Inside the Macintosh SE

To avoid regular users from opening the Macintosh SE, Apple used Torx TT15 screws, a very unusual type of screw to be used on computers (especially at the time), which required a special TT15 screwdriver at least 9 inches (230 mm) long. The same applied to the previous Macintosh models.

Inside of the computer, you would find the most commented on (and hidden) feature of the computer: the signatures of all the members of the team that designed the Macintosh, including, of course, Steve Jobs. See Figure 15. These signatures were also present on the previous Macintosh models. The Macintosh Plus and the Macintosh SE were released after Steve Jobs left Apple, but for some reason, his signature was kept inside the computer, even though he was not related to the development of these computers – in particular, the Macintosh SE. Jobs would never have approved the addition of a cooling fan.

You will see several people selling old Macs on eBay saying “This Mac is so special that it has Steve Jobs’s signature” or “rare – signed by Steve Jobs.” Let’s make something clear. All early Macintoshes were signed by the whole team, so that is not a “special feature.” Since millions of these computers were sold, they are not rare.

Macintosh SE TutorialFigure 15: The signatures of the Macintosh team

In Figure 16, you can see how the Macintosh SE looked inside. It was comprised of two printed circuit boards. One contained the power supply and the electronics for the monitor; the other was the motherboard. These boards were different from the ones used on previous Macintosh models.

Macintosh SE TutorialFigure 16: Inside the Macintosh SE

On the previous Macintosh models, the analog board had the electronics for the video monitor and the power supply. On the Macintosh SE, however, the power supply was available as a separate unit, although screwed to the analog board. See Figure 17. In Figure 18, you can see the video monitor board (officially called “Macintosh SE Analog”), part number 820-0206 or 630-0147, with the power supply removed. In Figure 19, you can see the power supply by itself.

Macintosh SE TutorialFigure 17: Power supply/video monitor board

Macintosh SE TutorialFigure 18: Video monitor board

Macintosh SE TutorialFigure 19: Power supply

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.