Apple Computers

Apple 1 (Obtronix clone)

There's not much more that can be written about the Apple 1 that hasn't already been said a hundred times already. If you search the net you can easily find a dozen sites that can explain in detail the history and background behind the Apple 1 and the beginning of the Apple empire. However where I maybe able to add some insight is in how I built my Apple 1 from a kit.

The Apple 1 I have is an almost exact replica of Steve Wozniaks original Apple 1. The Obtronix Apple I reproduction is a kit produced by Steve Gabaly. I won this computer on eBay, and when I say ‘won’ I don’t mean in the typical eBay sense. Steve had posted on one of his eBay auctions that if anyone could find all the differences between the two Apple 1 production motherboards he would give away one of his kits. I was up to the challenge. I scoured the net for images of Apple 1 computers and compared them, noting down the subtle differences. The whole process probably took about 3 hours. I posted what I believed were the differences on his eBay listing and won. Thanks Steve.

The kit arrived about a month later and I immediately started assembling it. The first thing I did was to ditch the cheap single wipe sockets that came with the kit and purchased a complete set of machined sockets. I like to build and fix all my machines with machined sockets as it ensures a solid connection between the IC and the socket for years to come. The last thing I want to do in the future is have to repair my repairs.

Building the actual kit was fairly straight forward, if not extremely time consuming. It took me about a week to get most of it together. I found the tricky parts where the building of the power supply, and making the keyboard adaptor. At the time there was a lot less information available on the net, and Steve’s build instructions consisted of a single sheet of paper with absolutely no photo reference at all. I had to use common sense and a bit of guesswork to get it all up and running. The power supply was particularly nerve racking as I didn’t want to blow anything up.

I did have one small issue. When I was testing the unit I accidentally plugged the keyboard in the wrong way and blew a couple of IC’s. It took a while to track down the exact problem to the keyboard itself, but once I did it was relatively easy to resolve.

FInally I wanted to put everything in a case so that it could be easily stored and pulled out and used with minimal setup. One day I came across a cheap suitcase that was the perfect size. After some drilling and purchasing all the right mounting equipment I was able to, with little room to spare, get everything to fit perfectly.

A very important part of my hobby is having a good library of easily accessible software for all my machines, and the Apple 1 is no exception. I was involved in beta testing the CFFA1 card, although the process was very easy as I found the card to be a wonderful and bug free solution for accessing Apple 1 programs on Compact Flash cards. It is easy to use and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a simple storage solution for programs available from online libraries. In fact if you are looking for the ‘Ultimate Apple 1 Software Collection’, I have spent some time compiling it for you. As far as I am aware the collection contains every piece of software presently available for the Apple 1. No more need to scour the net hunting programs down.

RAM 4kB expandable to 32kB

ROM Woz Monitor

Keyboard Sold as board only

Released 1976 (Obtronix clone was produced in around 2007)

Price US$666.66


CPU 6502

Speed 1MHz

Video Mono composite

Graphics 40x24 characters

Sound None