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AppleToTheCore.me

I'm a total Apple addict, as you might tell.

1991 TechStep

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.

techStep_0149

It’s pretty complete.

techStep_0145

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.

techStep_0122

All four feet. That’s always good.

techStep_0129

The ports are clean and there’s no signs of any damage.

techStep_0127

techStep_0123

techStep_0125

The unit also includes two ROMs. The SCSI HD Tests, v. 1.0 and CPU Tests, Vol. 1, v. 1.1.1

techStep_0126

techStep_0107

One ROM has more discoloration that the other.

techStep_0109

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.

techStepMenu 1

techStepMenu 5

The cables are spotless. They look like they’ve never been used.

techStep_0103

techStep_0105

techStep_0106

I don’t think this unit saw a lot of action. Even the adapter is in great shape.

techStep_0111

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.

open TechStep 2

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.

open TechStep 1

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.

techStep_0112

techStep_0114

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!