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I've recently acquired an Apple IIc. The internal 5.25" drive does seem to make appropriate noises at boot, but I do not (at least not yet) have any floppy disks, with software or otherwise. It's an earlier 16-RAM-chip motherboard that currently has ROM version 255, in case that makes any difference.

Given software (both disk images and individual files) and data files on my Linux system, what currently are my options for getting these on to the IIc and running/reading them, and, if possible, for copying back information generated on the IIc? (I also have a Windows system available, but that's far less convenient for me to use for this purpose.)

Particularly helpful answers will include details about any modifications that need to be made to the IIc (including updated ROMs, if necessary), additional hardware or supplies required by the solution, such as hardware devices, cables, floppy disks, etc., and where to get any software required by the solution.

I'm open to solutions that do and do not need actual floppies for the floppy drive, but of course I'd like to have at least one solution in reserve that doesn't use the current floppy drive in case it's irreparably broken.

One of my applications is to do cross-development from my Linux system (building and doing initial testing of the software on Linux and then copying it to the actual Apple IIc for further testing), so also welcome would be comments on how convenient (or not) this would be with the various solutions you offer.

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If you're happy to copy files and use Sneakernet then you could use a disk emulator like Floppy Emu, SDFloppy II, wDrive, etc. (Obviously all product links in this answer are likely to break in the future.)

Note that SmartPort disk emulators require at least a ROM 0 //c. Instructions for upgrading are given here. There are various upgrade kits that include pre-burned ROMs, e.g. this one and on eBay. Also note that there is a project developing ehancements to Apple's official //c(+) ROMs: 4X and 5X.

But really your first port of call should be the amazing ADTPro. (It's written in Java, so OK for Linux.)

First you'll need a serial cable. The ADTPro website provides instructions on how to make one, and a vendor of both serial cables and known good USB serial adapters (to use if your PC doesn't have an RS-232 port). Also note:

"... that the original IIc motherboard was not supposed to be able to operate the serial port accurately at speeds higher than 300 baud, but in practice they work fine at all speeds."

For cross-development, ADTPro's ProDOS Virtual Drive feature will likely be of interest. Installing the VSDRIVE driver on a ProDOS disk booted by the //c will allow it to access two virtual hard drives hosted on your PC. You can code on your PC, build into the VSDRIVE drive images, then access them from the //c. (Geo...'s comment suggests you could also host this on a Raspberry Pi.)

To avoid having to insert a disk with VSDRIVE into your //c you could add one of the aforementioned drive emulators, and perhaps a solution to switch between the external and internal drives.

Another option for a turnkey system (hat tip to Brian H for his comment) is using the previously mentioned ROM 4X with a RAM disk in a2heaven's battery backed RAM card for the original //c motherboard (or subsequent motherboards with the RAM expansion connector).

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    VSDRIVE started from a ROMDisk on the Apple IIgs approximates magic! – Brian H Nov 12 at 14:28
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    Also, after a very cursory look, there are reports of people running the ADTPro server on a Raspberry Pi with Raspbian. You can easily enable shell/ftp/samba access to your Pi over the network and probably access your VSDRIVE images that way too! – Geo... Nov 12 at 15:23
  • @BrianH: Thanks, you reminded me of similar solutions for the //c. – Nick Westgate Nov 13 at 1:03
  • If one were to open up junk 5.25" floppy, run some loops of wire around the drive-head access area, and then run that coil via resistor to a couple of I/O pins on a microcontroller, I wonder if one could make an interface that could be used to boot an unmodified Apple II without any electrical connection? – supercat Nov 13 at 21:15
  • @supercat: Sounds problematic. You need to know which track you're on. Much easier to use the drive connector and emulate the drive like existing solutions. – Nick Westgate Nov 14 at 10:39
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You might want to investigate ADTPro. Since you are using an Apple //c, which already has a serial port, you can easily bootstrap the software by connecting the //c to another computer via a serial cable and/or NULL modem and simply issuing an IN#2 on the Apple. Once you have ADTPro running, you can start transferring disk images via the serial cable to floppy. I did this a year or two ago with my Laser 128 and it was super easy to get up and running.

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