Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

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A couple of weeks ago, I acquired a "Jonathan" computer built by Akkord Technology in 1989. Complete with mouse, keyboard, display - and fully working. Smile It's a Mac Plus clone (reverse-engineered) with some improvements. It's quite a bit faster than a Plus (about 15 to 30%), has two dedicated LocalTalk ports, and a Centronics printer port with real-time protocol conversion using a Zilog Z8. Apart from that, it has 4 MB of RAM and an internal HDD with 32 MB. Really a nice little machine.

Very few of these units exist, as Apple sued Akkord for copyright infringement resulting in the system never getting sold. Unlike other clones, this one seems to be completely forgotten over time. The unit I got was bought by the first owner directly from the booth of Akkord at CeBIT 1989. The second owner used it as a typewriter up to the year 2007! Since then, it was in storage.

I'm still in the process of restoring the system, so no pictures of the complete setup yet (keyboard and display still need cleaning). I'm posting more infos and pictures as soon as there's more to show.

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transwarp II guy's picture
Joined: Mar 7 2013
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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

That's a very cool clone. This is the first of it's type that I've ever seen, Thanks for sharing!

stynx's picture
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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Here is a link to the original thread in the german forum where i posted some stuff i found online about the system and company when it first surfaced.
Im happy that Timo has taken that little bugger in an will (hopefully) try to document its function and Hardware (dump the roms!).

-Jonas

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Additional infos in German can also be found on my website.

Done with cleaning the keyboard. Sadly, the keyboard was so heavily used that 14 keys have partly or completely lost their engraving. The key caps are apparently the same as used for the Apple Keyboard and the Extended Keyboard II, however. So I have to find a spare one to take the caps from. The keyboard has a PS/2 connector, by the way. But I doubt that it really is PS/2. Have to check by connecting the Jonathan keyboard to a PC (vice versa would be to risky).

Quote:

(dump the roms!)

It runs with authentic Apple roms from a Mac Plus. The custom firmware that Akkord wanted to do in order to not get sued by Apple never happend. The only rom that may need to be dumped is the 2764 on the third picture holding the Z8 microcode.

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Don't be so hasty as to assume that the guys from Accord did not modify the Apple Roms. There might be some interesting stuff in there. Don't modify the Keyboard! If you do that, you will loose the originality of the setup. Sometimes it is better to just let things be as they are. The Setup has a Story and that is more interesting than the Device itself.

-Jonas

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

stynx wrote:

Don't be so hasty as to assume that the guys from Accord did not modify the Apple Roms.

Again, the system uses authentic Apple roms from a Mac Plus. With "authentic" I mean, well, authentic. No EPROMs whatsoever. Akkord didn't fit the roms anyway; the distribution partners had to do that.

Akkord delivered the Jonathan "rom-less" to distribution partners, which then had to insert original roms from Apple and sell the units unter their own brand. As you probably know, Apple told distributors not to use roms (or other spare parts) this way after they saw the Jonathan at CeBIT '89. That's why Akkord wanted to create their own compatible firmware. But they had no chance against Apple's lawyers.

stynx wrote:

Don't modify the Keyboard! If you do that, you will loose the originality of the setup.

I wouldn't call replacing the key caps a modification. In it's current form, the keyboard is unusable by anyone not knowing the exact position of each key. And, of course, I would keep the original key caps so the "modification" would be reversible any time.

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Thank you for posting this! I had a conversation with a woman in northern New Jersey back in the spring who was unloading a bunch of her older Macs. In our conversation clones came up because she had a Power Computing clone and she mentioned what i can only assume is the "Jonathon" you have (or one like it)

Mentioned she was in Germany in the late 80's working for the company she used to work for and saw "some" clones at some conventions there.

Had never seen or heard of these but never paid much attention to any form of clones of macs in the past. Was just not my thing at the time.

Thanks again for posting, be sure to keep the thread updated with pics as your work progresses.
Zan

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Hi Zan,

Sounds very interesting. However, I can tell for sure that it can not be the same unit if she had one. This one only had two previous owners and I know both (and both are from Germany). But she may have seen it indeed at CeBIT '89. From what I know (currently), that was the only fair in Germany where the Jonathan was displayed.

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Timo W. wrote:
stynx wrote:

Don't be so hasty as to assume that the guys from Accord did not modify the Apple Roms.

Again, the system uses authentic Apple roms from a Mac Plus. With "authentic" I mean, well, authentic. No EPROMs whatsoever. Akkord didn't fit the roms anyway; the distribution partners had to do that.

Akkord delivered the Jonathan "rom-less" to distribution partners, which then had to insert original roms from Apple and sell the units unter their own brand. As you probably know, Apple told distributors not to use roms (or other spare parts) this way after they saw the Jonathan at CeBIT '89. That's why Akkord wanted to create their own compatible firmware. But they had no chance against Apple's lawyers.

stynx wrote:

Don't modify the Keyboard! If you do that, you will loose the originality of the setup.

I wouldn't call replacing the key caps a modification. In it's current form, the keyboard is unusable by anyone not knowing the exact position of each key. And, of course, I would keep the original key caps so the "modification" would be reversible any time.

Ok, if the Roms are from a Mac, i would not dump them. As the Setup was 'sold' on the CeBit, i suspected that Accord did actually supply the Roms.

If you 'repair' the keyboard, it looses all the years of actual wear. Its part of the systems history! No one will ever use it for serious working again, why modify the keyboard to look new then? My opinion is that the computer is interesting is its current condition. The wear on the Key should be seen as proof of its age like an old man with wrinkles. You would not remove your years of experience, would you? Its the only know of its kind, you don't have to make it 'nice'. No problem with cleaning the case though Wink

Just my opinion...

-Jonas

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

No need to worry, the keyboard won't ever look like new again. It has a couple of marks that didn't go away by cleaning and it has yellowed quite badly. And even most of the good keys have that shine from heavy usage.

But the letters E, R, T, Z, U, I, H, N, and M are all more or less rubbed away. For me, fixing this is like replacing a worn mouse ball. It's not about making it look new but making it completely usable. And, as already written, I'll keep the original key caps.

Quote:

As the Setup was 'sold' on the CeBit, i suspected that Accord did actually supply the Roms.

Well, sold on the quiet, I guess. Akkord only acted as a manufacturer and left sales to distribution partners.

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

How can I attach additional pictures? Seems like this is only possible for the first post..?

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

On the upper left side of this Website is a 'Create Content' Link if you're logged in. Upload the images with this functionality and the link them into you post ('insert image')

-Jonas

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Uploaded the picture, but no idea how I can insert it into this post. "Insert image" doesn't seem to be the correct function for that, as it can only refer to images attached to the very same post.

Anyway, here's a picture of the main logic board after cleaning and battery removal:

All chips are standard components apart from the ten chips labeled 162-1xx (162-104 is hidden underneath the first memory module). 162-101 is the real-time clock. Interestingly, under that chip there's a smaller socket for a DIL8 chip (not populated). Seems like they were experimenting here with different ways to implement the RTC and/or the PRAM.

The smaller chips are most likely PALs/GALs. No idea what 162-103 could be. Looks like a rom, but that makes no sense. Could be the display controller. The Jonathan connects to an MDA/Hercules display. While it's possible that the Z8 generates the video signal, I think it has not enough power for doing that.

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Looks great! What you did was correct for the photo, adding the link in your post. If the images are hosted on a photo site (flikr, etc.) you would use the add image tag in your post and put the link there.

Most people just add additional photos to the original post and put a new post referencing the "new photos added to first post!"
Zan

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Zan8675 wrote:

Looks great!

Think so, too. For a pre-production unit, the pcb design/layout is very nice and clean.

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Expect pictures of the complete setup tomorrow. Finished cleaning the monitor today, now everything looks nice again. Smile

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Timo W. wrote:

Expect pictures of the complete setup tomorrow. Finished cleaning the monitor today, now everything looks nice again. Smile

I look forward to it. Smile

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Me too. Smile

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Timo, I've edited your post to put your image inline. The easiest way I've found to do this is:

1. Upload the image as you've already done.
2. After submitting the image, right-click on it to get the image URL (for example, http://www.applefritter.com/files/images/PB030678.preview.jpg)
3. In your post, enclose the URL in tags like this:

[ img]http://www.applefritter.com/files/images/PB030678.preview.jpg[ /img]

(Ignore the spaces inside the img tags.)

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Here's the system in its full glory. Laughing out loud

(note: colors may look odd when viewing on a non-calibrated display)

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Since I have no room to permanently set up and showcase the Jonathan, and since it's too good to spend its life stored away in a cardboard box, I've decided to sell it. I'm sure there are many collectors out there with nice collections where the Jonathan would fit in.

Is it allowed to post links to auctions / sale offers?

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

Just post your information In This Forum

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Re: Mac Plus clone "Jonathan" from Akkord Technology

System has been sold, btw.