Last Update: 2/04/05
I've recently boosted the body count in my computer museum by 3 Classic Macs and some associated hardware bringing my total of 68K machines to around 10. That's at least 9 more than any sane person needs, but they are inexpensive, readily available, and I just can't help myself when I see one. I think it must be because in my mis-spent youth I coveted one, but couldn't afford it.
Initially I acquired one original Mac and a couple Mac Plus
systems, but these didn't have internal hard drives nor
a PC compatible 3.5" floppy so it is difficult to
get new software onto them. Given how inexpensive the
later models have become (watch your nearest dumpster) I'd
recommend you resist these, however they do mark the
start of a great line! There are good reviews of the various
models specifications at
Low End Mac and
If you are thinking of getting one of these I'd recommend you
go with the later models which featured the floppy 'SuperDrive'
(compatible with PC's 1.4Mb disks), 16 MHz clock rate, and
internal hard drives. However you might check out Low End Mac's
awards as the Classic II and Color Classic are limited by their 16 bit data bus.
As a rule I've tried to stay with the 'fish tank' form factor
but have a couple with detached monitors. All my Macs
use the Motorola 68000 series CPU which seems to restrict me
to OS 7.5 or below. Given my usage a nice lean OS 6.0.8
normally does everything I want. The brief link list below
will get you started on the extensive information that has
been published on the Web if you are interested.
Now that I have enough Mac's that I can have one in every room I've been looking for some way to justify the collection. I have read about making them into large face clocks, an interesting concept but this doesn't strike me as being particuarly energy efficient. Neither is running a PDP-11 but since I'm likely to do that anyway it seemed the Macs might make pretty nice smart terminals. I found a couple Mac 68K compatible terminal programs at the sites above that included VT100 emulation. So the question boiled down to whether I could connect the Mac's RS422 serial line to the RS232 terminal connection available on most of my PDP-11's without cooking anything. Lots of people sell converters which do this safely, but they are currently selling for around $50 each which I find a little prohibitive (I could have two Mac's shipped for that kind of money!). After a day of searching the net and posting on info-pdp11.org I find that all I need to do is a little bit of creative soldering to create a mini Din 8 pin to DB25 RS232 cable (see link below for pinouts). So far I've only found one commercial source at a small Ebay store. If you have another source I'd love to hear about it.