PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

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gsmcten's picture
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This item is listed on eBay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/222488396473?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Does anyone know the story on it?

Steven Smile

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

There's this..
http://www.trs-80.org/pions-interstellar-drive/
..I wonder what software would access it? Where the drivers could be d'l from?

In a weird round-about way I always think of the software RamDisks I had as a kid, 12K and 60K in size. They were my first experience with solid-state drives. And they were faaaassstt! It was like getting blown into the future.

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

My friend is selling this device. I am not sure if PION ever sold this commercially on the apple or not. This appears to be a prototype. Very unique possibly one of a kind device for the Apple II.

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

omnicron,

I guess the question is; is it usable?
According to the seller, it needs another Power Supply,
and God knows what else needs to be done before it
is operational. If it will operate.

It looks nice but I just cannot see (now this is just me)
spending $2k on it.

Steven Smile

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

I don't see 2k either..

It would need to actually work. Doesn't gave to be practical, just power on and do what it's supposed to do. It also needs software.

This was advertised as being available for the II series back in the day.

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

@Steven..

The auction seems to imply that a new power supply is needed because the existing one is a bare transformer with "exposed" wiring. Hardly the safest solution when you compare it to a laptop PS or an enclosed metal box like in a II+ or //e.

My guess is the "supply" works just fine. Note the big regulator/transistor in back!

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

It was never connected or tested as stated in the auction.

I think the point that is being missed is the prototype status of this device. It could work fine or it might not have ever worked. Although there is an article saying that is was available for the Apple II, I doubt it ever was sold for the Apple II. I have yet to find ANY information it actually being sold for the Apple II or anyone who had one. This is a real one of a kind item for Apple II people. Although $2000 is a a lot of money, for a unreleased, newly discovered Apple II hardware, this could be considered cheap. I think it is rare for such historical, unreleased computer items to come up like this.

The power supply is only supplied for completeness of the item but if someone were to actually try to use the device, a modern switching power supply should be used. It came with an open frame step-down transformer that should not be used even when it was "new" without a case. That also would indicate that it was a engineering prototype.

This is really a museum piece and should not be connected or used in my opinion. Even if we knew it was in operational state, why would you use it today with such modern storage options that are more practical?

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

What is the historical significance of this product?

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

Early solid state storage device AND one of kind device. If this was sold in the dozens or hundreds it could be different. Why do people pay a lot of money for APPLE I or low serial number APPLE II machines?

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

I get it ... It would be nice to know that it actually works though. Paying that kind of money for a potentially non-functioning example seems a bit high to me for a storage device but everyone has their own threshold on what things like that are worth.
I (for example) hold a high value on a complete and working 5 megabyte Davong hard drive unit made for the Apple ][ that came out just before the plus version was introduced. 5 Megabytes isn't a lot of storage by any standard but the work that went into it was pretty cool considering it was made for the Apple ][ Still got the box it came in. 5" full height hard drive about 4 times bigger than a Sider.
I hope someone picks the PION drive up but at the same time hope the seller lowers their price given the state that it's in.

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

What state is it in?

It is very clean and in very good condition for the age. He has not changed the batteries since those are the original batteries. I am sure if there was an issue with someone wanting a better power supply that could be arranged but for a collector, the original PS is desirable. It complete and has the maximum RAM configuration. It appears it would be fully functional from what I can tell. Show me another PION drive in ANY state for an Apple II and what it sold for and then I think you could argue for a lower price. This might be the only unit in existence or one of a very few numbers. That the IO board is wire wrapped shows they never got to a actual manufactured circuit board. The real question is why would anyone buy this for "USE" for any price? Working or non-working, it is a rare item that deserves to be preserved and should not be used. It is the same logic why an Apple I sold for $815k in Aug 2016.

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

No problem, I hope the seller gets what he wants for it. But our opinions of "clean" obviously differ.
Upon closer inspection, the Drive case has mold stains on the top and the inside of the case shows rust.
Who knows what the chip legs look like. To someone who wants a visual example, I guess this doesn't
matter if they don't mind corrosion and mold stains. I know I would.
FYI, that Apple 1 that sold for 815K actually works. Can't say the same for this. Having a working
model or example obviously dictates a greater value IMHO.

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

Understood. I think the concern is that "cleaning" it would possibly damage it if not done properly. Instead of trying to clean it more and damaging the unit, the seller is selling it "as is" for whomever to take that responsibility and possibly have access to more resources and know-how than the seller has on how to restore the device.

I don't know if it will sell for the listed price but I also don't absolutely think the price is unreasonable. It would be nice if there was at least one example of a unit selling in the past to get an idea of what it should sell for but we don't have that.

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

omnicron,

I understand what you are saying and where you are coming from,
but If I'm going to spend that much money on an Apple II item,
I want to know that it is operational and not a Door Stop.

Steven Smile

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

It's going to need a driver disk. Unless you want to write your own..?

Either way, this might be worth more money if scrapped for date/period correct parts rather than the whole.

IDK, but I believe the Axlon RamDisk had greater recognition and market penetration. And it is these units which are desirable.

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

I saw this today and googled around and ended up here. It's definitely an interesting device. I'm a fairly serious collector.. I just recently bought some untouched Mark-8 boards for a couple grand. But this... I don't know. If I were much wealthier, probably I would. It'd be a cool conversation piece. But as a person with limited means.. nah. The fact that it may have a prototype Apple II interface doesn't change for me that it's a drive they sold commercially elsewhere. It's kind of a cool thing but not something I'm willing to put off other purchases for.

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

I think (and this is purely academic at this point) that if the owner really wants to sell it, or see what its real value is it should be put on auction NOT A BUY IT NOW for 2k$.

It physical condition and appearance is total trash, its unknown if its working and is a product with no proven history. The reason that AE products sell for the number they get is they are known excellent products, this is a extremely low production, hand made unit with no providence.

Its not made by a sought after company name, (Apple AE, etc) its not know if its working, its in terrible condition, and no background what so ever, there does not appear to be any software. If you ask me its near worthless.

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Re: PION Interstellar Drive Solid State Disk

Interesting junk. But junk.

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