PDA

View Full Version : Apple II Lighting Computer



Daveinmaine
October 23rd, 2005, 08:31 AM
I was exploring this site and it struck me that some folks might be interested/amused by the fact that the high school drama club I advise is still using an Apple IIe to run our lights. This is not out of any vintage computing ethusiasm, but simply because it is the set up I inherited and it works and I have not had a need to replace it. This might be the last year as the over all system is aging (the computer works fine) and we have had some moeny budgeted to replace it.

http://mysite.verizon.net/davemaher/AppleII-Lighting.jpg

Geo3
October 23rd, 2005, 08:54 AM
Hi,
Do you have documentaion of who makes and how it works ? Even a copy of the software would be nice to archive.

What place in the chain of input does the furry creature play?

Daveinmaine
October 23rd, 2005, 09:01 AM
Sure, I can grab all of that stuff at work tomorrow. Unfortunately Rick's role is purely decorative (orginally aquired as a stand in for a Norwegian Blue for a certain sketch).

Daveinmaine
October 25th, 2005, 12:38 PM
Well geo, it appears to have been made by Kensington (the same Kensington that makes accesories today?) and is called a Microstar II. The software is called Microstar, I only have it on 5.25" and don't have a computer capable of making a drive image of a 5.25" disk, I suppose I could make a copy and mail you a physical copy.

I have never used the faders on the top of it and don't think they are actually hooked up to anything.

I have a few close up pictures and will upload if anyone is interested.

Terry Yager
October 25th, 2005, 04:19 PM
I see it has a Kensington SystemSaver attached to the side (the fan-part). Is that what you're looking at?

--T

Daveinmaine
October 25th, 2005, 05:59 PM
Oh you're right. At the time I had posted that I had it in my head that Kensington was also one the front face of the computer, but looking at a picture I see now it is not, just "Microstar II: Memory Lighting Control for the Apple Computer"

Terry Yager
October 25th, 2005, 06:16 PM
I'm assuming that the Apple II end is only part of the system. There's also some kinda "reciever/controller" hardware at the light fixtures or switches, right? Does it have it's own separate cabling, or use the building's electrical wiring?

--T

Daveinmaine
October 25th, 2005, 07:11 PM
The computer bascially handles the role of the lighting console, it sends a signal controlling the light's level to the dimmer packs in the prop room and the dimmer packs actually send the juice to the lights. There are a couple of ports in the back, might be serial ports or something similar that are connected to a switching box on the floor beneath the table there, and the box runs to the dimmer packs.

This was a state of the art system, in 1984. At the time the school hosted the state-wide one act festival because we had the best lighting system in the state (I say we, though in 1984 I was a high school senior in another state).

Terry Yager
October 25th, 2005, 07:27 PM
I was just thinking about the old system they used to sell at RatShack (X-11?), for Apples, TRS-80s, Commodores, etc. They actually used your house wiring to transmit the on/off/dimmer/whatever signals to the controller at the lights/coffeepot/lawn sprinklers/whatever...

--T

Geo3
October 27th, 2005, 04:24 PM
Hi,
If you need some software to copy the 5.25 disk let me know. I have some blanks, and the software if you need it. The school should auction the the system off to make a few $$$ since it still works and if you have the manuals and all.
NO HURRY what so ever.

Take Care.