Videx Videoterm

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Videx Videoterm

I'm in the market for a Videx Videoterm 80 column card with the old mechanical switchplate for an Apple II.  There are a couple boards on ebay, but neither has any cabling.

 

I could certianly make my own cable if I know the schematic of the switchplate assembly.  I assume it is just a basic switch, but it is not clear which of the 4 wires is being switched.  If anyone knows anyting about this, I'd love to hear.

 

I'd prefer to get an authentic switchplate though.  Does anyone have one to sell?

 

What would be a good price for the Videx card and switchplate?  There's one on ebay for about $70+shipping and another for $150+shipping, but neither have any cabling.  I don't think these are that rare-- I would think $150 is way overpriced.  Thoughts?

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I think you're looking for this ...
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Yeah, so that PDF is the

Yeah, so that PDF is the "soft" version of switch (between 40 and 80 column modes).  I could make one of these, but then you have to solder wires to the Apple II mainboard, which I don't want to do since basically they are antique collectables at this point in time.

 

What I'm looking for is the mechanical switch plate they offered:  https://imgur.com/fzILPE7

 

The wiring for this thing would be helpful, but I really would like to buy one from someone.

 

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This board doesn't require solder to the main board...

This board doesn't require solder to the main board at all.  It plugs into the space of  the 9334 (or 74LS259) chip near the game port and does all the signal taps required for the Videx 80-Column card.  The jumpers you read about are for enabling the upper/lower case function which is a sepatate thing altogether.

What makes this little card cool is that it auto switches when turning on the 80-column card, and you only need a single connection to your monitor.

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deltamind106 wrote:... since

deltamind106 wrote:

... since basically they are antique collectables at this point in time.

...

 

 

Unless it is an Apple ][ and not a ][+, I wouldn't worry that much about reversible mods, because ][+ are neither rare nor particularly valuable and probably won't be in any of our lifetimes.

 

But as macnoyd says, the Videx Softswitch does not require any soldering to the mobo.  It connects to the 9334 chip location and the 4 pin video plug on the mobo which was intended for RF modulators.  It can be removed and the 9334 re-inserted w/o any consequences.

 

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softwarejanitor wrote:Unless

softwarejanitor wrote:

Unless it is an Apple ][ and not a ][+, I wouldn't worry that much about reversible mods, because ][+ are neither rare nor particularly valuable and probably won't be in any of our lifetimes.

Well that's just it, it's an Apple II with a 4 digit serial-- so I don't want to solder to it.  But point taken on not needing the soldering for the soft-switch board.  Like he said, that's only for the lowercase shift mod, which I don't really need.  So maybe I will build this board if I can't source one.  Although, the old-school mechanical switch is cooler IMHO.

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Why even bother with an 80

Why even bother with an 80 column card in that machine?  Almost no software written in INTBASIC supports it.  And anything that doesn't require INTBASIC, you're better off running on a ][+.  For that matter, a 4 digit serial ][ is one of the few legitimately collectible Apple IIs.  I'd probably make that unit a "shelf queen".

 

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Videx 80 column cards have been around a while

In deltamind106's defense, the original Videx has been around quite a long time, and the switch plate he's asking for is appropriate to the age of the computer.

I remember an old Integer Apple ][ at my employ that was running VisiCalc in one of the Offices here and it too incorporated a Videx 80 card.

Personally, I can't blame him for wanting this, even if I don't think that manual switch plate  is cooler than a nice hand-built soft-switch!  ;-)

But after this task has been completed and loaded it up with period correct PCB plug-ins, it would definately make a great shelf queen candidate for sure.

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I'm actually surprised

I'm actually surprised Visicalc and the Videx 80 column pre-boot would even run on an INTBASIC Apple ][.  Most software written after the release of the ][+ required the newer ROMs, and a lot of it required a 16k RAM card as well.  A large percentage of original ][ units that I encountered that were being used back in the day had been "upgraded" with the newer ROMs.  A few people had the Apple ROM card with Applesoft in it, and it was even possible to put that in a slot other than 0 (I think it would only fit in 2 or 4 due to the way the back panel on a ][ was designed) and have a 16k RAM card in slot 0.  I got around the slot restrictions of the ROM card by putting the switch on an extension so that the card could be used in any slot.  I used the INTBASIC card mostly for cracking copy protection.  Sometimes with an altered F8 in it, and I also put a 6116 in the empty socket which I used to relocate bits of RAM to survive past a reboot.

 

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Check out the release date

Visicalc Release date here:  https://history-computer.com/ModernComputer/Software/Visicalc.html

Us old timers, we never forget ... until we remember.  :-)

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I know the original version

I know the original version of Visicalc was that early, but I wasn't sure about the preboot/patch for it to support 80 column cards.  The original version didn't support 80 columns at all, you had to add that capability in later, and that is part of what I'm suprised worked on an INTBASIC machine.  I suppose if it was written entirely in assembler and only called low level ROM routines it would probably work.  By the time I got my ][+ in 1981 virtually everyone I knew who had a non-Plus had upgraded somehow to the newer ROMs because a lot if not most of the newer software from 1980-ish forward required it.

 

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softwarejanitor wrote:Why

softwarejanitor wrote:

Why even bother with an 80 column card in that machine?  Almost no software written in INTBASIC supports it.  And anything that doesn't require INTBASIC, you're better off running on a ][+.  For that matter, a 4 digit serial ][ is one of the few legitimately collectible Apple IIs.  I'd probably make that unit a "shelf queen".

 

Because I'm trying to recreate the computer that I used to learn Pascal programming when I was 13.  I had an Apple II with a 16K language card and a Videx card with the mechanical switchplate, which enabled it to run Apple Pascal.  I spent countless hours teaching myself Pascal programming as a kid on the Apple II.  Yes it's just a bunch of stupid nostalgia, but I credit this experience with making it possible for me to eventually build a career creating the technology for 2 start-up tech companies, both valued in the multi-millions.  Sure, I could get an Apple IIe and it would be "simpler", or  hell, why not just download an open-source Pascal compiler for a Macbook Air and call it a day?

 

Sorry if I came across too sarcastic there, but I do have what I feel are legitimate reasons for what I'm doing.  I was honestly just hoping someone could point me in the direction of some information on the Videx mechanical switchplate.

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Well, the mechanical

Well, the mechanical switchplate should be super easy to make a replacement for.  Just use an A/B toggle switch and hook one video input to A and one to B and the out goes to the monitor.  On an RCA style jack you really only need to switch the center, the outer part is ground if I remember right.

 

I can understasnd nostalgia.  You didn't explain why you were wanting to do things a certain way.  Too often people who are new to the Apple II come around and sometimes have some pretty block-headed ideas that are not always motivated by reason.  If you've got millions then you can afford to use a ][ where a much cheaper ][+ would be functionally identical, for many of us a ][ is unobtanium expensive.  I learned on a ][+.  Thankfully they are still cheap.  I also had an ALS SmartTerm instead of a Videx card, and the SmartTerm had the "soft switch" built in on the board.

 

I do have a Videx card, so if you can't figure out how to wire up the toggle switch I can probably take a look at it and tell you which pins on the Videx card to wire to it to make the switch work.

 

 

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I 100 percent totally get it

Like deltamind106, I spent coultless hours behind an Apple ][ (it was a plus version for me) learning machine language code while developing my career.  That is what brought me to Applefritter over the last few years.

I didn't make out quite as well, but I did better than average, and to this day attribute my success largely to the Apple ][ and countless hours spent working with it.

My focus was more on the hardware development (engineering) side but eventually migrated more to the software engineering side of things.  All things being 20/20, I should have been a Salesman!  Ha-Hahh!

Owning an Apple ][ -on any level-  today is strictly hobby, nostalggia, or whatever you want to call it, and for obvious reasons.  I personally enjoy the hell out of collecting every piece of Apple ][ hardware I could never afford back in the day.  Certainly not because I need it.  Definately because I want it.  It awakens the joy of those days when I struggled the most.  Difficult but happy times.  So I totally get where deltamind106 is coming from.

 

Msg. to deltamind106:  If I see one, I'll direct you to it.  If I find one in my personal collection, I will surely let you know.  Good luck in your quest.

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My career was doing O.K.

My career was doing O.K. until a few years ago, then things went all to hades in a basket.  Hindsight being 20/20, I'd have become a dentist, and this computer thing just a hobby.  I definitely should never try to be a salesman.  I couldn't sell snow cones in the desert.  Literally I think people would rather starve than buy food from me if I was the last grocer on earth.  I've just never had any luck with it at all, even trying all the "sure thing" approaches.

 

I also spent countless thousands of hours on a ][+ learning assembler, then later Pascal, C, then moving to VAXes running BSD and on to other UNIXes like SunOS, etc.  That was a good career until I hit my 40s.  Now in my 50s, I get "you're overqualified".  "Not a 'cultural fit'" or mostly just get "ghosted".  The startups I was involved with back in the day never panned out in a big way, so I never had a huge payday.  Part of that was that I grew up in a backwater midwestern cesspool where there was basically no opportunity and by the time I finally escaped from there to a real city I was a few years too late for the party.  So now I'm just trying to make ends meet until it is time to shuffle out of this existance.  And I occupy my time with things that I enjoy like farting around with old computers even though there is no money there because it isn't all that much different dealing with modern software anymore.

 

His motivations weren't clear originally but I also get where deltamind106 is coming from now.  I wish I still had resources to do more collecting, but instead I've been forced to go the other direction and liquidate some of my stuff to pay bills.  I'm probably going to be getting rid of a few more things pretty soon.  Most of it not that valuable or interesting unfortunately.

 

 

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macnoyd wrote:This board

macnoyd wrote:

This board doesn't require solder to the main board at all.  It plugs into the space of  the 9334 (or 74LS259) chip near the game port and does all the signal taps required for the Videx 80-Column card.  The jumpers you read about are for enabling the upper/lower case function which is a sepatate thing altogether.

What makes this little card cool is that it auto switches when turning on the 80-column card, and you only need a single connection to your monitor.

 

Are you talking about the Videx Softswitch? I have one of those.

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Yes, that's what he is

Yes, that's what he is talking about.   The OP wants the manual switch for nostalgia reasons, but said he'd take a soft switch if he can't find or build one.  I bought all the parts to make a clone of the soft switch but I haven't gotten around to putting it together yet.  Too many projects, too little time.

 

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