Merlin 8 Working Diskette

I’ve been having doubts about my Apple //c for months now.  After doing diagnostics on my system, I’ve come to realize that my problems were based on bad diskette media.

Back in March, when Assembly Lines became available, I downloaded a copy and was working though it using AppleWin and Merlin 8.  I wanted to create a diskette in order to work on my Apple //c, but when I attempted it I could not get all the files copied over to a working diskette.

Now that I’ve narrowed my problems down to bad diskette media, I tried again today.  The diskette I was using last time was not DS/DD, it was DS/HD which can cause problems.  I spent a couple of hours tonight and set up a working 800k diskette.  I started up the Systems Utilities diskette copied the PRODOS and the BASIC.SYSTEM files and then ran the NO SLOT CLOCK utilities to setup the working diskette to work with the clock.  I then went back to the System Utilities disk and copied its files to a separate directory on the working directory.  Finally, I created a directory for Merlin and copied the two diskettes full of files for merlin into it.

Finally, once the diskette was complete, I made an image with ADTPro to use as a backup.

As a final note, I ordered a hard cover edition of Assembly Lines from LULU.com while waiting for files to be copied.  The PDF version was really nice to have available, but there is nothing like having a book in hand.

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Posted in Apple //c, Programming

Clean Up

Earlier this year, I lost the directory where I kept my downloadable diskette images.  These images were ones I created for this blog.

I had no direct backup for this directory so I spent some time going over my computers, looking for copies of these images.  I found copies for four of the five diskette images.  I’ve created a new directory and placed the copies in it.  The links have been repaired, although I removed the link for the missing image and when I find that, I will add the link back in.

 

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Diskettes

I had a package of 25 diskettes I bought last July. They sat for a long time without me checking them out. When I finally got around to trying them I had several of them that I couldn’t use. I set them all aside until yesterday, when I opened the package again.  I went through them and fifteen of them would not move inside their black case. Even though they came in a sealed plastic bag with a label on it, they showed signs of having something spilled on them. The tyvek sleeves were wrinkled like something had gotten on them and the sheets of labels that came with them had obviously been wet.

There were ten diskettes that didn’t seem to have anything on them.  I booted up a copy of Diversi Copy by Bill Basham and formatted these remaining diskettes. I don’t know if it does anything different from the ProDos System Utilities, but it feels like it.  Diversi Copy shows writing and verifing as it formats. As it works, Diversi Copy shows the drive speed, a little slow.

Normally, when I buy something like these diskettes, I check them out thoroughly when they come in.  If there are any problems, I can address them with the vendor.  In this case I didn’t, so I not only can’t address the problem with the vendor, but I wouldn’t even try.  As far as I’m concerned, they sold me good merchandise.

 

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Posted in Apple //c, Apple IIe

Diagnostics

I’ve downloaded several programs for my Apple II’s and had problems with them.  They seem to run fine on AppleWin, but when I try to run them on the Apple II’s I have problems.

I figured it was time to troubleshoot the problem.  I started with the //c, since I’m more familiar with it.  As I had it set up, there were too many variables.  I disconnected everything except the TV which I use as a monitor.

Diagnostics for the //c seemed like a good place to start.

I booted it up and the first menu choice is Rom Test, which again seemed like a good place to start. Rom’s D0, D8, E0, E8, F0, and F8 all checked out.

The next logical test looked like the Ram Tests. Motherboard Ram Auto First, 800.FFF, 1000.1FFF, 2000.3FFF, 3000.4FFF, 4000.7FFF, 7000.7FFF, D000.DFFF, E000.EFFF, and F000.F800, which is where the program appears to stop.

After rebooting, Auxiliary Ram Auto was next, 800.FFF, 1000.1FFF, 2000.3FFF, 3000.4FFF, 4000.7FFF, 7000.7FFF, D000.DFFF, E000.EFFF, and F000.F800, also appears to stop here.

 YoYo Duck Diagnostics Version 2.5

14) Memory Test for a //c 128k. This test tells you to use the on board software to test the memory. It says to press and hold the Solid Apple-Control-Reset and release the reset key first. This had no result and after several tries, I added the Open Apple to the mix (Open Apple-Solid Apple-Control-Reset) and the screen changed to a grid that looked like a patch work quilt and after a bit flickered and said System OK

 Computer Inspector from MECC

1) Machine Identification notes that this is an: Apple //c version 3 with 128K of memory.

5) RAM Memory Test tested both the Main and Auxiliary memory and said OK.

4) Disk Drive Test

1) Drive Speed for Slot 6 Drive 1 reports a drive speed of 299 RPM which is within the range of 296 to 302 the program says is satisfactory.

2) General Operation indicates the diskette drive seems to be functioning properly.

Computer Checkup by Power Up Version A:01

A) Main Memory ran more than 126 passes without finding any errors.

B System Roms failed completely, my thinking is this program proceeds these roms, as Version 3 Roms were a later version.

C) CPU test ran more than 16,000 passes without finding an error.

L) Drive Speed says correct speed is 299.0 to 301.0 and shows it testing between 299.6 and 300.3.

D) Disk System Tests ran for 64 passes with no Speed, Seek, Read or Write errors.

H) Auxiliary Memory, I let run for over 118 passes with no errors.

At this point I can not find anything wrong with the basic system. I’ve hooked up the external drives and see about checking it out.

 

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Retrochallange 2015/01 Third Post

I worked on my challenge for a short time while watching a movie, The Prince of Persia.  I thought it was fitting to be working on an Apple II game while watching a movie inspired by iconic Apple II game.

It’s funny, I have looked at the code for Eamon several times over the years, but never tried creating one of the games.  I was going to create a large game, but having started reading the documentation, I decided to start with a smaller game of just a few rooms to get a feel for the system and then move on to the larger game.

What I have learned so far is that the system is designed for the adventures to be created after careful planning.  That’s the reason I switched down to a smaller adventure to start.  I can plan and work on a smaller adventure to learn as I plan the larger adventure for the finish.  Additionally I can discuss features of Eamon used in the smaller game without giving away surprises from the larger game.

 

 

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Posted in Apple //c, Apple //gs, Apple IIe, Emulation, Games, Programming, Projects, Retrochallenge

Retrochallenge 2015/01 Second Post

In order to play Eamon you need at least one diskette from the Eamon Library.  The Main Hall and Beginners Cave (EAMON001.DSK) is where everything starts, and hopefully ends.

In order to create more adventures a second diskette, the Dungeon Designer Disk (EAMOND71.DSK) is very helpful.  Something to remember is neither disk is a bootable, so if you are going to run them you need to boot with another diskette or make them bootable.

I downloaded disk images of both of those and another of ProDos 4.0.2.  After trying to boot both of the Eamon diskettes and getting “*** UNABLE TO LOAD PRODOS ***”,  I booted the ProDos 4.0.2 diskette and looked at the EAMON001 disk with the System Utilities. Although there was no ProDos or Basic.system, there was Startup, so I exited the system utilities to basic and ran Startup.

The first thing that comes up is instructions on making the Eamon Main Hall diskette bootable.  Simple instructions to make a copy of the diskette, delete the file PLAYER.MANUAL, and copy both PRODOS and BASIC.SYSTEM onto the diskette.  Make sure to use a copy of the original diskette so you can keep the PLAYER.MANUAL around for possible use.

This gives me a bootable copy of the Eamon Main Hall diskette to work with.

EDIT: 1/8/15

As with any project like this where you will be making changes to an existing work, you should make copies of the diskettes involved and use to the copies to work with.  If you have a problem, at least you can fall back to the original.

 

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Posted in Apple //c, Apple //gs, Apple IIe, Emulation, Programming, Retrochallenge

Retrochallenge 2015/01 (Winter Warmup)

Retrochallenge 2015/01 starts today.  To learn more about it use the Retrochallange link under Links & Disk Images.

I’ve had a fascination with Eamon ever since I first found it, about twenty years ago.  I like the whole concept of carrying on a character from one game to another.  The fact that the game is written in Applesoft and therefor each author can use the basic structure of the original game and yet add to it as they need.

My project will be to create a text adventure for the Apple // using Eamon. I have played several Eamon games and looked at writing one of my own several times over the years. This will be a chance to finally buckle down and write one.

My last Retrochallenge project was a text adventure that I never finished, which I put on indefinite hold due only partly to some technical details. This project will be significantly smaller and hopefully more manageable.

To start off, I looked up some research pages.  They are Eamon Adventurer’s Guild Online and The Unofficial Home Page of Eamon Games, and they are also under Links & Disk Images.

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Posted in Apple //c, Apple //gs, Apple IIe, Emulation, Programming, Projects, Retrochallenge

No Serial Ports

I haven’t posted in months, six months in fact.

I had a problem develop a couple of months ago with AdtPro.  It stopped recognizing the serial ports.

The problem seemed to be with Java so over time, I uninstalled Java and reinstalled it multiple times.  For some reason no matter what I tried I could not get it installed.  I am running Windows 7 64 bit on my computer.  I managed to get Java installed and it came up as 32 bit.

I posted the problem on the AdtPro support boards and David posted back within hours.  After a few notes back and forth, he pointed out that Java had to be the 64 bit version, if I was running the 64 bit version of Windows.

A little more research found a note from Microsoft which suggested the problem may lie on a corrupted user profile.  I created a temporary profile with administrative privileges and installed the 64 bit version of Java under that profile.  When I went back and tried AdtPro and there were the serial ports once again.  I got rid of the temporary profile and everything continued working fine.

 

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Posted in Apple //c, Apple //gs, Apple IIe, Posts

Kansas Fest

This whole week is just me wishing I was there.  I anxiously await the Kansas Fest report on csa2 each day.  Its not like being there, but as close as I can get at this time.

Warren Ernst on csa2, suggested a InCider, 30th anniversary reading club.  Apple2Online has images of all the issues of InCider magazine and he suggested each month we read the issue from 30 years ago and discuss it.  It sounded like fun to me.

 

Posted in Apple //c, Apple //gs, Apple IIe

Another No Slot Clock

Last night I ordered another No Slot Clock chip for my Apple //e.  I had planned to buy one last fall when I got one and tried it out on my Apple //c.  This one was about 65 cents cheaper with the free shipping included.

I also ordered another 25, 5 1/4 inch diskettes, since the //e doesn’t have a 3.5 inch drive.  I’ve had the //e for many years, but not used it much. Now that I have it out I think I’ll explore the differences between it and the //c.

 

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