CFFA3000: Initial Thoughts

The CFFA3000 is a new card for vintage Apple II computers that allows users to load Apple II .DSK files directly from Compact Flash or USB storage. It also allows for the dumping of physical Apple II media to .DSK files. In spirit, it is the Apple II version of the 1541 Ultimate for the Commodore 64.

I got mine earlier this week. Here are my initial thoughts, with much more testing, playing and writing to come over the next few weeks.

Here is the card installed in one of my Apple IIe computers. Between the garage and my computer room I had 5 Apple IIe computers lying around, waiting for a rainy day project such as this to come along. Out of the five, the first two had hardware issues and the third didn’t recognize the card. This was the 4th machine I tried.

If you look closely at the above picture you will see that the compact flash port faces “up,” and the USB port faces “forward.” That means neither one is accessible when the Apple II’s case is closed. The manual says that you can use a USB extension cord with the card. When I tried it, the card would no longer read my USB stick. I’ll try another USB extension cord soon.

I dug out an old joystick for testing as well. When I find good deals at thrift stores, sometimes I leave the prices on to remind me of what I paid for an item. As you can see here, I paid fifty more cents for this joystick than I did for the Apple II.

Once you boot up and get into the menu system you can mount .DSK files (disk images) into virtual floppy drives.

Below you can see I have mounted images of Karateka and Lode Runner into the first floppy drive.

After mounting the disk, simply return to the main menu, select “Boot,” and 5 seconds later you’ll see this:

Access is lightning fast — no more waiting around for floppies to load. Or die.

The biggest issue at the moment is my case now looks like this:

Until I can either get an extension cable to work with my USB stick or get every game I ever want to play loaded up on the USB stick, I’ll be leaving the cover off for the time being.

I’ve got a lot more research, playing around and tweaking to do before I can write an in depth review of this card. Unfortunately, I suddenly find myself sidetracked by Lode Runner …

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1 comment to CFFA3000: Initial Thoughts

  • Awesome, this is something I’ve been wanting to get for a long time. ADTPro and a long serial cable is fine but it’ll be nice not to have to use a case of diskettes to do the transfer.