This may be a familiar story but, like a lot of people, I wanted to play around with some of the old computers my high school used to have (as our family couldn't afford one at the time) so I've been keeping an eye out. It started with an LC II but as I was looking for the Apple IIe card, I ran into an extremely affordable Apple II plus for $55 and now I'm having a heck of a time getting it to work.
It came with five cards. The ever important language card, Epson printer card, some sort of video card (haven't really tested or played with that yet as I've been enjoying the monochromatic green phosphor), a S.A.M. card by don't ask (which I'm only vaguely aware that it has something to do with voice synth. Don't know if it adds any other audio enhancements), and what I'm guessing is some sort of z80 card.
It took me a week of cleaning and working the keys out but the keyboard is fully functional and it boots right up into applesoft and I seem to have no problem imputing basic commands. So far so good. Then I made the mistake of bidding on a couple untested disk II drives and controller cards only to have neither of them work (lesson learned!). I need to stop and take a breath before I waste any money and see if there is anything I can do to get a drive working. I'm just dying to see this thing run. Run ANYTHING.
The symptoms: The first drive and controller card I got had an obvious issue that I should have noticed, if I had any idea as to what I was doing, of a missing PROM 6 chip. I bid on another auction with a drive and pristine looking controller card (thinking it would be good to have the second drive regardless). I install everything and boot up, the red light comes on, you can hear the drive moving for a few seconds and then it just idles and spins and doesn't seem to read anything. (I have a couple DOS 3.3 disks, a BASIC and a MASTER). I swap out the second drive for the first one I got, and this time it spins for a few seconds then just STOPS. I opened the two drives up and swapped the boards inside and everything seems to have the same exact problem (i.e. no changes). The other thing I noticed, once I had them opened up, is that they are behaving differently mechanically. There would appear to be a white plastic disk with a spiral groove inside that is used to move the reader (or whatever it's called). The second drive does not seem to be making good contact with that groove and I'm wondering if that's why it continues to spin when the first drive (where there is excellent contact with the groove) just stops. So, to simplify...
Controller card 1: Missing ROM chip
Drive 1: spins for a few seconds then stops
Controller card 2: Appears to be in great condition and seems to tell both drives to spin, but neither is reading data
Drive 2: Spins for a few seconds then just idles without reading anything.
Could it be a problem with the controller card? I have two cards and disk drives, is there any way I could Frankenstein this.
I'm pretty desperate at this point to get SOMETHING working but I don't want to keep sinking money into this if I don't have to. Fully tested drives seem a little expensive (although not as expensive as wasting money on bad drives). I even tried downloading audio files to see if I could get anything to boot as if from a tape drive. I just kept getting ERR except for one 4 minute audio file that lingered until about 2 minutes in before I got the ERR. I did recently find a Panisonic tape drive that may be of some help.
As you can see, I don't know what I'm doing yet and am making plenty of noob mistakes. I've got a million questions but mostly I just want to play SOMETHING on my sweet new machine.
Open to all suggestions or troubleshooting.
I really appreciate any advice.