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Thread: Apple ][ e need help: can't load programs from drive

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  1. #1

    Default Apple ][ e need help: can't load programs from drive

    I am much more familiar with Commodores, IBM, and TRS 80's, but I came across an Apple IIe and I thought that I'd see if I could get it up and running. I need some help diagnosing why the computer does not load programs from diskette.

    Here is where I am now, anyone with advice, please forward to me here or

    1) cleaned the computer carefully, basically in good shape
    2) opened unit, verified connections of internal cards to cables and cable connections to disk drives, etc..
    In addition to what I believe to be the standard stuff that came with the computer:
    a) There is also what appears to be a SCSI card The card has a scsi cable that terminates with an end that has a female scsi port with a scsi number dial and a light (lights up).
    b) There is a memory expansion card
    c) there is a hayes modem card.
    d) there is a toggle switch on the back of the computer

    3) I inserted a bootable disk (I have a few)
    4) turned on comptuer - drive 1 lights up, spins, nothing happens. The drive keeps spining and the drive light stays on until I power off the computer. Drive 2 does nothing. I have swapped the cables and drives. I can make "drive 2 act like drive 1" if I switch things around. I believe that the cables therefore are OK. I have also swapped out the disk drive controller card with another same type card, same exact results.
    5) upon power on the screen displays Apple ][
    6) By playing with key combinations, I was able to get to some kind of prompt when pressing [apple + solid apple + control + reset], but I don't know what I can do from this prompt.

    I have about 25 programs on diskette, some appear to be bootable, I assume at least one of them works, but I was unable to get any program to start on this computer from disk.

    How do I diagnose the condition of this computer?
    Is there an internal diagnostic?
    How do I get a program to run from diskette?
    What's wrong typically when a disk drive spins but nothing happens?

    I would be happy to send a set of digital pictures to anyone interested in helping.

    Wilmington, Delaware usa

  2. #2


    If the drive doesn't start to spin until the machine shows Apple ][ then you've got the cable plugged in the right way around. If it spins as soon as power is applied then it might be backwards. I've done this before. . .

    I also tend to load the disks upside-down from time to time, especially with vertically mounted drives.

    Failing these easy solutions I'd guess that the drives might be misaligned or have dirty heads. . .

    One thing that I do to ensure that nothing in the system is messing with functionality is to remove all cards but what I need. On your machine just pull everything but the drive controller and see what happens.

    Maybe someone else here will remember, but is the drive controller supposed to be in a specific slot?

    Good luck! Let us know when you figure it out.


  3. #3


    The Apple ][ disk drives are nothing like regular floppy drives.
    Reversing the cable could result in smoke. The single cable has
    power (5 and 12 volt) and control signals.
    The Apple clone ITT2020 however used more standard drives...

  4. #4


    You can find some info on connecting the drive cables and getting started in the Apple II FAQs at ...

    Be sure to check the connection of the drive cable to the card to make sure all the pins are going into the cable connector.

    The controller card should be plugged into Slot 6. Removing the other cards (with power OFF) is a good idea. One or more of the cards could be interferring with the drive controller.

    Insert a bootable diskette into Drive 1 (and close the drive door).

    When you power ON the computer with a bootable diskette in Drive 1 , the computer should Beep and spin the drive and try to boot the diskette. Usually, you will first here a clicking or clatter as the drive positions the head.

    If the drive positions the head but then just spins and nothing else happens, you may not have a bootable diskette in the drive.

    You should be able to stop the drive from spinning by pressing Control-Reset-- hold down Control and press Reset.

    If you get the clatter and can stop the drive with a reset, the controller is probably okay. Try inserting another diskette. Type in PR#6 (and press RETURN). The drive should try to boot the diskette.

    If you cannot get any of the diskettes to boot, try using a head cleaner diskette (paper diskette you squirt head cleaner on). Open only one side of the cleaner diskette and insert it with the open side facing down because that's where the head is. Boot the cleaner diskette and let it spin about 20 seconds. Stop the spinning with a reset and try booting some real diskettes.

    If neither drive works after cleaning, they may both be too far off speed. For info on adjusting speed, see the FAQs at ...

    Of course, it is possible that none of the diskettes you have is bootable. (If they are definitely Apple II diskettes, thats pretty unlikely, though.)

    If the drive just spins and does nothing-- i.e. no clatter, etc.-- you may have a chip on the controller card which is making poor contact in its socket. (BTW, you may notice that you cannot stop the drive with a reset.)

    With power OFF, try removing the controller card and prying up and resocketting each chip on the card. That should reestablish good contacts and may fix the problem.

    If the problem persists, turn OFF the computer, remove the controller card, and try prying up and resocketting all of the chips on the motherboard.

    Yet another possible fault is a loose or blown chip or blown capacitor on the circuit board inside the disk drive.


  5. #5

    Default AppleII

    I have an Apple II that runs a spectra light lathe. I just got it. I can get the program to boot up but I do not know how to get a drive 2 or load any programs. Is there away to view disk or to get to dos? As of now I press P for programs but do not know of any to load.



  6. #6


    Wow, nothing like a 4 year old thread.

  7. #7


    Nothing like a 9 year old thread. But, vintage threads for vintage computing. What better synergy is there?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Tacoma, Washington, USA. Zip code 98404
    Blog Entries


    Just because, why not make a 11 year old thread

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Cincinnati; Ohio


    Quote Originally Posted by Keatah View Post
    Nothing like a 9 year old thread. But, vintage threads for vintage computing. What better synergy is there?
    Wow, nothing like a 99 year old thread.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by jjenks View Post
    I have an Apple II that runs a spectra light lathe. I just got it. I can get the program to boot up but I do not know how to get a drive 2 or load any programs. Is there away to view disk or to get to dos? As of now I press P for programs but do not know of any to load.
    So, what, exactly, do you want to do? If you only have the one floppy that is specific to the spectra light lathe, you aren't going to get very far. If you have more disks (like a DOS boot diskette, say) your chances are better.

    If you want to know about general Apple disk drive stuff, go here:
    If you want to know about DOS commands, go here:

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckcmagee View Post
    Wow, nothing like a 4 year old thread.
    I don't get why people have this response when old threads are brought up, especially when it's apropos. <shrug>


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