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Ideas for Mac mod / accessory DIY kits?


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What are some interesting DIY kits for classic Macintosh modding or accessories? I'm hosting a classic Macintosh meetup event near San Francisco (see details here if you're local, it's October 14) and one of the ideas for activities is kit building. Ideally the kit assembly would only need a soldering iron and some patience, and could be assembled in 20 minutes if you're an expert and roughly an hour if you're a beginner.

For example, a good kit might be this ATX to 10-pin PSU adapter. It doesn't look too difficult to build, and it enables many common Mac II-class computers to be powered directly from a standard ATX power supply.

Can you think of other interesting and handy kits similar to this one? I feel like the forums are full of 3D-printed whatsits combined with custom PCBs to accomplish clever things, but I'm drawing a blank on specific examples. Maybe there's a video out adapter for VGA that we could build? ADB switch box? Replacement fan assemblies? RGB LED mods? SCSI adapters?


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wouldn't get done by the 14th oct, but I was wondering whether it would be worth resurrecting the through-hole AirTalk prototype board so that people can do 'build your own airtalk' with only through hole components. Is this the kind of think you think people might be interested in?


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It could be! I don't know anything about that one... wireless LocalTalk?

Ideally I'm looking for a simple hardware gizmo that has already been designed, and is documented on a GitHub somewhere, so I could just get some PCBs made at JLCPCB and buy some components at DigiKey, then we could have a little soldering party.


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i designed an ADB switchbox that uses relays for that 'sound' when you switch machines, but i never got around to laying out a pcb for it.
theres some cool scsi stuff like networking and sd hdd's but apart from the bluescsi v1.x i think most use smt parts.
its probably not in the scope or what you need but i built a adb2usb adaptor with arduino so i could use a my apple extended keyboard on my g4 mac mini


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Maybe Rob's (bbraun) Mac Keyboard Interface?


I've never built it, but it looks interesting.

The only issue is that I'm not sure if he ever shared the wiring for the final revision. He changed the design a couple of times after he wrote the wiring section. Then again, the info might be in the .tar for the final revision. I haven't looked.

You'd need some connectors, a PCB a couple of .1" headers and the STM32F0DISCOVERY board. I guess you'd need a way to program the boards or pre-program them.


Well-known member
AirTalk is the most awesome thing for those without LocalTalk-Ethernet adapters for machines with difficult ethernet ability. That would be a great thing to have for a build. I would love to meet you, but I am nowhere near CA, unfortunately.


@cheesestraws through-hole AirTalk would be neat, if you don't mind putting it on an ever-growing todo list!

@bigmessowires I'm really sorry that I'm far away enough from the Bay that I can't join you all, but: is PowerBook battery rehabilitation too ambitious? There's been some good discussion here about how it can be done, but for novices like me, it's a little intimidating to try on my own. It'd be great to have a group to do it with!

Of course, I understand that heating up batteries with a spot welder might be a much for this meetup. Since I was able to build that ATX adapter you linked to (excellent choice, by the way, it's been working great the last 5 months), these other projects that I'm planning on building might also be relevant to a casual, relatively low-cost soldering party:
I'm excited to see what you all end up doing!


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wireless LocalTalk?



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I'd like to see a variety of front-facing ports that make use of the floppy slot or the G3/QS slot along the lines of the GeeThree Sweet Multiport [1].

For 68K machines, something simple like a bezel & holder to allow a couple of WhateverToSD boards to be mounted.

For beige PCI-Macs 1, front facing USB, FW, ADB & serial ports, along with a headphone jack (and perhaps a microphone jack too). This is simply moulded plastic or 3D-printed plastic. No circuit board, simply cables plugging into the ports at the back.

For beige PCI-Macs 2, something more along the lines of the GeeThree Sweet Multiport: SD & CF card readers that connect as IDE-devices to the motherboard or IDE card, along with the ports mentioned above.

For the B&W/QS, but for the 5¼" drive bay with FW, USB, SD & CF ports as aligned to the bezel opening. Obviously a re-working of the B&W G3 bezel would be absolutely perfect but I guess that it is not economical.

For the G5/Mac Pro, a metal bezel with SD, CF, eSATA ports that can be fitted in one or either of the optical drive bays that fits the opening.

For the G5/Mac Pro, a metal bezel for a 3½" drive (such as an internal MO- or Zip-drive) that can be fitted in one or either of the optical drive bays that fits the opening.

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20230000000000*/geethree.com


Well-known member
It could be! I don't know anything about that one... wireless LocalTalk?

Yeah, it's LocalTalk over IP Multicast over WiFi using an ESP32. So all each AirTalk needs to do is to be on the same wireless network as others (and that wireless network is passing multicast) and you end up with an emulated bus network between all the AirTalks. Mini vMac beta 37 also supports the same transport. Doesn't need any drivers on the Mac at all - though there's a Chooser extension to do the WiFi setup.

The prototype boards were all through-hole based on an ESP32 dev board I happened to have in a drawer - you know, the ones that pretend to be a DIP package - with huge chunky 10mm LEDs - because I like huge chunky LEDs, and silly stuff on the PCB because I didn't want it to look too professional.

The only difference between the prototype boards and the production ones is that a couple of the LEDs are in a different place, and that's controlled by a #define in the firmware. So, actually, I could probably just upload the gerbers for the prototype boards and provide a BOM. The issue, I suppose, is that I don't know how standard the pinouts on cheapo ESP32 dev boards are. But that could be measured.


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I would like to see inexpensive keyboard and mouse adapters for using modern usb (or alternately, adb) devices with the Mac Plus and earlier.