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Author Topic: Another Prototype Lisa Card  (Read 1678 times)

blusnowkitty

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Another Prototype Lisa Card
« on: June 17, 2020, 04:24:28 pm »

https://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-1981-APPLE-COMPUTERS-UNKNOWN-TEST-BOARD-PROTO-SK1158-02-6XX-XXX/303595454108

Any clues what this might be/have been? It's got a Synertek 6521a VIA, a 7405 hex inverter and a 74245 bus transceiver onboard, plus lots of empty space for other chips. Attached are the same pictures but mirrored for posterity since eBay pictures disappear after a while.
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rayarachelian

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2020, 04:32:36 pm »

The a 7405 hex inverter and a 74245 are just used to enable access to the VIA. It looks like this has no ROM, so you can't boot off it.
Since it's only got a single 6521 it can only be a single parallel port. U1A-U6D aren't hooked up, so you'd need to wire wrap stuff there.
Edit: at first I wrote 6522, so yeah, it's a super early proto.

The 40 pin connector on the side likely connects almost all the pins of that VIA to the outside world.

I'd guess this proto is a very early parallel port test unit, before the Lisa was finalized as there's no ROM to identify it to the boot ROM, or to be able to boot from.

Which also means it won't be usable in any OS since it won't be recognized. I'd guess it has inherently a lot of historical value for what it is, but zero practical use in any current working Lisa.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 04:39:49 pm by rayarachelian »
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stepleton

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2020, 04:53:56 pm »

It's nice that the seller provided those nice high-res images, since you could just clone it without much trouble...
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D.Finni

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2020, 09:01:57 pm »

since you could just clone it without much trouble...
Sure, but your result would still be "zero practical use in any current working Lisa." :P
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stepleton

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2020, 03:14:31 pm »

Sure, but your result would still be "zero practical use in any current working Lisa." :P

I'm definitely going to stick to practical uses of my Apple Lisa, for sure  :D

But in all seriousness, even though you can't boot from this card, you can probably still write some code on the Lisa side that talks to it somehow. It would depend on how old the thing was, and whether they'd changed the way the bus works. And, just for fun, you can do some eyeball reverse engineering from the photos already (along with page 3-9 of the hardware manual): unsurprisingly given the nature of the chip there, the fact that it uses the VPA and VMA pins says that this card uses the 6800-compatible bus signalling scheme. (The use of only eight address lines is another big clue, of course). I'd want to check all of the other lines, but if they were all good...

I wouldn't use it as the heart of my home automation setup, but you could if you really wanted to :)
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rayarachelian

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2020, 03:16:38 pm »

yeah, I mean, if you're willing to write your own drivers for it, sure you could make use of it, but if you're going to go through that much trouble why not use the normal 2x parallel card and wire up whatever set of 16 relays to that for your home automation setup. :)
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patrick

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2020, 03:25:49 pm »

At Commodore they call this an "user port". You would need some PEEK() / POKE equivalent for Lisa Pascal, that's all.

Apple used to use their own machines as end of line production test equipment. This board might have been used in that context.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 03:28:34 pm by patrick »
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rayarachelian

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2020, 04:31:56 pm »

At Commodore they call this an "user port". You would need some PEEK() / POKE equivalent for Lisa Pascal, that's all.

Apple used to use their own machines as end of line production test equipment. This board might have been used in that context.

Yes, as a Commodore kid, I know exactly what you mean. :) I've seen them on pets, vic20's, c64's, and c128's. :)

So there actually is another Lisatest card up on ebay, but this one is damaged, it's supposed to have large power resistors at the top and a ROM in the socket. It's $150 now, but it's incomplete. The same seller had a complete one that was sold much earlier on. If you one you picked it up perhaps you could dump its ROM.

What's interesting is that I've noticed about the Test card  (not this guy) is that it has an ADC chip at the top right under the resistors. So they used this to measure voltages (or perhaps watts) in the card as a proxy to test the power supply.

There's also a COP421 controller attached possibly to one of the VIA6522's and the other one goes to a DB25. There's also a DB9? not sure what these were for but likely to communicate with external test equipment. I'd imagine that they could boot off the test card rather than have to insert a LisaTest floppy, but that's conjecture.

Possibly one VIA allows the Lisa's CPU to talk to the COP to test the slot. Maybe the COP sent some bytes back and forth through that VIA to the Lisa to test the slot. The external VIA was likely used to talk to whatever the factory floor umbilical cord had to pass/fail and maybe upload a copy of LisaTest to that Lisa's RAM.
(I'm guessing here.)

I don't think this specific prototype card was used in factory line QC testing, I think it was really a prototype for an early parallel port expansion though it may have grown into that later on.
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blusnowkitty

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2020, 03:38:46 pm »

Here's some more interesting stuff that seller has put up...

Only known surviving copy of WidEx? https://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-VINTAGE-APPLE-COMPUTERS-WIDGET-STATUS-MONITOR-CARD-DISKETTE-LISA-1985/303595450646
Prototype 10MB ProFile? https://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-PROTOTYPE-VINTAGE-APPLE-COMPUTERS-PROFILE-10-MEG-LISA-TEAM-ENGINEER-ESTATE/303603209953

But I think the most interesting listing is this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-VINTAGE-APPLE-COMPUTERS-INTERNAL-ENGINEERING-LOT-LISA-TWIGGY-TEST-5-25/303603206506

Pictures again re-uploaded for posterity - it's mostly Apple II and III disks, but there seem to be a number of Lisa test applications on cassette tape! Anyone ever heard of a Lisa with a cassette tape drive, or perhaps the Lisa originally started life in the Apple II?
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stepleton

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2020, 03:58:21 pm »

The Widget test disk documentation doesn't quite match the Widex documentation here, I don't think:
http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/apple/disk/widget/Widex_May84.pdf

But it's probably similar. Maybe a stripped down version for dealers.

The other sale looks exciting but is too rich for my blood. I hope whoever gets it takes good care of it!
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rayarachelian

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2020, 07:15:20 pm »

Here's some more interesting stuff that seller has put up...

This is sad. This stuff should go directly to bitsavers where it can be properly imaged/scanned in. I don't have $3K burning a hole in my pocket to buy these and donate them.
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sigma7

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2020, 12:12:52 am »

Quote
But I think the most interesting listing is this one: RARE-VINTAGE-APPLE-COMPUTERS-INTERNAL-ENGINEERING-LOT-LISA-TWIGGY-TEST-5-25
- it's mostly Apple II and III disks, but there seem to be a number of Lisa test applications on cassette tape! Anyone ever heard of a Lisa with a cassette tape drive, or perhaps the Lisa originally started life in the Apple II?

Decades ago I purchased a Lisa I/O Port Test Card with ROM from eBay. IIRC, when I disassembled the ROM, it was purely a loader to load test code from an external computer (via a parallel port I think). Contemporary documents/rumours indicated that for manufacturing test and burn-in, Apple /// computers were used to test the Lisas.

So my theory is that the tapes are for the Apple ///'s  (and/or ]['s) that were connected to the Lisa's with Test Cards.

edit: updated name of the card
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Lisa2

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2020, 01:42:23 pm »

My guess is that the cassette tapes are for a FLUKE 9010A Micro-System Troubleshooter that Apple used in testing.

Something like this:

https://www.ebay.com/c/1601694360
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 02:17:08 pm by Lisa2 »
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compu_85

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2020, 02:26:45 pm »

I ended up getting the parallel port card... amazingly the seller took best offers.

I hope whoever gets the floppies is able to make images, and shares them with the rest of the class...

I was able to pick up the IO Port Test card too... which has its rom present. I'll back it up as soon as I can.

Do we know where the flying clip leads hook up?

I've been wanting one of the test cards for some time, and within a week I've gotten two of them :o

The seller also had a loopback plug for the serial ports. That's still in the mail, I'll post pictures once it arrives. This was the listing: https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-APPLE-COMPUTERS-1982-SERIAL-PORT-TEST-CARD-SK1406-00-APPLE-ENGINEER/293628746220

High res picture of the cards: https://i.imgur.com/LYntDsn.jpg

« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 02:29:15 pm by compu_85 »
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stepleton

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Re: Another Prototype Lisa Card
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2020, 02:48:07 pm »

The DMA test card is with me here in the UK. I will desolder and image the ROM at some point.
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