Help for apple II?

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smileyranger's picture
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When I put in a disk in the drive on my IIe, and I can hear it whirring, why wouldn't it be showing up on the screen?

(I know this probably has an equally simple answer, but I have never used an apple II in my life )

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smileyranger's picture
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Re: Help for apple II?

What I really need to know is how do I boot into basic.

Thanks!

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speedyG's picture
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Re: Help for apple II?

hello smileyranger,
though the question seems to be simple, the correct answer is a little more complex than it might be supposed....
i remember that several months ago i made in a thread a complex description to the booting process of a computer in general and explaining the steps performed within this process...
but at the moment i can´t recall the correct thread - so i´ll just repeat here again that explanation:
the first question is dependent to the used drive....
the whiring is in fact the spinning of the motor and the turning of the diskmaterial in the cover.....
with growing experience you might determine if the disk is aligned correct in the drive....
some drives spin up the motor when inserting the disk to help align the disk in proper position ( usually those with half-height construction and some clones of the APPLE DISK II .... the APPLE DISK II does not do this normally....
the spin up of the motor is performed in this drives when the diskette passes an internal lightbarrier...
the purpose is not to damage the centerhole when closing the drive because most old diskettes ( specially the cheaper ones ) are rather not very hard and mis-aligning the diskette might damage that hole... better and more expensive diskettes have on the one or other side an aditional plastic ring to protect the alignment center hole...
at the apple two it is therefor usefull behavior to close the front door while the motor is spinning - to protect the diskette for expanding the lifetime of the diskette...

for the second question the correct answer is also not that simple...
so in short the row of steps performed when the apple II is switched on ( and that is valid to nearly every computer )
1. power up and CPU starts performing arbitrary cycles of instruction code....
2. the cpu starts to read and perform the instructions in the so called "BIOS"-ROM ( in the apple II the F8-ROM - its called there the "autostart" ROM sometimes... )
BIOS is the abreviation from Basic Input Output System
3. reading this ROM tells the cpu how to operate the accesses with the peripherial devices ( like devices attached in the slots - i.e. interfacecards like the printercard or the DISK II Interfacecard )
4. while the computer performs this reading it performs besides a short memory check...
in modern computers this self check is more complex and ends up with a short "beep"...
at the apple II this task is smaller and ends up with a short "beep" too
5. If no disk-drive-controller is inserted - that will be the point where the computer will display the Basic-prompt and wait for instructions.....
6. If a disk-drive-controller is inserted the computer then will try to load a Disk-Operating-System ( i.e. DOS )from the diskette inserted in the drive .... ( as explained formerly thats the point were the DISK II Drivelight turns on and the motor starts spinning and the door of the drive should be closed gently to protect the centerhole against damage... ) and the drive will then start to read from the disk... thats indicated by the stepping of the read/write-head accompanied by some slight sliding-noise when the head slides backward and forward with its "sled" inside the drive.... before that process starts up you hear a short task of "knocking"-noise with short sled-moves because the head is "recalibrated" drawn back to the very outside of the disk and searching there for the track zero .... this task is repeated every time the disk looks up for a specific track and does not find it immediatly ....
7. After the Disk-Operation-System has been loaded entirely into the RAM of the Computer the conputer will look at the diskette if there is a automatic startup-program that shall be performed....
just as sidemark: DOS is not limmited to the so called DOS at the apple II - in fact proDOS, UCSD and CPM are also
Disk-Operation-Systems ....
If the Disk does not contain a DOS-System or if the System-tracks are damaged ( i.e. are not entirely readable ) the computer remains with that spinning noise for quite a while - before it will suspend from attempting the disk and the computer sometimes (!) generates a error-code to the display... ( that depends to the point where the computer gets stuck in the task .... )
8. If the task of reading the DOS to RAM is completed successfully and no startup program is at the disk the computer stops the tasks and turns up the BASIC-prompt ...
9. If the Diskette has a startup-program ( at the DOS-system called "hello" - it will perform that program and turnup with the results of that program and then display the Basic-prompt.... ( for example - some "hello"-programs perform a catalog-instruction and then list up the files contained in the disk or launch a game )

So if you turn on the computer and do not get the Basic-prompt the computer has stuck up somewhere with in the one or other task listed above....

for example a common trap is trying to launch a CPM-disk and no Z80 Card inside at slot 4....
or inserting a disk with no DOS-System on the disk...
another trap in this time is that diskettes are not equipped with eternal life... if stored in wrong mannor or due to age a disk might "loose" its contents.... this is related to the fact that magnetic information on the disk surface is not really "permanent" - it might weaken by age... this can be avoided by using the disks time by time and rereading and resaving the contents... this "refreshes" the contents of the disk...

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Re: Help for apple II?

OMG - tl;dr

Turn the machine on; hit ctrl-reset. You'll be in BASIC.

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Re: Help for apple II?

Thank you for all of the help!
Hopefully with some practice and research I will be able to understand most of these threads now. lol

Thanks again Smile

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Re: Help for apple II?

One more final question, how can I get it to switch between disks without turning it off? I have taken the diskette out of the drive, inserted a new one and pressed apple control reset then released reset apple control

Any ideas?

(Sorry for such basic questions, but as I said, I've never used one of these before)

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Re: Help for apple II?

You can reboot with PR#6 from the BASIC prompt. This assumes the default setup of your disk controller card in slot 6.

The IIe can also use the key combination Ctrl-OpenApple-Reset. Reset is the last key to push, and the first to release in this sequence.

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Re: Help for apple II?

Also, is it bad to turn it off and on multiple times per day?

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Re: Help for apple II?

Turning anything that pulls the kind of load that the Apple II does on and off is stressful. If it can be avoided, it should be. Is it "bad?" Well, define "bad." Does it have a shortening effect on the Apple's ultimate life expectancy? Probably, a little. Chances are, someday, it will be a power-on event that causes such a failure. It's like flying... level flight is pretty easy. It's the taking off and landing that are dangerous...

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Re: Help for apple II?

Open apple means the apple key, right? Because I'm still having to turn it on and off when I switch software.

Sorry for all of the trouble. Smile

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Re: Help for apple II?

A video is worth 1k words. Watch this guy from 0:12 to 0:15. This is Ctrl-OpenApple-Reset in action.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEDVjg5y0Hg

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Re: Help for apple II?

In keeping with Apple 2 series tradition, consider the following and you'll do fine.

1 - Ctrl-reset gets you to BASIC

2 - The disk that boots is typically inserted in a drive connected to Slot 6, Drive 1.

3 - A disk must have been previously formatted with some sort of DOS. DOS 3.3 is Apple-published and the "standard". There are other DOS'es available that have more features or do certain things faster.

4 - DOS is always loaded from a disk. DOS is not part of any firmware or anything else "built-in" to the computer console itself. To use disk commands, you must have at some point booted from a floppy. DOS is about 10Kbytes and loads into memory on startup/booting of a disk.

5 - PR#6 makes the controller boot a new disk. If you want to swap a disk, you can type CATALOG,S6,D2 to read drive 2. OR if you are just changing disks in the same drive, well, you just change them! Remember to PR#6 if you want to boot from the new disk. Or continue working and DOS will sense the disk change when a command is issued.

Computers this old - I prefer to leave either on or off. The constant cycling and spiking of +5v on the logic gates is hard on the system. However, you can jam on Ctrl-Reset all day long till you bust up the keyboard, that's fine, and it won't prematurely wear anything out or blow up stuff.

I suggest you try things out and experiment. Ask the forum (or PM me) with specific questions and we'll answer them or point to specific documentation that can.

For beginning and advanced reading I would point you to these:
http://apple2online.com/web_documents/The%20DOS%20Manual%20KB.pdf
http://apple2online.com/index.php?p=1_13
http://apple2online.com/index.php?p=1_8

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Re: Help for apple II?

When I was a strapping young laddy-buck back in the day. I learned a lot of my computing basics and concepts on a TRS-80 Pocket Computer and an APPLE II+.

I tended to have broken things down into sections and this is how I mentally categorized things.

1- input/output
2- CPU
3- RF modulator & TV screens
4- cassette operations
5- text and graphics modes
6- Applesoft Basic in ROM (and integer basic in ram too)
7- RAM
8- Slots and interface cards
9- Disk II operations and hardware
10- the Monitor program for assembly language
11- 16k Ramcard expansion
12- keyboard conventions and ops
13- game controllers
14- speakers and sounds
15- lowercase upgrades and 80 column upgrades
16- power supplies
17- modems
18- clock boards

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Re: Help for apple II?

Thank you!

I was looking at my reset button, and noticed the odd angle at which it sits---could this mean it is not functional and that could be the source of my reset troubles?

Here's a picture. http://bytemindedbrain.tumblr.com/post/19344023329/broken-reset-button

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Re: Help for apple II?

smileyranger wrote:

I was looking at my reset button, and noticed the odd angle at which it sits---could this mean it is not functional and that could be the source of my reset troubles?

Very much so. You can try holding down control, and then really pushing hard and wiggling the reset key around to see if it ever makes contact. But yeah, that would be problematic if it were broken.

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Re: Help for apple II?

smileyranger wrote:

Thank you!

I was looking at my reset button, and noticed the odd angle at which it sits---could this mean it is not functional and that could be the source of my reset troubles?

Here's a picture. http://bytemindedbrain.tumblr.com/post/19344023329/broken-reset-button

Yeah I would tend to believe that at that angle your Reset key is not properly seated and won't function. You might need to pull the keyboard out of the computer and try to re-seat the key.

Just my two cents worth,
Dean

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Re: Help for apple II?

I agree too, but it won´t be solved only with a view to the keybutton on top ... in this case with that angle it will be necessary to also take a very close view to the bottom of the keyboard-PCB - because in that angle it is quite sure, that the solderingpoints of that key have been broken too... it might be necessary to exchange the entire keybutton.... at least it will be necessary to resolder the keybutton....

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Re: Help for apple II?

On many Platinum //e systems I've had to re-flow cracked solder on some of the more commonly used keys like the space bar and enter. The design of the P//e keyboard has big holes and thinner wires from the key switches.

So don't forget to check for good solder joints.

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Re: Help for apple II?

How would I go about that? Is it relatively simple for a vintage computer beginner like myself to do, or should I consult a computer repair shop?

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Re: Help for apple II?

If you have a soldering iron with 30 Watt and some experience you can do it yourself - if not - ask if a friend can assist you - shop is last option if both other options are not availiable..... its not that difficult

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Re: Help for apple II?

If you've never played around with a soldering iron. Then I suggest you practice on some old disposable stuff first. When you get good at it, then mess with your //e.

You can get cheap stuff from radio shack for short-term occasional usage. Cost you about $15. Get a soldering iron, a selection of tips, and solder and flux.

For me to teach you how to solder and take things apart is going to be too tedious for me. Why not look up some youtube videos and tutorials. Lots of stuff there!

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Re: Help for apple II?

I recently picked a pen that draws conductive traces, cost me all of 10 dollars from Radio Shack. I can solder but I am thinking that the conductive pen might be a good option for beginners, far less likely to wreck something. If you are not familiar with it, you give it a shake and squeeze it and it "draws" silver, conductive traces, just the thing for a broken trace or to touch up a circuit board.

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Re: Help for apple II?

The conductive pen sounds like a good option for someone as technologically impaired as myself. lol

Also, is frequently popping the top on an apple II hard on the lid, and do I pose a risk of breaking the potentially fragile plastic? Is it harmful to turn it upside down while I work on it as well? And how do I get the case separated from the metal base? Sorry for the obvious and unintelligent questions!

One more thing. How would I get to the keyboard itself? I don't want to be blindly rummaging through the computer.

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Re: Help for apple II?

Forget about the last post I made. My problems were solved by adding an additional screw to the keyboard to tighten it up. it all works wonderfully now!

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Re: Help for apple II?

Glad to hear that such a simple fix was all it took to get your Apple II working right again. Like you I'm none to inclined to try soldering or anything else along those lines as I'd be liable to screw more up than I fix.

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