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Help with MS Softcard Z80

Hello all.

I got an "untested" Softcard Z80 (Microsoft one) in eBay.

I received it and went to test in my two Apple IIe. Tried with several CP/M=
 boot disks but always when booted (in CP/M) i get the screen full of video=
 reversed A's (in an enhanced A2) or full of @; (also inverted) when trying=
 in a not enhanced one, then the ;'s converts randomly and slowly to A's.

If boot DOS / ProDOS all works fine with the card installed.

If boot CP/M without the card i get the message "CAN'T FIND Z80 SOFTCARD", =
so i thing it works "something"

Do anyone has any idea about what to check / test / try to fix?

Thanks!

Best
0
josemax
12/18/2016 10:26:06 AM
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Hello,
josemax wrote:
> Hello all.
> 
> I got an "untested" Softcard Z80 (Microsoft one) in eBay.
> 
> I received it and went to test in my two Apple IIe. Tried with several
> CP/M
> boot disks but always when booted (in CP/M) i get the screen full of video
> reversed A's (in an enhanced A2) or full of @; (also inverted) when trying
> in a not enhanced one, then the ;'s converts randomly and slowly to A's.
> 
> If boot DOS / ProDOS all works fine with the card installed.
> 
> If boot CP/M without the card i get the message "CAN'T FIND Z80 SOFTCARD",
> so i thing it works "something"
> 
> Do anyone has any idea about what to check / test / try to fix?
> 
> Thanks!
> 
> Best

There are some dip switches on the card. Could you report what is their
status here. One of them deals with a translation scheme between Z80 and
6502.
Also the thread @
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/comp.sys.apple2/Benoit$20Gilon%7Csort:relevance/comp.sys.apple2/ow4KmOgZdlo/fsw6_i0RQzoJ
could be of some help to you.
HTHATS,
Benoît


-- 
Growing old is mandatory..
growing up is optional..
But the other way round is as true.

0
Benoit0123
12/18/2016 11:03:17 AM
> There are some dip switches on the card. Could you report what is their
> status here. One of them deals with a translation scheme between Z80 and
> 6502.

Thanks, the dips are all in off status.

Best
0
josemax
12/18/2016 3:15:18 PM
<josemax@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello all.
> 
> I got an "untested" Softcard Z80 (Microsoft one) in eBay.
> 
> I received it and went to test in my two Apple IIe. Tried with several
> CP/M boot disks but always when booted (in CP/M) i get the screen full of
> video reversed A's (in an enhanced A2) or full of @; (also inverted) when
> trying in a not enhanced one, then the ;'s converts randomly and slowly to A's.
> 
> If boot DOS / ProDOS all works fine with the card installed.
> 
> If boot CP/M without the card i get the message "CAN'T FIND Z80
> SOFTCARD", so i thing it works "something"
> 
> Do anyone has any idea about what to check / test / try to fix?
> 
> Thanks!
> 
> Best
> 

The original Microsoft SoftCard was designed for the Apple II and Apple
II+. The bus timing constraints changed slightly on the Apple //e, which
could be a problem for some system/card combinations. 

-- 
-michael - NadaNet 3.1 and AppleCrate II:  http://michaeljmahon.com
0
Michael
12/19/2016 1:09:59 AM
On Monday, 19 December 2016 11:10:04 UTC+10, Michael J. Mahon  wrote:

> The original Microsoft SoftCard was designed for the Apple II and Apple
> II+. The bus timing constraints changed slightly on the Apple //e, which
> could be a problem for some system/card combinations. 

I can confirm that the original MS SoftCard does work in a IIe. I used one of those for years until I got an AppliCard.

You're right though; that design is marginal in the IIe, so a heavily loaded system could conceivably push the timing into "no worky" territory. All I can say for sure is it works in mine :-)
0
mdj
12/19/2016 1:56:45 AM
Hi again,
Here is an extract from the Microsoft Z80 Softcard manual @
http://www.applelogic.org/files/MSZ8MANUAL.pdf
switch meaning
SW1-1  address offset when OFF -> OK
SW1-2  Z80 DMA enable when ON -> wildl depend on your whole peripheral card
setting
SW1-3  transmit NMI to 6502 when ON -> OK
SW1-4  transmit IRQ to 6502 when ON -> OK
So if every switch is Off in your configuration, there is no direct trouble
source I can see. I suggest that you remove some other peripheral card as
the loading on the periperal card bus might impact the detection of your
card.
The URL I mentionned in a previous message was wrongly reproduced here is
the correct link:
http://bgilon.free.fr/apple2/D34Merlin_ZBrun.do
From within this disk image, you'll have a source file ZEXEC.s which will
try to detect the softcard from DOS 3.3 prompt and running Z80 programs from
there (w/o using CP/M).

HTHATS,
Benoît

josemax wrote:
>> There are some dip switches on the card. Could you report what is their
>> status here. One of them deals with a translation scheme between Z80 and
>> 6502.
> 
> Thanks, the dips are all in off status.
> 
> Best
>



-- 
Growing old is mandatory..
growing up is optional..
But the other way round is as true.

0
Benoit0123
12/19/2016 1:07:36 PM
Michael, mdj, Thanks.

This can cause the behavior of that garbage in screen?

As i'm trying to get an A2, if i get it i'll try.

Thanks again.
0
josemax
12/19/2016 1:10:48 PM
El lunes, 19 de diciembre de 2016, 14:09:03 (UTC+1), Benoit Gilon  escribi=
=C3=B3:

> So if every switch is Off in your configuration, there is no direct troub=
le
> source I can see. I suggest that you remove some other peripheral card as
> the loading on the periperal card bus might impact the detection of your
> card.
> The URL I mentionned in a previous message was wrongly reproduced here is
> the correct link:
> http://bgilon.free.fr/apple2/D34Merlin_ZBrun.do
> From within this disk image, you'll have a source file ZEXEC.s which will
> try to detect the softcard from DOS 3.3 prompt and running Z80 programs f=
rom
> there (w/o using CP/M).
>=20

Thank you Benoit.

I'll try this later when I arrive home.

Best.
0
josemax
12/19/2016 1:13:54 PM
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