Basis 108 (was Re: C64 CP/M carts)

From: Frank McConnell <>
Date: Mon Jun 23 18:42:55 1997

Sam Ismail <> writes:
> On another note, has anyone ever seen (or have) a Basis-xxx? I know it
> has a number in the name, but I can't remember it. It was an Apple ][
> clone that also ran CP/M I believe? Something like that. I'm sure
> someone knows about it. I only knew one guy who ever had one, but I never
> saw it. It was a friend in high school back in 1989.

Yep, a Basis 108. They are something like the Apple ][+ with
integrated language card, Microsoft Softcard and some sort of
80-column display on the motherboard, all housed in a big brown cast
metal case with a detachable keyboard. Um...there are also integrated
serial and parallel I/O, but I think there was something
not-quite-compatible about the way they were decoded so one or the
other or maybe both did not appear to be at the canonical slot

They were made in Germany and imported into the US. I can't remember
all the details, but I think Apple tried to restrict their import for
a while (maybe due to ROM copyright issues?) and the distributor
changed hands and/or locations a couple of times. For a while it was
in Scotts Valley, CA, then I think went to somewhere in New England.
Maybe I have it backwards.

I bought one used (via the net) for ~$500 ca. 1991 because I missed my
Apple ][+ (had left it with Mom, who just did not get the hang of
Wordstar under CP/M and now has a Mac Plus, and yes I got my ][+
back). And the posted ad was for a dream system: Basis 108, PCPI
Applicard, Vista 8" disk controller, Videx Ultraterm with a good
monitor that could really show the lotsa-text you could get with one
of those. All the stuff I had had in my ][+ and, more importantly,
*all the stuff I had lusted after*.

The only problems were due to some carelessness in packing, and the
system was shipped from Connecticut to California. Mistakes submitted
for your educational experience:

The floppy drives are mounted by way of having brackets screwed to
them which are then screwed to the base. The end result is that for
each of two floppy drives there are these two brackets holding a
floppy drive some distance above the base. Well, the shipper left
them in, and UPS threw the package around enough that the brackets
deformed and broke loose from the base. So the floppy drives with
brackets could rattle around inside. (To be fair, I'm not sure I'd
have caught this either, but I certainly won't ship things where two
solid objects are connected quite like that -- not without dismantling
them first.)

He had also left the peripheral cards installed. Apple ][ peripheral
cards just sit in their slots, there are no card guides or screws or
anything like that. Well, guess what the floppy drives whacked into
as they rattled around, not that I really think they would have stayed
in place anyway. The boards weren't broken, but some of the ICs had
been popped out and mashed. Between loose bits and spares that came
with the system and other bits I had around I was able to get it
working again, but still haven't replaced the floppy-drive brackets to
my satisfaction. So it has a couple of gaping holes up front with
half-height floppies showing where there should be full-height units.


I don't have room to set the system up at present, so it is in
storage. Except for its manuals, some of which are on loan to a
friend of mine over the hill in Santa Cruz (who had one when he lived
in Buffalo, NY and picked up another one at Weird Stuff a few years
ago). If y'all have particular questions about this send e-mail and I
will ask for them back and try to find the other bits in storage. It
is a fairly thorough set of documentation, including user group
newsletters, and would probably shed a little light on things I can't
remember about it and Basis and the moves in distributorship and so

One other thing I remember about this system is that the previous owner
had bought a set of Apple ROMs, then copied them *and* the Basis ROMs
into 2732?s with a switch on the back to select one bank or the other.
So he could boot with Basis or Apple personalities depending on what he
needed to be compatible with. There were some things that depended on
each, but I can't remember specifics.

I remember seeing slicks somewhere in there for another Basis system
that had two half-height 8" floppy drives in a similar case (different
cutout up front for the floppies), and have the impression that that
was a pure CP/M machine. Never saw one up close, though. Anyone know
anything about that?

-Frank McConnell
Received on Mon Jun 23 1997 - 18:42:55 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:30:30 BST