Reviving an Apple Macintosh PlusPosted: February 25, 2013
When I began ByteMyVdu, one of my earliest posts was about my 1986 Macintosh Plus, which had been given to me by my elder brother, just before departing for Australia. The poor Plus died shortly after I began using it regularly at my girlfriends for writing blog entries and playing the odd game of “Space Quest”.
One morning after making my first brew of the day, I returned to my desk to begin writing a blog entry for BMV, only to find the screen had gone blank. Flicking the power switch and trying the brightness didn’t do anything. A small knot of dread slowly grew in the pit of my stomach. The early compact Macintosh computers used passive cooling, meaning they where not fitted with fans. Leading to a reputation for over heating or simply cooking them selves to death. Failing video was a good sign your Mac had succumbed to heat exhaustion or dry joints.
The fact of the matter is this didn’t have to be so, back in the mid 80’s the technology was around that would have allowed these machines to operate without hazard of failing caps, just as it is today. However the decision was made to fit components that simply didn’t allow enough tolerance for the long term operation of the computer and the analogue board within.
So why was I sitting in my dressing gown in front of my Plus on the verge of tears? Simply because I knew the road to recovery was not going to be an easy one….for either of us. The power board would have to come out, which would require the CRT inside the computer to be discharged. Holding roughly 1,500 volts, any mistake on my part would be most regrettable. Before I undertook the task, I found a pair of railway electricians gloves, made from thick rubber, they where perfect for protecting me from the high voltages I was exposing myself to.
A word of warning, if you are currently working on or thinking of repairing a classic Macintosh computer, such as the 128, 512, Plus or SE. Make sure you know what the hell you are doing. As you are placing yourself near extremely high voltages, which could cause fatal injury! If you have to work on it, make sure you wear the proper protective clothing. Don’t play Russian roulette with your safety! Now that you’ve thoroughly been told, I’ll cover what happened next in part II