Of TransWarp and Loose Oscillators


I had some (unexpected) fun installing an Applied Engineering TransWarp GS card in my Apple IIgs.

I bought the card on eBay after searching for a few months - most TransWarp GS cards were going for amazing amounts of cash. Fortunately I lucked out and got a hold of a semi-reasonably priced “Buy-It-Now” auction before the hordes descended and bid it into the stratosphere.

The card arrived late last week, and I eagerly unpacked it and took a photo for posterity:


I was pleased to note it wasn’t simply a stock card, but had in fact been upgraded with new parts (presumably) from ReactiveMicro - a 32K cache board, high-speed GAL set, etc. Of course, despite noticing the shiny upgrades, I failed to notice an oscillator was missing from its socket.

After repeated attempts to get the card working met with utter failure, I was stumped. Could it be the upgrades had essentially tailored it to the system it was removed from? Was my machine pickier about timing? After perusing the ReactiveMicro site some more, I noticed all the various oscillator speeds they offered. Then it hit me - where’s mine?

I shook the anti-static bag the card had shipped in* and out fell a mangled ECS-2100 35MHz oscillator, its four legs hopelessly crumpled. My attempts to straighten them only led to one breaking clean off.


After an order to DigiKey and a few days, the replacement 35Mhz oscillator arrived in a ridiculously oversized box filled with copious amounts of packing material. While installing the new part, I made certain to securely fasten it to its socket via a small tie-strap.


I reinstalled the card in the machine, now nervous that the repeated removal and replacement of the CPU may have caused excessive socket wear. After flipping the power switch once again, I was greeted with a cool warp sound effect and animated high-res graphics title screen. The card lives!

With all that aside, it’s a really nice card - the speed boost is noticeable just tooling around in the Finder. My next goal for the system is to outfit it with a compact flash “hard drive” card, either by ReactiveMicro or R&D Automation. I’d considered simply going with a Apple High-Speed SCSI card, but they tend to go for a lot of cash (about the same as a CF solution).

Once I have a mass storage solution in place I can finally install System 6.0.1 and have some fun :)

  • (You can actually see the oscillator still in the anti-static bag in the card photo above - it’s right below the ribbon cable!)


Finally a site that brings out my geek side :) Really excited to see you posting more often. Keep up the great posts


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This page contains a single entry by nekonoko published on August 1, 2008 7:05 AM.

CP/M on the Apple III was the previous entry in this blog.

Power to the TRS-80 Model III is the next entry in this blog.

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