Archive for October, 2010

Possible A2 Hobby Board Project

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Here is another project that I am considering.

A2 Hobbyboard Layout

This is the beginnings of a layout replicating an original Apple 2 Hobbyboard.  This is a prototyping board intended for creating your own Apple II expansion card.

I’m thinking of building a batch of  either exact replicas or possibly modified with some improvements that I have in mind. This board layout is ideal for wirewrap applications, but I’ve moved beyond wirewrap a few years ago, so I’m likely to modify it for point to point wiring.

I’m also thinking of putting together some project kits that could be implemented on this board.  Projects I have done already that could be easily adapted, include my shutter tester and the improved firmware card.   I have other ideas like a spectrum analyzer for audio frequencies.

Let me know what you think and if you have ideas for projects for this hobby board.  Also if you have ideas for what features you would like to see in a prototyping board, let me know.

Datanetics Keyboard Replica Project Status

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I’m likely to be ordering Datanetics keyboard PCBs within a couple of weeks. This will most likely be a one shot deal and I’m expecting that I’ll make less than 25. I’ll sell keyboard PCBs and possibly metal stiffeners. You’ll have to find an MM5740 encoder, key switches, key caps and the rest of the parts.

Apple Cassette Interface Status

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Apple Cassette Interface kits for the Apple 1 are now in stock.

They cost $100 alone, or $75 if combined with the purchase of a Mimeo 1 kit.

I’ve had a friend partially test with Vince Briel’s Replica 1. So far so good, but he has only tried reading from an iPod. Writes and reads from a regular cassette recorder still need to be tested with the Replica 1. I’ll provide an update when that is accomplished.

Apple Cassette Interfaces shipping Monday

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

I have a small stack of packages almost ready to go out.  I just sent an email to those with orders queued up.  If you think you have an order queued up and don’t receive an email, contact me.

ACI bringup status

Saturday, October 9th, 2010
Replica Appe Cassette Interface Board

Replica Appe Cassette Interface Board

All parts have arrived.  First board is built  and successfully reading and writing.  No problems found, though I’ve had to remind myself about the sensitivity to cassette volume control setting, before I could get reads to work well off of a cassette recorder.  Reading off an iPod is much more forgiving.   I need to do some further checkout, but at this point, things are looking good.  I also need to print some bring-up guides and burn some PROMs before I’ll be able to ship these units to those who pre-ordered.

ACI PCBs arrive

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

So far, so good.  I populated a board with ICs and I can run the software off of the onboard PROMS.  I’ll be getting resistors and the rest of the parts over the next week.  So by sometime next week, I’ll be able to complete the checkout.  After that I’ll need to verify operation with a Replica 1 and then I’ll be in business.

replica ACI

New Early Apple Keyboard Page Started

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Just added the first version of an early Apple keyboard page.  This details some of the changes that went into early Datanetics and Apple keyboards.  There are more keyboards to be added, but I figured that I had enough interesting stuff written up to put up this link.

keyboard page

City Point Map Framed

Monday, October 4th, 2010
City Point Map Framed

City Point Map Framed

It took a while, but I have framed my original sized city point map.  Since I didn’t want to crop out the edges with the frame, I did this a little differently than other pictures that I’ve framed. I cut a piece of 1/8″ particle board a little oversize.  The size I cut was 48.25 by 35.  I painted the board with several coats of bright white latex paint.  Then I used acid free Best-Test paper cement to glue only the top portion of the map to the board.  The bottom part of the map basically hangs from the top, which is securely glued to the board.  Over the top is a piece of plexiglas cut to the same size as the board.  I then cut and assembled the frame from hardwood.   The frame is painted a matt black.  The particle board is heavy, but I couldn’t find another material that would be large enough to support this large map.  Total cost was $35 for the map, $39 for the plexiglas and $14 for the wood for the frame.  I already had the particle board and the paint, so that didn’t cost me anything.

Apple II rev 0 closeout results

Friday, October 1st, 2010

My ebay A2 rev 0 replica motherboard closeout on ebay is done.  I successfully sold 4 kits for an average price of a bit under $300.  Subtracting ebay fees, paypal charges, the net take was similar to the cost of putting these kits together.

However since my motivation was to bring in some cash, so I could move some other projects ahead, I consider the sale a success.  The money is earmarked to make my Datanetics keyboard replica project a reality.

The ebay sales indicate that the current fair market price of the these kits is just under $300.  Given that the cost of putting together kits is nearly as much, it is just not economically feasible to sell these kits.  Maybe someday in the future things will change, but that is how it looks to me at the moment.

Here are some facts about the A2 rev 0 project.

Motherboard laid out 1st half of 2007

First board brought up summer, 2007

Last kit shipped fall, 2010

Production run:

2 batches total of 18 boards

1st batch 6 boards (glossy solder mask)

2nd batch 12 boards (matt solder mask)

Kits sold – 14

Bare boards sold -1

Build and tested motherboards sold – 1

Built and kept -2 (one from each batch)

I was hoping that the profit from this effort would be enough to pay for an original rev 0 or perhaps one of Grant’s Altair kits (no longer available).  Though, financially,  I did just a bit better than break even, the main profit came in other forms.   I had a great time with this project.  I made some great friends.   I learned a ton about PCB layout and working with various  suppliers.    Also, I don’t think I could have done the more difficult Mimeo PCB as well as I did, without taking on this project, first.

Finally for those of you interested in the Mimeo kits,  don’t worry,  I will continue to produce and sell these kits as long as there is continuing interest and components available.

Apple Cassette Interface Update

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Pre-order your ACI  now – in case you forgot to order by end of September, the special price of $75 will be honored through Sunday 10/3/2010.

I have already ordered the PCBs and will get a first look at them next week.  Still have to order a number of parts and will be doing that by early next week.  By the way, I’m looking at buying carbon composition resistors which are more representative of the resistors used on the original units.  Only downside is that they are 10 times the cost of carbon film resistors.  If they work out, I’ll also switch Mimeo 1 kits to these resistors when I run out of the current carbon film resistor stock.