I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted a TechStep. Probably years. It’s one of the holy grail items of vintage Apple collectors. Originally, the TechStep was only made available to authorized Apple service techs, but later on Apple sold it publicly for $995. Needless to say, there’s not many out there.
The TechStep can test almost everything on a 68K Mac. The TechStep is connected to the host machine via several cables that connect to each of the ports. There are 6 different ROMs that you can load. The unit shipped with 2 ROMs. The others were sold separately. The ROMs can test RAM, floppy drives, power and SCSI voltage, hard drives, CPUs, video memory, the monitor and other components. Almost all tests can be run in a loop to discover intermittent failures.
TechSteps pop up from time to time on eBay, but when do you have a spare $200 just lying around? That’s if you can get one for $200. They usually cost more than that. Even still, sometimes they don’t even work. Or they’re missing the case.
I scored this fine specimen for $200.
The case is nice. It reminds me of the case that came with the Macintosh Portable
It’s pretty complete.
The unit is very clean. There is some slight discoloration on some of the beige plastic, but nothing a quick retr0brite session couldn’t fix.
All four feet. That’s always good.
The ports are clean and there’s no signs of any damage.
The unit also includes two ROMs. The SCSI HD Tests, v. 1.0
and CPU Tests, Vol. 1, v. 1.1.1
One ROM has more discoloration that the other.
Although the unit shipped with 2 ROMS, more ROMs were made available for purchases later on down the road as new machines came out.
ROMs shipped with the unit:
- SCSI HD Tests, v. 1.0 For Apple SCSI Hard Disk Drives
- CPU Tests, Vol. 1, v. 1.0 For Macintosh Classic, SE, SE/30, II, IIx, IIcx
ROMs sold separately:
- CPU Tests, Vol. 1, v. 1.1.1 For Macintosh Classic, SE, SE/30, II, IIx, IIcx
- CPU Tests, Vol. 2, v 1.0 For Macintosh LC, LC II, Classic II
- CPU Tests, Vol. 3, v. 1.0 For Macintosh IIci, IIsi, IIvi, IIvx, Pf600
- CPU Tests, Vol. 4, v. 1.0 For Macintosh LC III, LC 520, Color Classic, and Pf 250, 450, and 520
I’ll definitely have to keep my eye on eBay for those other ROMs. It would be very nice to have a complete set.
The ROMs that came with my TechStep are both recognized by the unit. I haven’t had the chance to actually hook the TechStep up to one of machines and play around with it, but it’s good to know that I paid for a working unit.
The cables are spotless. They look like they’ve never been used.
I don’t think this unit saw a lot of action. Even the adapter is in great shape.
You don’t even have to use the adapter. You can pop the I/O panel out the back and connect a 9V battery. The adapter is good if you’re going to be looping tests for an extended period of time.
While I’m taking it apart, I might as well have a look at the logicboard. Pretty intense looking board for such a small piece of kit.
The TechStep came with the manuals, but not the two floppies. I didn’t realize it actually came with floppies until after the fact. So I though it was complete when I made the purchase. Oh well. It’s still worth the $200 I paid. I’ll just have to keep my eye out for original floppies.
I’m very pleased with the condition of this unit. Another fine addition to my collection. I’m running out of holy grails to collect!
Oh, yeh. There’s still a clear Newton 110 Developer Special Edition to be had!