Recreating the Apple I Expansion Connector

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As many people are aware Cinch no longer makes the 44 pin edge connector that was used in the Apple I. The connector is unique compared to most modern connectors in that the "Gold" plating on the contacts cover the entire contact not just the contact points and that the connector is green without "ears". It also is not truly square in shape with rounded off corners. It also is a bit thicker than modern connectors in construction.

This poses a problem for people building replicas or someone needing to replace one on a real Apple I. I obtained samples custom made from a few different manufactures and while I could get close (gold on the entire contact for example), they didn't look right as the walls were too thin to properly shape the rounded off corners.

Luckily Cinch does still make a green 44 pin connector that matches the "thickness" and "gold plating" of the original connector, but it has ears. With ears it has a complicated shape that needs to be modified very carefully to create a pretty close facsimile to the original Apple I card edge connector....

I say Cinch still makes this connector, but it is still rare and not typically stocked in most places.

Please note: If you attempt this and have no experience in wet sanding and auto body work, practice on some junky connectors that are not so rare. This process is slow if you are careful and take your time. It took me about 45 minutes and I have a lot of body work experience.

The unmodified connector...

Use a model hobby saw to cut the connector, note that you do not cut the connector flat, you need to leave some room to work without taking anything off the top part of the connector that has the shape defined that we need. (note: If you don't mind destroying the saw blade use a fine blade it will be cleaner and easier not to flake/crack the connector, others use a regular blade but be careful)...

Using a warm water/dishsoap solution and 300 grit wet-sand paper (if you are a novice use 600 grit). Sand the surface on a flat block of hard wood working the flat part first before starting to shape the sides. Note I start to shape the sides before the surface that sticks out is completely flat to the top half of the connector. Clean the sandpaper often with the water mix. Take you time and check your work often. Try not to sand any of the top half, that is what 2000 grit wet sand paper is for when you polish the surface perfectly smooth at the end...

After you get a final shape as smooth as you can without removing any of the top half of the connector. Use your finger nail to see if you have any ridges to smooth out and sand the edge with a clean line of sandpaper on the bottom and your smooth hard wood on top, don't worry about light scratches on the top half from the wood, you will sand them out with 2000 grit paper.

When you are completely satisfied, then use 2000 grit sand paper on the edges to polish them and on the sides of the connector to smooth out any manufacturing defects/scratches (quality control isn't what it was in the 70's).

If you feel up to it you can also do a final polish by hand using 3M auto compound made for body work. Then wash it all off in the sink, use a can of air to get rid of any water and let the connector dry overnight....

If anyone wants hi-res pictures I can email them, but they are about 2mb a shot.

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Joined: Oct 9 2011
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Re: Recreating the Apple I Expansion Connector

Here is a better one of the top of the final connector....

gsmcten's picture
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Re: Recreating the Apple I Expansion Connector

Corey,

Does Cinch still make the 50 Pin connectors?

Do you have a link?

Thanks Smile

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Steven (gsmcten)

"Apple ][.....It's ALIVE!!!!!"

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Re: Recreating the Apple I Expansion Connector

The ones from the Apple II, with ears or without?

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Re: Recreating the Apple I Expansion Connector

Corey,

Makes no difference.

I just need to find a place that still sells the 50 Pin connectors.
I have a "Paper Project" in mind.

Thanks Smile

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Steven (gsmcten)

"Apple ][.....It's ALIVE!!!!!"

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Re: Recreating the Apple I Expansion Connector

If you don't care what it looks like http://www.sullinscorp.com has a lot of different connector they make, but you will need to know spacing specs and such. They can connect you with a reseller.

Good luck,
Corey

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Re: Recreating the Apple I Expansion Connector

Thanks Corey! Smile

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Steven (gsmcten)

"Apple ][.....It's ALIVE!!!!!"