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Copy II Option Board /Deluxe

freedom

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Made by VTECH, Distributed by Central point Software

Either basic or Deluxe board.

Prefer version 3.0 consider other versions also.
 

Trixter

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I have two left, a regular Option Board (older multi-chip model) and a Deluxe Option Board -- and about 12 people asking me for them :-( So I think it's only fair to everyone that I list them on ebay so that everyone has a chance to see them and bid what they think is fair. They're complete except for missing boxes, and I will throw in floppy disks and a CDROM of all of the Option Board materials I have (about 200MB).

I'll post here when the auctions are up.
 

Great Hierophant

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I have two left, a regular Option Board (older multi-chip model) and a Deluxe Option Board -- and about 12 people asking me for them :-( So I think it's only fair to everyone that I list them on ebay so that everyone has a chance to see them and bid what they think is fair. They're complete except for missing boxes, and I will throw in floppy disks and a CDROM of all of the Option Board materials I have (about 200MB).

I'll post here when the auctions are up.

I hope whoever wins this card would use it to preserve software and not just put it on display. Unfortunately, that does will not eliminate disk based copy protection.
 

Trixter

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Great Hierophant

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Is there any real difference between the Deluxe and non-Deluxe in their capabilities to copy copy protected IBM PC compatibles? Your auctions state that the Deluxe board also can work with some non-PC compatible systems, but it doesn't state that the Deluxe board is better for copying PC disks.
 

Trixter

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Is there any real difference between the Deluxe and non-Deluxe in their capabilities to copy copy protected IBM PC compatibles? Your auctions state that the Deluxe board also can work with some non-PC compatible systems, but it doesn't state that the Deluxe board is better for copying PC disks.

Both boards perform their primary task of copying protected diskettes identically if you use them with low-density drives. (The original non-deluxe option board can only use low-density drives.)

The Deluxe added the following:

  • Can use high-density drives (but don't write to 360K disks in a 1.2MB drive because the head width is narrower)
  • Can copy non-PC formats like Mac, Amiga, and Apple as long as they're unprotected
  • Can read and write files on Mac 400K/800K diskettes
Otherwise, they're identical. I use a Deluxe OB on my 4.77MHz 8088, and I've used an original OB on my 386-40.
 

Great Hierophant

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Both boards perform their primary task of copying protected diskettes identically if you use them with low-density drives. (The original non-deluxe option board can only use low-density drives.)

The Deluxe added the following:

  • Can use high-density drives (but don't write to 360K disks in a 1.2MB drive because the head width is narrower)
  • Can copy non-PC formats like Mac, Amiga, and Apple as long as they're unprotected
  • Can read and write files on Mac 400K/800K diskettes
Otherwise, they're identical. I use a Deluxe OB on my 4.77MHz 8088, and I've used an original OB on my 386-40.

Very interesting, I personally do not know of any disk-based copy protected software that shipped on high density media and not also on low density media.
 

per

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Wasn't there an Enchanted version of the deluxe edition too?

It seems to use the same chips as the Deluxe board, but it got some extra chips in adition (like some big IC's and an EPROM), AND it got some switches on the bracket.

A picture I found of it:
eob-overview.jpg
 

Chuck(G)

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Wasn't there an Enchanted version of the deluxe edition too?

It seems to use the same chips as the Deluxe board, but it got some extra chips in adition (like some big IC's and an EPROM), AND it got some switches on the bracket.

Never saw that one--and I bought my DOBs when Central Point was closing out their inventory. A 65SC02, some RAM and an EPROM, running with a 2MHz oscillator. I suspect these were for handling Apple II floppies.

At some point, the USPS had loads of Apple IIs and needed to move the stuff over to a PC base. Microsolutions kept cranking out Matchpoint cards long after they'd told the world that they weren't producing them (that's how I got mine--I asked for the person responsible for the USPS account).

I wonder if this DOB wasn't an attempt to latch onto some of that business...
 

mbbrutman

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Actually, the EPROM was part of an enhanced system.

If you couldn't reproduce the disk because of a laser hole or something nasty like that, you would use this version of the option board to 'remember' where the hole was. After arming the board, at run time it would simulate the laser hole in the right spot, even on a diskette that didn't have the laser hole. The EPROM was used to remember the location of the hole.
 

per

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Actually, the EPROM was part of an enhanced system.

If you couldn't reproduce the disk because of a laser hole or something nasty like that, you would use this version of the option board to 'remember' where the hole was. After arming the board, at run time it would simulate the laser hole in the right spot, even on a diskette that didn't have the laser hole. The EPROM was used to remember the location of the hole.

Wouldn't an EEPROM or Static-RAM have been better for that purpose, or didn't that exist yet then?
 

Chuck(G)

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Why would one use an EPROM to "remember" the location of the hole? Why not store it in the onboard RAM?

This seems like a lot of extra componentry (CPU, RAM, EPROM) for a very simple task (i.e. if you needed "smarts", why not an 8048/51?). Were there any other uses for this?
 

mbbrutman

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I describe the high level function of the card. I'm not the designer. Good luck ...
 

Trixter

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Very interesting, I personally do not know of any disk-based copy protected software that shipped on high density media and not also on low density media.

After the option board was no longer made, publishers started to ship high-density diskettes with copy-protection. These were mostly limited to very niche products (business systems, factory robot operation, etc.). Advantage? No games used them, so there wasn't a legion of teenagers with time to kill trying to break the protection. Disadvantage? They had to be much more tolerant of faster-speed machines and forgiving of the host environment (memory manager loaded? Tough -- work within those constraints or crash, your choice).

The disadvantages, especially coupled with the fact that you couldn't reliably use self-modifying code on faster processors, meant that it should theoretically be easier to crack them. I have personally never seen a protected high-density diskette, but I know they exist. Sadly, the DOB has a poor track record of copying them (but that's to be expected, since product development had ceased by then).
 

Unknown_K

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I used crane's companion software for pressure drop calculations at a company around 2000 or so. The disks were copy protected HD 3.5" and you could only run it on one machine (it checked the network out and disabled any other versions running).

You definatly could not copy the floppies on a PC using normal means, and from what I recall the format was not even 1.44MB (doing a dir and adding up used and free space).

So companies still did some copy protection even in the later 90's, for apps anyway.

Most of the engineering software that used floppy disks for install tended to be dongle protected at that point.
 
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