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Thread: Is it wrong to hot-rod a Model T?

  1. #11
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    If you look at the TRS-80 Model I, it had dozens of mods published. Dennis Bathory Kitsz wrote "The Custom TRS-80" back in 1982. Computer modifications kept a lot of hobbyists happy back then, and probably now, too. Why not on the Model T's?

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    I own a Tandy computer that looks like this:

    Attachment 61053
    That is the best computer on the internet.
    -- Lee
    If you get super-bored, try muh crappy YouTube channel: Old Computer Fun!
    Looking to Buy/Trade For (non-working is fine): TRS-80 Model II,12,16,6000, Mac IIci hard drive sled and one bottom rubber foot, Hercules card + mono monitor (preferably IBM 5151), Multisync VGA CRTs, 040 or 601 card for Mac IIci, Decent NuBus video card, Commodore PC(286+), PC-era Tandy stuff, Aesthetic Old Serial Terminals, Amiga 2000 or 3000UX

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bladamson View Post
    That is the best computer on the internet.
    I particularly enjoy actually going on the Internet with it. It's so utterly pointless yet the best ever at the same time.

    So, yeah, that's totally a +1 for Wifi-equipping a Model 200.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by hackerb9 View Post
    I'm curious what other people think of retrofitting retro-computers in ways that are permanent. Or, perhaps more accurately, where on the spectrum of permanent mods do people feel comfortable? But, I'm curious what do other people feel?
    Kind of complicated for me. Your last point is ringing true for me... If a modification is the difference between something being used or just collected, I feel it's perfectly ok to go ahead and modify it if you know what you're doing and not likely to damage it. That being said, I do see a lot of botched repairs and mods so I keep most of my things unmodified and try to avoid acquiring modified items...

    If the modems on your system/motherboard I'de consider plugging the esp8266 into a serial port instead... if the modems an ISA expansion card, seems you could just toss that if it didn't work and not lose any sleep. I would feel gutted if the computer died as a result of the attempt anyway...

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    I particularly enjoy actually going on the Internet with it. It's so utterly pointless yet the best ever at the same time. So, yeah, that's totally a +1 for Wifi-equipping a Model 200.
    Awesome sentiment, Eudimorphodon,and of course, that *is* the BestComputer on the Internet.Thanks everyone for the encouragement.Someday, the Wireless Model-T willlive. For now, this message happilyposted from my "pristine", unmoddedTandy 200.

  6. #16
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    Go for it; as mentioned it should only involve a few easily reversed mods. You may have to patch the ROM as well if you want to be able to set the 'modem' to higher baud rates.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by hackerb9 View Post
    After some thought, I decided that I believe the highest purpose of these old computers is to be used, even if that means consuming them in the process. I'm adding the “Wireless Model T” to my long queue of retro projects. But, I'm curious what do other people feel?
    Count me among the tweakers. In my younger days I colored within the lines, not because I didn't want to hot-rod my rig but because my chops were chop-suey and I needed the reliability. Case in point: a Model III Cassette I'm nearly finished with, shown below. It had a nice clean case, crisp video and a beautiful keyboard, but no FDC, drives or RS-232 board, and only 16K of RAM. So I bought a "beater" to rob for parts.

    Turns out the beater was in better shape than anybody knew (the ugly was all on the outside, and where have we heard THAT before?), so I gave it the once over, donated the upper case from the M316K and one of the SSDD drives from my Model 4 and now it looks like new.

    And the M316K? Well, I replaced the frozen pots with adapted ones I found at Digi-Key (the horror!), replaced the memory with 48K of Chinese 4116s (sacrilege!), fabricated a drive bay out of sheet aluminum, made a custom floppy cable and added a Gotek and a DSDD 5.25 from an IBM (unforgivable!), mounted a second PSU, 5 / 12 VDC only, and made a custom header to power the drives (is there no end?) and, as a final insult, added a 12V fan to the bottom of the case. And a rattle-can finish to the beat-up case.

    So, yeah, I appreciate the beauty and the integrity of the OEM machines. But once in a while it's okay to roll your own.

    -CH-

    Frank.JPG


    And if you think this is sacrilege, wait till you see what I'm doing with my 1974 Yamaha RD-350A...

  8. #18
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    The problem I have with modifications is is it's a really rare model or perfectly working. If the insides are junk, or in your case the modem is useless, go for it. But when I see people cutting up PETs to fit ATX motherboards or destroying or splitting up really rare machines (keyboard or keycap scalpers mainly), that really pisses me off. Just a couple little ease of use upgrades or turning something useless into something functional, go for it!

  9. #19
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    I personally don't "hot rod" anything as I prefer to experience the computer as it was sold in it's era. I will also try to buy period correct parts, if possible, to repair an aging computer. Things like caps will be new but if it's the caps in an Altair 8800, I will try to make it functional but look as original as possible. I will acquire reversible add-ons to also experience those but I don't need a computer from 1980 to do everything I need it to do today. It's really a matter of preference.

  10. #20
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    I think I'm in agreement with most everyone else.

    1) If it's yours, you can do pretty much whatever you want with it.

    2) It's better to be used then to sit in a garage.

    3) Most of these computers aren't rare. Usually we're talking about Apple II's, C64s, Mass produced Pc's, etc. If we're talking about something rare, then it would be nice to not mod it, but honestly... most everything a lot of us own are already in museums places. If one wants to see a machine as it originally was, that's always an option.

    4) Early PC's were geared to enthusiasts and moders. That's what we love about them.

    5) In the case of this machine, it's pretty common. As well, modems are never coming back. If it was a serial port, that has a lot of uses, but as a standalone modem, Meh... Sure, a wifi modem might not last the test of time either, but it's a useful upgrade and in 30 years, you (or the next guy) can mod that part again if they like.

    All that said, if you're modding them to turn them into fish tanks, maybe lets not. But if you're modding them to improve the experience of using it, sure. In somewhat related to your post, a year or so ago I modded my Atari ST to add a case drive switch on the back that lets me switch the internal/external address lines. It's also a temporary mod because in a few years, 'real' floppy disk drives won't be used due to lack of media and that internal drive won't have a purpose any longer (like your modem). The idea in my case was to let me use a gotek externally as drive 1 though, and preserve the internal floppy in place. Of course, it failed miserably when that mod didn't end up working as it should, so there was that. But in any case, I had little qualms about adding a switch to the back of a Atari ST which did involve drilling a hole in the case. Somewhat related, I would rather see a nice clean case mod then someone who was so paranoid about it that they just have random wires hanging out of their machines in order to avoid it on the off chance they might want to reverse their mods one day. At the end of the day, refer back to point #1.
    -- Brian

    Systems: Amstad PCW 8256, Apple IIe/II+/GS/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/128/Amiga 3000/PET 4032/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Osborne 1, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, Timex Sinclair 1000, TRS-80 Color Computer 3/Model 4 GA

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