WTB Apple II super serial card or generic

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Verault's picture
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WTB Apple II super serial card or generic

Hey all. I would like to buy an apple II super serial card or generic equivalent. Just not looking to pay eBay prices, why has noone made a modern reproduction of this card yet?! Anyway if you have to sell please message me.

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They aren't really that

They aren't really that expensive on eBay.  Well under $100.  That's cheaper than when they were new.

 

I was working on a modern design using a much newer and faster serial chip, but there was basically zero interest in it.  A newly made card really couldn't be made much cheaper than they sell for on eBay.  I was told as long as there were any available used, nobody would buy a new one.  I was also told that unless something was 110% compatible with the vintage cards (in other words, just as slow), nobody would buy it.

 

Anyway, I abandoned that project, along with every other hardware project I was working on because of lack of interest.  Even people who have successfully designed new cards recently (mostly clones of old ones) haven't made massive amounts of money off them.  And most of the cards they are selling are not clones of something that was built in massive quantities like the SSC.  Other than the Disk II controller and its several variants, there probably aren't a lot of cards Apple made more of than the SSC.  They sold a lot of Imageriters and Imagewriter II's and other printers, and most of those were sold with an SSC...

 

Anyway, I was looking at building a card that would support multiple functions on the same card including at least 2  RS-232 serial ports which would have large FIFO buffers, plus other functions like i2c bus, real time clock, WiFi, etc.  Still little to no interest if anyone had to write or modify any software.

 

 

 

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I used to buy them for $25

I used to buy them for $25 plus shipping. Im sorry but "under $100" is way too much for a serial board. I dont have money like that to throw around.

 

Since the price has gone up alot in the past couple years I would say THERE IS interest. Im sorry you gave up on the project. If it was a 1 to 1 clone you could make money on it if you ran say an initial run of 30 to 50 boards. 

 

 

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Verault wrote:I used to buy
Verault wrote:

I used to buy them for $25 plus shipping. Im sorry but "under $100" is way too much for a serial board. I dont have money like that to throw around.

 

Since the price has gone up alot in the past couple years I would say THERE IS interest. Im sorry you gave up on the project. If it was a 1 to 1 clone you could make money on it if you ran say an initial run of 30 to 50 boards.&n

 

The problem with doing an exact clone is getting good 6551 chips.  The ones that WDC has/had are defective.  There is no reliable source for them that anyone seems to know of.  Occasionally a few are available here and there, probably mostly pulls from salvage boards.  But that isn't really enough to commit to making a run of boards.  Part of the reason for considering a new board design was getting something that could perform well.  The 6551, while it was "super" compared to a 6850 which had NO buffering, only had one byte each for input and output.  That limits its effective throughput significantly.  Even though chips like this are theoretically capable of high baud rates, they have to handshake off transmission a lot to avoid losing data.  More modern chips have large buffers, some as much as 128 bytes on the receive side so that throughput does not suffer.  But that means a card designed around such a chip is not going to be 110% compatible.  It might require writing a driver or some other hack to get it to work with some old software.

 

Anyway, I don't really have time to resurrect the project now, and the supply of even the newer chips looks like it is drying up.  It is too bad it is beyond hobbiest level for someone and probably not economically feasible for a business to get enough equipment to be able to fab small runs of vintage chip designs so that shortages of chips like the 6551 or BiPolar PROMs could be filled.

 

 

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There are tons of Rockwell 6551 IC's on eBay

There are tons of Rockwell 6551 IC's on eBay if you look, and they're not all bad either. 

About $7.50 each in single quantities.  Less for multiple qty's I'm sure.   https://www.ebay.com/itm/264733344252

I hand-built a SSC and added Ethernet to it.  (using some vintage components)  The Ethernet device is a Lantronix Micro Server. (now outdated, go figure!)  You can EASILY push the baud rate to 38.4KB with no errors simply by doubling the oscillator frequency to 3.6864 Mhz, but I had trouble pushing it to 57.6KB in Applesoft Basic.

Anything faster than 38.4KB fails in Applesoft but native 6502 code can handle it.  (to a point)  The board I show below is wired in Terminal mode.  If I want to use the card in printer mode, I'd use a gender changer.  I thought the dongle (of sorts) on the original SSC board was a pretty big waste of space.

I was going to make a PCB of it but didn't bother given there is already an Ethernet board out there that works considerably faster.  Having the hand-built board is good enough for me at the moment.

 

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Cheapest SSC on ebay, at the

Cheapest SSC on ebay, at the moment is ~$90 with shipping and taxes. These used to move at $30-$40 as little as a year ago. There's a couple of clones listed for $70 too.

As long as people continue to buy at  high prices, those prices will only inch upwards over time.

 

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Macnoyd thats fantastic. Nice

Macnoyd thats fantastic. Nice wirewrapping. Is the ethernet compatible with the uthernet?

 

Keetah. Exactly! I bought a couple of the taiwanese SSC 1 clones when they were $35.00 but bow even those are $75 before shipping. They keep going up in price and are fewer than before. Plus many dont have the dongle/header.

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Unfortunately no...

Thanks for your comments.

Unfortunately no... this operates just like a Super Serial Card because it actually is -with the exception that the Serial data also outputs over Ethernet as well.

Setting up the Ethernet device is easy because it has a Lantronix micro device server built-into the Ethernet piggyback board.  Just use your web browser to set the IP, baud, etc.

If you were to put an Ethernet to Serial converter onto your modem or Printer, (as example) you can then use your home Ethernet right from your Apple ][ to run your Ethernet devices anywhere.

Using it to transfer files is not the best use, though you can do it using CiderPress, but it's a lot slower than the Uthernet Card.  Software is what makes the Uthernet card great.  I wish I had the time and talent to write software that would perform the same function with my card, however I think I would design  an Uthernet-like card which uses the Lantronix X-Port device instead of a raw Ethernet hardware device.  The X-Port has a built in Server to configer the device using a Web Browser, so that part of the hardware development would already be done for ya.  I've been tempted to do this but time is my issue...

My goal with this card is to speed it up, but as UncleBernie and others have noted, the 6551 UART has it's limits.  I don't think I would be able to reliably  get 64K Baud (or higher) out of it unless I write a binary routine for it.  To date, I've just used Applesoft to simply know that it works.  32K is no problem in Applesoft.

Long answer, but hope this sheds a bit of light on it.

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Bump... I am still looking

Bump... I am still looking for Super Serial cards if anyone has some to sell. Thank you.

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I've got an extra tested and

I've got an extra tested and working one I would sell for $50 + shipping.

I can't do $25 anymore... there would be no reason really to short myself.

PM if interested.

 

 

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Holy Crap!  I can't beleive

Holy Crap!  I can't beleive how much these things have gone up on eBay!   I bought an entire case (5) of them unopened back in the early 2000s for like $60.00 and that included shipping.  I thought these were like Disk II controllers and there were zillions of them out there.  WOW! 

 

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jwg1962 wrote:Holy Crap!  I
jwg1962 wrote:

Holy Crap!  I can't beleive how much these things have gone up on eBay!   I bought an entire case (5) of them unopened back in the early 2000s for like $60.00 and that included shipping.  I thought these were like Disk II controllers and there were zillions of them out there.  WOW! 

 

 

Apple literally made millions of them.  In the //e era, a large portion of units were sold with an Imagewriter or Imagewriter II.  That bundle usually included an SSC.

 

 

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