Anyone interested in retro/older/refurbishing computers?

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abrahamstechnology

04 Nov 2018, 20:44

My interest in older computers eventually led me to get a Model M and then explore much more mechanical keyboards. I am wondering, is anyone else here interested in retro computers or likes to refurbish them as much as keyboards?

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elecplus

04 Nov 2018, 21:09

Me :-)

Slom

04 Nov 2018, 21:53

snuci certainly is
https://vintagecomputer.ca/

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AJM

04 Nov 2018, 22:05

Well, one of my Model F XTs "came with" an 5150.
Apart from it being the PC genesis, I always liked its design. But I never got the chance to work with it in the 80s, so I finally wanted to own one.
Apart from thoroughly cleaning it, I don't really know, what to do with it, though. Also - I have hardly the space to put it somewhere, so the "collection" of old computers hopefully won't get any bigger.
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Excelso

04 Nov 2018, 22:34

I'm right now repairing an IBM PS/2 Model 60. My first computer was a PS/1 but I always dream with their "big brothers".

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JP!

05 Nov 2018, 03:42

I have amassed a collection of PC's through this hobby. For IBM I have 3 5150's, a 5160, 5170, 2 5140's, 2 PS/1's, and a P70. Non IBM/clones I have an Acer/Multitech PC, 2 Kaypro PC's, Kaypro 1, Apple II Plus, Heathkit H89, and some other I can't think of at the moment.
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raymondse

05 Nov 2018, 07:57

JP! wrote: I have amassed a collection of PC’s through this hobby. For IBM I have 3 5150’s, a 5160, 5170, 2 5140’s, 2 PS/1’s, and a P70. Non IBM/clones I have an Acer/Multitech PC, 2 Kaypro PC’s, Kaypro 1, Apple II Plus, Heathkit H89, and some other I can’t think of at the moment.
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BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL :o

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stratokaster

05 Nov 2018, 08:46

I had a collection of retro PCs in Ukraine which I mostly gave away when I moved to Ireland. That doesn't mean I wouldn't start another when time and circumstances permit :-)

I think I will start with a PowerMac G3 B&W because: 1) it's an iconic design; 2) I've always wanted one; 3) I'd like to explore Mac OS Classic.

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Muirium
µ

05 Nov 2018, 12:57

Just seeing how much space the IBM PC takes up gives me the heebie jeebies! I love the keyboard, but I can't bend over to take all that…

I'm a bit of a broken record on this point, but it's still just as true for me: vintage keyboards excel *because* they can be turned to modern use. This AT here is better at day to day Mac stuff than any keyboard Apple makes. But vintage computers? Well, they're tools for tasks, and networks, which no longer exist. You wind up having to invent uses for them: terminal prompts on perfectly accessible modern systems, often on the same bloody desk!; plaintext email consoles, like your phone can't handle ASCII!; and getting really daring by going online directly with Lynx, only to find the sorry state of the open web now that https and tls have ruined what was always meant to open and compatible. The one good use I can think of for vintage systems is vintage games, but I'm just not into those. But keyboards? Oh, those spring eternal.

Re: the Blue & White Power Mac G3. I had one of those for a while. It makes a better first impression than it maintains in use. Several strange things lurk inside that machine. The firmware doesn't support target disk mode or holding down the Option key on boot to select a different boot device, and Apple never did update it. The IDE bus is all kinds of half baked, too, rendering it allergic to many drives and shit slow in any case. The "El Capitan" case design with the fold out door and motherboard—which works just fine in motion, so no need to even turn it off to take a look!—was so nice they kept it for the G4 years; and I do appreciate the Helvetica G3 signs embedded deep in the plastic on both sides of the case. Jony Ive did a nice job with that one, it was the silicon guys who did not.

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

05 Nov 2018, 18:35

Slom wrote: snuci certainly is
https://vintagecomputer.ca/
What slom said :)

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zrrion

05 Nov 2018, 20:03

I'd like to be more into vintage tech but unless it is either small, useful, or both I don't really have enough space to justify it. Keyboards happen to be both small and useful so I primarily collect them.

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JP!

05 Nov 2018, 20:12

In some cases I really hate separating the keyboard from the computer. I'd definitely would have more now if I had the room Snuci has but I am primarily a keyboard collector for a lot of the same reasons others here are.

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stratokaster

05 Nov 2018, 22:44

Muirium wrote: Re: the Blue & White Power Mac G3. I had one of those for a while. It makes a better first impression than it maintains in use. Several strange things lurk inside that machine. The firmware doesn't support target disk mode or holding down the Option key on boot to select a different boot device, and Apple never did update it. The IDE bus is all kinds of half baked, too, rendering it allergic to many drives and shit slow in any case. The "El Capitan" case design with the fold out door and motherboard—which works just fine in motion, so no need to even turn it off to take a look!—was so nice they kept it for the G4 years; and I do appreciate the Helvetica G3 signs embedded deep in the plastic on both sides of the case. Jony Ive did a nice job with that one, it was the silicon guys who did not.
Thanks for the information! I didn't know its IDE controller was problematic. I will have to research which G4 PowerMacs support MacOS Classic natively. Obviously, with such an old computer, it's much better to use it with an SD-to-IDE adapter for improvements in both speed and reliability.

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matt3o
-[°_°]-

06 Nov 2018, 15:42

my dream would be to open a retro computing/gaming museum :)

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Hypersphere

07 Nov 2018, 00:28

My thoughts are aligned with Muirium's on this topic. I remember my perverse delight when I first connected my Soarer-converted XT keyboard to my Mac Pro computer and having the whole thing work flawlessly. Ancient keyboard and modern computer combos work for me, but not the other way around. I might be more inclined to work on incorporating a small relatively underpowered but modern computer, such as a Raspberry Pi, into a roomy vintage keyboard.

SpacemanToby

07 Nov 2018, 02:45

I've recently gotten into restoring vintage computers in a pretty big way, and it was all because of my searching for keyboards. I came across a big lot of computers and computer parts that I bought solely because I saw there was a Leading Edge DC-3014 in the mix. I figured I would just resell everything else. During my research of what everything was and how I could test to see if they work I discovered a pretty big love and interest in these old machines. This lot had like 3 ibm 5150's, an old osborne 1, an old dolch computer, some random 386 and 486 motherboards, a bunch of more modern computers, and just crates and crates of ISA vga/IO/sound cards. I built a 486DX from the parts and installed dos/windows 3.1 (picture below, not mechanical keyboard though). I've sold off most of it by now, but I'm about to pick up a lot of old apple II stuff, so that should keep me busy for a while.

Image
Last edited by SpacemanToby on 07 Nov 2018, 02:58, edited 2 times in total.

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

07 Nov 2018, 02:48

SpacemanToby wrote: but I'm about to pick up a lot of old apple II stuff, so that should keep me busy for a while.
Let me know. I have a decent Apple II collection and am always looking for certain models.

SpacemanToby

07 Nov 2018, 02:54

snuci wrote:
Let me know. I have a decent Apple II collection and am always looking for certain models.
Definitely. I've already bought a IIe from the guy in really rough condition (picture below), but I'm excited to see if I can bring it back to its former glory. He says he has a couple more, maybe older, and some disks and books, but I have no idea what they are. The guy is older and doesn't really know about this stuff.

Image

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snuci
Vintage computer guy

07 Nov 2018, 02:57

SpacemanToby wrote:
snuci wrote:
Let me know. I have a decent Apple II collection and am always looking for certain models.
Definitely. I've already bought a IIe from the guy in really rough condition (picture below), but I'm excited to see if I can bring it back to its former glory.
This looks worse than it really is. It should clean up nicely. Good luck with the cleanup.

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green-squid

09 Nov 2018, 07:20

I loooooooove old computers and old tech! But it's impossible to get things like compact Macintoshes here, which I really really want to restore. :)

diseeease

13 Nov 2018, 15:13

I love old computers! I'm in kind of the same boat as Muirium, though. Vintage computers take up way too much space for my liking, at least if you go on and start to collect them.
If they had any kind of actual use instead of just 'Oh neat, this old technology still works' maybe it'd be a different story.

That said, I am still kind of in love with the idea of taking a vintage laptop and replacing it's internals with something like a Raspberry for a modern-ish mobile web-surfing computer in a vintage look...
SpacemanToby wrote:
snuci wrote:
Let me know. I have a decent Apple II collection and am always looking for certain models.
Definitely. I've already bought a IIe from the guy in really rough condition (picture below), but I'm excited to see if I can bring it back to its former glory. He says he has a couple more, maybe older, and some disks and books, but I have no idea what they are. The guy is older and doesn't really know about this stuff.

https://i.imgur.com/aSTrw1P.jpg
That Mac looks disgustingly filthy! I bet it'll be satisfying to bring that back to it's former glory!
Last edited by diseeease on 14 Nov 2018, 22:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Compgeke

14 Nov 2018, 03:51

Old computers are more or less how I got into this place. I've still got way too many in the garage, but it's nice having original systems for some of the keyboards :) . I'm way more active on the old computer forums than I am here, I mainly check in a few times a day to try and keep spam down.

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JP!

14 Nov 2018, 16:55

matt3o wrote: my dream would be to open a retro computing/gaming museum :)
How about a keyboard exhibit for the museum? :)

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vometia
irritant

27 Nov 2018, 14:20

I'm interested in old computers, though not so much refurbishing them; and not old PCs, either. I have a pair of Vax workstations under the desk (IOW PC-sized things with a Vax processor and graphics card: a convenient way of running VMS, except for the licensing issues) as well as one of a pair of BBC Micros. The BBC has a nicer keyboard than the Vaxes, everything from the VT220 onwards being rubber dome of varying quality.

I also had a small 3174 controller lying around with the intent of using it to act as a bridge between an actual 3270 terminal and ethernet (well, token ring) but never got round to scrounging a terminal and the controller is now on permanent loan to someone.

I'm always impressed when I see someone with properly big beastie like an IBM System/370, Vax 780 or PDP-10 running at home and don't even want to see their electricity bill!

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Compgeke

29 Nov 2018, 01:49

Great news, you can vet a VMS hobbyist license. The method involves signing up for something like DECUServ then registering for an OpenVMS hobbyist at https://www.hpe.com/h41268/live/index_e.aspx?qid=24548 . One of these years I need to get around to getting something installed on the MicroVAX 4000 VLC.

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vometia
irritant

30 Nov 2018, 07:19

Yeah, that's what I do periodically, and every time I want to renew I forget the procedure. :D The trouble is the PAKs don't cover everything... I guess unsurprisingly, but I guess I was spoiled when I was at DEC. I had a scratch around for my old PAKs a year or two back but found they expired a couple of years after I left, so a long time ago.

There're a couple of free-to-use VMS systems on the net, one of which runs on a legit Vax 780 (though I think it has a 785 CPU; some upgrade, anyway) if I need a VMS fix.

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