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#1 2016-09-17 13:32:25

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 886
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Apple II without Floppies?

Running into some problems with my Apple II.

The machine itself works fine, but the drive is junk. I'd been running into load issues with it for some time, with some disks working and some not, disks only loading with the drive turned on its side, unable to format good disks and so on. I rebuilt the drive around three years ago, greasing the internal components and tightening the belts. However it didn't improve the situation.

Yesterday I had the machine on display at an Apple dealer. The drive continued acting up, so we loaded everything from the Apple II Game Server using the cassette interface. Worked a treat. However we wanted to load software from the Apple II Disk Server as well, and since all of those insist on formatting and writing to a disk when loaded, we needed the use of that defective drive.

I rebuilt the drive again tonight and found some of the grease had leaked over into the disk mechanism and around the heads. Cleaned it up, greased it properly and tightened the drive belt, using thread locker on the screws to prevent the motors shifting around.


Now the bastard won't read a damn thing. It doesn't even try to read a disk when the machine is powered on, although I can hear the drive performing its startup sequence and the motor does spin. Attempted to adjust the stepper thinking that was out of alignment, but one of the retaining nuts sheared off, so those need to be replaced as well. (It became apparent after that the stepper disc appears to have slipped on the shaft, in turn misaligning track zero but still a rather easy fix.)

It would be significantly easier (although not quite as authentic) to eliminate the drive from the loop entirely. I don't mind loading software over the cassette interface, but it looks like most software out there needs some form of drive attached to work, which kills that option.

I don't have access to Ethernet or Serial cards either, which complicates the matter. Even so, tools like ADTPro seem dependent on using those interfaces to transfer data to the Apple II to then be written down to floppy disks, and we want to do without the drive completely.


I know eventually the solution will be "buy a Floppy Emu", which is on the cards once I stop having to sink thousands into, well, life.


Any ideas?


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#2 2016-09-19 13:43:08

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 886
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Re: Apple II without Floppies?

Decided to have another shot at rebuilding the Disk II. Some replacement fasteners, screws and a timing light should hopefully do it. Will post my progress once I start building it up.

Still, if anyone does come up with a way to transfer disk images to the Apple II without a floppy drive, I'd still be interested to hear it.


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#3 2016-09-19 16:39:36

mcdermd
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From: Corvallis, OR
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 968
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Re: Apple II without Floppies?

Can't you use the bootstrap mode in ADTPro to send over a disk image to boot from? I mean, it would have to fit in memory, obviously.

Last edited by mcdermd (2016-09-19 16:41:25)


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#4 2016-09-19 18:03:10

Eudimorphodon
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Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 525

Re: Apple II without Floppies?

iMic wrote:

Still, if anyone does come up with a way to transfer disk images to the Apple II without a floppy drive, I'd still be interested to hear it.

If you're satisfied being limited to software that can be run from the Prodos command line you can boot a special hacked version from ADTPro that can map Prodos disk images to virtual drives:

http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/bootstrap … rial_Drive

But obviously this comes with a lot of if, ands, or buts and will prevent you from running most "self-booter" packaged games, DOS 3.3 software, etc. What model II do you have? If it's something older than an enhanced IIe you might run into other problems as well.

For totally diskless operation the holy grail is a CFFA3000, but those are crazy money.


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#5 2016-09-19 22:54:52

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 886
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Re: Apple II without Floppies?

mcdermd wrote:

Can't you use the bootstrap mode in ADTPro to send over a disk image to boot from? I mean, it would have to fit in memory, obviously.

I suppose that's the main limitation - without a disk drive it can't swap back and forth. Damn.


Eudimorphodon wrote:

What model II do you have? If it's something older than an enhanced IIe you might run into other problems as well.

For totally diskless operation the holy grail is a CFFA3000, but those are crazy money.

An Apple II Europlus (II+ 240V PAL Version).


Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#6 2016-09-20 00:00:44

Eudimorphodon
Member
Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 525

Re: Apple II without Floppies?

iMic wrote:

An Apple II Europlus (II+ 240V PAL Version).

Hrm. Well, I guess the version of Prodos that ADTPro pushes is technically compatible with IIplus-es so it might work anyway. For the most part, though, I sort of consider pre-IIe ][s the domain of DOS 3.3 software so I wouldn't bet too heavily on what you want to run working via a VSDrive boot.

I imagine you're aware of this already, but the FloppyEMU might not be the best choice for pairing with a II plus. The big limitation is when paired with the Disk][ controller card is it'll only work read-only. (Supposedly 5 1/4" write support works if you have the later 19 pin Smartport-compatible equivalent controller instead; I only say "supposedly" because I haven't gotten around to testing it on my IIgs yet, in part because I'm sort of frustrated with some daisy-chaining limitations it has on that platform.) I wish these two alternatives were easier to get your hands on:

http://tulip-house.ddo.jp/DIGITAL/UNISDISK/english.html

http://a2heaven.com/webshop/index.php?r … uct_id=124

They look like they might be a better match for a IIplus. But I have yet to figure out how to actually order either one.


Flap Different.

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#7 2016-09-20 19:23:35

volvo242gt
Member
From: Duvall, WA
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 409
Website

Re: Apple II without Floppies?

Michael,

Have the MC3470 and 74LS125 chips been replaced on the analog board?  When those blow, the symptoms you describe appear.  I'd first try replacing the 74LS125.  You can use a 74125 or a 74HC125 as a subsitute, if you don't have the LS125 on hand.  The 3470 is harder to find, since it hasn't been produced for a few years.  Here in the states, I think Jameco and JDR Microdevices may still stock it.

-J


modern: Mac Pro 2.8GHz 8-core 6GB/500G/DVD-RW, A1150 MBP 2GHz CD, 2GB/80G/DVD-RW
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#8 2016-09-21 00:07:26

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 886
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Re: Apple II without Floppies?

74LS125 was replaced a few months ago. Drive worked fine after that, so MC3470 was working.

When I re-checked the drive again recently, the alignment dot on the head positioning disk wasn't even close to where it should be for track zero, so I suspect that's the issue. I can't reassemble the drive though until I replace the mounting screws for the stepper motor (old ones are sheared off), so I'll find out whether it works again after that's done.


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Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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