CSA2 Part 2

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From: tdiaz-a(in_a_circle)-apple2-dotsero-org (Tony Diaz)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.apple2,comp.answers,news.answers
Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.EDU
Followup-To: comp.sys.apple2
Subject: comp.sys.apple2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Part 2/4

Archive-name: apple2/faq/part1
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: August 21 2007
Version: 5.1.38
URL: http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=CSA2_Part_2

The next section is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) posting of the comp.sys.apple2 newsgroup. Copyright (c) 2007 by Tony Diaz (email: tdiaz-a(in_a_circle)-apple2-dotsero-org), all rights reserved. This document can be freely copied so long as 1) it is not sold, 2) any sections reposted elsewhere from it are credited back to this FAQ with the FAQ's copyright info and official WWW location ( http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=CSA2_FAQ) left in place.

This may not be the latest version of this FAQ-- this is an archived copy. For that, drop by http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=CSA2_FAQ

This FAQ may not be sold, bundled on disks or CD-ROMs, reprinted in magazines, books, periodicals, or the like without prior consent from the maintainer, Tony Diaz. Exceptions are explicitly granted for Juiced.GS and _The_Lamp. Email me for permission otherwise.

Big thanks to Nathan Mates, the previous maintainer of this comp.sys.apple2 FAQ, for allowing it to live on after his departure and anyone who took up that mantle before him.

--- Begin part 2 of 4

Section 4: Adding Hardware:

6/13/97 4.1 What cards should go in which slots in my Apple II?

A:This depends on what the card is, and what model your Apple II is. Apple IIs traded the 'IRQ' hassles of IBM PCs for more specific functions as to which functions should go in each slot.

Slot 0
(only available on the Apple ][ and ][+) is pretty much reserved for 'Language Card' 16K RAM upgrades and ROM code for Integer/Applesoft Basic.
Slot 1
tends to be used for printers in pre-GS machines, and either a printer or used for Appletalk in GSs, though most software supports printers in any slot. The printer port in a //c, IIc Plus, and GS (optional-- see the control panel) are all bound to slot 1. On a ROM 00/01 GS with Appletalk on, one of slots 1 & 2 must be set to 'Your card'-- whichever card that is will have its associated port used for the Appletalk connection. In an appletalked ROM 00/01 GS, you may want to place your Hard Drive's card in slot 1 and boot off that. In the ROM 3, you can set slot 1 or 2 to Appletalk directly and use its associated port.
Slot 2
tends to be used for modems and other serial comm devices, though most software supports modems in any slot. The modem port in a //c, IIc Plus, and GS (optional-- see the control panel) are all bound to slot 2. On the GS, it can also be used for Appletalk; see slot 1 above.
Slot 3
is pretty much reserved for 80-column cards, as almost every piece of software under the sun that wants 80 columns assumes that they'll find such a card there. The //e has an extra 'auxillary' slot that provides an alternate slot 3 with extra functionality for RAM/video upgrades. With an 80-column card in the auxillary slot on a //e, a regular card should not be placed in the 'regular' slot 3 unless otherwise noted here. The GS's memory expansion slot does not affect slot 3, but programs wanting to use 80 columns want slot 3 set to that function.

The few exceptions to this use of slot 3 for 80 columns are cards that only take power from the slot, but don't need to communicate to the system, such as Accelerator boards, the 'Swyftcard' for the //e (mini word-processor and other tools in ROM), and certain video boards like Apple's Video Overlay Card (VOC) and Sequential System's Second Sight (SS). The accelerator boards on a GS require a short cable to the CPU socket on the motherboard, so they're limited by distance; slot 3 is a good place to park them. If you find that slot 3 is unavailable with a Zip GS, you can move the Zip to slots 1 or 2 by flipping the cable to the CPU socket on both ends. On a ROM 00/01, slot 3 provides extra video signals required by the VOC or SS, so those boards must go there. ROM 3 GSs provide those signals to slots 1-6, reducing the crowding for that slot.

Slot 4
is the most open of the slots. It tends to be used for mouse controller cards (//e, some //c's, emulated on GS), CP/M cards, or other things.
Slot 5
tends to be used by Smartport and other 3.5" controller cards, or more 5.25" disks. If you don't have such a drive, other cards can be placed in them.
Slot 6
is almost always used for 5.25" drive controller cards. Any software using Apple's UCSD Pascal OS on a 5.25" disk must boot from a 5.25" disk mapped to slot 6. If you don't use such programs or don't use 5.25" disks anymore, this slot may be used for some other functionality.
Slot 7
doesn't have as much of a defined role, but is useful for placing Hard Drive controllers in; Appletalk support in a ROM 00/01 GS and //es with the workstation card require that Slot 7 be set over to Appletalk. [With a GS, move the HD controller to a different slot, and set it to boot off there.]

Before the GS, Apple IIs were set to boot off the disk controller (any type, matching a few identification bytes) in the highest numbered slot. Depending on the type of device, if the disk is not ready, it'll either wait forever for a valid disk (such as the original Disk ][ controller), or give up and let the next highest slot boot. GSs can be set via the text control panel to either 'Scan' the slots in the same order, or boot directly off any slot.

If you occasionally want to boot off a different disk than your default (e.g. HD controller in slot 7, but want to play copy protected games on a 5.25" disk in slot 6), there are some utilities to let you cancel booting off the current drive and boot another. Eric Shepherd's 'ProBoot' program is a good utility to do just that: ftp://apple2.caltech.edu/pub/apple2/addons/patches/proboot52.shk

Can I add more memory to my Apple II?

A: Yes. The hard part is getting machines before the GS to recognize all of it. The Apple ][ and ][+ have a practical limit of about 64K, which is accomplished by the 16K language card in slot 0. [Some accelerators provided 128K, as well as some very old ram cards, but I don't have any real info on that.]

The //e had the widest variety of memory expansion options. The AUX slot used for 80-column cards could also handle memory expansion-- Apple's own Extended 80-column card provided an extra 64K of memory. Other cards in that slot could reportedly add several megs of memory. There were also RAM cards for slots 1-7, the so-called 'slinky' cards, also capable of adding a meg or more. Most of these cards are only available used, but Sequential Systems is still making and selling a 1MB //e RAM card.

Later models of the Apple //c had an internal memory expansion port, which RAM 'cards' could be added internally-- see the section on Apple //cs for how to determine if a //c could have RAM added. Such RAM cards are only available used; Sequential used to make one, but it's not listed anymore on their WWW page.

The problem with adding extra RAM to Apple IIs (before the GS) is that not much software would take advantage of it at all. Only a few programs like Appleworks had any form of support-- versions 1.x or 2.x needed to be patched to recognize more memory, 3.0 and up could use an externally supplied file. [To get the patch or the file, see the disks that came with the RAM card.] Applesoft and Integer Basic, most games, and the like don't care about any RAM beyond the 48-128K they require to run.

The GS, due to its processor design, can directly address up to 16MB of memory (about 2MB is reserved in the GS's design for ROM), though RAM cards only go up to 8MB in a ROM 01 and 7MB in a ROM 3. [The 1MB on the ROM 3's motherboard reduces the RAM card's range] Sequential Systems and Alltech Electronics still sell 2-8MB RAM boards for the GS; there were also lots of other manufacturers. Alltech's Sirius board takes 1MB 30-pin SIMMs, so if you have a cheap source of them, you may find it cheaper to buy an empty board and populate it yourself.

Going to 7 or 8 MB of RAM on a GS is not always recommended. A number of devices, especially Apple's Hi-speed SCSI board, cannot handle DMA (Direct Memory Access, used to speed Hard Drive cards and accelerators) past the first 4MB of RAM, so you may take a performance hit, or the board may not work at all. The RamFAST SCSI board appears to be better about supporting past 4MB RAM, but there are still reports of problems.

The GS can also have //e 'slinky' cards plugged in, but aside from Appleworks and ramdisk support, the memory on these boards is NOT available to GS programs. This is because they are accessed via slots 1-7 manually, one byte at a time in sequential order, while the 65816 wants program RAM to be directly accessible in random order. It would require rewriting a program to address slinky cards from a GS, and as the numbers of those are extremely limited, no real support for them was ever widespread.

Can I accelerate my Apple II?

A: Yes. Over the years, many accelerators were produced for the varios models in the Apple II series. Most of these were slot-based cards such as the AE Transwarp 1-3, though the ZipChip (4 and 8 Mhz models) and RocketChip (5 and 10 Mhz models) were drop-in processor replacements. For the GS, the Transwarp GS and the Zip GS were the only options. No accelerator for any Apple II is available new anymore-- you'll have to look for one used. A separate FAQ for upgrading ZIP GS or TransWarp GS accelerators is available at http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=Accelerator_16_bit.

For only a few dollars, you can buy a faster 65C02/65816 from an electronics parts catalog. However, this most likely won't do you a bit of good without an ungradeable accelerator card. This is because the Apple II's system bus runs at 1Mhz, and provides a 1Mhz signal to the processor socket. The processor derives its timing off that signal; running it at a speed under what it's rated at is perfectly safe and legal. Accelerator cards or chips provide their own oscillator at a faster speed, plus the logic necessary for a chip to interface with the slower 1Mhz bus.

Can I hook up a modem to my Apple II?

A: Yes, most external serial modems should work great with an Apple II. Models such as the //c, IIc+ and IIGS have a serial port built in; the ][, ][+ and //e do not and will need to have one added.

An Apple ][, ][+ or //e with Apple's Super Serial Card and an external modem that's fast enough can connect at 9600 baud fine; 19200 may be iffy. (Past 19200 pretty much requires an accelerated Apple II). There is an addon to the Super Serial Card called the Turbo ASP that has a theoretical maximum of 230,400; see the entry for Lightning Systems in the dealer's section of this FAQ.

The very first revision of the //c motherboard had a faulty serial setup that prevented most machines from reliable serial communications faster than 2400 baud. See the section on the //c in this FAQ for information on how to determine if a system is likely to be affected. Various companies sell cables for the Apple //c's more oddball 5-pin serial ports; check out Atlaz Computer Supply (516-239-1854) or LYBEN Computer Systems at (800) 493-5777.

The GS (and probably the IIc Plus) and the appropriate software (such as ProTERM, Spectrum or ANSITerm) can connect at up to 57600 baud. (Once again, an accelerator is recommended for the higher speeds).

For any Apple II, speeds past 9600 pretty much require you to get a 'Hardware Handshaking' modem cable. This is a cable with connections between the handshaking pins (cheapo cables may only have the 3 wires necessary to do simple serial) and thus allows the computer to tell the modem that it is temporarily too busy to receive data, so the modem doesn't send more data until the computer's ready.

Internal modems for Apple IIs only seem to have gone up to 2400 baud, which was fast for the time the boards were made, but is now fairly outdated. You cannot use internal PC modems in Apple IIs.

Can I hook up a LaserWriter, DeskJet, etc to my Apple //e?

A: A number of them. The best bet is probably the HP DeskJet series.

Most supported printers have either regular serial or parallel connections. The tricky part is getting the software to do what you want. The DeskJet, for example will print very nice-looking text with regular old "PR#1". But if you want to change the font or print graphics, you may have to purchase some software. One excellent program for these types of printers is PublishIt 4.

For AppleWorks fans, there is the program called SuperPatch. Among it's patches is a cool DeskJet 500 (most DeskJet 6xx printers should be compatible, but check the documentation) printer driver. You can print sideways, and change fonts with normal AppleWorks commands. The DeskJet driver is built in to AW 4.0 and later.

The Apple Stylewriter family is not supported by any //e program to my knowledge.

Can I hook up a Laser printer, ink jet, or bubble jet printer to my Apple IIGS?

A:In short: a number of them, but not all. Please look through the following list to check if a particular model you're looking at is supported. Also, the following applies to all programs which support the GS system toolbox methods for talking to printers through drivers. Most GS programs support this; Print Shop GS is an exception-- it'll pretty much only work with the printers listed in the program, and then only at its printing resolutions.

On the GS, you can hook up most LaserWriters made by Apple via AppleTalk-- if it supports Postscript and Appletalk, it should work. [Apple's Quickdraw printers are not usable.] A GS program can typically print to a LaserWriter if it's connected to the GS via AppleTalk; just install the LaserWriter drivers from the System 6 disks. Note that some LaserWriters from Apple may be 'Quickdraw,' not true Postscript printers, so they won't work from the GS. The Laserwriter, Laserwriter II, LW IINT, LW IINTX are all known to work fine.

Of the Apple Stylewriter family, ONLY the original Stylewriter will work on the GS, and then only from GS/OS with the System 6 drivers. As Apple has not written drivers or released the specifications so that drivers could be written by third parties, none of the rest of the Stylewriter models works when connected to a GS.

The HP DeskWriter family is mostly only for Macintoshes; the DeskJet 3xx, 5xx or 6xx (xx= any 2 numbers, plus some optional letters) printer families is much more friendly to all models of the Apple II. If you get a DeskJet, or PaintJet, etc, you can hook them up via a parallel printer card or serial cable depending on what ports the printer has. The exceptions to this are HP's recent 'Windows Only' printers, such as the HP DJ 820C models, which don't work at all with Apple IIs.

But, in order to use pretty much any inkjet or bubblejet printer that the GS can talk to effectively, you will need Harmonie (originally published by Vitesse; now taken over by Joe Kohn's Shareware Solutions II (better-- supports color printing on HP inkjets that have such support built in) or Independence (cheaper, but only black & white printing) from Seven Hills. They are new printer drivers for GS/OS programs only. These two programs extend the ranges of printers supported by the GS. If you want to print from an 8-bit program, see the previous question.

Harmonie's drivers also support a number of printer modes that other printers can handle. Apparently the Canon BJ-200e works well with Harmonie 2.1's Epson LQ or Epson LQ 4000 drivers.

As provided by Richard Der, here is a list of printers and such supported by Harmonie; there may be other printers that are compaible with such models listed here, but are not listed. Nobody's gotten a list of printers supported by Independence to me yet, unfortunately.

Printers supported by Harmonie:

Printer Type Notes
Canon 1080 Canon Dot Matrix
HP DeskJet (or DeskWriter) Ink-Jet--
DeskJet Manual states all DeskJet and DeskJet 5xx drivers
DeskJet 500C work with DeskWriter series of the same number
DeskJet 520 using the high speed Printer 57.6 serial port
DeskJet 550C driver included with on the disk)
DeskJet 560C *560C driver is compatible with DJ/DW 600C and 660C
printers. The DJ 400 is like th DJ 600C. The DJ 560C
driver is listed as a 600x300dpi one whereas all the
rest are 300x300dpi. [Other models like the 680C/682C
should work also.]
Epson LQ (Epson LQ drivers work with Canon BJ models for
Epson LQ 4000 hi-res 360dpi printing. Some older models have
Epson LQ 800 dip switches that must be set to enable automatic
Epson emulation -> for example, the BJ-200e
requires DIP switch 12 to be set to ON. The printer
manual should say what to do for the specific model.
BJ-10e, BJ 100, BJ-200, BJ-210, BJ-4100, and BJ-600
models also list Epson LQ emulation and should work
with one or more of these drivers.)
Epson MX 80 Epson 9-pin Dot Matrix
LaserJet (Newer LaserJet models also work with these drivers
LaserJetIIP as are any HP compatible laser printers)
LaserJet III

Printer Type Notes
Misc. Dot Matrix Printers
Okimate 2
Panasonic 1124
Misc. Ink-Jet--
HP PaintJet

Users have reported that the HP Deskjet 690C works well with the Harmonie 560C driver, as expected.

I'd like to to see this list contiain of all printers that are 1) officially supported by Harmonie/Independence, 2) not officially listed, but a driver exists that works well with them and 3) don't work at all with Apple IIs.

Can I use Macintosh RGB or IBM VGA/SVGA Monitors with my ][?

A: Not normally. Even with the GS's RGB monitor connector, the GS puts out a 15Khz horizontal refresh signal. Most modern monitors (notable exceptions are the old NEC Multisync 1 and 2 monitors) require the signal to be at least 30Khz, and thus won't display the picture. If you have a question on whether a given monitor will work, check the manual for it or contact the manufacturer to see if it'll support 15Khz horizontal syncs. Older Apple II RGB cards (such as those to extend AE Ramworks cards) should have the same problem.

The one way to bridge the "use Apple II monitors with Apple IIs" rule of thumb is to purchase the Second Sight (tm) VGA display board from Sequential Systems. (See the dealers section of this FAQ for their address and WWW page). The Second Sight mirrors Apple II video modes fairly well onto the VGA display, as well as supplying some VGA modes that programmers have begun to tap into. With it, you can connect VGA/SVGA monitors to your //e or GS

If you are desperate for a monitor, the Apple II line puts out a video signal from the back port that can be hooked into the 'line in' port of a NTSC VCR or modern TVs-- just use a male-male RCA phono jack, which electronics shops should carry. Alternatively, a 'RF Converter' (try your local Radio Shack or the equivalent) can be used to connect that signal to a TV without a 'line in' connector.

Can I use my GS Monitor on a Mac or PC?

A:As stated above in using other monitors on the GS, the GS monitor expects a 15Khz horizontal refresh signal. In addition, the monitor itself has an 0.37" dot pitch, which as far as modern monitors go, that is atrocious. It'd be best to get a monitor designed for other systems on them.

If trying to connect to a Macintosh, only the original Mac Nubus 8-bit (256-color) video card is known to work with the GS's monitor. Once connected, you'll be able to do 640x480 in interlaced mode. [Interlaced mode is flickery to many people, and a very subpar video mode]

I have never heard of anyone successfully connecting the GS monitor to a PC; you'd need to find a video board you could program to get the 15Khz horizontal refresh signal out, and then you'd still probably be locked to the 640x480 interlaced mode.

Can the Apple II connect to keyboards, mice, etc. from other platforms?

A: IBM PC keyboards are almost impossible to connect to any Apple II directly; the only possibility is to buy a device used to connect such a keyboard to a Macintosh, and try that with your GS. [The 'PC Transporter' addon card supports PC keyboards, but only in IBM PC mode; can't use them for Apple II programs.]

IBM PC Serial Mice (usually have 9-pin serial connectors) can be connected to Apple //es with Sequential System's board. Although the connector is shaped identically, the //c, //e, and GS's 9-pin joystick port in back is not a serial port; serial mice just won't work if connected to it. (If you have a GS, just buy a Mac ADB mouse and use that)

Most Macintosh (except for the ones with the phone jack connector, such as the original Mac and Mac 512) keyboards and mice are Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) devices. ADB made its debut on the Apple IIGS; it was later adopted by the Mac SE and other computers in the line. This means that most Mac ADB mice and keyboards will work on the GS. There are no reported incompatabilities with Mac mice that I've heard about, though multibutton mice may only have one button work on the GS.

Macintosh keyboards may not work; here is a list of ones known to work and not, compiled by Bradley P. Von Haden (bpvh@primenet.com)

The Apple IIgs can use some Mac ADB keyboards. I have compiled the following list of keyboards that do and do not work with an Apple IIgs. Additions/corrections encouraged.

ADB Keyboards that work with an Apple IIgs:

Apple ADB Keyboards I and II
Apple AppleDesign Keyboard
Apple Extended Keyboard
Apple Extended Keyboard II
Adesso 105 Extended Keyboard
Adesso 102 Ext. Kybd w/ Trackball Trackball does NOT work
AlphaSmart Pro ADB keyboard
Arriva Extended
Interex Mac-105A Extended
Key Tronic MacPro Plus
OptiMac Extended Keyboard
PowerUser 105E Extended Keyboard
SIIG, Inc MacTouch Model 1905
SIIG, Inc TrueTouch ROM 03 only
Sun OmniMac Ultra extended, ADB type
Suntouch ADB Extended Keyboard
VividKey Extended Keyboard

ADB Keyboards that do not work with an Apple IIgs:

Apple Adjustable Keyboard Half works only
MacALLY Peripherals Extended Keyboard
MicroSpeed Keyboard Deluxe MAC

Not Sure (basic):

Adesso Easy Touch ext kb Adesso ProPoint ext kb w/ thinkpad Adesso Easy Touch ext kb Alps GlidePoint kb ClubMac Extended Keyboard Datadesk MAC 101 E Datadesk TrackBoard Key Tronic Trak Pro Plus Performance Soft Touch Personal ext kb Performance Soft Touch Extended Keyboard Spring Sun Tech MacPride 97 Spring Sun Tech MacPride 105 Spring Sun Tech MacPride 110 [MAC/IBM switchable] Spring Sun Tech MacPride KidBoard Spring Sun Tech MacPride Strong Man

Not Sure (ergonomic):

Adesso NUForm Ergonomic ext kb Adesso NUForm Ergomomic ext kb w/ pointer Adesso NUForm Ergonomic ext kb w/ touch pad Adesso Tru-From Ergonomic ext kb Adesso Tru-Form Ergonomic ext kb w/ pointer Adesso Tru-Form Ergonomic ext kb w/ touchpad

Some have noted that the Adesso NUForm keyboard works only on a ROM 3 system, but not a ROM 00/01. The 'MACPride Strong Man' keyboard is reported to work fine on a GS. Also, the 'Alphasmart' keyboard (http://www.alphasmart.com) is reported by its manufacturer as GS-compatible.

I want a Y-adapter for my GS keyboard.

A: Redmond Cable has an ADB Y-connector cable for separating your mouse from the side of your keyboard (also can be used to work around a failing ADB port on the keyboard). See the Resources section (10.2) of this FAQ,

Can I hook up a scanner up to my //e or IIGS? Can it do OCR?

A: Yes and Yes. (OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition -- the ability to convert a scan into text) Just pick up a Quickie scanner (by Vitesse) and InWords (by WestCode Software). You can scan 4" columns (you must have 512K to 1 Meg) and can even paste them together to make 8" scans. Then you can use InWords to "read" text and put it into a text file or AppleWorks Word Processor file.

[Update, 3/15/97: it does not appear that InWords is being sold anymore by WestCode software. I've emailed the company to try and determine its status.] Apple put partially completed support for a few Apple flatbed scanners onto the System 6.0 Golden Master CD, but the test program for it could not save a scan to a file. No programs are known to support various popular TWAIN-compliant scanners such as those from HP.

What about clock/calendar capabilities?

The GS is the only machine in the Apple II family to have a built-in clock/calendar. There were a number of clock/calendar cards for the ][, ][+ and //e. ProDOS 8 had built-in support for the Thunderclock' without any modifications; other cards may require their own drivers to be installed, or may emulate a Timemaster H.O. The 'No Slot Clock' (still being sold by Alltech Electronics and possibly others) fits under a ROM chip in the ][, ][+, //e, //c and IIc Plus, allowing them clock capabilities.

ProDOS 8 does have a problem in its year calculating code-- the designers assumed that a table holding only 6 years would be sufficient. They were wrong. You'll have to patch ProDOS every few years to keep it up to date; a text file including a Basic program is on Apple's FTP site: ftp://ftp.apple.com/dts/aii/sys.soft/slotclock-patch.txt

Can a Disk ][ be used on a GS smartport?

A: Yes. Contact Jameco Electronics (http://www.jameco.com, phone: 1-800-831-4242) S20 PIN HEADER TO DB19-PIN CONNECTOR MODULE ADAPTS II/II+ DRIVES FOR APPLE IIC. PART NO: 10022 PRODUCT NO.: AAM APPLE IIC ADAPTER $3.95

If you don't mind some soldering, you can make this cable up yourself. Take a look at h**p://www.visi.com/~nathan/a2/faq/diskiicable.html WE NEED A COPY OF THIS

Can the Apple II connect to 3.5" drives or flopticals for other platforms?

A: For 400K or 800K Mac 3.5" drives, in general, no. Apple's 3.5" drive that was sold with Apple IIGSs has logic to sense which machine it is hooked up to (Apple II or Macintosh) and it works accordingly. Most 3rd party drives don't bother to put in Apple II support in their drives. Some may work if you hook them up to a UDC instead of an Apple 3.5" inch card. Old style Mac 800k drives are very slow.

Mac 1.44MB (High Density) 3.5" drives can be used if you have both both the High Density 3.5" drive and the new Apple 3.5" superdrive controller card. If you don't have both, you will only be able to do regular density (800K). Of course, you will also need High Density Disks. ProDOS 8 programs not only recognize the 1.44MB disks, but most programs format and recognize HD disks just fine. You can even boot off of a HD disk, allowing plenty of room for GS/OS Desk Accessories and such. There are a few drawbacks: you cannot boot copy-protected software or some FTA demos. Also, you can't daisy-chain a 5.25" off a HD card. Also, it takes up a slot, even on the GS.

Unfortunately, Apple never seemed to have sold very many of the Superdrive controller card, while used superdrives are apparently plentiful, so you may have a hard time getting your hands on a superdrive controller card.

The SCSI Floptical drive (also rare, but may be a bit easier to find) can also read and write 1.44MB and 720K disks, as well as its special 21MB disks, but not 400K or 800K Apple II disks. You'd need a SCSI controller card, and special drivers with an Apple High Speed SCSI board or a recent ROM version with the RamFAST board. For more information, please see the Apple II & Floptical FAQ at http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=Floptical, and this FAQ's section on SCSI.

IBM PC 3.5" drives (as well as all sorts of low and high density 5.25" drives) can be connected only with the (discontinued) Applied Engineering PC Transporter card, or the Bluedisk card from SHH Systems (See the section on dealers and hardware addons of this FAQ for their address and WWW page).

There are also reports that the "CTI Drive" allows you to hook up IBM 3.5" and 5.25" disk drives (no High Density support yet) to your Apple II. [IBM drives are cheaper] Some software is included to read MS/DOS disks on your Apple. Otherwise, ProDOS and GS/OS recognize them like normal drives. Unfortunately, information on this "CTI drive" is minimal at best, and nobody's responded to my requests for more information on them.

How about hooking up cheap IDE Hard Drives?

A: ///SHH Systeme makes several IDE controller cards for the Apple II family; they claim to be as fast to faster than the RamFAST card.See http://users.ids.net/~kerwood/shh.html, or contact jlange@tasha.muc.de for details like technical specs, pricing, and S/H procedure.

Their Microdrive card supported only 256MB of capacity per drive, and 2 drives per card. The MicroDrive/Turbo supports 2GB per drive and 2 drives per card. [Sizes of drives are always increasing, but you should be able to connect a drive larger than that.]

Can an Apple II connect to a SCSI device?

SCSI is a protocol (method of transmitting data) that lets you hook up to 8 SCSI devices on a SCSI bus (SCSI devices connected together). There are Hard Drives, tape drives, CD-ROM drives, scanners, and more available as SCSI devices.

To get SCSI on an Apple II, you need to buy and install a SCSI card. (//cs and IIc Pluss have no native SCSI cards, but Chinook (later bought out by Sequential) made a Smartport capable drive as your only choice for HDs). At first, there was the Apple Rev 'C' SCSI card (named after the final ROM version--all previous versions MUST be upgraded to work with current software). There were several clones from the likes of CMS and Chinook. Then Apple came out with it's High Speed DMA SCSI card. This has the ability to do Direct Memory Access to the RAM in your computer, which speeds things up. This created a lot of problems with cards that were not DMA compatible.

CV Technologies (bought out by Sequential Systems) also has a DMA SCSI card called the RamFast. This card has 256K or 1MB of on-board RAM to make it even faster than Apple's card. It can also supply terminator power if you drive does not supply it. Both of the new cards support things like SCSI tape backup units, removable SCSI drives, SCSI CD-ROM, and of course SCSI hard drives. Both the new cards also require an Enhanced //e. RamFasts have had their ROM upgraded many times; you may want to look into getting the latest if you have removable devices such as Flopticals, CD-Roms, Zip Disks, and tape drives.

Most fixed and removable SCSI disks can be connected to Apple IIs with the addition of a SCSI card. People have used Zip, Syquests, Bernoulli, CD-ROMs, Floptical devices. With older revisions of the SCSI cards, they may NOT recognize them as removable devices, leading to crashes and/or data corruption if you switch removable disks with the computer on. Most SCSI HDs can also be used, but certain SCSI II devices that insist that the SCSI card have a SCSI ID (the Quantum Fireball seems to be one of the main culprits) won't work with at least the RamFAST 3.01f ROM version and possibly others.

There are separate mini-FAQs for connecting Floptical and CD-ROM devices; you may view them at http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=Floptical and http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=Apple_II_CD-ROM

You must manually give each device it's own unique ID number from 0-7. The SCSI card is usually set to 7. On a SCSI chain, there must be a Terminator (a bunch of resistors) at each end. Some drives have internal terminators (3 small yellow-orange packs) that can be switched on and off, and some drives come with an external terminator (a "plug" to put on the back of the drive). Nothing other than the ends of the chain should be terminated.

Also, somebody on the bus must supply terminator power (one of the SCSI lines). If There are any problems (multiple things with the same ID, too much termination or not enough, or no terminator power), you may be able to use the drive, but your data will get corrupted. Most of the time, the computer will refuse to recognize the drive.

There are two types of SCSI cables: the 50 pin Centronics-type (like on parallel printers) or the 25-pin "D" connector. The 50-pin is the SCSI standard, the 25-pin is the Apple standard. There are also cables with the 50-pin centronics connector on one side and the 25 pin "D" connector on the other.

Tips on setting up a SCSI system:

  • Joe Walters, bird@mcs.net has updated the RamFast/SCSI manual, and allowed it to be posted online. The WWW version is available at
  • You can have multiple drives on one SCSI card, just make sure you remove the termination on all the drives but the last one. This is because the newer SCSI cards are terminated (and they count as a SCSI device).
  • Always check that the cords are plugged in properly. Never connect/disconnect anything when the computer is on.
  • SCSI ID numbers 0 and 7 tend to have special meanings; the Apple High Speed SCSI displays multiple copies of partitions online if a drive has that ID. Use 1-6 instead.
  • The Apple High Speed SCSI card is not DMA compatible past the first 4.25MB of RAM on a GS ROM 00/01 (5MB on a ROM 3). If you've got more than that amount of RAM, and are noticing some problems in your system (especially with Alltech's Sirius Ram card), you may want to consider turning off DMA.
  • The computer will boot the hard drive with the highest SCSI ID, which should be ID 6.
  • Try letting the drive 'warm up' for 15 seconds before turning the computer on. The SCSI cards look for drives only at startup, and may ignore any drives that are not ready.
  • If problems persist, try turning off DMA. If this helps, you may have a non-DMA compatible card, such as the early versions of the TransWarp, early versions of the GS RAM, or any 8-bit accelerator. Alternately, try setting up a RAM disk for all but 4 MB. Some RAM cards can only do DMA in the first bank.
  • Check that each device has a unique ID. Most drives have a thumbwheel on the back to set the ID. Your SCSI card (yes, it counts too) is probably ID 7. Number your drives from 6 downwards for best compatibility. The IDs have nothing to do with what slot the card is in.
  • Is there a terminator at each end of the SCSI bus? (the DMA cards are terminated, and some drives are internally terminated.)
  • Try the software that came with the card. It may give helpful diagnostic messages (I.E. the Apple DMA SCSI utilities-- Does it say "No Apple SCSI card found" or "No SCSI devices found"?)
  • RamFast boards have gone through many ROM revisions. The latest is 3.01f; if you want to use any removable disks (Zip/Syquest disks, CD-Roms, Flopticals, tape backups), you should contact Sequential Systems (see above for address) to purchase a ROM upgrade for your board.
  • Do you get the message "Unable to Load ProDOS"? If so, it's booting your drive but you have no system software on it. Try hitting Control-Reset, then PR#5 (or PR#6) to boot a floppy. Then install the system software (i.e. ProDOS or GS/OS).
  • In extreme cases, try reformatting the drive, repartitioning, and re-installing the System software.
  • If the drive access light blinks in a regular pattern before the computer is turned on, it is telling you that it has a hardware malfunction. It needs to be serviced.
  • Did you try re-installing the System software? Many times, the data on a drive will get corrupted if you run the drive with improper terminators or conflicting SCSI ID's. Sometimes you will not notice the corrupted data until after you fix the problem. If re-installing the System software helps, it was probably a software problem, not a hardware problem.
  • The Apple HS DMA SCSI card requires an Enhanced //e. It will not work on the older //e without an Enhancement Kit.
  • To really put a drive through it's paces, copy a LOT of stuff from one partition to another (copy the entire partition if you can). If there is a problem with DMA or SCSI ID's, it will probably show up as a strange GS/OS error. (GS only)
  • Make sure you do not have the Apple SCSI drivers installed if you have a RamFast. It may cause random problems (they leave an interrupt handler dangling if they can't find their card.) (GS only)
  • Make sure you are booting the right slot. If the card is in slot 7, you can set the startup slot to Scan or 7. (GS only)
  • If you boot up and only 1 partition shows up, you need to install the SCSI drivers. (GS only)
  • If you boot up and it says "Drive XXX is already on the desktop" over and over: Probably a SCSI ID problem. (GS only)
  • If you add a CD-ROM, drivers are availiable from Trantor Systems LTD, 5415 Randall Place, Fremont, CA 94538 (415)770-1400 (GS only)
  • At least one device must supply terminator power to the bus (Pin 26). The Apple Cards do not supply this, and some drives don't either. Result: The drive won't be seen by any software.
  • Some CMS Platinum drives had pin 40 disconnected for obscure Mac compatibility reasons. This can cause problems with the Apple IIs.
  • Make sure you use the drivers from GS/OS, and not the ones that ship with the Apple HS SCSI card. (Doesn't apply to RamFast).
  • To low-level format an AE Vulcan drive, go into PART.MANAGER, move the highlight to "format" and type "AE". Then say yes to all the prompts.

What about internal Hard Drives?

There were a few models of internal HDs made for Apple IIs over the years. Applied Engineering's Vulcan and Applied Ingenuity's InnerDrive were both power supply replacements that had the HD in the power supply and a cable running off to a card in one of the slots. These tended to fail a lot; to low-level format an AE Vulcan drive, go into PART.MANAGER, move the highlight to "format" and type "AE". Then say yes to all the prompts.

Alltech Electronics is currently manufacturing their 'Focus' line of internal hard drive cards, which is a HD on a card with all of the necessary interface on the card. Contact them for drive sizes (20-500MB versions appear to be available) and pricing.

What about a Parallel port Zip drive?

This is theoretically possible, but would require a very extensive amount of work. Your best bet is to get a SCSI Zip drive, and connect that to an Apple II SCSI card (see section 4.15 above), and use that.

Here's a rundown on the problems with a parallel Zip drive: such a connection requires a bidirectional (2-way communication) parallel card. 95+% of all Apple II parallel cards are unidirectional and won't work, except for the rather rare Apple Profile controller card. Next, there's the issue of talking to it. Thanks to the publically available Linux kernel source code, you could examine driver source and port it to the Apple II. After that, only the GS appears able to read PC-formatted Zip Disks (see section 5.8 "How do I read/write files from other platforms with an Apple IIGS?"); no non-GS reader exists to my knowledge.

What's this ProFILE hard disk, and how do I use it?

A: Apple's ProFILE drive was a 5 or 10MB HD with a parallel port connection. While the cable may fit (a missing pin in the connector didn't block the connection) fine in the SCSI port on an Apple II SCSI card or Macintosh, it will NOT work as a SCSI device. It requires a special (and apparently much rarer) ProFILE interface board to fit in an Apple II or III. Regular parallel cards for the Apple II were not bidirectional transmission capable, so they won't work. As that drive was much slower than SCSI, and is now much rarer, general users should consider going for a SCSI or IDE controller.

How about a replacement power supply?

A: There are several places that sell replacement power supplies, such as Alltech Electronics and other replacement parts stores. [See section 10.2 for addresses, etc of these vendors]

If you don't mind having the power supply not inside your Apple II, Stephen Buggie takes power supplies designed for IBM PCs, and fits them with plugs for either GS or ][, ][+, or //e. These sit outside your Apple II (which helps reduce heat inside the case), and are reported to work quite well. Various levels of power (150W - 250W) models are available. For more information, contact Stephen Buggie at buggie@unm.edu.

What are the pinouts for all the various Apple II connectors?

A: You can find them at the pinouts page. Apple II Pinouts

There are a lot more questions with answers not included directly in this FAQ; please see http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=CSA2_FAQ for more of them.

Copyright 1998 - 2007 by Tony Diaz

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