Big Mess o’ Wires is an electronics blog and e-commerce store for hobbyists and enthusiasts, run by Steve Chamberlin. Need some accessories for your Apple II, Lisa, or vintage Macintosh? Looking for info on microcontrollers or custom embedded hardware development? Enjoy tinkering with a soldering iron and vintage electronics? If so, you’re in the right place. You might even learn something about life in the maker business too.
Here you’ll find my custom CPU designs and related computer builds. You’ll also find occasional equipment reviews of oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, debugging tools, and other goodies. Thanks to many years of tinkering, I’ve become fairly skilled at working with various microcontrollers, designing custom circuit boards, and manufacturing my designs. Along the way I also got involved with vintage Apple computers, and have become something of an expert in a few niche areas surrounding Apple II and Macintosh disks and ROMs. Eventually I combined these passions, and now sell custom retro-computing hardware in the BMOW store.
Back in early 1980’s, I lived and breathed the world of the Apple II, Atari 800, Commodore 64, and their brethren. I could PEEK and POKE those machines like nobody’s business, and I spent countless hours writing programs, playing games, or just fiddling around. In contrast to today’s PCs, the computers of that era were inviting to tinkerers, with a comparatively simple hardware design and a BASIC prompt at boot-up.
As a computer engineering major in college, I learned the details of digital logic design. I used Texas Instruments’ big yellow TTL data book to help build everything from an LED blinker to a simple video game. I even built a rudimentary computer on a prototyping kit built into a suitcase: MIT’s infamous “Nerd Kit”. But after graduation it was all torn down, I went on to a career in software and video games, and my enthusiasm for electronics was forgotten.
Decades later I was finally able to explore my hardware passions again, and document the adventure here.
Big Mess o’ Wires
Why not “Big Mess of Wires”? What happened to the letter F? It just sounds better this way.22 comments