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Elfen

Hack Apple + Raspberry Pi = Apple II Pi?

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Anyone seen this and/or tried it out? It's a board that goes into the Apple II Slot to add a Raspberry Pi to it, done around 2013....

 

What is Apple II Pi? http://schmenk.is-a-geek.com/wordpress/?p=167

Apple II Pi Board: http://schmenk.is-a-geek.com/wordpress/?p=151

Apple II Pi System Software: http://schmenk.is-a-geek.com/wordpress/?p=135

Apple II Pi Utility Software: http://schmenk.is-a-geek.com/wordpress/?p=125

Apple II + Raspberry Pi = Apple II Pi : http://schmenk.is-a-geek.com/wordpress/?p=88

 

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I really like this but can't see it as an essential piece of hardware to have in an Apple II - with it not truly handshaking with the Apple II itself

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As an internal file server, SD Storage and USB I/O added to an Apple II; much of the I/O is software controlled between the two systems. It would be similar to what Commodore and Atari did with each peripheral having their own CPU instead of controlled by the host computer like on the Apple II and other card systems. Thing is instead of using a modified serial port, it is on a parallel port tied to the computer's data bus so I/O would be much faster.

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Thing is instead of using a modified serial port, it is on a parallel port tied to the computer's data bus so I/O would be much faster.

 

No. The Raspberry Pi card is actually just a really stripped down brain-damaged serial port. (It has a 6551 UART and minimal circuitry to map it onto the II's bus; a GPIO output on the Pi provides the clock signal that you'd otherwise need an oscillator for.) Other than the convenience of letting you stash the Pi inside your Apple's case it doesn't do anything that a serial cable to a Super Serial card does and it works at the same effective speed.

 

As to the other things, well, I've found that even people who have the cards and use them are sort of confused about what's happening when they're using them. In the standard mode of operation the Raspberry Pi effectively isn't the peripheral, the Apple II is. IE, the software integration here is mostly used to convert the host Apple II into a keyboard/mouse/etc for the OS running on the Pi... which itself can run an Apple IIgs emulator, thereby providing the illusion that your system is still an "Apple II" with vastly enhanced CPU and storage capabilities.

 

I mean, seriously, not to sound negative because it's technically very clever and there are some useful services the software integration provides (such as being able to read and write real physical floppies connected to the Apple II into the emulated environment), but... it's also technically sort of a different animal from, say, those old Z80/68000/whatever CPU cards you could plug into an Apple II. The Apple II is the slave here, not the master.

Edited by Gorgonops

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So basically this is just a vaporware hack, loaded with false hopes and failed dreams. No wonder I did not hear of it until now and I was just scouring the net looking for something else.

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It's not vaporware, it works and is actually pretty darn cool. (They may well not be producing the boards right now, I haven't looked, but they did churn out at least one batch, and as I said you can also experience it using a Super Serial card or the ports built into a IIc or gs.) The only "beef" I have with it is the way it's described is perhaps the tiniest bit... misleading? Maybe that's too strong of a word.

 

In any case this has been discussed extensively in posts all over the web before.

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You can run the software stack on a Pi without their Apple slot board.  All that is required on the Apple is a serial port.

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This thing is literally a Super Serial Card with mounting hardware for a Pi on it.

 

There seems to be a few different ways people use them -- it's very intriguing, but it looks like in at least one usage scenario, you end up using the video output of the Pi and your Apple II becomes a really really glorified keyboard and mouse. There are other modes, but that's the one I saw most of at Kansasfest.

 

Dialing into the Pi or pulling data off of it using serial while still using the Apple II locally may be more interesting. If you've got a IIe with a workstation card or a IIgs, you can also just netboot that off of some software on the Pi, using ethertalk/localtalk. (You don't even need a Pi for that, you can use a linux or solaris/bsd virtual machine on a PC, or you can use AppleShare on a 68k Mac.)

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This thing is literally a Super Serial Card with mounting hardware for a Pi on it.

Well, technically it's an incredibly brain damaged Super Serial card that doesn't work at all unless the Pi is joined to it. (All the clock generation circuitry is missing, the UART is driven by a square wave output from one of the Pi's GPIO pins. It's also missing the handshake lines, driver PROM, and RS-232 voltage level converters.)

 

The one thing I could see that maaaybe the dedicated board could do that the SSC can't is possibly run at a higher speed (since the clocking is fully software controlled) but from what I've seen the effective baud rate is the same with either type of connection, so this would be a theoretical advantage.

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