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Thread: Unitron - Apple II clone

  1. #1

    Default Unitron - Apple II clone

    I picked up an Apple II clone system locally last week for $50 CAD (~$40 USD).

    This is my first Apple II system, so I went into this knowing nothing, thought I've read a ton in the last week!

    It was listed as unknown condition "as-is". It came with:
    • Zenith monochrome monitor
    • Disk II clone (Labelled "Data Drive" on case, and "Shugart" inside the drive chassis)
    • Unitron computer w/:
      • 48k RAM
      • 16k RAM expansion card (Is this the same as an Apple language card?)
      • parallel printer card
      • 80 column video card
      • floppy drive controller card


    The base computer and monitor seem to work perfectly. The drive seems to function mechanically, but I don't have any Apple II formatted disks to test the drive with. I managed to get ADTPro bootstrapped using the tape ports, but I'm getting errors when using it to format disks - still working on that.

    This is my first real exposure to an "Apple II" system, and I can see why this hardware had/has a loyal following. I've never seen a computer quite like this before. It's like something build by and for a hardware hobbyist... everything is labelled and socketed, and it has basically no custom ICs at all - it's like an "open source" computer - very cool!

    Anyway, I took some pictures when I disassembled it for cleaning and thought you guys might find them of interest.




















  2. #2

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    Nice! I never saw that particular one before, but I've seen lots of other Apple clones, and in every case the hardware was better, sometimes much better than a real Apple.

    Where was this one made? Taiwan?

  3. #3
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    Default

    According to Lowendmac, Germany.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    According to Lowendmac, Germany.
    It seems odd that they would go through the trouble of having a custom lower-case modification, and not use a QWERTZ keyboard with umlauts.

    I think I just answered my own qvestion: I looked again at the above picture, and can see MADE IN ?????? R.O.? on the sticker on the right hand side of the motherboard.

  5. Default

    Unitron clones were developed in Brazil, they even made a clone of the Macintosh, boards were probably produced elsewhere.

    http://www.cultofmac.com/266710/meet...cintosh-clone/

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default

    What's interesting about yours is that it has a Multiflex Tech Inc. made card. I wonder if these computers were purchased from Unitron and resold through Multiflex Tech Inc of Markham, Ontario? I also have the Zeus 80 that is an S-100 computer with Multiflex Tech Inc ties here.

    I have an Apple II clone that I think is similar but my board is green so I'll see if I can take some pics and see if they match. I remember the ROMS being in a similar configuration which I found odd. Could be sourced from a Canadian company also as mine was acquired from a fellow Canadian as well.

    EDIT: If you haven't seen this page, you might want to check out the links on page. It has a picture of a blue motherboard. http://www.applelogic.org/UnitronAndI.html

  7. #7
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    I have pretty much the same machine. Mine was branded a Linden and has different keycaps but the rest is identical. I have been trying to buy another one because the keyboard broke while I was using it to try to restore a real Apple II.. I suspect the eprom is toast. Hopefully one day I can find a dump of it somewhere.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by snuci View Post
    What's interesting about yours is that it has a Multiflex Tech Inc. made card. I wonder if these computers were purchased from Unitron and resold through Multiflex Tech Inc of Markham, Ontario? I also have the Zeus 80 that is an S-100 computer with Multiflex Tech Inc ties here.

    I have an Apple II clone that I think is similar but my board is green so I'll see if I can take some pics and see if they match. I remember the ROMS being in a similar configuration which I found odd. Could be sourced from a Canadian company also as mine was acquired from a fellow Canadian as well.

    EDIT: If you haven't seen this page, you might want to check out the links on page. It has a picture of a blue motherboard. http://www.applelogic.org/UnitronAndI.html
    Anyone could have put that card in at any time. Especially if the stock 80 column / lowercase card was foreign language specific.

    That site is interesting! So this may be a very good copy of an illegitimate clone!

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by falter View Post
    I have pretty much the same machine. Mine was branded a Linden and has different keycaps but the rest is identical. I have been trying to buy another one because the keyboard broke while I was using it to try to restore a real Apple II.. I suspect the eprom is toast. Hopefully one day I can find a dump of it somewhere.
    That's sad. The second best part of owning these fascinating machines is seeing what substitutes for "APPLE ][" in the ROM.

  10. #10

    Default

    Wow! I have the exact same machine, with the blue PCB. Same Zenith monitor too and a Shugart floppy drive though I could never get my drive to work. These must be fairly common in Canada especially in the GTA.
    Currently working on new DOS game, Chuck Jones: Space Cop of the Future, Check out my Dev Blog. WARNING: contains rocket powered El Caminos

    Vintage Computers:
    Unitron Apple II clone, 2x Commodore Vic-20, Commodore 64, Commodore 128, Amiga 500, Macintosh Plus, Macintosh SE, AST Premium 286, 3 386sx PCs, Atari TT030

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