Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
armadsen

New Lisa Hardware Coming

Recommended Posts

This is super cool. Sapient Technologies (Todd Meyer) has announced that they're going to be making new replacements for several Lisa boards in partnership with other Lisa enthusiasts: http://www.callapple.org/hardware/the-apple-lisa-hardware-conservation-project/

 

I think this is especially great news for Lisa 2/5 owners since so many of those have been severely damaged by leaking batteries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, that's awesome.. if only it wouldn't be well over $2,000 to replace every board in my Lisa, although its working perfectly as/is.  Now they just need to make some NEW Twiggy drives for under $50k. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is possible to just enjoy the accomplishment of somebody designing, building, and selling these replacement parts while acknowledging that you aren't in the market for them.

 

The way these things often go, there isn't a specific attempt to make a profit, just to preserve hardware or an experience or a platform.

 

If you can do that by working on original boards, that's great and both techniques are valid and valuable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In this case I imagine their production costs are probably really high selling fully populated boards. Maybe in the future they may consider selling bare boards, but unless you have the parts on hand that quickly gets expensive as well. A team of 4 essentially recreating the entire machine (outside of CRT of course) is awesome. Nobody gets rich from vintage hardware, and I suspect there's no way they will recoup the time/materials they spent on this. Real engineering hours are -not- cheap. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a great deal of respect for what they have done here and agree that this is terrific to have this option available, especially if you like things that just work.

 

I love the hobby and fixing vintage items or I wouldn't be in it, but it would be nice sometimes if you could replace a board and count on it being fine for more than 6 months ... I would even save up a bit for that peace of mind.   :lisa2:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a hardware engineer myself, those prices don’t seem outrageous. They’re going to sell hardly any of them in the scheme of things. And I’m sure they’ve spent countless hours doing the engineering for them.

 

I’m just excited to see somebody doing something so cool for a machine that is a small niche in the niche that is retrocomputing.

 

(My own Lisa is a 2/10 in great, working shape.)

Edited by armadsen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's really awesome!!! As it's been said finding those components and all the hard work, they are justifiably priced. I had a bad shipment by UPS one time on a Lisa 2... was not happy... But hey now I have extra parts and my money back. UPS screwed me when they threw the box around... so you know what.. screw them! Blessing in disguise..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that it is really fantastic that this is possible. And yes, these are serious amounts of money, but if you could get a machine up and running thank to one or more of these parts I would consider it surely. I bookmarked the Web site and will find them if I need parts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know right. I mean look at the Amiga community for example. They are hobbiest community with a very small niche community and the team that produced the best accelerator for Amiga community in a very long time at a start was under attack by everyone.

 

They attacked the team with questions: Why? Amiga is dead, why bother make this product? There are emulators that can do this already. If you need fast Amiga just use Windows and emulator instead. No one is going to bother buy this, why bother make it? BLAH blah blah blah blah blah blah

 

But the team stood firm and now I can watch dvd movies in my Amiga 500 mind you, with 16 to 32 bit colors of highest resolution possible. SDL games are being ported to it and same goes for application. The Amiga community now have netsurf as a browser and I can even view youtube into it.

 

They united all the Amiga model as one.

 

When I threw a suggestion of improving a faster graphics output for apple //gs to by pass the 1 Mhz limitation and add sprite, scrolling, etc I am dismissed with the fact that it will shrink an even small niche market to smaller niche market. Instead of thinking that perhaps everyone who owns an Apple //gs in the world even if it is just totaled to 300 people worldwide those 300 people would love to buy this card and start making new software even if it is just a hobby. Something positive perhaps. Anything positive.

 

I would sure buy the video card if it produces the same graphics style of apple //gs but add missing features and enhance speed. Maybe make it same speed as the 8 Mhz accelerator or even 16 Mhz for graphics instead of the limited 1 Mhz?

 

I don't see why not. Sure the current library will not exploit it. But what if it opened opportunity for 2017 software or 2018 to use these features. I am sure one single person out there from those 300 people would showcase the ability of this new card and push the 20 from 300 to make new stuff. Anything is possible. Perhaps it will bring another 100 people back in to the community when they see this hardware.

 

You are aware if it have 16 Mhz CPU speed and fast graphics output it will match bar and even be better than the earlier Mac 68k no doubt. Maybe the new card will increase resolution to 800 x 600 or 640 x 480 or something...

 

I know I am dreaming and I am sure I will be squished common sense and logic that will dismiss me down. But that very act is what the Amiga community have being bombarded and under attack for so long, over 25+ years to be exact and now it returned back ever more stronger!

 

Now I can play this game in my Amiga 500 as that is my video and my computer

. If the community kept on agreeing in negative feedback I would not be able to post a video like the one in that link. Edited by xboxown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It screams a product made for people too inept to repair their own boards or refurbish a used board at half the price.

I'm not going to endorse this garbage purely for the sake of I know the Apple community can do better.

 

I really don't understand this. There's a limited amount of Lisa hardware in the world. Not all of it can feasibly be refurbished. If you'd rather do your own repair and refurbishment, you should! But why call this garbage?

 

I've never paid to have an old computer repaired, nor do I plan to. A big part of the fun of the hobby for me is fixing things. I'm a hardware and software engineer by profession, and I love working on these old machines in my spare time. Usually fixing means repairing board damage, replacing capacitors, tracking down bad components and replacing them, etc. In some cases I've fixed or augmented my machines with modern parts. For example, I have a modern ROM replacement that allows me to switch between ROM0 and ROM1 in my IIgs. When my (working!) Widget drive dies, I'll probably replace it with an X/ProFile, just like I've replaced the hard drives in some of my old Macs with SCSI2SD cards. How is that fundamentally different than replacing a Lisa motherboard that was ruined by battery acid with a new one? I'd argue that the Lisa fix has even less impact, since the new board will be identical functionally and as close as possible to the original implementation, where the SCSI2SD for example is completely modern technology not even possible in the 80s.

 

I love that there are people out there facilitating the continuation of retrocomputing, both with replacement parts for repair, as well as for providing entirely new capabilities to these old machines. Contributing to the community by producing hardware that will help others keep their machines alive -- even if they don't have the skills or time necessary to repair them -- is something I see as an unqualified positive. I'm really glad these guys are doing this, and I hope they're really successful with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it possible to have a rom switch to switch between rom1 and rom3 with an apple //gs?

No, not as far as I know. The logic board was redesigned for the ROM03 machines, so you can't put a ROM3 on a ROM0/1 board, or vice versa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, not as far as I know. The logic board was redesigned for the ROM03 machines, so you can't put a ROM3 on a ROM0/1 board, or vice versa.

 

Can Rom01 be emulated via software or something or kickstart it into memory? Like ROM01.ROM say (32 KB or whatever size) is now residing in memory and it boots from that over the physical ROM03 and by powering off the apple //gs it returns back to Rom03?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can Rom01 be emulated via software or something or kickstart it into memory? Like ROM01.ROM say (32 KB or whatever size) is now residing in memory and it boots from that over the physical ROM03 and by powering off the apple //gs it returns back to Rom03?

 

xboxown: While your enthusiasm is admirable in its own way, could you please make an effort to restrict your random questions about the IIgs to threads at least peripherally related to that subject?

 

Edit: And re: this, if you really want to discuss it:

 

 

When I threw a suggestion of improving a faster graphics output for apple //gs to by pass the 1 Mhz limitation and add sprite, scrolling, etc I am dismissed with the fact that it will shrink an even small niche market to smaller niche market.

 

Here is the historical reason I rained on that parade:  A not insignificant number of companies made sprite boards for the original Apple II, and they all suffered from the same chicken-and-egg problem of having insufficient software available to give people a reason to buy the boards and the lack of boards in circulation making it a losing proposition to write software for them. IE, it's been done and nobody bought them. For the IIgs specifically there was an add-on VGA card called the "Second Sight" that was designed to add high-resolution video modes to the GS, but note this:

 

1: The card also suffered from a near utter lack of software support; it couldn't even run the GS/OS desktop at a higher resolution because *unlike* the Amiga there was never a standard way devised to extend the IIgs' Quickdraw implementation to alternative video cards. They sold about 400 of these cards; clearly that wasn't enough.

 

2: When displaying native GS graphics through the card it could only update the screen at approximately 15FPS; this is because the DMA method it used to shadow video memory was hard-limited to what the slots could support.

 

That second limitation would be *very much worth keeping in mind* if you're imagining some sort of "video accelerator" for the IIgs, because it basically indicates that implementing full-screen sprites/blitting through the IIgs' built in video ports is basically impossible, full stop. You're either looking at developing a full FPGA recreation of the IIgs that includes this acceleration in a way that bypasses the bus speed limitations of the original, or you're looking at building something that generates its own video signal and sits in a slot like the old Apple II sprite cards. (Maybe you could have it genlock and overlay the original output like a Voodoo card?)

 

But, all that aside, I'll promise you this: if you either decide to yourself produce such a card despite these obstacles or convince someone to do it for you solely as a labor of love I will be suitably impressed and supportive of your effort even if I personally think it's kind of nuts.

 

(I make no bones about thinking "Amiga People" are sort of nuts, but I am nonetheless often very impressed at the technical feats they accomplish.)

Edited by Gorgonops

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not going to endorse this garbage purely for the sake of I know the Apple community can do better.

Nobody is asking you to endorse it. However, we would all ask that you would at least make a minimal effort to be respectful. We get it, this isn't something you want. However, other people *do* apparently see some value proposition here and your constant drumbeat that everything that doesn't interest you personally is "garbage" is getting really old. If you're capable of politely stating that you think refurbishing old boards is better for whatever reason (authenticity or whatever) then fine, but if you can't hold back on insulting people's intelligence then please just go somewhere else and yell at a wall instead of participating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

(I make no bones about thinking "Amiga People" are sort of nuts, but I am nonetheless often very impressed at the technical feats they accomplish.)

 

I know, right!!  [:D]]'>  [:D]]'>  [:D]]'>  [:D]]'>  [:D]]'>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is really cool!  What an incredible feat from the hobbyist community.  Prices seem reasonable considering the incredible amount of engineering hours that must have gone into developing these and how much time will go into hand-assembling each one.  

 

These four gentlemen have worked incredibly hard and deserve to recoup at least some of what they have invested into creating this.  In fact, I can't imagine they won't come out of this at a net loss.  This project a labor of love, I sincerely doubt anybody is getting rich here.  The manufacture of these boards also doesn't displace original Lisa hardware—that's still a viable option if you prefer to go that route, and there's no need to crap all over these guys's creation.

 

This is like the SCSI2SD.  Is it original hardware?  No.  But it allows us as a community to keep our vintage machines going as their electronic components degrade past the point of no return (which will, eventually, happen to each and every single machine any of us owns).  And I think that's pretty neat :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Everybody,

Aplogies that this has taken a few days to do and write write.

Some now-hidden posts in this thread was extremely negative to the mere concept of these boards having been built. Incidentally, the person who designed and built them is a member here.

This attitude crops up from time to time and it's important to take a step back and remember a few things as we discuss things like this, especially when somebody presents a completed project that has already been designed, prototyped, built, and posted for sale, but even when somebody has an idea, and even in hack idea threads:

  • Somebody took their own time and effort to do this. 
  •  In this specific case, they happen to have built an entire motherboard for a computer older than some of us here.
  •  Just because you don't want something doesn't mean it shouldn't have been built or that there isn't a case for it.

In these situations specifically, if you don't like it, and feel the need to share, there's ways to do it, but it may be best just to curb the urge to post at all. The thing already exists. There may eventually be time for feedback to suggest possible changes, but the announcement thread probably isn't it.

As another thought, just generally, we hear a lot about the pricing on these things. I don't want to outright forbid talking about the price, but it's worth noting that pricing on these types of things is almost never designed for lots of profits. In general, nobody is getting rich selling reproduction vintage hardware, they're doing it for the love of the machines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Incidentally, the person who designed and built them is a member here.

 

I would like to suggest to the designer that I would be curious about the cost of purchasing unpopulated boards. The idea of transplanting components from failed boards to new boards with healthy traces sounds like an interesting prospect.

Edited by CelGen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to suggest to the designer that I would be curious about the cost of purchasing unpopulated boards. The idea of transplanting components from failed boards to new boards with healthy traces sounds like an interesting prospect.

I’d be interested in this too. Not least because I enjoy stuffing and soldering PCBs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As it's been pretty transparently revealed that a large part of the objection to this project isn't the "principle" of using the original hardware, it's an objection to the price, let's discuss a roughly comparable situation very briefly:

 

Mike over at willegal.net has over the years sold various replica computer boards and kits. This is a link to the Apple I replica board, he's also sold an Apple II rev. 0 kit. The boards alone for those machines sold for between $150 and $200, and those boards are both smaller and simpler than some of these Lisa boards.( And, yes, before anyone says anything: I know that you *can* order boards of roughly these sizes for around $50 a head in quantity from Chinese PCB puppy mills. The boards sold by Mike are high-quality boards manufactured in custom colors and silkscreened to match the originals as closely as possible, so it's not a reasonable comparison.) And here's the thing: A full kit of ICs for populating these boards cost well north of $500. You could possibly do a *little* better, but not much; Unicorn tends to have more than reasonable prices across the board.

In short, these are not "rip-off" prices they were asking. This is a custom board that took a lot of hard work to design and manufacture that uses a significant number of getting-difficult-to-find ICs. To criticize the team as brutally as was done here for wanting to earn a *little* bit of return on their hard work is selfish, entitled, and uncalled for. The prices of these boards are far cheaper than the originals cost back in 1984, particularly if you adjust for inflation, and they're being produced in far lower quantities. So please give that angle a rest. Full stop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Gorgonops: I completely agree. This is not some criminal operation whose sole purpose is to rip people off for money, but rather, a fellow collector (or several) who wanted to give back to the community, and they deserve to be payed for all their hard work, because I'm sure it cost them a significant amount in R&D to design these things, let alone manufacture them.

 

And as some have pointed out here, original Lisa parts aren't getting any less scarce, so at some point, having replica parts isn't a bad thing, particularly for Lisas with that dreadful NiCad battery that spills its innards all over the mainboard, destroying it in the process. Because of that, there are rather few mainboards left that are undamaged, and many of those that have been damaged are very difficult, and sometimes impossible to repair, forcing one to look around for a replacement, in the hopes that maybe there's a NOS part, or maybe one removed from an otherwise beyond-repair Lisa, for a slightly reasonable price.

 

So, yeah. The TL, DR of this is that it makes sense to have replica boards at this point for any hope of keeping these things working in years to come ("real" boards, because of their relative scarcity, are simply becoming too expensive for the average collector to afford, in my opinion), and whomever designs and produces said replica boards deserves to be payed for their trouble. If it's expensive, too bad. The cost of manufacturing them and finding period correct parts is a large part of the price.

 

Now, on a related note, I wonder if someone can replicate an SE/30 or Quadra 840AV board someday?

 

c

Edited by CC_333

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×