I recently decided to build myself a couple of Mike Willegal's Brain Boards for Apple II. For those unfamiliar with them, it's a slot card which can be used for things like running integer basic or the Wozaniam pack (which mimics Apple-1 including cassette interface).
Using Osmond, I was able to revise the PCB to include Macnoyd's hardware modifications from that thread. DIP2 is now used to select the upper or lower half of the ROM, and then once you have selected that 1/2 of your ROM, the normal Brain Board documentation applies. The only difference in the BOM is one additional 10K pull-up resistor located at R8. I would recommend anyone curious review the documentation "Brain Board with Wozaniam Pack Assembly and Operations Guide By Mike Willegal www.willegal.net version 5.1" PDF available from Mike's site before embarking on this build. Here is a side by side image of the original design and the updated one:
At this time I'm not offering full kits but if there is interest in some I may be willing to consider pre-packaging some ready-to-build kits.
A small run of ENIG PCBs cost me more than I figured per PCB, but ultimately it was worth it over HASL. I have built two of them and overall I'm happy. Before offering these anywhere else, I wanted to offer them to AppleFritter Members.
Bare PCBs are available in Purple solder mask and ENIG finish for $12 per PCB plus $4 US shipping (first class package tracked). I also have just a couple of the original design in cheaper HASL if you really want them, for $5 each. I accept paypal as goods and ship to your confirmed address on the payment, as this gets me the best postage rates and I pass the savings along. Inquiry via PM please.
This is an open source project under GPL and as such you are more than free to fabricate or even sell these yourself :) The ROM is shared with permission of Macnoyd, who I am most grateful to. If you would like to download the gerber files, Osmond file, Concatenated ROM, or just read more about this, I have a thread here: https://68kmla.org/bb/index.php?threads/reviving-mike-willegals-brain-board-for-apple-ii-computers.42152/page-2
Thank you for reading and cheers!
I have two assembled boards for sale. The boards have the ground reliability wire installed on the back, and have EEPROM's installed for easy reprogramming without a UV Eraser. Using ENIG finish purple PCB's shown above with beveled card edge. The two boards for sale can be seen here with proof of testing in my II+; boards were only tested for function and immediately placed in anti-static bags. https://imgur.com/a/Ay2Pk3E
Asking $79/each plus actual US or international shipping ($5 in the US, usually 14-20 international). Or for the DIY folks, I still have plenty of unpopulated PCBs for sale too as shown in the above post. Inquiy via PM please or email (add gmail to my username here).
Assembled Boards: (more photos at IMGUR link above)
The completed units are now listed on eBay; willing to discount for members here if you message me.
I built several of the original 27C256 versions. It's a pretty good board. This new version is even better.
Thanks for your kind words. This community is what made it possible in the 1st place.
Much to my pleasant surprise, both assembled cards have sold on eBay. So I am sold out of assembled cards at this time. I will possibly make another 2-4 of them, but in the mean time, if you want one let me know sooner than later so I can plan accordingly. Alternately unpopulated PCBs are still available and none of these parts are particularly hard to find, especially not by our standards here.
I just got in a handful of Blue colored HASL boards, of the new design, with beveled edge. If you want to build your own Brain Board ][, I can offer these to forum members for $3/board plus actual shipping. I also have the nicer Purple ENIG boards available as described above for $12/ea.
Post a photo of the new boards, so we can see what the excitement is all about? :-D
I built a Brainboard 2 (just bought the pcb online as a lot but came without instructions)
I'm not sure if I used the correct Resistor value. I only have a picture someone sent but can't appreciate their color code. (Second pict)
Anyone built that type of card too?
Looks really tall for Apple II. Can you close the lid with it?
I was thinking the same thing. Also the edge connector really looks kind of funny. The shape of the fingers and how the spacing and everything is. I'm wondering why whoever made this board did a totally different layout instead of using Mike Willegal's Gerbers? I've made several BrainBoards from his Gerbers and they turned out just fine. As for the values of the resistors, it's all there in the schematic on his web site. His documentation on his projects is pretty decent. I've had no trouble at all building boards from his designs.
That is an odd layout, and not my / macnoyd's revised design as far as I can tell. Can you see if there are any traces to DIP 2? Part of why I called my project Brain Board ][ (Brain Board Two) is because it has a 27C512 or equivalent EEPROM and not the 27c256. As such it doubles the ROM space and makes use of dip... wait for it... 2.
The mask on the edge connector reminds me of a seller on eBay that clones a bunch of different cards but I don't see this exact card in their arsenal on eBay. If you are interested in grabbing a 27c512 and transplanting your ICs to either a "normal" brainboard PCB, or the new revised one, I have plenty of bare PCBs and probably kit parts too. I'll snap a picture of the new blue HASL ones for Macnoyd soon :)
I think I know which eBay seller you are talking about... and yes, there are some things reminiscent from their offerings... but to be honest, their boards are usually better labeled than this one.
That is true, their cards are usually labeled. I bought a SAM from them at one point.
Just in case someone want to give it a try...
Thanks for sharing the photos. I'll look over them for the heck of it.
That's just odd though, the original layout/gerbers (and my updated ones for that matter) are free to download. Regardless of that, it would have been nice of them to leave credit to Mike [Willegal] on there. Using stuff released under GPL and not crediting people isn't something I'm a big fan of :/
As requested, better late than never!
Pictured are all available, updated pricing:
Green - Original Brain Board (unmodified, Willegal's design) upper left, HASL, $3/board + Shipping (usually $4-5 in US)
Purple - ENIG Brain Board ][, nice ones, only a few left. If you're going to build one that you plan on moving around between machines a lot, I recommend this PCB. Price drop $10/PCB + Shipping
Blue - HASL Brain Board ][, same updated design as the purple, just less expensive. $3/board + Shipping
All of the boards have beveled (Chamfered) edge connectors. If you are in need of certain parts for the kit, or a full kit of parts, let me know and I will see if I can accomodate you.
I am doing an interest run for DIY Kits for the Brain Board ][ Design. It would be the Black ENIG PCB, and I would match Mike's old price of $59 per kit (plus shipping). I have interest for a couple kits at VCFed, if I get a couple more here it should be easy for me to make this happen. You can express intrest in post or DM, however you feel comfortable.
I also have 2 tested/assembled boards available on my ebay store at this time. https://www.ebay.com/itm/115682294541
That board uses the PCB and switch types which would be used for the kits. The assembler has the choice to install pin headers and a remote ON/ON SPDT Switch in place of the rear toggle, convenient for IIe enclosures.
Clearing out 2 assembled units, on black ENIG PCBs. Just lowered the price to just above a kit price if someone here wants to sang one or both:
I also have one 'normal' brain board available on green HASL, without the macnoyd/my mods, I can let go for $40 plus actual shipping to a member here. It has the hard soldered switch for a II+ style enclosure just like the ones above on eBay.