Hunting high and low – one mans quest for Nirvana?

The hunt is on for illusive Tatung Einstein software and hardware.

Batman (3D) by Ocean Software
Beach Head 1 & 2

Audio DAC
Hard Drive interface
Speech Synthesiser
Light Pen

I know some of this hardware is featured on but unfortunately it is being kept under wraps and not shared, which is quite understandable.

I want to see if it is possible to re-create the hardware using todays production methods to offer these accessories to the new wave of Einstein enthusiasts and collectors that is appearing.

As more Einsteins are listed for sale on eBay, more and more people are able to savour what should have been the best 8-bit micro of the early 1980s.

Fingers crossed I can get somewhere in my quest!

Drop me a message if you have any of the above, or anything that I have missed off my list (Hint: There is a lot of hardware and software that has vanished over the years!)

Thanks. Mike.

Solder on!

With the demise of my trusty solder station (As seen on a recent repair video on my YouTube channel), i needed a replacement.

These are really expensive for what they are, but needs must.

I found a reasonably priced 2 in 1 digital solder station and heat gun on eBay, so placed the order. It arrived in a couple of days and has now taken pride of place, within easy reach, on the workbench in the Retro Tech Loft studio.

A review video will be compled soon so watch out for it on my YouTube channel. If you subscribe to my channel and hit the notification bell icon, you will be told when it has been uploaded (And any other videos I upload)

Typing in the key of DELL

I recently re-acquired a Dell AT102W mechanical keyboard. I had one of these a few years ago, and foolishly got rid of it when I purchased an RGB gaming keyboard. To be honest, the gaming keyboard looks ok, with its heart beat LEDs, but its nowhere near as good for typing on as the DELL.

It was in quite a sorry state when I purchased it from eBay, Yellowed with age and crusty mc crusty!

A good clean with Isopropyl Alcohol and 14 hours in the sun with B-Blond (40%) and it looks as good a new!

As this is PS2, I had to get a USB to PS2 convertor from eBay, but for £1.99 gbp it was well worth it, and Windows 10 recognised it right away, and I am typing this blog post on it right now! 🙂

I must say, the clicky keyboard sounds eminating from my desk when I type are bringing back some fond memories.

YouTube refurb video coming soon, so go check out my channel, subscribe and hit the notification bell so know when its been posted!

Printer McPrintFace

Recently I bought a ZX Printer along with a Cheetah Sweet Talker interface off eBay.

Sadly, both of these are not working, but there is salvation for the printer. The Sweet Talker is another story!

Watch out for a new video of the ZX Printer refurb, coming soon.

As you can see from the image below, the internal belt has perished making it just feed the paper and not print anything.

A new printer belt has been ordered from eBay, but will take a few weeks to turn up as it has to come from Portugal!

Time to Rewind

Recently, while clearing out some of my old junk tech, I came across a very lost looking VHS cassette tape.

For all you younger viewers, a VHS tape was used in the 80s and 90s and early 2000s to record TV and movies.

Totally obsolete tech now, unless you are using it for archival purposes, and even then the data loss from magnetic degredation can be severe.

Not having a VHS player or recorder for the last, oh I don’t know, 15 years or so, I didn’t want to just throw it in the bin. So, here is my attempt are recycling the once loved format into something that is still useful in 2021.

I present to you the VHS clock-cassette. It looks ok on the office wall! I may even find an old VHS spine image on the web and print it off so it looks like a rental cassette (Block Buster close anyone?)

Total cost of this project: £2.99 for the clock mechanism from everyone’s favourite auction site.

Watch out for the up-coming construction video on my Youtube channel!

NOTE: The numbers are temporary until I can either find a nice clock face to print, or, find my steam punk style letters and numbers (They are lost at the moment, but I know I have some crackers!)

Casing the Joint

Here, you will find the images of my DIY build for an Atari STe styled external SCSI enclosure with 2 hard drives, a CD Rom drive and a yet to get working ZIP drive.

This build is based on a Shuttle XPC Glamor small form factor PC, which was stipped of it’s internal parts for the carcass to be used, a DMA to SCSI adapter board from an Atari Protar Progate 2 external hard drive, paint and some components to bring everything together

The Shuttle was bought as untested from eBay for a cheap price, and as it turns out, was actually working. I didn’t know this at the time, and it was only after I had removed the mainboard from the case that I got to test it out. It was an AMD X2 64 running at 2.5Ghz with 2 GB ram installed. I have kept the mainboard, CPU and ram for a future retro project. (Update: This has now been sold via eBay as I could not find a use for it other than as a retro emulator machine, which I have loads of already!)

The disassembly:

it was in a right old state! – Used by a taxi company by the looks of it!
Just VGA on this board. Not the best, but still a good solid mainboard and CPU.
Only the outside edges need to look perfect. The black bits seen here are covered by the front plate
This was an old 520 StFM badge I had lying around. Cut to size with the sharp edges filed smooth.
SCSI CD and Zip drive fit well.
Plenty of space for the drives and SCSI adapter.
Need to get something to block up that big hole!
Once fully assembled, it looks like something Atari could have made back in the 90s. really happy with how it turned out!

Check out my YouTube channel where I have a video show this new device working. It will be published on 9th May.

More retro reading from The Virgin Computer Series

Here is another series of books from Virgin that I was not aware of until this popped up on eBay. I now HAVE to get the whole set, which appear to be even more rare than the ‘Games for your’ series. Again, there is a ‘More’ version of this!

I know of this for the ZX Spectrum, and can only assume that its available for BBC MIcro too. The hunt is on for the rest of these books.

Eventually, the whole collection WILL be mine!!! Mwahahaha.