Interest for a new ACI with additional Apple II features??

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Interest for a new ACI with additional Apple II features??

As mentioned before it seems quite easy to port the cassette interface of the Apple II to the Apple I

If you look to this schematics extract (taken from

The schematics contains two closely related I/O features the speaker and the joystick port wit 3 digital and 4 analog inputs.

Would someone be interested in an ACI with Joystick port and speaker?

Not adding the Apple II Gameport saves 2 ICs but still allow an apple Style game port for digital joysticks.

A driver is for the cassette interface is already written that and part of the Wozanium Pack that comes with the brainboard.

As the assemebly needs to be adjusted as this configuration is not directly supported I would think of another adjustment and exchange the H14 74LS251 with an 74LS573 so it would be possible to read the status of one Atari style joystick with one Byte read and read from tape as well.

So what do you think should there be an joystick port? and that about the speaker would that be a valuable addition to the Apple I?

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On Apple-1 sound/speaker and a joystick port

Oh, this project discovered by natas666 looks very close to a project of mine. As some of you might know, I have been working on a color graphics card for the Apple-1 for a while. Normally, I don't quack over yet unlayed eggs, but in this thread it seems to be appropriate to share some ideas on how to turn the Apple-1 into a fun game machine with color graphics, joysticks, and sound.


For my graphics card, here are still some windmills to joust, but overall, it does work already. There are some remaining little problems which need workarounds. For instance, the memory expander card might need some tuning by the user to work robustly with his/her Apple-1. I do have 15 Apple-1 clones now and did not find a sole configuration for the DRAM timing which works with all of them. But for each of them, a configuration exists where the full DRAM works just fine. And the color graphics card hooks into the DRAM card. So the DRAM card must work first.

Alas, the "vaporlock" technique will not work with it because on the Apple-1, it is impossible to have exactly the same inner workings of the graphics subsystem as on the Apple II. So to synchronize the game you want to write to the screen refresh, you would need to use an interrupt. Can be done,  and it will work, but that is not the same as Don Lancaster's "vaporlock".  There always are limits of viability for these projects.


So what is still lacking is joysticks and sound. My idea for that was to make a small box which has two audio jacks, and a power jack. Much like a cassette recorder. The standard Apple-1 audio cables would plug into it. And then you would have sound (an audio amplifier connected to TAPE OUT) and joystick inputs (serial digital signals sent to TAPE IN, encoding to be determined).


If you want to be sophisticated, you could add another pair of audio jacks on the box and a switch to route the two signals TAPE IN and TAPE OUT through the box to the actual cassette recorder or media player. This not only allows switching tape operations to sound / joystick operations, but also would provide opportunity to put some more advanced cassette interface functions into the box (signal conditioning).


Of course all of this could be put on an ACI card, but as far as I am concerned, I'd rather preserve the look & feel of the real ACI card, and have all the added joystick and sound circuitry elsewhere. You need a box / enclosure  for the speaker anyways. And I think any serious gamer has collected piles upon piles of these little speakers over the past decades of gaming. The Apple-1 sound / joystick circuity could be put in there, using the power supply typically found in these speakers (lowest effort and lowest cost).


I understand that there is always the trend to make a "Swiss Army Knife" type gadget which can do everything, but modularity of a system also has its merits: if something should be replaced (i.e. a BETTER joystick port, or a BETTER sound channel), then you don't throw away all the electronics of the "Swiss Army Knife" solution, but you replace only the obsolete parts for the sole function to be replaced. 


So far my thoughts. I have "stolen" some period correct speech synthesis technology from back in the day (1970s) and making the Apple-1 speak is one of the target objectives I have with my sound port for the Apple-1. This is not S.A.M. (despite S.A.M. also uses Mozer encoding invented by Forrest Mozer in the early 1970s) and I only have speech ROMs  found in the Telesensory Calculator for the Blind (speaks numbers) and for the Chess Challenger Voice made by Fidelity, but combined, these speech ROMs could read hexadecimal numbers ! So Wozmon could talk to you ! However, if you know S.A.M., it has a nasty, high pitched 'buzz'  background tone caused by the delta modulation.  This is NO GOOD ! All arcade machines of the time had elaborate analog filters to get the sound effects right. And we ought to do the same with Apple-1 to not look like bloody amateurs. 


So far my ideas and motives. Note that these are in various stages of development. So far I haven't designed the sound and joystick circuits for the Apple-1, but I did some experiments with the Apple II and various analog and digital joysticks and paddles, and found enough issues there to not take the whole thing lightly. It's not trivial to get these things right such that quick, precise control of a game is possible. I have found that on the Apple II, analog joysticks  are absolutely terrible to play games like DROL or DONKEY KONG where precision and timing of all movements is essential.  And whatever solution you adopt for the Apple-1, it must be without these faults.


- Uncle Bernie

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inspirational projects, maybe.

Hi Natas,maybe you can take inspiration for the audio/video/IO part from these projects by me and nippur72.


Open source Apple-1 Graphic Video Card based on TMS9918 (Tetris-like game and some demoscreen already ported, no glitches, it works perfectly)



Sound card based on SID 6581 (you can also read paddles if you use a real SID)

(board not in production anymore but based on the open source project:



For joystick interface: open source I/O card based on VIA 6522



Finally, the microSD Storage card leaves some unused PB/CA/CB lines of the VIA 6522 available to the user.

They could be used as input lines for a joystick.



Enjoy! :-)

Claudio - P-LAB


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I think the easiest solution


I think the easiest solution is to use Wendell Sanders VMA Mod

And simply replace all onboard memory with memory on your grafikboard so you have the whole RAM under your control.

And you could replace the whole RAM ist one SRAM chip. I am aware that this is not periode correct but easy.

I do not care if it looks like the Apple I ACI or not because it's on a plug card and if you do not like it change it.



I am aware of them but my idea is to port the better Apple II tape interface to the Apple I.

Looking to the relavant schematics page  you see this apple II sound and joystick is closely related.

So my question was if that features should be added to the new ACI and if there is interest in them.

I think the Apple joysticks are ugly and unhandy so I would prefer an Atari style port e.g.


I don't have an Apple I mainboard nor a clone board and I will most likely never get one.

I have just some fun learning how this things work and think about what I can do with them with today availible parts.

So if someone has interrest in something like this or my other Apple I related designs I would like to help to debug it and get it running.



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Where are you located? I know

Where are you located? I know you said you don't have a large want, but, I have a HASL Apple 1 PCB (replica of course) to donate to an enthusiast. I am in the US, so I'm not sure where you are, but if you want one we should figure out how to get it to you :)

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Thanks for the offer, but I

Thanks for the offer, but I actually do not want for serveral reasons.

My wife does not like I collect more stuff that collects dust. Actually she prefers empty rooms as others would call it.

Other thing is I would spend too much time with it.

If it is on a theoretical base like now it's easy nothing to setup, just change a browser tab and have a look if there is something new in the discussion if there is a new idea go to easyEDA and do some editing.

To answer your question I am located in Germany that explains my bad English ;-).

I actually prefere to work with emulation as with the real retro hardware. It gives a lot of new features and comfort and removes a lot of limitations.

For me Briels Replica I is so much preferable for me to the real thing that I never would think about getting the real thing.

What should I say the Apple I design as genius it is, is somehow broken and needs to be fixed, not without reason Apple encorraged so hard to update to Apple II.

The Apple II with it strange looking graphics is also nothing you want when you grew up with the C64 the Apple II graphics will always look broken to a Commodore user.

Yes, I am aware that Apple predates the C64 for a couple of years and the Apple II design has some advantages but what should I say this question is more some kind of religious question.

If this would not be in an Apple Forum, I would propose a mainboard mit Commodore style datasette connector.


Something I stepped over a bit unlrelated but let's mention it any way I found some videos about this on Youtube: NABU PC

This NABU PC things has a very nice keyboard that can likely easy be hacked to be used for the Apple I and the case is so spacy that it should be able to easiely host its original content and the Apple I mainboard as well.

The power supply might also be good to supply the Apple I with some of the needed voltages (not checked).

This thing can be used as cloud based CP/M machine or even hacked into some almost MSX compatible device or fully CP/M machine would be a shame to butcher it for base and keyboard but the price is good for NOS.

Looking to a picture of the keyboard inside it seems it uses Atari style ports, what is strange is the ADC0809CCN an AD converter so it might support paddles as well.

If the keyboard is to be used as is some kind of deserializer would be needed and the Joystick ports will likely not work with the Apple I unless you invest a bit more brain into the adapter.


This keyboard has two Joystick ports that would be also an idea for the Apple I, just get a couple (2 for one port 3 for two ports) of 4066 CMOS chips and add Atari style Joystick ports to the keyboard. 

With @p-lab's fast serial terminal games like Pacman or Tetris should be easiely possible unfortunately the original display hardware and any 100% compatible clone version is too slow for that.

@WSander's Apple 1 Serial board should be also fast enough. 



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If you are planning to design

If you are planning to design physical hardware for the Apple I, then you need a physical Apple I.

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That is actually not my plan

That is actually not my plan more helping others to do so and sharing and discussing ideas.

I know that will confuse most of you.

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About Apple II joysticks -

In post #8, natas666 wrote:


"I think the Apple joysticks are ugly and unhandy so I would prefer an Atari style port "


Uncle Bernie comments:


"Ugly" is no killer for a joystick (I have flown real planes with darn ugly joysticks) but "unhandy" is a killer. This means that holding them will cause a cramp / pain in your hand / arm, which is no good for long gaming sessions.  Ergonomics do matter.


The joysticks found on the original Atari VCS "Video Game Console" released in 1977 are the best when it comes to ergonomics, at least for my hands, which are large, (large enough to shoot a Wildey pistol), but kids or women with small hands might complain about these joysticks. They are light and have quick, precise action. But they don't last - Atari specified 1 Million cycles - whatever that is - before it breaks but despite of numerous improvements over the years none of their joysticks ever lasted that long. But Best Electronics ( has developed new guts for these joysticks so you can refurbish them as needed. I've recently bought a refurb kit from them for my joystick interface experiments on the Apple II, and I was able to play through "DONKEY KONG" on the Apple II for the first time. With original Apple II analog  joysticks, I could not do that.


However, making an interface for the Atari joysticks to the Apple II is not trivial. There are schematics out there but I found that none of them worked with all the games I tested with them.


So this type of digital joystick (no potentiometers inside) is the preferred one for me. But as most Apple-1 owners also are Apple II collectors, and do have these Apple II joysticks, any joystick interface for the Apple-1 also must support those.


Which makes the task even more tedious. The electronics as such are quite simple, but the whole system including the software drivers is a larger project.


- Uncle Bernie





Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 9 2021 - 04:31
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Where is the problem with the Joystick conversion?

Where is the problem with the joystick either do it like the 3 firebuttons of the Apple joystick or add a 8 bit latch so the complete status can be read in one go.

Apple joysticks are the complicated ones as you need to do analog to digital conversion.

Sorry I read your post again the problem seems to be using digital joystick on the digital port but that is nothing I want to do. So you need to switch resitors like in this schematic:

Mit might make sense to make the 100K resistors adjustable to hit 127 wne doing PRINT PDL(x).


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