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Papalapa

Apple IIe cleaning and repair

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I'm really happy, recently I bought another computer for my retro-collection: an Apple IIe. I was very excited because I was looking for this model in good conditions and price years ago but this is not an easy job here in Europe.

The first thing I did once received was to connect it to a Sony TV and turn it on:

 

I0R4eY7.jpg              UyfQOKv.jpg

 

After a while it was working, a typical "old-smell" was felt but in this case a little bit more "sweet". I wanted to disassemble the computer completely, so the steps to check and clean it thoroughly would be, in this order:

 

1) Motherboard
2) Power supply
3) Keyboard
4) Housing
5) Floppy drives


Motherboard

It was a bit dirty but nothing that a brush, alcohol, a cloth and cotton sticks could not fix. Being an "early" Apple IIe the chips are all socketed so I lifted them all a little on both sides and settled them again. The card slots received a contact cleaner spray and visually there weres no components with problems or cold or broken soldering points so, the work with the motherboard was finished.

To identify an "early" Apple IIe motherboard you should check the location of the COLOR/BN switch in the PCB. In the firsts units as mine it is soldered in the OS1 oscillator terminals towards the center of the board, while in later versions it is placed on the right end of the PCB near to the edge. Also, the two velcro that hold the top housing on its back that later versions don't have.

 

 

Power supply

This I thought would be the most delicate part of the entire cleaning process because I was thinking to find several capacitors leaking or swollen but finally all of them seem to be fine. When the cover of the box was opened the smell that I was talking about at the beginning come and I was thinking that resin of the transformer had dirtied the power supply inside. This worried me a little, because if that happened probably means that the transformer was warming up much more than normal and I don't think it's easy to find this kind of part actually.

 

jJtr6wm.jpg

 

I decided to release the PCB from the housing to be able to clean it and when I had it outside I saw that the cause of the problem was a filter/capacitor that has burned. I had read that this capacitor often brokes down but as it acts like a filter the power supply can work without it, although it is not advisable. Luckily I bought 3 of them to have at home so, I replaced the damaged one quickly. Here is the difference between the burned one and the new.

 

Om92NCy.jpg

 

Once the whole power supply has been cleaned, it already looks different:

 

xIoEDxy.jpg        XErIAp4.jpg

 

To verify that everything was fine I measured the output voltages and although with some variation all of them were correct. At the + 12v and -12v outputs there is 0,5v difference (above and below respectively) so I will have to find out if there's some adjustment that I can do and what is the correct output voltage without connecting the power supply to the PCB.

 


Keyboard

As usual there were some keys that returned a little slower after being pressed. Fortunately all of them worked so it has not been necessary to replace any switch. The set-up has thus been limited to release all the key caps, put it them in dish-soap and returning them to their respective positions, but not before printing a photo of the keyboard so as not to be wrong with its place.

 

nF7UhhS.jpg       xtWyRKZ.jpg

 

What it was found broken is the indicator light in the keyboard. Due to its age it's not an LED, it's a 5 volts bulb lamp difficult to find so I will replace it by a LED+resistor when available.

 

pRRu2i3.jpg

 

The lamp fits into two small metal bushings instead of being soldered to the PCB which will facilitate replacement work.


Housing

Fortunately, the housing was in very good condition, with no rust on the bottom or bumps or breaks on the top, so the job has been just to pass them in the shower and dry the metal braids so that no moisture remains inside.

 

t9LEdow.jpg       iMPxuZx.jpg

 

In the absence of replacing the keyboard LED, add some missing back caps to cover the expansion slots and install the "Enhanced Apple IIe chips" when they arrive, I can say that the job with the CPU is already finished.

 

ZgpR0FP.jpg

 

The next steps will be to check the two floppy drives and install the wDrive when it arrives...

 

 

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As I have already achieved the white LED I have got to work so that the ON indicator of the keyboard brights again. Initially I have soldered a 560 Ohms resistence but when I saw it mounted on the keyboard I realized that the light was too intense, so finally I used an 1kOhm resistor that shows adimmer light.
 
bL2glVu.jpg  
 
suQclHx.jpg
 
 
kYsH7fc.jpg

Anyway the light scattering that has a bulb lamp is not the same as that of an LED so probably I'll do some change in the future ..
 
 

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Nice work, thats a sexy IIe... only note I have, is you can replace RIFA's with non RIFA parts... that aren't paper and should last longer.  But the ones you have look the part.

 

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Floppy drives

Step by step I'm going ahead and now it is the turn of the floppy drives. There are two Distar compatible drives and one of them has the cable and the connector broken:

 

T5Bdk7w.jpg

The process has been to clean the cases, clean the head and grease the shaft of the head and motor. Not being able to use one of them I changed the cable that was in good condition to test the drive and it worked correctly, so this stage has given me little work. As the cable of the parallel port board was also damaged I ordered the cables and now it's time to wait for them until they arrive.

What has already arrived are the chips to turn the Apple into "Enhanced" version. It has also been very easy because all the chips on the board are socketed. The kit consists of 4 chips (3 + micro). Now when the computer starts it already shows Apple //e instead of Apple] [ with all the associated benefits.

 

wpCQp92.jpg

And finally, to finish the adventure with the Apple IIe it is only necessary to thoroughly test the wDrive.
 

AyhLxtw.jpg

For those who do not know, wDrive is a 5 1/4 floppy emulator that works with microSD card. The microSD has the images of the floppys that are loaded and saved from the wDrive, admitting several image formats. The latest version of wDrive already has an Apple IIe on-screen menu instead of having to use the small display and incorporated buttons.
 

wupxJOD.jpg
 

That's all folks 😄

 

 

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On 2/25/2020 at 1:26 AM, Papalapa said:

Anyway the light scattering that has a bulb lamp is not the same as that of an LED so probably I'll do some change in the future ..

LEDs tend to have a spotlight effect.  Some do have wider viewing angles though.  But some kind of diffusing material would still probably help.

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Well, the last two times I have started the Apple IIe, I realized that the characters "drift" a little on the screen, that is, they move one millimeter to the right half a second and return to their original position and so on all the time. This happens in both modes (40 columns and 80 columns). As I had assumed, a power supply module with almost 40 years needs a recap even if it works and capacitors looks good then, I already ordered the electrolytic, ceramic and polyester capacitors to replace them .

The one that I have not seen las time when I replaced the damaged capacitor is this one that is welded just below the mains socket. I have desoldered it and although it does not drop liquid as the other one the plastic case is cracked.


BsZBCB3.jpg


I do not know if this will solve the problem of the video but I will remain calmer when all the capacitors were replaced. On the other hand, anyone knows the DC output voltage tolerance of the power supply? I found this but I'm not sure if is corrrect or not. Also, are the values measured with the power supply disconnected from the motherboard or connected to it (with load)?

 

+5v      ±3%

-5,2v    ±10%

+11,8v ±6%

-12v     ±10%

 

Thank you

 

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17 minutes ago, Papalapa said:

The one that I have not seen las time when I replaced the damaged capacitor is this one that is welded just below the mains socket. I have desoldered it and although it does not drop liquid as the other one the plastic case is cracked.

That may not be a capacitor, but instead a MOV.

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7 hours ago, ChildOfCv said:

That may not be a capacitor, but instead a MOV.

No no, it's a 0,47uF capacitor, it is indicated on its top.

 

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Well, here is the recaped power supply. It has not been a complicated task due to the generous size of the welding points and the type of components to be changed.
 
dkuMukE.jpg

The size of the new capacitors even with a voltage greater than the old ones is smaller. To buy them I have used to a well-known electronics website that makes it easy to list and group components by capacity, voltage, useful life, manufacturer, etc ... and most importantly: the distance between the terminals, because in this way you ensure that the holes of the PCB match the component terminals and you avoid to do weird things. Definitely the times to go down to the electronics store on the corner to buy the components is over.

Here are the replaced capacitors, there were a couple of electrolytics that oozed from the bottom as it was so little was not appreciated until you release the component from the PCB.

 
dUL8z7I.jpg

Once assembled and checked the voltages that were all correct I have restarted the Apple IIe and I have not really noticed any difference. Keep doing the slight displacement of the characters so it will be necessary to continue doing some tests. Even with this little problem the computer is perfectly usable, but with time and will I hope to repair it. At least now for another 40 years I hope I don't have to worry about the power supply :)
 
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For character drift, never rule out the TV.  Being digital, any slight timing variation that would be imperceptible on an analog CRT may cause a full pixel shift on an LCD.  Or if the timing just happens to be right on the edge between 2 LCD pixels when it begins the next dot transition.

Edited by ChildOfCv

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13 hours ago, ChildOfCv said:

For character drift, never rule out the TV.  Being digital, any slight timing variation that would be imperceptible on an analog CRT may cause a full pixel shift on an LCD.  Or if the timing just happens to be right on the edge between 2 LCD pixels when it begins the next dot transition.

Yes, you're right, in fact next week-end I want to try the computer connected to another monitor, but the problem is that at home there are only two TRC monitors remain ing, the one of the Macintosh LCII and an VGA monitor for PC. I have an composite-to-VGA converter and most probably I'll use it to together with the VGA monitor to see what happens.

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The first thing I'd try for that video problem is just changing the cabling.  I've had some pretty ordinary looking images cleaned up out of site just doing that, even if they pass a superficial visual examination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

-=- Good advice costs nothing, and its worth the price -=-

Edited by Aunty Entity
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On 3/16/2020 at 4:20 PM, Aunty Entity said:

The first thing I'd try for that video problem is just changing the cabling.  I've had some pretty ordinary looking images cleaned up out of site just doing that, even if they pass a superficial visual examination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

-=- Good advice costs nothing, and its worth the price -=-

Thank you for your advise but unfortunatelly this is not the problem. I tried two different cables and one of them was a oxygen-free golded connector professional cables used for audio purposes but the result is the same.

 

I have to check te 80-columns card because I suspec that the problem can be there.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 2/24/2020 at 4:34 AM, Papalapa said:

I replaced the damaged one quickly. Here is the difference between the burned one and the new.

Can you tell us where you got the new RIFA from? Got the itch to replace some as preventative maintenance.

Edited by Keatah

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Keatah said:

Can you tell us where you got the new RIFA from? Got the itch to replace some as preventative maintenance.

Any electronics parts supplier should have them. Depending on where in the world you are. Mouser, Digikey, RS, etc. If you are in the US, Console5 sells just the X2 replacement cap, or whole kits for refurbing the entire PSU (including the X2 cap).

 

https://console5.com/store/0-1uf-275v-panasonic-metallized-polyester-film-x2-safety-capacitor.html

 

https://console5.com/store/computer-cap-kits/apple-2-series.html

 

 

Edited by nick3092
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15 hours ago, jeff d said:

Is there a working copy of this information?
Google changed format of their shared links, and this doesn't work anymore. I tried using the doc id in the new format but that failed too.

Oh! I was not aware of this. Anyway, here's the new link:

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tXPcqFWTBaqUbEOPQQS5D7iz7UoIy-SG/view?usp=sharing

 

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