Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Retro redux: a2usbdsk Release

RetroChallenge 2017/10 is way over and I got sidetracked about half-way through. Way too much IRL stuff got in the way. However, I have had a little bit of time recently to try and finish off my project. Upon reviewing my A2-SPI-DSK tool, I noticed some problems in my code. It was causing some serious issues with getting it to compile and work correctly. I guess that’s one of the issues with trying to write that much code in a month.

Anyway I’ve had some time recently to get things working, and completed the a2usbdsk v1.5 tool (Download). It now works perfectly to get a virtual disk to a real Apple II via USB. In addition, I added support for a second drive. I was so happy to see it boot a disk again! It is still read-only, but I have some ideas for that issue.

So, if you are developing Apple II software, you can write it in Xcode with cc65, then when you build it, just add a line to your makefile like: /usr/local/bin/a2usbdsk -1 $(PGM).dsk

This will mount the disk image and make it available to your Apple II over USB via the A2-USB-DSK. The A2-USB-DSK is easy to build using the schematics below and a CJMCU-232H FT232H module available on eBay for less than $10. Total build including the other ICs and a proto-board should be in the $20 range.

I created a branch of Jeremy Rand's Apple2BuildPipeline project to showcase how it works in a real project. Hopefully I can get a video up in the next few days.

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