As I mentioned in the previous post of the series, the first upgrade to my Apple IIe Platinum is the PSU – or power supply. Power is everything when it comes to retro computing. A common practice is never to power-up an old computer, especially if it was dormant for decades in a harsh environment. And, yes, unfortunately, a garage is a harch environment. Aging capacitors often cause major problems. Between the acid-leaking caps from the ‘90s to the exploding tantalum ones, pick your inferno!
Although my Apple 2 is in good shape, I decided to swap out the original PSU for an Ultimate Universal Power Supply. UltimateApple2.com designs the enclosure, and the actual PSU is the Universal PSU v1.3 kit by ReActivemicro.com.
In addition to a beefier power delivery (63 vs. 38 watts) – which will be mandatory as we populate those expansion slots with power-hungry boards –, it also accepts input voltages from 90-240v AC. The enclosure has the same size as the original (5.5 × 4 × 2 in), as expected, but it weighs much less (0.8 lbs). Also, there is a cutout on the top of the case so I can add a fan if needed. For now, I will leave it as is for now, and I will likely use a Power Saver unit. I will bring this cooling device into the picture later on.
When I work on a retro-computer, I like to trim all the non-essential parts. The Apple 2 has a great design from this point of view, and after removing a few screws, the motherboard can be pulled out easily. And I don’t need more to start working. Even the keyboard can be omitted since the Apple IIe has a built-in self-diagnostic routine that executes automatically on power-on if the keyboard is not detected. Smart move!
Because you should never trust a power supply, test the voltages first. It takes only a few seconds with a multimeter and the precaution can save the life of your precious vintage device. Finally, after connecting a monitor to the board, I now have a clean and minimal working configuration, with a decent PSU. Next, I will clean-up the motherboard.