Rescued an Apple IIgs

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Mr.Fix's picture
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little background on the scenerio:

Back in November 2012 i was scanning my local classifieds and saw an ad for a apple iigs selling for $150 cdn. It was only the computer, keyboard, a 3.5 unidisk, and a manual. For $150 that was way too much and it wasnt even a woz edition by the looks of the pictures.

Fast forward to late February, ad was still up but the price was still at $150..so i emailed the owner, and asked a few questions. The owner said that it powers up but doesnt have a monitor and doesnt know of any way of checking if it had any programs in its hd. well now, when i read that im obviously dealing with a noob, and just priced it because it was old apple stuff. I questioned him a little more, and it turns out he's in demolition, and found the computer in an old warehouse. I kindly asked him how low of an offer he was accept? He basically told me that he was disappointed that there was very little interest in it since he put up the ad and said that i was the only one that showed some interest so he agreed at $80 cdn. Well i told him thats fine but i would have to see it first and turn it on, he said sure but again noted that he doesnt have a monitor for it (lol). So off i went i met him at his house, i looked at the iigs, and its pretty grimy (atleast clean it up with soap and water!), and very yellow. So i open it up, it has 4 cards in it which im unfamilar with, looks more like homebrew cards, but i will have to take some pictures of the cards when i have time to fully look at it.
So i ask him if he has a TV and we can hook it up. His jaw dropped when i said TV, haha and i pulled out my rca cable and attached it to his tv. I turn on the computer and it powers on, the tv screen does the pattern flash but that is all. The 3.5 unidisk lights up but thats all. Now im thinking, well the computer works the 3.5 works but i cant seem to break into monitor or basic prompt (im unfamilar with iigs) so im doing everything i know from the //c to break into some type of prompt but nothing, and the guy is standing there looking excited (probably thinking im going to pay his original price of $150). So i try and fiddle around with it for 5 mins, and finally tell him this.

"Well this computer is shot, it freezes up when you turn it on and that indicates a bad chip or flux capacitor (haha sounds good huh). this computer im afraid is worthless, i wouldnt pay anything above $20 for it being its almost 30 years old." Now the guys exact words was like this:

"Damn! well if you give me $20 then you can do what you want with this crap!".

I paid the $20, and off i went!

Its sitting in a box right now and when i have time i'll see if it can be operational, if anything i got a $20 3.5" iigs unidisk which i hope i can use with my //c with the upgrade romchip.

I'll post some pics and would need help in figuring out how to get this to operating standards. So if any iigs experts can help out i would appreciate it!

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Joined: Dec 13 2005
Posts: 264
Re: Rescued an Apple IIgs

Hi,
Hard to tell. what the problems or problem is from what you said. Maybe it is set to boot slot 5. Motherboard might be so dirty it is shorting out. Cards causing the problem. Power supply weak.

I would make a note where all the cards go (which slots) and remove all of them and any drives.

Then clean the MB. A brush, Q-tips and compressed air.

Then with everything unplugged run a self test.

(If a Rom03 remove battery. If a battery shorts it can cause problems. Rare but I am not sure if it does the same thing with all the IIgs.)

If you can not run the self test then it might be the Power Supply or Mother board.

Take Care

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Joined: Apr 24 2012
Posts: 251
Re: Rescued an Apple IIgs

Well, I can tell you that just the unidisk is valued around $100 USD on eBay. No idea on the interior, but the exterior can be fixed with retr0brite and will look like new.
Take some photos and I'm sure the guys here will be able to help.
Cheers
Javster

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Joined: Apr 24 2012
Posts: 251
Re: Rescued an Apple IIgs

Well, I can tell you that just the unidisk is valued around $100 USD on eBay. No idea on the interior, but the exterior can be fixed with retr0brite and will look like new.
Take some photos and I'm sure the guys here will be able to help.
Cheers
Javster

Mr.Fix's picture
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Joined: Mar 22 2005
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Re: Rescued an Apple IIgs

here are a few pictures of the IIgs.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60602148@N02/with/8536044362/#photo_8536044362

Can anyone recognize those three cards? there is no name on it and to me they look homebrew for some kind of application... but three in one computer??

I will also make a video of it booting up and hopefully get some directions on what to look at first.

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Re: Rescued an Apple IIgs

I guess interfacing to test equipment or data acquisition. Or some sort of machine controller. I'd need to see the chip numbers on the cards to guess better.

3 of the same cards in one system is not unusual in specialty niche applications. I ran a Diversi-Dial when 300 baud modems were the thing. I had like 6 of them in one system.

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Mr.Fix's picture
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Re: Rescued an Apple IIgs

Update:

I finally had time to sit down with this computer and set it up on my desk. To my amazement after connecting all the cables to the computer the IIgs fired right up to the Apple IIGS logo screen (i believe the PO mismatched the connection of the 3.5 disc to the printer or modem port as that is the only explanation i can figure out as to why it didnt do anything when i first looked at it... anyways thats still good for me since i only paid $20 cdn rather then his offer of $80 and ultimately his first asking price of $150). So with that said. ive uploaded new pics showing the boot up, diagnostic check, and another screen which i need answered (re: check startup device).

Now a few questions:

1. 3.5 unidisk. Since i only have 3.5 disc from PC can i reformat them to be used on the iigs? If so, how would i do that? Whenever i insert the 3.5 disc the IIGs spits them out.
2. from the startup screen it says i have version rom 3. How can i tell if i actually have 1m ram on this computer?
3. whats the best alternative to use/get software for this computer if i cant do #1, or i cant get the specific 3.5 discs?
4. I learned recently that i can use ADTpro as a virtual hd with my pc, how is this done with the iigs? links?
5. Can i use a apple //c,//e mouse on this IIgs?

next step, cleaning and de-yellowing. Any recommendations on what card i should get for this IIgs?

(to check the new screenshots please photo link stated previously)

thanks in advance.

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Re: Rescued an Apple IIgs

Mr.Fix wrote:

1. 3.5 unidisk. Since i only have 3.5 disc from PC can i reformat them to be used on the iigs? If so, how would i do that?

It is important that 3.5" disks are double density and not high density. HD disks will have a generally have a little "HD" logo on the disk and they'll have an extra hole on the opposite side of the write enable notch. Avoid HD disks. You will need a ProDOS utility, ADTPro, or GSOS to format DD 3.5" media. There is no built-in format "command" in 8-bit ProDOS.

Mr.Fix wrote:

2. from the startup screen it says i have version rom 3. How can i tell if i actually have 1m ram on this computer?

ROM 03 GS machines have that much memory soldered on to the motherboard. You have 1MB.

Mr.Fix wrote:

3. whats the best alternative to use/get software for this computer if i cant do #1, or i cant get the specific 3.5 discs?

Not sure what you're asking here. You can't move data from a PC to the GS via a floppy disk (not using the hardware you have now, anyway). The PC can't write something the GS can read, additional hardware notwithstanding. Some kind of network connection or ADTPro is required.

Mr.Fix wrote:

4. I learned recently that i can use ADTpro as a virtual hd with my pc, how is this done with the iigs? links?

http://adtpro.sourceforge.net
http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/vdrive.html

Mr.Fix wrote:

5. Can i use a apple //c,//e mouse on this IIgs?

Yes. Well, sort of. If you have a mouse card. Otherwise, you need an ADB mouse which was standard on Macs for years and years.

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Re: Rescued an Apple IIgs

david__schmidt wrote:
Mr.Fix wrote:

1. 3.5 unidisk. Since i only have 3.5 disc from PC can i reformat them to be used on the iigs? If so, how would i do that?

It is important that 3.5" disks are double density and not high density. ... Avoid HD disks.

Sorry Mr. Schmidt, but I'm going to contradict you. Tongue

Based on personal experience, High Density disks can be formatted for 800K drives and retain their data for years. I formatted a number of disks this way back in 2004 and 2005 which still hold their data today.

Of course they could go wrong at any time. Don't store irreplaceable data on HD disks formatted for 800K.

.... Actually.... don't store any irreplaceable data solely on a floppy disk.

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Re: Rescued an Apple IIgs

Dog Cow wrote:
david__schmidt wrote:
Mr.Fix wrote:

1. 3.5 unidisk. Since i only have 3.5 disc from PC can i reformat them to be used on the iigs? If so, how would i do that?

It is important that 3.5" disks are double density and not high density. ... Avoid HD disks.

Sorry Mr. Schmidt, but I'm going to contradict you. Tongue

S'ok. There's one in every crowd. The real reason is that the drive mechanisms and coercivity capabilities were not consistent throughout the DD-HD years. Some drives are capable, some aren't. When people come with problems like "I can't format my brand new disks in my drive..." that's the first thing to check.