Discussion:
What makes SmartPorts so "smart"?
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cb meeks
2018-02-05 16:07:06 UTC
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I hear the term SmartPort used quite often with the IIc but I must admit I'm not sure what it's all about.

I don't own any technical references to the IIc (although, I guess I could find the PDF's but I prefer reading on paper).

Anyway, what are they all about?

Thanks for any info!
Bill Buckels
2018-02-05 17:36:47 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
I hear the term SmartPort used quite often with the IIc but I must admit
I'm not sure what it's all about.
Me neither... seems rather dumb to me. Here's what I found...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_IIc#Built-in_cards_and_ports

"The equivalent of five expansion cards were built-in and integrated into
the Apple IIc motherboard"

"In the rear of the machine were its expansion ports, mostly for providing
access to its built-in cards."

"Although the IIc lacked a SCSI or IDE interface, external hard drives were
produced by third parties that connected through the floppy SmartPort as an
innovative alternative connection method (e.g. ProApp, Chinook, C-Drive).
While these specialized hard drives were relatively slow due to the nature
of how data was transferred through this interface (designed primarily for
floppy drives) they did allow for true mass storage. Other innovations that
used existing expansion ports led to add-on speech and music synthesis
products by means of external devices that plugged into the IIc's serial
ports. Three popular such devices were the Mockingboard-D, Cricket and Echo
IIc."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_IIc

See also:

Integrated WOZ Machine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_Woz_Machine
http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/documentation/iwm/apple2_IWM_Spec_Rev19_1982.pdf

And finally...

http://www.oldtechnewtech.com/apple-ii-solid-state-storage-benchmarks-smartport-emulation/
David Schmidt
2018-02-05 17:39:35 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
I hear the term SmartPort used quite often with the IIc but I must admit
I'm not sure what it's all about.
Me neither... seems rather dumb to me. [...]
I dunno - you plug different kinds of drives in, and they get assigned
to an "appropriate" (virtual) slot automatically. Plug in a 3.5"? Slot
5. Plug in a 5.25"? Goes to slot 6. At least a little clever, I think.
Bill Buckels
2018-02-05 18:21:33 UTC
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Post by David Schmidt
At least a little clever, I think.
CleverPorts...
Antoine Vignau
2018-02-05 19:01:48 UTC
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The first name of SmartPort was Protocol Comverter, see http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/documentation/iwm.html

It adds a layer to calling a block or character device, it removes a couple of annoying code to identify the connected devices, it offers expandability.

I like SmartPort a lot, it eases a developer's life,

Antoine
cb meeks
2018-02-05 19:19:14 UTC
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Post by Antoine Vignau
The first name of SmartPort was Protocol Comverter, see http://www.brutaldeluxe.fr/documentation/iwm.html
It adds a layer to calling a block or character device, it removes a couple of annoying code to identify the connected devices, it offers expandability.
I like SmartPort a lot, it eases a developer's life,
Antoine
At least they didn't call it the "iPort". LOL

OK, I think I understand a little more now. The reason I ask is that I'd love to design something for the IIc. Something along the lines of music and SD device. But I guess I got some studying to do.
c***@gmail.com
2018-02-05 17:43:53 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
I hear the term SmartPort used quite often with the IIc but I must admit I'm not sure what it's all about.
I don't own any technical references to the IIc (although, I guess I could find the PDF's but I prefer reading on paper).
Anyway, what are they all about?
Thanks for any info!
It's "smart" in that it handles all the ways original Apple II hardware handled and expected disks (using Disk II controller cards and drives, the first two drives on the card in slot 6, the next in slot 5). The firmware started at slot 7 and tried successively lower slot numbers until it found one with controller card. On the machines with SmartPorts, this is less meaningful (as far as the slot/drive), but older software uses this convention, and the SmartPort makes this transparent to the old software. The SmartPort also handles RAM disks (Usually referred to as RAM5, because it's a RAM "disk," virtually inserted into "slot 5." Basically, the SmartPort is a virtual layer that makes anything it's talking to behave as a block I/O device as far as the software is concerned. It also handles device status, resetting a device, formatting, reading, writing, and control info.
Bill Buckels
2018-02-05 18:10:59 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
Anyway, what are they all about?
I found this stuff as well... and based on some of this stuff I have come to
the conclusion that it is not SmartPorts that are smart... and instead one
needs to be smart to understand SmartPorts...

SmartPort
SmartPort Introduction (11/88)
SmartPort Calls Updated (9/89)
SmartPort Bus Architecture (11/88)
SmartPort Device Types (11/88)
SCSI SmartPort Call Changes (11/90)
Apple IIgs SmartPort Errata (11/90)
SmartPort Subtype Codes (11/88)
SmartPort Packets (5/89)
Apple II SCSI Errata (7/90)

This Technical Note formerly introduced the SmartPort firmware interface.

http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/apple/technotes/smpt/tn.smpt.1.html

This Technical Note documents SmartPort call information which is not found
in the descriptions of SmartPort in the Apple IIGS Firmware Reference and
the Apple IIc Technical Reference Manual, Second Edition. The
device-specific information which had been included in this Note is now
found in these manuals.

http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/apple/technotes/smpt/tn.smpt.2.html

This Technical Note formerly described the SmartPort Bus architecture, but
this information is now documented in the Apple IIGS Firmware Reference."

http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/apple/technotes/smpt/tn.smpt.3.html

This Technical Note documents additional device types which the SmartPort
firmware recognizes, but which may not be currently documented in the
technical reference manuals which cover SmartPort.

http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/apple/technotes/smpt/tn.smpt.4.html

This Technical Note describes two CONTROL codes which have changed in
revision C of the Apple II SCSI card firmware.

http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/apple/technotes/smpt/tn.smpt.5.html

This Technical Note documents two bugs in the Apple IIgs SmartPort firmware.

http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/apple/technotes/smpt/tn.smpt.6.html

This Technical Note clarifies information about SmartPort subtype codes.

http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/apple/technotes/smpt/tn.smpt.7.html

This Technical Note describes the structure and timing of a sample SmartPort
packet.

http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/apple/technotes/smpt/tn.smpt.8.html

This Technical Note documents SCSI-specific anomalies that were discovered
in the development of the Apple II High-Speed SCSI card.

http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/apple/technotes/smpt/tn.smpt.9.html
MG
2018-02-05 23:50:58 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
I hear the term SmartPort used quite often with the IIc but I must admit I'm not sure what it's all about.
I don't own any technical references to the IIc (although, I guess I could find the PDF's but I prefer reading on paper).
Anyway, what are they all about?
Thanks for any info!
SmartPort refers to two different, but related, things:

(1) an IWM-based communication protocol that delivers packets from one IWM to another IWM. This was used on the UniDisk 3.5 and would have been used by the Apple //c LocalTalk adapter. A few products also support the protocol. There is little official Apple documentation on it. Much of what we know about it today was reverse-engineered.

(2) a defined software interface, originally developed for interacting with (1) but eventually used for all kinds of disk-type devices. There is good documentation in the Apple //c Technical Reference (2nd ed.) and the Apple IIgs Firmware Reference. For the Apple IIgs, the Extended SmartPort interface was developed to support larger devices.

From a programmer perspective, I agree wholeheartedly with Antoine regarding (2).

MG
James Davis
2018-02-06 02:29:38 UTC
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Post by cb meeks
I hear the term SmartPort used quite often with the IIc but I must admit I'm not sure what it's all about.
I don't own any technical references to the IIc (although, I guess I could find the PDF's but I prefer reading on paper).
Anyway, what are they all about?
Thanks for any info!
It also allows daisy-chaining SOME disk drives, IIRC.

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