Early Apple II rev.0 motherboard and goodies

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by epoxy2600, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. epoxy2600 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    #1
    I just scored a nice original 1977 rev.0 Apple II motherboard and a collection of wonderful documents. The original owner was involved in the computer industry since the late 50s, having founded a major software company as part of his career. He included a fantastic Letter of Provenance that tells of how he approached the Apple booth at the '77 West Coast Computer Faire and asked if he could buy just the bare Apple II motherboard. At that time they weren't sure about selling the boards alone, wanting to keep them for making complete systems when the case, power supplies, and keyboards were ready to ship. However, later they decided (perhaps to get much-needed cash flow) to sell just the motherboards, and he received #1-120. At some point he installed the motherboard into a later Apple II case, which is the setup I got from him.

    Along with the Apple II itself he included numerous documents, including an original April 1977 Price List, the Warranty Card, the original 1977 Mini-Manual, and six issues of Contact (see photos).

    Interestingly, this rev.0 motherboard has ceramic ICs for the CPU and ROMs. Unfortunately the cosmetic condition of these ICs is poor...there is considerable corrosion that obscures most of the labeling on the chips. However, on a couple of the ROMs I can see the date stamp of 7717, and indicators of the ROM location (for example F0, E8) printed on the labels. So I believe these are the original ICs that were installed on this board.

    Functional condition is unknown at this point, but doesn't look too promising given the condition of the ICs. I'm thinking I can either go for restoration by replacing ICs or keep the board as-is if the presence of the ceramic ICs is considered to be of historic value.

    What do you guys think?

    Howie
     

    Attached Files:

  2. David Schmidt macrumors 6502

    David Schmidt

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Location:
    Southeastern USA
    #2
    I think you're the luckiest Apple collector alive.
     
  3. epoxy2600 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    #3
    Here are a couple of additional photos: the Warranty Card (that I believe is the original one for this Apple II motherboard...presumably bottom was torn off and mailed in 34 years ago), an interesting iron-on patch, and a close-up of the ugly/beautiful corroded ceramic CPU and ROMs revealing how little of the stamps on them are still legible.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. epoxy2600 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    #4
    Thanks, David...I do indeed feel very lucky for finding this collection. Any rev.0 motherboard alone would have been the highlight of the year so far for me, but to find such an early one with ceramic chips is undoubtedly special. And then the extra documents...let's just say I think I cashed in all my collecting karma for 2011 already with this one :)

    But when I asked "What do you guys think?" I was referring to how I should proceed with trying to clean the corrosion off those ceramic ICs. So far I've just carefully used my fingertip and found that much of the oxidation is loosely attached and brushes off like dust. However, when using my fingernail to try to scrape off more, I think the gold and text is coming off the chips as well.

    So I've decided not to proceed any further until I get some advice about how to proceed. Q-tip and alcohol? Warm water? Or is it a lost cause when the corrosion is this bad already on the legs?

    Surely folks in this forum are experts on how to clean chips like these the "right" way...?

    Howie
     
  5. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #5
    Tough call - I'm not sure how to properly clean the chips without causing further damage. That's a nice machine, though - perhaps pull the motherboard and replace it with a working one, just to get the machine up and running, then mount the original mobo in a clear display case or something.

    Whatever you decide, that's a great find!
     
  6. David Schmidt macrumors 6502

    David Schmidt

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Location:
    Southeastern USA
    #6
    Besides cosmetics - I don't see why you'd want/need to. If your goal is to get the machine running, you will want to oh-so-carefully remove the chips, remove whatever tarnish/rust you can from legs with whatever removes the tarnish (eraser, qtip, tarn-x, etc.), say a little prayer to the god of bent chip legs, and reinsert them. Just the act of pulling/reseating the chips should get them to have pretty good contact.

    I can't help with cosmetics. As long as there's metal-to-metal contact down in the socket, the outward appearance of the chip is irrelevant.
     
  7. epoxy2600 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    #7
    Hmmm...good point. I have not fired the board up yet to check functionality. If indeed the CPU and ROMs are still good, which of course I hope, then I may not attempt cleaning up oxidation at the risk of causing further damage.

    There are lots of other ICs on the board with corrosion...I think this was perhaps due to long term storage exposed to ocean air (the orig owner lives in San Diego, CA). I'm debating whether I should track down a nicer condition rev.1 (or later) motherboard just to have on hand all the components I may need to swap over to get the rev.0 board running again.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  8. epoxy2600 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    #8
    Just wanted to update this thread with a photo of the Apple II board as it is today; I replaced the badly corroded 6502 with a clean one that has the identical chip style (original had a date code of 0277, the replacement is 0877) but didn't touch those white ceramic Integer BASIC ROMs. Also swapped out RAM to give the board all gold DRAM as it deserves. Lastly, I had Woz give his approval with a big autograph in the prototyping area...on rev.0 boards that's a perfect spot for a big "Woz"!

    As a very early example of the two Steves' first product as the new Apple Computer, Inc. circa April 1977, this board is a prized piece in my vintage Apple hardware collection.

    Howie
     

    Attached Files:

  9. BlackFalcon448 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    #9
    That's pretty amazing man, easily the centerpiece of any collection. Since it is out of the case, do you plan to frame it? Have you tested everything out yet?
     
  10. 4JNA macrumors 68000

    4JNA

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Location:
    looking for trash files
    #10
    coolest thing i saw today on the internet. thanks for sharing. :apple:
     

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