Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

One of the original authors, Harry Baya, would like to share an overall observation: My experience with RS232 communications, including modems, cables, and communication programs has often been one of frustration, patience, and on-going trial and error. When things don't work, I keep trying different solutions and asking for help until they do. When they did work, I sometimes took things for granted and failed to write down the exact settings (mainly from the modem and from communication programs) used on the working system. There have been many times when I regretted that failure.

1.0 Data Communications Hardware

You need little extra equipment for data communications on an Apple ///. The system comes with an RS-232 serial port, the D-shaped 25-pin connector on the back of the unit. For telephone line communications, you need no more than a ten buck ribbon connector from your friendly local Radio Shack to link your built in connector to your modem.

1.1 Modems

Almost any "asynchronous" external modem will do. The Apple /// cannot generally use any "internal" modem, one that is contained on a card you plug into a slot. Most personal computer folk use Hayes brand or "Hayes compatible" modems. If you need help, you are best off getting what most folk have. Hayes compatibles vary in their compatibility. The Prometheus ProModem is a good low-cost highly compatible modem. With modems, you usually get what you pay for. The cheaper models have fewer features and often have less reliability.

2400 baud modems are cheap and work reliably on an Apple ///. So long as they are Hayes Compatible, you should have no problems. What about higher speeds? Most /// com programs allow you to go as high as 9600 baud. The higher speeds are great for doing uploads and downloads, BUT not so good if you're trying to read messages on-line. Better to download them and read later, when you're not running up connect charges.

Look for such features as "auto answer" that perks up your modem automatically when another computer calls in. Look for the ability to switch between 2400/9600 or higher speeds. Some computers you talk to can automatically adjust to the call-in speed, but others cannot. CompuServe, for example, has different phone numbers for different baud rates. You don't want to call the 9600-baud number if your modem is fixed at 2400.

Consider strongly getting a second phone line dedicated to your modem. It isn't very expensive (Most houses are pre-wired to accept two different phone numbers), and it can breed peace of mind. Nothing disturbs domestic tranquillity like someone picking up an extension phone while you are on line.

Also get a cheap device known as a "modem spike protector." The ones I've seen plug into a grounded outlet and have in/out phone jacks. The modem line plugs into one side, and the line from the wall plate plugs into the other.

Return to Apple III Home Page

Revised November 1, 1998 lic
Washington Apple Pi
URL: http://www.wap.org/a3/