View Full Version : Apple //c floppy alternatives

January 1st, 2010, 06:19 PM
I'm trying to look to the future with all my vintage Apple systems. It's looking good for my //e with possibilities of ethernet, floppy drive alternatives, and more. I plan to still be messing around with it in another 30 years!

However, now that my //c seems to be fully operational (no idea why finally... :confused6:), I am presented with a whole new set of concerns.

It is obvious to me that mechanical floppy drives will not last forever. I had my //e for almost a year before I got my hands on a working one. (and it came out of a temporarily non-working //c) Has anything been developed for the //c that would allow for a floppy-free system?

If the floppy drive was removed from the //c, that would leave plenty of internal room for a hard drive or maybe a solid-state device. The real trick would be finding a way to interface it. Does anyone know how this could be done? (Just looking for theories here for the time being...)

Might it be possible to make a device that plugs into the 20 pin internal floppy connector? If so, it would also be compatible with the disk ][ interface card. (I know this, because I have been using a //c drive with a disk ][ card as my //e's only floppy drive for months now) That would make it easy to load it with software and data from a functional //e floppy-based system. (just plug it in as drive number 2)

January 1st, 2010, 06:25 PM
There's not much in the way of a .solid state/fixed disk alternative. Most if not all the hard drives made for the Apple II line interfaced with the slots in the system (which a IIc lacks) and to my knowledge the only thing that actually worked with Disk II controllers were Disk II drives (from apple and from the clones usually).
You should not really worry about the floppy drive wearing out so long as it's properly maintained.

January 1st, 2010, 06:31 PM
Right. That bit about the //c lacking expansion slots is the point of my thread. I am saying that since the //e has many such devices available for it (modern/custom made ssd/cffa interfaces), the idea of a solid-state or hard drive based apple //c is very interesting to me, and that I believe that it is probably possible.

I'm not asking about devices from the Apple //c's original era, I'm just looking for confirmation of the plausibility of new hardware for such a purpose. I tend to get really excited about new/modern hardware add-ons for old systems to bring them into the next century. It's kind of a "fetish" if you will. :)

Edit: Besides, it would be more practical. If it was based on compact flash, files could be loaded directly to it from a modern pc. It would make it more damage-proof. It would prevent the need to keep a stack of delicate floppies with you when taking it places. It would truly enhance the machine's portability and ease of use. (in my opinion, at least)

Another edit: I went and looked at the Disk ][ pinouts. The only method of selecting the data to be accessed seems to be via 4 stepper motor control signals. (at least as far as I can tell) I suppose it might be possible to convert this to digital addressing "steppers" for browsing around a storage card. Thoughts anyone?

January 1st, 2010, 07:10 PM
There have been a few topics over time on c.s.a2 about it:
URL One (http://groups.google.com/group/comp.sys.apple2/browse_frm/thread/df6db622f651a530/20be1400c998f29e?lnk=gst)
URL Two (http://groups.google.com/group/comp.sys.apple2/browse_frm/thread/8a23cc9bee40c305/a53d39ee528341a4?lnk=gst)
But there still isn't an off-the-shelf solution yet.

January 1st, 2010, 07:24 PM
Thanks, David. That's some good reading material for me. I'm sure it will point me towards some other sources as well.

January 2nd, 2010, 12:33 AM
The Semi-virtual diskette unit seems to support the Apple II (http://www.thesvd.com/SVD/supported.php) although I haven't tried mine on an Apple yet.


January 2nd, 2010, 07:12 AM
Yup. It seems to require a special "dongle" for use with apple computers to translate the drive signals. (More or less what I was talking about)

I recalled from a previous thread that the SVD supported many systems, but I didn't think to look there this time. Thanks.