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Author Topic: Here come the clones  (Read 4037 times)


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Here come the clones
« on: October 21, 2023, 08:07:31 am »

Efforts to reproduce Apple Lisa logic boards (several by folks on this forum!) have now got several people sourcing ICs and other components to make fully-functional Apple Lisa clones. I think this is known to a lot of people here, but I'm not sure we've discussed it yet.

The first successful clone that I'm aware of was built by DosFox here in the UK, and I'm quite excited that they will be exhibiting it at the retro computing festival in Cambridge on November 4th and 5th. I'll be there too, but my display will be all about Tektronix vector storage tube graphics machines. Should be a neat show!

I'm following a few Lisa cloners on Mastodon, where the hashtag #AppleLisaClone seems to be the marker of choice. (Nearly everyone posts with photos, and it's free to browse without an account.) Other platforms may host similar discussions, but I don't visit those neighbourhoods anymore; share 'em if you got 'em I guess.

Some of these cloners are using RGBTOHDMI devices attached to the video-out jack for the display, which is what inspired me to get one of those things for myself (see other post). Others are using displays they found which happened to be compatible already. So far I'm not aware of anyone trying to clone the Lisa's video board+CRT setup  :)


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Re: Here come the clones
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2023, 05:20:49 pm »

Yeah, DosFox did a really excellent job with their Lisa clone and they even got featured on the front page of Hackaday for it! It's so cool that people are actually able to build Lisas from scratch now!

One thing that we still need is some sort of breakout board for the Lisa motherboard's two edge connectors so that people can easily attach floppy drives, speakers, the power button, and so on. From what I recall, DosFox ended up using a piece of perfboard to break out each of the edge connectors, which definitely works, but it would be super nice to have a dedicated PCB to handle all of this. I'm pretty busy with school right now, but maybe I'll try to whip something up when I get the chance!


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Re: Here come the clones
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2023, 09:39:05 pm »

I've built my first Lisa 2/5 clone using AlexTheCat123's motherboard and I/O cards-- thanks for your efforts! You and DosFox have been a great help and collaborators during my build.

I've also been building a breakout board that connects to the Lisa motherboard's power and floppy edge connectors and provides the following:

  • IDC 20 pin connector for 800k Sonny floppy/FloppyEmu
  • Standard ATX 20 or 24 pin power connector
  • Selectable -5V source (ATX pin 18 or on-board 7905
  • Standard 1/4" jack for Lisa keyboard input
  • Alternative M0110/A Mac keyboard input using Warmech's design
  • Power switch and LED
  • Speaker out
  • Power and video signal breakouts for testing

Boards should be here in a couple of weeks.

As stepleton mentioned, I've been using a RGB2HDMI with my Lisa and connected it to a harvested and repurposed iPad LCD using an LCD controller that provides HDMI. The image is crisp and clear!
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