Ethernet Card Kit
by John (http://aiiethernet.tripod.com/)
For the past few
days, I and a few other interested individuals have
been discussing the feasibility of building our own A2 ethernet boards. We
have a tentative circuit design, and several individuals willing to write
drivers for the nic. I myself have compiled the list of required components,
and have received price quotes.
I have found that
were I to buy enough parts to make a single network
card myself, I would spend roughly US$25 on electronic components, another
$12 on S&H and finally around $100 on a single circuit board. If I were
extremely talented at making my own circuit boards (and I'm not), I might
be able to etch it myself for $20-30. Still not a bargain.
However, due to
the magic of volume discounts, and the wonders of bulk
shipping, if a few dozen people were to pool their money and buy the needed
parts all together, there would be a drastic price drop.
The electronic components
(chips, caps, resistors, etc.) could fall from
$25 or so, on down to the $17 dollar range, if fifty kits were bought. If
more were bought, they could fall a bit further, but not significantly until
around 100 kits.
The printed circuit boards
fall from around $100, to as little as $5
apiece in a lot of fifty. They continue to fall significantly even past that
point, so every kit bought would lower the price for all.
The shipping and handling
becomes barely perceptible on the first leg of
the journey. What is $12 for one person to order the parts becomes a few
dimes and nickels per kit, when 50 orders are placed. However, that is to a
single destination. At that point, the person coordinating the purchase
(that'd be me) has to turn around, sort all the pieces into kits, and ship
it to each individual. Ouch. That's several hours of work, but I'm willing
to do this just to see it happen (not to mention my own card becomes a bit
cheaper in the process *grin*).
These boards will
be designed with the intention that they should work
in every A2 model possible. However, I want to make it clear that the //c
has no internal expansion slots, and that we may never progress to the point
of designing a similar external device for it. Also, while theoretically it
could be made to work with every other model, for practical reasons, we are
focusing on the //e and GS. More so, these kits, while containing everything
necessary to build the network card, contain a small SMT chip that has over
one hundred pins. These are especially delicate to solder by hand.
should wait 'til someone sells completed kits, or find a
friend that is skilled at this. The biggest disadvantage of all, though, is that
there is no guarantee that drivers or any software will be written before
orders are taken. Rest assured, that one way or another, drivers will be
written for these boards eventually, even soon, but no dates are set.
Keeping all of this
in mind, I want you to know, that if you absolutely
cannot wait any longer for an ethernet solution for your Apple II, I am
organizing a group purchase of the necessary components. What this means is
this... If you are absolutely certain that you wish to purchase a kit for as
much as US$50, email me at email@example.com with your name,
computer model, quantity desired, postal ZIP code (or international mailing
address), and no other conditions.
If you are 100%
certain that you want this, send me the email, and I'll add
you to the list. That way, I can get the exact numbers needed, and two weeks
from now when I get a quote, I'll be able to contact you with the exact price
per kit. Expect it to be quite a bit less than $50, maybe as low as $25, but it all
depends on how many orders are placed. If for some inexplicable reason it is
more than $50, then you have no obligation to buy.
Feeling a little
suspicious? I don't blame you. If you'd like the card,
but don't feel comfortable with this, know that I intend to post all the
necessary diagrams and schematics so that the loners out there can make
their own. It is also my understanding that those working on the software
intend to release it to the public domain also. Good luck to you, maybe
you'll even beat us to it, huh?
We are well on our
way to doing this, but there are still plenty of
areas where you could help us! Every person who helps, is a person that
might spot a defect in the design before we send it off to be manufactured,
every person thinking is one that might suggest a solution to the problem
that is frustrating the rest. Please, if you want to help, I'm sure you have
something to offer.
Apple II Ethernet Card Project
Apple II Ethernet Kit Information
Please email me at...
Include these in the message
A) Subject of "Apple// Ethernet Kit Pre-Order"
B) Your computer model. 2+, 2e, 2gs, etc. (also include rom version if
C) Your ZIP code, or international mailing address
D) The number of kits that you want
E) Your affirmation that you absolutely want the kit, as long as its less
than <= $50