Apple II

US Customs Export Control Says: I’m Screwed

May 8, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

Help! This is very bad. Since sometime about April 26, nearly every international shipment I’ve sent has been returned by US Customs Export Control, for unknown reasons. The packages come back with an export compliance sticker that says something is “missing”, but doesn’t explain further. I discussed the problem …

Big Mess o' Wires
Apple II

Off to the Fab!

May 4, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

The Yellowstone 2.0 disk controller PCB has been sent to the fab. Now we wait. It took longer than I planned to finish it, first because I wasted a couple of days trying to shrink the board by 7 mm, then because I was obsessing over tiny layout tweaks. Now …

Apple II

Yellowstone 2.0 Layout and Route

April 29, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

It took longer than expected, but the PCB layout is finished for version 2.0 of the Yellowstone disk controller. Phew! There’s still a bit of cleanup work to be done before I send the board for manufacturing. Hopefully I can finish that off within the next few days. I …

Apple II

Floppy Emu Update: Smartport Daisy-Chain Support

April 22, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

As of today, the BMOW Floppy Emu disk emulator now offers two different firmware versions for Apple II users: a normal version and a Smartport daisy chain version. You’ll find them both in the Firmware Downloads section of the Floppy Emu project page. Most people should use the normal …

Apple II

Floppy Emu Update: Smartport Daisy-Chain Support

April 22, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

As of today, the BMOW Floppy Emu disk emulator now offers two different firmware versions for Apple II users: a normal version and a Smartport daisy chain version. You’ll find them both in the Firmware Downloads section of the Floppy Emu project page. Most people should use the normal …

Big Mess o' Wires
Apple II

Yellowstone Reprogramming and Testing

April 20, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

I’m working on the hardware design for version 2.0 of Yellowstone, my FPGA-based universal Apple II disk controller. Most of it is going well, but I’m facing two major challenges I’m unsure how to solve: how to support user reprogramming, and how to batch test newly-made boards. I’m feeling blocked …

Apple II

Fixing Laser’s Bugs

March 23, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

Last week I wrote about some test results from Yellowstone, my FPGA-based universal Apple II disk controller based on the Laser UDC design. I described two especially worrisome problems: one with 5.25 inch disks on an Apple IIGS at “fast” CPU speed, and the other with 3.5 inch disks …

Apple II

Testing Yellowstone

March 19, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

Work continues on Yellowstone, my FPGA-based universal Apple II disk controller based on the UDC design. I’ve finished some initial testing, and while the results were mostly positive, a few problems may spell trouble. First the good news: I’ve tested Yellowstone successfully with reading and writing 5.25 inch drives, …

Big Mess o' Wires
Apple II

Yellowstone 3.5 Inch Drive Support!

March 7, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

[embed]https://youtube.com/watch?v=qBtRExciozg&feature=oembed[/embed] Success! My Yellowstone disk controller card for the Apple II now works with 3.5 inch floppy drives! Along with the previously-implemented 5.25 inch floppy and Smartport HD support, this completes the triumvirate of Apple II disk drives. While it’s still very rough around the edges, I now have a …

Apple II

Yellowstone 5.25 Inch and Smartport Support

March 3, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

Way back in 2017, I began development of Yellowstone, an FPGA-based disk controller card for the Apple II. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost four years. Sometimes I feel like I’m moving inch by inch along a journey of a thousand miles. But today I made some significant …