Unearthing the photo archives: my Mac 128K

Yesterday I was looking for some photos in my archive of backed-up CDs and DVDs, and among other things I found a photoshoot I did after receiving a marvellous gift from my friend Claudio (who sadly passed away last year): an almost-functional Macintosh 128K. I met Claudio in 2002 and it was instant friendship: he ran a small company called Data-Project whose main activity was Mac technical assistance, and we both loved to spend hours chatting about vintage Macs. He was a true master of Mac repairs and there was nothing he couldn’t fix. And I mean it. I enjoyed his company and his stories very much. He was a great, generous guy. I learnt a lot from him and I was immensely saddened by his untimely death.

Over the years he gave me a few of the Macs in my collection, such as the Macintosh SE FDHD and the Apple IIGS. He was my vintage hardware ‘pusher’, and I used to ask him for help when something didn’t work (and I regularly paid for his expertise, although he — being the utterly honest guy he was — never charged me the prices other Apple repair shops used to charge at the time), and every now and then I helped him put order in his crammed, messy (in a beautiful sort of way) laboratory; he called me when he meant to clean it up a bit, and gave me a lot of interesting pieces. When I was looking for a PowerBook 100, he gave me three dismantled units and told me: Here you have all the pieces to build one functional PowerBook 100. When he knew I acquired a Colour Classic, he gave me a motherboard of an LC 580 so I could use it to replace the original Colour Classic motherboard and have a slightly faster computer (the CC had a Motorola 68030 processor at 16 MHz, the LC 580 had a 68LC040 at 33 MHz). When some old SCSI hard drive broke down, he helped me with some spares (he had a whole shelf of hard drives, most of them working pulls or drives he repaired).

Then in January 2003, when I told him I was looking for the original Macintosh, he gave me the unit you see in the pictures. Like the previous PowerBook 100 deal, this Macintosh was dismantled because it needed a new analogue board, but he gave me all the pieces and a spare functional analogue board, and assured me that once I desoldered the old one and soldered the spare board he gave me and put all the pieces together as instructed, I would have had a fully functional Mac 128K (I know that because I tested every part myself. I thoroughly cleaned and greased the 400K floppy drive too! — he said). Too bad I never owned or used a soldering iron. But I still have this Mac and all the necessary pieces to make it work. And now it also has sentimental value. Enjoy the photos.

Mac 128k Logo
Close-up of the Apple logo on the front
Mac 128K Back
The Apple logo and Macintosh lettering on the back
Mac 128K
The Macintosh 128K on the desk in my old home office. Other notable details: my beloved blueberry iMac G3/350 in the back, a Macintosh Classic slightly visibile on the right, and also (bottom right corner) a PowerBook Duo MiniDock
400K Floppy drive
The 400K Floppy drive and assembly. Surely the heaviest part of the whole unit
400K Floppy drive - Close-up
Close-up of the Floppy drive
Mac 128K - Motherboard detail
Detail of the motherboard
Mac 128K - Motherboard logo
Another motherboard detail: the old Apple logo. Also note the "©1983"
Mac 128K - The Motorola 68000
Detail of the Motorola 68000 processor
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