Back in 2012, I posted a link here to a Flickr set of photos I’d taken while disassembling one of my Mac XL’s for cleaning. I think originally I’d intended to eventually do a little write up on it or something and never got to it, so here it is now.
The Mac XL is a re-branded Lisa 2 with a new operating system called MacWorks XL and some hardware modifications allowing it to display square pixels as the Macintosh did, rather than the older Lisa-style rectangular pixels. The new video ROMs and software were part of the Macintosh XL Screen Kit, which made it possible for an owner to run Macintosh software on her converted Lisa, and without sacrificing the larger 12″ monitor.
Apple converted many of the original Lisa 2’s when they were brought in to service centers for maintenance; the dealership would install the hardware – as with many upgrades and add-ons, Apple didn’t sell this kit directly to end users – and the owner could do the upgrade to MacWorks XL once they got it home. Customers could also ship their machines directly to Apple for a full retrofit, if they were willing to live without it for a few days. Apple also converted their remaining Lisa 2 warehouse stock and sold them new as XLs; this particular unit is one of those machines.
Upgraded machines could no longer run the Lisa 7/7 software that originally shipped with their computers.
* I apologize for the dreadful layout below; WordPress still stinks at understanding simple stuff like that.
If you prefer just the pix, without the layout ugliness, you can visit the original photo set at 500px: http://500px.com/Computist/sets/apple_mac_xl
The Lisa was the first line of computers from Apple to ship with a keyboard not integrated into the case.
The 1/4″ TRS phone connector used to connect the keyboard to the main CPU box was a design choice Apple didn’t revisit in the Macintosh.
The glowing light above the plug is the power button.
This Mac XL is running MacWorks.
After Apple got out of the Lisa game and sold its remaining stock to Sun Remarketing, the Logan, Utah-based reseller continued to develop the software and soon released MacWorks Plus, which shipped with System 6.
MacWorks Plus II was the final upgrade, and allowed the XL to run System 7.5 software.
A close-up of the Apple rainbow logo, just beneath the 3.5″ floppy slot.
The Lisa was designed to be as modular and accessible as possible, to make it easy to access the machine’s internals for troubleshooting and upgrading.
Loosening the two silver thumb screws at the top of the rear panel is the only step necessary to remove it and get inside.
The only bit of color on the back, this rainbow logo centered in a sea of beige draws the eye and reminds the viewer of the neatly symmetrical industrial design around it.
Removing the plastic front bezel is as simple as pressing two latch release tabs along the bottom front edge and lifting away from the unit.
The drive cage on the right has the 10 MB Widget drive mounted above the 800 KB 3.5″ floppy drive.
Closer to the Widget drive.
The hard disk drive itself is the rounded unit with the “Apple Computer” sticker, with the logic boards mounted above.
The drive cage module slides out easily by loosening one thumb screw at the bottom of the assembly.
Drive cage, totally removed from the chassis.
Another view of the drive cage removed from the chassis, cables still plugged in.
Close-up of the Apple Computer label on the hard disk drive.
Close-up of the floppy disk mechanism.
Mac XL chassis with all of the rear modules removed.
These connectors link the read modules to the components in the front of the unit.
On the left is the CPU cage connector; the power supply connects on the right.
Rear of the Mac XL with the access panel removed.
Close-up of the serial connectors and the interrupt. The mouse is plugged in on the left.
Another view of the rear connectors.
CPU cage removed from the chassis with the boards still mounted.
The two smaller boards in front are the memory PCBs. The slots to the right are for expansion boards.
Close-up of the color-coded board fasteners.
Close-up of the expansions slots.
Power supply module.
Power supply serial number label.
CPU board. The Motorola 68000 processor is at the top right corner of the PCB.
System I/O board.
CPU cage with the boards removed, showing the logos on the backplane.
Close-up of the “Lisa” and “Apple Computer” logos on the CPU backplane. “8502” date code indicates this board is from February 1985.
Another view of the CPU backplane logos, this time with the layers of dust cleaned away.
The “ICT” stamp above the motherboard part number likely indicates this board as passed “In Circuit Testing”.
ICT is expensive and time-consuming and requires a costly test fixture, but is an extremely thorough method for confirming proper operation of a PCB and components, and ideal for high-volume production of mature products, which the Lisa line was by 1985.
It is also a highly effective method for detecting design-related and component failures, things Apple was very sensitive to following the Apple /// debacle.
Close-up of the DRAMs on the Upper Byte memory board.
Part Number and assembly information for the Upper Byte memory board.
DRAMs on the Lower Byte memory board.
Close-up of the “Lisa” logo on one of the PCBs.
This logo and in fact the word “Lisa” itself only appear internally on the Mac XL.
If someone had never seen this machine before, they might be hard-pressed to identify it unless they opened it up. The Mac XL had very little external “branding” other than the rainbow Apple logos.
Apple Computer part number and copyright on the I/O board.
Close-up of the Mac XL disk ROMs on the System I/O board.
Close-up of the Mac XL boot ROMs on the CPU board.
Close-up of the 8 MHz Motorola 68000. This CPU is the heart and soul of Lisa and Macintosh.
The card cage backplane is dirtier than it looks…
A little cleaning reveals there’s an Apple Computer copyright stamp hidden under the layers of dust…
… and completely cleaned up. Amazing what you find under all that dirt.
Artsy view of the DRAMs on one of the memory boards.