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Arranged to buy an Apple floppy drive, ended up with a complete Apple IIe system!

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I was recently contacted by a local person who asked if I'd be interested in buying an old Apple floppy drive for cheap, which I definitely was. When I got to the meetup, he said "all you wanted was the floppy drive, right?" I replied, "the way you're phrasing that has me very curious!" Long story short, he handed off a bulging tub with some very special items inside: An Apple Monitor III + Apple IIe + floppy drive + cloth cover + various cables!

The seller said that the stuff came from a close friend who's "no longer around" (not sure if that means they moved or passed away), who wanted him to ensure that it would end up with someone who'd love and care for it. That's me! :D 

The Apple IIe itself is in remarkably clean condition, given that it dates back to 1983. The keyboard has some gunk, but otherwise it looks really nice, without any obvious rust or damage. Same for the Disk II drive, which looks to be in great shape. Popped the cover off the machine and delighted to see a VERY clean interior - no rust, no capacitor-goo eating the motherboard, etc. It looks nearly new!

I do have a couple questions - could use some tips and guidance here:


  • The keyboard is definitely a little 'gunky' and needs a deep-cleaning, which I'll do ASAP. I haven't tested every key yet, but it's already apparent that the Caps Lock key doesn't work - it toggles up/down fine but I don't get upper-case characters unless I hold the Shift key down. Any suggestions on this?
  • I initially got no picture at all from the machine, which I now believe to be due to a loose video-out port - it rotates in place when I gently twist the cable, which I'm pretty sure isn't supposed to happen. Any tips or suggestions on the best approach to fixing this?













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20 hours ago, LaPorta said:

Awesome haul! You gotta love these surprises.

Thanks, and agreed! As vintage tech has gotten harder to find "in the wild," it's made these occasional windfalls feel that much sweeter :-) 




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A few new pics!


First: here's a close-up showing that this is actually a "Revision A" motherboard, which I gather makes it somewhat rare, since most would've been updated to a later revision to get the benefit of Double Hi-Res graphics (and probably other improvements). Is that right? I've never owned more than one IIe at a time (my "main" IIe is a heavily-upgraded Platinum), so I'm pretty ignorant of these earlier models...




As a "Rev. A" machine, it still has the original MOS 6502 CPU, rather than the enhanced 65C02 found in mother other Apple II's




I'm fortunate / grateful that the machine seems to be in mostly good-working-order, other than a loose video port, and the keyboard. The keyboard seems to have been the victim of a sticky-substance spill decades ago, so the keys on the left side of the machine are kinda slow to move up/down, and the Caps Lock key doesn't register when engaged (I'm having to hold Shift when entering BASIC code). I'd be grateful for any tips / suggestions on how best to restore this keyboard - I really want it to work again, and I definitely don't want to break anything...




Finally: Here’s the serial number tag on the bottom. Unlike the Mac, there wasn’t a single format for Apple IIe serial numbers which can be decoded to reveal manufacturer information dates, so I guess that means this was literally the 50,985th unit built? Is that right?



Thanks guys!



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On 3/29/2021 at 4:07 AM, bibilit said:

Just a piece of advice, replace the Rifa capacitors in the PSU as soon as possible, they can go bad quickly, will not harm anything but smell a lot.

Great tip / advice, thanks. I just watched a YouTube video showing the process, and even with my highly-limited / beginner-level soldering skills, I think I could manage replacing the RIFA. Does anyone happen to know (or have a link to) the specific part I'd want to order as a replacement?




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On 3/29/2021 at 2:22 PM, bibilit said:

Several PSUs were available, so better have a look inside. 


Great point, will definitely do this. Thanks!



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