My original old //e died..

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My ancient Apple //e from 1982 has now died. I went to turn it on and got some random garbage onscreen. I got strange text at the top in place of the "Apple //e", and about 15 or so random characters across the screen here and there.

It responds to the keyboard, and resets, and lets me type something in (displays normal characters here). And sometimes accepts the commands, and sometimes not. Stuff like HGR and HGR2 and TEXT work, but don't return the command prompt ]. Dropping it on the floor and reseating chips hasn't helped, neither has putting it in the oven & freezer.

This is my special //e from the BBS days, right as warez kicked into high gear. It ran one of the A.E. lines and quickly became a central distro hub when I "graduated" to running BBS software. This is the one we'd put on the red RadioFlyer wagon from time to time and bring the warez TO YOU! We'd tow the red wagon behind our bikes and therefore this console is not a stranger to getting tossed around. It also ran fully populated with no fan up in the attic. And sat in the car in sub-zero temps in the northern hemisphere. And still worked for years afterwards.

And it would be devastating to lose it. So without further ado I'm open to suggestions as to how to fix this little guy up.

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speedyG's picture
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Re: My original old //e died..

Hello Keatah,
my first advise unless you have a guy with service experience around would be to look for the book:
Apple II Plus/IIe Troubleshooting and Repair Guide from Robert C. Brenner published by SAMs ( Howard W. Sams & Co Inc. )
ISBN 0-672-22353-8 $19,95 in former days....
It has a very clear structure by ordered symptoms - starting with severe symtoms like all dead no reaction - and advancing to lighter symptoms like garbage at screen to smaller issues like sudden crash after long worksession ...
and each symptom is then covered with detail graphics and tracepath what to be checked and how to solve the problem step by step... the book splits after each symptom in a path for APPLE computers and another path for IIE computers.... it contains pictures of the related area on the motherboerd and it was something like the "bible of repair" in the local user groups... within 90% of the crashed units it offered a straight solution to get the box running again...
as far as i remember - i have seen that book also as scanned version ( as pdf-file ) somewhere in the documentation mirror servers .... I got it somewhere in my shelf and couls try to look for it - though my copy isn´t for sale but probably -that´s my opinion - it´s just a chance to try and order it from the bookstore around the corner with the ISBN.No. ???
Or check for it at the local library ?
or give it a try at amazon with the ISBN-No. ?
for example like here:
http://www.amazon.de/gp/offer-listing/0672223538/ref=sr_1_1_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1327147993&sr=8-1&condition=used
3 listed books are in new york !

Up to my advice this is a so called "Standard for every retro collectors bookshelf" who wants to make sure to keep his collection in working condition... just my opinion...
up to then if neither amazon, or library works I´d start looking for the scanned version at the documentation mirrors -
starting here:
http://mirrors.apple2.org.za/Apple%20II%20Documentation%20Project/
and then proceeding here:
http://mirrors.apple2.org.za/ftp.apple.asimov.net/
regards speedyG

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Re: My original old //e died..

Usually my first step in a case like this is to reseat all the socketed chips. To do that, you use a small screwdriver or knife to lift up the chip a little in the socket and the push it back down. Sometimes with oxidization a chip can lose good contact with the socket. This re-establishes it.

Wayne

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Re: My original old //e died..

Hello Keatah,
i´ll take this thread for some general hints on tracing mistakes on a computer ... the following explanations contain general information on diagnostics of mistakes at computers and how to detect them:
here some technical background for better understanding and better diagnosis of problems on Bootup-Process of computers in general:

between pushing the powerbutton at the computer and recieving a final prompt at the screen every computer passes trough several similar stages processes until the display of the prompt occurs - and this is similar to nearly every computer independent if it is a IBM or compatible or and kind of Apple Computer and independent from typ or model.

If you understand this process and the logic of the Process - the diagnosis of Problems in Bootup may give you valueable information on the related parts within the computer that are affected by that mistake...

in general the Bootup-Process can be devided in
stage one:
that is the internal Bootup process
and stage two:
that is the external Bootup process that loads the operationsystem ( for Apple: DOS, ProDOS, UCSD, CPM or OS X.xx at IBM : MS-DOS or Windows xxx )
That abreviation DOS is extended the term Disk-Operation-System and OS X.xx is abreviation for Operation-System like UCSD is Universal-Computer-System-Disk...

independant from the used system this means that the computer gets instructions how to handle the external storage devices - i.e. Diskettes or Harddisks...

so after splitting this entire process of startup into this two steps the indication is the point where the computer starts to access the diskette or harddisk...

the first stage runs from pushing the powerbutton till first access of the diskette or the harddisk
and the second stage from first attemt to access the diskette or harddisk and the splash of the screen in different points of loading the complex operation system or a short load of a simple system and finally both ending with the display of a prompt or the mousesymbol on a desktop.

The first stage again can be splitted to several points that indicate different points of this process.

I.

So lets just list the different tasks during this process in the general order of their execution:
1. Start oscillator and generate impulses that enable the Cpu to perform instruction steps....
2. Load step by step the Basic-Input-Output-System (i.a.BIOS ) of the computer from the firmware-ROMs ( ROM - Read Only Memory - normaly Eproms or masked Prom )
into the RAM ( Random-Access-Memory = RAM-chips like 4116, 4164, 51256 or the complete "Chipboards" called SIMM, DIMs or DRAMs )
3. start that BIOS from RAMas "internal Program" = in fact a "microprogram" that explains the CPU how to gain with Chips on the mainboerd and with peripherials connected to internal connectors like those at the backpanel like serial port, parallel port, Videoport / Videooutput and Slots where Interface-Cards may be pluged in...
4. execute short POST ( i.s. Power-On-Self-Test ) and issue a short beep-tone on successful completetion of the POST-process....
( in later computers the BIOS contains in the programm different kinds of "errorcodes" by different kinds of beeping to indicate the source of error )
5. start after completion of the POST process to examine the connected peripherials to find some kind of device where the CPU might load some kind of Operation System
i.e. is there a kind of Disketteinterface ? if yes start loading OS from disk... is there a kind of harddisksystem ? if yes start loading OS from harddisk....
is there a Local Area Network connection ( LAN ) where an OS might be loaded from ? if yes try to start loading from LAN ( this point usually only with IBM´s and not with Apple )
II.

If a storage-device is detected, then at this point the Computer starts loading the Operation System with it´s own separated steps of loading the OS to the RAM in the Computer.
At this thread i´ll stay off from explaing the Bootup-process at stage two because these steps depend strong to the different kinds of OS and therefor have different kinds of indicators of the different steps ...
attempting this second part would require to split explanation to different paths of the different steps of bootup at different OS-systems

But from this point taking a rearview to the list above - here are several points that are important to think about - when examining the fault of a computer:
1. Step: disconnect every Interfacecard and every Disk and Harddisk System from the Computer and remove all additional devices at first tests !
Any Computer can boot with three things : some availiable RAM that is intact, a keyboard that accepts keypresses, a display that shows output to screen and of course: intact powersource.
2. If the Computer completes bootup with this "minimum-configuration" and ends up with the prompt and accepts input from the keyboard without mistakes -
the faliure is dependent to the second "external" bootstage.... ( i.e. bad Diskcontroller, bad Floppydisk, bad floppy, bad harddisk and so on ... )
3. If the Computer completes if one of the Disksystems is connected - the mistake is located at one of the Interface cards or the alternating storagesystem ...

If Disk still is connected at the basic examination first and the Disk-controller is still connected but no Diskdrive or Diskcontroler or demaged Drive is connected the Computer may remain stuck at the start of loading external OS.....
I assume in this thread no Disk and no Drivecontroller is in the Computer - then the problem is located somewhere between

I.
point 2. and point 4.
that means at the IIe that something is wrong with the RAM or the adressingbus or databus of the IIe.
At the II+ and similars this related chips are simple digital logic-chips that simply might be exchanged...
At the IIe unfortunatly the guys at Apple started to compact complex timing functions to only few complex chips that have internal programmed logic.
The most important chips related to this are the 2 40-pin-chips on the mainboard that are marked by text printed to the mainboard as: IOU-chip MMU-chip
and the HAL-chip. The HAL-chip is a programmed GAL-chip that contains all the basic timing with the general clocking signals ( RAS, CAS 1Mhz basic videotiming and so on )
it seems that this chip is O.K. otherwise normally the screen remains blank....
the IOU-chip handles the signals between the main-busses ( data and edressing ) and the Generation of the coloursignals ( that means there exist a version for NTSC = US or PAL = european version )
the MMU-chip is responsible for the timing and the exchange of data between the ROMs and the RAM and the CPU ) this chip might be affected by the mistake explained above in your thread.,..
and probably the mistake might be related to one of the eight RAMchips 4164 at the front of the mainboard,
Of course it is upmost imoportant that the tests you made have been executed without the 80col card in the slot otherwise the mistake could also be caused by a mistake in the RAM of the 80col card.
If you are not sure about this repeat your tests again with the 80 col. Card unplugged !
I hope this details of explanation save other guys some thoughts on tracing mistakes in computers with mistakes and help you to detect the mistake up to closer area....
regards speedyG

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Re: My original old //e died..

Hello Wayne,
Keatah explained in his thread that he reseated the chips with no result... it helps if a thread is read carefully...

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Re: My original old //e died..

I read what he did and it generally doesn't work because if the chip is all the way down in the socket nothing happens. Also if the chip is a tight fit it may not move either. Lifting the chip up and pushing it back down scrapes the oxide off the legs and restores contact.

Wayne

speedyG wrote:

Hello Wayne,
Keatah explained in his thread that he reseated the chips with no result... it helps if a thread is read carefully...

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Re: My original old //e died..

Wayne wrote:

I read what he did and it generally doesn't work because if the chip is all the way down in the socket nothing happens. Also if the chip is a tight fit it may not move either. Lifting the chip up and pushing it back down scrapes the oxide off the legs and restores contact.

Wayne

speedyG wrote:

Hello Wayne,
Keatah explained in his thread that he reseated the chips with no result... it helps if a thread is read carefully...

i still can´t see it... in keatahs text: "and reseating the chips didn´t help" probably my english is too bad ?

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Re: My original old //e died..

Ok, I removed all chips. And put them back in. Not much, if any corrosion. I used an eraser to clean the pins. No change.

I shall do some evening reading tonight.

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Re: My original old //e died..

The next easiest thing would be to run some diagnostic disk to see if they could zero in on the problem. Take it, it is not an enhanced IIe to do a self test. Could making it one for short time help?

Take Care

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Re: My original old //e died..

It did. In preparation for finishing up cracking Saturn Navigator I put my old crack-rom in. This crack rom modifies the reset vector. It's like having a built-in wildcard.

Since the crack rom is based off of ROM-CD(enhanced version) it made good sense at this juncture to make it a full enhanced //e, so in went EF and the Mousetext VCG Rom, and the 65C02. I didn't put the "Enhanced" badge on the power-on light - and at the same time I was hoping that lack of the badge wouldn't make a functional difference(!) So now it's basically an enhanced //e.

I ran the diagnostics straight away.

And boy did it sure stink of ram failure. I was getting inconsistent bad ram, it would say things like:

RAM 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0, or sometimes it would pass and say "System OK" but with some random characters here and there..still.. So that pretty much eliminated the ROMS and the CPU by default of the upgrade process. So I swapped out the "1" ramchip and sure enough it worked! No garbage characters. I put the faulty one back in and checked the data/address lines with ma'Scope, one of the lines, I forget which one, looked sloppy and lazy or so it seemed. Too much ringing compared to the other lines. No bang-bang. Swapped it out for the good one again, and it passes consistently and powers up just fine. Nice tight logic levels across all data lines. Success!

I'll let it burn in overnight, but it seems to be in order and working. 7 out of 7 passes of built-in diagnostics and no random crap characters dotting the screen.

That's what vintage computing is all about! It also shows how one can fix these old systems with a minimum of tools and basic knowledge.

Thanks to all!

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Re: My original old //e died..

I meant that like a lot of things there are more than one way of doing something and sometimes one way is a lot better than another.
In this case it was RAM so it didn't end up mattering

Wayne

speedyG wrote:

i still can´t see it... in keatahs text: "and reseating the chips didn´t help" probably my english is too bad ?

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Re: My original old //e died..

speedyG wrote:

Hello Wayne,
Keatah explained in his thread that he reseated the chips with no result... it helps if a thread is read carefully...

Hello Wayne,
don´t bother such time about that citation.... the point was just to spot that quite a lot posted replies - the reply comes up with a point that the beginning of the thread already mentioned - and therefor probably just is not realy an advance in the discussion and that post wasn´t realy targeted at you ( I generally allways adress direct to the person that i reply to keep polite instead of replying to anonymous ) to but more a reminder in general.... of course the first post could be read that "reseating just occured by dropping the case" but in fact in this thread keateh set this statement beside of dropping and the other attempts....
that was also the reason that i replied in my other post very general to the path of mistake detection... i probably never would try to "treat" any of my computers with a freezer or an oven.... but after the statement that the chips had been reseated it seemed very clear from the symptoms, that the RAM was not reliable - but in fact the reason for that was not clear.... if RAM starts displaying random generated patterns - the chip itself might turn out to be bad - but the reason might also be bad adressing of the RAM - or a bad data-bus .... so it was important to show which chips are related to the problem and spot out how to check them ( as Twilight_Rodent did - great tip ! )or at least show which chips in the path are less under suspense for the mistake due to the symptoms....

finally after all the target is that the computer gets running again - so let us be happy that keatah solved his problem... cheers...
speedyG

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Re: My original old //e died..

AFAIK, all Apple ][e have built in Diagnostics, Ctrl-Closed_Apple-Reset..

My first Apple ][e I got in NOV-1983 and was about 6 months old (MAY-1983), it had the Light Putty Colored Keys with White Lettering and was Not Enhanced.. I don't know if the Diagnostics work or not, because it never reported a Failure.. Wink My dad still has that ][e, but gave me one just like from a garage sale....