___On July the 13th, 2000, I announced my intentions
to 'homebrew' an ethernet card for the Apple//. I also offered to pool resources
with anyone else that might be interested, so that materials would be cheaper.
More people than I would have imagine possible replied, and so it became official,
at least as official as something like this can be. However, the project marches
on, while I hold on for dear life.
___Soon, more than a few people were speaking up, showing me how much the fool I had been, in thinking that I could simply modify a 8bit bare I/O design to plug into an applebus and be done with it. They did more than flame me though, actually, they didn't flame at all. The 'team', if it can be called such, has come up with a rough draft within a matter of weeks. I'm not the manager so much as the guy who hopes to do all the boring stuff for them, so that it might be easier for them to do the important things. As such, I've been trying to come with a decent website to act as a resource for those who want to learn more about how this can be done.
___So far, we've determined that the PCB, or printed circuit board, could easily be the largest cost in building an ethernet card for the Apple//. So expensive, that if you were to only build one, you might pay as much as US $300 for it.¹ This isn't exactly unreasonable, PCB makers aren't price gouging, rather it is a very involved process to professionally manufacture a PCB. This means that the price of a single PCB is high, but that subsequent boards of the same design are very cheap. Worded another way, it's only expensive if you build one PCB. But who would want fifty a2 ethernet cards? Even the most die-hard Apple// enthusiast could hardly make that claim.
___The other costs are somewhat more forgiving. Next, we have the requisite electronic components. These range from the mundane to the obscure, and even at that, without a finalized design, there is no certain way of knowing the exact cost. Many of the more common parts cost less than US 10¢. Of the main chips, most are reasonble, if not a bargain. They range in price from US $2 on up to $12.
___These things taken as a whole, make me think that our best approach is to pool our money, and get volume discounts. Someone has to recieve the bulk shipments, parcel them out into seperate kits, and then ship them individually to each particpant. I volunteered. There is an extra cost associated with this method, that being the cost of shipping the kit to each person. At US $3.50 to ship a small package to any destination in the United States, I think this cost is easily more than made up by the other discounts we would recieve. After reviewing the costs to surface ship small packages internationally, even people in other countries might find the arrangement benficial.
Feel free to check in from time to time, and see the progress we have made,
1. This statement ignores the possibility of making a homemade PCB. While this is possible, it is difficult and something that requires much practice. For those wishing to pursue this avenue, schematics will be made available.