Welcome to the Lisa Emulator Project's History Page

So what does a Lisa look like internally?

Back View

Here you can see the Lisa from the front, without a keyboard plugged in. The Lisa's high resolution black and white (1 bit) display is on the top left side. This was one of the word's first high resolution displays. While the IBM PC's at the high end supported VGA with at best 640x200x2 colors or 320x200x4 CGA - that is when they did graphics at all, the Lisa supported a crisp black and white 14" screen at 720x360 display. This display contained a software controlled brightness which through the control of the operating system would slowly dim the display if there was no keyboard or mouse activity. Should the user wake up a sleeping Lisa, the display would slowly brighten back to the normal setting. In contrast to this, today's Energy Saving display sharply shut down and come back on. If you didn't know any better, the first time you would see a display shut off in this way to go to sleep, you'd think your monitor just blew a fuse.

On the right you can see the 400k single sided 3.5" Sony microfloppy drive with the Apple logo below it. Above the 3.5" drive is a small hole for an LED. If you had a Widget (internal hard drive) it would fit in the slot above the floppy drive. For a Widget 10M drive, you needed the heartier 1.8A power supply, and a cable that connected your parallel port internally to the floppy bay area. Unlike most of today's drives, Widget drives and Profile drives had no power LED, rather they had a "READY" LED that was on when the drive was idle, and blinked off when it was accessed.

Below, you can see two feet, one on each side. The keyboard has depressions at it's bottom to slide in above these feet and fits perfectly in for when you're not using the Lisa.

On the right side, you can see a large white box, this is the Lisa's soft power switch. Yes boys and girls, the Lisa was the 1st computer that could turn itself on and off! It was possible to program the COPS421 controller on the I/O board to turn the Lisa on at a given date! The light was a standard lamp, the type you'd find in a flash light, so unlike today's machines, the Lisa's power light would emit a soft warm yellowish glow - kinda like sunlight. Pressing this switch did not hard power the machine, but rather instructed the OS that the user pressed the power switch, and the OS would go off and save all files and shut down all applications, then would power down. Yes, you can do that today with Macs, but not the original Mac128, nor the Plus, nor the SE's. Yes, some PC's are just NOW starting to feature soft power supplies as well, but when you press their power switch, they shut off without telling the OS! Other machines that have this cool soft power feature done correctly: most modern Sun Sparcs, and SGI machines.

Below the power switch, there is a 1/4" stereo headphone jack. However, you don't plug your guitar, nor your headphones here. This is the keyboard jack.