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 record 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 for 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.

The build

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.

New Book/Old Book

I have finally, after many months of searching, found ‘Games for your Sinclair QL’ – It turned up on eBay and I was the only bidder!

It is in great shape for it’s age, and a fine addition to my ‘games for your’ collection. I only need 5 more now for the whole set!

Coming Soon!

Coming to a video player near you soon.

I have purchased an “Untested” Atari ST ‘Console’ from eBay.

Really love it when things are listed as ‘Console’ when they are actually computers. This is either a ploy to stop them from selling, or a genuine mis-understanding of what is on offer!

Anyway, this has been powered on, and the ‘Green light glows’ so its anyone’s guess as to its actual condition.

It looks to be all there, apart from the mouse. The mouse in the pictures is an Amiga mouse, that probably works on the ST .. We will see.

Once I receive it, tear down and refurbishment will commence, all the while recording for youtube.

The video should be up and online either just before or just after Christmas 2019, as I have umpteen parties and social gatherings to attend between now and the new year (2020)

Appears to be complete, except for the keyboard! An extra drive also looks to be included, making me wonder if the original one died?
What is this? The Atari didn’t have a PSU like this … Interesting.
It is always good to have a spare 720K floppy drive hanging around!
Looks to be in good condition! Lets see whats it is like after shipment.
Wires! … So many wires!
Oh … There you are. Hiding under the case top 🙂 and a non-standard floppy drive to boot!

Hopefully, there is nothing significantly wrong with it. If I can’t repair it, I will have to break it down for parts and get my money back that way.

If it is repairable, I will be putting it back on eBay and use the money to buy another refurb project!

Keep an eye out in the future!

Update: 10/12/19 – The Atari ST was delivered yesterday, while I was on leave from work. Checking it this morning it is completely smashed. The outside box is not damaged in any way, but the contents … All I can say is this …

If you ship old and delicate computers, please wrap them in copious amounts of bubblewrap.

My cheap Atari ST is now a 1000+ jigsaw puzzle! 🙁

I think I will need to put this into a PC tower case at some stage.

First off, I will clean the main board and make sure its all working

UPDATE: – When this was removed from the shipping box for a proper examination, it turned out to be an STE with 4 SIMM chips in it. Its either a 1 MB machine or a 4MB machine. Until I fire it up, I can’t tell, and I won’t be firing it up until I am certain there will be no magic smoke!!

Not so happy days!!!