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Reverse Engineering the Macintosh SE PCB & Custom Chips for 1:1 reproduction


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Mine? Well, been soldering stuff together since i was old enough to be trusted with a soldering iron (I was 8), been in IT for the last 21 years as support/sysadmin through the dark times of integrating MacOS 7.6 machines and Windows NT machines on the same network with a load of giant postscript printers and plotters in the DTP industry, through B2B IT Support management and now back to IT support for a large multinational 3D engine company (Unity). Electronics is just my hobby, always has been. Been collecting hard to find 74 series logic for a while, and out of production chips for retro stuff - decided to combine my hobbies and this came out of it :)

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10 hours ago, Kai Robinson said:

It's fine - i didn't miss hair...

Haha. Ive become bald anyways so it doesn't matter anymore :-)

 

I am in the field of electronics engineering/programming, but sadly, this pandemic basically took my industry out. So once the loans run out, I have to figure out what to do next. 

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8 hours ago, Kai Robinson said:

Well, I can always get you a job with Unity - well, an interview at least....we're doing some interesting things behind the scenes :)

Yea, I am not a 3D game engine programmer or anything though. Nor do I have the knowledge to become such. 

 

Even though I am an electronics engineer, and a programmer, As well as a damn good electronics technician, as far as programming/engineering goes, my experience and knowledge is very "niche". I develop control systems and bare-metal programs. I write programs to perform very specific tasks, (Almost along the lines of IoT) and its usually involved in controlling physical devices such as LED digits/scoreboards, or ovens, or etc. 

 

And this is because I come from a technician/repair background instead of a computer science background. Since consumer electronics repair really isnt a thing anymore, I had to move onto something Icould pick up easily and do. 

Edited by techknight
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Interesting you mentioned it, I'm in the software development/engineering field, and I am also unemployed.  I could say a lot here but I'll try to keep it short.  It's been pretty interesting to unravel exactly what is going on, but short answer is, there has been a lot of "lying with statistics" going on in our field, sadly.  Around March/April, I've been through a glut of cancelled job openings.  Fortunately, in recent months, there have been far less "vaporware" job openings but I still do see a few jobs I apply for and go through interviews end up getting cancelled, rather than being filled with someone else other than me.

 

Now, I've felt it quite rewarding to see a job filled by a candidate other than me after I go through an interview because at least I can be confident that the pool of unemployed is shrinking, therefore making it more likely that I'll eventually get hired after one of these interviews.

 

But the meager good news point, looks like I'm getting close to potentially having a job offer extended to me, albeit at reduced pay.  It's hire by committee, so very bureaucratic so far.

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16 hours ago, techknight said:

I am in the field of electronics engineering/programming, but sadly, this pandemic basically took my industry out. So once the loans run out, I have to figure out what to do next. 

That's too bad.  This pandemic has ruined almost everything with even a glimmer of fun in it!  Nothing but the essentials for survival anymore....

 

15 hours ago, techknight said:

And this is because I come from a technician/repair background instead of a computer science background. Since consumer electronics repair really isnt a thing anymore, I had to move onto something Icould pick up easily and do. 

That being said, what about repairing automotive electrical systems?  That's one of the few things that I can think of that is kinda-sorta related to consumer electronics repair which is relatively immune from the pandemic (which speaks volumes, given the widespread extreme damage it has caused to most industries and in virtually all levels of society), and it seems like something you might be good at.

 

In fact, as I recall, you did that for awhile, didn't you?  Although vague memories suggest that you concentrated primarily on automotive stereo systems, which are fairly straightforward compared to all the other things that go on in a modern car....

 

I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing more of your kind of talent enter this field, for I have had one frustrating experience with a Prius recently (I've owned one for six years, and it recently began exhibiting some strange behaviors, which nobody can explain, and which mysteriously vanish when it enters the dealer's service department), and it really bothers me that despite the Prius being on the market for well over 20 years now (and other similar hybrid vehicles being around for almost as long), most mechanics (especially private, non-dealer ones) still can't fully figure out how they work, let alone repair them.  This is perhaps largely due to the fact that most still opt to work exclusively with traditional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine)-based cars, which are quite a bit simpler to work on despite being almost as computerized as their hybrid counterparts.

 

c

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8 hours ago, techknight said:

I got burned out with it @CC_333

 

I thought about being a mechanic, But I am a huge 380lb dude and I am not built to crawl inside cars and trace electrical systems. 

Fair point.

 

Frankly, I'm with you.  I'm a bit burned out with owning a Prius, largely because of how complicated and finicky it is.

 

My next car most likely won't be a hybrid as a result....

 

c

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@techknight How about ECU repair? There isn't much coding experience required, it's mostly EE (diagnosis, repair, firmware flashing, reverse engineering and actual engineering of new boards) plus you don't even have to work on actual cars. The demand for someone capable to do this will only rise. There are even shops out there who specialize in that sort of stuff. Here's an example video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rscLn6YBk0&amp (clickbaity title I know but educational nonetheless)

 

Edited by BadGoldEagle
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23 hours ago, CC_333 said:

Fair point.

 

Frankly, I'm with you.  I'm a bit burned out with owning a Prius, largely because of how complicated and finicky it is.

 

My next car most likely won't be a hybrid as a result....

 

c

 

A Prius (and its driver) are the reason why I am suffering long term back pain complications. I got rear-ended by one in 2015. ever since then, ive had issues. 

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22 hours ago, BadGoldEagle said:

@techknight How about ECU repair? There isn't much coding experience required, it's mostly EE (diagnosis, repair, firmware flashing, reverse engineering and actual engineering of new boards) plus you don't even have to work on actual cars. The demand for someone capable to do this will only rise. There are even shops out there who specialize in that sort of stuff. Here's an example video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rscLn6YBk0&amp (clickbaity title I know but educational nonetheless)

 

I could, and I have messed with it in the past. But I have several issues here, and it could be my ignorance on the matter. 

 

Alot of ECUs are filled with proprietary parts, or re-labled part numbers that make no sense to anyone but the factory (I am staring at you Delco). And I tried to work on a RAM cummins diesel ECU that died awhile back, and that thing was potted full of resin so I gave up. 

 

Even if that wasnt a barrier, I dont have the tools or capability to test the ECMS after I do any kind of repairs on them. Unless I had the wiring diagrams, harnesses, and sensors to every car out there? Oh and then of course there is the firmware and engine control settings, as well as programming the VIN and other things back into the module. Tools for that. Access to that intellectual property. 

 

Again I am mostly ignorant on the matter, but thats where the issues arise from where I see it, and its an issue ive run into multiple times. Especially back when I was doing instrument gauge cluster repairs. I was doing tons of them. Soon as I would run into bad firmware or a bad micro, Had to toss em, which luckily was only a handful. 

 

anyways, I have derailed this thread enough. :-)

Edited by techknight
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Posted (edited)

JLCPCB finally put my order into production today - despite sprint putting out the correct gerber, the solder mask for it was kinda screwed up for the rear i/o again, so i asked them to correct the gerber - now at least that's been stored in the file manager for later printing, should these prototypes be good - fingers crossed! 

Takers: @PowerMac_G4, @cheesestraws and @Compgeke so far - who else wants to test/build one?

Edited by Kai Robinson
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You could tentatively count me if you're taking tentative counts.  I'm still working through a different soldering project to prove to myself I'm not too much of a soldering newbie when it comes to soldering complex "computer-grade" electronics with lots of through-hole connections.

 

Yeah, still something I need to think about overall.  Something along the lines, I would be interested if I could.

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Had some time to grind away at one of my spare boards:

 

hTaw2ka.jpg

 

 

Going all the way down to the inner layers is going to be an absolute pain in the back.

I'll need to stock up on wheels for my grinder first.

Also it looks like the additional signaling two layers are right in the middle of the boards hidden under yet another set of VCC/GND plane layers.

 

 

Edited by Bolle
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