I just got my first II plus and so far things are going pretty well.
I've upgraded the PSU, and I put in a ROMX. The old ROM under the keyboard was a dianetics lowercase ROM, but I pulled that to install the ROMX completely. Presumably due to changing that ROM, I found intermittent boot behaviour with the mystery card in slot 3 which appears to be a generic 80 column card w/no cables. I pulled the (presumed) 80 column card, and things are pretty good.
my system has a microsoft lanugage card in slot 0 right now. The instructions for installing the UltraWarp say to use slot 0 for a II or II plus, or any slot on a IIe. Problem is if I pull the microsoft language card, I'll have an empty RAM DIP socket directly under ROM F8. I assume I will need to get a RAM Chip like the ones next to it to replace the empty socket, before trying to install the ultrawarp?
The only other cards in the system, presuming I replace the language card with the UltraWarp and leave out the mystery 80 column card, would be a 5.25 disk controller and a ReActive Microdrive turbo. Perhaps a super serial if I can find a ternimal app, but proterm want's a IIe to run.
Also, are there any decent 80 column cards I can find that would/should work fine with the ROMX?
Yes. If you remove the Language card , you’ll need to remove one of the ram ICs from the language card and install it in the socket you just removed the language card cable from. (Make sure install the ram in the same direction as the others)
Nice, thanks. The ICs are different brands on the language card than the logic board, so I'll check a datasheet or just source a chip that matches to fill the gap.
Right on. For now a chip from the msft card is working but I ordered a matching IC.
I think the msft card is flaky anyway. I took it out. The accelerator works, but I need to see if I can smooth out the microdrive Turbo with it. I'm going to try disabling DMA on the MDT. Worst case I think I have an extra gglabs scsi card instead.
No luck with the microdrive turbo, even with DMA disabled I'm still running into issues. The ROMX has a diagnostic on it, and RAM checks pass every time.
With the normal language card the Microdrive turbo works well. But, I want this system accelerated :)
I think I will probably grab my extra SCSI card next, and borrow a BlueSCSI from my IIGS. I've had pretty good luck with that combo on Apple II's (GGLabs SCSI card and BlueSCSI)
Have you tried running your advanced devices with the original ROM set?
I would certainly try that first. Changing too many things at once makes troubleshooting almost impossible.
I have found that attempting to accelerate a II+ is not a worthwhile endeavour.
Most software that runs on the II+ runs quite well as it is, and acceleration on games just doesn't work because it screws with the games' timing.
Appleworks (which would be one of the few software packages that would take well to being accelerated) on a II+ is difficult without the proper card set, including extra RAM over the 64K and you will need to reinstall that 80 column card...
I too find accelerator cards seem to work much better in a //e, than they do in a ][ Plus. Lots of things got weird on the ][ Plus when accelerated using original era parts. Also my recollection is that accelerators did not really appear in actual use until the //e had arrived anyway. I hope you can work it all out.
That makes sense. Perhaps I'll reconsider... I have a slot left in my IIe but everything in there is so happy!
Agreed on changing too many things at once. I did do things incrementally (replace psu, test. Replace ROM, test. Install disk card, test. Etc). I saved the accelerator for last but I seem to be just proving what you guys are saying; the II plus probably isn't worth the trouble.
I think I will perhaps revert to the msft language card for now, and see how things go. The Microdrive was pretty happy with that, including with the Total Replay disk image.
I'm not sure this 80 col card works at all though. I can PR#3 with it installed and it stays at what appears a 40 col terminal (but, it doesn't freeze as it would with no card inserted). I'm guessing this 80col card probably needs/wants the EPROM I removed from under the keyboard for the ROMX.
I reverted the Accelerator on the II+, good call overall there for better or worse (better mostly).
Even though I could accelerate it, I think I'll keep my other machine (IIe platinum) with it's CP/M card and other expansions for now, I quite like that system. Perhaps I'll have to find a 2nd IIe to use this accelerator some time, because now that I have this card, I'm not going to just get rid of it :P
So for the II+, Now it's just the Lanugange card, 5.25 disk controller, and Microdrive Turbo in the slots. The ROMX is still installed and seems to be working well overall so I will leave that, and a FloppyEMU is serving me pretty well otherwise. I'm still interested if anyone has used a particular 80 column card successfully with a ROMX in a II+ though.
Also, memory / slot 0 wise, do I have better options than this microsoft language card? I presume some other RAM expansions were made over the years like for the IIe?
Can you post a picture of the 80 column card? Videx cards are always safe, but most of the clones are "Videx" anyway. Unlike the //e, 80 column output on a ][ Plus was usually on a different composite line, not the 40 column composite port on the motherboard. Often people used a manual video switchbox slider between 40 and 80 column modes in the early days. Later "softswitches" became popular. I just saw as softswitch this week on ebay. Searching "Apple ii videx softswitch" will find it there. There was frequently a composite cable which connects to a 4 pin header on the keyboard end of the 80 column card and either connected to the softswitch or ran out the back to the manual switchbox or monitor.
You can easily fabricate a cable to test from an old audio or video cable and a 2 pin header form an old PC LED or speaker cable. If you have the 4 pin header on the card, the top pin is probably ground and the second pin from the top should be composite video.
A photo would be helpful to confirm.
That shines a lot of light, thank you.
Here are picutes of front/back of the card. The ROM labelled LOWER CASE (1983) VIDEX was in the system when I got it at the Text rom location (under the keyboard).
There is a 2716 on the 80 col card itself I could dump if there is any purpose whatsoever.
I do question the polarity of the top 2 pins, if I install the card, the 2nd pin down (which should be video if it's a videx clone with the same pinout) seems to be contiguous to ground. The top pin of that connector looks like it goes to the negative of that large capacitor. I want to be sure before I actually hook it to a monitor.
Never seen an 80 column card that looks like that.
I don't think it is an 80 column card.
There's a ROM, yes, but there's no 80 column character ROM, no Video control chip, no video output connector that I can discern and no static RAM.
Videx clones pretty much all look like this:
Videx Videoterm with inverse chip - Front.jpg
Notice the row of SRAM chips on the left and how both cards have a large VIdeo CRT control chip. The lower card is a true Videx Videoterm 80 col card.There was also an 80 column card made by ALS called the "Smarterm"
In order to see the 80 column screen you needed to physically switch the monitor cable from the back of the computer to the output on the card (or have two monitors) or use a "soft-switch" which was a video switching daughtercard that you plugged into the motherboard.
It has a different CRT controller but has on-board video switching.
Anyway, yours looks like a different anomal altogether.
Aha, perfect, thank you!
I can't find anything on this card so who knows. I'll dump the rom in a minute and put it up in case anyone is curious or perhaps ends up on the same dead end google hole I did on this card.
Edit: here is the ROM dump, I didn't really look at it much yet, but if someoe is bored... http://photosuckit.com/mystery_card_mm2716.BIN
Looking at the IC SC-01-A, it might be a speech synthesizer!!
Similar to perhaps this one on that page:
SPD 125, a speech synthesis board for the Apple II, by Speech Design (ca. 1982) (thanks to P. Jansen (photo)
On mostly guess, I would think the top pins are the speaker output. It would be really really neat if that's what this actually is.
Edit. Um, whoa! Is the SC-01-A DIP IC truly this sought after?? https://www.ebay.com/itm/275049837600
I don't know much about sound cards, but i know that is not an 80 col card.
I'm 90 percent sure at this point after looking up that IC that it's a speech card. Now it is a matter of what software do I try to make it work with.
Well, the mystery card is definitely a sound card! But, finding much of anything that uses it seems to be the real trick. And the tools I would go-to to try, like the mockingboard dev tools, are presumably newer and expecting an IIe at least.
Regardless, I plugged in a breakout 3.5mm and some headphones to the top 2 pin connector, as I suspected looking at the card prior, the bottom pin of the top 2 pin header was ground, and the other pin audio.
If I get into BASIC and run PR#3 (I have it in slot 3 for now), I get some fast tones and the card's background noise changes slightly. Presumably an initialization sound. Reset on the keyboard drops the background noise back to what it was at boot, and PR#3 issued again changes it back again, without the init tone.
The only software I got really outputting anything (which to be clear was sound but not the correct sound) was a couple of mockingboard games but I haven't gotten actual speech out yet. I'll probably have to do some actual leg work on this one but it's exciting. If anyone knows of older Apple II software that outputs speech expecting either a really early mockingboard or a different card that uses the SC-01, kindly let me know.
I believe Ape Escape looks for a mockingboard in slot 4, and assumes it has a SC01. And locks up if it doesn't find the sc01. Pretty sure when I tested it with my Phasor clone with sc02/ssi263 it locks up.
I think some of the early Scott Adams adventures like The Hulk also had basic text to speech. I think it may have wanted like a serial sc01 though.
Thank you! Any info helps. I'm considering a thread for this card itself, but I might hunt through archives of Byte or something for clues too.
I have mockingboards but the newer version that doesn't use this speech chip. I do wonder what would happen if I put this card beside one. Humm...
Putting this card beside a Mockingboard probably wouldn't work -- the I/O addresses wouldn't be right.
That makes sense.
At this point I'm probably looking for an obscure disk or magazine ad. But the fact that I can get a tone out of it with PR#3 and stay in basic means there has to be a way to figure this out. Should be a fun side project for me. I'm hopeful that the early adventure stuff mentioned might hold some hints.
After rifling through as many applicable disk images as I could find, it was Hulk that made it speak. Proof of concept anyway, it initializes and says a few words, but I played the game a little and didn't get more speech. Still, this is something!
Nice! Sounds like you may be close to a breakthrough!
Looks like maybe that was some early beta version of the Hulk, as it lacked a title screen. Maybe the speech wasn't fully implemented in that version?
The WOZ of a final version appears to be part of the WOZ A Day collection on internet archive. Could try firing that up on your Floppy Emu to see if it speaks more than that very first screen if you are curious.
Oh nice, thank you! I will have a look, but probably not today. It's time for summer vacation camp week. I'll report back when I'm back to civilization :)
I had a quick moment today, but had no luck with the WOZ A Day version. "SYNTAX ERROR ON LINE 10." Perhaps I'll try some related games.
Hmm, odd. I have no problem booting and playing the W-a-D Hulk image on my IIe or //c. but then again, I don't have an SC01 card to try it with. If I point it to the slot of my Phasor with the SC02, it just locks up when the game starts. I can confirm that the other early Scott Adams SAGA games(1-6: Adventure land, The Count, etc) all also have the voice option. The first one, Adventure land actually refers to "Votrax" in the instructions. All the others just say "voice". Not sure if there is any actual code difference. They are all probably the similar code base as the Hulk though. They are available as W-a-D or 4am cracked images. I also have an unprotected copy of the Hulk that was published many years later by a budget publisher (Green Valley I think) if you want to try that. But again, I suspect its basically the same engine/code.
I suspect I might have better luck with my IIe with the game, but that system I am not messing with as it has way too many precious hours and pieces of hardware in it.
I'm going to try dumping the stock system ROM that came in the II Plus, and add that to the ROMX, see if that helps sort anything.
I also tried removing the msft language card and installing a matching RAM ic. The system is fine including RAM checks, but Hulk still hits that syntax error on boot.
Well, I believe I have found the issue with my II+ and 128K Applications; the MSFT language card/RAM card has a melted 74LS367 at U19. Somehow I don't have any of those in my parts bins, so I've ordered some so that I can replace them. I also got a simple 4116 DRAM tester from https://kosciuskomedia.com/product/4116-dram-tester-w-lcd/ so I can better diagnose the system if RAM issues persist. Right now I'm going to test all the RAM IC's on the MSFT card while I await the new 74LS367 chip.
Edit; only one bad RAM DIP. I'll replace that too of course.