This weekend's haul

From: Doug Spence <>
Date: Tue May 27 06:50:13 1997

I just started paying attention to garage sales this month, because of
this list and because my traditional computer supply (Salvation Army) has
dried up. I'm very glad I have! Last weekend was my first trip out,
but I only managed to find two sales (one of which was in the paper) but
this weekend the garage sale season seems to have begun in earnest.

There were only two sales listed in the paper for my little town, and one
of these was just up the street and around the bend, so I went there
first. I ended up buying an Apple /// for $2 and carrying it home on my
bicycle! (Not an easy task). I then went back for the cheap green Amdek
monitor for another $2, because I have far more computers than monitors.

I had to ask if there were any disks to go with the machine, and I was
handed a box that I went through until I found one with a label that read
"Apple ///", so I knew the disks matched the computer. There were no

After plugging the thing in at home and finding that the beast worked, I
went out again. I must've visited five more places (by following signs on
telephone poles) before I came across the next thing that was mildly
interesting: a Commodore filing cabinet with the chicken-lips logo. Not
exactly related to this group, I suppose, and not the kind of thing I
collect, but interesting nonetheless.

Several stops later I hit the jackpot. Not for me, so much, but for a
friend of mine who is out of school, out of work, bored, and constantly
coming over to my place to play video games on my computers. :) This was
obviously the home of a computer nerd like myself, as there was a complete
Apple ][+ clone system and a complete Commodore 64 system for sale, as
well as a large box full of books.

I picked up four books: "The Explorers Guide to the ZX81", "Timex/Sinclair
Interfacing", Jim Butterfield's "Machine Language for the Commodore 64,
128, and Other Commodore Computers", and the "Commodore 64 Troubleshooting
& Repair Guide".

I also picked up a complete(?) boxed GEOS 2.0 set (which probably
should've stayed with the 64 system, come to think of it) and the owner
parted out the joystick for his Apple ][+ (mine fell apart years ago).
Total cost was $10.

I rode straight home from this place, called my friend, and had lunch. He
showed up with his car, and we went back to that place together to pick up
the C64 system. He got a boxed C64 (old brown one), boxed 1541, 1802
colour monitor, dot matrix printer with Commodore serial ports on it, 1351
mouse in box with docs, 300bps modem in box with docs, a couple of books,
a hand-killing Atari joystick, a boxed copy of Atarisoft's "Track and
Field" with 3-button arcade controller, and datasette, for $35.

Then we went over to the next town, because there was supposed to be some
huge 40-family sale at some apartment complex, but there wasn't anything
interesting there (perhaps everything was gone by then).

I spotted a sign for another garage sale on the next street, so we walked
over there. There I picked up an Intellivision with 6 boxed cartridges
(Sea Battle, Vectron, Sub Hunt, Utopia, Chess, Armor Battle) and a BIZARRE
piece of IBM equipment: an external 5-1/4" floppy drive, model 4869.

I figure someone important must have an opinion on the Commodore 64,
because there was an earthquake (4.5 on the Richter scale) while we were
setting it up to test it. :)

Anyway, not everything was perfect. The Intellivision doesn't work
100%... background graphics are OK, but most of the games have totally
munged sprites. It looks like the sprites are being read out of the wrong
area of memory. Oh, and background graphics ARE screwed up in Sub Hunt as
well... not that it really matters, as all of the docs for that game are
in German for whatever weird reason. :)

There was NO useful software for the Apple ///, only something called
"Apple /// Utilities" that let me make a backup of itself. There was also
an incomplete copy of Pascal 1.0.

Going by the info I gleaned from checking out the system config saved on
the Utilities disk, the system was set up to have two floppy drives and a
hard drive, but I saw no signs of any extra stuff at the garage sale.
There are TWO Apple /// Profile I/O boards in the machine, though, as well
as a parallel printer card.

The power supply of this machine makes a LOT of noise. Is it supposed to?

I found out that there is a monitor built into the machine, too (press
Control-OpenApple-Reset) but apart from dumping memory eight bytes at a
time and the ability to change the values stored in bytes, I can't figure
out if the monitor can do anything. Some of the hardware is very Apple
][ish, though... when romping through memory with the monitor, I of course
stumbled into $C000 and beyond, and the speaker sounded in the correct
place, and the screen switched to high-res mode.

Is this thing just a glorified Apple ][ with an incompatible OS?

I took the machine apart, too, and I found a place for a battery on the
motherboard, with no battery or battery cover in it. Does the /// have a
system clock?

Oh, and it has 256K, and the chips are neat little brown chips with gold
plates on their backs. 4164s. They look just like the ones in my weird
PET expansion board, except that the pins aren't gold.

I heeded the warning sticker and didn't open the power supply. :)

There was a loose screw, and another spall flat piece of metal, roaming
about inside the keyboard. :/

Does anyone know if the Apple ][+ or //e can be made to read/write Apple
/// disks in any manner that would be useful for getting files to it? Or
do I have to get software for it in actual disk form at first, before I
can get the thing to do anything useful?

Can the /// emulate a ][?

Now, on the subject of that weirdo IBM 4869 disk drive... what does this
plug into? The guy I bought it from said it was for an old PC. It has a
37-pin connector on the end of its cable. It's LARGER in two dimensions
than even a Commodore 1541 drive. Its power switch is very high quality.
:) Would this be a 160K drive? I haven't ripped it apart (yet) to see
how many heads the thing has.

Pretty cool day, though. It looks like I'll be doing this quite often in
future. :)

Doug Spence
Received on Tue May 27 1997 - 06:50:13 BST

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