Trackstar - Apple II clone on a PC ISA card - new website up

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Trackstar - Apple II clone on a PC ISA card - new website up

Hey guys,

Just a heads-up to let you know my Trackstar website is up, covering the E, 128 and also Quadram's Quadlink <-- These are all "Apple II on a PC ISA card" Apple II clones. Really cool little devices!If you own these devices, esp. the Trackstar E or Plus, there's HUNDREDS of disk images in its TrackStore format that I've converted manually.So you can download and enjoy a HUGE amount of software without needing real Apple II disks.

There's also a working KryoFlux disk image of the Trackstar 128 Utility Program disk, so you can create a disk with the copy protection intact which allows you to actually use your 128. This is perfect for those who -- like me -- bought their 128 without the necessary disk. D'oh!

There ain't a lot of info or resources about the Trackstar cards out there, so I hope mine fills the void.

Enjoy it @[b][url=http://www.diskman.com/presents/trackstar/]www.diskman.com/presents/trackstar[/url][/b]

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I used to have an old IBM PC

I used to have an old IBM PC with a Quadlink card in it.  Unfortunately my wife made me throw it away about 10 years ago.  :-(  It actually would run a pretty reasonable amount of stuff that would work on a basic Apple ][+, and even read normal 140k Apple II 5.25" floppies.  I never really tried a lot of copy protected disks, but I don't remember running into much that didn't work.

 

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The Quadlink is a bit of a

It's cool to hear about your experience with it, thanks for sharing. Shame about your having to ditch it, though.

 

For those not familiar: The Quadlink is a bit of a beast, in that its necessary floppy drive connection adds a bulge to the card -- you have to really put some thought into which ISA cards to put where, in order to satisfy this thing -- and the specific routing of cables all over the inside of the case just adds to the frustration.

But! Once installed it is a neat little card. My only gripe is that real Apple II floppy drives can't be connected; using Apple II disks in a PC drive is far from ideal.

 

As I have time, I hope to do a lot of compatibility testing on the Quadlink. Thing is, and like I say on the website, it seems to use a real (bootlegged?) Apple II ROM. So, unlike with the Trackstar, compatibility testing may actually be a waste of time.

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There have been several

There have been several updates to the website since my last post, including:

 

* Addition of a verified copy of the Trackstar E software (from my own original disk)

* Trackstar 128 EPROM data

* Quadlink ROM data

 

I am seeking the original Trackstar (aka Trackstar 64) and the Trackstar Plus, for continued research. If anyone has one for sale, or just to loan out for a while, please let me know.

 

More updates to follow.

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Was there a MicroChannel

Was there a MicroChannel Architecture Apple II card?

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I have seen no evidence of an

I have seen no evidence of an MCA Trackstar ever having existed. While the Trackstar Plus was specifically engineered for the PS/2 Model 25 and 30, it is still an ISA card.

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Thank you for the reply.

Thank you for the reply.

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Most recent update to the

Most recent update to the website was the addition of a custom hard drive image containing GEOS v2.1 + applications, configured by default to use the joystick (since the Trackstars do not offer mouse support). This was my first experiment in making an ".HD1" file (ProDOS hard drive volume) for use w/the Trackstar. And I discovered the format is the same as the standard .PO files. So! Future .HD1 images are going to be a lot more convenient to make, since I can exchange files to and from the PC using CiderPress.

 

I have recently acquired a Trackstar Plus. However I am still seeking the original model Trackstar (aka Trackstar 64). If anyone has one of these for sale, or just to lend out for research purposes, please get in touch.

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Quadlink board on Ebay.

FYI, There is a Quadlink board on Ebay.

It is my board by the way. The only docs I have are ones that I have found on the web.

wm

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Cool. Would you mind scanning

Cool. Would you mind scanning the pages of the 3.0 software update paperwork shown in the photos? And perhaps archiving the QuadLink 3.0 disk, if possible? It would be great to have these preserved. Please let me know, thanks.

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I do have the manuals. Years

I do have the manuals. Years ago I found a quadlink in the box in a second hand electronics store. They didn't know what it was and didn't know what to ask so they asked me to make an offer. Offered $10 and they accepted. Only problem was that there was no software in the box. Also don't own a PC so it's been sitting at the back of storage for a while

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Wayne wrote:

[quote=Wayne]

I do have the manuals. Years ago I found a quadlink in the box in a second hand electronics store. They didn't know what it was and didn't know what to ask so they asked me to make an offer. Offered $10 and they accepted. Only problem was that there was no software in the box. Also don't own a PC so it's been sitting at the back of storage for a while

[/quote]

 

The Quadlink is pretty particular about what PCs it will work in.  It will fit in an original IBM PC or an XT or very close compatibles.  Some clones it won't physically fit because of the size of the card (like the AT&T 6300, some of the Tandy PCs and some Compaq portables and a bunch of other clones which won't take full length cards) and others you may have to make different cables for the floppy drives, etc., if the ones supplied don't have the right connectors or aren't long enough.  And some floppy drives may work better than others due to the way Apple II compatibility is done with the Quadlink.

 

 

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Wayne: I have the actual

Wayne: I have the actual manual, and have scanned it. All I need is a scan of the simple, typed pages that came as an addendum to the manual with v3.0 of the software. If you happen to have those pages, I'd be much obliged if you could kindly scan them in & send them my way. The QuadLink software is on my website if you need it...

 

www.diskman.com/presents/trackstar

 

softwarejanitor: You're quite right, the QuadLink is picky about what kind of system it works in. And it's a real headache to install. I use it in an IBM 5160, and I must disable my Tiny Turbo 286 accelerator or the QuadLink software locks up the computer. For these reasons and many others, I always recommend the Trackstar over the QuadLink.

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I did borrow a suitable PC to

I did borrow a suitable PC to try out a Trackstar. Likely the same machine would have worked for the Quadlink if I'd had the software then. I've been reluctant to acquire a suitable PC as I have a pretty massive amount of Apple II and Mac hardware.

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I'll check the box to see if

I'll check the box to see if I have that addendum. It'll likely be in a box at the back of  one of my storage lockers. May take a little while as I'm pretty busy right now but it's on my list

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OK, so my Trackstar website

OK, so my Trackstar website was finally redesigned, and updated with lots of new info, scans, and downloads. Come by and have a look!

 

www.diskman.com/presents/trackstar

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I'm adding a link to the

I'm adding a link to the Quapple project here, so that if people find this thread by google they'll know about it...

 

https://github.com/schlae/quapple

 

 

In short, it is a Quadlink clone you can build yourself (order PCBs from China like from JLCPCB).

 

I'm building one right now.

 

 

 

 

 

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I need to include the link

I need to include the link next time I update my website, thanks for reminding me. I'm glad it was cloned successfully. The original boards are tough to find these days, and expen$ive, too! I was lucky to get my complete Quadlink for under $200, but that's sadly not common anymore.

 

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DeathAdderSF wrote:I need to
DeathAdderSF wrote:

I need to include the link next time I update my website, thanks for reminding me. I'm glad it was cloned successfully. The original boards are tough to find these days, and expen$ive, too! I was lucky to get my complete Quadlink for under $200, but that's sadly not common anymore.

 

It's impressive they were able to clone it consiering it uses PAL chips that someone had to reverse engineer.

 

I had to get 5 PCBs made, I think I may have parts to complete 2.  I have one about 1/2 finished.  I was waiting for some of the parts to come in.  I had to travel out of town or I'd be further along...  I got to get a suitable PC to put it in yet also.

 

 

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I did a bunch more soldering

I did a bunch more soldering on the first Quapple board.  Mostly all done except a few cmponents I am waiting to get from Mouser and eBay.  Once everything comes in I think I should have a complete board.  I should have enough parts to make two.  I may sell one and the 3 bare PCBs.

 

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Next steps for my Quapple

Next steps for my Quapple card...  program the 2716 for the charater generator and the PALs/GALs.  Start inserting all the 74LS TTL chips and the 6502.  I have a couple UMC made NMOS 6502s I plan to use for these.

 

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Is it just me or does the new

Is it just me or does the new "lead free" solder suck?  Wow...  I had to order a spool of real solder...  can't get this stuff to work hardly at all.

 

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brand?
softwarejanitor wrote:

Is it just me or does the new "lead free" solder suck?  Wow...  I had to order a spool of real solder...  can't get this stuff to work hardly at all.

Which alloy and flux core are you using? Which iron and temp setting? I agree that Sn60 is easier to use in hand soldering, but many do successfully use LF as well.

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I hate lead free solder ...

The joints don't shine like (formerly) traditional 60/40 rosin core solder and you have to drown the LF solder with flux to get a decent joint. 

Also, the LF solder joints often look "cold" in comparrison, but the electronics industry has shifted to Lead Free due to environmental and health concerns.

Most of my projects are made with 60/40.  I don't have issues using LF solder but I think the look is much better with 60/40 IMHO.

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robespierre wrote
robespierre wrote:
softwarejanitor wrote:

Is it just me or does the new "lead free" solder suck?  Wow...  I had to order a spool of real solder...  can't get this stuff to work hardly at all.

Which alloy and flux core are you using? Which iron and temp setting? I agree that Sn60 is easier to use in hand soldering, but many do successfully use LF a

I was having no luck with my old Weller iron, which as I understand if the LF requires hotter temps, so I bought a new YiHUA soldering station.  I tried using additional flux paste...  One of the LF's that I had is Sn99.39% and the other I don't remember and I threw away the package...

 

Anyway, I tried several temp settings and neither of the LF prove satisfactory...

 

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macnoyd wrote:The joints don
macnoyd wrote:

The joints don't shine like (formerly) traditional 60/40 rosin core solder and you have to drown the LF solder with flux to get a decent joint. 

Also, the LF solder joints often look "cold" in comparrison, but the electronics industry has shifted to Lead Free due to environmental and health concerns.

Most of my projects are made with 60/40.  I don't have issues using LF so

 

 

Well, I have 60/40 and 63/37 on order...  the LF as you say, even with tons of flux and much higher temps it still produces mostly solder joints that look poor compared to the old stock solder I was using.  And it just takes too long with the LF stuff, I can solder a whole board with the old solder in less than 1/2 the time.

 

As long as I can still buy the old style solder I'll never use the LF stuff again.

 

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Interesting looking at the

Interesting looking at the pics of the Trackstar cards on your web site...  they use two 6502 or 65C02 CPUs.  Which is very curious.  I wonder if the PALs on those could be reverse engineered and the card cloned like the Quapple.  The obvious one to do would be the Trackstar Plus which appears to have been the final evolution.  It would be nice to be able to emulate a 128k Enhanced //e and be able to put it in a wider variety of PC clones that are cheaper and easier to find and deal with than the 5150/5160 that the Quadlink and therefore Quapple require.

 

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According to the official

According to the official documentation, the second 65(C)02 aids in the video output.

 

I was happy to see the Quadlink successfully cloned, just for preservation's sake. But I'm surprised to learn how many people are actually building the kit, considering how strict the system requirements are and how limited the Quadlink is.

 

I'd be very excited if one of the Trackstar boards were cloned. After all, my website exists to help people enjoy these awesome devices. If the cards were far more readily available, there'd be lots more people able to enjoy 'em!

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I just ordered a suitable

I just ordered a suitable 5160 from eBay so that I can use the Quapple card.  Once I have the remaining parts I need I shuold be able to complete the board and hopefully get it all to work.

 

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For me part of the reason for

For me part of the reason for building the Quapple is that I had the Quadlink and have regretted getting rid of it.  So it is kind of fixing a mistake.

 

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I just got done programming

I just got done programming all the PLDs and the EPROM for my quapple card.  I've got those inserted into the sockets.  I'm going to start adding the 74LS chips and the 6502 later...  It's starting to look like something...

 

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softwarejanitor wrote:It's
softwarejanitor wrote:

It's starting to look like something...

 

Photos? :-)

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Trying to post a pic

Trying to post a pic

 

 

 

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I've got two mostly done now
I've got two mostly done now except for 4464 and a few 74LS chips I'm waiting on.
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The scans page just had a few

The scans page just had a few nice additions made to it: An article about the Quadlink from the June, 1983 issue of PC Magazine, and four different advertisements for the Quadlink.

 

www.diskman.com/presents/trackstar/scans.htm

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