I used a RAMWorks IIII Kit v1.1 by Reactive Micro to add 4MB of memory to my Apple //e enhanced. The kit is well designed and all the parts are of quality. The assembly instructions are available on the web and describe clearly each step. Additional tips are provided along with the build, and assuming you have a soldering iron – and some experience –, you should be able to build the kit without major issues. At the core of the expansion card, there is a CPLD – Complex Programmable Logic Device (Altera MAX EPM7128SLC84) – and 2 x 4Mbit DRAMs (each containing one nibble of the bytes). The rest contains sockets, capacitors, resistors, a fuse, LEDs and the glue to make it works. Note that you do not have to install all the components present in the kit to use the card. For example, I’ve mounted the JTAG interface header but have omitted the RGB header pins (since I have a dedicated VGA card – yeah, another anachronism you can discover about in the Vintage Computers collection). It took me longer than usual to build the card because I lost the PLCC PGA socket to mount the CPLD. Sometimes, I feel an idiot. So, I had to order a replacement 84-pin socket and wait, wait, wait. However, besides my wrongdoing, the kit was really fun and fast to assemble. I’ve used more flux than usual and cleaned the board thoroughly. After all, it will sit in my modernized Apple //e for many years to come! If you want to see the process, I’ve added time-lapses covering the entire build. Enjoy!
5 thoughts on “4MB Apple //e – Making Of”
Good work Jamel Tayeb for project. Soldering double sided PCB needs advanced experience that is higher level than basic level. Flux is the secret tool that eases soldering process, either for PCB quality is 1st choice before beginning assembly.
You made a hardwork and achieved innovative hardware.
MOHAMAD GHOUL thank you for the wise comment. You are absolutely right, flux is your best friend when you are soldering. No dice! I remember when I was building my first projects, I naively thought that the flux cores in the solder was enough. I couldn’t be more wrong. What deterred me to use extra flux was the sticky residue left on the board (even with so-called residue-less flux). And it took me some time to learn how to wash the PCB and product to use (in addition of water and elbow grease :)).
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