Friday 1 December 2017

Applix 1616

The Applix 1616 was a very cool 32 bit computer designed in Australia in 1985 by Andrew Morton. It used the Motorola 68000 (like a Macintosh!) and had a fully bit-mapped display. All very cool stuff. Many people (myself included) see the Applix as something of a successor to the Microbee, though minus the commercial success of the 'bee. Incidentally Microbee designed their own 68K machine (the Microbee Gamma) not long after the Applix became available, but struggled badly in development. The Gamma was never released publicly, and only a handful of prototypes exist now.

There were kits of the Applix available, and a blurb in ETI magazine, but things like 68K processors were obscenely expensive back then, so there was no way I was going to build one. That's all different now. I've got pretty-much all the bits in my various junk boxes and drawers to make one. Now all I've gotta do is reverse engineer the PCB layout, come up with some PAL designs, and go for it. Unlike the bee there are no issues with IP ownership and sharing.

There are four sheets - CPU, CRTC, and a couple of I/O ones. How hard can it be?

Edit March 2018.

I've managed to borrow a real Applix 1616 (Thanks heaps Philip), which after a quick clean I've taken some really detailed macro photos of to help with the replication.