About Apple's Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)
Apple Systems and some of the more popular clone copies
Over the production life of the Apple II series, more than eight countries and twenty or so leading edge PCB manufacturing plants were contracted to create Apple's product backbone, the Printed Circuit Board. It is the custom PCB that represents the foundation the design is built on, providing the electrical connectivity between the circuits and the mechanical support required to deliver reliability.

As the popularity and demand grew for Apple's products, their business model did as well. Maintaining PCB quality while successfully supplying demand and leveraging scale of economies were key, and Apple sought various PCB manufacturers around the world to produce this highly unique PCB component for each of its product's manufacturing lines. Each plant, although producing a technically compliant PCB part, has minor discrepancies that almost act as a signature to each plant's particular PCB manufacturing process. Each plant also places a unique identifier, manufacturing batch code and date on to every PCB they make. Differences, although very minor, are typically associated with characteristics such as a solder mask colour (dark green, light green or yellow), finish (gloss or matt), legend colour (white or yellow), HASL (the silver or gold finish on non-populated parts) and finished copper colour (traces being dark green [black oxide] or yellow [brushed copper]). All of these characteristics can actually make one Apple logic board appear significantly aesthetically different to another (although both assemblies are electrically and functionally identical). Even before popular IPC specifications had been set, Apple placed very high quality requirements on their PCB manufacturers. Presentation was paramount in Apple's eyes. The logo, printed on Apple boards from 1983, still exceeds the standard PCB production quality of silkscreening on boards by even today's standards, more than 30 years later. In this example, the high resolution silkscreen printing on the board would have been state of the art for PCB production in 1983. Many Apple collectors and enthusiasts can tell the difference and even have a preference for which finish and aesthetic look they prefer most. Listed below are examples of PCBs from Apple products, which detail their build spec and plant origins.

PN: 820-0043-00 (Apple III Logic Bd)
Release Date: 1980
Date Code: 1083
Plant ID: SCC
Country: Singapore
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 8/8 FR4 TH
Finish: Light Green Gloss Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: None
CAD: No
FCC ID: None

Information on Apple PCBs and their manufacturers
P/N: 820-0188-A (Apple IIe Logic Bd)
Release Date: 1984
Date Code: None
Plant ID: Unknown
Country: Unknown
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 8/5 FR4 TH
Finish: Light Green Gloss Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: GLB (Engineer Initials?)
CAD: No
FCC ID: None
P/N: (Apple) 820-0117-A
(Apple 3.5 Floppy Disk Drive Interface Card)
P/N: (Sony) 1-616-130-11 (IF-98)
Release Date: 1985
Date Code: None
Plant ID: Unknown
Country: Unknown
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 8/5 FR4 TH + SMD
Finish: Light Green Gloss Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: ASCO 505  and REV Code
CAD: No
FCC ID: BCG96AA2C2002
P/N: 820-0006-02 (Disk II Interface Card)
Release Date: 1978
Date Code: A8251
Plant ID: Unknown
Country: Unknown
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 8/8 FR4 TH
Finish: Light Green Gloss Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: None
CAD: No
FCC ID: None
P/N: 820-0104-C (Mouse Interface Card)
Release Date: 1983
Date Code: G8934
Plant ID: NTI
Country: Unknown
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 8/8 FR4 TH
Finish: Light Green Matt Soldermask over Bare Cu
Other Markings: None
CAD: No
FCC ID: BCG5K5A2M2050
P/N: 820-0041-B (Apple III 5V MEM BD)
Release Date: 1981
Date Code: 1083
Plant ID: Unknown
Country: Unknown
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 5/5 FR4 TH
Finish: Dark Green Gloss Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: 262, Std. ID, QC
CAD: No
FCC ID: None
P/N: 820-0232-A (Apple IIc Plus Logic Bd)
Release Date: 1988
Date Code: G4489
Plant ID: Unknown
Country: Unknown
Layers: 4
Build Tech: 8/5 FR4 TH
Finish: Dark Green Matt Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: None
CAD: Yes
FCC ID: None
P/N: A661-91097 (Apple IIe 80 Column Card)
Release Date: 1985
Date Code: 8824
Plant ID: N
Country: Australia
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 8/5 FR4 TH
Finish: Dark Green Gloss Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: P/N and Origin
CAD: Yes
FCC ID: None
P/N: 820-0500-A (Apple II 3.5" Disk Controller Card)
Release Date: 1991
Date Code: None
Plant ID: Zc2m
Country: Unknown
Layers: 4
Build Tech: 8/5 FR4 TH + SMD
Finish: Dark Green Gloss Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: None
CAD: Yes
FCC ID: BCGA0076
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P/N: A661-91097 (Apple IIe 80 Column Card)
Release Date: 1985
Date Code: None
Plant ID: DA
Country: Australia
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 8/5 FR4 TH
Finish: Dark Green Gloss Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: P/N1, P/N2, Origin, and Unknown Logo
CAD: Yes
FCC ID: None
P/N: 820-0188-A (Apple IIe Logic Bd)
Release Date: 1984
Date Code: 8604
Plant ID: Hitachi
Country: Singapore
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 8/5 FR4 TH
Finish: Light Green Gloss Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: GLB (Engineer Initials?), Unknown ID, QC, and Std. ID
CAD: No
FCC ID: None
P/N: 820-5003-A (I/O Controller Card)
Release Date: 1983
Date Code: M8449
Plant ID: Unknown
Country: Unknown
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 8/8 FR4 TH
Finish: Dark Green Matt Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: P/N
CAD: Yes
FCC ID: None
P/N: <Unknown> (Apple II Prototype Card)
Release Date: 1979
Date Code: 0780
Plant ID: UCI
Country: USA
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 12/12 FR4 TH
Finish: HASL
Other Markings: P/N1, and QC
CAD: No
FCC ID: None
P/N: 820-0067-D (Apple IIe 80 Column Card)
Release Date: 1986
Date Code: G9103
Plant ID: CCII
Country: Singapore
Layers: 2
Build Tech: 8/5 FR4 TH
Finish: Yellow / Green Gloss Soldermask over HASL
Other Markings: P/N1, P/N2, Origin, and ID
CAD: Yes
FCC ID: None