Recreating the Mac Plus with an FPGA

sad_mac_fpga_mac_clone_plustoo

[Steve] over at Big Mess O’ Wires has never been so happy to see the “Sad Mac” icon.

A little over a month ago, he decided to take on the task of building his own Mac clone using modern technology. Not to be confused with Mac emulation on modern hardware, he is attempting to build a true Mac clone using an FPGA that is functionally identical to the original.

He is calling his creation the “PlusToo”, with the goal of producing a modern version of the Macintosh Plus. The Plus shares a good amount of hardware with its other original Mac brethren, allowing him to replicate any of the other machines such as the Mac 128K, with a few simple configuration changes.

Building this clone is an incredible undertaking, and it’s a lot of fun to watch the construction progress bit by bit. [Steve] has been diligently working for a little over a month now, recently getting the clone to run 68000 code from the Mac ROM, resulting in the Sad Mac image you see above. While the logo has been dreaded among Mac users for years, it signals to [Steve] that things are coming along nicely.

Comments

  1. svofski says:

    I’m always happy to see another FPGA replica. More powere to [Steve].

  2. Eric W says:

    That is awesome. I started a similar project once though using an actual 68k processor and other parts similar to what was originally used. It would be awesome to use a rom based on the Mac Plus ROM, since it has the built in disk image

    • Scott H. says:

      The Mac Classic had the built in disk image. Also had a bigger ROM due to it. Mac Plus was the first major revision to the original Mac line and added 800k disks, SCSI, and a few other bits.

  3. James Bailey says:

    This is a great project!

  4. Joe Kane says:

    Ah the MAC Plus… that brings back memories; like having to hack it open twice to replace the flyback transformer which died due to undervolted electrolytics in the driver circuitry. Nothing like taking an iron to something that cost me several months rent…

  5. KillerBug says:

    I wonder how he simulates the effects on the hard drive from the unshielded speaker mounted to the bottom of the hard drive…or was that the next model?

  6. t&p says:

    Sad mac tune was so creepy!

  7. Piku says:

    Wait… some bloke called ‘Steve’ recently leaves Apple due to various health reasons.

    And now some bloke called ‘Steve’ starts trying to recreate early Macintoshes.

    Is this the second coming?

  8. Miroslav says:

    Ah. “The beige toaster” recreation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_128K#Cooling

    “…Steve Jobs insisted that the Macintosh ship without a fan, a marketing (not engineering) decision that persisted until the introduction of the Macintosh SE in 1987. This was the source of many common — and very expensive — component failures in the first four Macintosh models…”

    And nothing has changed since. Overpriced hardware in undersized boxes.

  9. tidux says:

    How can you do an article on awesome FPGA builds without mentioning the Natami? It’s a full Amiga clone!

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