with the original BASIS 108 Eproms inserted....
this is indicated with the title "Basis 108" at the startup screen....
if the ROMs have been changed to the original Apple II ROM´s the utilities won´t work properly....
i remember some users had glued in a hidden place in the computer case a small box with antistatic foam
where they placed the removed ROM´s to make sure that they would not get lost....
maybe the former user of this computer also followed up this habit....
- if you are lucky .... it´s like search at eastern where the bunny
has hidden away the chocolate nest...
speedyG

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In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

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Joined: Jun 10 2014
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Re: Basis 108 Clone

Thanks for the replies! In my case, I haven't found any stash of ROMs inside the computer. I understand now that it technically has a lot of add-ons built in, but none that is addressed in the same way that equivalent add-ons otherwise would be used, thus all the patching you refer to. That is a shame.

MarkO's picture
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Re: Basis 108 Clone

carlsson wrote:

Thanks for the replies! In my case, I haven't found any stash of ROMs inside the computer. I understand now that it technically has a lot of add-ons built in, but none that is addressed in the same way that equivalent add-ons otherwise would be used, thus all the patching you refer to. That is a shame.

Even if someone that had the original ROM, they could copy them, ( since original Copyright Hold would most likely not care anymore) and then you could restore the machine to its original state..

speedyG's picture
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Re: Basis 108 Clone

Hello AndreLev and carlsson,
here is the excellent chance to get at least the entire Original Documentation and Diskset:
http://www.ebay.de/itm/Basis-108-CP-M-Handbucher-mit-Disketten-Apple-Clone-CP-M-Plus-/151323774288?pt=Klassische_Computer&hash=item233b998d50
sincerely speedyG

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In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

stynx's picture
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Re: Basis 108 Clone

Thanks! I will try to get this stash...

-Jonas

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Re: Basis 108 Clone

Oh, I completely missed that auction lot. I hope it went to a good buyer.

stynx's picture
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Re: Basis 108 Clone

carlsson wrote:

Oh, I completely missed that auction lot. I hope it went to a good buyer.

sadly, it wasn't me Sad

speedyG's picture
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Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2377
Re: Basis 108 Clone

Hello to all that have a Basis108 "tank" !
This current offer is really a precious "gimmick" to those guys....
it´s the diagnostic card for the BASIS 108 !
:
http://www.ebay.de/itm/RARE-BASIS-108-Diagnostic-Disk-Controller-for-Apple-II-etc-/221490976432?pt=US_Vintage_Computing_Parts_Accessories&hash=item3391e416b0
this offers the chance for diagnostic upfront of a repair when misfit happens !
good luck to the bidder....
speedyG

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In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

stynx's picture
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Re: Basis 108 Clone

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

RIVIVE thread of the dead and feast on the LIVIIINNG..

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Smile

https://archive.org/details/basis108SurvivalPack

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Joined: May 21 2015
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Re: Basis 108 Clone

Thank you for that link.

I have one of those tanks, but without the keyboard.

Maybe I can find info, how to adapt another one.

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Joined: Jan 20 2013
Posts: 14
Re: Basis 108 Clone

Thanks stynx!

I have a Basis 108 and thankfully have a keyboard. I posted pics at the Deskthority keyboard forum here: https://deskthority.net/photos-f62/basis-108-cherry-m8-low-profile-t13942.html

Beautiful machine but I don't think I've attempted to turn it on yet as I had no software. This is great.

stynx's picture
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Re: Basis 108 Clone

There are pinouts of the connectors included in the manual, as well as a schematic of the keyboard (controller) in the last pages. There should be a connector on the mainboard that is Apple II compatible.

-Jonas