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Apple ][ (or ][ PLUS)?

DistantStar001

Well-known member
I recently got this board off of eBay and was wondering if it is what I think it is (i.e. an Apple ][ board and not a ][ Plus)? I think it is... At least it looks like one, but the date codes are from 79. The info I found on when the ][ was canceled is contradictory. Some say 79 while others say 78? It did have a full set of AppleSoft ROMs when I got it, but I switched them with Integer ROMs since I already have two other working ][ Pluses (kept the Auto Start though). The thing that is throwing me is that the memory select blocks are soldered in (but it does have them). Every ][ Plus board that I have (that I know are ][ Pluses) lacks them, but then, these were soldered. So maybe Apple made use of ][ boards when they released the ][ Plus?

I'm about 80% sure about this thing, but it never hurts to learn something new.

Apple II Board.jpeg

The other thing I wanted to ask is about is the case. Currently, I have it in what I know to be a ][ Plus case that had a Rev C board in it. The board is glitchy (bad RAM) and had a damaged slot (since replaced) and video port (still looking for that). So I don't mind swapping it with a working board. The keyboard works, but the cover over the power light is the solid translucent variety that sits flush with the case. The only true Apple ][ I've ever seen has the raised cover with an opaque border. Also, the keycaps were a bit darker. So how accurate are the case and keys that I have? I mean, it had a ][ Plus board originally, and it was made in 81, so not very... But what can I do to make it look right for its current board?

I should note that this is just for me, as I like rebuilding these things out of whatever spare parts I can get my hands on. I have a //e with keycaps from a Mac Plus, and a function key from a C64 serving as Delete! So I'm not trying to pass this off as an original Apple ][, just another Frankenputer that can live in the uncanny valley!
 

Gorgonops

Moderator
Staff member
Based on a quick Google to refresh my memory a board with soldered RAM size jumpers is a Rev. -04, made from 1979 through 1980, and that was the first board used in factory ][plus-es. It was also used in plain II's. As you've noticed the most common version in Plus-es is the -07, circa 1981. This is mostly because Apple II sales really took off in the early 1980s so there were simply more of them made, both in absolute numbers and per-annum.

(If you're wondering what happened to revs 5 and 6 the consensus seems to be that there were some tiny production changes over the life of the "4" but they seem to amount to little more than manufacturing differences attributable to variations in the PCB mask printings, etc. Similarly there are claims that technically there are "rev 8" and "9" boards, but they don't meaningfully differ from the 1981 "07".)

As for when the II was "officially" discontinued it still appeared in product brochures as late as "Fall/Winter 1980". By that point I doubt many people were buying them but you still technically could. (Remember, the only difference between the two models was the ROMs.)

Most sources do seem to agree that the Integer Basic option didn't make it to the "-07" board revision. So hard stop sometime in 1981?
 

waynestewart

Well-known member
I have Rev 4 IIs and II Pluses. Even have a Rev 7 II. The original owner gave me the Rev 7 and he said he'd never had any repairs done on it.
 

Gorgonops

Moderator
Staff member
Just checked. My Rev 7 II has a 8046 date

So 46th week of 80. So I guess the "1981" date attributed to Rev 7 is a ballpark number. Which makes sense, actually.

What really sets the Rev 07 apart from the earlier boards is it incorporates a number of changes to reduce the amount of radio frequency interference the computer emitted. The TRS-80 Model I, which was the most popular computer by far from the late 1970's was the poster child for RFI problems, but the Apple II was also pretty noisy, and the FCC finally put their foot down and demanded that personal computers comply with the relatively strict Class B rules by January 1, 1981.

Since Rev. 7 II's were apparently a thing I wonder what the actual discontinuation date was. Unfortunately Bitsavers doesn't have the 1981 product brochure; the 1982 one does only list the Plus, but even that doesn't rule out the possibility that you could get Integer Basic as a special order option.(*)

(* Although by 1982 the "standard" Apple II configuration was pretty solidly converging around a disk-based system with 48K+a language card, so you'd probably need to have a pretty specific reason to seek out an Integer Basic II.)
 

DistantStar001

Well-known member
Thanks for all the replies, and sorry for not responding sooner. It's really interesting to see all the info on the ]['s extended lifespan. I really didn't expect to learn that it went on as long as it did.

As for my board, I'm pretty sure it's a ][ now, though it likely started out as a ][ Plus. It would seem that the bottom label on my case is mismatched as it has an A2S2 model number (as opposed to an A2S1). Not that big of a deal. But I still need to find an appropriate top cover and Apple ][ badge for it.

Side Question: I've noticed that the "garbage" displayed on the screen when I use my Integer ROMs with Machine Monitor differs from board to board. My original D board was quite uniform and predictable (alternating rows of ?s and @s), whereas other boards have been more haphazard in the characters they display. My other D board had Ys, Ts, and other punctuation, where the Rev 4 is displaying commas and semicolons with the occasional T. Also, the patterns seem to alter slightly between boots. I'm guessing that the characters displayed are indicative of the status of the RAM on boot, but I wanted to be sure. Any info on this phenomenon would be appreciated.
 
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