Apple II 3.5 Disk Controller Card

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Apple II 3.5" Disk Controller Card
Current version from Ultimate-Micro

The Apple II 3.5" Disk Controller Card, also known as the SuperDrive Card, is a 3.5" drive controller card for the Apple II/II+/IIe/IIgs designed originally by Apple Computers. The card allows a simple way to connect a 3.5" Disk Drives to the Apple II computers. All Apple drives are supported, as well as AE and some other clone drives. A total of two drives can be added by using the card.

This project marked the first collaboration between ReActiveMicro and UltimateApple2.


Project Status: Completed. In production. Actively sold by ReActiveMicro.

Support: Post on the Discussion page (link above) or email ReActiveMicro Support.

Sales: Visit the ReActiveMicro Store.




History

In 2006 Henry from ReActiveMicro was successful in cracking and testing the PLDs on the Apple II 3.5 Disk Controller Card. This is the first step in producing a cloned card.

In 2007 Anthony from UltimateApple2 and Henry discussed the Apple II 3.5" Disk Controller Card project and they decided to move ahead with Proof of Concept boards. Henry depopulated his Apple II 3.5 Disk Controller Card and sent it to be scanned. In 2008 Proof of Concept PCBs were ordered. And in 2009 Anthony and Henry hand assembled boards and sold them at KFEST.

The first run of boards were 1-to-1 clones with only the Silkscreen layer updated by Henry. In the rush they were mislabeled "A2DiskCrontoller v1.0". These Proof of Concept PCBs however proved the CAD files and Bill of Materials were good, and other runs of boards could be produced from these files.

On 2016-02-10 Henry re-edited the layout, slightly updated the Silkscreen layer, and incremented to v1.1. Ten more Proof of Concept PCBs were ordered to reprove the design changed and sell. Up to this point all board produced were hand assembled.

On 2016-03-25 Henry continued to edit the v1.1 design to support a smaller Resistor Network, utilizing the newer WDC C02 CPU, 27 and 28C/F series EPROM, fuses on the power lines, and SOJ SRAM. He also tented all vias and added a Silkscreen layer to make assembly much simpler. The design was incremented to v1.2, however it was plagued with issues due to many changes at once combined with CAD issues. Ultimately the design was abandoned and the project was rolled back to the known good starting point of v1.1.

On 2018-05-09 the project was revisited due to demand and others who had failed attempts in making a 3.5" Drive Controller of their own. Henry re-edited the project hard by changing the footprint for the Resistor Pack to something more commonly available in today's market. He also edited the CPU footprint to allow for use of the newer WDC 65C02 CPU. All PLCC parts were socketed so the boards could be factory assembled, which marks the new direction ReActiveMicro has taken since its full return back to the retro scene in mid-July 2016. The original Silkscreen layer was added back to the board and cleaned up to make to more readable. The name was also changed from "A2DiskController" back to the original "Apple II 3.5" Disk Controller Card". Henry also added "AKA - SuperDrive Card" to the name since some people in the retro community know the board by this slang name.


Review

Joe's Computer Museum: Apple II SuperDrive Card Review

On September 25, 2018 Joe Strosnider posted a review about the Apple II 3.5" Disk Controller Card v1.0.