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How to test Super Serial Card?
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Chris Tobar
2017-07-23 08:57:42 UTC
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I ordered a Super Serial Card for my Apple II+ and it arrived today. I had found an ImageWriter II printer in a thrift shop recently, and I'm planning to hook it up with the serial card, but I still have to find the right cable to connect the printer to the computer. In the mean time, I'm anxious to find out whether the serial card is even working. It looks to be in good condition, but of course that doesn't necessarily mean it will work. Especially with electronics that are over 30 years old. So I was wondering, is there any way to test the card, without anything being connected to the output? Is there some way to find out if it's at least communicating with the computer by sending it commands or something?
James Davis
2017-07-23 10:05:20 UTC
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Post by Chris Tobar
I ordered a Super Serial Card for my Apple II+ and it arrived today. I had found an ImageWriter II printer in a thrift shop recently, and I'm planning to hook it up with the serial card, but I still have to find the right cable to connect the printer to the computer. In the mean time, I'm anxious to find out whether the serial card is even working. It looks to be in good condition, but of course that doesn't necessarily mean it will work. Especially with electronics that are over 30 years old. So I was wondering, is there any way to test the card, without anything being connected to the output? Is there some way to find out if it's at least communicating with the computer by sending it commands or something?
If you don't have any SSC manuals, you can download them from Asimov:

ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/a2_Super_Serial_Card_user's_manual.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/a2_Super_Serial_Card_installation%20and%20operating_Manual.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/Apple%20II%20Serial%20Port%20Firmware%20Interface%20Commands.txt

ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20II%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20-%20Schematics%20050-0045-A.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20II%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20-%20Reference%20Card.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20II%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20-%20Errata.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20II%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20-%20Box.jpg
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/super-serial-card-packing-list.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20II%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20-%20User's%20Manual%201985.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20Reference%20Card.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20Dip%20Switch%20Settings%20Sticker.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20II%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20-%20Box%202.JPG
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20II%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20-%20Front.jpg
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20Manual%20Complete.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20II%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20User's%20Manual.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/Apple%20II%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20-%20Installation%20and%20Operating%20Manual%201981.pdf
ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/documentation/hardware/io/super_serial_card/apple_ii_super_serial_card_-_reference_card.pdf

ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/emulators/rom_images/Apple%20II%20Super%20Serial%20Card%20ROM%20-%20341-0065-A.bin

ftp://public.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/utility/apl2serial.zip

Once you know how to use the SSC, give it a few commands--to see if it returns the proper error codes--while not connected (e.g., No Cable!) to any serial devices.
D Finnigan
2017-07-23 18:09:38 UTC
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Post by Chris Tobar
Especially with electronics that are over 30 years old. So I was
wondering,
is there any way to test the card, without anything being connected to the
output? Is there some way to find out if it's at least communicating with
the computer by sending it commands or something?
Chances are good that the card is still working unless you see obvious signs
of physical damage. Plug it into slot 1 or 2 on your Apple, then at the
Applesoft prompt, type PR#1 or PR#2 as appropriate. Press Control-A and you
should get an APPLE SSC prompt. If not, try pressing Control-I. Here at this
prompt you can give commands, such as changing baud, or to enter the dumb
terminal mode.

These commands and more, including how to use the SSC with an ImageWriter
II, or with a dial-up communications program, are covered in The New Apple
II User's Guide.
--
]DF$
Apple II 40th Anniversary User's Guide:
http://macgui.com/newa2guide/
Chris Tobar
2017-07-25 04:48:09 UTC
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Ok, I got the "Apple SSC" prompt :)
So I guess it's working ok, or at least responding to the computer.

Now I just have to find the cable to connect the printer to the computer! If anyone has a spare serial cable for an ImageWriter II, please let me know.
David Schmidt
2017-07-25 13:30:13 UTC
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Post by Chris Tobar
Ok, I got the "Apple SSC" prompt :)
So I guess it's working ok, or at least responding to the computer.
The firmware is OK, as is the electrical connection to the computer.
But both the send and receive functions of the onboard 6551 can fail
independently of one another - and as you note, you'll need a cable to
test that.
James Davis
2017-07-26 15:19:18 UTC
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Post by Chris Tobar
Ok, I got the "Apple SSC" prompt :)
So I guess it's working ok, or at least responding to the computer.
Now I just have to find the cable to connect the printer to the computer! If anyone has a spare serial cable for an ImageWriter II, please let me know.
Found this "Tech Info Library Article" for you:

ImageWriter: Cable for Apple IIe
Revised: 6/28/94
Security: Everyone
ImageWriter: Cable for Apple IIe
======================================================================
Article Created: 15 April 1991
TOPIC -----------------------------------------------------------
I have an ImageWriter, part number A9M0303. Is there a way to connect it to
an Apple IIe?
DISCUSSION -------------------------------------------------------
Yes, you can connect an original ImageWriter to an Apple IIe. The cable that
you do this with is A2C0352. In case you cannot get that cable through
Finished Goods, the service part number is 590-0037. You will also need a
Super Serial Card.
Copyright 1991, Apple Computer, Inc.
Tech Info Library
Tech Info Library Article Number:7388

Brian Marstella
2017-07-24 00:58:22 UTC
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I've bought 4 of them off of eBay over the last couple of years and have had no problems with them. However, a bit of a tip: if you decide to pull the jumper block off that selects between a DTE/DCE target, make sure you record which position it is in. I pulled one off on the first one I bought only to find that the glue or "weld" had deteriorated. The cap came off in my hand, while the jumper block (basically an IC socket with various pins jumpered) stayed behind. This caused quite a bit of frustration because at the time I couldn't find a good schematic to determine which position was which.
Delfs
2017-07-25 12:25:25 UTC
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I'm anxious to find out whether the serial card is even working. ... Is there some way to find out if it's at least communicating with the computer by sending it commands or something?
Does anyone have a loop back procedure to verify that it sends and receives? I know I used to do this back in the day with a paperclip between pins 2 and 3. But I expect you may need to send a few commands to ignore the hardware handshaking...
D Finnigan
2017-07-25 13:34:05 UTC
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Post by Delfs
I'm anxious to find out whether the serial card is even working. ... Is
there some way to find out if it's at least communicating with the
computer by sending it commands or something?
Does anyone have a loop back procedure to verify that it sends and
receives? I know I used to do this back in the day with a paperclip
between pins 2 and 3. But I expect you may need to send a few commands to
ignore the hardware handshaking...
If you have the old, 1981 Super Serial manual, that information for loopback
should be in there.

The Apple II Telecomms FAQ may have some good information:
http://macgui.com/usenet/?group=1&id=184345

I found this article in net.micro.apple that mentions loopback around the
middle of the text, the paragraph that begins with "The SSC comes with an
excellent manual":
http://macgui.com/usenet/?group=6&id=2101#msg
--
]DF$
Apple II 40th Anniversary User's Guide:
http://macgui.com/newa2guide/
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