Recapping the Apple PowerBook 160 LCD Display

(This was originally a Twitter thread from May 26, 2022)

May 26, 2022

Today I’m going to recap the LCD display on this PowerBook 160. It has a passive matrix LCD display capable of displaying 4-bit grayscale (16 shades of gray). The display was dim before with some severe artifacts (after adjusting the contrast slider) but now it will only show a black screen.

@mac84tv has an excellent page that lists the capacitors needed for this recap along with the links to Mouser to purchase.

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Make an Apple // disc for BASIC week at Reddit RetroBattlestations

Apple //e for BASIC weekBASIC week at Reddit /r/retrobattlestations is over but you can relive the fun on your Apple // without any typing! Simply follow these steps to download the disk image to a new disk for your machine.

  1. Connect your laptop, tablet or phone’s headphone jack to the tape input jack on the back of your Apple // using a 1/8″ mini headphone cable.
  2. Turn the volume up to maximum.
  3. Turn on your machine and hold control and hit reset to get to a ] prompt.
  4. Insert a blank disk into drive 1 (it will be erased!).
  5. Turn on caps lock and type LOAD and hit return.
  6. Begin playing the .WAV file below on your device.

If all goes well, in about 2 minutes you should have a floppy that you can now boot from. When it’s finished, hit return to reboot your machine. ProDOS should load BASIC. Once it does, type LOAD REDDIT and then RUN.

[Apple // .WAV file to disc for BASIC week program 5.5MB]

Credit for creating the .WAV file from a .DSK image goes to C2T found at ASCII Express.

Enjoy!

 

 

Create a local web-based Apple II disc server

Here are the steps I used to create a local web-based Apple II disc server. This method uses the c2t tool for converting .dsk disk images to .wav audio files suitable for playback into the tape in jack of the Apple II. The Apple Disc Server site does this with preexisting disk images already converted to .wav files. I thought it would be nice to create a web-based service that would allow you to convert .dsk images to .wav files on the fly. This enables you to browse Apple II software with your iPad and instantly convert it to a disk.

 

  • Enable Apache server on your Mac
  • Create a directory (default is “c2t”) for the new service in /Library/WebServer/Documents
  • Create a new temporary directory (default is “tmp”) inside this new directory
  • Change ownership and permissions
     sudo chown www:www /Library/WebServer/Documents/c2t/tmp
     sudo chmod g+w /Library/WebServer/Documents/c2t/tmp
  • Download c2t and wget and install in your path

DIY NES Gamepad to iPad Adapter

In my last post, I showed that I could use my homebrew C64 USB keyboard with the iPad using the Camera Connection Kit. What was interesting was when I opened iMAME (you were lucky enough to snag it, right?) and accidentally pressed keys on the keyboard. iMAME said it was enabling iCade mode. I thought this was interesting and looked it up.

iCade connects via Bluetooth and acts as a Bluetooth keyboard. My keyboard was connected via USB. Could a USB keyboard work to control games on the iPad? Maybe the connection type didn’t matter? Could I create an adapter that connects via USB and lets you use standard game controllers in iMAME?

iCade sends key strokes when a button is pressed and once again when it’s released. The keys are documented for developers. I launched iMAME again with the USB keyboard plugged in to confirm and as expected the keys worked to control the games.

The next part was pretty straight forward. Make a USB keyboard with an Arduino (see previous post on how this was done) but instead of an actual keyboard matrix, use a game pad. I chose to use my trusty original NES game pad since they’re so easy to interface with.




I threw together a quick case from LEGO and hot glued in two jacks, one for the NES controller and one for USB. The iPad powers the Arduino and the NES controller so no power supply is needed.

And there you have it, a DIY NES Gamepad to iPad via USB adapter. I’ll post the code later when it’s been cleaned up a bit. The only other game I’ve tested was Atari’s Greatest Hits and it seemed to work fine. In theory, any game that supports the iCade should work.

C64 USB Keyboard works with iPad


Just a follow up to the C64 USB keyboard Arduino project that I made last week. I was curious if it would work on the iPad using the iPad Camera Connection kit. So I tried it out and was greeted with the error “Cannot Use Device” and “The connected USB device is not supported.” I dismissed the window and tried anyway and it worked! I was able to type in any application.

Any application that is except the Manomio C64 emulator on the iPad/iPhone. I doubt that any USB keyboard would work there, not just mine. Maybe support for USB keyboards could be added?

Print from iPad to ImageWritter II


What if you could print from and iPad to an ImageWriter II? Okay, maybe you don’t want to, but it was an exercise that ultimately proved to be fairly simple.

First, you’ll need a USB to serial adapter and the appropriate cables. I was lucky to have a Keyspan “USA-28X” 2-port adapter with 8-pin DIN jacks, just like the ImageWriter has. I suppose any serial port (9 or 25 pin) would work as long as you had an appropriate cable with 8-pin DIN on the other side. (You may also need to “null modem” the connection this way– not sure).

Next, you’ll need some drivers. Lucky for me, there’s updated drivers for 10.6 available at http://www.linuxfoundation.org/collaborate/workgroups/openprinting/macosx/imagewriter. Download and install the drivers for the ImageWriter II as well as GhostScript (this acts as the RIP to go from PDF to raster images for the printer).

Then you need to configure the printer. By default, the drivers install a print driver for every serial device on you computer. I chose to delete them all and add only one to prevent the clutter. I deleted the extra printers in the Printers Preference Pane. To add the ImageWriter II printer, browse to http://localhost:631/admin which will let you access CUPS on your machine. Go through the add printer procedure, choosing the right serial port, 9600 baud, 8,n1 and hardware flow control (match this to the DIP switches of your printer). Don’t forget to turn on printer sharing and to “share” this new printer!

Finally, you need to download and run AirPrint Activator 2.0 to enable AirPrint on your shared printers.

If all worked, you should see a new printer listed on your iPad (or iPhone/iPod Touch) and relive the sound of the 80’s all over again.

iBook G3 Clamshell Repair Timelapse

Recently I had the pleasure of taking apart a tangerine iBook G3 clamshell. The symptom was the question mark on the folder icon at power-on. The CD-ROM drive reportedly hasn't worked for almost two years so I was unable to boot from any sort of repair or diagnosis disc. The computer is also sans-firewire so no target disc mode. After trying to usual suspects (zapping the PRAM, resetting the power manager) I resorted to taking apart the machine.

The first task was to replace the CD-ROM drive with another one. This didn't work. Either my replacement drive was bad or the motherboard has some other issues with the IDE controller. So I move on to extracting the hard drive and connected it to a firewire bridge. Disk Warrior didn't report too many obvious things so I let it rebuild the disc. I think the problem was that it just needed to be blessed.

Anyway, I recorded a time lapse of all this fun. Just under three hours in all. Enjoy!

Link to the video.
Link to the wonderful take-apart guide I used from ifixit.com.

Apple Quietly Pulls Modems from Certain Macs

Apple has begun to pull the built-in modem from the Mac line up. First models to get the treatment are the new iMac G5 and the Mini (but only the higher end models). To make up for the shortcoming, Apple has created the Apple USB Modem, pictured left, for $49. A little steep if you ask me, for a modem. But in typical Apple fashion, it's smaller than any external modem I've seen. And it supports caller-id which has me thinking it might be a great replacement for my large external serial modems I use for ncidd (network caller id daemon) and ncidpop.

This is certainly a trend that will continue until none of the machines they sell offer internal modems, not unlike the original CRT iMac that didn't come with a floppy. People will whine and complain for a while and they'll forget about it. They always do.

Link.