why an fpga?

Using the Logic Analyzer at the Digital Design Laboratory to probe the Mac SE motherboard became inefficient rather quickly. Most of my time was spent repeatedly packing and transporting the Mac SE to DDL. In addition, setting up at DDL was expensive, requiring me to clean up my workstation daily for future users - a fairly time consuming procedure that prevented much progress.

After some research, I decided to purchase an FPGA which could serve multiple purposes.

  • Oscilloscope
  • Logic Analyzer
  • Replacement component for the Mac SE - such as RAM or BBU
  • Reusable in the near future for Apple II restoration
  • bought the Lattice HX8K FPGA for the following reasons
  • Fits in my pocket!
  • Completely reverse engineered with open source ICESTORM Toolchain
  • Affordable at $50
  • Comes with PLL
  • 100+ pins - suitable for probing 42 pin Mac SE PDS
  • Comes with builtin FTDI/UART communication)