Home brew FDD controller in Apple IIe & other noob questions?

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Home brew FDD controller in Apple IIe & other noob questions?

Hi All, my first post here as I only became an Apple IIe owner earlier this week!

When it arrived, I popped the cover off to find a single card installed, what appears to be a 2 disk FDD controller as below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wondered if anybody had seen anything like this before or was able to comment on it? P5 & P6 seem to be ROMs.

It also has an empty AUX slot and I had read that a memory card was needed for 80 column mode, is that correct? If I type PR#3 it does does something and I need to hit CTRL+RESET to get back to 40 column mode.

 

BTW it doesn't boot to BASIC with the card installed, it hangs at the Apple ][ prompt, but since I last used one of these 40 years ago, I'm not 100% sure if that is correct or not. Card out it boots just fine, and the built in self test runs OK too.

 

Thanks in advance!

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PR#3 without an 80 column

PR#3 without an 80 column card in a //e will produce a hang most likely.  It is normal for it not to go to BASIC if you have an FDC installed but no bootable floppy in drive 1, as it will sit there infinitely waiting to boot from a floppy.

 

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softwarejanitor wrote:PR#3
softwarejanitor wrote:

PR#3 without an 80 column card in a //e will produce a hang most likely.  It is normal for it not to go to BASIC if you have an FDC installed but no bootable floppy in drive 1, as it will sit there infinitely waiting to boot from a floppy.

Thanks, it is as I expected then, but 40 years since last using one is a long time!! I guess I need to get an 80 column card at some point, but I need to get some other stuff sorted, the video signal is a bit fuzzy, so needs work I think. Otherwise seems to work fine, just need to get a disk drive/emulator I think.

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Ronin47 wrote:softwarejanitor
Ronin47 wrote:
softwarejanitor wrote:

PR#3 without an 80 column card in a //e will produce a hang most likely.  It is normal for it not to go to BASIC if you have an FDC installed but no bootable floppy in drive 1, as it will sit there infinitely waiting to boot from a floppy.

Thanks, it is as I expected then, but 40 years since last using one is a long time!! I guess I

 

Composite video is often a little blurry, but make sure the RCA jack at the back of your //e is clean and solidly soldered.  Usually if it isn't though, you won't just get blurry, you will get intermittent signal and other issues.

 

FloppyEmu or something similar should serve you well if you don't want to mess with a vintage floppy drive and floppies.

 

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Thanks for the tips. TBH I

Thanks for the tips. TBH I haven't had time this week to pull it apart, but sounds like taking a closer look at the comp port and getting a better cable (I just moved house, it's in a box!!) will help.

I'll take a look at FloppyEmu thanks, I don't have the space for real floppies TBH, so try and use SD solutions for all my retro machines.

I do need to pull the PSU too, see what the RIFA smoke generators look like.

 

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Ronin47 wrote:Thanks for the
Ronin47 wrote:

Thanks for the tips. TBH I haven't had time this week to pull it apart, but sounds like taking a closer look at the comp port and getting a better cable (I just moved house, it's in a box!!) will help.

I'll take a look at FloppyEmu thanks, I don't have the space for real floppies TBH, so try and use SD solutions for all my retro machines.

I do need to pull the PSU too, see what the

 

Rifa caps need to be replaced ASAP because it is a matter of when, not if, they will let the smoke out.  Luckily it is easy.  I got caps online and it takes longer to remove and open up the power supply than it does to actually de-solder the old caps and solder the new ones in.

 

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Yeah, I bought a BBC B

Yeah, I bought a BBC B recently and the RIFAs gave up their smoke on the first power on!! The smell takes a good while to get rid of!!

I plan to pull the PSU this weekend and see about getting them replaced. As you say, replacement should be trivial and quicker than removing the PSU itself.

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Nice proto floppy controller!

Nice proto floppy controller! That is definitely something to show off if it works. Looks to be identical to a disk II so replacing parts will be easy. Very nice.

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Verault wrote:Nice proto
Verault wrote:

Nice proto floppy controller! That is definitely something to show off if it works. Looks to be identical to a disk II so replacing parts will be easy. Very nice.

Yeah, it is pretty cool and not something I expected to find at all. I will hopefully get a FloppyEmu soon and will give it a try, but for now when I plug it in it just sits waiting for a disk that is not connected, so I am hopeful that it works.

I will try and dump the ROMs, if supported by my programmer. If it all works it might be fun to trace all the connections and make a schematic :)

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This is actually an

This is actually an improvement on the Apple Disk ][ design, because the connectors are keyed and locking.  

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There are not many hand-built FLoppy controllers out there

There are not many hand-built FLoppy controllers out there, so if it doesn't work and you want to make it work, I might be able to help you with that.

I hand-built one last year that (sort of) replicates WOZ's hand-built unit from the early days.  PM me if you need help with it.

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rittwage wrote:This is
rittwage wrote:

This is actually an improvement on the Apple Disk ][ design, because the connectors are keyed and locking.  

yeah good point. Im sure the PROMs are exact copies. Anyway Id be glad to own it in my II plus.

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rittwage wrote:This is
rittwage wrote:

This is actually an improvement on the Apple Disk ][ design, because the connectors are keyed and locking.  

Yes, I've seen quite a bit about the original Apple connectors,  you're definitely right about that.

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macnoyd wrote:There are not
macnoyd wrote:

There are not many hand-built FLoppy controllers out there, so if it doesn't work and you want to make it work, I might be able to help you with that.

I hand-built one last year that (sort of) replicates WOZ's hand-built unit from the early days.  PM me if you need help with it.

That is a very cool build there!! Unfortunately I am lacking any sort of disk drive so I can't test mine, but I'm hoping to get something ordered towards the end of the month.

We've just moved house so having to plan my purchases carefully and in between those for new furniture!! 

Fingers crossed it'll be good, the wiring certainly seems intact, but once I have a drive I'll test and post the results up here.

I'll shout for sure if I need some help, it's a very kind offer.

 

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Verault wrote:rittwage wrote
Verault wrote:
rittwage wrote:

This is actually an improvement on the Apple Disk ][ design, because the connectors are keyed and locking.  

yeah good point. Im sure the PROMs are exact copies. Anyway Id be glad to own it in my II plus.

I feel pretty lucky to have it.

I have a lot of  retro machines, and many have come with odd add ons, but for me this is the most unusual and the best. 

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