Retrochallenge 2016/10 Half Time Report

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking, racing around to come up behind you again. The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older – shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Time, Pink Floyd

Well, one day closer to the end of Retrochallenge 2016/10, anyway.

Have I made much progress since the last update? Maybe not in the grand scheme of things, but I have done a few things…

I opened three of my PSUs to check a part number for Mark Cummings, a fellow Australian enthusiast who is working on schematics and parts lists for Apple ][ power supplies – he and Dean Claxton have already released details of the 240V DynaComp PSU used in the Apple //e (primarily the Enhanced //e).

The other three PSUs will need the pop rivets drilled off, and I just haven’t gotten to that task yet. But I’m that little bit closer to testing the PSUs’ capacitors.

I also put one of my new Synertek 6502s into my new favourite europlus, as well as an NE558 chip which was missing from the motherboard and tried to boot it up.

It’ll definitely need more work – it was crashing out of the CFFA3K boot menu, displaying rubbish on screen, repeatedly crashing to different memory addresses and the cursor even looked odd.

In the end I had to set the Apple ][+ Dealer Diagnostics Disk image as the boot image on another machine. I then was able to boot into the diagnostics software, and I could move around the menu options on that disk via the ESC key, but I couldn’t press Return to run the selected test.

Just as well I’m old and remembered that the Control-M is an alternative way to get the Carriage Return character – it worked! So there may be a problem with the Return keyswitch.

Doing the ROM test said to replace the D0 Applesoft ROM, so that’s another repair task. I’ll try and get to that and cracking open the rest of my PSUs by the end of the week…but that sun is already sinking, racing around to come up behind me again!

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