Franklin ACE 500

Franklin ACE 500 - overview

Housed in a slim, attractive case, the ACE 500 is clearly one of Franklin's later computers. The Mac Bathroom Reader places the year that Apple sued Franklin as 1983. My ACE 500's manual is copyrighted 1986.

Raymond McAnally, past president of the GravenStein Apple Users' Group, fills us in:

"The rumor I heard was that during the lawsuit, Franklin made no attempt to deny that they had copied the Apple ROM's. Instead their defense was that since the only way to make the computer was to use the ROM's, Apple was unfair in not licensing the ROM for other distributors. So for a few years until the case was finally settled, Apple was forced to license the ROM's to Franklin. The result was that Franklin lost and had to cease all computer production. The decision was so broad that they couldn't even make PC clones. They did make one before the decision. I spoke with a franklin exec years ago who told me that in the end the results were a blessing in disguise. They moved out of computers and into the handheld area and ended up growing larger than they ever could as a clone maker. Personally I have owned an ACE 500, 1000 and 1200. The 500 was the most elegant of all. Far better than the //c or the laser 128. The lack of a slot or the ability to use a 3.5 in. drive were it's only drawbacks, and I'm sure these would have been addressed in time if not for the law suit. Also. all ACE 500's have at least 256k of memory. this can be increased on board to 512k. If you have the guts and ability to do a little soldering. You need to use 41257 RAM chips, not the 41256 that are common on most Apple RAM cards. The extra memory allows AppleWorks to fully preload into memory. Hope this is useful."

The Franklin ACE 500 is very similar to the Laser 128 in design and features. It was clearly meant to compete with the Apple IIc. The manuals reads, "Fortunately, your Franklin ACE 500 computer is compatible with the Apple IIc computer, a popular and widely used computer, and vice versa. It is also compatible to a high degree with the Apple II and Apple IIe computers."

Franklin ACE 500 - front

The four controls on the top left are labeled: 80/40, STD/MOUSE, RTB TEXT, and VOL. These are followed by the following lights: CPU, DBL HI RES, RGB PALETTE, DISK WRITE, DISK ACTIVITY, CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, AND POWER. The top row of keys are F keys, 'BREAK', and 'RESET'. The "Apple" keys on either side of the spacebar are replaced with "F" (as in Franklin, not function) keys.

Franklin ACE 500 - back

Ports shown, in order, are: serial port, dip switches, parallel port, external drive, mouse/joy, RGB, video, and power.

Franklin ACE 500 - power

The ACE 500 has an incredibly large power adapter.

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I have about 90 Franklin ace 500 logic boards if anybody is interested. Also 2 working computers. Please contact me if you are interested

I have been able to repair the Franklin power supply. in their design they put a resistor/capacator between the 2 sides of the power supply. When you read the resistor you are actually reading the capacator because that resistor has opened. I think that was a 180 ohm resistor. I repaird a bunch of those power supplies after that.
When there was a major earthquake in California years ago one of my friends from Minneapolis purchased all of the assets of a computer company out there. he had 5 fully loaded semi's of computer stuff delivered to his warehouse in Minneaplois. I repaired about 90% of that stuff for him. I also repaired lots of Epson dot matrix printers and a lot of Franklin portables. Thats why I have so many Franklin logic boards left over. Franklin had a lot of good design features but they waited too long to introduce them ot the computer market.

Hi, does anyone have a Franklin Ace 500 power supply to sell? Or any tip on another power supply that would work on a Franklin Ace 500 (from an original Apple IIc or Vtech Laser 128, etc)? Thanks!

I know it has been almost 15 years since you posted this, but I was wondering if you have any of the RAM chips for the Frankin 500.  I want to expand but can't find them anywhere...