Workstation card and a netbooted //e

With the AppleTalk server in place, it was time to put the Workstation card in the Apple //e. In order to get the necessary pieces, I’d gotten one that was new in box, shrink-wrap mostly intact.

Workstation card box

Here are the unboxing pictures, in case it ever becomes important to know just what order everything was packed in. There is something very cool about opening something like this new from the box. Perhaps doing this makes it less collectable, but I didn’t get the thing so it could sit on my shelf and then be re-sold.

Workstation card unbox 1

Workstation card unbox 2

Workstation card unbox 3

Workstation card unbox 4

Workstation card unbox 5

Workstation card unbox 6

Workstation card unbox 7

The big advantage of getting it new in box like this, apart from the fact that it is cool to open the box, is that it has this all-important connector. I have another Workstation Card, but it lacks this connector, and so is not very useful. If I’m ever going to use that other card (which I can in principle use with my other //e, although that will require doing an enhancement upgrade on it, since I am now pretty confident that it is un-enhanced), I’m going to need to fashion my own connector. But now at least I have one to model it after, should I choose to make one.

Workstation card dinbox

The card itself was so clean and nice. I don’t think the pictures here really do it justice.

Workstation card unwrapped

Workstation card label

Into the platinum //e it went. I wanted it in slot 7 so that it would be checked first, before the disk drives, but it requires one of the long openings in the back, the nearest of which is behind slot 3. So things got a little bit crowded back there, but for the moment everything fits.

Workstation card installed

Workstation card back connector

And into the back of the Power Mac G3, running LocalTalk bridge under Mac OS 9. Appletalk set to printer port.

Workstation card into pmg3

All systems go.

Workstation card green

Workstation card starting up

Workstation card starting up 2

Workstation card starting up 3

And then there it was. Now that the server is working, I just need to get some content on there, and I’ll be set. Starting up the //e is actually very fast this way, not really appreciably slower than starting off a disk.

Workstation card up


The terrarium and IIgs have been moved upstairs now. I don’t think this is the final position for any of these, but at least they’re up in view and out of the lab downstairs now.

Office apples v0 8b

Short robot seeks dog with jet pack

I used ADTpro to make a bunch of diagnostic disks (this time using one of my Apple //cs over a serial cable I’d gotten for the purpose, and which also will allow the //c to connect to the ImageWriter II). I also made one other disk.

Platiie drol

I didn’t really play it, but I did drive the robot around just a little bit. And even today, I am impressed by the graphics of the robot turning around, and the bounce of the stingers on the Garfield-esque jumping scorpions. Very nicely done. A quick search on YouTube revealed this video of Drol (there are a couple of others as well), and it looks a lot worse than what I saw when I briefly brought it up on the real hardware today. Something lost in emulation maybe?


Oddly enough, although I’ve collected quite a lot of Apples II by this point, all of the activity relating to them has really been in the disassembly, cleaning, testing, and reassembly process. Only just today, however, I have put a working Apple II in my office. Here it is, platinum //e, with a matching monitor that I picked up separately from a Craigslist ad, all cleaned up and running a self test, sitting in what I think will be its final spot in my office.

Platiie officetest

I haven’t completely decided what cards it will have. I caved in and bought another Workstation card, which I expect will arrive soon, so at least the Workstation card will go in this, allowing me to share files (and probably boot) off an AppleTalk network. Beyond that, we’ll see. I have quite an assortment of expansion cards that might go in here, but at least the machine itself is clean, ready to go, and working. Cleaning up the keyboard did seem to help with the key bounce issues, and now it is no longer sitting in the case at a tilt. I’m willing to call this one a success.


I recently got an Apple II workstation card, which provides AppleTalk support to an enhanced //e or greater.

Workstation card

Unfortunately (though I knew this when I bought it), it did not come with the required adapter box that actually makes the connection between the connector pins and the LocalTalk cabling. I figured that this would be something I could solve later. I may be forced to attempt to build my own adapter, in fact, because I don’t know where I’m going to be able to find one of the dongles (except maybe if another Workstation card comes up for auction, that has it). But that is probably something that can be done without a great deal of effort, once I know the pinouts, so I’ll work on that.

Workstation card manual

After seeing the video of Ivan Drucker demonstrating how to netboot a //e and IIgs at KansasFest 2011, I have decided that I absolutely must set this up. Ivan has packaged it all up as A2SERVER, and so I will definitely give this a try. On the Apple II end, one needs either one of these Workstation cards, or a IIgs (or, probably, the LC PDS IIe card, which has the Workstation card built in). To get from LocalTalk to ethernet, one needs a bridge, and this function can be performed by a Mac running MacOS 7.1 through 8.1 or below with the LocalTalk Bridge driver. I expect that I’ll use my Performa 6116CD to perform the bridging function, since it has both a serial printer port and an Ethernet port. And out of the box, it is notoriously dog-slow. As it happens, I also was fortunate enough to get a Sonnet G3 upgrade board for it, though I haven’t verified that it works. I plugged it in, but there may be some software I’ll need to set up to enable it, since booting up the 6116CD after installing the accelerator didn’t seem to have any obvious effect on the speed. Because the heat-sink on the Sonnet Crescendo is a nice purple color, I’ll include pictures of it as well. You’re welcome.

Sonnetg3 sink

Sonnetg3 comp

As for the server itself, I will probably run it on either the iMac G4 1GHz, or one of the PowerMac G4s—something that can run Leopard, which is the prerequisite for the simplest installation of A2SERVER.

The IIgs can basically netboot out of the box, though it might take a little bit of tinkering. The Workstation card will probably go in the platinum //e once I’ve replaced its power supply and tried fixing its keyboard (and, I suppose, built a dongle). Netbooting the LC II PDS IIe card is somewhat less interesting, but I’ll probably set it up to do that as well. Without further Workstation cards, I think that’s about as far as I can go. I do have one more //e, but I still haven’t verified that it is enhanced, and I have a bare //e motherboard about to arrive that I’m considering putting inside one of the PowerMac G4 cases (if it fits), so that might also be a (distant future) candidate for a Workstation card. For the ][+es, I think the options are pretty limited. I do have a Focus card on order, which can at least serve as a hard drive, but I am not sure it works in a ][+ [Edit: Tony Diaz confirms that it will]. None of the //c line ever had real AppleTalk capability, but they do have serial ports, so connecting to the outside world (even just via software) is not out of the question. If I were to get a 6502A into one of the ][+es, the Uthernet card should work to connect to the outside world, if I were able to get one, which I’m not.

Apple II collection goes platinum

I managed to find a platinum Apple //e on eBay that looked pretty unyellowed, had a complete set of plastic back panels, the essential cards, and even a disk drive and joystick. It was fairly clearly from the bottom of someone’s closet, put up completely untested and at a surprisingly cheap price (particularly compared to what some of the quite beat-up bare-bones platinum //es often seem to fetch). It’s hard to predict eBay. But, bid, paid for, shipped, and now here it is:

Platiie above

Platiie label

It was packed in some carpet padding, and with the power cable still plugged into the back of the power supply. This didn’t seem great, and when I pulled the cable out, the receptacle was pretty badly cracked. No way to know whether it got that way during shipping or whether it had been like that for years.

Platiie cracked plug

I gathered up a monitor, plugged it and the power cable back in, and flipped the switch on.

Then off. Then on. Then off. Then on. Then I unplugged everything again. Nothing was happening. Although I doubt that the cracked power cable receptacle caused the failure, my first (and correct) guess was that the power supply was not supplying power. As it happens, I have no shortage of other power supplies inside my several other Apple II machines (and the power supply remained basically the same in specifications and connection throughout the entire run). So, I took the pan of the terrarium ][+ with its power supply attached, and hooked it up to the platinum //e to see if using a different power supply allowed the platinum //e to start.

Platiie aux power

And away we go. So, this one’s going to need a replacement power supply. It’s possible that I’ll be able to get the old power supply running again, but I don’t really know much about how they work, so it will take some research and surgery. In the meantime, I’ll get another, and if I revive the current one, I’ll swap it back and use the new one on something else (like the extra bare //e board I will soon have, for which I in fact already have the beginnings of a plan).

The keyboard, I discovered, also is not functioning as well as I’d like. There are a lot of spurious repeats with certain keys. The most apparent offenders are “K” and “W”—the last line on the monitor there was the result of me hitting “kwkwkw” repeatedly, one press per letter, but “w” almost invariably provided two and “k” sometimes did as well.

Platiie keybounce

This is not something I know how to fix (yet), but for a start I’ll probably disassemble and clean the keyboard and see if that doesn’t just fix it on its own. I also note that the left side of the keyboard seems to be riding a little bit low in the case, which may be entirely unrelated. I’ll keep you posted.