I went to my first computer recycler today. I’d written some email to a few of them, one wrote back quickly saying that they didn’t have a lot of old Apple stuff, and that it changes day to day, but that said at the moment they had “some old laptops such as Apple IIC plus, Macintosh PowerBook G3.” This place is about an hour out of Boston, but the Apple IIc Plus was actually one of the next things I wanted to buy, and it would have been worth the trip just for that, if they really had one that was ok.
I actually only recently became aware of the existence of the Apple IIc Plus. By now I already have three other //cs, all first generation. I’ve got about enough of those, and they don’t seem to go for much (which is why I have three–the second two I got because they were $15 each). The Apple //c went through a couple of ROM changes, and near the end a color change as well. But the Apple IIc Plus is the end of the IIc line, and has three interesting properties: (1) it runs at 4MHz instead of the standard 1MHz; (2) it doesn’t need a power adapter, the standard three-prong power cords just plug straight into the back; (3) it has a 3.5″ disk drive built in, rather than a 5.25″ disk drive. And it’s platinum. It is also pretty rare, they didn’t make a whole lot of them, and they were never marketed outside North America.
There are always one or two on ebay, but they wind up going for $150-$250 each (or, in one case, $1250 with all the original packaging). Many of them not really in good (or tested) condition. Yet I was starting to get close to caving on the $150 price point.
When I got to the recyclers, they did have one, but it had a sticky note on it: “No video. $10. Final sale.” For $10, I didn’t care whether it had video or not, I took it.
Although I also suspected that it probably did have video. The primary video out on IIcs is a composite video out, just like all of the Apples II before it. My guess was that they didn’t really test it with a composite-capable monitor. Sure enough, when I got it back and tried it out, I got this:
I took it home thinking I’d hook it up to the television, but then an interesting idea occurred to me. I had an old XLR8 InterView video capture device, which converts composite video to a USB signal.
It requires software, but the USBVision software from echofx can interpret the InterView’s signal. So, I could get the IIc Plus to display on my MacBook Pro screen. But I’ve also been fairly regularly using my iPad as a second monitor by using Air Display to send the video over WiFi to the iPad. So, this was the result (the screen was watermarked with “EchoFX” because I was using a demo version of the USBVision software, although I think if I can find my original documentation, it has a serial number that should register the software)..
More a proof of concept than anything else, but pretty nifty.
There’s more to explore with the IIc Plus, but that’s as far as I’m going to get today.