//c Color Monitor

There is no doubt, life is full of surprises … when I thought I had finished the project Apple //c, found in a local “flea market”, just stashed in a corner an Apple //c with the original color monitor. I could not resist the temptation, since these monitors are scarce and very hard to get (apart from the fun that comes with restoring them)  so  after a bit of haggling bought them for $50. Of course the state was lamentable: completely yellow, dirty and dusty.

Upon arriving home, after testing that worked, I started the classic process of cleaning, dismantling and restoration. The most important thing is that when working with these monitors, you have to be very careful as they retain the charge for a while, and can drop a fatal electrical shock.

I armed myself with a pair of rubber gloves, and proceeded to open the monitor. I followed the procedure and discharged the screen. Now with more confidence, but without taking off the gloves, disarmed the plastic parts, and gave them a good washing with fiber and brush to get it ready for Retr0bright.

I took all weekend to restore the color of the monitor and CPU to its original state. This time I used a stronger Peroxide at 30%, reducing the time to keep it in the sun.

The Color Monitor IIc, was the latest in technology at the time. It controls vertical and horizontal sweep, and the front brightness, color and a button to change color to black and white, this is very handy for using a word processor, or “80 column” that requires more clarity on the screen.

Of course this old monitor has some details: one corner is broken with a crack on the top and door controls have broken a hinge, but everything (except the corner) is repairable. Especially after Retr0bright treatment, the monitor looks new again, ready to use another two decades.

Repairing the hinge.

As mentioned earlier, one of the hinges of the front cover, covering the controls of the monitor is broken, in fact there are only small pieces so I tried to recreate it, with pieces of plastic. my first attempts seemed to bear fruit, but when connecting with the pressure break. the problem is trying to join several pieces forming the new hinge, I realize that it is necessary to create the part of a single piece of plastic to withstand the pressure.

The color Apple //c (updated)

In my continuing adventure with Apple //c, I have had many satisfactions. But one of the things that bother me is the green monitor. To read and work on word processors is fine, but for games, the best of the Apple II, display everything in a single tone is sometimes exasperating, especially in games that have a starry sky while you shoot, there’s no distinction between them.

For this and more, I was looking for a color monitor. Apple originally took out a specific model for the //c, but is 14 “, very big and bulky. Also is very hard to get and they set the price like gold. The last I found cost over $ 300.

My other options were connected to a TV, impractical, and also tried LCD monitor without success, for new monitors are 16:9, much more elongated than the traditional.

The best solution was to get a monitor of the same size, but color. In many forums asked if he could adapt Color Classic Macintosh monitors, Sony televisions or surveillance monitors, all 9 “, but the size or circuitry does not allow to adapt into the housing of the original green monitor.

At last a few weeks ago I found an LCD screen 8.4″ after comparing measurements, it was accurate. I bought it, and today I got.

The screen finally arrived today, it is a Phillips monitor, very modern, but 4:3. Comes in circuit “peeled” without any base or casing, ready to be placed on a project. When connected, has three inputs: RGB, AV1 and AV2. The latter two are classic RCA inputs , exactly what I needed. also brings a panel with LED, and buttons to turn on, select the input and adjust color, brightness, contrast and so on. on the monitor. It even handles volume, which does not need or have integrated speakers.

The first step was to test it. Did not come with power supply, but it uses a standard 12V connection, so it was not difficult to get an adapter. Hence, the moment of truth: connect to the computer.

Eureka! the test was a success. Now, adjust the display to the original casing.

This required several adjustments, and finally a board to hold the monitor in place, screwed to original holes.

Now I have several problems: keeping the original monitor attached plastic cover, to replace no way to hold parts together, I must add ideas the form of screws or glue as a last resort. This I do not like because there is no way to maintain it later.

Also I have to devise a way to adjust the LED and controls to be used by the controls of the monitor.

But I’ll do that a bit later, now enjoy my games to Color!

Repairing an old joystick

As many are aware, I have a fondness for old Apple computers, especially Apple //c. Recently I found a low priced joystick that was manufactured specifically for the Apple //c, as being platinum beige instead of other models of Apple II.

These specific model of joystick have sold very high on eBay, up to $ 200, so I had lost hope of getting one. When I saw the opportunity, I decided to go for it and won it for $16. Not bad, but when I plugged it into the computer, I could see that the trigger buttons were not working.

I found myself in a dilemma, since there are spare parts for this equipment, so I proceeded to open it to try to repair it.

First to open, I see that is a simple system: Centrl handle the servos, and the two switches, which connect directly to the buttons with a small spring.

When testing the switches I see the problem is, it takes a lot and constant pressure to actuate the switch. This is sealed, is a plastic base with a button held with a metal frame “soldier” to four plastic.

Proceeded to slice three of these “rivets” to release the frame, remove the plastic circular button and also encounter a circular plate which makes contact is between two metal parts to the edges and a third metal circular area in the middle.

As expected, were very dirty, dusty and who knows what else. Clean everything thoroughly with a cloth and alcohol, leaving it clean.

I went to assemble, solder a few wires disconnected when opened, and tried again. The result was successful. I set up the joystick again and now not only works but is quite sensitive.

OBDII in action

A few days ago I read a review Matuk on the new Chevrolet App for their cars. Since I know also Ford, BMW, Mini and Mercedes Benz and other cars already preparing applications and network connectivity, but so far I have not seen who provide self-specific information, to view information such as torque, speed, acceleration , temperatures, etc.. and specific information as CO2 emissions, cooler, slip, centrifugal and vehicle-specific sensors, which are reported to the OBDII.

So I decided to share data in my car I get through this interface, and I think it should be a standard for every vehicle it helps not only to the maintenance of the road itself, but to detect any abnormalities or changes.

This is important because – as has happened to me – sometimes to a fault car reports and dashboard lights only signal “check engine” which tells us nothing, and which is often trivial (such as a sensor escape) when we believe it is a dangerous thing.

On another occasion I spoke of OBDII, this time I made a direct connection to the car entertainment system that allows me to view the data while listening to music.

I welcome your comments.

XBMC en Raspberry Pi

When I bought the Raspberry Pi, my first thought was to use a Media Center, after all, for $ 35 offers many possibilities, so I prepared a couple of SD memory, and installed Debian, then OpenElec and now RaspBMC.

The latter has been quite good because OpenElec has a fixed size partitions, and to set a fixed IP’s all a roll.

RaspBMC instead installs itself, create the partitions as memory size, and find the network automatically. Almost did not have to do anything, just set the video size, my server, and some external scripts.

It’s not as agile as the ATV2, but you can not expect that from a beta version. The interface is quite fast, occasionally locks up (adding data ¿?) Sometimes by the minute, but recovers. Only once I had to restart it, but what most impressed was the quality lme and speed in running a movie “full HD” (Avatar) without stopping to fill the buffer, which if it happens to ATV2. The only drawback is that the audio did not work, at least in this movie, I’ll have to investigate further.

Another thing I found remarkable is the ability to receive content Airplay (send video from an IOS device) without problems, excellent quality and speed. I tried a couple of Youtube videos from my iPad, to perfection.

Overall I’m very happy, I think that soon we’ll see versions “polished” by RaspBMC, probably with more options and speed.

Mi nuevo proyecto: Raspberry Pi

Thirty five years ago, Apple revolutionized the world of computers to create a computer accessible to the masses. In 2006, OLPC (one laptop per child, for its initials) started production of laptops at a very low price ($ 100 dollars) to give students from developing countries.

In 2006, a professor at the University of Cambridge, Eben Upton, and some colleagues decided to design a small and cheap computer to encourage young people in the field of programming, which is necessary in these days.

This gave the Raspberry Pi, a computer for $ 25 and $ 35 dollars, with cheap components but powerful, accessible to all sectors, to promote the program.

I welcome the idea and a few months ago I ordered one of them, in preproduction, and now I finally have arrived. For several days he had prepared an SD card with the operating system, Debian Linux.

This will be a fun project, I start installing XBMC via OpenELEC (a Media Center, or entertainment center for TV) to an SD card and another RaspBMC and see which works best.

Más sobre emuladores Apple II en iPad

Baterias de respaldo y OSX

With the advent of the rainy season, I started checking the backup battery I have at home, and replacing the main by a 1000 VA, I found a pleasant surprise: Lions do not need to install special drivers or applications battery monitor, automatically recognizes and auto-configures. All I did was to install the device, connect the included USB cable, and immediately displayed on the control panel under “energy saver” menu “UPS” shows the options to turn off the computer when you are alone with battery and the charge quantity thereof.

I can also rest assured that my computer is safe and will give me time to save any work before shutting down the equipment in case of power failure.

Proyecto Apple //c terminado

I can finally say that I have completed my project. Now, to enjoy it. Actually still want to buy a color monitor and an external 3.5 disk, but I think to use that you’ll be able to give, not worth it. I never started this project for profit, in the end would be nice to have the “set” complete, but I’d end up more a hindrance than a benefit.

During this process I learned a lot, since the recovery of plastics, cleaning readers, digital media, and some transfer between obsolete and modern systems.

In the end I got what I wanted: return to having and using the computer more I liked, and I think I will enjoy for long.

El disco externo

While working on my retro project of an Apple //c, I found that this particular model had some peripherals created around the original design. These include a monitor, joystick, mouse and external drive. Among the latter the 5 1/4 external floppy drive  is unique to other ones created by Apple, which had several models at that time.

The one on the Apple //c use the same drive mechanism as it’s internal one, and is very slim, so I decided to acquire one.

After the bid, I managed to get a good unit, which on arrival was a little dirty, as I show in the photos.

Of course this was another job for Retrobright, although really it was only lightly yellowed on the front.

took it apart, cleaned and after several hours was ready. Here is the result.