Prototype Apple-1

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Prototype Apple-1
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Interesting relic

And the first I've heard that Woz used to hold solder in his mouth, although I know others who did so. It was a terrible habit that can cause lasting neurological diseases from lead exposure. I'm skeptical that this practice can be deduced from looking at solder joints.

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OH MY GOD!! This is so huge!!

OH MY GOD!! 

This is so huge!!! I have read so much on this Apple-1 and only dreamed that it would ever be found!

 

I would give anything just to see this board in person. It's a shame that the board is broken in half, but I mean I don't even care, it is SO AMAZING and COOL that THIS prototype STILL even EXISTS!!

 

I wonder if Achim Baqué was the one that found its whereabouts. He talked about it on the registry page and had said that he had some clues!  

VERY EXCITED to see what becomes of this!! 

Best,

Logan

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Hi guys!

If I had $1 million, I would buy it and give it to the Apple Museum in Moscow. Such things have a better place in museums. What about the other half of the board?

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So this ran with a 6800 in

So this would have run with a 6800 in rather than a 6502 ?

 

Shame it got broken. Would be one hell of a restoration project.

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About the 6800 vs. 6502 vs. 6501 controversy

In post #5, GaryC wrote:

 

"So this would have run with a 6800 in rather than a 6502 "

 

Uncle Bernie answers:

 

This is not clear yet. Because the ICs have been removed. And on the polaroid photo the keyboard cable was placed such that you can't read the type of the CPU. This may have been intentional. To hide something nobody should know.

 

Based on the circumstantial evidence, I am quite convinced that the machine which came to life that night at Hewlett Packard may have been 6800 based. What other than the help of a Motorola 6800 development system could have made this feat possible in just one night ? It is possible, though, that Woz already had prepared the Wozmon code for the 6502 version at that point in time. But it would have been pointless to do the initial bring-up work at HP if it had been a 6502 - HP was committed to the 6800 and had the development system and tools for that, and not for the 6502.  So if Woz could have done the initial debugging and bring-up work using the 6800, and all the nice tools and maybe in circuit emulation, too, available at HP due to their investment in putting the 6800 as a "brain" into their instruments, and then, once Woz' hardware was debugged, he could have switched to the cheaper 6502. The open question is when did that switch happen. Of course you could argue that it always had been the 6502, from the very beginning, as the story is told in "iWoz". Then please explain why the Apple-1 can be configured for the Motorola 6800 and why the "6502" solder options came later and were not present on the prototype seen in this thread. I know how to program both processors. Once you have mastered the 6502, you never go back to the 6800. Alone the price for the 6800 - if you could get it as an individual - was prohibitive. And at the time the Apple-1 came into being as a prospective product, at the time of this prototype stage, MOS Technology already had found a move to fend off the attacks of Motorola, by cancelling the 6501 and focusing on the 6502. Suppose, for the matter of argument, that the Apple-1 (and its nameless "my computer" predecessor) always had been a 6502 machine.  Would a bright guy like Woz bend it, very late in the game, to take the 6800 ? A slower, much more expensive processor ? Makes no sense to me. Another point: why did nobody build Woz' "my computer", despite Woz handed out ~100 xeroxed copies with the plans at the Homebrew Computer Club ? I think this may have been caused by the 6800, which at that time was very expensive and almost impossible to get by individuals. Hand out plans for a 6502 based machine to the same people at the same time, and you would have gotten at least a few builds. At that time, every microcomputer virus infected hobbyist was going nuts over the 6502 ... it was the hottest CPU you could dream of. And so cheap ! All the 8080, 8085, 6800, Z80 were kicked into the curb (the Z80 came too late to the game and was "defeated" by the 6502 before it even was "born"). All the competitors being too slow, too expensive, and too hard to get for hobbyists, the 6502 had won. The 6502 reigned supreme ! Which is why the Apple-1 had to become a 6502 machine. It's the winning CPU of the time being !

 

So, based on the circumstantial evidence, IMHO, Woz' computer very likely started as a 6800 based machine, and later morphed into the 6502 based machine, and indeed Chuck Peddle may have helped Woz to make it work, as Chuck has alleged. One thing we know for sure: Woz' "my computer" had SRAM, and the DRAM came much later, around the time Woz' design morphed into the Apple-1. I'm still trying to figure out what all these cuts and wires on the backside of the prototype board do. Maybe Woz was struggling to make the DRAM work.

 

You might also have noticed the use of these boxy, blue, expoxy dipped bypass capacitors in the prototype of this thread, and that the "W" bank in Row A had none. So most likely, they only had 8 DRAM ICs for 4 kBytes, and these may have been all they had at hand. So where did the BASIC interpreter go ? There is a certain irony in this ... when using cheaper, ceramic disc bypass capacitors, without my "reliability mods", it's this 2nd bank where most of the DRAM errors manifest themselves. So if they never tried to populate this 2nd bank, they could not have known about this problem. Ouch !

 

I would love to know the type and manufacturer of those capacitors used in that prototype, to check if they are the same as used in the later, 2nd production run, "NTI" machines.

 

There are a lot of loose ends to tie up in the Apple-1 story.

 

As for the damage on the PCB, its brown color and the pattern how it broke hints that it is a cheap phenolic PCB, and those essentially are paper sheets glued together under heat and pressure with phenolic resin (you can smell it years later). These inferior PCB materials get brittle over time and traces develop hairline cracks. If you drop such an embrittled phenolic PCB from a suitable height on a hard floor, it indeed may shatter as seen in the photos. So it was not necessarily an act of vandalism. But you can't restore such a relic. I have had (and still have) enough trouble with keeping old monitors based on phenolic PCBs alive. Touch something and it crumbes / cracks. A computer has many more solder joints and traces than a monitor. Take this as a warning - most 1960s and 1970s B&W monitors were based on phenolic PCBs and when you buy a functional one on Ebay, it might not survive the transport. These need to be handled like eggs. Same applies to vintage consumer electronics in general - I once got a super rare Bang & Olufsen stero set (the futuristic flat one with turntable and compact cassette recorder in one enclosure, don't remember the type number) made in the early 1970s and 40 years later nothing did work anymore and all the PCBs were too brittle to work on it. I had to throw it away as it was hopeless to fix. Now I regret this as all the PCBs could be depopulated, scanned, and reproduced using superior epoxy PCBs. But on the other hand, at which price in terms of RQLT ?

 

- Uncle Bernie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Im assuming it ran a 6800

Im assuming it ran a 6800 because it has the extra components in the top left area that in the A1 was denoted as '6800 only' and its missing the tracks for the '6502 only' jumpers.

 

Which gives credence to the development as a 6800 before it was modified to run the 6502. That might also explain why this one was binned as it was useless for further development as the 6502 made it redundant in this application.

 

Amazing bit of history.

 

Shame it will never work again.

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Imagine IF ...

Imagine if someone were to find a PCB manufacturer that could restore the broken half of the board by using the released Apple 1 portion of the board as a guide.

If you throw enough money at it, I'm pretty sure this could be done.  Money isn't an object here obviosly, with bidding in excess of a quarter-mil already.

Epoxy boards can be repaired to be like original, though the translucent color might be a bit off where the 2 portions meet.  I digress...

 

If it were me that had unlimited funding, I'd pay to get the board restored, then pay Woz to hand-solder it. (if he's willing).  Next best thing to oringinal.

Just got to find those 1974-1976 dated chips.... 

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Anyone know Woz?  It wold be

Anyone know Woz?  It wold be interesting to hear what his comments are about this board?

 

 

 

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It was never a 6800. A 6501

It was never a 6800. A 6501 was used. For this reason the upper left area was populated. 

Woz used the 6501 until he got access to the much cheaper 6502. 

This was confirmed by Woz. Early 2022 I asked Woz about this computer. He can't remember the PCB and can't remember why the name was changed to Apple-1. 

 

You can read more about the board in the registry here.  Btw, soon more pictures are uploaded.

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Interesting.

Interesting.

 

Just watched the video of the 6501 on an A1 board running and yes it has the 6800 section populated and the 6502 links broken.

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In post #10, achimah wrote: 

In post #10, achimah wrote:

 

"Woz used the 6501 until he got access to the much cheaper 6502. 

This was confirmed by Woz. Early 2022 I asked Woz about this computer. He can't remember the PCB and can't remember why the name was changed to Apple-1. "

 

Uncle Bernie comments:

 

This is an alternate story how it could have happened. Maybe the inconsistencies in "iWoz" got me on the wrong track when I built the case for the 6800 based on circumstantial evidence. I always pointed that fact out --- and cautioned that I might be in error. Many defendants got into death row based on over-ambitious DAs who built a case against them based on circumstantial evidence. So the risks are known. However, I don't put anyone into death row, I just want to find out how the 6800 option came into being. It's totally weird and makes no sense to me - except if I make the conjecture that at some early point in the development, a 6800 was used. To cite from "iWoz", paperback edition, page 161:

 

"I started noticing articles saying that a new, superior-sounding microprocessor was going to be introduced soon at a show, WESCON, in San Francisco. It especially caught my attention that this new microprocessor - the 6502 from MOS Technologies [sic] in Pennsylvania - would be pin-for-pin compatible with, electrically the same as, the Motorola 6800 I had drafted my design around."    ....  "Right on the spot I bought a few for $20 each, plus a $5 manual. Now I had the parts I needed to start constructing the computer."

 

So here you have it from the horses' mouth: Woz had designed his computer around the 6800 - which he could buy at Hewlett Packard for $40, he tells us elsewhere in the book - and if you read the top of page 161, you learn that

 

"... that night I came in and drew it carefully on my drafting board at Hewlett-Packard."

 

So, Woz has painstakingly drawn a nice, clean schematic of a 6800 based computer on the drafting board at his employer, who offered the 6800 for the discounted price of $40 to the employees (a typical HP trick to foster innovation also seen in other companies).

 

Now, what are the odds that after doing all this work, and having this nice, clean, 6800 based schematic, that Woz would not immediately buy or "borrow" a 6800 at HP to build his dream machine ? Why wait for the WESCON ?

 

Now, dear readers, you can see where the inconsistencies are. I'm still pursuing these loose ends. If I only could get my hands on a 6501 datasheet - alas, the web is polluted with that number and I could not find it. If it ever was scanned and uploaded.

 

Here is the sad part of the story:

 

"He can't remember the PCB and can't remember why the name was changed to Apple-1."

 

The tragedy hidden in this sentence is that Woz appears to have amnesia about his most important innovations and work he did before his plane crash. As we all know, the Beech Bonanza he piloted crashed shortly after takeoff and upon impact, his head crashed into the instrument panel, sustaining a severe trauma. His passengers also were injured. He can be lucky everybody survived. But after that, he's never been the same. I think that a lot of the blatant mistakes in "iWoz" can be attributed to these injuries. When the brain tries to repair itself, weird things can happen and facts can get mixed up. Note that I don't claim Woz is an imbecile now, no. I don't want to slam him. But we should not be too nit-picking about his memory lapses and all the inconsistencies and mistakes in "iWoz". This might also explain why he tries to avoid the Apple-1 topic. He just can't remember. For me this is bad. Because I would love to ask him about some of the design decisions in  the Apple-1, i.e. how the inferior bypass capacitors got in,  and the ACI (how could it be so botched) and the chain of events / circumstances of the Apple-1 "buyback" decision. I've also found some details in the Disk II system which I don't understand why they are as they are. At least, the Disk II works well enough not to dig deeper for the "why". As far as digital design goes, Woz really was brilliant. And it bugs me when I don't understand the "why" of certain features, why they are there.  But when the memories are gone, they are gone. So sad.

 

- Uncle Bernie

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Phenolic...
macnoyd wrote:

Imagine if someone were to find a PCB manufacturer that could restore the broken half of the board by using the released Apple 1 portion of the board as a guide.

If you throw enough money at it, I'm pretty sure this could be done.  Money isn't an object here obviosly, with bidding in excess of a quarter-mil already.

Epoxy boards can be repaired to be like original

It's fun to speculate, but some things to keep in mind:

FR4 material can be sawn and patched to repair broken sections of FR4 boards. That material is epoxy with fiberglass for stiffness, which means that more epoxy can be added for repairs nearly invisibly. Phenolic is a thermoset resin—a quite different material which requires uniform heating to cure, like Bakelite. If two sections of phenolic are put together and heated, the uneven stress will cause them to crack apart again.

Uncle Bernie is correct that this type of board was mostly used in consumer electronics where durability was not a concern. If the boards are handled they can give a rude shock when they crack, much like an old Bakelite radio.

The other reason nobody would do this is that it would change the item from a relic with an established provenance, into a "rebuilt classic item with some original parts" which is hard to tell from just a clone.

 

Take this as a warning - most 1960s and 1970s B&W monitors were based on phenolic PCBs and when you buy a functional one on Ebay, it might not survive the transport. These need to be handled like eggs. Same applies to vintage consumer electronics in general - I once got a super rare Bang & Olufsen stero set (the futuristic flat one with turntable and compact cassette recorder in one enclosure, don't remember the type number) made in the early 1970s and 40 years later nothing did work anymore and all the PCBs were too brittle to work on it. I had to throw it away as it was hopeless to fix.

Sounds like the BeoCenter 3600? Yes, a rare system, shame it was a loss.

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People are likely going to hate me for this, but

Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player.  Can't help myself.  Looking at that prototype makes me want one in my collection, fake or not. (and everything I have in Apple 1 is fake BTW)

They did it with the Apple II Rev 0 board, so why not the Apple 1 A board?  I'd build one if the PCB were available uncolored and renamed.   ;-)

I'm guessing these would go pretty fast in a relatively small quantity.

 

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6501 datasheet - MOS 650X hw doc

Bernie,

Datasheet/info on 6501 is in this MOS guide. Includes summary of difference between 6501 and 6800. http://archive.6502.org/books/mcs6500_family_hardware_manual.pdf

stan

 

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I just saw that "The First

I just saw that "The First Apple 1" has been added to the list of exhibits at VCF West on August 6/7.

What do you think? Could it be about this item?

- Pete

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Uncle Bernie brings up a few

Uncle Bernie brings up a few good points...

 

"

So here you have it from the horses' mouth: Woz had designed his computer around the 6800 - which he could buy at Hewlett Packard for $40, he tells us elsewhere in the book - and if you read the top of page 161, you learn that

 

"... that night I came in and drew it carefully on my drafting board at Hewlett-Packard."

 

So, Woz has painstakingly drawn a nice, clean schematic of a 6800 based computer on the drafting board at his employer, who offered the 6800 for the discounted price of $40 to the employees (a typical HP trick to foster innovation also seen in other companies)."

 

So I've read elsewhere that Woz offered the Apple 1 to HP, and they weren't interested...  But it would make sense since HP was committed to the 6800 that he would have intended to accomodate that.  Whether he actually built or demonstrated a 6800 machine to demo to them would make sense, but may not have happened.  Probably by the time he was that far along he heard of the 6501/6502 and went with that instead, especially since the 6501 was more or less (well, more than the 6502 anyway) pinout compatible with the 6800.

 

 

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I'd buy an Apple A clone board

I'd buy an Apple-A prototype clone board in a heartbeat if made available (same color) to add to my NTI and Non-NTI Apple-1 clones collection. Maybe UncleBernie will be able to source similar components such as the orange capacitors etc and offer a special kit.

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Flatsixracer, I could also

Flatsixracer,

 

I could also probably provide parts as well. I've been trying to get the word out there that I do these things as well. My hope is to be known as Corey Cohen #2.

 

Best,

Logan

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In post #17, flatsixracer

In post #17, flatsixracer wrote:

 

"So I've read elsewhere that Woz offered the Apple 1 to HP, and they weren't interested...  But it would make sense since HP was committed to the 6800 that he would have intended to accomodate that. "

 

Uncle Bernie comments:

 

We have the undeniable fact that Woz designed and had drafted the schematics for the 6800 (page 161, "iWoz"). Now, the story with the reject at HP is told on "iWoz" page 176: Woz presented his computer to a group of three of his bosses, his immediate boss, Pete Dickinson, the boss of the boss, Ed Heinsen, and the boss boss boss, Miles Judd --- who had managed a group in Colorado Springs, where this group designed the HP desktop computers. So three levels of higher ups spent their time looking at Woz' computer in person ... very uncommon. They took it very, very serious. To cite "iWoz":

 

"Okay", Miles said after thinking about it for a couple of minutes. "There is a problem you will have when you say you have output to a TV. What happens if it doesn't look right on every TV ? I mean, is it an RCA TV, a Sears TV, or an HP product that's at fault ?"

 

Miles was spot on. We know that the Apple-1 has a nonstandard video signal which causes trouble with many monitors and TVs (look for my video fix trick circuit in this forum for a cure). I don't think that Miles had studied the schematics for days or weeks to see the fault. So it was just a conjecture of his ... but spot on. Woz tells us that Miles rejected his computer on these grounds. Interesting, right ? We know that HP was committed to the 6800. Looking back, we know the 6800 and 6802 were used in many HP products to come. Not one 6502 was ever used by HP, to the best of my knowledge.  This decision had been made by HP and was irreversible. So if Woz had walked into this meeting with a 6501 (or 6502) computer, I think the meeting would have been over very quickly, it would have been over in the moment he mentioned it was NOT a 6800 based machine, and this would have been the reason to reject it, and not the weaker argument about the TV, which could have been fixed by throwing some characterisation and development work in it. The video game companies had done this and sold their TV tennis games and other primitive early ball-and-paddle games by the millions, to be hooked to normal TVs. And they worked fine as far as the video signal compatibility goes. All you have to do is to adhere to the standards (NTSC in  USA) and all is good. Adhere to the standards, and it will work, guaranteed. So the TV signal argument is more of a red herring.

 

These are the fine points most people who read "iWoz" absorb without any further analysis or thinking. For them, it is as it is. Fine. But my mind works differently. When I read a book I remember every detail that interests me (here: he true nature of what Woz calls "my computer") and if the dots do not connect properly, and in a consistent and logical way, I notice that, and ask the most terrifying questions possible: "WHY ?" and "WHAT IF ... ?"

 

Alas, I can't terrify Woz with such questions because most likely he does not remember or mixes things up. Just as an example of such an embarrassing mixup, read the description of the Apple-1 DRAM refresh on page 169 ... it is catastrophically wrong. What Woz describes there is the refresh requirement for 16k x 1 DRAMs (128 refresh addresses ) and how he did the refresh inserting 16 unique addresses per TV line (based on the fact that only 40 microseconds per TV line are used for the character field). This, folks, is the DRAM refresh system of the Apple II. The Apple I uses nontransparent DRAM refresh, 4 CPU cycles are stolen per TV line, and only 64 refresh addresses are ever generated, which is adequate for the 4k x 1 DRAMs in the Apple-1. This is the kind of screwups and inconsistencies which I notice by having my analytical engine running all the time when I read stuff. Which, BTW, takes a lot of fun out of reading novels or, worse, SciFi, especially of the pulp genre. The inconsistencies and blatant errors you can find in many of these are so appaling and ludicrous that I don't want to read any further. The illusion is destroyed. Same thing happens to me sometimes when I watch movies. We spend our precious RQLT (and in case of going to the movie theater, also our hard-earned money) for getting a perfect illusion based on suspension of disbelief. If the film maker screwed up and makes a crass mistake the illusion - pooof - is gone. Even iconic movies like Star Wars have such crass mistakes, such as the bar scene in Mos Eisley where you can peek through the "eyes" of some of these cheap masks. Mr. Lucas, this is a gross blunder and should have never made it past the cutting table.

 

Now you might understand why people who work with me always feared and hated my perfectionism. I put everything under scrutiny and turn every rock that can be turned. In the semiconductor industry this is absolutely necessary, especially when you work in advanced technologies where a mask set costs $1 Million and a "spin" in the fab takes 6 months. One mistake and the whole project is endangered. In this business you have to be meticolous and pay attention to every single detail.

 

From my point of view, the "my computer" / Apple-1 story as told in "iWoz" and elsewhere makes no sense, there are numerous inconsistencies and gaping holes in it. Personally, I could care less if it ever had a 6800 in it, but I want to write the story how the Apple-1 came into the world, addressing every little detail along the - usually winding - path from its conception as an idea, the proof-of-concepts, the mistakes found and corrected, teh important design decisions and tradeoffs, the prototypes, etc., until arriving at a thorough analysis and discussion of the final product, as we know it. I once thought I could pick the brain of Woz himself, but when his memory is fading or failing him, and he does not remember, than it's hopeless and I can't write the true factual story but could only smear together yet another inconsistent tale full of technical errors like large parts of "iWoz" are. And I won't do that. I'm a perfectionist. Either I get it my way or I don't do it. Of course I have to be pragmatic and make compomises at times. But not with that book project. The Apple-1 is a too important icon in computer history and deserves the very best, factual treatment, to preserve the true story for posterity. Very few people understand the importance of the Apple-1 and Apple II and the impact its basic concepts had on the whole microcomputer industry. Woz claimed he has invented the personal computer and got slammed for that by numerous snarky idiots who don't have any insight. I can prove that Woz is right with this bold claim. The unfortunate thing here is the term "personal computer". The idiots think IBM invented it. Fact is, HP invented the term, and they boldly called the HP-65 programmable calculator a "personal computer". Wrong. It's not a computer, but a programmable calculator. Which can only manipulate numbers, not text. For a full understanding we need to  look at concepts. And believe it or not, the key concepts of what later became known as the "personal computer" were embodied in the Apple-1 the first time in history. Not that Woz did invent these key concepts, no, others had used one or two of them before, but as far as the unique combination of these key concepts in one microcomputer product that actually was produced and sold goes, the Apple-1 was the first who had them. But idiots can't see that. Woz can see it. I can see it. It requires a certain IQ level to see it. There were a lot of  motions going on below the surface about the Apple-1 which eluded the public so far. I have found some very interesting documents on these motions, written by very smart and competent people. But for some reasons, most likely political tactics, and conflicts of interest, the Apple-1 so far never got the recognition it deserves. I do not want to further indulge in the details of this, as it's not the proper place and time. I suspect that the bizarre prices the originals fetch at auctions have less to do with greedy speculators than people in the know. The trick with all collectibles is to sniff  out the superstars long before the masses get aware of the historical importance of certain artifacts. A few people with deep pockets seem to have this sense of smell. They sniff the truffles long before others do. But to get back on earth - this is a microcosmos. In the larger scheme of things - how mankind can survive the current assaults of wannabe tyrants spreading fear, lies, and weaponized viruses and sabotaging energy and agriculture - it does not matter which computer came first. However, I will pursue my Apple-1 mission until the bullets start to fly. Then I will switch to "duck and cover" and "fly out" mode. I'm a man of many skills ...

 

- Uncle Bernie

 

 

 

 

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macnoyd wrote:Imagine if
macnoyd wrote:

Imagine if someone were to find a PCB manufacturer that could restore the broken half of the board by using the released Apple 1 portion of the board as a guide.

 

Wait for it. Once this part is auctioned off, maybe the other half of the PCB is also 'found' - and auctioned off separately... :-D

Nothing would surprise me these days...

 

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Yes, I believe that RR

Yes, I believe that RR auction will be showing it at VCF West.   I also think the 1st Apple-1 ever sold will be there.  It belongs to the LO*OP Center a charity that was founded by Liza Loop who was giffted the Apple-1 in 1976 by Woz who was forced to pay $300 for it by Jobs in 1976.

 

Also the prototype never had a 6800.  It has a 6501, then Woz moved to 6502.   Woz told me a few years back he never wrote a monitor for the 6800.

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How do you authenticate

This is very cool - I love when stuff that has not been seen except for old photos appears decades later.  This happened recently when Bob Marsh donated the Sol prototype to CHM and the folks there were kind enough to take some good photos.  When you're doing a replica you have to be cautious about old photos, especially magazine ones because they often resize without care for proportions, and often were in black and white or poor color.  It's really cool to see what something actually looks like rather than how it was rendered with old photography equipment from decades ago, or manipulated afterward.

RR sent along a package of photos and I was looking at them and the Polaroids - I'm curious, in general terms, how do you go about establishing that this is *the* prototype in those photos, and not another prototype board that was produced at the same time?  In researching the Sol and other prototype machines, it seems to have been fairly common practice to knock off several copies of a prototype PCB, in case of mistakes, or what not.  This board is missing nearly half of one side, many of the ICs are missing, some ICs are changed, corners were cut (Wendy's would not approve!).. 

I would assume provenance accounts for a whole lot - although memories are seldom 100% - I've asked company founders directly about boards, prototypes, etc that I've come across or purchased - and often the best they can say is 'well, that sort of looks like one of ours'.  

Fascinating stuff regardless - like a mystery being solved.

 

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UncleBernie wrote:In post #17
UncleBernie wrote:

In post #17, flatsixracer wrote:

 

"Woz claimed he has invented the personal computer and got slammed for that by numerous snarky idiots who don't have any insight. I can prove that Woz is right with this bold claim."

 

In iWoz he said: “I didn’t realize it at the time, but that day, Sunday, June 29, 1975 was pivotal.  It was the first time in history anyone had typed a character on a keyboard and seen it show up on their own computer’s screen right in front to them.”

That's not true at all, even if we give Woz some grace by equating 'own computer' to 'personal computer'.  Dr. Robert Suding was doing this with a Mark-8 in 1974.  I think even an Altair with a VDM-1 existed just before the Apple.   And you could only call the Apple 1 the first 'personal computer' if you left out the Kenbak, the Micral, the MCM/70, the SCELBI, the Mark-8 and the Altair.  

I love Woz, don't get me wrong, but his recollections of things are often pretty questionable, or downright wrong.

 

 

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UncleBernie wrote:"As for the
UncleBernie wrote:

"As for the damage on the PCB, its brown color and the pattern how it broke hints that it is a cheap phenolic PCB,"

Are you sure about that?  I thought phenolic usually had a distinctive smoothness and 'wood'  or 'paper' like grain to it.  When I look at the photos of this PCB I can see the 'seams' - I don't know what the proper word is.. but on epoxy boards you see lines like seams or stitching running parallel down the board.  The spot where this board was broken off looks like what you see when you break a fibreglass patch on a car.  I have some phenolic boards and they don't have that translucence to them that this board does.  I feel like this is just a brown coloured epoxy.. I have several PCBs that look just like it.

 

 

 

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About the suspected Apple-1 prototype PCB material

In post #25, falter wrote:

 

"Are you sure about that?  I thought phenolic usually had a distinctive smoothness and 'wood'  or 'paper' like grain to it."

 

Uncle Bernie answers:

 

Im not 100% sure as I did not have the specimen in my hands. But from the photos I think it's phenolic ... those came in various quality and price grades and the cheapest cr@p you could find in 1960s Japanese consumer electronics and Hong Kong transistor radios. With these low end cheap materials you can't make plated through double sided PCBs. But as far as I can recall there were better grades with a lighter brownish color - up to yellowish - which could be used to make such boards. The FR-4 (and other) epoxy resin based, glass fiber reinforced materials are a completely different animal - I never saw one that looked even remotely like a phenolic PCB. And these epoxy / glass fiber ones are super super robust. You can drive a truck over it and it won't break (as long as backed by a flat surface such as a road).  It requires a lot of force to break them. And it quickly ruins all cutting tools like saws and drills. You need diamond coated drill bits for FR-4. High Speed Steel drill  bits will be blunt in less than 100 holes. So you can save money if you use the phenolic materials. Makes sense to use that for prototypes which will be tossed out anyways. We know the two Steves were short of cash during the startup phase.

 

So my money is on the prototype PCB possibly being phenolic. But as with all "remote view" conjectures I might be mistaken. On the other hand, if it was an epoxy PCB then how did it sustain that kind of damage and how did it get this brownish/yellowish tint ? --- Maybe somebody ran a steamroller over it and then threw the remains into a chemical bath, like serial killers dissolve the bodies of their victims in acid (hint: this does not work, it's pulp novel / hollywood fiction --- don't ask me how I know ;-)

 

Who knows. I'm more interested in the circuit changes than in the PCB material.

 

- Uncle Bernie

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Who invented the 'personal computer' ?

In post #24, falter wrote:

 

"That's not true at all, even if we give Woz some grace by equating 'own computer' to 'personal computer'.  Dr. Robert Suding was doing this with a Mark-8 in 1974."

 

Uncle Bernie answers:

 

No, Dr. Suding didn't. What I - and other researchers of 'personal computer' history consider a 'personal computer pattern / concept' is the following:

 

- a single motherboard computer (NO backplane !)

- with a microprocessor CPU capable of numbers and text manipulation

- with  expansion slots  for daughter cards in lieu of the backplane

- power supply unit plugs into motherboard by cable trunk

- full text keyboard plugs into that motherboard

- full text video output

- DRAM memory on the motherboard

- on board firmware to (at least) start it up at press of a button / no toggle switches for start up

 

Of course there is some ongoing dispute of the various criteria. Some say DRAM is not a requirement. IMHO, this argument is bogus as SRAM is too expensive and any useful amount of SRAM would catapult the machine out of the 'personal computer' price range. DRAM is the key factor to bring the price down.

 

The Apple-1 satisfies all these criteria although it has only one expansion slot. The Apple II is the complete incarnation of the full concept, several expansion slots. The IBM PC stole the whole concept but moved the video output from the motherboard to a daughter card. Which made sense back in 1981 but as we all know it moved back to the (cheaper) motherboards and even into their CPU chip.

 

What makes the 'personal computer' concept viable and affordable  for a person  is this unique combination of all these features. Drop one (or substitute one with a more expensive, older, less revolutionary technology DRAM -> SRAM -> magnetic core memory) you fall out of the price range for a feasable 'personal computer'.

 

Woz had this complete and pure 'personal computer' concept first.

 

The closest runner-up is the WANG 2200 computer. But it used a backplane, the CPU was TTL, the memory was magnetic core. Not bad for 1973. But hopelessly obsolete in 1975 when Woz conceived the Apple-1.

 

I know that we could spend a lot of energy and time over disputing all this. But there were motions to introduce the Apple-1 into the IEEE "Hall of Fame" for milestones in computer history citing the same key criteria as above, along the lines of it being the first, although embryonic, "personal computer" as we know this computer class today. As a 30+ year member of the IEEE until after my retirement, I have secured the prevalent documents for these motions. And it does not look as if Woz was behind the petitioner. He might not even have known about these motions. Which went nowhere.

 

This is a highly political, but actually worthless topic to pick a fight with help of parasitic lawyers who rake in millions over the legal battle. Afterwards nobody is any the wiser. The same type of stupid legal battles broke out over "who invented the microprocessor ?" (my verdict: nobody invented it, it just had to happen, no inventive height in the basic idea to put a mess of gates and flipflops which used to be a TTL graveyard on a single chip, although certain detailed circuit level and architectural level solutions may have had inventive  height to justify a patent grant) and "who invented the automobile ?" --- in the sense of mass motorisation. Answer: not Carl Benz, even today Mercedes-Benz products are not in reach for the masses, the real inventor was Henry Ford, with his Model T. Follow-ups, decades later, were F. Porsche with the VW Beetle and Andre Citroen with the 2CV. Cars affordable for the masses. The 'personal computer' in the end is a computer affordable for the masses. Hope you get the spin --- there are endless opportunities for Sophists to haggle over definitions, and meaning of words, and what "the meaning of the word 'is' is" (cit. Bill Clinton).

 

Woz had a clear vision of what comprises a 'personal computer' back in the day. And he built it. Without Steve Jobs he could have sold none. But Jobs somehow "reality field distorted" Paul Terrell into ordering 50 machines. Was Paul hypnotized and not knowing what he did ? Not so - he was a smart guy and saw the revolutionary concept behind the Apple-1, a concept we now know as "personal computer". But here is a small twist: Paul added a wooden case and the power supply. So the 'end user' would not need to solder but only flick a power switch to get the 'prompt' from the machine's firmware. The WANG 2200 experience. Except, the Apple-1 was a step further, the first of its kind, based on the brand new microprocessor and the DRAM, and hence, a computer at a much much cheaper price low enough to become a 'personal computer' one person could afford to buy and operate. If you had been there in the mid 1970s - like I was - you would understand and appreciate all this. NO other machine of the time back then had these features we nowadays take for granted. And it was Woz who designed and developed that machine as the first practitioner. There were numerous others who had something similar but were lacking some key features ... do you remember the competitors of the Ford Model T ? (Hope you understand now).

 

- Uncle Bernie

 

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Phenolic

Yeah I know all about cutting FR4.. yikes..  what a nightmare.  I've had to do it for various projects and the longest lasting solution I've come up with is using a scoring tool like they use for countertops.  It has a carbon reinforced tip.  It's an annoying process, scoring and snapping, but it does work.

I think the reason this board is broken is because someone deliberately sawed it apart.  The edges along the break in most places are too straight and clean to be mere accident IMO.  I think they sawed to a point and then just broke off that piece right at the middle there, providing that fibrous layered break.  Why I don't know.  I also don't know why, if as RR seems to be suggesting that this is *the* prototype in the Polaroid, someone also cut off the corners.  I'd love to know more about the provenance of this.

All theory of course without seeing it first hand.   But fun to speculate.

 

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UncleBernie wrote:In post #24
UncleBernie wrote:

In post #24, falter wrote:

 

"That's not true at all, even if we give Woz some grace by equating 'own computer' to 'personal computer'.  Dr. Robert Suding was doing this with a Mark-8 in 1974."

 

Uncle Bernie answers:

 

No, Dr. Suding didn't. What I - and other researchers of 'personal computer' history consider a 'personal comput

 

What I mean is, Dr. Suding was typing text on a screen with his own personal Mark-8 computer.  This was the genesis of digital group, they sold the TV boards as their first product.  I believe his mods also incorporated an EPROM. 

 

I'm just taking what Woz said literally here: that he was the first person in history to type something on his own computer (not 'personal computer' as we are discussing it) and see what he typed onscreen.  I've seen his quote a few different ways and sometimes he doesn't mention the 'own computer' part, he just says typed something on screen and seen it shown up in front of them, which ignores non computer devices like the TV Typewriter.

 

And yes defining 'personal computer' is fraught business, based on what criteria you use.  You've made some good points that I'm thinking about now, and I give your expertise due deference, although I tend to define a personal computer as just a computer that is possible for an individual to own. Some folks take it broadly, meaning not necessarily a computer the average person could afford but that one could theoretically have to themselves at home or work.  One discussion I got into had one guy saying by broadest criteria an LGP-30 could be considered a personal computer since it was at a price a really rich person could afford, and ran on 110v.  Hehe.   I've had these discussions a million times.   It keeps things interesting for sure.  Let me know when your motion happens.. I'd love to follow that.

And yes Jobs had a gift for the sell. If only one could bottle and sell that x factor had he had.

 

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How about Olivetti Programma 101?

I am aware that I am writing a disruptive post, but I think that if we talk about the origin of the "concept" of the personal computer we have to look back to 1965.

 

I am talking about the italian Olivetti Programma 101, which was marketed mainly in the USA (>40000 units -quite a lot-).

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programma_101

 

Its features were breakthrough for the time:

- assembly-like programming language,

- magnetostrictive delay-line memory,

- program storage on removable magnetic cards (a library of standard programs was available),

- alphanumeric input/output.

 

And it could fit on a desk.

 

 

--Claudio

 

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How many prototypes were there?

I'm wondering how many prototypes were made before the first Byte Shop boards were producted. There is the wirewrap board that Apple had for some time, then there was this board that was first shown to Paul Terrell...is it the same board as in this later photo from the Garage (look on the right side of the table at the board with orange caps):

 

 

The wiring in the chip select area appears slightly different in the photos from RR Auctions compared to Paul Terrell's polaroid photos. Perhaps they were replaced/modified at a later date?

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The first prototype was point

The first prototype was point-to-point soldering not wirewrap. Woz didn't like wirewrap.

 

Production prototype / Apple-1 at auction:

You paid close attention, Jimmy. Very good.

The wires in the jumper sections are insulated. The wires in Paul Terrell's Polaroids are blank copper wires (maybe with transparent insulation). But the wireing itself is the same. 

I compared the exact position of resistors etc. and it really looks like a perfect match. I would presume that it is the same board and someone really changed the wires.

 

 

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wires

Curious - where are you seeing blank wire?  When I look at the photo I can just make out white and red insulated wires there.

They changed some chips too, I think.

In the polaroid, on B7 (257) the date code is to the left, rather than the right.  On the RR photo, all four 257s are Fairchild with date codes to the left, and all date codes are the same.  That could happen I suppose if one of the 257s failed, but you'd sort of think you'd be more likely to have a mismatch on replacement than beforehand.  C7 (174) in the Polaroid to my eye looks like a TI part, in the auction photo it's Fairchild.

Also why did they saw the corners off?

There are spots where, I can't be sure because the photo is so lousy, it looks like some vias are filled in where they're not on the RR photo.

Some things that do line up obviously are PCB color, color and position of caps.  The three resistors above the CPU - the gold bands look to be aligned same as auction photo.

The auction said the board was broken, but to me the breaks look too clean and straight in most places.. it almost looks like someone sawed it apart and then just broke the last bit at the middle.

I'm also curious why we're just hearing about this board now - why the owner kept mum for 30 years.

I'm not saying I don't believe this is a genuine article - but I'm wondering if it's the article in Paul's photos, or if Apple maybe produced more than one prototype PCB.

 

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The 'first personal computer' topic got its own thread !

In post #30, p-lab wrote:

 

"How about Olivetti Programma 101 ?"

 

Uncle Bernie answers:

 

No full text (ASCII) keyboard, no microprocessor based CPU, no DRAM, sorry, does not fit the criteria for "personal computer" set forth in my post #27 above - which were not defined by me, I just found them and adopted them. A multitude of companies had similar machines, just look at WANG. Olivetti sure was one of the foremost small computer companies - and the P6060 of 1975 is a prime example for that, but alas, it does not tick all the boxes so it ended up to be too expensive to be affordable for individuals. I really liked it. I was "hired" at a trade fair as a teen to demonstrate how easy it is to program it - got a free entry tag and as much snacks and soft drinks I wanted. My speculation that I could take the machine home after the trade fair however did not come true...

 

I think the discussion of the 'first personal computer' deserves its own thread, so I made one:

 

https://www.applefritter.com/content/was-apple-1-first-personal-computer

 

Please continue this discussion there, and not here in this auction thread. I just wanted to point out one possible reason why these Apple-1 artifacts and originals cause such a frenzy at auctions. It can't be the Apple virus alone.

 

- Uncle Bernie

 

 

 

 

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The blank wires are visible

reply to 'falter':

The blank wires are visible on Paul Terrell's photos. 

Someone changed the wires over the time. 

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Reliability of "iWoz" as a source...
falter wrote:
In iWoz he said: “I didn’t realize it at the time, but that day, Sunday, June 29, 1975 was pivotal.  It was the first time in history anyone had typed a character on a keyboard and seen it show up on their own computer’s screen right in front to them.”

That's not true at all, even if we give Woz some grace by equating 'own computer' to 'personal computer'.  Dr. Robert Suding was doing this with a Mark-8 in 1974.  I think even an Altair with a VDM-1 existed just before the Apple.   And you could only call the Apple 1 the first 'personal computer' if you left out the Kenbak, the Micral, the MCM/70, the SCELBI, the Mark-8 and the Altair.  

I love Woz, don't get me wrong, but his recollections of things are often pretty questionable, or downright wrong.

 

This argument here and in that spin-off thread about what's the "first personal computer" is a train wreck of remarkable proportions, and it's extremely clear that at least one mind could never possibly be changed when it comes to just how pointless it is to try to give this crown to any one particular machine, PARTICULARLY the Apple-1. But since this one quote from iWoz really gets under my skin I guess I will chime in here with regard to Woz's reliability.

 

The book makes it 100% clear that this magic moment where he first powered on his computer came a couple weeks after getting his first CPU chip at the Wescon '75 electronics show in San Francisco. WESCON '75 was in September 1975, not June. This link is to an online catalog of IEEE Spectrum articles, I chose it because someone here it seems takes any B.S. proposal that comes through IEEE, even if it's from a single IEEE member (IE, referring to that 2013 proposal to erect a plaque to the Apple 1 which, again, is the work of a single person, is riddled with factual errors/exaggerations and is *explicitly tailored* to exclude other machines based on completely bogus made-up criteria, like the exact configuration of the PCB boards. I mean, for crying out loud, it cites Wikipedia articles as primary sources...) as if it were holy gospel. But if you don't like that reference there are ads for the conference in multiple contemporary magazines. Here's one from an August issue of "Electronics" magazine. AUGUST, not May or June.

It is 100% indisputable that the date in that book is flat-out wrong. I'm guessing Woz didn't have a particularly motivated editor or fact checker there, or more likely, nobody cared or thought it was important, but man, it seems like inconsistancies like this invite full-blown conspiracy theories among people who are sufficiently highly motivated to push this "Woz invented the computer" narrative by backdating the magical "first power-up" as far back as possible.

 

Frankly if there's any conspiracy here it's that backdating the first power-on of a prototype Apple 1 to June instead of September could be taken as an intentional attempt to steal the Sphere 6800's glory, the first ads for which appeared in July 1975 and for which actual mostly working prototypes were demonstrated and photographed around that time. Here's a photo taken in early August, at least a month before Woz fished his first MOS CPU out of a fishbowl. 

Not outright accusing either Woz or his editors of doing this, but it is aaaawfully convenient if you're going to try make this case for first in the most juvenile way possible. And as noted later in this thread, it's straight from the horse's mouth that Woz never wrote a 6800 version of the monitor ROM, so, seriously, unless you're deep in tinfoil hat territory all this conspiratorial nonsense about some prehistoric 6800 version of the Apple 1 is just that, nonsense. The kind interpretation here is that Woz just misremembered a date and it went in the book without fact checking, and I'm fine with that, but the record clearly needs to be corrected.

 

There is no "first personal computer". If we really have to pick I'm going with The MIT TX-0 from 1956. Technically it was a transitorized semi-clone of the earlier MIT Whirlwind, but it fit in a room instead of a building and it shared the Whirlwind's real-time interactive design. (IE, these were among the first computers designed for a single operator to sit down and interact with via a CRT display station; they even did graphics, which the Apple I definitely does not do.) Yes, obviously, this machine was too expensive for a mere mortal to use, but cost is just as arbitrary criteria as any other we're debating here. "Personal Computing" is a paradigm, not hardware, and it was invented way before 1976. 

 

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achimhb wrote:...The blank
achimhb wrote:

...

The blank wires are visible on Paul Terrell's photos. 

Someone changed the wires over the time. 

...

I spoke to Daniel Kottke at the VCF today and he said that there were several, probably around four, of those "Apple Computer A" boards. He believes this board from the auction is not the one on Paul Terrell's Polaroids.

 

 

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Looking at the Byte Shop

Looking at the Byte Shop photograph, it seems pretty obvious that it is the same board given that resistors just above the 6501 show the same offset in banding. Given that they are the same value it seems very unlikely that they would just happen to have been soldered onto the board with the same offset to each other.

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Gary C wrote:Looking at the
Gary C wrote:

Looking at the Byte Shop photograph, it seems pretty obvious that it is the same board given that resistors just above the 6501 show the same offset in banding. Given that they are the same value it seems very unlikely that they would just happen to have been soldered onto the board with the same offset to each other.

That is exactly what I noticed and published. Every detail regarding position, angle and direction is identical.

 

I am very reluctant to contradict Daniel (if he really made this statement), especially because he was there and I am only collecting information 46 years later. But his Polaroids of the Apple-1 are absolutely congruent with the auctioned Apple-1.

I did a lot of research about the Computer A and asked Daniel and Woz some month ago (long before the auction). Both answered that they could not remember the Computer A. Now Daniel will remember four prototypes? I have to ask him...

 

A reporter from a amagzine asked me a lot about the prototype and if there are more production prototype boards:

"There is zero evidence of more production prototypes. And why should a small company with very limited funds built more than one? They sold an HP 65 calculator and a VW bus to have enough money. With such tight budget you would not waste anything.

This means not, that it is impossible, but unlikely." In the end, it is all theory. 

 

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Obvious?
Gary C wrote:

Looking at the Byte Shop photograph, it seems pretty obvious that it is the same board given that resistors just above the 6501 show the same offset in banding. Given that they are the same value it seems very unlikely that they would just happen to have been soldered onto the board with the same offset to each other.

There are only 3 resistors so that isn't a lot of variations in mounting but some of the other resistors appear to be the same type and mounting so it appears to be the same but there are lots of questions.  Like what happened to the board?  Why it hasn't been seen until lately and why many ICs appear to be changed such as A10 and others in the C and D rows?  Maybe someone wanted to make it look more complete by adding ICs back to empty sockets?

Justin.

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justinmc wrote:Gary C wrote
justinmc wrote:
Gary C wrote:

Looking at the Byte Shop photograph, it seems pretty obvious that it is the same board given that resistors just above the 6501 show the same offset in banding. Given that they are the same value it seems very unlikely that they would just happen to have been soldered onto the board with the same offset to each other.

There are only 3

There are over 20 resistors. I have done my research and have access to pretty good pictures of the board and the Polaroids. And for me it is 99+% for sure the same board. That is all I have to say and observed. 

All questions are only possible to get answered by the owner. I do not engage in speculation.

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Siliconinsider

Does anyone know  @Siliconinsid  and how I can reach him?  I see him on Twitter but I'm not on Twitter. (I don't want a Twitter or Facebook account)

Can anyone here contact   @Siliconinsider  and let him know I'm trying to reach him?

Thank you in advance!

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justinmc wrote: Like what
justinmc wrote:
 Like what happened to the board?

 

As pointed out elsewhere, it looks as if its been cut with a fine hacksaw given that the trace at the top has a clean cut.

 

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... sorry, I didn't want to

... sorry, I didn't want to question any expertise here. This was just Daniel's response when I asked him if this could be the board that was presented to and photographed by Paul Terrell.

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Broken board
Gary C wrote:
justinmc wrote:
 Like what happened to the board?

 

As pointed out elsewhere, it looks as if its been cut with a fine hacksaw given that the trace at the top has a clean cut.

 

My question was more about what caused that to happen, not the method of destruction.  It doesn't really matter to me if it was a hack saw, industrial laser, water jet, bare hands or axe that caused the damage but I would like to know the story behind it and why.   Also, knowing what happened to the other piece would be interesting. 

 

Justin.

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