BlueFlash: Apple II Bluetooth/Disk Controller/Disk Archive Card

Earlier this evening I was reading posts at the 68kMLA Forums when I stumbled upon one of the most interesting retro computing projects I’ve ever encountered. I am speaking of the BlueFlash board, a combination Bluetooth / Disk Controller / Disk Image Archive card for the Apple II.

This amazing piece of hardware allows data (such as disk images) to be transferred from a host machine to an Apple II via Bluetooth (wirelessly) and executed as if running from an actual Apple Disk ][ 5.25″ floppy drive. Vinchysky, the clever man behind this project who began the BlueFlash effort three years ago, achieved this by fully implementing Woz’s ingenious Disk ][ controller card in a Xilinx FPGA, driven by an on-board, 57MHz ARM7 processor. Communications are achieved by way of a standard PC bluetooth dongle plugged into the board’s single USB connector. Disk images can be executed from a flash card inserted in the board’s compact flash slot, or from the board’s 512K of SRAM (acting as dual drives) after direct transfer via Bluetooth from a host computer.

The BlueFlash board is not shipping just yet, but should be soon. This feature-packed expansion card retails for $160 (for board + Bluetooth USB dongle) with an extra dongle for host PC going for an additional $10. I have an Apple IIgs with hard card, but assuming this works well with a IIgs, I’ll certainly take one off of Vinchysky’s hands in short order.

An amazing effort and an amazing piece of hardware that certainly goes a long way towards fulfilling that old mantra: “Apple II Forever.”

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