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Thread: What goes wrong the most on vintage computers? (Aside from capacitors)

  1. Default

    I've found it varies a lot by machine. BBC micros the power supply caps explode and you also have to reseat all the ICs every few years. I've bought a number of "dead" BBC micros I fixed with nothing more than a chip reseating session.

    Amiga seems to be another one where the chips need a reseat but with the added excitement of battery damage (often catastrophic) and floppy drives that are really hard to replace.

    Dead 4116s also seem to be common on a wide range of systems, possibly because as the power supply ages the caps go and the power synchronization ordering fails ? or maybe they just suck

    7805's also seem to die with age, and begin to get very hot even at fairly low demand. Fortunately not only are they still easy to get but there are massively more efficient options available to match the form factor.

    Dragon 32 the power supply wires break inside the sealed plastic blob containing a rather strange transformer setup.

    On the Amstrad 3" drives all the drive bands go with age.

    Another fun one is the Mac LC series. Many of them won't boot at all if the backup battery is flat. I've had a few bargains that way too

    Agree on edge connectors. I've had to tin a few with solder where they had worn badly.


  2. #42


    Except for 4-5 favorites, I've had the bulk of my collection stored in my garage (North Texas) for the past 16 years. Some of those I acquired from a guy who had them stored in his N. Texas garage prior to that. The only issue I've had thus far is a PC6300 that developed a bootstrap RAM issue (which I have yet to fix). I also recently acquired a few PCs that were in a non-climate controlled barn locally here, and they all check out just fine except for 2 of the Pentiums (one III and one Celeron) with bad ATA hard drives. Ironically, all of the MFM drives work great!

    To be fair, they're in the garage but I keep most of them stored in boxes with paper packing material from my original move 16 years ago. It's relatively dry and hot here most of the year, but there are many humid days. I'm wondering if the paper packing acts sort of like a desiccant and the hot days keep the moisture away? Whatever the combination is, I've not had issues with them. However, I would never store them in my attic. Gets way too hot down here for that. I worry enough about the heat in the garage.

    I'm methodically working them into my new upstairs workroom to get them out of the heat entirely. (My son just moved into his own place, so dad appropriated that space almost immediately.)
    “The Bex religious impulse does have its collective side. As in, collect everything and hold on to it whether you remember where it came from or not.”
    —Alberto Fossa, Privateer 2


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