Usually, retro-computing hobbyists attempt to hack and adapt new hardware to interface with older machines. The RetroConnector by Option8 does the opposite. It let’s you interface your Apple //c or //e keyboard with a modern device such as a PC or iPad.
Two models, both based on the PJRC Teensy (an Arduino clone), are available assembled for $35USD. Each is machine specific for the Apple //e or //c.
Going to KansasFest? You’ll have the option of picking up your order at the conference!
The Raspberry Pi (RPi) is becoming a phenomenal hacker’s tool for retrocomputing enthusiasts, and the Apple II Community is no exception in benefiting from this tiny but potent little computer. Previously, we’ve covered Ivan Drucker’s fabulous A2SERVER, the ‘server in a can’ that provides a file server and network boot host for Apple IIGS and IIe (equipped with Apple Workstation Card). In case you missed it, Ivan’s site is directly accessible HERE.
The *latest* RPi application for the Apple II is called ‘Apple II Pi’ (apple2pi), by David Schmenk. It’s a (for now) serial-based, client/server set of software that turns your Apple II into a kind of thin client. Your Apple II’s keyboard and mouse input are then piped to the RPi server to control it. See David’s example video of his Apple IIc controlling a virtual Apple IIGS in the following YouTube clip:
You’ll need to edit a few control settings to get it working, add a third party serial port to your RPi and maybe a DB9 to DB25 adapter. See this Applefritter thread for instructions.
David plans to develop his apple2pi project even further, including adapting the RPi board to mount on a slot card that can access the Apple II’s bus signals directly. This in turn could lead to other enhancements for your Apple II such as networking, co-processing, file storage… the prospects are wide open.
The RPi may very well turn out to be one of the most amazing Apple II peripherals ever invented.
Remember David Schmenk’s awesome hardware hack where he routed the output of an old parallel Connectix QuickCam to his Apple IIe through an Apple Parallel Card? Of course you do. Here’s how he did it, in case you want to build your own: Part I – The Hardware, Part II – The Software.
On Friday, David Schmenk posted a video of a neat hardware hack: a Connectix parallel Quickcam running real-time images to his IIe through an Apple Parallel Card. Today, he showed off the natural evolution of his hack: the Quickcam transmitting in glorious monochromatic high resolution. According to Schmenk, it’s slow – about 1 frame per second – but it works!
I’m trying to use the good old demo1.bas from the disk image.
480 REM FFFE -> 40FA=JMP $1000
490 X = PEEK (ROM) * 256 + PEEK (ROM + 1)
510 POKE (X),126: REM 7E
520 POKE (X + 1),CODE / 256
530 POKE (X + 2),0
540 POKE SLOT + 2,128: REM RUN
This code wants to write a jump instruction to the address, presumably $40FA, pointed to by the last 2 bytes in standard Apple ][ ROM. Unfortunately my enhanced 2e has $FAC3 at FFFE-FFFF. So as one can see on the analyzer screen the 6809 fetches $FAC3 and jumps to that address. Which of course lives in ROM and can’t be patched. Oops…
Sure I could load a standard monitor into the “language card”, switch to it and then try it again, but this is a bit ugly. Also I’m pretty confident the basic counting test will work – after all both CPUs are running. Where should I take a better test? My main concern is that knowing that the LS14 was replaced with LS04 while adding the memory mapping for OS09 I suspect that timing may need to be tuned. Of course my address mapping CPLD is an order of magnitude faster than a ROM used in the original version, but “too fast” can also be an issue. So I need some tests before declaring the card operational. I want something that runs with all 3 versions of the memory map – virgin, flipped A15 and OS09 remapping.
If hacking the 6809 or OS/9 is your idea of fun, you should consider contacting Alex so he can add you to his list of interested buyers. It’s unknown how many of these cards will be made.
Noted retro-computing enthusiast and hardware developer Mike Willegal has announced that the first batch of his ‘Super Proto’ cards will soon be available for sale. Actual pricing hasn’t been set, though its anticipated to be less than $100 USD as a kit. A bare board will also be available.
The Super Proto’s base feature set includes:
Onboard 32K EEPROM – only 2K is normally addressable from Apple’s C800-CEFF and CX00-CXFF I/O space
EEPROM is programmable directly from the Apple II’s 6502.
Glue logic integrated in 22V10 GAL – replaces a number of 74LS glue chips that are commonly seen in designs like the Super Serial Card and the Mockingboard
Data bus fully buffered with 74LS245
PCB location for 6522A VIA, with no additional glue logic required
Two general purpose proto areas
Locations for more than 5 300 mill DIP chips of varying pin count
With 6522 VIA, room for an additional 40 pin dip package. This does cut into 300 mill DIP area, but it should be possible build a 3 channel Mockingboard on the Super Proto board.
Synthesized psuedo PH2 clock available – was required for 6522 interface
Mike says his Super Proto card “takes care of all the heavy-lifting of interfacing to the Apple II.”
Back in January, Australian Apple II user and blogger Lukazi introduced Project WALTR, a hardware hack designed to create a robot that could be controlled with Logo commands. This week, he(?) updated us with a progress report and the final product looks really cool! In Lukazi’s words:
“WALTR is a Parallax Scribbler 2 (S2) robot that takes in direct action or interpreted Logo movement commands via a serial connection and executes them. Although I designed WALTR to be run from an Apple II computer any computer with a serial port and a Logo software package that supports serial communications can be used. WALTR can still be used as a Logo robot even without its pen lifter and Bluetooth enhancements.”
WALTR has come a long way since its introduction in January. Check out everything WALTR can do at Lukazi’s Apple II Projects blog.
From Charles Mangin comes news of his latest hardware hack, or in his words, “Frankintosh”. This is a G4 Mac Mini hidden in an Apple IIc case. Mangin has a nice blog post where he goes over the steps he took to stitch these two machines together and there’s a great Flickr gallery to accompany his description.
Mangin says, “Everything you see is still fully functional. The original keyboard is rewired and run through an Arduino (Teensy) so it can be used as a USB keyboard for the Mini. I’ve also maintained many of the original ports, and repurposed a couple for updated peripherals.”