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Geek Culture / Who else hangs onto too much old tech?

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Phaelax
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Posted: 26th Dec 2015 21:38
Cleaning out my basement, getting rid of anything I haven't used in recent years. Turns out I have hardware I haven't touched in a decade. Found a zip disk (and drive) with my college homework on it and a few DBA files. Couple processors, scsi adapter and cable terminator. Sony mavica (yes, a digital camera that took floppies!). PCMCIA reader for a desktop with a 34k modem card still in it. I'm boxing it all up and taking it to Goodwill. I threw most of it up on craigslist 2 weeks ago, got no offers, and I can't bring myself to pitch it all into the trash. Btw, that once state of the art zip drive (a 750 no less), took over 5min to copy only 30mb of files.
I'm probably going to take in my 19" viewsonic too. It may have been a $500 monitor once upon a time, but I'm tired of moving it from place to place. Sad that a 15+ year old CRT had a better resolution than the average computer of even today.

The other day I was in an antique store (I know, counter-productive) and found a TI-99 with the original box. I was very tempted to buy it, lol. As for my Amiga, that will never be tossed out!

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds
Ortu
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Posted: 27th Dec 2015 19:11 Edited at: 27th Dec 2015 19:27
I've been cleaning out a server room at work and it is seriously like a museum of the history of IT in there.

found some zip drives/disks, found original manuals for the IBM disk operating system 3.1 (yes DOS, and spelled out fully ) the binder had sleeves for the disks but the disks were sadly missing.

Bunch of old dumb hubs, an ancient 3com router running netbuilder II, windows install disks for every version from nt workstation up through 8.1, IBM thinkpad laptops from the late 90s, a box of dial up modems, both green screen and amber monochrome crt monitors, hardware based print servers, the list goes on and on
bitJericho
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Posted: 30th Dec 2015 14:50
I collect all this stuff if anybody's willing to make shipments
Phaelax
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Posted: 30th Dec 2015 17:57
If you pay shipping I wouldn't care. But I've donated everything now.

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds
bitJericho
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Posted: 1st Jan 2016 00:37
Yes I pay shipping! Aww i would have loved that camera
Phaelax
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Posted: 3rd Jan 2016 21:13
The camera was the only thing I held onto, lol. I just ordered a battery charger for it ($5) since my friend's sister lost it forever ago.

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds
bitJericho
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Posted: 4th Jan 2016 01:21
haha awesome! Get yourself a good set of floppies and share some pics here!
Van B
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Posted: 4th Jan 2016 12:41
I never throw anything away, ever. I'm into retro gaming, and old stuff, even old PC stuff tends to come in handy. For example, I have the same 9-pin joystick that we bought for the Spectrum 30-some years ago, still works, still the best joystick ever, and we use it on the real hardware we have (Speccy +2, C64, Atari ST, CD32). One thing anyone should hold onto is an old PC laptop with a working floppy drive - I have one that is used to write floppy discs for the ST, and converts Speccy and C64 tapes into live audio. It's an antique but it makes retro gaming on real hardware so much easier. To think that a SD reader for the ST is £70, for the C64 it's about £80, for the Speccy about £50... that old crusty laptop is still worth £200 to me. I probably wouldn't get along with anyone who'd throw a working laptop away, no matter how old it is.

What can I say, I'm a nostalgia addict - every piece of old gear I find I think of ways I can re-purpose it and if I can't think of any, I put it away until something crops up. I'm glad I have a lot of storage space in my house!

Ortu
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 02:04 Edited at: 8th Jan 2016 02:06
I did find this in my closet the other day:

HP Jornada pocket pc running Windows CE, this thing harkens back to the days when Palm ruled the mobile PDA landscape before Blackberry became a thing by combining a pda with a phone.

It has a full size USB port, internal dial up modem, compact flash slot, pcmcia slot, and a pressure based stylus.

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Phaelax
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 06:05
Jornada, that vaguely sounds familiar. Looks cool. I used to have a palm pilot.

I'm a little upset, my nes no longer powers up and my snes won't output anything. Took both out of storage and neither works, but they used to.

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds
Dark Java Dude 64
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 07:29 Edited at: 8th Jan 2016 07:31
Quote: "I'm a little upset, my nes no longer powers up and my snes won't output anything. Took both out of storage and neither works, but they used to."
I've found that electronics occasionally decide not to work when you try to power them up after not having them plugged in for a while -- I think it has to do with a lack of grounding allowing static or some such to build up, frying the device. I have a 4 way USB port hub splitter thing, always worked great. I had it disconnected from my computer over the weekend, stored in a safe place, and it works no longer. What would be neat is some portable contraption that you could plug a device into that would keep said device grounded while in storage.
"It also shoots blue flames sometimes, which is startling in the most exquisite of ways." -- Self
Van B
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 12:39
In the case of the NES and SNES.... take them to bits and re-flow those solder joints. You have nothing to loose but a couple of hours work, and everything to gain
bitJericho
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 13:01
For the NES, I'd definitely take a multimeter and check the power adapter first before opening it up. For the SNES, if you're using coax, I'd check your coax setup and make sure you're on analog antenna channel 3/4 on your tv. If you have one, try using your n64 video adapter as it is the same adapter for both the snes and n64.
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 16:51
^What bitJericho said!

My brother is excellent at repairing old electronics and that's exactly what he would do - check the power adapter first and go from there. If he can't fix it he takes it to a local place called Game Corner which buys, sells and reparis old video game consoles. They are excellent and don't charge very much either. I would definitely look around and see if you have a local store just like that!

Sign up for NaGaCreMo!
Phaelax
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 18:25
Quote: "For the SNES, if you're using coax,"

Nope, I bought a brand new AV cable because I was getting nothing from the coax. Same issue. Thought maybe it was my new 4k tv, so I tried my older one that I knew it worked on and nothing.

I'm going to take it to a local shop I know of and see if they'll test it for me. Maybe I can rule out a few things.

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds
Ortu
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 18:42
my NES has gotten to the point where all graphics seem permanently scrambled, SNES is still in good working shape though
Phaelax
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 19:20 Edited at: 8th Jan 2016 20:00
Had the store test it for me, they got nothing out of it. Time to get the screwdriver. On the plus side, they gave me a $5 off coupon. Maybe I'll put it towards that $65 price on super metroid.
The nes I'm not as concerned about because it's not original. It's one of those cheap top-loading knockoffs.

This might be more difficult than I thought. The SNES doesn't have any screws, they almost look like rivets.

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds
Randomness 128
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 20:07
Quote: "my NES has gotten to the point where all graphics seem permanently scrambled"


The NES only has enough video RAM to store tile maps, palettes, and an array of sprites. It reads images directly from a second ROM chip in the cartridge through a separate bus. Scrambled graphics could possibly be fixed by cleaning the cartridge and/or slot.
320x224
Phaelax
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 22:45
This kid is dreaming. $275 for his "custom" nes with a crappy paint job. No cables included, controllers extra.

http://columbus.craigslist.org/vgm/5384193974.html

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds
Ortu
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Posted: 8th Jan 2016 22:57
Yeah, its every cartridge now though. cleaning and the usual tricks have stopped working. I'm thinking the pins in the receiving slot have just become too worn.
Dark Java Dude 64
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Posted: 9th Jan 2016 05:05
This makes me wonder: will electronics like laptops, smartphones, etc be able to power up in say 50 years?
"It also shoots blue flames sometimes, which is startling in the most exquisite of ways." -- Self
Kevin Picone
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Posted: 9th Jan 2016 15:33
Most PC stuff I just turn over, there's little to no concetion with it. There's a few exceptions like an early b/w lazer printer (very noisey, very slow but fantasic image quality and course no modern drivers ), the odd harddrive and some CD/DVD roms come to mind. The CD roms have come in handy over the years as some old discs only seem to be readable on those old drives..

Still got a collection of Amiga stuff, have been tempted to get a tower kit for the A1200 just for a few retro giggles.. Gave away my C128 system about 6 months ago to friend whos still writing c64 demos to this day...

Van B
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Posted: 11th Jan 2016 08:29
There's probably a special screwdriver for the SNES screws that you can find on ebay etc, Nintendo like to do that just to slow you down. If it's a six pointed star head, then it might just be a torx - worth having a torx screwdriver set just in case, more often than not it's the screwdriver you don't have. If there's a little nub on the screw head, like a security screw, then I tend to just break the nub off. If you can get into it, look for solder that is separated from the board, discoloured (milky), eroded etc. Sometimes it's best to add a little solder before de-soldering, helps with heat flow. Also worth looking for blown capacitors, as they can be replaced without a lot of trouble.
Phaelax
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Posted: 12th Jan 2016 06:18 Edited at: 12th Jan 2016 06:35
I have plenty of torx bits, not kind of socket that would fit this weird thing. I found a picture of the weird screw.

I just melted the end of a pen and stuck on one of the screws to mold it. So far, it's actually working.

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds

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Seditious
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Posted: 12th Jan 2016 07:02
Quote: "There's a few exceptions like an early b/w lazer printer"


Was there really something called a 'lazer' printer?
TheComet
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Posted: 12th Jan 2016 14:19 Edited at: 12th Jan 2016 14:21
Quote: "This makes me wonder: will electronics like laptops, smartphones, etc be able to power up in say 50 years?"


The components that corrode (relatively) quickly are chemical or mechanical in nature (batteries, hard disks, aluminium/tantalum electrolytic capacitors, etc). Seeing as electrolytic capacitors have long gone out of fashion in modern electronics (such as in smart phones) and have been replaced by ceramic capacitors, there's really not much left that can fail.

I'm not really sure how long semiconductors last. There are a whole bunch of articles explaining the ageing phenomenon but none of them mention any numbers, so it's probably safe to assume they last a really long time.
"It also shoots blue flames sometimes, which is startling in the most exquisite of ways." -- Not me
Dark Java Dude 64
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Posted: 12th Jan 2016 22:32
That's about what I thought. To think, I could be in my 70s and power up my current smartphone to show my grand children the antique technology...
"It also shoots blue flames sometimes, which is startling in the most exquisite of ways." -- TheComet's signature
Phaelax
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Posted: 13th Jan 2016 01:12
Got it apart last night using a melted pen. Overall the board still looks very clean. No blown caps and best I can tell no soldering is broke. Maybe the CPU is just fried.

I'll make it work, even if it's emulated! I bought a raspberry pi today.

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds
Van B
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Posted: 13th Jan 2016 09:04
Yeah, Pi's are awesome little things when you have a project like that - if the SNES is fried then stick a pi in there instead and get all the SNES, Megadrive, and 8-bit games in one place (RetroPie). You can even get USB versions of SNES controllers fairly cheaply.... I'd be tempted to get 4, and a USB hub, for 4-player MarioKart and Bomberman - I'm sure it's possible to wire up the original controller ports to the GPIO, but very complicated compared to the USB controller route.
Probably mentioned before, but I made something similar using a mini Megadrive case last year, and it's one of my favourite gadgets now.
Phaelax
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Posted: 13th Jan 2016 22:20
The Pi has 4 usb ports already. I'm setting up retroPie now. As for the controllers, I'm considering using these control chips or maybe the adapters:
http://www.retrousb.com/index.php?cPath=21&osCsid=c854f953fed424fb1368fb87c1c62803

So far it works pretty well, I played some Doom on it.

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds
bitJericho
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Posted: 14th Jan 2016 13:51
Don't ruin your snes by putting a pi in it! Surely you can give it away or sell it to someone who will repair it?
Van B
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Posted: 14th Jan 2016 15:24
Those adaptors would make for a very neat retrofit job, expensive way to do it but very cool - especially if your original controllers are still working. I can appreciate how people want to keep things original and nice, but to me it sounds like the SNES won't ever be a working SNES ever again, and if it isn't in A1 perfect condition already then mod the thing. It's good to be precious about retro gaming hardware, but sometimes it's better to be real about a things value, both monetary and personally. If you have a personal attachment to the hardware and it's dead, then reworking it to live again is a good thing... it probably isn't worth much as a broken SNES, but with a retrofit controller setup and PI and all the games, and all the NES and MD games.... and GameBoy... and N64.... well it becomes a super-SNES and a nice little PI project. I wouldn't consider modding a working console, or even one that might work again. I have a pristine Atari STFM, original mouse, not a single blemish, it still has the cellophane on the badge - I can never do anything to that despite me wanting to put in more memory, 16mhz upgrade, SD card reader and blitter. Instead I'll buy a crusty old STE to mod and preserve the STFM.

As much as I think we should try and preserve and restore this stuff to original spec... sometimes it's just not practical or realistic and we end up hoarding broken hardware is lofts and sheds, slowly deteriorating into nothing. Instead of doing that, Sep can remake his SNES and get to playing it again, albeit in a different guise. To me that's paying more respect to the SNES than giving it to someone else to maybe sit in their loft for another decade.
Phaelax
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Posted: 15th Jan 2016 07:40
Can't ruin something that's already broken! I guess there's a 1.5a fuse inside, it's possible that could be the issue. I'll try that before anything else. If not, I'm thinking about painting it too. Although, I'd feel slightly bad considering I seem to have one of the few snes' out there that hasn't changed color and gotten that two-tone effect.

I got the snes (and games) from a friend, traded him an old laptop for it. Like a 486 thinkpad or something.

Quote: "I wouldn't consider modding a working console, or even one that might work again"

I could never! But I still might paint it even if I get it working. Same purple buttons, but use a matte-black on the case.

Only thing that's really held me back so far from already installing the pie is the size. Yes, a pie snes would be cool, but I lose one of the coolest features about the pie, it's size. If I had access to a milling machine, I could make a sweet aluminum case. Still not quite sure what I want to do for a case yet. I haven't found any online that really excite me. The spin case looked neat, but it's for the older model, it's expensive, and after a year from the date when people were suppose to receive them I'm still hearing folks say they never got them.

If I can't fix it and the fuse isn't the problem, then no point in painting it I suppose. So if you want it Jerico I might send it to ya.



"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds
bitJericho
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Posted: 15th Jan 2016 14:52
For sure! Thanks! Just to note if you do want a pi in an SNES and you want to paint it, you can pick up a broken discolored one on ebay for really cheap!
Phaelax
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Posted: 16th Jan 2016 05:07
Came up with a concept design, somewhat inspired by the Spin case but smaller.

"I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended." - Linus Torvalds

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