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Desktops (Apple) Hardware Hacking Apple Build

Building an Apple-1 From Scratch — Just Like Woz 99

Lucas123 writes "This year at KansasFest, computer fans from around the world gathered to celebrate the Apple II — the computer that put Apple on the map. But the Apple-1 (a.k.a. the Apple I), the machine Steve Wozniak invented and first demonstrated at the Palo Alto Homebrew Computer Club in 1976, has always been near to my heart. In attendance at KansasFest was Vince Briel, who created an authorized reproduction the Apple-1 and showed others how to build their own. 'As a regular KansasFest attendee (and the conference's marketing director), I was one of his students. Follow along as I assemble a fully functional Apple-1 clone.'"
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Building an Apple-1 From Scratch — Just Like Woz

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  • by captjc ( 453680 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @12:39AM (#29073945)

    Not only that, but didn't Woz give the schematics away to anyone who wanted it?

  • Re:A Kit? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neapolitan ( 1100101 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @12:51AM (#29074015)

    Agreed. This is little more than assembling something from a recipe (IKEA, anyone?) that teaches you little. The descriptions "solder that resistor" and the fact he clearly doesn't understand the details of things makes it a less interesting experience.

    I would recommend a course on digital electronics instead -- many of these courses (including mine in college) have you assemble a 6502 computer yourself from components, and then you will understand the role of the memory and data buses, counter, memory addresses, A/D converters, in addition to understanding CPU timing, latches, machine code, and elementary programming, etc., etc. We built one that displayed output on an oscilloscope and hex LEDs. It will be 10 times as much effort, but infinitely more rewarding. One of the most difficult yet fun courses that I took in my life.

  • by type40 ( 310531 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @01:08AM (#29074081)

    If I recall correctly it wasn't that Apple was forbidding him from making the Replica 1. He was just worried that Apple MIGHT sue him. So he tried to get permission from Apple but kept running into brick walls.
    No one ever said no to him, they just kept saying no comment. So out of left field he calls up the Woz to see if maybe he knows who to talk to in Apple. He tells the Woz what he's up to and the Woz loves it. Woz told him to go ahead because the Apple 1 ROM is "open source". Woz made copies of the ROM code freely available to anyone who wanted it. Then Woz offered him copies of the original code and documentation.

    It's not so much Apple authorized but Woz blessed.

  • by Antony T Curtis ( 89990 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @02:09AM (#29074299) Homepage Journal

    I have a near-mint condition Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k safely stored away somewhere - I haven't powered it up in years... The reason is because they were designed quite cheaply: You have a 9V power pack which is both regulated down to 5V for the majority of the logic and in an inspired piece of electronics, it is also inverted for the +12V and -12V power lines with very few components. Why is that important? Well, early DRAM, as used in the Spectrum, required those power lines too. However, there is a slight failure mode which claimed the life of my first Spectrum: The inverter regulation could fail and the memory/logic is zapped with 40+V before it fries and takes itself out of commission.
    As a result, there are relatively few operational ZX Spectrums around, despite how massively popular and successful they were.

    My biggest lament is that I have lost the ZX Printer - I think it accidently was left behind in the last home move ... I still have 6 or 7 rolls of the aluminiumised silver paper for it.

    Ahh, fond memories of the smell of ozone and burning metal while it did print out for you...

  • by grub ( 11606 ) * <> on Saturday August 15, 2009 @02:19AM (#29074329) Homepage Journal
    Not only that, but didn't Woz give the schematics away to anyone who wanted it?

    The early Apple was a truly great company in the way it shared information. My first machine ever was an Apple ][+ I bought (with 50% of the cost from my parents) in 1981. It came with several spiral bound books, my favourite being the System Reference manual. That had an assembler dump of the ROM, schematics, etc. I cut my teeth on that machine (which I still have in working order FWIW). Replaced the resistor in a resistor/capacitor pair on a 555 timer chip with a potentiometer to have a variable repeat key speed.

    Yeah, that kind of shit is all done in software nowadays, but I did this by reading the docs from Apple and some Trial & Error when I was 15.

    Fast forward to today and, honest truth, I was THIS CLOSE to buying a pair of iPhones for the coolness and opted not to because of the way those NON TECHNICAL CUNTS who run things opted to SUCK THE COCK of AT&T rather than being true geeks.

    Obviously, I didn't buy the phones. Have a jailbroken iPod touch for Google Voice and future cool Bluetooth stuff but I'm saddened that I have to go off the grid for coolness when, back in the day, Apple == Cool.

    Now get off my fucking lawn.

  • Re:A Kit? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @08:44AM (#29075477) Homepage Journal

    Or at least going thru the schematic on an FPGA. While not the same as the 'real' experience with solder in your nose for hours on end, at least you would have to understand how the components interact and play together as a team.

    Could even delve deeper into the chips, like the 6502, that way.

  • by name_already_taken ( 540581 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @08:55AM (#29075523)

    In high school I took a class like that, except it was at a much lower level - we actually worked towards the design of a 4-bit microprocessor based on discrete logic gates and flip flops. We started with simple AND, OR, NOR, NAND gates, the different types of flip flops, moving to using Karnaugh maps to design logic, and covering simple CPU design - things like bus registers.

    I remember one week's project was to design and build a hex matrix keypad - it was pretty neat to build something like that out of 74-series logic on a breadboard and actually have it work. I used a string of three inverters (1/4 each of a 7404) with the output of the last inverter feeding back into the input of the first, as my keypad's clock generator. The teacher was surprised it worked, and even more surprised that the 74-series logic was running at 24MHz (this was 1988, and the fastest computer we had in the lab ran at 6MHz).

    I also remember building a 7-segment LED display driver circuit, and things like adders and shift registers.

    I think the only reason our school was able to offer this class was because there was a State program that offered grants to high schools to improve their electronics labs. The total grant money available for the entire state was $150,000. We were told that the electronics teacher at the school was the only applicant for the grant program and our school had been awarded the entire $150,000. Needless to say, the electronics lab at my high school was better equipped than some university labs I've seen.

  • Re:Antique computer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ckblackm ( 1137057 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @10:43AM (#29075915)
    The MARCH group (Mid-Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists) has a fairly extensive collection: []

  • Re:A Kit? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tacvek ( 948259 ) on Saturday August 15, 2009 @11:25AM (#29076113) Journal


    This computer even includes the ability to be powered by an ATX power-supply. It is most definitely not trying to be a perfect historical replica. The idea is that is be able to run the same software as the apple 1, and be compatible with the add-on cards of the apple-1. For the most part it achieves that goal. It may have some issues with any software that tried to be too smart for its own good, such as overwriting the basic rom, etc, but basic software should run fine.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI