SlotBuster II questions

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Hello I recieved Some Apple II's one with A SlotBuster II card.. and after looking all over he Web I could find very little about it,,, Would some one know about this card and possible have a manual or have instructions... its has a volume control and what looks like a Z80 cpu chip A 27128 Eprom ... Any info would be greatly appreciated... Mike

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

Mike,

Who is it made by?

Steven Smile

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

I believe its RC Systems... Mike

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

I'm going to have to go digging,
but I just may have one.
I believe it may be by the same company
as the Micro Buffer II.

It may take some time,
but I will see what I come up with.

Steven Smile

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

Sorry to interject. Can you post a good picture of it so that all the connections and IC's part numbers are visible?

Just a wild guess, but something with the name 'SlotBuster' might be a multi-function card. Like a serial + parallel. The best way to tell though would be with detailed pictures. Chip part numbers speak volumes.

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Re: SlotBuster II questions
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Re: SlotBuster II questions

The pictures are pretty clear, but no big enough.

I see it has and entire computer system on board. It has a z80A CPU with RAM and ROM, but it is likely not a CP/M card.

It is definitely a multifunction card (says so right on it!)

It has audio out (line and speaker level), a volume control, and some other connections at the keyboard end that I cannot make out (large picture might help). It also has a SSI 263AP Votrax voice synthesizer chip.

The RAM chips(s) are marked BUF (one is missing< but may not be required), so I am guessing perhaps one of the other functions was as a serial printer buffer. But these could be buffers for the voice synthesizer.

There do not seem to be enough connections for A Centronics (parallel) interface.

There seems to be an important chip missing (U14) at the case end of the board.

That's all I can tell from the pictures provided.

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

After searching most of the evening I found this...

Slotbuster (RC Systems, Inc.)
Multifunction circuit card. Compatible with the Apple II, II Plus, IIe, and IIGS. Can function as a speech synthesizer, a serial printer port and a character buffer. Synthesizer can speak text by character or phonetically, and the speech can come from the internal Apple speaker or through an external speaker (not included). Various features of speech are adjustable.

But would still need some kind of Manual or instructions to use...also there is some kind of adapter with wires from the card to the game port.... will try to get some better pix's tomorrow

Mike

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

I think before you go much further you will need to find out what that U14 chip is supposed to be.

RC systems are still around and may be able to help if you contact them.

Here are some other quotes I found on the card:

"Other companies that took a shot at the Apple
II Sound market were RC Systems, they offered
Slot Buster. A multi-function card that in addition
to a sound and speech similar to Mockingboard
also featured a real-time clock, serial and paral-
lel ports."

"SlotBuster II: Versatile New Multi-function Card by Jesse Kaysen

The SlotBuster II is a multi-function circuit card for the Apple 2 plus, 2e, or 2gs manufactured by RC Systems of Washington state. It's a dramatic improvement on the original Slot-Buster, mentioned in these pages in June 1985.

The SlotBuster card can be obtained with up to six different functions: speech synthesizer; parallel printer port, serial printer (one-way communications) port, serial modem (two-way communications) port; clock/calendar card; and BSR controller port. (The BSR X-10 command console allows you to remotely control up to 16 devices through your Apple.) You can send information independently and simultaneously to each port. The card comes with an 8K buffer that's automatically apportioned to the various ports; you can obtain 32K or 64K buffer enhancements as well.
SCAT Screen Review Software

It's almost impossible to describe a speech synthesizer on paper. To my ear, the SlotBuster sounds more French (where the Echo sounds Swedish.) It has both inflected and monotone voices. The sound is actually created by tweaking the Apple's speaker; you can plug in a "Synthesizer Extender Cable" to route the sound to headphones, if you wish.

Of particular interest to blind users is the new SCreen ArTiculator (or SCAT) screen review software. It has all the features of TEXTALKER 3.1, and then some. (SCAT works equally well with the original Slot-Buster I.) You can review one or more lines on the screen, announce the position of the video or audio cursor, and read text by words or by letters. The interesting plus is the string search function: while in review mode, press period and SCAT responds: "Search." You then enter a string of characters, (which SCAT echoes,) finish with , and press an arrow key to search backward or forward. When SCAT finds the string, it announces the screen location; otherwise it says "String not found." SCAT also remembers the last line you reviewed and defaults to that position the next time you enter screen review. That's handy for a program like Apple's FILER, where useful information is clustered in the center of the screen.

SCAT gives you great control over the SlotBuster's speech. As with the Echo, you can set the pitch, speed, and volume. The SlotBuster has two modes for pronouncing numerals. The "digit" mode is like TEXTALKER: "9345" is pronounced "nine three four five"; in "number" mode the same string is "nine thousand three hundred forty five." (Phone numbers can sound pretty wild!) SCAT lets you set different environments for "text" (word-by-word) and "letter" (character-by-character) speech. You can specify the delay between characters or words and which punctuation is pronounced independently for "text" and "letter" modes. In letter mode, SCAT speaks uppercase letters at a higher pitch than lowercase.
Better Buffer Management

The SlotBuster's buffer is a delight when printing; originally it was a little frustrating when using the synthesizer. The SlotBuster's designer, Randy Carlson, has carefully listened to suggestions from blind users, and has implemented a range of needed features. First off, there's a handy hardware modification. The SlotBuster II comes with a wire that you plug in to the game port on the Apple 2. Once installed, pressing the open- and closed-Apple keys simultaneously clears out the SlotBuster's buffer, stopping speech or printing on a dime.

Secondly, the SlotBuster speech now stops when you issue a control-X command. Finally, you can issue a command to disable the buffer for the synthesizer entirely, if you wish. When the buffer is enabled, you can stop speech quickly without resorting to Apple keys or control-X. While the SlotBuster's talking, any keypress silences speech and is handed over to the Apple. For example, suppose you press Return at a BEX menu; the SlotBuster starts speaking the list of options. Press E; the SlotBuster shuts up and BEX loads the Editor.
Some Technical Details

The SCAT software only requires 4K of memory; you can load it into the language card (like TEXTALKER) or into high memory. BEX 2.2 loads SCAT into the language card when it detects a SlotBuster (but no Echo) in your system. The SCAT disk also comes with a special 64K DiversiDOS version.

The SCAT command character is control-E. Most programs that are designed to work with TEXTALKER make sure that you have access to the control-E character, so they should be friendly to SCAT as well. SCAT's native screen review character is control-R. The SCAT documentation includes instructions on modifying TEXTALKER-compatible software to work with SCAT.

To increase compatibility even more, SCAT has a "Brand-X" (TEXTALKER) emulation mode. I tried it out with APPLE TALK (the excellent disk-based talking magazine from Jeff & Johnette Weiss) and it worked like a charm. I loaded SCAT into memory, then saved it under the name TEXTALKER.RAM. I added the statement

PRINT CHR$(5) "I"

to the HELLO program after "BRUN TEXTALKER.RAM." Control-E I tells the SlotBuster to go into TEXTALKER emulation, and everything worked fine from there on in. When in TEXTALKER emulation, the SlotBuster only responds to TEXTALKER commands: you don't have access to the string search function.
The Other Functions

The serial and parallel interfaces seem to work just grand; they're on the list of supported cards for BEX large print. RC Systems claims the modem port is hardware-compatible with the Apple Super Serial Card. We don't yet have one on hand to test; you can be sure that we'll publish detailed interface information as soon as we have it!

You can mix and match functions when you buy the SlotBuster, so how much it costs depends on the options. Just to give you an idea, a loaded SlotBuster II with 64K buffer, speech synthesizer, parallel port and cable, modem port and cable, and Talking Manual with SCAT disk lists for $377.90. A more modest configuration of SlotBuster II, speech synthesizer, serial printer port and cable, and Talking Manual lists for $259.75. Owners of older SlotBuster I's can purchase a SCAT disk alone for $19.95. (This includes three DOS 3.3 versions, documentation, ProSCAT for ProDOS, and Apple's FILER and CONVERT utilities.)

In summary, the SlotBuster II seems to be a well-thought-out, useful card. The speech synthesizer works well with its screen review software. If you're beginning to run out of slots on your Apple, the SlotBuster can be a real life-saver. For more information, contact:

RC Systems, Inc.

121 W. Winesap Road

Bothell, Washington 98012"

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

BillO,

THAT'S IT!
That's the one I have.

"SlotBuster II": Versatile New Multi-function Card by Jesse Kaysen

Now if I can only find it amongst the stacks of cards I have in the small bedroom.

Dagnabit!

It even came with a booklet and a couple of cables.

I found out that I won it in an eBay auction in February of 2013.
It arrived and I placed it with a whole bunch of other cards.

Update 13Sep14

Mike, I'm still looking.

I started going through everything
and found a whole bunch of cards
But not that one... yet.

Steven Smile

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

Great thanks.. If Its like here It may take a while.. I have just about everything SOMEWHERE Smile ...

Mike

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

Well,

UPDATE 14Sep14

So far I have discovered 2 x Transwarp GS cards
A ZIP GS Card
A Transwarp IIe card
More unopened AE Cards
A Brand New AE Ramkeeper GS (with all the goodies in the box)
A whole slew of AE RAMWORKS II and III cards
About 25 + Apple II Plus Motherboards (in various states of needing work)
And a bunch of other cards that I didn't realize I had.

I have moved from the top of the bed to the drawers
and found more sound cards, video cards, Focus cards,
memory cards, my Vulcan 40 Meg Drive and card, plus I'm still looking.

Dagnabit!
I know it's here somewhere.

I feel like Leonard Nimoy..."In Search Of" lol

Steven Smile

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

(On the screen...darkness. You begin to hear a low rumbling sound as a pale light is beginning to show the curvature of the Moon.
You hear the beginning bars of "2001 A Space Odyssey" as the Sun rises up and touches the end of the horizon.
The Sun rises fully just as the music reaches it's crescendo!
In the lower right of the screen is a rectangular shape. You can barely see it, but it seems to be an obelisk!
But maybe it's a SlotBuster II Card standing on end. lol)

Mike,

Today is our lucky day!

Not only do I have two SlotBuster II's,
I also have the software and the manuals.

Actually there are two manuals:
-SlotBuster User Manual
-SlotBuster II Update Manual

I decided to search The Chest of Drawers in my bedroom this evening.
I was not sure what I would find there.
Lo and Behold, both of them were together in the third drawer down. lol

I am going to scan in the manuals.
Send me a PM with your address and I will send a copy of the manuals and one of the Utilities Disks.
This may take a little while, but you will have what you need.

Steven Smile

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

gsmcten wrote:

<< BIG SNIP >>

I decided to search The Chest of Drawers in my bedroom this evening.
I was not sure what I would find there.
Lo and Behold, both of them were together in the third drawer down. lol

<< SNIP >>

A place for everything, and everything all over the place...

This sounds like how I keep my Classic Computer stuff...

( Personally, I have been looking for my Echo + card the last couple days.. It around here, Somewhere... )

MarkO

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Re: SlotBuster II questions

MarkO Said:

Quote:

A place for everything, and everything all over the place...

Quote:

MarkO you are absolutely right.

Lordy! I found 3 Boxes of software I didn't realize I had!

I'll have to call it "Fall Cleaning". lol

Steven Smile

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