Apple 1 replica project

Ok, so here's the next insane project. ^^

As an Apple fan, since the nineties, I'm collecting old Apple hardware..
I've kept all my old and beloved machines, and purchased some others.

The oldest I've got is an Apple //e..
This machine was available in 1983.

Obviously, this takes a lot of space, and I'm currently trying to concentrate on rare stuff..
And as I'm not a billionaire, there's one computer I'll most certainly never have in my collection: the Apple 1.

This is the first computer ever made by Apple («Apple Computer Company» at the time)..
It was designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak, and sold for $666.66, without enclosure. Only about 200 units were made.

A few Apple 1 still exists nowadays, and one was sold in 2013 for $668'000 (!!!)..
So obviously, this is a bit expensive.

So I decided to build my own...

A few replica projects exist (and actually look awesome), so I could simply purchase one, but I don't think that's enough fun.

And as a programmer, I have to say I know almost nothing about electronics..
So this is a nice occasion to learn how those things are built..
I know it will certainly be a hard way of learning, but it doesn't matter.

I've been able to find all the original schematics of the Apple 1, as well as the original Operation Manual.

So the first steps will be:

1 - Identify the original components.
This should be relatively easy, as I should be able to find enough information from the schematics and from the other replica projects.

1 - Get the original components.
This will be harder, but I'm sure most of the components can still be purchased somewhere..
But it might take some time, as I want my replica to look exactly like the original.

1 - Build the motherboard.
This will be the harder part, as I know nothing about electronics, and as I want to design the PCB myself..
But it will certainly be a lot of fun ; )

Right now, I'm testing various PCB design tools, like EAGLE on Mac, KiCAD or PCB on Linux..
I'll obviously need to dig deep into the electronic world, and read a lot of theory to understand how to use these programs.

Maybe in a few years, I'll be able to have a first board printed...

I know that may sound insane, but I'm pretty sure I'll actually enjoy this..
As a programmer, learning how stuff works at the electronic level is very interesting, and I'm pretty sure that this knowledge will help me, even with non-hardware projects.

So I'll try to keep posting about this in the next months, with updates about the project's progress...


Paul Ciarelli
04/11/2014 06:09
If you are still looking for parts, there is still an old fashioned electronics store in Kenosha, Wi.
The name is Chester's Electronics.
They actually still sell old computers and circuit boards from the 70's.
Mostly all used parts. Not much Apple stuff though.
Their book rack still has Sam's Schematics for old computers and monitors, and software manuals for the likes of Wordperfect and Visicalc from way back when.
It's a blast going there and thumbing through them.
If you want to give me an excuse to go back in time again, let me know...
I'll take some pictures for you if you want, (and they aren't cranky about it).


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Apple 1 replica project

Jean-David Gadina
10/20/2013 19:39
Copyright © Jean-David Gadina
This article is published under the terms of the FreeBSD Documentation License.

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