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Apple Lisa First Look

Mar 18th, 2010 by Atelier | 2

As promised yesterday, here are the pictures of the Apple Lisa.

Bubble wrapped

Front View

When I purchased it from eBay, the seller posted under item description as faulty for it could not be turned on. Due to the scarcity of the Apple Lisa outside of USA, a bidding war broke out minutes before the auction ended.

Fast forward two years later and here it was. After removing the bubble wrap, I plugged the power cord in and crossed my fingers. Hit the little bottom on the bottom right and to my surprise, it actually lighted up with the sound of a hard disk whirring to life in the background.


Fuzzy Screen

After adjusting the screen, the image was still split in three and I could not make out what was on the screen. Does anyone have any idea if it’s an error message or part of the boot up. One thing to note, I did not plug in the keyboard or mouse at this point.

Serial Number

Model Number

The serial and model number tags are located beneath the computer. I tried to do a search online but could not find out much information about this Apple Lisa. So if anyone knows how to decode the serial number to find out the manufacture date and other facts, do leave a comment.

Side Profile

Rear Access Panel

Near the top of the rear access panel are two metal knobs to access the innards of the Apple Lisa. There are three expansion slots on the left but none are installed for this particular machine. Interestingly, there is a port for video out which is the left rectangular connector.

Open Sesame

Inside the Apple Lisa

There were three variations of the Apple Lisa sold. The first was the Apple Lisa 1 which came with twin ‘twiggy’ floppy drives. These are really expensive as it is very rare for Apple provided free upgrades to the Apple Lisa 2. When paying more than $10,000 for one of these, you can be sure most people would have sent their Apple Lisa 1 to be upgraded to a Lisa 2.

Apple Lisa 2 has only one 3.5 inch 400k floppy drive. Towards the end of the production run, the Lisa 2 was marketed as the Macintosh XL and could run system 6 through emulation.

Any Apple Lisa technicians out there? I guess the first step is to fine tune the screen to see exactly what’s it trying to display. Perhaps there’s a way to plug in an external display through the rear video port? Any tips or help will be much appreciated.

2 Comments on “Apple Lisa First Look”

  1. heechek said:

    i think you need to do some knock knock on the top part of Lisa. Then the screen will be back to the norm again. Just like how we usually do to old TV. hehe…

  2. ClarusWorks said:

    I see it’s been over a year now, but are you still trying to fix your Lisa? The screen issue looks like out-of-adjustment or dirty video board potentionmeters. The video board is located underneath the top cover of the machine. This manual: http://www.1000bit.it/support/manuali/download.asp?id=22 has some useful information.

    Be careful adjusting the pots. You’ll have to do this with the computer turned on, and there are dangerous high voltages accessible with the top lid removed. Don’t touch the CRT (picture tube), the wire/suction cup attached to it, or the transformer the large wire plugs into. You won’t shock yourself if all you touch is the plastic knobs on the potentiometers. Adjusting the horizontal hold control should make the 3 images go away. If the image is still blurry, you’ll need to adjust the cutoff (which is one of the two knobs on the back of the machine).

    Once you have your screen adjusted, you should be able to read the error code and look it up in the PDF I linked to. If you’d like more advice, feel free to contact me.

    Your machine was manufactured in late 1984 (Manufactured: 4283 translates to the 283rd day of 1984). I can’t really make out the error you have on screen but it looks like it might be 82 or 84 which would indicate a hard disk problem.

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