Apple 1 NTI and datanetics keyboard
Just a headline on Newton 1, I now work on NTI version of Apple 1 and datanetics keyboard.
I have mentioned I would work on NTI version of Apple 1 (which I will call and mark at the back as Newton NTI). CAD data is easy and done based on pre-NTI one. However, NTI version is quite different from pre-NTI in that the soldermask looks glossy and has a relatively rougher surface. I myself have one S-100 card manufactured by NTI in 1975-76 period and just have the same soldermask condition as Apple 1 NTI boards. With this great reference sample, a few ago, I went to discuss with a process engineering manager in the same PCB fab I used to make pre-NTI boards and we both agreed that the soldermask was made by obsolete processing technique and the soldermask ink is hard to find now. We came up with modified process flow for soldermask and will run a few pieces to see the cosmetic result and test whether the soldermask layer can stand hand-solder and even leadfree wavesoldering.
On the other hand, some of the Newton owners asked the possibility of matching keyboards which can work with their replicas and I usually refer them to W. Sander's website for clue to retrofit an Apple II plus keyboard. But as it is not easy for some of the folks to find a keyboard with good functionality (I believe in some case they have to sacrifice the integrity of a working Apple II plus), I start to think about building a small batch of fully assembled datanetics keyboard with MM5740AAE/N decoder. Now I have the schematics, 20+ decoder ICs and a disassembled original Apple II keyboard (I attempt to repair it and its PCB and switches are good references); PCB CAD and manufacturing is not difficult and the most challenging part is to get somebody to make the switches and caps - not an easy task for small volume. The PCB I am going to build will be soldermask coated.
I will post photo if there is any promising progress.