Jobs & Woz odd Apple-1 Video Monitor

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Jobs & Woz odd Apple-1 Video Monitor

I’ve been doing some research online, and I’ve been trying to even figure out WHAT KIND of monitor this is? Based off of the photos it looks like the back was opened, it has a regulator bolted to its side. It also looks like Woz or Jobs may have installed some paper over the top of it. I randomly found this “ALLEN BRADLEY 8200 CLINTON ELECTRONIC CE663W9P31GRZ, 9 INCH CRT DISPLAY MONITOR” on eBay that looks VERY similar to it, but not enough… Now looking at it, it looks like it's more of a 12" monitor...

Ideas?

 

 

Comments invited!!

 

 

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About vintage B&W monitors ...

Hi Logan -

 

seems you are relly a good snoop dog to find the rarest Apple-1 stuff imaginable. You asked for comments. Your fault.

 

So here is my comment:

 

These "open chassis" type B&W CRT monitors were ubiquitous in the 1970s to the early 2000s and there are gazillions of different types and sizes available. If you ever have noted CRT monitors in train stations or airports, they typically have an enclosure which fits the styling of the particular place. If one failed, they were not repaired on site but the "chassis" with the picture tube was exchanged. A matter of one or two men with a ladder and 10 minutes of work. But most likely you  are too young to ever have seen them (no pun intended) - they were replaced by flat screen color monitors almost everywhere after the year 2000. Because these CRT monitors had a poorer MTBF compared to the modern types. The high voltages inside being the main reason - especially outdoors they did not live long, regardless how good the enclosure was.

 

The particular specimen in the photo is a worthless P.O.S. because it has text burned in into the picture tube (also known as CRT). And they want $299 plus shipping ? Ridicolous !

 

One final tip: of you ever buy any CRT based monitor, have the seller turn it on and dial up the brightness control so as to make a whiteish backgound. This is possible even without any signal source. With this picture you can easily spot any issues with burnt in pictures or with the high voltage parts in the circuitry (the whole screen area must be evenly white with no spots or boundary bars).

 

- Uncle Bernie

 

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Bernie,Thanks for the comment

Bernie,

Thanks for the comment. That's pretty good advice! So you KNOW what monitor this is? I at least wish to figure out what it was called and where it came out of?

 

Best,

Logan

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The mystery Apple-1 monitor label:

In post #3, Logan wrote:

 

"I at least wish to figure out what it was called and where it came out of ?"

 

Uncle Bernie regrets:

 

Sorry Logan, I don't know the type or brand of the monitor in the photo with Woz and Jobs. The other monitor is irrelevant anyways.

 

If you look closely, you can see that the monitor in said picture has a label glued to it:

 

 

If you can find a better quality photo (such as the real negative) you may be able to read the label and then you know manufacturer and type.

 

As far as I'm concerned I'd like to know what is that mystery 44 pin connector visible on the table in front of Woz (also in the cutout photo with the label). The hand wired "lab rat" of the Apple Cassette Interface maybe ? Or a EPROM card with the BASIC-In-ROM ?

I see no other reason for having any other type of plug-in for this Apple-1 prototype. As far as DRAM memory etc. was concerned, the prototype was complete. Oh, and you might have noticed they did not use the inferior brown disc bypass capacitors in the prototype. The protoype had bypass capacitors which look much like the expensive and higher performance smaller multilayer ceramic capacitors they later ruefully returned to in the 2nd production run machines. 

 

Comments invited !

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That monitor was probably

That monitor was probably purchased from some surplus vendor like Weird Stuff Warehouse (which used to be in Sunnyvale).  They'd have pallates of stuff like this that was removed from buildings when they were remodelled or torn down, or overruns, etc.  Places like that were where hobbiests like Woz would buy stuff back in the  day because of budget reasons.

 

 

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I'll bet it's an early BASIC EPROM board

Uncle Bernie,

If you look at the first picture with Woz standing up, you can see what looks like an EPROM board peeking out from behind the monitor. 

 

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Hey guys!

If I understand correctly this card was never issued? Where else can I read about it? Thank you in advance!

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About the mystery EPROM (?) card and the Apple-1 origins.

In post #7, Macintosh_nik wrote:

 

"If I understand correctly this card was never issued ?"

 

Uncle Bernie's comment:

 

AFAIK there never was a daughter card made by the "Apple Computer Co." (Woz and Jobs) other than the ACI card.

This photo found by Logan is of utmost importance for Apple-1 historians.

Because it shines some more light on what was really going on in 1976 and what they really had in terms of hardware.

If it's an EPROM card (and it seems to be that, from the photos in later posts), then I'd bet that Apple BASIC is inside.

 

I just was not sure if it's an ACI lab rat or said mystery EPROM card from the photos in Logan's first post. I saw the EPROMs behind the monitor but could not tell if they belong to the 44 pin connector or not. The 2nd photo in post #6 - which came later - supports the conjecture it's highly likely an EPROM card.

 

Now, may I draw your attention to the memory bank in row A of the Apple-1 prototype. The photo is poor but these sockets seem to be empty. So this prototype only had 4 KBytes of RAM (nice side brazed ceramic packages visible in row B). So what could have been the purpose of the EPROM card ? Containing Apple-1 BASIC being the best guess I can make.

 

In my eyes this is very important because neither in "iWoz" nor in "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson there is any mention of any EPROMs in relation to the Apple-1. But there are stories about Woz typing in the 4K BASIC Interpreter by hand (yeah, sure, maybe at least once ;-)

 

If the mystery card is the BASIC-In-ROM (well, EPROM), then we see the first "ROM Cartridge" style solution used with a microcomputer in known history. The first video game consoles using ROM cartridges were the Fairchild Channel F and the Atari VCS, and the Fairchild Channel F was the first one of the two, it was released for sale on November 1976, long after the Apple-1. The VCS was first shown to the public in June 1977.

 

In other words, the Apple-1 may have had a plug-in BASIC-in-ROM and whether on the prototype it lacked the pastic shell to make a "ROM cartridge" does not matter. The innovative idea is clearly visible. Save costs by plugging in a BASIC-in-ROM "cartridge". Wow !

 

If you really look at it from the standpoint of the time being, loading a BASIC interpreter into heinously expensive RAM was stupid. Everybody else did that at the time. Almost nobody could run Microsoft BASIC (which came on paper tape) because almost nobody could afford 8K of RAM (enough left for a TicTacToe league BASIC game maybe) or the 12K of RAM to do anything useful with Microsoft BASIC once it occupied the RAM.

 

So Woz built that BASIC-in-ROM "plug-in cartridge".  Really clever. 

 

Here is another gaping hole in Apple-1 history which I have noticed:

 

HP worked with the Motorola 6800 but not with the MOS Technology 6502 (according to the stories told). In "iWoz" there is the story how Woz got his hand wired computer going at Hewlett Packard (after regular working hours, so he stole no time from his employer, being a honest guy). From what I read there he struggled with the firmware in PROM, and he had two versions, one trying to do the I/O with interrupts which never worked and one doing the I/O by "polling" the PIA. As the story is told, in that fateful night, when his "creature came alive",  he had to go to the PROM programmer several times to fix bugs. And then, early in the morning, it worked !

 

This is how the story is "officially" told.

 

Hmm. I don't think it went exactly like that, being familiar with the development / debugging process of microprocessor based systems in 1975. There is no way you could go through several iterations of a new monitor PROM firmware in just one night with pencil and paper, hand assembly, and then hacking the binary into the PROM programmer. No way. Even it's only 256 Bytes. Simply not possible. Even for a genius like Woz. So here is my hypothesis (if the part of the story with the one night is true):

 

a) Woz first handwired computer he brought to life in that fateful night at Hewlett Packard was based on the Motorola 6800 and not on the MOS Technology 6502.

 

b) Woz used a Motorola 6800 development system HP had acquired for their own 6800 based work. This would allow him to use an assembler and punch a paper tape with the binary for the PROM programmer, giving him fast spin cycles for debugging. I don't want to make a conjecture about whether this development system already had in-circuit emulation capabilities. I don't remember if the very first development system Intel had sold for the 8080 came with that capability. So I can't tell if in-circuit emulation did exist in 1975.

 

This alternate story line would explain why the Apple-1 schematics and the motherboard still support the 6800. Because it originally was a 6800 machine, if my hypothesis is correct. Which also would mean that the first "Wozmon" that came to life in this night was 6800 code. And that the step to the 6502 was done later because it was cheaper ($20) than the 6800 ($40).

 

All this, as said, a hypothesis. But based on the stories in "iWoz" and "Steve Jobs" it makes more sense.

 

Comments invited ! 

 

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I wouldn't be at all

I wouldn't be at all surprised if your history hypothesis is closer to the truth than the official ones.  It would be interesting to ask Woz.

 

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In post #9, softwarejanitor

In post #9, softwarejanitor wrote:

 

"It would be interesting to ask Woz."

 

Uncle Bernie's comment:

 

If he remembers. It's been almost half a century now. "iWoz" is full of mistakes. One example: Woz obviously mixes up the DRAM refresh solutions used in the Apple-1 vs. the Apple II. As far as I am concerned I also don't remember much of the details of the story how I designed and built my first microprocessor based computer at the same time (a KIM-1 knockoff but 8080 based), despite I'm younger than Woz. Memories fade ... I just remember the fat lady who read in my pencil marked "punched cards" into a large programmer and then we had to proof read all the 1024 bytes that went into the sole 2708 EPROM I had. I had to ride my bike to that place ... some 20 miles one way or so ?

 

Other then picking Woz' memory there should be "hard evidence" somewhere out there. The official story tells us that Woz made photocopies of the schematics (and probably the firmware listings or hex dumps, too) and gave them away at the "Homebrew Computer Club" meetings, hoping that people would build his computer - which had no name at the time. My conjecture is that some people took these photocopies handed out by Woz but nobody ever built an example. This is not stated as a blunt and brutal fact in any of the books but frustration about the lack of adoption is mentioned and it seems that this frustration / lack of adoption finally lead to the decision to make the PCBs.

 

And this is how our beloved Apple-1 came into being !

 

Maybe some member of the Homebrew Computer Club is still alive and did not throw away these photocopies handed out by Woz. For Apple historians finding a set of these photocopies would be like finding the holy grail.

 

Comments invited !

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hex or binary data entry

256 bytes is 512 hex digits, which you can type on a programmer like the Data I/O Series 19 in around 10 minutes. But that machine wasn't introduced until 1978.

On the Data I/O Model I (1972–1975), there was a "binary keyboard", meaning that you had to toggle each bit of every byte on or off. With this style of data entry, the task would have taken over an hour.

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Hey guys!

I did a little searching for something about this card, unfortunately I did not find any other photos. If there were at least some photos from them you could try to recreate this map.

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UncleBernie wrote:In post #9,
UncleBernie wrote:

In post #9, softwarejanitor wrote:

 

"It would be interesting to ask Woz."

 

Uncle Bernie's comment:

 

If he remembers. It's been almost half a century now. "iWoz" is full of mistakes. One example: Woz obviously mixes up the DRAM refresh solutions used in the Apple-1 vs. the Apple II. As far as I am concerned I also don't remember

 

Surely Woz would at least remember what the card in that pic was.  Seeing the pics might jog his memory too.  And I haven't heard much from him about what his experience working with 6800 CPUs was.  Asking questions along that line might also refresh some synapses.  Sometimes they need that like a DRAM refresh...

 

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Even if it is not pictured

Even if it is not pictured anywhere I think there was a good alternative to an in-system-emulator and half of it is even in the manual or better schematics. There is a single step circuit and a debug LED-display.

That is already half of an IMSAI 8080 style frontpanel.

Adding a few toggle switches would offer you a way to enter the boot strap code or in this case the WozMon.With the patch field on the mainboard it is very easy to configure 4KB of RAM to $0000 and the other 4KB to $F000.

With that toggling the 256 Bytes into the RAM, and reset the CPU to jump into would be a matter of an hour like with the old programmer that used the same concept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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> This alternate story line

> This alternate story line would explain why the Apple-1 schematics and the motherboard still support the 6800.

> Because it originally was a 6800 machine, if my hypothesis is correct.

> Which also would mean that the first "Wozmon" that came to life in this night was 6800 code.

> And that the step to the 6502 was done later because it was cheaper ($20) than the 6800 ($40).

In 1984, my old boss at Motorola MCU told me (institutional memory / hearsay) that Motorola sales had been approached by Apple in 1975/6 but was rebuffed (as too small): no support, no allocation, no deals. Apple recognized the 6800 was the low-risk main-line (and customer desired) option. Back in the day (1978) I was told the story about Chuck Peddle handing Woz free 6502s at the Computer Faire from MOS' first lot of a hundred or so parts, I believe that to be true. The 6502 was the slightly more advanced (but far riskier) choice, but the only practical option (it seems). Proviiding an option to use 6800 on the board was both a risk mitigation effort (by Apple) and an effort to defang uncertainty in the market about the 6502. It's worth noting that MOS didn't have a license to any of Motorola's patents and there was a real risk related to that issue.

I'd never heard the story about Woz using one of HP's Motorola 6800 development systems to debug the Apple-1, it's a good one. Those things cost more than a Ferrari back then, were on hard allocation, and would have been super helpful. The similarity between the A-1 monitor and Motorola's MIKBUG monitor never occurred to me as anything more than practical, likely isn't more than that, but interesting. I'm assuming MOS didn't have anything like the 6800 emulator/development system back in the day.

Somewhat related: I took an Apple-1 into the Oak Hill plant (1984) to show the low-end (6800) marketing guys the cuts/jumpers, how the board could be used with both 6800 and 6502 MCUs. It seemed like it was news to them. 

 

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Puzzle about Apple-1 genesis (6800 vs 6502) gets interesting !

In post #15, brad wrote:

 

"In 1984, my old boss at Motorola MCU told me (institutional memory / hearsay) that Motorola sales had been approached by Apple in 1975/6 but was rebuffed"

 

Uncle Bernie comments:

 

Wow, Brad, as far as the Apple story goes this is the find of the century so far. The proverbial missing piece. I'm very convinced that the folks (in the sense of "folkore")  at Motorola did not make that up, but it's highly likely the truth. This is another puzzle piece to solve the mysteries in the origins of the Apple-1.

 

I'm now even more convinced that my conjecture above about Woz possibly having used a Motorola 6800 development system at Hewlett Packard for the first baby steps with his new computer may be closer to the truth than the official story tells us. The 6800 was used in many HP instruments so they would have needed a professional 6800 development system, regardless of its costs. I remember that back in the day a Intel 8080 development system would also cost a fortune (half of a 1000 sqt ft flat / appartement in a major city ?) --- and that huge thing only had two (?) 8" floppy disk drives and no hard disk whatsoever. 

 

Now we just need to find out if the photocopies with the plans and the software listing Woz handed out at the Homebrew Computer Club were 6800 based or 6502 based. Finding one set of these photocopies would be awesome. Maybe there is a mid 1970s list of HCC members somewhere ? Maybe some are still alive ? And could be asked ?

 

The important factoid that still is missing is the date / timeframe when the move from the 6800 to the 6502 happened. And whether Apple BASIC ever existed in a 6800 version before it was ported to the 6502. Back in the early days of the 6502, MOS Technology had no development systems, there was the KIM-1, essentially a mere toy for curious engineers, but you can't develop a BASIC interpreter on the KIM-1. And by hand assembly you can't get get it done in a useful amount of time. So my money is on the bet that at least some assembler (the development software tool, for those readers too tender in age to know what assembly language is) was involved. And not necessarily a 6502 one. I think that if Woz had written his own assembler for the Apple-1, he would have given it away for free, too, by publishing it. It's just what he would have done.  Since there is no trace of such a tool written by Woz from that time, how did he write and debug Apple BASIC ? I think trying this with pencil and paper (hand assembly) takes too long (a year ?). Every Tiny BASIC interpreter I know of from that time was developed on some host machine, in most cases a minicomputer at some university or some employer. This lack of proper development tools was the driving force behind the use of these infamous and inefficient "IL" languages to write the Tiny BASICs. Those Tiny BASICs without use of IL all came out of a minicomputer or mainframe. The line printer listings of them are the evidence. Now, interestingly, Woz did NOT use IL but his "Sweet16" virtual machine which is an entirely  different animal than IL. Once Sweet16 is debugged, it's possible to write a BASIC interpreter using it with pencil and paper. So these are the "dots" that still need to be connected to get the fully story how the Apple-1 came into being.

 

Brad's story above in post #15 hints that the two Steves indeed must have had considered to use the 6800 for the Apple-1 (which in my understanding is the Woz computer built on the PCB, prior examples had no name). Because Motorola rebuffed them, they had to use the 6502.  And the rest of the history most likely is how it is officially told in "iWoz" and in Walter Isaacson's "Steve Jobs".

 

Comments invited !

 

- Uncle Bernie

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These "important factoids"

These "important factoids" are already well understood.

 

There never was a 6800 powered Apple 1, at least until 2013: https://www.willegal.net/blog/?p=3968

 

Since the 6800 area doesn't actually work with a real 6800 and there was no 6800 monitor until about 10 years ago, I think we can safely conclude that the "6800" section was designed around a 6501 - which is supposed to be pin compatable with the 6800.  As far as I can tell, no one has tried the extremely rare and valuable 6501 in an Apple 1 circuit board, at least since the 1970s.

 

regards,

Mike Willegal

 

 

 

 

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A-1 incompatibility with 6800 ...!!

I never tried to run a 6800 in my A-1, just presented it to co-workers as I understood it ("see, designed for either").

Other than code compatibility issues, the blog posting you cited doesn't go into detail regarding why the A-1 circuit can't host 6800 MCUs with the provided cut-and-jumper re-wiring.

I used to know both of the processors really well at the time, it seemed credible to me then (if unproven by me). Certainly, a wire-wrapped prototype would be easily flexible in that way. I think that was the gist of the original post (prototype development), although my latter comments regarding risk mitigation would be mooted by your findings. I am surprised.

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6800 on mimeo
brad wrote:

I never tried to run a 6800 in my A-1, just presented it to co-workers as I understood it ("see, designed for either").

Other than code compatibility issues, the blog posting you cited doesn't go into detail regarding why the A-1 circuit can't host 6800 MCUs with the provided cut-and-jumper re-wiring.

I used to know both of the processors really well at the time,

6800 works fine (using the port of the monitor) in mimeo if the two changes documented in Mike's blog article are made:

(1) using the slower 74L04 version of the inverter in the clock circuit generating non-overlapping two phase clock

(2) tying pin 39 TSC on the cpu low with a resistor. TSC is floating on the original making the 6800 unstable. As mike points out, needed by the 6800 but not 6501. 

My 6800 mimeo quite stable after making those tweaks. 

Tim Colegrove found some 6501s. He's documenting using one with his mimeo over on the apple I Facebook group so he should have data /experience with a 6501 shortly. 

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6800 / 6501
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In post #17, Mike Willegal

In post #17, Mike Willegal wrote:

 

"There never was a 6800 powered Apple 1, at least until 2013"

 

Uncle Bernie cautions:

 

Mike, in all due respect for the man who started the Apple-1 clone movement, nobody can prove that a thing "never existed" or "does not exist".

This is an elementary fallacy many people who did not study Philosophy fall into. All you can prove is that a thing "exists" --- by producing it for examination. You can't prove that a thing does not exist - unless you are an all-seeing and all-knowing God.

Of course you may be correct that the machine we know as "Apple-1", built on the PCB layouted by Howard Cantin, never got an 6800 plugged in by the hand of Woz (or Jobs). My above conjectures about a possible use of the 6800 in one of the hand-wired prototypes of the yet unnamed computer Woz calls "my computer" in "iWoz"  are founded on a lot of gaping holes, inconsistencies, and - maybe - intentional omissions to spin the story into the desired direction. I think there must have been an earlier version using SRAM, for instance. Now, at which point was the circuit modified to use DRAM and satisfy the refresh requirements ? Then, there is the unconfirmed allegation that Chuck Peddle helped Woz to get the machine running with the 6502.

As far as I am concerned I doubt that because the Apple-1 circuit has the (almost fatal) flaw to ignore the PHI1, PHI2 clocks generated by the 6502 for system bus timing. IMHO a Chuck Peddle NEVER would have allowed that flaw had he helped Woz. And we also should not forget Woz' airplane crash which according to the publicly known story had led to partial amnesia and who knows which of his memories of the years before may have been lost due to that unfortunate event.

 

In general, I think that the history - as told - of most of the early microcomputers is greatly distorted and full of lies and lying by omission of facts, the perpetrators and spin doctors coming from all venues of life, some having been involved in these developments, others not having been involved, and some just being pretenders who want a piece of the pie (meaning: the fame).  Much the same thing as with "official history of mankind" written by victors of wars or toadies paid for by the respective empires. It cannot be trusted. So why should it be different with the "history of microcomputers" ?

 

Just a few days ago I saw a video on youtube which claimed the the Commodore PET 2001 actually had been developed at MOS Technology under a contract of Radio Shack but this deal fell apart due to Jack Tramiels personality and rude business methods, so Tandy started another project which lead to the "80" in the TRS-80. "Tandy Radio Shack Z80". See ? If that story in said video is correct (and not yet another lie) then the TRS-80 could have been the TRS-65 and the PET 2001 would never had existed.

 

It is the duty of any historian to dig into these alternate stories and allegations and the true, detailed  history of the Apple-1 has not been written yet. We only have a small time window left because most of the witnesses of these early years are in their 70s and 80s now and may soon be unable to tell us anything, other than by use of an Ouija board, which is not exactly the preferred  scientific method.

 

Comments invited !

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