ProDOS Will Not Work on My 64k Apple II+ with Unitron Language Card

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cfkerchner's picture
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ProDOS Will Not Work on My 64k Apple II+ with Unitron Language Card

Hello All:

This is a new thread to try and figure out why ProDOS 8 Version 2.4.2, nor Version 1.0.1 (copies on disk provided to me by Thellmer of this forum), will not boot beyond the "flash screen" which shows the program name and the copyright lines at the bottom of the screen. Nor will any copy of ProDOS that I had previosly download to disk from the ASCiiExpress website using my iPAD and the cassette IN port on my Apple II+. So I know the software is not corrupted. There is something wrong with my machine.

I want to get ProDOS working so I can use it with ADT to transfer ".dsk" files downloaded onto my Windows XP to my 64k Apple II+ machine using either a serial COM port and SSC card, or using the audio headphones output of my legacy internet connected Window XP machine connected into the cassette IN port on the Apple II+. Plus, ProDOS is much better I am told to use today with more peripherals on the Apple II+, etc., than the standard DOS 3.3.

Online reviews of ProDOS 8 ver 2.4.2 state, and every one I've chatted with about his issue has told me, that ProDOS 2.4.2 is supposed to work on any Apple II+ machine with 64k of RAM in it. Well it don't work on mine.

My 64k Apple II+ machine is almost 40 years old and had some issues turning it on the first time with C1 blowing in the power supply (which I easily fixed), some broken key stems which were not as easy to find and replace and get the keyboard back working, and some other minor issues like a not properly working parallel printer card, after the machine sat on a shelf for decades in my cellar. But I have it working fine now, with a Grappler+ parallel printer card in slot #1 which is hooked up to the Epson RX-80 printer.

That old workhorse Epson RX-80 no-frills printer works great for being as old as it is too, even though it needed a bit of tweeking to get it printing when I first got it. Some one had gotten into the platten area with a letter opener or pocket knife to probably clear a printer jam and bent a metal strip out of place causing the print head to jam there and sending the printer off line. Once I found it and unbent the metal strip, it worked fine. I bought it via eBay for the major expenditure of $39.   :-)  Heck, a box of sprocket feed paper for it cost me a lot more than the printer.  :-)   But I needed a vintage no-frills 9 pin dot matrix impact printer for my vintage no-frills Apple II machine.  Slow printing but it works and is a great old-timers partner for my old Apple II+.  I also have two disk controller cards installed which are in slots #6 and #5 which are connect to four Disk II drives.

In slot #0 is the UNITRON Language Card which came with the machine when I got it decades ago. It has that ROM chip on it besides the 16k of memory which is, as someone told me, sending the name UNITRON to the top line on my monitor instead of APPLE, when I turn on the machine. Other than doing that, I don't know what the purpose of that ROM chip was used for on that language card. So that describes my system.

I have tested all the memory using MECC Computer Inspector and it reports I have 64k. I've scanned and tested both my 48k of memory on the motherboard and the 16k on the Unitron LC.  All reported working fine.  So I don't know what exactly is the problem. But at this point, I'm suspecting the UNITRON card is the culprit.

Thus, I've ordered a plain jane 16k memory card made by Microsoft via eBay which will arrive next week. Maybe when I swap out that UNITRON card which has that ROM on it with the language card made by MSFT that only has 16k of RAM memory on it, my system will be fully functional as to being able to run ProDOS. Will know that disposition sometime early this coming week.

In the meantime if anyone has any other solutions or ideas to share with me, please let me here them. Thank you in advance.

 

P.S. I received my Super Serial Card today which I had ordered used on eBay. I have not installed that yet. I want to solve the ProDOS issue before cross-connecting my Windows XP machine COM1 port to my Apple II+ machine using the SSC card in the Apple II+, so I can then start using ADT file transfer of ".dsk" programs, etc. But I want to get the ProDOS not working issue behind me before venturing any further into the ADT app.

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That Unitron ROM is causing

That Unitron ROM is causing you grief. ProDOS does a checksum on the machine ROM and will not boot on non-Apple machine without patching. You can either patch your ProDOS disks, source a 16k RAM card or brun yourslef a copy of F8 ROM and swap it with that Unitron ROM.

 

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Unitron Language Card Prevents ProDOS From Working
dorkbert wrote:

That Unitron ROM is causing you grief. ProDOS does a checksum on the machine ROM and will not boot on non-Apple machine without patching. You can either patch your ProDOS disks, source a 16k RAM card or brun yourslef a copy of F8 ROM and swap it with that Unitron ROM.

Thank you for that quick and germain reply. I have ordered a 16k RAM card in the form of a legacy Microsoft 16k "Language Card" (don't know why they call it that when it is just a 16k memory card) that does not have any ROM on it, just 16k of RAM.  I'm supposed to get it early next week. So, based on your information, removing the Unitron LC and replacing it with the MSFT LC will solve my problem. When the replacement LC card arrives and I install it, I'll post a follow-up comment here letting everyone know if I then have ProDOS loading properly.

Thanks again.

 

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Memory Only Microsoft 16k "Language Card" Solved the Problem

Hello all,

Today I received the memory only MSFT 16k Language Card. I took out the UNITRON one that was in the machine since I bought it back in 1982 and installed replacement MSFT card, and all is now well. ProDOS 8 ver 2.4.2 booted up just fine.  So while the UNITRON card provided the necessary extra 16k to my machine, the F8 ROM chip which was displaying UNITRON on my monitor on system boot was obviously interfering with ProDOS booting.

Now I have to download a copy of the ProDOS User's Manual and learn how to use it. 

So ... ProDOS is compatible with all 64k Apple II machines UNLESS they have a UNITRON Language Card installed in them as the source of the extra 16k of memory. That F8 ROM chip on the UNITRON card is indeed the culprit as DorkBert explained. Thank you sir for that tip.

Next step will be to get my Super Serial Card (SSC) properly configured and cable connected to my legacy Windows XP machine COM1 port and then I can start experimenting with the ADT file transfer software to transfer ".dsk" floppy disk image files downloaded from the internet via my Win XP machine over to my Apple II+ machine and onto 5 1/4" disks.

Or I'll try to use the pure audio transfer connection work around method of not using the SSC card and using the audio headphone output jack on the Windows XP machine and the cassette IN port on the Apple II+. 

But I have to learn how to configure the SSC card so that is what I'll try first.

But setting up the SSC card switches is a subject for a new thread focused on SSC switch positions set up to use it with ADT file transferring between a Windows machine COM1 port. Hopefully, a 19200 baud rate will work but if not I'll set it back to 9600. I will search this forum for some tips if this subject is fully discussed therein, elsewhere. There may already be a thread somewhere on that. If not, I will start one later.

Thanks to all who have helped.

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Yay!

Great news :-)  I recommend https://prodos8.com  There you will find the docs and information.  2.4.2 comes with some nifty built-ins like CopyIIPlus, ADTPro, and some really great other tools as well as the onscreen launcher which is the main navigation screen where you just hit return on a program and it runs or lets you navigate down into sub folders and such.  Use the included CopyIIPlus for all your file and disk management needs

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Yay! Indeed
thellmer wrote:

Great news :-)  I recommend https://prodos8.com  There you will find the docs and information.  2.4.2 comes with some nifty built-ins like CopyIIPlus, ADTPro, and some really great other tools as well as the onscreen launcher which is the main navigation screen where you just hit return on a program and it runs or lets you navigate down into sub folders and such.  

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Thanks for the tips Thellmer. I will be checking things our and doing a bunch or reading in the next few steps. I'll try to figure things out myself with the software but if worse comes to worse, I'll ask you for some help. Until then ... ich danke Ihnen sehr !

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