AppleCrate - the ][e cluster!!

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DrBunsen's picture
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Originally posted on the MLA while AF was on hiatus.

AppleCrate

An 8 bit, 8 board IIe parallel processing cluster, built from the ground up by one guy, including writing a serial port networking protocol, the parallel task manager, and ROM hacking to netboot the bare boards.

Now that's a hack!

68kMLA thread

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Re: AppleCrate - the ][e cluster!!

DrBunsen wrote:

Originally posted on the MLA while AF was on hiatus.

AppleCrate

An 8 bit, 8 board IIe parallel processing cluster, built from the ground up by one guy, including writing a serial port networking protocol, the parallel task manager, and ROM hacking to netboot the bare boards.

Now that's a hack!

68kMLA thread

Believe it or not, I was contemplating scrapping my Apple IIe computers last night. I was being pestered to clean up my room here, and the Apple IIe machines were high on my list of disposable goods. If it hadn't been for my lethargic nature and the fact that I am just five days into being a non-smoker, my Apple II would have been in the trash this morning.

Having said all that, I'm loving this Applecrate Cluster; I now have something to do with horde of Apple IIs...

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Wow... Amazing. I'm speechle

Wow... Amazing. I'm speechless.

I'll be looking for it on the next Top 500 Supercomputer list. Wink

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Re: Wow... Amazing. I'm speechle

dead_elvis wrote:

Wow... Amazing. I'm speechless.

I'll be looking for it on the next Top 500 Supercomputer list. Wink

What I find really amazing about the whole thing, is that it's all coded in Applesoft Basic. There's no machine language or assembly, and that, in and of itself, is quite an accomplishment.

Granted, you're not going to find the thing breaking any computer speed records, you're not even going to find too many similar machines produced. What makes it so amazing is the sheer hack value.

BTW: I, for one, fully intend to build my own Apple II cluster.

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Re: Wow... Amazing. I'm speechle

dead_elvis wrote:

Wow... Amazing. I'm speechless.

I'll be looking for it on the next Top 500 Supercomputer list. Wink

Just think of how that puppy would fly if he put the upgraded processors (i think they are 10-14MHz) in them.
On another note, How much computing could you ACTUALLY do on that thing. It may just be a novelty thing, but I don't see that thing rendering (or displaying) a picture any time soon. Maybe a crude Fractal image?

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Re: Wow... Amazing. I'm speechle

coius wrote:
dead_elvis wrote:

Wow... Amazing. I'm speechless.

I'll be looking for it on the next Top 500 Supercomputer list. Wink

Just think of how that puppy would fly if he put the upgraded processors (i think they are 10-14MHz) in them.
On another note, How much computing could you ACTUALLY do on that thing. It may just be a novelty thing, but I don't see that thing rendering (or displaying) a picture any time soon. Maybe a crude Fractal image?

I'm amazed that NadaNet will sustain throughput somewhere along the lines of 10Kbytes/second. That's amazing for a network protocol that operates on the Apple ii's and is completely "homebrew".

I'm building one of these things. Definitely! I have a complete Apple II+ and a bunch of Apple II motherboards that are just collecting dust. I could brush up on my Basic coding, sit down with a decent Applesoft Basic manual, and tinker till I just can't tinker no more.

This is a project that has a Five Star Geek Rating. I'm there...

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I wonder if you can hack a //c

It would be interesting to try them with a bunch of enhanced ][e's and use a //c as the interface. or better yet, rig a bunch of IIgs's to gether. That would be some serious horsepower. Especially with the 14MHz. But still, there is no use for that. It is too slow to even do anything on. Maybe use them to do some high number calculations? It would be too funny if it were to find the next lowest common denominator (i think that is it, It's the number that can't devided it into it's self with two of the same #'s) Just think of the egg on their faces that a 1MHz machine beat all those powerful rigs out there Wink

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Re: I wonder if you can hack a //c

coius wrote:

It would be interesting to try them with a bunch of enhanced ][e's and use a //c as the interface. or better yet, rig a bunch of IIgs's to gether. That would be some serious horsepower. Especially with the 14MHz. But still, there is no use for that. It is too slow to even do anything on. Maybe use them to do some high number calculations? It would be too funny if it were to find the next lowest common denominator (i think that is it, It's the number that can't devided it into it's self with two of the same #'s) Just think of the egg on their faces that a 1MHz machine beat all those powerful rigs out there Wink

Coius, it's not what they can do that matters, it's what you can learn by pushing them to do things everyone says they can't do. Wink

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Re: I wonder if you can hack a //c

coius wrote:

It would be interesting to try them with a bunch of enhanced ][e's and use a //c as the interface. or better yet, rig a bunch of IIgs's to gether. That would be some serious horsepower. Especially with the 14MHz. But still, there is no use for that. It is too slow to even do anything on. Maybe use them to do some high number calculations? It would be too funny if it were to find the next lowest common denominator (i think that is it, It's the number that can't devided it into it's self with two of the same #'s) Just think of the egg on their faces that a 1MHz machine beat all those powerful rigs out there Wink

Apparently, the enhanced IIe's will not function properly with NadaNet due to some large capacitors that Apple installed to "brute force" a problem with the design. The IIgs's apparently will work, but only at the slower 1MHz speed. It looks, however, like Mr. Mahon is working on having the IIgs' function at full speed and only slow down for network operations. Should be interesting...

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Pretty old stuff...

Don't you guys read:

http://www.a2central.com or usenet comp.sys.apple2

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Re: Pretty old stuff...

sfahey wrote:

Don't you guys read:

http://www.a2central.com or usenet comp.sys.apple2

No. I do now though!

I've never been really into the Apple II scene. At least not until the good Dr. started this thread. Smile

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Not just Applesoft...

Hi! I'm glad that you like the AppleCrate and NadaNet. I certainly had fun creating them. As many of you have surmised, and can read on my website, my motivation was enjoyment and education. I love doing resource-constrained problem solving--making things do what "everyone knows" they cannot do. Wink

NadaNet is programmed in machine language, as it must be to allow cycle-accurate sending and sensing of the network wire. I provided NadaNet with an ampersand interface to Applesoft to make it much easier to use from BASIC.

I've used the AppleCrate to synthesize 8-voice music with wavetable instruments (there are a couple of .mp3's on my website), all done with software digital-to-analog conversion through the 1-bit speaker port--_no_ added hardware. That, of course, also requires assembly language (though, interestingly, much of the assembly code for the software DAC was generated using an Applesoft code scheduling program).

Take a listen--and enjoy!

Since an AppleCrate must boot over the network (it has no attached peripherals), it was necessary to insert the boot code into the ROM of the unenhanced //e. Something similar could be done with a ][ or ][+, but there is no built-in ROM bank switching, so either the monitor or Applesoft would take an unpleasant hit...

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Enhanced //e's and NadaNet

Most Enhanced //e's work fine with NadaNet. Only the very late-run models had the 0.1 microfarad bypass capacitors across the pushbutton inputs, making them useless for anything but _pushbuttons_. Wink

The problem can be easily corrected with no loss in function of a machine that has the 3 capacitors, simply by snipping one side of the capacitors. They serve no useful purpose (except possibly helping Apple pass an EMI test) and removing them _adds_ functionality to your Apple //e.

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Re: Not just Applesoft...

mjmahon wrote:

Hi! I'm glad that you like the AppleCrate and NadaNet. I certainly had fun creating them. As many of you have surmised, and can read on my website, my motivation was enjoyment and education. I love doing resource-constrained problem solving--making things do what "everyone knows" they cannot do. Wink

NadaNet is programmed in machine language, as it must be to allow cycle-accurate sending and sensing of the network wire. I provided NadaNet with an ampersand interface to Applesoft to make it much easier to use from BASIC.

I've used the AppleCrate to synthesize 8-voice music with wavetable instruments (there are a couple of .mp3's on my website), all done with software digital-to-analog conversion through the 1-bit speaker port--_no_ added hardware. That, of course, also requires assembly language (though, interestingly, much of the assembly code for the software DAC was generated using an Applesoft code scheduling program).

Take a listen--and enjoy!

Since an AppleCrate must boot over the network (it has no attached peripherals), it was necessary to insert the boot code into the ROM of the unenhanced //e. Something similar could be done with a ][ or ][+, but there is no built-in ROM bank switching, so either the monitor or Applesoft would take an unpleasant hit...

Ah, good, the creator has joined us. Smile I'm gonna have lots of questions while I struggle to put together my AppleCrate.

Hope you don't mind having someone pick your brain? Wink

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Woz would have loved the Appl

Woz would have loved the AppleCrate Smile

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Questions welcome...

I'm delighted to discuss NadaNet, the AppleCrate, music synthesis on 8-bit Apples, or anything related to them.

My email address is on my website. There are so many forums around that I don't get to visit them very often, so email is definitely more likely to get a timely response. If someone starts building, then I have no problem taking the resulting discussion to a forum for public participation. I frequent comp.sys.apple2, which is my preferred forum.

I will be away from my email and internet connection for the next three weeks, so it will probably take until the end of October for me to respond--it doesn't mean I'm not interested! Wink

-michael

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Woz and AppleCrate...

I think he would get a kick out of it, too, but I haven't found a way to communicate with him. The email service on his website has been shut down for months, and I have no direct address.

-michael

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Any AppleCrates out there??

Earlier in this thread (and 15 months ago!) some interest was expressed in building an AppleCrate. (Yay!)

Has any progress been made? Anyone have one working?

BTW, a limited number of NadaNet adapters are available
from the online store at garberstreet.com if anyone would
rather buy than build to get NadaNet running on two or more
machines.

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Apple II Parallel Computing
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Re: AppleCrate - the ][e cluster!!

I know its been 7 years since the last post but in the past 12 months the AppleCrate has been revised and a new AppleCrate II has been built - http://home.comcast.net/~mjmahon/AppleCrateII.html

What do the people her think? Has anyone built an AppleCrate since this thread became dormant? If so how did it turn out?

I know this is grave-digging etc etc but I think it would be interesting to share experiences (if any) and hear from the original creator (if he still frequents these forums)

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Re: AppleCrate - the ][e cluster!!

I'm no tech head, but I'm impressed. This is absolutely amazing.

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Re: AppleCrate - the ][e cluster!!

Doc and Michael,

It is STILL one of the coolest!

Steven Smile

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