View Full Version : Half-remembered PET anecdotes

October 25th, 2003, 04:09 AM
Two PET-related anecdotes I remember from the 1980s...

First, a computer magazine letters page, circa 1988/89, when asked "How do I get sound from my PET?" replied something to the effect:

"Under the front edge, beneath the keyboard, you'll find two large black 'Philips' screws. Remove these, and the case will hinge open along the back edge. Inside you will find a supporting strut, like the one used to hold your car bonnet open. Latch this into place, locking the case open at approximately a 60 degree angle. Find a building that is at least sixteen stories tall and drop the PET off the roof - it makes a lovely 'whistling' noise on the way down." ( :lol: )

Second, earlier in the '80s, a friend told me that the UK version of the PET 4016 was the only computer where something typed ion the keyboard could cause the computer to explode spectacularly like computers in the movies did. I was sceptical, but his story was plausible...

The trick was to POKE a value into the system area that changed the screen refresh rate from the UK 50Hz to US 60Hz. Initially, the only evidence that this had happened would be a small flicker and a slight change in screen brightness. But... The UK model used slightly different monitor electronics from the US model. Increasing the refresh rate by 20% caused the voltage across one of the electrolytic capacitors on the monitor board to slowly creep up above its rated maximum, at which point the capacitor would explode with a loud "BANG!", the flying top generally smashing the neck of the tube in the process! :shock:

There were anecdotal stories at the time of people doing this in "Dixons" and getting out before the "big bang"... :D

October 25th, 2003, 06:02 AM
omg.. tell us more,, more!

October 25th, 2003, 07:47 AM
I've heard the exploding pet stories before but I haven't heard that anyone has actually done it or seen it. Of course it would be silly to try today. . .

I suspect that you could probably cause damage, but I doubt you'd see a dramatic explosion.

Another dirty trick was a loop that turned the tape motor on and off rapidly. Eventually you'd overheat/break the tape drive. Again, not dramatic, but mean! :twisted:


November 3rd, 2003, 06:17 AM
As I wrote in that other "audio in" thread, you could get sound from your PET without living in a tall building. Correctly wired from the user port, you might repeat the sounds more than once.

(once I was considering doing this for my VIC-20, as I believe the upper frequency resolution on VIA is much finer than the upper frequencies generated by VIC-I)