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Apple TechStep

These handheld diagnostic tools were sold to Apple service people for about $1000 (USD). They load their tests from ROM 'packs', two of which were included with the unit. They can test almost everything on a Macintosh from the ADB ports to the FPU using a built-in 4 x 16 character black and white LCD. The TechStep is connected to the host Macintosh via several cables that connect to each port of the computer allowing complete access to all interfaces present on the computer.

I know of 6 different ROM packs made by Apple and own 3 of them (see chart below). Most of which are designed to test the RAM, floppy drives, power and SCSI voltage, hard drives, CPUs, video memory, monitor and other components of specific Macintosh models whereas the Apple SCSI HD Tests pack can only test drives connected to some Macintosh models or directly to the TechStep. Almost all tests can be run in a loop to discover intermittent problems.

They able to test and diagnose hardware malfunctions using a hidden 'Test Manager' program built into the Mac's boot ROM that could be evoked by a diagnostic tool (the TechStep). The testing procedure works with the TechStep being connected via the SCSI and either the modem or ADB ports at startup. When the power on self-test (POST) is running and the 'happy Mac' is on screen, the TechStep sends the command to enter testing mode where the Mac is halted and a 'sad Mac' appears and the system is now under control of the TechStep. Once the system is halted, the TechStep tests the first 33 KB of system memory and loads its software into that section before testing can begin using the appropriate ROM pack.

The TechStep can be powered by either the included 9-volt power adapter or a single 9-volt battery and includes a carrying case, which holds the unit and accessories.

With its simple menu interface the Apple TechStep is very easy to use. By following the onscreen instructions you can perform any test included in the ROM pack you're using very simply.

Results gathered from testing with the TechStep are stored on the unit and can be transferred to a Macintosh computer via the serial port on the side of the unit using an included program and a standard Mac serial cable. A Macintosh computer is also capable of testing the TechStep itself as a damaged testing unit can cause more problems than it's worth.

Known ROM Packs
SCSI HD Tests, v. 1.0*,** For Apple SCSI Hard Disk Drives
©1991 Apple Computer, Inc.
077-8665-A
CPU Tests, Vol. 1, v. 1.0*,** For Macintosh Classic, SE, SE/30, II, IIx, IIcx
©1991 Apple Computer, Inc.
077-8664-A
CPU Tests, Vol. 1, v. 1.1.1 For Macintosh Classic, SE, SE/30, II, IIx, IIcx
©1992 Apple Computer, Inc.
077-8664-B
CPU Tests, Vol. 2, v 1.0 For Macintosh LC, LC II, Classic II
©1992 Apple Computer, Inc.
077-8397-A
CPU Tests, Vol. 3, v. 1.0** For Macintosh IIci, IIsi, IIvi, IIvx, Pf600
©1993 Apple Computer, Inc.
077-8725-A
CPU Tests, Vol. 4, v. 1.0 For Macintosh LC III, LC 520, Color Classic, and Pf 250, 450, and 520
©1993 Apple Computer, Inc.
077-8409-A
*Included with unit.
**Owned by me. If you have any packs I do not have, please drop me an email.
Apple TechStep
The TechStep comes in a large case that holds all the components and manuals.
Apple TechStep
The large bundle of cables takes up most of the space inside the bag with the manuals, ROM packs and power adapter underneath.
Apple TechStep
The TechStep fits into a pocket inside the case.
Apple TechStep
The handheld unit is quite light as it is made of plastic with only the keypad as controls.
Apple TechStep
As you can see, the unit has a 15 keypad with an LCD on the face and power switch on the side.
Apple TechStep
Here you can see the 4 x 16 character black and white LCD showing the CPU identification menu for the CPU Tests, Vol 1, v. 1.1.1.
Apple TechStep
The connector module is removable, however as far as I can tell there are no known replacement types. I assume this was done to accommodate future connector types such as the HDI-30 SCSI port on PowerBooks.
Apple TechStep
The back of the TechStep has only the product label. On the left of this photo you can see the ROM packs in their slots.
Apple TechStep
Here you see the connector module removed. Inside the main unit lies the 9 volt battery compartment.
Apple TechStep
Both ROM packs are inserted from the side of the unit.
Apple TechStep
On the left side of the unit lies the serial connection port used to download reports to a Macintosh, the power adapter socket and power switch.
Apple TechStep
The keypad with 15 keys consisting of 10 numbered, 2 function, 2 directional and one modifier key.
Apple TechStep
The three ROM packs I have. They're smaller but thicker than an average Gameboy cartridge. It is unknown how much information is stored on them.
Apple TechStep
Both of my CPU test packs.
Apple TechStep
Here is the motherboard (with attached daughterboard) of the unit. In addition to the chips in the photos below, the board has a few other components ranging from support chips to an AMD AM53C80AJC disk controller.
Apple TechStep
This Motorola MC68HC711E9CFN2 Micro Controller Unit is most likely the "processor" of the machine.
Apple TechStep
There are two MC68HC24FM Port Replacement Units on the board. These most likely provide an interface for the many ports on the back of the unit.
Apple TechStep
The TechStep software includes two programs; the first is Report Generator, which is used to download, print and save reports created when running tests and the second program is Apple TechStep Test, which is used to test the TechStep using a Mac to ensure its proper operation.
Apple TechStep
This is the opening screen to Report Generator showing a new blank document.
Apple TechStep
Once you choose to receive a report from the TechStep you must select which report (current or last saved) stored on the TechStep you wish to download.
Apple TechStep
An example of a basic report made by running a couple tests with CPU Tests Vol2 1.0.
Apple TechStep
Anothe example showing the results of the power on voltage test. I did not have a Mac connected to the TechStep and that is why the voltage is so low.
Apple TechStep
This is the included read me file for the Apple TechStep Test program.
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