Platinum //e - Softcard Locking Up

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Joined: Sep 15 2015
Posts: 20

Hi,

I recentlty added an original Microsoft Softcard to Apple //e, Slot 4.

I've been having an awful of trouble with it. The system boots up, and many things works like Basic, etc.

If I type STAT, it returns the free space on disk A. If I type STAT B, it just locks up.

I have loaded other programs and they have locked up. Wordstar 4 locks up.

Is this card not compatible with the 65C02 timings? Do I need to get a different CP/M card?

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Offline
Joined: Mar 17 2016
Posts: 14
Re: Platinum //e - Softcard Locking Up

I ran one of these in my Platinum //e for a while before replacing it with a PCPI Applicard. The card should definitely work in a Platinum //e. The first thing I would try is reseating the chips on the card. I had to do this on one of my clone cards (after it had been in storage for 20 years) before it would work at all.

The next thing you might check is the cp/m boot disks themselves. With the Softcard and derivatives I would recommend Applied Engineering's CP/AM 5.1, as it is more recent and has a few extra features (e.g. support for using slinky RAM cards as a RAM Disk, Unidisk 3.5 support, and faster screen I/O when using the //e's 80 column mode). AE's Z80-plus was essentially a Softcard (maybe with higher clock speed), and CP/AM will work just fine on non-AE cards. You can get CP/AM from asimov. If the card hangs with CP/AM, it may or may not at least fail in a different way that facilitates troubleshooting.

Depending on where/how you obtained Wordstar 4, it may need to be configured (e.g. for # of disk drives, printer) and/or patches applied (for inverse to work properly on the Apple //e). Note also that the 143KB disk image claiming to be Wordstar 4 that can be found on asimov, macgui vault, and several other places is not in fact version 4. WS 4 is too large to run from 143K floppies. If you really want to run V4, you'll need some type of mass storage, and you'll likely have to transfer the files from downloaded zips or other media to disk images first (best done on a modern machine with cpmtools). I've gone through this and have WS 4 running from a CP/M partition with my Applicard. It's doable, but it involves a fair amount of work.

speedyG's picture
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Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2335
Re: Platinum //e - Softcard Locking Up

There are some known issues with the timing, but they are normally rare....:
In such rare cases there are several posible solutions:
1st: Ad a ceramic capacitor of 22pF to max of 47 pF between slot conection pad 22 and
GND slot connectionpad 26 on thesoftcard - it surpresses spikes from the DMA line.
2nd:change the 74S40 on the softcard against a 74LS40 this expands timing window
3rd: all 4 switches of the DIL switch should be set to "OFF"-position

speedyG

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Offline
Joined: Sep 15 2015
Posts: 20
Re: Platinum //e - Softcard Locking Up

Thanks for the advice everyone. The seller has been very kind and is sending me a second softcard. I'll use that to try and rule out incompatibility issues, vs actual SoftCard issues.

If the new card presents the same problems, I will try swapping that one IC like Speedy says.

Best,
Grimakis

Offline
Joined: Sep 15 2015
Posts: 20
Re: Platinum //e - Softcard Locking Up

And the new card works fine. The old card was probably failing in some way. I've sent it back.

Thanks everyone.