I left the house around 7:00am on Saturday the 6th. I noted that it was cloudy and cool, and felt a moments regret that I hadn’t checked the weather report. No matter, I was on my way to Oklahoma to see James Littlejohn. My Apple //e and IIc Plus motherboards were in the car and I was ready to do some hacking.

It wasn’t too long before I ran into heavy rain, and I had to slow way down to avoid hydroplaning. Even at reduced speed, I had several white-knuckle moments as I tried to maintain control. Luckily, I made it to Chelsea only an hour later than I had planned. My map wasn’t that great, so I had to call James to guide me in the last few blocks. Chelsea is so small, I half-expected to spot the Big Green Monster from the highway.

I walked into the house and immediately I was amazed, surprised and a little envious — there were several H.E.R.O. robots, many Apple II (and III) computers, shelves of techie gear, books, software, peripherals and various gadgetry EVERYWHERE. Oh, yeah… some Timex Sinclairs too. James has a nice collection, no doubt about it.

After a bit of small talk, we got busy upgrading the IIc Plus motherboards. Some of the needed parts were misplaced, so James spent time verifying the boards instead. Since we couldn’t do the upgrades while I was there, I agreed to leave the boards for JL to work on later. As it turned out, that was a good thing — he managed to get them running stable at 10MHz (and in the process made an interesting discovery), now he’s going after 12.5MHz!

After lunch, it was time to assemble the LittleExpanderPlus (LEP). The rest of the parts needed for the project had just arrived the day before. I was going to be the lucky recipient of the very first unit.

James started by asking where I wanted the rotary switch located. I chose to have it mounted on the left top of the case, directly opposite of the square Apple logo (it’s a platinum //e). He then measured out the case and wires to make sure everything would be neatly tucked away. Next it was time to solder the wiring between the switch and the board, and a solder on a few more components. That took awhile, but it was worth it.

…and here’s the LEP installed in my workhorse Apple //e. Check out all that extra room! Can you identify all the cards in there?

As you can see, I haven’t installed my Pico PSU yet. I had to order a new AC adapter for it because the one I had didn’t have sufficient amperage.

Well, after James finished with the LEP, I had to hit the road. I didn’t want to get caught driving through rural Oklahoma and Kansas late at night. The last thing I wanted was a deer through the windshield.

The hacking continues…