Apple II

Yellowstone Manufacturing is Go!

January 13, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

The i’s are dotted, the t’s are crossed, and Yellowstone manufacturing is underway! I want to say something satirical like “I never thought I’d live to see this day”, but truthfully this has been a long, long, loooooooong time in the making. General availability of Yellowstone is expected sometime …

Apple II

Merchant Service Horror: Amazon Pay and the Disappearing $2300

January 9, 2022 Big Mess o' Wires

This is a horror story of a small e-commerce merchant who signed up for Amazon Pay: a payment processing service similar to PayPal that leverages customers’ existing Amazon accounts. It all seemed so promising. Amazon Pay would provide an easier checkout experience for my customers, with the shipping address …

Big Mess o' Wires
Apple II

Almost Manufacture-Ready

December 31, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

As 2021 draws to a close, Yellowstone is very nearly finished, with just a few details left to iron out. I recently tested a new v2.3 prototype with a couple of small PCB changes, and so far it’s looking good. The new PCB fixes an obscure problem with the Unidisk …

Big Mess o' Wires
Apple II

Edge Connectors, ENIG Plating, and Galvanic Corrosion

December 22, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

Yellowstone is inching slowly towards the start of manufacturing. One question that’s arisen is the type of surface plating to use on the PCB. The default / cheap plating is HASL or Hot Air Solder Leveling, which is just a thin layer of solder, consisting mostly of tin. This is …

Apple II

Circuit Sleuthing: Unidisk 5.25 Enable and PHI1

December 10, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

While chasing down some Yellowstone hardware bugs, I discovered an unexpected analog-type behavior on the enable input of the Unidisk 5.25 (A9M0104). This is an active low digital input that’s used to enable or disable the disk drive. Under the right conditions, something inside the drive itself is creating …

Big Mess o' Wires
Apple II

Apple IIgs 80 Column Mode Crash

December 6, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

Here’s the part of our program where I describe a problem I’m having, and somebody tells me what I’ve done wrong, because I’m not smart enough to figure it out myself. The problem is with the Yellowstone disk controller, the Apple IIgs, and 80 column display mode. It’s a minor …

Big Mess o' Wires
Apple II

Apple IIgs 80 Column Mode Crash

December 6, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

Here’s the part of our program where I describe a problem I’m having, and somebody tells me what I’ve done wrong, because I’m not smart enough to figure it out myself. The problem is with the Yellowstone disk controller, the Apple IIgs, and 80 column display mode. It’s a minor …

Apple II

Global Chip Shortage Hits Home

December 4, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

Discouraging news from the BMOW manufacturing front: the global chip shortage seems to be growing worse, and is now causing major problems for some of my vintage computer products. This is a change from a year or two ago, when the shortage mostly affected new high-end semiconductors that BMOW …

Apple II

Yellowstone Beta Testing Continues

November 30, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

The goal of a “do everything” disk controller for Apple II is getting closer to reality, thanks to the efforts of the hard-working beta testers. If all goes well, I’m hoping to have Yellowstone cards available for sale in the first months of the new year. Yellowstone is designed …

Apple II

Cyber Monday 10% Off at the New BMOW Store

November 28, 2021 Big Mess o' Wires

Help celebrate the opening of the new BMOW store with a Cyber Monday 10% off sale! You get a discount, I get more people trying the new store platform, and everybody wins. From now until the end of Monday, all BMOW products in the new store will be 10% …