A new freshly running Apple-1

32 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 1057

So I spent a day last week and a day this week bringing up a newly discovered and soon to be auctioned in October at Bonham's NYC Apple-1. No it's not mine. I was hired to bring it back to life, clean it and help with creating videos of it running. I will post some home made videos next week, the videographer shoot will be in about two weeks.

The board is in amazing shape. It's an early Byte-Shop board and has no modifications, an un-used and perfect breadboard area and even the screws on the LM323k aren't heat cycled. The board required some troubleshooting as it is 38 years old. The ACI needed a little work as well. Every chip on both board and ACI were tested and the board itself was cleaned.

I also had to repair the power supply and also make it safe.

The biggest issue was the keyboard. Remember Apple-1 did not come with a keyboard, this appears to be a military spec surplus keyboard. The ICs on the keyboard are mil spec pre-7400 series chips. There was a dead gate on a hex buffer. Not having schematics this was fun to track down. I had to desolder the chip, socket it just in case it goes again in the future (Mike W. figures at some point the KB was plugged in backwards). It was replaced with a date correct replacement part. I also had to repair the reset button which is a wired switch that simply hangs off two wires. The left key is hard wired to clear screen....

Here are some pics....

Cheers,
Corey

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 1057
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Here are more "bring-up" pics....




gsmcten's picture
Offline
Joined: Oct 4 2005
Posts: 2616
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Corey,

Man...All I can say is WOW!

Good Work!

Steven Smile

__________________

Steven (gsmcten)

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

Dog Cow's picture
Offline
Joined: Dec 11 2008
Posts: 464
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Big thanks for sharing these photos! Very cool!

__________________

Email me: dog_cow@m acgui.com
Mac GUI Vault: http://macgui.com/vault/
Apple II Book: http://macgui.com/newa2guide/
Inside Allerton Park book

Offline
Joined: Jun 20 2014
Posts: 234
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Anybody want to hazard a guess at what this will fetch?

I also wonder when we'll see the first $1M Apple 1. Maybe this one?

__________________

Bill

6502 forever!

Online
Joined: Jun 5 2008
Posts: 381
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

I will be interesting to see how this auction goes, but I think there are a couple of key factors - how's the economy in Asia right now? - does Bonham's have "reach" to Asia?

regards,
Mike W.

Offline
Joined: Dec 11 2011
Posts: 66
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

I'm just curious why you think Asia is a key factor? That isn't something I would have even thought of. Is there a reason this would be of interest to collectors in Asia? Is that where the last ones that have sold have been going, or do Sotheby, Christie, etc not reach Asia?

Anyways, that is amazing. Very nice job. Hopefully there's a good story behind it that will come out at the right time?

Offline
Joined: Jun 20 2014
Posts: 234
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Yes, the last few really expensive ones were sold in the far east. All these premier auction houses will allow bids from anywhere in the world if the bidder is qualified. They have staff on hand to take their calls and act for them.

BTW, I think that board could use about 20 min. in a Ultrasonic cleaner with a mild cleanser (like one of the better modern aqueous flux removers, Chemtronic Flux-Off comes to mind) at about 40C, then while still wet, a thorough gentle brushing with a 1" horse hair brush, an aqueous rinse and finally get dried of with warm compressed air. Just the way they clean boards after assembly these days. It's safe and it will get rid of that slight dinge and make it look like new.

__________________

Bill

6502 forever!

Offline
Joined: Dec 1 2012
Posts: 51
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

I think it would be very inadvisable to attempt any further cleaning of the board. This is a piece of history, and the "patina" of dust is part of that history. Further, ultrasonic cleaning would likely remove any QA stamps, and, if this is a Byte Shop board, the hand marked serial number on the reverse side. That would probably substantially affect its value.

Phil.

Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 1057
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Actually the number on the back is not really an indicator of anything. We aren't sure if those were added by byte shop or not and some byte shop boards don't have them. For now I don't think it adds anything. However I would not risk further cleaning of the board as they are 38 years old and you don't want to risk the silk screen or that any component would be damaged. This is not a modern board which is made in a different way and components are typically soldered in a much more tolerant way to abuse (I.e broken .1 caps are common. This board amazingly didn't require replacing or repairing any legs)

Cheers,
Corey

Offline
Joined: Dec 1 2012
Posts: 51
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Hi Corey,

From what I can gather many of the first batch of Byte Shop boards were marked with a "serial number" hand written on the back. If the board has that then it is likely one of the first batch of 50 sold to the Byte Shop. Whether that has any real effect on value is anyone's guess, but I would think all other things being equal that the earlier ones would tend to be more valuable.

Attempting further cleaning would be incredibly risky IMHO and would, at best, do nothing to improve the value, but could substantially reduce it.

Phil.

Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 1057
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

According to Paul Terrell, he didn't put them there. According to Jobs, Woz and others who helped stuff the boards, no one can identify who put the numbers on them. This is a mystery and is why until we can identify why and who did it and in some cases why they were not ther at all on boards people purchased from the first batch of early boards. This mystery means it shouldn't impact the value if the numbers exist or not since they cannot be consistently used to identify boards. We aren't even sure if the numbers are unique. What we do know is the second batch which are NTI produced boards had silkscreen corrections making the first set of boards in my opinion like a misprinted stamp or piece of currency, much more special on an item that is special to begin with.

Cheers,
Corey

Offline
Joined: Dec 1 2012
Posts: 51
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

I think its fairly certain that someone at the Byte Shop put these numbers on the boards as the Byte Shop seems to be the common denominator in the boards which have them. Another possibility is that it was done by someone in the group of people who stuffed the boards at the Jobs' residence. The "serial number" only seems to appear on the initial batch of 50, indicating that they are the earliest boards.

Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 1057
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

The problem is we don't have confirmation as to why or exactly who and since there aren't a large set to examine we can't be certain. Your train of thought is most likely correct. I just don't want to give an absolute answer on the numbers without a larger sample set of boards to examine.

Cheers,
Corey

Offline
Joined: Dec 1 2012
Posts: 51
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

I agree that it's difficult to be certain about the origin of the numbers. My point is, however, that doing anything that might remove such markings can only devalue the board. If it is definitively determined at a later time who wrote the numbers on the boards it is potentially a valuable artefact which shows something about its history and provenance.

Online
Joined: Jun 5 2008
Posts: 381
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Corey,

interesting comment about Paul Terrell saying he didn't put the numbers on. Where did you find out about that?

In any case, at this point, no matter who put the numbers on, they are associated with computers we know were purchased from the Byte shop, or computers that we don't have a clear history of. People that were around during "the day" seem to be pretty sure that they are associated with the Byte Shop and have convinced me, though I was a bit skeptical, at first. At this time, calling them Byte Shop numbers is a pretty fair assumption , no matter who put them on.

The other interesting thing is that the largest of those numbers happens to be 60, which raises another question.

regards,
Mike W.

Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 1057
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

I have to locate the interview, but he was asked and said he had no idea. I have also seen two boards that had documentation to support that they were purchased at Byte Shop and they did not have numbers. This adds to the mystery. It could have been the board mfr, I could have been an inventory person. It could have been an individual sales guy. The boards may only have been labeled when a specific person worked, or when the board was tested. We really don't know and the appearance does seem to guarantee it was a byte shop board, but the lack of doesn't guarantee it either.

This is like the PCB connector. There is no rule to it. Most boards the printing points in, but some it points out on older boards. The NTI it always seems to point in.

All of this is just part of the whole "guys in a garage" inconsistency that you get vs a larger company trying for uniformity.

There are more interesting marks that are typical of an early board that I'll contact both of you off board about when I get a chance later.

Cheers,
Corey

Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 1057
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

I also forgot to add, I have seen a number higher than 60 in a private collection Apple-1. So even that now is suspect as to what the actual number indicates.

Cheers,
Corey

speedyG's picture
Offline
Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2407
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Maybe the attempt to clear the mystery of the serial numbers is rather more not who performed the task but remembering the pupose of such serial numbering.....

In general the purpose is keeping trace to the sale and repair conditions....

according to the terms of guarantee the selling person is advised to keep trace at which time the board has been sold and the date to keep track when the guarantee expires....

In those days the guys in the garage surely didn´t mind much about such issues...
but the sales guy or at least the resonsible owner of the byte shop surely did want to be able tracking this....
maybe he even asked how many have been ordered directly from the garage and if the answer was 16 boards sold by mailorder... - he might have even just started his own numbering with the no. 17...(i.e.).. that would explain why byte shop purchased and sold 50 boards - but the serials going higher than the no. 50.....

This probably might get proof by very few documented boards:
If the bill from the byteshop issues the serial number on the bill then it´s for sure that they kept tracking by the copies of their bills... the bill must not contain the name of the customer ( if sold in the shop over the table ) but it surely should contain date of sale and "ID-Code" of the board ( in general the serial no. ) !
If the payment slips at the byte shop don´t display serials when the boards got purchased from Jobs and Woz then they have been added at the byte shop !

I´m rather sure that issueing serial numbers was performed in the very beginning rather more by the persons involved in sales than those making the boards.... the recognition of the need in such numbering system starts at tech guys first when they recieve first repair orders and RMA´s. That´s fist time they recognize the need of tracking sales date....
maybe attempting the mystery by this idea will help to solve mystery....
speedyG

__________________

In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

Offline
Joined: Aug 14 2014
Posts: 33
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

A submerged ultrasonic cleaning of this board is highly inadvisable IMO. At the very most an isopropyl alcohol dipped cotton bud under a well lit scope could be considered carefully where there maybe particulate residue or corrosion. I would use focussed compressed air first being careful not to allow the air to cool & condense. Removal of any hand written markings, stickers, labels, impressions should definitely not be undertaken, irrespective of your opinion as to their significance. Again any such cleaning should be under a 30x scope or loupe.

You are privileged to be entrusted to perform a sympathetic repair & your engagement will be added to the provenance record of this rare & valuable collectible. Your restoration methodology will be considered by prospective buyers. Whatever you do, should be completed under advisement with the approval of the owner. Think along the lines that you are touching a Rembrandt. Best of luck with your endeavours.

How exciting!

__________________

Steve

transwarp II guy's picture
Joined: Mar 7 2013
Posts: 465
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Thanks for sharing this Corey. This truly is an awesome piece.

Offline
Joined: Jun 20 2014
Posts: 234
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

It truly is a cool board.

Sorry about the suggested cleaning. Didn't mean to offend anyone with it.

The process would not remove most ink stamps, silk screen, solder mask or indelible marker written on the solder mask but it would remove paper stickers, labels and may remove some organic based pigment type inks. If these are of significance to the value, then it would not be an advisable procedure. The process will also remove adsorbed dust and organic film deposits, which is why I suggested it in the first place. These can and do affect function, especially in contacts like sockets and even gold edge connectors and are sometimes very difficult to remove by strictly mechanical means. I have used the process to restore even older boards, some dating back over 50 years (core memory and sense amplifiers, etc..) without any fear of damage but these were all done to get old machines running. No concern was given to the collector value of any markings. That's an entirely different matter.

__________________

Bill

6502 forever!

Offline
Joined: Dec 1 2012
Posts: 51
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Bill,

Don't worry, I don't think anyone was offended. Your advice would have been sound if the only consideration was the functional aspect of the board. An Apple 1, however, has to be looked at like an antique. It is an historical artefact and any restoration or other work carried out on it needs to be done with extreme caution, given that the current value of the computer is probably in the hundreds of thousand of dollars, and any unnecessary work is likely to have a significant negative impact on that.

If you've ever watched a TV programme like "Antique Roadshow" you would be familiar that people often bring in an interesting object which they have had cleaned or "restored" only to be told that they have halved (or more) its value in doing so.

Phil.

macnoyd's picture
Offline
Joined: Oct 15 2012
Posts: 224
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Guys, are we really at a stage where dirt and dust has value on an old but valued PC board?
I think not...

__________________

macnoyd

Offline
Joined: Dec 1 2012
Posts: 51
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

It's not so much that dust has value, it's what else you risk damaging or removing by attempting to clean it.

Doing any work beyond the needed repairs to make it operational, including any cleaning (beyond stabilizing any corrosion), will not do anything to improve the value of the board. It can ONLY devalue it. The same principle applies to almost any antique collectible.

Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 1057
Actually this is not true.

Actually this is not true. Based upon previous sales.

The three running boards that sold for the highest amount had various repairs and replacement parts, rework and missing pads, but they were cleaned. The collector at that price point is looking for something that does not look like it just came out of the garage covered in dust and rat droppings, they generally put it on display, plus a clean machine is more likely to keep running.

Even the previous record holder from two years ago was cleaned and had some work on it. I know because I was asked to help fix a minor issue before it was to be filmed and it was clean when I got there.

The other running board that sold which was dirty and went for much much less than the others.

It's the nature of that market. Apple-1 are not like types of antiques, but more like collectable cars. Yes a perfectly clean never used (driven) one is worth the most, but a restored one is worth much more than a dirty rat rod that sat in someone's garage. This hobby is starting to really becoming exactly like the car collector market. The guy who bought the car back in the day can't fathom why someone would want to repaint and fix the rust because it's all original, but the collector who wants to stare at the car and reminisce about the old days or imagine being there if he was too young want the item to look, feel ans smell like it did back then, not now after sitting around.

Sometimes in the process of restoration, a sticker or dealer decal is removed but if it's part of bringing the car back to the original condition, then it will not affect the value. On the other hand if you had a corvette and it was signed by Harley Earle before it left the factory (vs having him sign in 10 years later) and had proof of that, then there could be an argument to not restore as the simple fact of Harley Earle the designer signing it when it was period would change the argument. Then it becomes like removing the signature on a Rembrandt in the process of fixing a torn painting.

Cheers,
Corey

Offline
Joined: Aug 14 2014
Posts: 33
Re: Actually this is not true.

Corey...Understand where you are coming from but you would still adopt the most sympathetic cleaning process even if it took many hours longer than a bath.

__________________

Steve

Offline
Joined: Dec 1 2012
Posts: 51
Re: Actually this is not true.

Hi Corey,

I doubt the difference in auction prices had much to do with whether the boards had been cleaned. Frankly, there seems to be little rhyme or reason as to which ones have commanded the highest prices. There was one that sold a couple of years ago for $212000 that was in practically mint condition, with original documentation, and a letter from Steve Jobs, and yet two others sold shortly afterwards for more than double that, and one of those only had a *replica* ACI and documentation. Go figure.

From your pictures of the Apple 1 you have worked on here it looks to be in amazing shape. The slight patina of dust doesn't detract from it at all IMO. On the contrary, it gives the impression of age and an object of time past. If it's not broken, don't fix it! You can also look at it this way; The board can always be cleaned in the future, but once done you can never unclean it back to its original condition.

I'm certainly not saying that filth like rat droppings shouldn't be removed (albeit carefully) if that were the case. Stabilizing any corrosion or contaminants that might cause deterioration of the board over time should be a priority for restoration, but one needs to be very mindful of what else could be damaged or removed in the process. A submerged ultrasonic clean would be a big no-no! However, a dust off with warm low-pressure compressed air, and perhaps a small brush or cotton bud dipped in iso-propanol, may be appropriate, but care needs to be taken to prevent static damage to MOS chips. The original MCS6502 is vulnerable to this and practically irreplaceable as you would know.

Phil.

Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 1057
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

I love these types of discussions, out of it we do sometimes get clarity or a new opinion on topics...

All things equal you would be right mostly ( except the unit for $212,000 was NOT running at the time of sale and Jobs was still alive)

What has happened are external events that have increased the board values plus the relationship Breker has with the Asian technology collector market.

Prior to the Sotheby's sale for $374,000 in 2012, a working at time of auction Apple-1 had not come up for sale and Steve Jobs had passed away. By the time we get to the next two working board sales at Breker, Apple has become one of the most valuable companies in the world and the Apple-1 is the start of all that.

All those high priced boards were operational and clean. The first board sold by Breker at $640,000 had extensive cuts and rework on the back and had major component replacements such as the sprague capacitors and as you point out had a replica cassette adapter. The next one sold by Breker at $670,000 was on better shape but had a printer modification removed and was missing some pads in the prototype area. As you know missing pads is board damage. It came with both a real and replica adapter for reliability reasons. As you know some cassette adapter work fine and some the .01 cap should be replaced with a .1 or tack one on the ACI. The consigner being from the states and the board for sale in Germany, he felt it safer to send both so the machine could be demoed. The board at Bonhams now seems ok with the original cap. One I got it working, I tested it with a .1 cap sitting on top to see if reliability improved. It didn't so I left it as is.

Anyway we will see how this one does at auction. It really is in surprising condition. Even the sockets were tight. Most are not and this can lead to problems later in keeping them running.

Cheers,
Corey

Offline
Joined: Dec 1 2012
Posts: 51
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Hi Corey,

as I understand it the working state of the Apple 1 that went for $212000 had not been established before auction. After the purchase the board was powered up and found to be operational. Not surprising as it was in better cosmetic condition than any of the Apple 1's that have been auctioned since.

It will be interesting to see what this new board sells for, especially since it is one of the early ones (with the original MCS6502 too!) and in very good cosmetic and working condition.

Phil.

Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2011
Posts: 1057
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Yep agreed, but just because a board is in great cosmetic condition still doesn't mean it will work with the original components as you point out but chances are you can make it work with replacements parts without hacking the physical board. The 212,000 one back in 2010 did not have many original components but the shape of the board meant it could be made to run just not in original condition. Which was the case.

I do also think part of the question is also demand. Is someone looking at the time of the auction? Many people with this kind of money aren't liquid, so it can depend if they just bought something else. But yes this board has the 4 rare original chips that are pretty much unobtanium (early ROR bug White broad leg, not spider leg 6502, grey plastic 6820, and the two original PROMS burned with Woz Monitor). That makes this one pretty special.

Cheers,
Corey

Offline
Joined: Aug 3 2010
Posts: 33
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Corey,
The Apple 1 looks great. I look forward to seeing the videos.

Another Apple 1 was newly discovered last week. It is also pristine. And, it is also an early one from the Byte Shop.
It will need the same evaluation that you performed on the board you're working on.
Please contact me as I am the new owner.
Thanks Corey.

I am also interested in what to do to keep the board in best condition.
What is ideal humidity, temperature, lighting and what service is needed.
I am sure Wendall and others know the answers.

I am also interested in starting an Apple Museum in Los Angeles.
If anyone has input please contact me.
Dana

__________________

DC

speedyG's picture
Offline
Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2407
Re: A new freshly running Apple-1

Hello dcarlton,

as history teaches us there are 3 factors that have bad influence to the boards:

Humidity getting even worse if in combination with misty salt like close at the Oceancoast
( affecting the coroding of traces and metal in sockets and legs of the chips and soldering material )

and temperature ( if getting to hot or to cold and affecting dryout or freeze of electrolytic capacitors
even changing flexibility of the base PCB material )....

resulting from that issues the humidity should be close to conditions like in Arizona and New Mexico
and it should be kept within limits of 5% to 20% ( not to be compared with art paintings which get harmed
by that low humidity that gets the paint to dry and causes cracking )and it shall not contain any kind
of vapored salt or - SO2
( exausted from cars, trucks, trains and ships and industrial production like "fracking" )
- this is tought to us by the fact that metals start coroding in areas close to vulcano´s very fast !

and temperature is optimum within range of 18 degrees celsius to maximum of 22 degress celsius.

Another factor to remember is that ultraviolett rays of sunlight also harm consistance of synthetic material
( i.e. the base material of PCB´s ) and loss of flexibility ( remember that plastic chair crumbling or cracking after 2 or 3 summers outdoor ? ).....
so its recommended to shade area and filter off that UV from the lighting in the area
where PCB´s shall be stored in long term conditions...

sincerely
speedyG

__________________

In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....