Setting up an Apple IIe Emulator Card in your 68k Macintosh

Figure 1: Apple IIe Card

Back in the early 2000s I managed to buy a couple of Apple IIe PDS cards (at a price far less then they go for now).   Over the years I’ve learned several tricks for how to use these cards as a way of bridging the old Apple II systems, through a classic Macintosh to modern systems.   A lot of what I’ve discovered is less useful now with things like ADTPro, and FloppyEMU, but I’ve decided to start documenting what I’ve discovered in case someone else is setting up one of these cards.

This blog entry covers:

  1. Does you system support an Apple IIe card?
  2. Getting an Apple IIe card (ebay is your best bet)
  3. Replacing the 2 capacitors on your Apple IIe card that may leak over time
  4. Setting up your Apple IIe Card
  5. Creating a Y-Cable (untested)

1. Does your system support an Apple IIe card?

Before you spend money or time on one of these cards, please check that you own one of the supported systems.  The Apple IIe card is only compatible with computers that have the LC style processor direct slot (PDS) and can work in 24-bit addressing mode.   

1.1. Supported Systems

The following table lists the systems where the cards do, or “should” work.

Many of these systems are duplicates with different names. For example the Macintosh LC 475, Quandra 605 and Performa 475 are all the same specifications, just release for different markets.

SystemWorks?Confirmation from
Macintosh LCYesKB TA46886
Macintosh Color ClassicYesSame source as LC
Macintosh Color Classic IIShouldHas LC PDS/24bit mode (KB SP208)
Macintosh LC IIYesSame source as LC
Macintosh LC IIIYesSame source as LC
Macintosh LC III+ShouldHas LC PDS/24bit mode (KB SP210)
Macintosh LC 475YesSame source as LC
Macintosh LC 520YesSame source as LC
Macintosh LC 550YesSame source as LC
Macintosh LC 575*YesSame source as LC
Macintosh Quadra 605YesSame source as LC
Macintosh Performa 250ShouldHas LC PDS/24bit mode (KB SP218)
Macintosh Performa 275ShouldHas LC PDS/24bit mode (KB SP219)
Macintosh Performa 4xxYesSame source as LC
Macintosh Performa 55xYesSame source as LC
Macintosh Performa 56xYesSame source as LC
Macintosh Performa 57x*YesSame source as LC

* Note: The 68040 versions of the Macintosh LC 5xx and Performa 5xx series do not recognize the Apple IIe Card when there is a communication card occupying the Communication Slot.

1.2. Software for the Apple IIe Card

The following table lists the released versions of the Setup Software for the Apple IIe card that I’ve managed to verify:

ReleaseSupported SystemsRelease Description(s)
1.0System 6.0.8 (perhaps 6.0.7)KB TA46108
2.0System 6.0.8 (perhaps 6.0.7)KB TA27874
2.1System 6.0.8, 7.1KB TA46597, KB TA42072
2.2System 6.0.8, 7 Pro, 7.1KB TA30421
2.2.1System 6.0.8, 7 Pro, 7.1, 7.1P, 7.5.5*KB TA30134, KB TA28525, KB TA37820
2.2.2d1System 6.0.8, 7 Pro, 7.1, 7.1P, 7.5.5*KB TA33463

* Works with 7.5.5 on my Colour Classic, LC III, and LC 475 systems.

2. Getting an Apple IIe Card

Figure 2: Y-Cable

If you don’t already have an Apple IIe Card your best bet is Ebay.

If you plan to use the card to read / write to an Apple II floppy drive (the A9M0107 or A2M2053) or with disk images on FloppyEMU, you’ll also need what’s called the “y-cable” (Figure 2)

If the card you purchased doesn’t have a y-cable, and you can’t find one on ebay, you still have several options:

3. Before you use your Apple IIe Card

You will likely want to get the two silver capacitors replaced, because these cards are typically mounted face down, if these capacitors leak they can really cause havoc to your system, it’s best to replace them before using your card too often, or could be the reason why your card doesn’t work.

The 2 silver capacitors in Figure 3 need to be replaced. They are both: 22uf 35v 0.236″ L x 0.126″ W (6.00mm x 3.20mm). I got mine from

Figure 3: Capacitors, info from: 68kMLA

4. Setting up your Apple IIe Card

The Apple IIe card’s manual provides most of the information you need to do the setup. But there were a few things I’ve learned that you’ll want to know:

  • Your boot drive/disk must have the ProDOS file system enabler installed to be able to create and work with ProDOS partitions. The enabler is include with the Apple IIe Card software version 2.2.1, and on my premade drive images.
  • You have to use the patched version of HD SC Setup 7.3.5 to create your ProDOS partitions. When I tried LIDO the Apple IIe Cards software could not see the partitions… that might just be something I’m doing wrong… let me know.
  • It’s best to start with a blank drive (KB TA31420) so you can partition your drive to include two ProDOS partitions (or use one of my premade drive images).
  • Using HD SC Setup, you are limited to two 32MB (32767KB) ProDOS partitions per drive. SCSI2SD’s ability to treat a single SD card as multiple drives gets around this limitation, giving you the option for up to 8 ProDOS partitions…. I have 4, the most that my Apple IIe card can use at the same time.
  • Do NOT copy Apple II files on to your HFS partition, this can lead to weird issues where the resource fork is added to your files. I get around this by using ShrinkWrap Version 2.1 to create mountable (and editable) 32MB ProDOS disk images that I use to backup my Apple IIe files.
  • If you have accidentally corrupted your Apple II files with a macintosh resource fork, you may be able to fix them using ProDOSTyper by Ivan X or UnForkIT by Ivan X.

To save yourself some time, feel free to download one of my starter drive images that includes a minimal version of OS 7.5.5 ready for use with your Apple IIe card. You can write my images to your SD or CF card, or use the image as an emulated drive in an emulator to copy it’s contents on to your own drive images.

I personally have a 32 GB card in my SCSI2SD adapter, setup as two drives so I can have a total of 4 ProDOS partitions. I created the first 2GB drive image using SoftMac, then wrote the image on to my SD card, inserted the card in my Macintosh LC 475, booted, then initialized the 2nd drive how I wanted.

I also have two OS 7.5.5 folders on my boot disk, one with 32bit mode enable and all the extensions I use for network, CD, midi etc. and a second with 32bit mode disabled (24-bit mode) with all extensions removed other than the ProDOS file system extension. I switch between them using System Picker by Kevin Aitken.

5. Creating a Y-Cable

I have not created my own cable to verify this information (I already have one). But I am thinking of making one as a backup (if I can’t buy one), I may only create a single cable so a floppy drive can be connected, which is more important to me than a mouse or joystick…. I wonder how hard it would be for BMOW to create a 26 pin to 19 pin adapter for the floppyEMU….

To create your own cable you’ll need the following 3 types of connectors (linked to some sources I’ve found):

5.1. Connecting the Connectors

The information on how to wire these 3 parts together was found on, a now defunct site, still available on the internet archive by Phil Beesley. Phil is not clear on the pin layout for the joystick and floppy, so I’m assuming (I haven’t done my own trace) that he used the same orientation and numbering approach as the image he provided for the IIe card connector for the other two connectors:

Apple IIe Card's connector as viewed from the back of the Mac LC.
Figure 4: Phil’s pin layout diagram, showing the Apple IIe Card’s connector as viewed from the back of the Mac LC. Pins 1,2,3,10,11,12,19,20,21 connect to to the DB9 Connector, the rest connector to the DB19 connector
Figure 5: The DB26 connector, the Y-Cable uses the male connector
Figure 6: The DB19 female connector for the Y-Cable (Floppy)
Figure 7: The DB9 female connector for the Y-Cable

The following table was created based on Phil’s work and pin layout diagram (figure 4, above) to make it easier for me to see how the connections are grouped and how the D26 pin male connector’s pins are connected through the Y-Cable to the ports of the female D9 (Joystick) and female D19 (Floppy) connectors:

Floppy (F) (figure 6) Joystick (J) (fig. 7)  
  26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19  
  17 F 14 F 11 F 08 F 07 F 02 J 04 J 06 J  
18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10  
19 F 16 F 13 F 10 F 04 F 03 F 05 J 09 J 07 J  
09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01  
18 F 15 F 12 F 09 F 06 F 01,02 F 08 J 03 J 01 J  

For some reason the Joystick connections appear to be more randomly organized, while the Floppy connections are mostly sequentially grouped, I’m hoping that the information is correct. I will likely need to get the tools to do my own trace.

5.2. The DB9 (Joystick etc.) Connector

The following table combines information from the apple II faqs pinout and from for the DB9 pin Joystick connector.

Apple IIe CardJoystickFunction
0101Mouse ID / Joystick Button 1
0308YDIR / Game Control 1 / PDL1 / Joystick Y-axis
1007Mouse Button / Joystick Button 0
1205XMOVE / X-Axis
1906No function?
  1. No Game Port function on //c, IIc+; this TTL-compatible input can be read at $C067
  2. No Game Port function on //c, IIc+; this TTL-compatible input can be read at $C066

5.3 The DB19 (Floppy) Connector

I used information from and for the DB19 pin floppy connector.

Apple IIe CardFloppyFunction
  1. PH0 to PH3 = stepper motor phases

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