Monday, February 22, 2016

Apple II Development

I am pretty amazed at the current rate of development of new Apple ][ conveniences and devices. It is worthwhile to look up from a project to see what others are doing every once in a while.

VGA adapters for the Apple IIc and IIGS seem to be hot right now.

The Nishida Radio Disk II adapters are gaining more and more features, including a nice looking web interface!

Big Mess O' Wires had added Apple II support to the Floppy Emu Disk Emulator.

It's impressive to have a microcontroller with more power than the Apple II strapped on the back of it. Although it does feel like cheating sometimes...

I merely managed to find a switch that perfectly fits the Apple II keyboard encoder for enabling lowercase once the character ROM is updated. It is labeled "ONLEDA MTS-202" and is a knock-off of some old high-quality switch, I'm sure. Good ebay search terms : Right DPDT toggle switch. Just take note of how the pins are oriented to make sure you get the right ones. I'm putting mine away for a rainy day.

A new style of Apple II prototyping card popped up on ebay too. Had to buy one.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

USR-WIFI232 and ADTPro Continued...

I really wanted the standard ADTPro Ethernet connection to work properly so that I don't have to start the ADTPro Server from the command line. Unfortunately, that connection type adds a byte to the start of the ADT packet indicating the packet number. That seems appropriate for the UDP protocol that is used, but that one byte confuses the Apple II client enough that it immediately reports an error. Commenting-out the code that adds the packet number byte allowed me to get everything working, at the expense of out-of-order packets not getting re-ordered. Not a great solution, but it is more convenient now. Really, ADTPro Server just needs a decent interface for its SerialIP mode.

Full details on the ADTPro Support Forum (Archived on the Wayback Machine).

I really like this USR-WIFI232 compared to an Apple II ethernet card. It is compatible with anything that uses the Apple SSC card, has a nice web interface for configuring it, and includes WiFi, at a little over 1/2 the price. Unfortunately, the user guide can be a bit hard to decipher.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

USR-WIFI232 and ADTPro

Based on my testing, the USR-WIFI232 appears to work fairly well with ADTPro giving yet another option for disk transfers. However, you have to set ADTPro to use Virtual Serial over IP (localhost mode). Open the file that gets created (using a text editor, such as TextEdit) and enter the IP address and Port number of your USR-232-WIFI. Quit ADTPro, run it again, and it will connect! I set my USR-WIFI232 device to use the following UART setting from the web interface: 9600,8,None,1,Enable,Disable,Disable, and set complimentary settings on the Super Serial Card (<ctrl-a>14B). ADTPro seems to like 8 data bits, which prevents you from using the USR-WIFI232 AT commands.

I used the ADT Serial Pacing setting of "Pacing: 1000" to get a reliable connection for bootstrapping. I don't think the speed settings are tested with a TCP connection to a real Apple //e.

Once the bootstrapping is successful and ADTPro is running, it was necessary to change the UART settings of the USR-WIFI232 via the web interface to: 19200,8,None,1,Enable,Disable,Disable, as ADTPro only runs at higher speeds.

Uart Setting
Data Bits
485 mode
Baudrate adaptive (RFC2117)

Set the CONFI(G) in ADTPro to 19200 Baud Rate as well. After that was completed, I was able to transfer directory data, and a disk with ADTPro on it!

If the bootstrapped ADTPro gives an error INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND RESTART -ERR -1 when you restart your USR-WIFI232 (due to the hardware handshake, I think), just hit <ctrl>-<reset>, then type 800G<enter> to restart ADTPro.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Final RC2016/01 Thoughts

After some testing, I figured out that the reason I have to run everything at 300 baud has more to do with the screen redraw and processing speed of the Apple //e than the serial card. It's interesting that the Apple SSC manual derisively mentions that "Some printers are slow and do not provide a printer busy, or handshake signal to the Apple II." It provides a setting to delay after a Carriage Return for the printer to move back across the page. This is very similar to what is happening to the Apple //e which loses the first few characters after a line feedscreen scroll. I am sure there is an address on the SSC that can temporarily lower CTS to tell the remote system to wait until the redraw is complete. Anyway, there is plenty of work for a future RetroChallenge. BTW, the server is back up and running again, as it was down for testing most of the day. If you can't access it try later, as I am probably using the Apple //e for something else!

In the mean time, I have a slow server and a new way to communicate with the Apple //e. I also have a nice color monitor, and I have a little more insight into Steve Jobs. Finally, I have a few more project ideas (KIM-//e, more Apple on the web stuff) for future retro challenges. RC2016/01 complete!