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Thread: Franklin Ace 1200 Questions

  1. #31
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    Ironically enough, while looking around at the latest MIT Swapfest, what should I come across but a Franklin Ace 1200!

    A slightly different viewing angle:

    What's under the hood...an "ACE 80" (Z-80?), what appears to be a video card (color?) and a serial/parallel board, all Franklin-branded:

    The underside of the disk drives; love the strobe markings!

    The back panel view, with the serial, parallel and video(?) connectors:

    The infamous reset button:

    The stickers on the bottom panel; odd that the serial number sticker is slightly on top of the "REFURBISHED EQUIPMENT" one:


    I haven't tried to power it up as of yet, but it seems to be in pretty good shape overall. Guessing the keyboard needs repairs, as is said to be typical for these computers. Should be interesting to play around with regardless.
    -Adam

  2. #32

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    Interesting that the three labels had three different addresses, oldest being the Colonial Highway building (I started there), Route 38 being the next (I worked there, and it was known as "the Eyelab building" because they were in same building for a bit, and finally the Busch Memorial building (the last building I was at).

    There should be a sticker on the motherboard with the serial number. Does it match the number on the bottom of the case?

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobApplegate View Post
    Interesting that the three labels had three different addresses, oldest being the Colonial Highway building (I started there), Route 38 being the next (I worked there, and it was known as "the Eyelab building" because they were in same building for a bit, and finally the Busch Memorial building (the last building I was at).

    There should be a sticker on the motherboard with the serial number. Does it match the number on the bottom of the case?
    Thanks for the reply, Bob! The serial number on the motherboard sticker does indeed match the bottom sticker, as do the numbers on both of the stickers on the power supply. The larger sticker on the power supply bears the same Route 38 address as the bottom serial sticker.

    Anything I should know about these 1200s? Unfortunately, my 1200 didn't come with any disks, so I haven't tried booting it up yet. I'm rather curious about the "ACE 80" board, since it's apparently meant for booting CP/M. Is there a known source for the original disks?
    -Adam

  4. #34
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    I believe it was meant for running CP/M programs, not for running CP/M itself, although I can't confirm as I've since sold mine

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamAnt316 View Post
    I'm rather curious about the "ACE 80" board, since it's apparently meant for booting CP/M.
    It's an OEM version of the Appli-Card Z80 CP/M card.


  6. #36

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    Franklin had a software engineer who was an old-time CP/M guy (Dave Warker) who was delighted when we were considering adding a CP/M card. The Appli-card was a killer... a complete Z80 system on a board, using the 6502 only as an I/O processor. In theory, you could plug multiple boards in and then divide up a process across multiple boards and process in parallel. Or run multiple CP/M sessions at the same time.

    There are definitely lots of Appli-card disk images out there, all of which should work fine on the ACE-1200. At one point I sold a display driver for the ACE-2xxx series machines. Franklin developed a number of interesting drivers; the cool thing about this card is that device drivers could be dynamically configured, so you could change your system around with a utility program (written in BDS C, BTW).

    If you look at the main ACE mobo, is there an EPROM that says something about "softboot"? Softboot machines were very interesting, late in Franklin's Apple-compatible history, but not too common. You definitely have a newer mobo with the disk controller built onto the motherboard.

    The serial/parallel board (Dual Interface Card, or DIC) wasn't widely supported. Franklin paid various developers to add support for it to their programs. Another weird bit of folklore... at a meeting with Marketing, we (engineering) asked what the board was going to be called. "The Serial/Parallel Interface Card," to which someone in engineering replied "The 'SPIC' might be offensive to some potential customers." People looked around and came up with the Dual Interface Card, or DIC. Okay, not much better, but at least the meeting was amusing and quite memorable.

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