Archive for July, 2012

Significant Updates to SUPERPROTO wiki

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

The reference section has been significantly improved with following topics added:

  • Power and Ground Planes
  • Prototype Area for ICs
  • General Purpose Prototype Areas
  • Apple II Bus Access
  • Extending to a Bread Board for rapid prototyping
  • I’m particularly excited about the breadboard section, as it opens up the Apple II to easy HW prototyping.

    SUPERPROTO connected to breadboard

    SUPERPROTO connected to breadboard

    A couple of years ago, James LittleJohn had offered a card (LittleProto II) with a breadboard built onto it. I think that the approach of a separate breadboard will allow you to easily work on your design, then when you feel that it is solid, move it permanently to the proto area on the card itself. In fact, Jon Titus had published a book back in the old days, that suggested a similar scheme for hardware interfacing. The book is called “Apple II Interfacing”. I talked to Jon about updating and releasing a modified version of this book a few months back, but at this point that project is in limbo.

    SUPERPROTOs will be at K’Fest

    Thursday, July 12th, 2012

    I sent 10 kits to the show – they will be priced at $60 each. One additional kit has been donated to the organizers as a prize/giveaway.

    Here is what the built up superproto looks like.

    SUPERPROTO

    SUPERPROTO

    More information is available on the SUPERPROTO wiki. This is currently a work in progress, as there are several areas that need more documentation. In particular is a description of how the copper layer in the proto areas is set up. It is kind of hard to see, since the solder mask tends to conceal the connections between the pads.

    I also need to add a page to show how to connect the SUPERPROTO to a separate breadboard for easy prototyping.

    More kits will be available in a few weeks, once I catch up on things.

    After the grounding issue with the Brain Board, I did as much research on grounding Apple II plug in cards, as I could. This included rereading some Apple Tech Notes on the topic, which were somewhat insightful, as well as examining existing designs.

    I really tried extra hard to make the ground plane on this board as good as I could make it, and still keep the 2 layer layout. The result exceeds my expectations, as the ground noise on the base SUPERPROTO card is almost non-existent. The 5 volt supply also received some attention, and it looks clean as well. In fact, the board looks much cleaner than my wire wrapped prototype, so I must have done something right.

    Mimeo update

    Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

    If you are on my waiting list for Mimeo kits, I should be contacting you in the next few days about PCBs. If you have been waiting for more than a month or two, feel free to remind me about your interest. PCBs will go first to those that have been on the waiting list the longest. The folks at Unicorn Electronics believe that they will have parts kits available as soon as next week. If you are waiting for assembled systems you will have to wait a while longer. I’m planning on doing enclosures this time and everything will take considerable time and effort to put together. I’m up to my ears in ongoing stuff, right now.

    New pricing and basic ordering information is posted on my Mimeo page:

    http://www.willegal.net/appleii/apple1-kit.htm

    Reminder – I will be supplying only PCBs (motherboard and monitor PROMs) – other parts for a complete motherboard kit should be obtained from Unicorn Electronics.

    For the smaller kits, like the Brain Board, ACI and PS/2 adapter, I’m still supplying the entire kit.