I'm starting research into a project to produce "Hard To Come By" Apple IIe/gs peripheral cards and maybe even an "Ultimate Apple IIe/gs" system. This project will probable be limited to the IIe and IIgs, but may include others. Whether it involves overhauling older, already produced systems or reproducing the IIe/gs with modern components is still undecided with the "Ultimate Apple IIe/gs" series. I'm still researching what issues would be encountered with copyrights or patents. Sounds interesting? Read on.
First things first, this is a business concept. I'm looking to make money for my investors. Yes I, like many before me and possibly even yourself, loved my Apple II series system when I was younger. I learned much and because of my parents' wise investment I now run several businesses mainly based on computers. Make no mistake, I'm not "in love" with this concept.
At this time I believe in its ability to make money, but as time passes and I acquire more facts this concept may well die. I am a businessman with 15 years of experience and know an opportunity to make money when I see one, more importantly I know when a project is no longer with perusing.
With this project I'm not looking to make 50 or even 200 computers or boards. I'm looking to capture an entire market and be around for years to come to help support and grow with it.
If you're interested in helping with the research, patens and copyrights or production please contact me. I will need help from probably two or three Electronic Engineers - people who are very knowledgeable with the Apple IIe/gs architecture from a chip based level. I also will need two or three Programmers who are very knowledgeable with the Apple IIe/gs and can program in Assembly and who also have dealt with decompiling and modifying ROM firmware (preferably Rich Auricchio).
I have a list for the "Ultimate Apple IIe" on my Web Server – http://reactivecomputers.gotdns.com. I’m still compiling the list for the IIgs. Please contact me if you're knowledgeable of the old options for the IIgs so I can finish the "Ultimate" list. Feel free to submit old articles or scans of pictures from magazines. Any and all help will be appreciated.
I can be reached at "apl2research At Comcast Dott Net". Please keep all inquiries to a serious nature. Feel free to repost this (in its entirety & unchanged) wherever possible up till the end of September, 2005. Thanks in advance for everyone's help.
Reactive Computer Services Dott Kom
apl2research At Comcast Dott Net
Do I understand you correctly...You want to reproduce
entire A2/A2GS computers/motherboards? Or just peri-
pheral boards and components? Either way, if you do
this I'm sure you will have a steady market for quite
a while as there are many A2/A2GS folks out there that
are still using these systems and still need support
in the way of hardware.
It would be way cool if you made an updated computer
system that still used the A2 format. Fewer and better
ICs and parts in general, better reliability, better
replacement support. Yeah, I could get into this!
Suggestion...How about an Apple //e with built-in VGA
Keep this site posted with your developments!
I'm still researching, but first I plan on reproducing the more desirable boards. The "geeks" world benefit from this and start some revenue flowing in. Then if that goes well I will take existing systems (IIe & IIgs) and turning them into "Ultimate" systems. The main goal would be to eliminate the floppies altogether and go with a Compact Flash interface which is cheap, fast and has a long life span. The CF drive would be an external device a lot like the Apple's 3.5" drive. Now I have a system I can offer with tons of software ready for the "end users". These would be complete systems with a new CH Joystick and color RGB monitors, maybe even LCDs. Then if that phase goes well and makes money the last step would be to totally reproduce a system like the IIgs with modern components and peripherals. This would be the most laborious part of the project. We would have to start from the ground up and rewrite an entire operating system and ROMs for this machine. I estimate it would take a teem of 8 programmers a year to complete. I'm still not totally convinced there's a big enough market to warrant it though, but that's still years into the future.
I'm only a month or so into a 6 month research goal. Currently I'm researching copying PAL chips. With all the items I've purchased from eBay lately I'll start the reverse engineering phase soon.
Does anyone have or know where I can find the RGB option for a RAMWorks III card? I also would like the 2 Meg Option Board to copy. I don't need to keep these items so if anyone would like to loan them to me that'll work too. I could also barter a CF/IDE or SCSI card for them.
Any help would be appreciated.
Which RGB option do you want I have a Digital only RGB board for a Ramworks II/III
I think the IIe only has Digital RGB. I don't believe there was an Analog RGB card, but I could be wrong. I never remember seeing or reading about one at least.
Yes, I'll take it. Let me know what your asking.
I have done a little reserach int my board and I believe it is made for the ramworks ii.
I have never tried it. Never had a compatible monitor. But the Applied Engeneering Pamphlet I have mentions that for the ramworks iii they sold two types a figital and an analog rgb one. My card is (c)1985 and has this written on it "RGB CARD (C)1985 Applied Engineering"
On the slanted end it has a 4 rocker dip selection and on the other end it has a DB15 cable.  It does fit on the Ramworks III rgb expansion pins.
That's good enough for me. Just let me know what you're asking for it.
If anyone has the RAMWorks III 2 Meg expansion board let me know. I'm offering money to study and RETURN it. I'd require to have it in my possession for about two weeks.
How about posting periodic updates on this project?
This has great potential! There are still a lot of us
out there using the old Apple II family of computers.
(As you well know) I believe that you have a good
market for this product. Keep your market alive with
updated information and progress reports.
woogie I have to agree with you..just noticed this thread and found the idea interesting as well
oh and if I could make one casual suggestion toward the ultimate board, how about placing a composite in&out circuit onboard? kinda like what the apple video overlay card used to do
or even only a [mirrored as typical] composite-out alone would sufficent.
thought that might make a bit more sense than trying to reproduce the apple overlay video cards seperately for the people that wants to use older tv as their main screen instead?
up to you anyhow
I'm interested to know what you've bought or learned on copying the PAL chips. Specifically the "R" ones.
I am doing a project almost exactly the same with the 128k to Plus Macs.
Hello again everyone. The project is pretty much on schedule. Only 8 days behind really. For a 90 day goal that isn't too bad.
For those who haven't been to the News Groups, the Web Site is up and running - for the most part. Should have the rest of the bugs worked out by the weekend. The address is www.gse-reactive.com. I've teamed up with Bill Garber from GarberStreet Enterprises, the maker of the RAM-4-GS 4 Meg RAM card. We have a few items for sale now in the store, such as MicroDrive IDE Controllers with CompactFlash adaptors, No-Slot Clock and the SSI-263P Speech Synthesizer IC for the Mockingboard. On the 16th we're releasing a $65 clone of the Mockingboard that is 100% compatible.
Not bad for a 90 project eh? Bill's is a great help and was key to making this project happen as fast as it did. Thanks Bill!
So stop by www.gse-reactive.com and BUY a few things already! Stop reading and go! Once you buy 20 items you're allowed to continue to read on.
PAL Update: Yes, I have had some success with decoding some of the PAL's on things like the TransWarp board from AE. I found a couple places that have a machine that will "brute force analyze" them by applying all possible combinations to the inputs and analyzing what the outputs are. Not too much luck there though. I'm still waiting to get some results back from one company. Next I've found a few companies that will "decap" an IC and even email you pictures of it from a microscope. They use acid to dissolve the "cap" or top of the IC away until it's totally gone and the bare silicon is exposed. Then, using a high power microscope they photograph the IC. Now you can literally see how the chip's fuses have been blown - ie: how it has been programmed. Using this method you can take ALL the guess work out of copying the PAL/HAL. Feel free to visit the Website and under the "Contact Us" section you can email me if you want a few companies that "decap" ICs.
There are so many people I want to thank for all their help along the way. It was people like Sean Fahey from this board that have enabled me to get to where I am today. Their names are listed on the Website. Thank you all wherever you are!
I'd like to point out that gse-reactive is not compatible with firefox. The part of the table that contains the title is on the left side and the rest is on the right.
From what I read, you are planning to remake the AII right ?, or just some add-ons for it (I don't have one miyself, but I love old machines, I'm always dreaming if is a good idea to get some of them or stick with a pc), as I already did several projects with microprecessors, I know more or less how much work it involves..., So when and what are yu going to make (and how much ?
I recieved my Micro Drive and No-Slot clock today from GSE-Reactive. What can I say but, great products. Almost instant email answers, even at 9 O'clock at night(my time). With service and products like this, these people will be around for a long time. So... I am off to play with my new toys....
You probably know me as me252 from ebay. lol I have probably bid on some of the same items you have over the past year.
I understand what you are trying to accomplish. Although from a business stand point it may not pan out so well due to the Apple II being such a niche market. As it stands right now, there exists a pool of folks like us that started out on Apple II's in the late '70's - early '80's, crossed over to PC's, and are just now getting back into the II series for a hobby. I am guilty. I admit it.
I am not so sure that bringing back a II series computer would take off. If you do, what speed CPU will you run?
I told one of the guy's at work not too long ago that my Apple IIc and imagewriter II, along with AppleWorks, could put out just as nice a document as Word. I still stand by that conviction.
I for one would buy a new series Apple II.
I have an Applied Engineering Ramworks III piggyback card that has both digital 9-pin and analog 15-pin ports on it if you want a scan/pictures, I can scan the manual for you as well.
Do you have the drivers for the no-slot clock for prodos? I've been looking for them for awhile to no avail.
I have the Driver Disk I use for my NSC I could make am omage for you and mail it to you
First of all, I would like to thank you guys for doing this stuff. Legacy hardware is excruciatingly difficult to come by nowadays and it is great to see somebody doing what I've often considered doing myself (EE here, vintage computers is a hobby of mine).
That said, I was wondering if it would be possible to get a 8mb version of the RAM-4-GS using 2mb 30 pin SIMMs? That would enable us to use the full addressable paging area of the CPU. Just a thought (that I'm sure has been batted around already).
Hello all. Sorry I haven't been back sooner. For some reason I was just now was notified that there have been replies to my message. Odd. Anyway, I'm back.
Hey logjam. As far as a PAL, or custom logic, update there isn't much sorry to say. I ran across a few posts from days gone by about a PLD Analyzer from a Chinese company called RunFei. I don't believe they make the product any more. I did manage after MUCH effort to purchase a RF-2148USB programmer from RunFei with the assumption that it would have some deciphering capabilities for HAL/PAL/GAL logic, but it only has VERY limited GAL support. Not much use. I'm now thinking about building a Brute Force Analyzer from a DAQ unit from Datx.com. I have some software that can be decompiled and used as a basis to start with. Anyone good with that sort of thing want to help out? I'm also looking in to some Chinese companies to help in recovering JEDEC files from these HAL/PAL/GAL PLD devices, but I'd much rather pay a programmer to write software so we'd have a product to sell.
Hey hppacito. The Site should now work better with FireFox. Not quite sure what the programmer did to fix that bug, but it has been better, even for me. I'm not really planning on "remaking" the Apple II, just mostly clone the peripheral cards so there is some option for people who may want to continue to use their Apples and not use their original hardware, which is now 20+ years old in most cases. It won't last forever. Maybe the Apple II will be a project, but some time down the road to say the least.
Hey littlejohn. Glad I was able to help. After being in business for 15 years you tend to pick up on how little things like customer service are important.
Hey gsmcten/me252. I hate you! Stop bidding on all the same stuff as me! Do me a favor and make sure when I go to sell the stuff on eBay you bid against the next guy so I get my money back. Anyway, enough picking on you for now. A niche market, yes. Again, I'm not really looking to reinvent the Apple II or even clone it, just offer some legacy options for hardware. I know AppleWorks is a good program, but Word is much more productive as a whole. AppleWorks and I never quite got a long either. I always used the editor in ProTERM. A lot easier in my opinion, but then again I'm not too smart either.
Hey DTFlowers. I'd love the manual. Feel free to email it to me anytime. I do have the analog piggyback board too. Not too sure what the DIP Switches are for though. My IIe works well on a IIgs monitor. Can't wait to tackle a VGA solution.
Hey rmpage. There are several issues with breaking the 4 Meg barrier. Mainly the IIgs isn't "smart" enough to understand it has more then 4 Megs of RAM with out additional logic. From what I've read and have seen, 8 megs is about max. Although it might be possible to go to 16 megs or more, the amount of logic and design time would be amazing. Then the question becomes what is the end result? What would 16 Megs give you that 8 Megs doesn't? The answer is "not much". We'd also like to release an 8 Meg card this year if possible. I've been trying to work a deal with Tony Diaz who has told me he still has some 8 Megs cards left, but he's been busy and I don't hold much hope that this avenue will pay off for the Apple II community. Right now 4 Meg RAM-4-GS kits are for sale in the GSE-Reactive.com on-line Store. Quite the deal at $34! Even comes with RAM too.
Just a quick plug that the BlueDisk controller is now available. Transferring images from your PC to the Apple II using a 1.44 Meg floppy has never been so easy and fast. Keep and eye on the Store for new products coming soon.
Henry S. Courbis
You would require extensive logic on the card to make it DMA compatible.
The Apple II was mostly 70's era technology, and probably wouldn't be too dificult to impliment on FPGA. I visualize a small board with the FPGA and a connector for a PC keyboard. You could have connectors for an original disk drive and/or a flash card reader.
The only problem is the copyrighted Apple ROMS. You could license them from Apple if Apple is willing to cooperate with the venture, or you could write new ROMs with compatable subroutines, similar to PC clone BIOS's that were written to be compatable with IBM's original PC BIOS.
If you can get Apple's cooperation, I can picture something similar to the Commodore-64 joystick game from a year or two ago. Except that most Apple games had key controles so this concept might not work quite as well for Apple games.
Sure, re-making an Apple II, IIe or IIgs in an FPGA could be done. The real question is how much effort and what percentage of computability will it have. An Apple II could be implemented in an FPGA probably with the least amount of effort. The entire motherboard is "standard" TTL logic and is also why it is so large. The IIe on the other hand has some custom ICs, like the HAL/PAL marked "HAL" on the IIe motherboard at location D1, the MMU and IOU. I do have the JEDEC for the HAL if anyone would like to make a GAL or learn what exactly it does. Just let me know I'll email the JEDEC and ABLE equation file. Anyway... So custom logic would be an issue on the IIe not to mention the IIgs.
Maybe with a logic analyzer and a few months of dedicated, well researched time you could come up with enough knowledge of what the IC in question is doing to write enough code to emulate it. Now "emulating" it is NOT a 100% copy of it. It would be possible to reach 100% but you'd really put in a lot of hours of testing and looking at the results to be sure. Can one or two people do it? Sure, but Apple had many "teams" working on the IIe and IIgs development and it took them a few years to filially finish each project enough to make it to market.
Like I've done, start small. Getting the HAL JEDEC wasn't easy and understanding what it does is still an on going project. Move in to some like CPLD's before even thinking about FPGA's. Just looking at the code for the 6502 on an FPGA gives me nightmares. And that's JUST THE START of the project.
Next is what would be the benefit of an FPGA Apple? If it's personal knowledge, that's great! I don't think many people, if any, would buy one. Sounds like a fun project though. Think I'm going to stick to cloning legacy hardware for a while longer. Want to help and learn an HDL at the same time? I'd like to have a CPLD version of the Rev. C SCSI controller done by this summer. Not an easy task and it's a pretty basic card. The HS SCSI or TransWarp is going to be 100x harder in comparison.
I wouldn't worry about the ROM's too much. Yeah, I know it's software, and it's copy righted - blah blah blah. You wouldn't get sued though. A "nasty" letter is all Apple could do. They could and might make you stop selling it with the ROM's, but that's okay too. Every site on the net would start selling ROM's or setting up the files to be downloaded. Hell, email me or your buddy who has a programmer and we'll make the copies for you. It's kind of hard to stop as you can see.
I remember there was a 100% Mac Plus "laptop" clone back "in the day". They were able to market it because they didn't sell it with the Mac Plus ROM's. The user would supply their own ROM's, usually from a Mac Plus they already purchased (yeah right!). So if you did market something and received Apple's "nasty gram" (cease and desist) then you just sell it ROM-free.
Quick update: Apple II/e and IIgs power supply ready to be released. Same Apple power supply case, different innards. 200w Switching power supply WITH fans! IIgs version is ready now, II/e version ready in another week. www.GSE-Reactive.com.
Henry S. Courbis
ultimate apple II:
I have ARM assembly code to emulate 6502
16meg ramworks emulation (you can go bigger if you
make a new bank switch standard... instead of 1
bank select register, have 2)
1 register =
256*64k = 16 megabytes
65535 * 64k = 4095 megabytes
USB storage support. USB keys (memory sticks)
(atari guys have a driver for USB storage devices)
IDE storage support
(CFFA, Focus, many others have schematics and code for IDE interface)
Phasor support (Mockingboard, Echo speech)
video: selectable refresh rate
new video modes:
-high resolution memory mapped (how to do color?)
-TMS9918(A) hardware sprite controller
-character ROM hooked to peripheral bus, or through
softswitch, so ROM can be changed by program
Disk II, 5.25 DB drive, 3.5 800k support (not necessary, I can use all my old Apple II stuff to move my software to PC, then to USB storage)
Speech recognition: Covox Voice Master emulation (I have schematic)
programmable interrupt generator (generate interrupts at definable intervals, or interrupts based on peripheral card status, or external interrupt input)
interrupt source register: define an address that holds the ID # of the hardware that interrupted:
6522 emulation (has built in counters that could be used for the interrupt generator)
*** Apple II Bus connector on the edge of the new computer **
plug the new computer into an apple II, and it acts as an accelerator... turns your Apple2 into a terminal. The plug in computer has all the RAM, CPU, etc. Goes to APple II bus for video updates (display video through II monitor), and peripheral access (joystick, peripheral cards, cassette, keyboard, etc)
I think you could do the whole thing with an ARM processor running assembly coded 6502 emulator (these are FAST)... FPGA board handles video, access to RAM, apple II bus, etc.
Save State button: copies all RAM contents to IDE or USB storage device
LOAD state button: loads RAM with copy from storage device, initializes CPU, etc,
stereo audio input (a/d converters)
stereo audio output (a/d converters)
for fast DMA you could look at RAMFast scsi controller...
you might be able to get the schematics and code from them
Focus card, Future Sound: You might be able to get schematics and code
from TOny Diaz...
I have the schematics for 6522 John Bell engineering card.
I would be great if the whole unit fit into a small case, with PSone LCD (it is small, but it would work and it's cheap), small laptop keyboard, battery.
Xilinx Spartan3 has VGA video built in... Alex Freed made FPGApple on it:
Ethernet! Uther emulation, maybe.
The Xilinx Spartan 3E has built in ethernet, but I don't think it has video
I've been to your Website before. Neat project. I see it's a 6502, not 65C02 - it's an Apple II not a IIe. Just pointing out a few details from your Website.
Now be honest - How many man hours of programming, testing and research was your project?
Did you ever manage to design an "Apple Slot" so an expansion card could be added? I imagine that would be a lot of work.
Hope this post doesn't "stutter" like the last one.
PS - Want to help out on some projects? I need a good HDL programmer with FPGA experience.
Henry S. Courbis
I just had a chance to review your online catalog. Absolutely
outstanding! This is what the Apple II world needs! Someone who
actually cares about our machines and sees the potential of pro-
gressing to the next step! You are doing what Apple failed to
do! When money gets a little easier around here I plan on getting
a CF drive from you for my Apple//e. Hopefully, you will proceed
with the project of an "ultimate" //e or IIgs mobo.
Again...thanks from an old (really) Apple//e user. We are still
Thanks. It's amazing how far things have come in just the past 6 months. Thanks to everyone for helping! You know who you are.
Several other projects are due to be completed in the next few weeks too. Looks like a CPLD version of the Rev C. SCSI controller might be happening very soon. Bill and I have some testing to finish first. Another project we'd like to finish in the next few months would be the "Universal Drive Controller" from VTEC. Add a "standard" Apple 800k floppy drive to your II/+/e.
Oooo! Teases! I love it. Check the Website often for new releases. Every now and again buy something too. That goes for everyone!
Any heavy SCSI users out there want to help us by testing the prototype for a week or so and give us some feedback? We want to test the full range of computers supported by the Rev. C. Get a production version for half price for your time or credit in the on-line Store to purchase something else or for use in the future. Email me directly to be added to the list of potential testers. Email listed on the Website under "About Us" or email Support.
Henry S. Courbis
Henry, I think a good product would be an Apple II 65C02 not in an FPGA but transistors. I imagine it would take a few thousand. Signal transistors aren't very expensive either. Each transistor needs its own LED so that you know what the bits and bytes are doing. Your friend Grant could call it a CPU Wall.
Go back to soldering - You're not allowed here!
No! No CPU Wall! Bad Grant!
Go back to your Altair and stop trying to get me to de-evolve my beloved Apples! Bad Grant!
On a serious note. Anyone following his work building an LED Wall? Over 20 THOUSAND hand soldered LED's. What a task! (or what a nut!) Kids these days - I never understand them.
Henry. S. Courbis
Not that this is really related to the suject.. but what is this CPU Wall you are talking about, i con't find anything about it. am i missing something? It sounds interesting and i want to check it out
Just my buddy Grant who is building an LED Wall. 3'x5' display of LED's. Over 20k of them. He was saying at the end of the previous post that I should do the same with Transistors and make a 'CPU Wall'.
At times he forgets to take his meds.
Another update: Still laying out the Rev. C SCSI card. Getting there. Only be 4 or 5 IC's total. Just not cost effective to incorporate everything in to one IC.
If you haven't been reading the News Groups I have managed to crack the GAL IC's from the TransWarp IIgs. It's possible that we'll release an upgrade kit and even a new version of the board this year. Keep an eye open for it.
Henry S. Courbis
I'm going to buy an FPGA kit so that I can help Henry in a more productive way. I've helped him so far by providing LED humor, but 19,008 LEDs are mostly just a distraction I bother him with on a daily basis. He didn't think I could get it soldered in a year, and it took 22 days.
no kidding, got any pictures??
How about a successor to the Transwarp GS? I for one would snap one up in a heartbeat. Run it at 16 mhz. Is that something you are considering?
Yeah there are some pic's of logjam's work. Here's a few links: http://www.stockly.com/images2/060129-LED_Display_Front_2718.jpg
Yes, we do plan at this point to produce an updated version of the TransWarp IIgs. Right now I have several projects that I need to finish so I can clear my desk off. Once they are done then starting a schematic for the TransWarp IIgs would be the next step. Then we can see what exactly is being done by the logic.
Really I wasn't planning on tackling the TransWarps till much later, but the IIgs version at least seems very easy to clone at this point. I'll know much better once the schematic is drawn.
Henry S. Courbis
I can not speak for others, but I would think that many GS owners are using the stock cpu, and would want an accelerator. They are hard to come by on the Ebay market, about the only place I know of to find them.
I would buy around 3 of them....maybe more....as I have over a dozen GS's.
I know. Pretty rare indeed, hence the legacy hardware projects. If we are able to clone them then the "market" will be crushed though. Only collectors will want to pay the big money for an original TransWarp IIgs. Need I mention that the speed of the new ones would be much better too? Probably a price point of about $80 too. Depends what we can get a bulk order of FPGA's for. I think about $20 each, then the PCB board and some other support IC's. So I don't think the price would be much more then $80. We'll see. As I was saying before, that project is still a ways off right now. Need to clean off my desk first.
Henry S. Courbis
your friend logjam is a strange dude... He's
got X-ray pictures of PCB's on his site
along with a wall of LED's....
AND he saved the legs off the LED's, put them
in a bag, and weighed them.
I've gotta meet this guy.
Yeah, he's quite an interesting fellow. He's also a 'gear head'. You wouldn't believe some of the pictures I've seen! Trucks, ATV's, and his garage/workshop o' parts.
I also think he's working on an Altair clone too. Really, I need to get him a girl friend and soon too!
Henry S. Courbis
What do you think of an adapter to use vga with the GS. It would be nice to be able to use a flat panel display with the GS. Also, as time goes by, the GS RGB monitors will be breaking down and some sort of replacement will need to be found. Bigdog128.
Yes, you're right. VGA would be a great idea. The main issue is actually doing it. There's been a large discussion in the News Groups for the past week on exactly how to add VGA to an Apple.
It's a project that we might just tackle in the future, assuming someone else doesn't finish before we do.
Henry S. Courbis
where are the threads on this. i would love to read them. Bigdog128
Here's a link to one of the guys Sites: http://homepage.mac.com/jorgechamorro/a2things/a2VGA/
He was going through some ideas.
Here's the link to the News Groups: http://groups.google.es/group/comp.sys.apple2/browse_frm/thread/50124eb52adef2ea/8cd6ecc373e3af41?hl=es#8cd6ecc373e3af41
I use Outlook Express to access the News Groups, but you can use Google also.
Hope that helps!
Henry S. Courbis
What is the feasability of making a ROM 4 GS? Has the patent for Apple run out? If so, this is a wish list for an updated GS:
1: built in ethernet support
2: built in cd support
3: vga/svga support
4: 8 meg onboard memory
5: onboard scsi support
6: built in faster 65c816 chip
7: internal 3.5" floppy superdrive
8: onboard superdrive controller
9: use the same original case if possible
This is just a fantasy, but it is fun to dream. Feel free to embellish as you see fit. This project would prol never fly, but I bet some of it could. This would prol be a fun topic to dream about. Have at it. Bigdog128
Nice Dream! What a pain to design though. Took Apple, huge R&D budgets and entire teams of people to create the IIgs. I would assume that a group of us could tackle some of those items on the list, but an entirely new IIgs would really be a major undertaking. Who knows? As software and hardware advance maybe something will become available that will allow us to just 'read' Apple's custom chips and start where they left off. Now that's a dream worth dreaming about!
Just another update for those who don't frequent the News Groups. Our on-line Store has had a little make-over. There is now a 'Coming Attractions' section at the bottom that lists all the current projects we're working on. Apple 3.5 Disk Controller isn't too far off. Although I have a strange feeling that the price of SuperDrives is about to shoot up on eBay. Don't worry. We will also offer some of those too.
Henry S. Courbis
Don't I know it. I just paid $360.00 for a superdrive and controller.
I just saw a GS with an AE GSRAM Plus go for $305.00, last night.
It probably isn't the patents you'd have to worry about, so much as the copyright on ROM code.
Exactly. The only thing at this point in time that Apple could do is send us a 'nasty-gram' about selling their ROM code with the cards we're cloning. If, and I doubt they would, IF they do then we'll sell the cards without the ROM and people can download and burn one for themselves. It's really nothing Apple could stop, so why would they even bother trying. At least those are my thoughts on the matter. We'll all see what the future holds.
Henry S. Courbis
I have both manuals if you want them, I emailed you about the digital manual. Problem either way analog or digital is converting from the 15.75KHz to modern freq of 30KHz+. I found a place in australia that carries scanline converter boards which may work. They are designed for converting old arcade machines to modern monitors.
According to the AE manuals, switches 1 & 2 are for text color. Analog only board 3 & 4 are not used. Digital/Analog board 4 is sync select (open=negative sync, closed=positive sync) 3 is the color mapping switch. For AppleColor RGB switch 3=open, 4=closed.
I've been wondering what the DIP actually did. I was able to get mine to work but wasn't sure if there might be a better setting. Interesting. Thanks!
The VGA option, if we do make one, would be based on this RGB option. Since the IIe would be the easiest place to start (I think) and RGB would also lend itself to the IIgs design too. There are actually chip sets out there that can be used in different designs that do exactly what we need for the Apple II VGA project. The first part is getting the schematic for the RAMWorks and RGB option and then incorporating them in to a CPLD/FPGA design. Probably FPGA since converting RGB for a higher resolution will require some power and I would like to incorporate a program to 'make up' some of the missing pixels as the resolution increases. Text and some graphic modes would tend to look 'blocky' the bigger they become and I personally wouldn't want to release a product that just does VGA but looks like crap. If you want that, I have a XRGB2-Plus I'll sell you real cheap.
The VGA project will still be some time in the future. Check the "Coming Attractions" section in the on-line Store for further updates.
Henry S. Courbis
>maybe something will become available that
>will allow us to just 'read' Apple's custom chips
probably not. If you made something like this, an IC manufacturer would buy it from you and then throw it in the trash.
You can analyze an IC, even with an Apple II!
Plug in 6 parallel cards, and a focus hard disk.
make a small assembly language program to cycle through
all combinations of output on the parallel cards. Hook
the parallel cards to the IC you are looking at.
make the program record the state of the output pins,
and save the data to disk.
6*8 = 48 I/O lines. 32 bits gives a maximum of 131072
different combinations of 1s and 0's
you would then need to cycle through these 130 thousand
files, and figure out which inputs relate to which outputs
or, skip trying to reverse engineer, and implement the
IIe part as schematic capture, and the IIgs as look-alike
the ROM is copyable (maybe not legally), the ADB protocol
is well documented. The ensoniq chip is well documented,
the IIgs graphics modes are well documented. So is smartport
I don't see why it would be so difficult to copy the IIgs,
if you had the time, and a desire to do so.
Check out all the new Apple II parts GSE-Reactive has added to their online store. (DROOL..)