Apple-1 fast serial terminal (lowercase+ANSI)

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Apple-1 fast serial terminal (lowercase+ANSI)
Dear friends,
I would like to share with you my latest project.
This time it is a "fast" serial terminal for Apple-1, designed to overcome the great limitations of the native video terminal.
Some features:
 
  • management of lowercase characters!
  • CLEAR SCREEN function finally programmable from BASIC or code
  • management of ANSI escape codes for complete control of cursor position and screen printing
  • by means of the nippur72's patched version of INTEGER BASIC now it's possible to use all existing BASIC programs at blazing speeds!
  • no more limitation of 40 columns by 23 rows for your programs
  • compatible with Originals, full size replicas, Replica-1+
  • no supplementary wiring and no modifications are required on the computer
  • also plug-in on the side expansion connector, to keep the main expansion slot free for essential storage cards ;-)
  • full remote operation, including CLEAR SCREEN function
  • also useful for troubleshooting and development
  • fully documented
  • freely downloadable and reproducible under Creative Commons license CC-BY 4.0
 
Further developments will follow, like faster than current 600 baud Wi-Fi modem, color multi-font screens, Wi-Fi remote control... etc.
 
I am also confidently waiting for some willing person to port the DOOM code to Apple-1...
Come on, Pac-Man is fine too.
Whatever, I'll settle for Tetris.
Okay, Pong. Snake, maybe...? :-D
 
You can find the link to the project page in the video description:
 
Enjoy! :-)
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Very interesting! 

Very interesting!

 

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I believe I have all these

I believe I have all these parts on hand, except of course the PCB. My Apple 1 Proto PCB's wouldn't easily accomodate a slot to be added [for the SD card  expansion], so I'll probably just order some PCBs from the gerbers. Thank you for always sharing your projects in this manner, I'm always grateful. 

 

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Thanks!
skate323k137 wrote:

I believe I have all these parts on hand, except of course the PCB. My Apple 1 Proto PCB's wouldn't easily accomodate a slot to be added [for the SD card  expansion], so I'll probably just order some PCBs from the gerbers. Thank you for always sharing your projects in this manner, I'm always grateful. 

 

Thank you for the encouraging words!

I hope there are no errors in the PCBs or schematics, I haven't had a chance to order them yet!

BTW, I was just playing around with the board and other things and set up a gizmo that allows me to connect to my Replica via Android+telnet in Wi-Fi.

I'll share the details, if you like, as soon as I can make it look presentable.... ;-)

Something is working, though!

Have a great weekend!

 

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Does your 'terminal' have Apple II style color graphics ?

In post #1, p-lab wrote:

 

"I am also confidently waiting for some willing person to port the DOOM code to Apple-1...

Come on, Pac-Man is fine too.
Whatever, I'll settle for Tetris.
Okay, Pong. Snake, maybe...? :-D"
 
Uncle Bernie comments:
 
DOOM on a 1 Mhz machine is impossible. The best you can get are typical 3D maze games, based on ray caster cheats.
 
Oh, all the other games of the Apple II could be ported to the Apple-1 if it had Apple II graphics. I happen to have developed such a graphics card for the Apple-1 (fully Apple II text, lores and hires graphics compatible, same memory areas and same soft switches) but with it I found yet another lovely quirk in the Apple-1 which sabotaged this project: the crystal oscillator on the motherboard is cr*p. Does not load the crystal properly, and so it does not run at the proper frequency. No colors. Sad :-(
(Of course the crystal oscillator can be substituted, and then the colors appear).
 
The question is how much are people willing to butcher their Apple-1 to get color graphics.
 
I've not figured out yet how to address the problem in a less offensive way.
 
- Uncle Bernie

 

 

 

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>Does your 'terminal' have

>Does your 'terminal' have Apple II style color graphics ?

Hardly. "My" terminal doesn't have built-in graphics capabilities, they depend on the terminal (or emulation thereof) connected.

As long as they use plain-ASCII control characters (like ANSI) they are supported both as colors and as any semi-graphic characters, when applicable.

 

Graphics cards: have you taken a look at the card by me and @nippur72?

https://p-l4b.github.io/graphic/

Demo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUJwoLcqU3o

No clock problems since it runs on its own separate oscillator. ;-)

 

Best,

C.

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About graphics on an Apple-1 (and the clock issue) 

In post #6, p-lab wrote:

 

"Graphics cards: have you taken a look at the card by me and @nippur72 ?

No clock problems since it runs on its own separate oscillator. ;-)"

 

Uncle Bernie answers:

 

Yes, I looked at that graphics card you and nippur72 made, when it came out. It's a nice project that appears to be easy to build, and the TI graphics chip has sprites. But IMHO the better solution for the Apple-1 would be to have fully Apple II compatible graphics, which I try to accomplish with my project, which alas, got stuck. Stuck in the mud, badly. But I don't want to hijack your thread. I might open another thread to probe the waters for my project. At the moment I am inclined to give up, as it failed one target objective: no mods on the Apple-1 motherboard.

 

About the separate oscillator you mentioned, this of course avoids all the trouble, but it can only be used for a completely separate graphics chip / graphics memory solution. In the Apple II, the screen memory is mapped into the 6502 memory space and this means two non phase locked oscillators (one on the motherboard for the CPU clock, one on the graphics card) will cause huuuge problems unless a lot of engineering time is spent on resolving the inevitable synchronisation and clock slip issues. A formidable engineering rathole, with a big, fierce, dangerous sewer rat on its bottom, which will badly bite the unenlightened. This non-isochronous clock problem has plagued digital systems since their beginning. Phase locking (PLL) is a solution but obviously I can't phase lock to a crappy mainboard oscillator without losing the colors again. So far I have no good solution which would not take too much of my RQLT to engineer it.

 

- Uncle Bernie

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Color+PETSCII supported!

Okay, talking about the graphical capabilities of the external terminal solution, I managed to create a kind of feature extensions.

 

With them you can for example enjoy the semigraphic capabilities of Linux terminals, or even use PETSCII, just by reprogramming the microcontroller with the new sketch v101.

No hardware modification are needed if you already ordered PCB version 1.01; otherwise just add a small wire -see PCB/schematic changelog.

 

Also, a "Fast Terminal" version of Applesoft Basic (requires microSD card and SD-OS 1.2) is available for download -Thank you Nippur72!

I have summarized all the information in a new document called "Extensions" which you can find at the usual address:

https://p-l4b.github.io/terminal/

 

 

The PETSCII examples given here are screenshots taken from real telnet sessions with the telnet bbs bbs.retrocampus.com at 600 baud, my Wi-Fi Modem and SyncTERM.

 

I'm already working on speeding up my Wi-Fi Modem  to increase default speed which is merely limired by the speed of the original video terminal.

Stay Tuned! :-)

 

 

 

 

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That's pretty cool right

That's pretty cool right there...

 

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I had the chance to build one

I had the chance to build one of these this weekend. It is pretty amazing. In conjunction with the Wifi card, I was able to access a full color BBS via my Replica1 Plus.

 

Really awesome stuff here! 

 

 

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Is it rude to point out that

Is it rude to point out that you could have done the same by simply opening the remote Telnet port from your terminal emulator? What is the point of the Apple I there?

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robespierre wrote:Is it rude
robespierre wrote:

Is it rude to point out that you could have done the same by simply opening the remote Telnet port from your terminal emulator? What is the point of the Apple I there?

Not rude, it's factual ;)

 

That BBS is a Mac/apple themed BBS, it's kind of the first thing I connect to whenever I get anything Apple/Mac reaching out into the world.

 

Anyway, a lot of 6502 SBCs don't even have video terminal sections, i.e. I built a DB6502 (based off Ben Eaters designs) and aside from the little LCD, serial comms are all you get. 

 

Back to why I would do this, I have hopes to get a serial terminal like Picoterm working. Check this out;

 

https://rc2014.co.uk/modules/pi-pico-vga-terminal/

 

I've been waiting on one for many weeks, presumably delayed due to the cyber attacks on Royal Mail. 

 

I have an RC2014 Pro which has the HDMI terminal and a P-Lab appledore adapter w/C64 keyboard. It makes a great and fun machine; if I can adapt the VGA / USB Picoterm, it would theoretically mean the Replica-1 [or an Apple 1] with fast serial could be hooked just to a VGA monitor and USB keyboard.

 

For reference here's my RC2014, which most people also access theirs via Serial to work with. I put in a lot of time building this guy. 

 

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robespierre wrote:Is it rude
robespierre wrote:

Is it rude to point out that you could have done the same by simply opening the remote Telnet port from your terminal emulator? What is the point of the Apple I there?

 

Well,

since the operations described by  skate323k137   are 'on top' of other useful (at least to me) features of this free project,

and since we are dealing here with retrocomputing and Apple-1 related projects, I would say that yes, it is rather rude.

 

 

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robespierre wrote:Is it rude
robespierre wrote:

Is it rude to point out that you could have done the same by simply opening the remote Telnet port from your terminal emulator? What is the point of the Apple I there?

 

 

Sometimes "because you can" is all the explanation needed.  There is no "point" to playing with things like Apple-1 in general at all.  Retrocomputing is mostly just for the joy of doing it.  It doesn't need to be practical or serve a purpose.

 

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 softwarejanitor wrote

 softwarejanitor wrote:

Sometimes "because you can" is all the explanation needed.
 

Agreed :)  

In this case,  this serial PCB has been a gateway to a lot of fun with the Replica 1 / Apple 1. I still have not gotten my hands on a the pico vga hardware, but I had the hardware and a proto board to copy the RC2014 serial termainl which includes a simple incoming voltage divider for RX on the Pi (not 5v tolerant I am told). There is a schematic on this page https://rc2014.co.uk/modules/pi-zero-serial-terminal/

 

The Pi Zero terminal offers a simple interface for USB keyboard, PS/2 Keyboard, and HDMI output. I also tested ADB to USB with a drakware adapter. Here is a gallery of some photos, all the keyboards shown work with the latest fast serial firmware from P-LAB. This is using PiGFX, I will post my configuration file if someone would like it. It just uses a few files and the config on a FAT formatted SD card. 

https://github.com/fbergama/pigfx

 

So enjoy a photo gallery of the R1+ with P-LAB card(s) and a PiGFX terminal :) Imgur Album Fast Serial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finally got a PicoTerm pcb

Finally got a PicoTerm pcb (for rc2014). It supports usb keyboard and VGA output. 

 

I recompiled the firmware with support for this PCBs baud rate. I used the 40 column version of PicoTerm as a base since PiGFX is working great for 80 columns, and 40 is more Apple 1 accurate. 

 

If anyone is interested I can make some write up or video comparison of PiGFX vs PicoTerm, but here is PicoTerm with R1+ and the P-Lab fast serial card.

 

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I a couple of these yesterday

I a couple of these yesterday, one for myself and one to pass along. The second is up on eBay with my normal cut to charity, thanks to Claudio for sharing these types of projects under CC type licenses. 

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/115927331031 

 

I also have some extra bare PCBs of the fast terminal, latest version, if anyone needs them:https://www.ebay.com/itm/115927315573

 

Code APPLEFRITTER23 should get you 10% off these or any other PCB items in my store (not EPROMS/arcade stuff).

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