As today hardly any i86-based PC comes from IBM, 25 years only a few "Apple II" users really had a machine built by Apple Computer Inc. In Germany, clones and compatible systems held a market share of 30..50%. Some of them, like the BASIS-108 or the IBS Computertechnik systems improved the design and added more features, others just copied Woz's circuit. The most common clones came from Taiwan R.O.C. and were sold in almost any electronic store. They had two basic designs:
My first machine was of this GTAC-1 type, the mail order shop called it "MEWA-48". Names did not really matter for Apple II clones, everyone invented his own brand for the same hardware. I still have this computer, a few pictures of the machine are shown below.
That thing had lowercase (which the original ][ Europlus did not) and a keyboard with numeric keypad and a keyword macro function: instead of having to type "LOAD" you just pressed 'FUNC' + 'L'. A great feature that saved a lot of time when typing in BASIC programs. The schematic diagram is in the schematics section.
The first expansions were common - a 16k card and the Disk II controller board. After having bought a Seikosha GP-100 printer at the Hobbytronic trade fair in Dortmund, I added a self-designed printer interface (I paid DM 100,- for the printer, a printer interface would have been more expensive). A little later, having recovered financially, a Z80 card and an AP64e-style EPROM burner followed. Unfortunately the Z80 board never worked really well. Tired from swapping 'LS367 chips I replaced the Rev.7 copy with a GTAC-2 style mainboard. This board included the Z80 cpu, and finally solved the CP/M problem.
From left ro right: Disk II controller in slot 6; Fairy IC Tester board (with auto-identify feature for TTL and 4000 series chips); 80 column board; Flash Disk; Multi-IO-Board (with two serial, one parallel and a DataLink port -- that is a SPI-like serial interface I used to control my model railway). Slot 4 is missing because the Z80A is on the mainboard, and slot 7 alternately holds a 128k card, EPROMmer, GPIB or whatever. Who decided that 8 slots are enough ??
Inspired by the IIe case some day I replaced the classic three-slot-backpanel with a sheet of aluminium with a dozen Sub-D openings. Looks much more professional, and cleans up the cable clutter behind the machine. On the left, there is a volume control and three lever switches: fan control, Applesoft/Integer and Autostart/Krakowicz Monitor ROM select.
The leftmost Sub-D9 connectors are two Apple IIe-compatible joystick ports. Still important today when playing Archon against my buddy Tom!
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