View Full Version : Have a found a motherloade...?

July 30th, 2003, 09:12 AM
At a "local" computer shop (actually for me it's a 20 miles bike ride away, hehe) in their basement vault is a huge collection of old computers and tons of cards, in many slot forms I have yet to learn about. The majority of systems that are there are only partial and are mainly 286's and 286's, but in the pile are many old Epson's, Canon's and lots of other companies I have yet to hear about. The cards in question are equal to about a truck load, and are primarily I/O cards, controllers, adapters, etc.

To sum it all up I'd probably need three trips with a pickup truck to take oit all away, and they're only looking for a very small amount of money - probably $50 or so for everything. Problem is I'm unemployed and $50 to me would be like $500 to you'se. I don't come by money that foten and whenever I do it usually goes towards nessicary things.

Should I try and get my hands on this horde of vintage computer stuff? Your opinions, please.

Sadly no 8088 systems or such like that (that they know of) in the pile, bvut who knows, I may get lucky: 6 months ago they found a mint 1982 IBM PC working and sold it for $200. They're not sure what's all down there under the piles.

July 30th, 2003, 09:49 AM
I'd think that the $50 purchase price is only the tip of the iceberg on this "rescue."

Unless you already have a truck and some willing volunteers, it's going to cost you a lot more to move this stuff then to buy it.

Then you'll have to figure out what to do to store it. . .

My first reaction would be to get a clearer idea of what is really down there. If it's all broken machines, busted pulls and other junk then you might as well hook them up with a recycler and be done with it.

If there are enough gems in there to justify the effort (i.e. if you see stuff you can sell or use) then you have to figure out how far you need to go to make it worthwhile.

Can you get down there to explore/dig and/or take some pictures?


July 30th, 2003, 11:56 AM
I'm definately picking up a good deal of cards and such: like 9600 baud modems (hehe) and ISA vid cards soon, so I'll try and take a few snaps of what's in there for referance.

July 30th, 2003, 08:36 PM
Even though today's trash could be tomorrows treasures...

The sheer numbers of late XT/AT/Clones and their ilk prolly means you should pass this up and let it all go to the scrapheap...

It's only the very early, the very limited, or the very unique that are the most valuable...

In old TV collecting, it's the one's that have channel 1 on their dials that are most prized...

July 31st, 2003, 10:46 AM
I've rescued a lot of PCjrs lately, and as I ran out of storage space I came to some conclusions.

- You can't save them all. Not without a giant warehouse.

- More importantly, you don't want to save them all. It is quite possible in 2000 years that a working 386 machine will be a prized possession, but probably not.

When I'm saving machines or parts I look for unusual things:

- Cards that were not common. For example, SCSI cards in older systems.

- 8 bit cards. Most ISA cards are 16 bit and designed for 286's and up. Older 8 bit cards (which by the way, are PC Bus, not ISA) are hard to find and are needed for PCs and XTs.

- Memory, CPUs, co-processors, etc. Most of these things are small and very useful. Be sure to handle carefully - no point in zapping a classic.

- Unusual systems. I have an IBM PC at work. It's a plain PC - nothing funny about it. But if I had not powered it on and done some research, I would not know that it is very early and is part of the first 6 month production run of the IBM PC. (This one only counts to 544k and does not scan the BIOS areas for ROM extensions.)

- Modifications: If somebody took the risk to modify a part on a system, I want to know why and reverse engineer the mod. This is very common on PCjrs, not as common on other PCs or clones.

- Weird accessories. Examples include strange cartridges, unusual peripherals, etc. Even if you don't need it, somebody else probably does.

- Documentation - we need to preserve the paper, or a lot of this is going to be unusable junk!


July 31st, 2003, 11:56 AM
I agree, save the documentation and the odd or uncommon items. The common or obviously broken pieces are not really worth the effort given your strained circumstances(try for a security job, it' snot much but it IS income). I would take a good-sized box, fill it and that would be my motherlode.


September 20th, 2003, 11:52 PM
I would just look for the oddball stuff like video capture cards, exotic sound cards, scsi cards, nice omnikey keyboards, custom floppy interface boards, top of the line video cards etc.

What on earth will you do with a stack of 2400 baud modems anyway? Even if they end up all getting recycled in 10 years will anybody miss them ( a nice exotic 19.2 external modem like the ones used on the high speed trading BBS would probably be worth saving just for old times sake)? I dont think there will be a huge market for the crap brands either like oak video cards, packard bell computers, cheap ass chinese keyboards, offbrand mice, etc.

Most of todays computers will end up junked but someday (when everything is digitally locked by the governemnt to protect copying) you will wish you still have that old P3-733 with the liteon burner and the non DRM hard drives running the old windos 9X that doesnt need authorization from microsofts network just to boot. The new machines will be all USB even the old ps/2 connections are getting trashed along with the serial and parralell ports. Remember when machines had ISA slots?

Oh and 1 more thing, save all the software thats boxed and complete! While just about anything produced has been hacked, copied, and spread through out the net it doesnt do you much good without the manuals/documentation to know how the dam thing worked when your messing with it 20 years from now.