New acquisition: Ugly Apple ][plus! (Or, brain-transplanted Syscom-II, take your pick.)

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Recently I acquired a real mongrel that I thought might be of some interest, or at least worth a laugh. The short(ish) story behind it was this: I inquired about an Apple IIc a collector was selling cheaply as part of a purge of "excess inventory" (the IIgs just doesn't feel "vintage" enough) but pre-sale testing revealed that the IIc had a bad disk controller. In the ensuing "oh well" conversation I happened to let drop what I'd *really* like to find someday was a reasonably-priced "pre-ASIC" Apple II(plus), since such a thing would fit in better with my TRS-80 Model I and Commodore PETs. As luck would have it he had a pile of mismatched Plus parts and a strange mongrel Syscom-II computer that had apparently once been owned by an engineer who worked for Videx in Corvallis, OR, lying around so... my wish finally came true.

The case and keyboard are from the Syscom-II clone. (There's also a label on the back of the case that says "Syntron Model 484; a Google of that registers a hit that suggests the same case was used by other cloners.) Subjectively I'd say the case feels like it's made out of slightly cheesier materials than a real Apple II but the keyboard may be better. Inside lurks a late-model "genuine Apple II plus motherboard and Apple power supply. These are replacements for the "original" guts which were described as "not working" but were sent along in case I wanted to attempt to repair them or use them as spares; said guts were *also* not the original, but consist of a older Apple motherboard (Rev. 3 or 4?) soldered directly to what I assume is the original power supply. Presumably the original clone board is lost to history.

One of the two Disk II's I received with the unit is amusing in its own right; it's been modified with a knob, a switch, and an amusing sticker. I'm guessing the knob is a speed adjustment and the switch a write-protect override, but I haven't had the guts to turn or flip either of them.

Anyway, the system works great and while I know it's never going to be worth anything to an Apple collector it's both a perfect "daily driver" retrocomputer and a good example of the sort of thing a real "hacker" would have had back in the day. My eight year old has spent several hours voluntarily(!) playing old MECC educational games on it in the week since I set it up, which to my mind makes it far more valuable than a pristine treasure you'd be afraid to let a minor touch.

Pictures:

AttachmentSize
Syscom2-top.jpg174.98 KB
Syscom2-keyboard.jpg253.37 KB
syscom2-rear-label.jpg207.97 KB
Syscom2-plusguts.jpg210.79 KB
syscom2-diskii-ugly.jpg178.74 KB
syscom2-running.jpg232.34 KB

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Joined: Dec 20 2008
Posts: 211
Re: New acquisition: Ugly Apple ][plus! (Or, ...

Re: The Disk ][ drive.

"These go to 11"

Smile

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Peter Rittwage
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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Re: New acquisition: Ugly Apple ][plus! (Or, ...

rittwage wrote:

"These go to 11"

I totally had that same thought. Smile

I'm guessing the toggle switch activates the Flux Capacitor.

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Re: New acquisition: Ugly Apple ][plus! (Or, ...

Eudimorphodon][quote=rittwage wrote:

I'm guessing the toggle switch activates the Flux Capacitor.

1.21 jigawatts!!!!!!!!! Tom! How am I going to generate that kind of power? It can't be done! CAN'T!

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Re: New acquisition: Ugly Apple ][plus! (Or, ...

insanitor][quote=Eudimorphodon wrote:
rittwage wrote:

I'm guessing the toggle switch activates the Flux Capacitor.

1.21 jigawatts!!!!!!!!! Tom! How am I going to generate that kind of power? It can't be done! CAN'T!

So the potentiometer *does* adjust disk speed. Its top setting? 88 miles per hour.

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gsmcten's picture
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Re: New acquisition: Ugly Apple ][plus! (Or, ...

So...

What you guy's are actually saying is that he should install
a "DeLorean" name plate on the front of the drive and
add a set of Gull-Wing doors on the sides? LOL

Steven Smile

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