Franklin ACE 500
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."
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.
Ports shown, in order, are: serial port, dip switches, parallel port, external drive, mouse/joy, RGB, video, and power.
The ACE 500 has an incredibly large power adapter.